Thriving At College

With student debt at an all-time high (over one trillion dollars in the USA), and one out of two new graduates unemployed or underemployed, it’s imperative that we equip our young people to launch successfully into their adult years.  About 70% of this year’s graduating seniors will pursue college this Fall, but past data suggests that approximately 30% of them will not successfully advance to their second year.

My friend Alex Chediak has written a wonderful book entitled Thriving At College: Make Great Friends, Keep Your Faith, and Get Ready For the Real World!

Alex has received several degrees from various institutions, and is a college professor – he knows college! More importantly, Alex is a thoughtful, godly brother in Christ and is concerned for the souls of young people. I give Thriving at College to students at Ephesus Church, and recommend every pastor consider doing the same. I will post a review of Thriving at College soon. In the mean time, check out these links:

1. Thriving at College was highlighted on two episodes of Focus on the Family, and the audio messages are available (episode one, episode two).

2. A short parent-child discussion guide is available as a free PDF download to help parents start talking to their kids about going to college.

3. This 800 word guest post at the Desiring God blog unpacks several principles on how to thrive at college.

4. Thriving at College is currently selling for only $7.99 (47% off), and $7.00/copy (for two copies or more), with free shipping on orders over $49.  (Offer good until June 8.)

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May Book of the Month: The Greener Grass Conspiracy

This month’s book was a huge help to me last year when I read it for the first time, and I’m excited to read it again. Stephen Altrogge is a great writer, and has a wonderful sense of humor. Most importantly, he understands the Scriptures and what God calls his people to: contentment. If you find that you often have a restless soul, this book should be a great help to you. Read it thoughtfully and prayerfully, and I will pray that you are able to find contentment on your side of the fence!

Get it as a Paperback: $10.39, or on Kindle: $7.99

“The Enemy Within” Wrap-Up

I hope everyone enjoyed reading The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard. I got a lot of great feedback, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a fantastic book and worthy of many more reads in my own life. One of the most helpful sections for me came in chapter 10 when Lundgaard addressed the Seven Cold Splashes on First-Love Fire – Here are a few highlights:

1. The Flesh Knows how to eat an elephant.

The flesh knows that it wouldn’t succeed against us if it stormed the castle and tried to crush our love in one blow. It is subtle, working carefully and deliberately to pick our love apart. The flesh eats away love the way you eat an elephant – one bite at a time.

2. The flesh dresses us up in tuxedoes and evening gowns.

If we insist on worshiping God, the flesh will make our religion into a formal affair, so that it has no power. The flesh will let us go through the external motions of spiritual duties, without any fear of reverence for God – so that our worship becomes a stench in God’s nostrils.

3. The flesh sends us down rabbit trails.

The flesh wants to distract us from the simplicity of the gospel, so that Jesus is not our all in all. It steers us toward a religious or political or moral cause as a substitute for passion for him. It entices us to give our lives to the cause as our chief end.

4. The flesh turns sin into a cuddly pet.

Cuddly pets are sins taht we domesticate and harbor in our hearts. We think of them as either too small or too great to take to God. Our we just plain get too attached to them to let go.

5. The flesh pumps up our heads and shrivels our hearts.

A person with a big head and a small heart can learn the doctrines of sin, yet never be convicted of sin. He can learn the teachings of grace and pardon and the great atonement for sin, yet never feel the peace of God that passes understanding. When the flesh gets a person to the point that he can sit under the teaching of the Word, and even delight in it for its intellectual beauty, yet not be changed, he has snuffed out the wick of his first love.

6. The flesh gets us to do our own thing.

The flesh tries to put out the first of our love by gradually persuading us to live according to its wisdom, rather than God’s. The wisdom of the flesh is to trust in self (the flesh).

7. The flesh is a cat that gets our tongue.

The greatest destroyer of first-love fire is the neglect of private communion with God… two lovers who never speak to each other are not two lovers. A husband who avoids his wife, who reads the paper when she wants to talk to him, who takes up hunting or reading to busy himself so that he won’t have to commune with her, simply doesn’t love her. Period. The person who calls himself a Christian, who says he loves God, yet does not seek his company and delight in it, can’t be a true lover of God. His own flesh has deceived him. If he doesn’t daily give his heart to God and receive God’s heart in return, if he doesn’t daily renew his hatred of his own sin and his delight in God’s mercy, he has no relationship to God.

I thank God for these challenging words and helpful reminders – I also thank God that Lundgaard doesn’t leave the reader hanging with the guilt of sin and sham, but he delivers a power-packed gospel message throughout the book that reminds us that we will sin, but Christ did not for us.

Share your favorite quotes and how you were challenged below.