Dear Ventura Marriott,
Thank you for putting up with 500 SLO Cru (Campus Crusade) students for the weekend. Sorry about all of the noise, interesting costumes, and the sand we tracked in from the beach. I hope you will allow us to come back next year; your facility helped us to reconnect with God and grow in community with one another. Plus, we tipped really well.
How sweet it is to write the letters of your glorious name and to know that you delight when we call upon you. You choose to read these words just as you chose to save us from the darkness by overcoming it. My little heart cannot even fathom how much you must love a sinner like me. You are good and all of creation declares it.
You never fail me. Why do I so often doubt your ability to move in my heart in new and unexpected ways when you are undeniably bigger than any circumstance, temptation, and doubt? Thank you for your grace. Thank you for never deserting me when I turn from you and for meeting me with open arms when I realize how far I’ve strayed. Thank you for loving me so much that you couldn’t stay away. Thank you for dying the death I deserve. Lord God, every good and glorious thing is surely from you because you are true, right, and good and you made it all. I’m sorry I take all of your blessings for granted and choose instead to complain about silly things that will not matter in twenty minutes, let alone eternity.
Jesus, give me the faith to trust you. Give me the courage to follow you. Give me the will to share your love. Give me the joy and the promise of the resurrection in each new day. Grant me the words to uplift others and give me the humility to give you credit for it all. Bless the powerless and the lonely. Fill those who hunger for truth and comfort those who cry out in anguish. Send me where I can be a light and don’t let me refuse when you ask me to go. Jesus, it’s all about you.
Thank you for making it to the third letter! I just want to share with you some encouragement that I learned this weekend. I hope it is as meaningful to you as it is to me.
Don’t be desensitized to the gospel. It is so easy to hear the message of Jesus and forget how real and awesome it is. Jesus literally gave up His life to save you because there is nothing you could ever do to save yourself. The God of the universe came to earth and took the sin of the world on His shoulders because He wants a relationship with you. The Son who died for you is the same God who created the stars in the sky and who delights in your smiles and laughter. We should be moved every time we hear that. Heck, we should be moved every day!
We don’t need to have a perfect faith; we just need to pursue God. Christianity isn’t a hobby, it is what we think, say, and do every single day. We constantly sin and fall short of God’s glory, but He is happy when we seek Him and continually try to put Him first in our lives. He is glorified when we share the Good News with others, but we have to know that we don’t change people’s hearts, only He can.
The resurrection changes everything. Jesus came to us… It is impossible to know that and not change! We no longer have to argue about silly secondary issues; the gospel is first everything else is second. His word is a love letter written to creation and in it He gives us the right to be called children of God. Our identity is completely changed! Sin is a heart condition that Jesus conquered when He rose from the grave. He didn’t just cure our condition, He gave us each a new heart that is free of that darkness. Each day is a fight for our hearts but if we continually seek God and notice the little whispers of His glory all around us, we will find Him amidst the distractions. We can never be the same because of His grace.
PLEASE read more about Tim Reilly (the speaker at Fall Retreat) and his Compelled mission. The thoughts in this letter are taken from his words. I was deeply moved by his preaching and I would love to answer any questions, concerns, or comments you have about any of it. You all really are wonderful and I thank you for reading and caring about my words. Jesus gets the glory for it all. 🙂
•Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise•