The Paradox Church

OPEN LETTER TO INCOMING STUDENTS

You are more broken than you know.

You’ve been in a war, on the battlefield for your heart, and you may not know it yet.

Torn limbs and broken hearts and crushed spirits as the world and your sin and your enemy all vie for your allegiance.

You’re the first-round draft pick, the frontlines, our secret weapon in the fight for the Kingdom of God advancing, so they have to come after you. So you need the bible, and you need the church, and we need you.

 

The Psalms Will Save Your Life

I think the Psalms can save your life in college. The Psalms connect our faith with our fears and anxieties. Reading the Psalms is the practice of going to God with your troubles, your doubts, your suffering, when someone hurts you.

So if you’ve been abused or feel attacked read Psalm 56. If you are wondering where God is read Psalm 13. If you are anxious or need confidence read Psalm 27. Where else would you go? You will find, very quickly, that anywhere else you go will only leave you more broken, more abused, more anxious. I promise you—we’ve counseled hundreds of our young soldiers, it happens every time. Only the King is faithful.

The bible is where God speaks to you, he meets with you. And the Psalms is where he comforts you, where he gives you the words, the prayers, the songs of the night your soul needs to sing. You are known by God, and you were made to know him.

God didn’t orchestrate the 10,000 things that had to happen so you would go to school at TCU, or UNTHSC, or wherever he has you, so that you would know literature, or behavioral science, or nursing, or business or football or volleyball or whatever.

God didn’t set in motion your days or your steps and his plans for you, and your time here, so you could meet your future husband or wife. Not primarily, not firstly.

You are here during these four years, in this city, around these people, so that you would know more of him! Acts 17:26-27 says that God has determined where you are and when so that you might seek God, though he is not far from you. You’re here so that you would know God!

That you would pursue the infinitely beautiful and infinitely glorious God who is inexhaustible to know, but at the same time can be known—and he knows you.

 

You Need the Church and We Need You

It’s dangerous to fight this battle for your heart alone. And it’s really hard for us to fight without you—who has more passion? who is stronger? who looks at the world like you do, with eyes to conquer for his glory, to fix what is broken? We need each other.

You need the weekly Sunday gathering.

You need that sacred triage for the messy battle wounds of Monday to Saturday. We need the Scriptures opened and expounded; we need the collective harmonies of wartime saints singing battle hymns to our God; we need the bread and the wine. The church gathered is a temple, a house—shelter from the messy weather of the outside elements.

And we need you there. Who can sing with zeal and hope like you? Who else is so bold in inviting the skeptics, the seekers to hear of the God who loves them?

You need the community of the church.

The church fights together. You need us to fight for your heart. If you took an honest look in there you would find the remains of a battle already won. Jesus was victorious, but torn limbs and broken hearts still remain on the battlefield. And much of the Christian life is spent applying the same Gospel that won the war to the cleaning up of the aftermath. Christ was victorious, but it takes some time for us to learn how to live as victors and not victims. We can help you.

And you can help us. No one else breathes life into a people like youthful passion. No one else can lift us up like youthful strength. We need you.

Let’s fight through these next four years together. Can you imagine what Jesus might do?

 

For His Fame,
Pastor Jim