I think that I will come to this point at the end of every school year.

The second semester comes to a close as spring begins to morph into summer. Friends that were once acquaintances begin to pack their belongings and move out of their oh-so-familiar dorm rooms, apartments, and houses.  Students returning their textbooks, finishing the last of their tests, and heading home for the summer. 

Experiences like this - The end of a year of college - Lead to an inevitably large number of goodbyes.  I find myself leaving a number of friends that I have spent months eating, studying, growing, and living with - All of whom I am somewhat sad that I will not see in the next few months of my life.....  But that's just it.

Who's to say that I will ever see that friend from second floor ever again?

How do I really know that I have many more memories to look forward to making with that friend that lives on State Street?

So often, our goodbyes sound something like any one of the following:
On Wednesday I filled you all in on an immense physical trial that I went through last year. I drew out 6 important life lessons that I learned from the pain, but I also nailed down 8 important truths that I think God was trying to teach me through that hardship.

One of the important things that we need to remember when it comes to physical pain is that God isn't really worried about us being happy all the time and having an easy life. He is more concerned with us living a Holy life and becoming more like the role model of Jesus every day!

Trials, pain, and suffering... they serve a purpose by making us stronger.

Here is the original post from last year about the 8 Things God Taught Me Through Back Pain.
Pain isn't fun. Trials aren't fun. Suffering... it is just not fun.

But life isn't easy... pain and suffering are parts of life. The important thing isn't necessarily avoiding pain. It is how we cope when the pain comes, and what we take away from the experience when the pain leaves.

Last year, I had a long stretch of intense back pain for over 5 months. I couldn't sleep through the night unless I took several different types of drugs, and even then it was no guarantee. Work was torture, simply sitting in a desk was uncomfortable. I couldn't focus, I couldn't enjoy the simple things in life, I couldn't even ride a mountain bike... the only thing I was worried about was getting rid of the pain.

Hopefully that kind of pain is behind me. And while I pray it is, I also pray that I continue to hold onto the things that I learned through that pain.

Here is a post I wrote last year about 6 of the things I was learning from back pain.

I highly recommend that you read it, so hopefully you won't have to go through the kind of pain I did to learn these lessons!
When it comes to sharing your faith, both verbally (directly) and through your lifestyle (indirectly), personal preparation involves the first steps in becoming a fruitful witness. As we have discussed in the past four articles, personal preparation consists of being sure of your faith in Christ, confessing your sins, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and being ready to communicate your faith.
The second aspect to communicating your faith consistently and effectively is taking the initiative.

Taking the initiative to share your faith and witness to others can also be broken down into several 'steps' in order to make it a more tangible and practical concept. The first of these steps, which we will cover in this article, is that of prayer.

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"The best among men do not remember hostilities; they see the virtues, not the faults, and they do not stoop to enmity. It is the lowliest that hurl insults in a quarrel, Yudhisthira; the middling ones return the insults, but the best and the steady ones never babble about hostile insults, spoken or unspoken. The good only remember the good that was done, not the hostile deeds, acknowledging it because they have confidence in themselves." 
--Dhrtarastra in the Mahabharata

Many times, I feel like it is so ingrained in our nature to want to lash back at those who attack us. We may even have good reasons and good logic on our side, but as this quotation illustrates, that is still not the best course of action.

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I was recently reminded that everything in this world is fleeting. So many of the things that we take for granted and think will be there tomorrow and the next day and the day after that just might not be.

-Who you surround yourself with defines you

Actual quotation:

"If you surround yourself with the good and righteous, they can only raise you up. If you surround yourself with the others, they will drag you down into the doldrums of mediocrity, and they will keep you there, but only as long as you permit it."
Mark Glamack

-There is much truth in this statement.
Q: Why are relationships so important?
A: God is relational

Recently, this video has created quite a stir with some of my contacts and friends on an extension of my 'Facebook network'.  The video was posted by one of my friends who has recently chosen to follow Christ, and to change his life, perspective, and behavior accordingly.  Almost instantaneously, the video was challenged as immoral and unethical from many secular viewpoints.  Within a week, there was a collection of almost 50 detailed comments concerning the content of the video - Some taking the offensive, and others taking the defensive on many different issues.

"What Guys Think About Modesty" gives some detailed examples concerning how men (specifically, Christian men) are affected by lustful desires for members of the opposite sex and how the way women dress contributes to these thoughts.  

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Here in the South, there are a number of interesting liquor laws. Many of them vary from county to county, but for the state of Georgia (and elsewhere in the "Bible belt," I believe), it is illegal for stores to sell any type of alcoholic beverage on a Sunday.

My question is simply: "WHY?" What purpose does this law serve? 

Let's think about the issue critically for a minute. Alcohol can be sold on every day of the week, except Sunday. It is obvious to anyone with half a mind that there is some connection between "Christianity" and this unique law. 

So again, I ask, what is the purpose behind this law?

. . . .

This is an guest post authored by Nick Roen.
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May 1, 2011 - The world watched as President Barack Obama announced that U.S. Special Forces had determined the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden, carried out a military operation and killed him.  I watched the President's speech live, and I feel privileged to have witnessed such an historic moment.  Now, having reflected for a couple of hours, I have three distinct emotions.  They may seem conflicting, even contradictory, but I believe that they can all coexist to form a proper response to an event such as this.

Number one, I feel sorrow.  I am sorry that we live in a broken world.  I am sad that today, another soul entered hell to face an eternity of punishment.  I share the heart of God that takes "...no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live." (Ezekiel 33:11)  I am sad that Bin Laden rejected Jesus, refused to turn to Jesus, and continued in his unbelief.  I am sad that because of that, he now faces the eternal, conscious torment of hell.  I take no pleasure in his eternal destruction. 
This past April was a hectic month in my (Greg's) personal life this month, what with finishing up my semester at college complete with final exams, and an amazing trip to California for the Sea Otter Classic. On top of all that, my wife and I are moving. Naturally, the amount of time I've been able to spend writing hasn't been quite what I'd like it to be. I would like to thank AJ so much for picking up the slack and posting the vast majority of the articles this month. Great work dude!

Spread out over the course of the month, AJ has written an amazing, in-depth series about how to share the Christian faith with others. So far, he has published 4 detailed posts as he walks through the topic. Be sure to check this series out!

Thank you again for reading Cranial Collision. We'll hopefully be back with another update email sooner rather then later!

-The Cranial Collision Crew

"But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed,  but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.  However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame."  (1 Peter 3:14-16) (HCSB)

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Scripture actively commands us to bare witness of our faith to people that we interact with.  By sharing the reason for the love that we display as Christians, we are able to evangelize directly to those around us.  

I don't know about you, but many times in my life, this seems like quite a tough calling.
It is convicting to me because I then realize that my relationship with Christ is not where it should be...
Where I should want it to be.  

So how do we acquire the hope and defense that Peter is talking about in this passage?