Please Pray for Paula Marks

please pray for Paula Marks–she’s in a coma

I just received this email: “Last evening, Paula Marks, wife of Bob Marks [Bob is on the Chi Alpha national leadership team], had a brain aneurysm burst. She is currently in a coma in neuro intensive care unit and is unresponsive. Please keep Paula and the family in your prayers, they need a miracle.”

Please pray for Paula and Bob. They’re both wonderful people (although I’d ask you to pray for them even if they were scoundrels). FYI: Bob is on Chi Alpha’s national leadership team and is a veteran missionary to France.

UPDATE: On 12/4 in the morning I received this email:
“Many of you are emailing me wanting a latest update on my mom.

She is very ill and the doctor told us, that he is NOT seeing significant improvements.

We are told that less than 1% survive this kind of aneurysm.…

That does not mean that our faith is gone! Unless God interferes she will pass on so we continue to pray for a divine miracle.

Please pray with us for this miracle because I do know that God does perform miracles.

Several of you want to know what to pray for specifically so here it is:

The doctor wants to see if her lift 2 fingers on command and then he will recognize that she is not neurologically impaired.

That is what I am praying for. I told her that last night and reminded her that her strength is in the LORD. PSALM 121 is what we have taped in her room…we are also reminding her that it is “Not by might, nor by power but by His spirit, says the Lord.” Thank you for praying for her! ”

UPDATE: on 12/4 in the afternoon I received this message:
We just got a call from the hospital…when the doctor asked Paula to raise
her two fingers‐ she did.

Praise God for his answer to prayer! The family is very encouraged, but
Paula still needs our prayers for continued healing.

Just a Quick Update

Just an update on what’s been going on in our weekend ministry…

On a personal note, the last few weeks have been a great exposure to the diversity of the Assemblies of God here in Nor Cal.

Two Sundays ago I had the opportunity to talk to people about our ministry at Family Community Church in San Jose. FCC is a very contemporary church reaching young adults and professionals by the droves. They’ve added over 700 in weekly attendance over the last two months.

That afternoon, I was invited to preach in a Fijian church (First Fijian Assembly of God) that meets here in Palo Alto. It was great–they’re a wonderful church! We were especially honored by their gifts of Fijian leis to us. Interestingly enough, they make leis out of dyed tree bark in Fiji. Very nice.

Last Sunday I was able to share at Oriential Christian Center (a Chinese church) that meets down in San Jose. It was the first time I’ve ever preached with an interpreter. I kind of like it!

And to show you how connected the Body of Christ is, one of the people I talked to at FCC gave my website to a friend of his who works at Stanford. He contacted me and we had lunch yesterday. While talking, he mentioned that he had a Fijian friend he was trying to minister to, and I was able to connect him with the Fijian church I preached at!

How wild… God has got a way of hooking things up. He’s definitely got a systems perspective!

By the way, we’ve been experiencing great favor in our attempts to schedule services and connect with pastors. Right now we’re preaching in a different church every week through March, and we’ve got tons of 1–1 meetings planned.

As a result, we’re already at the 70% mark of our mandated monthly support! It looks like we’ll be able to go full‐time on campus sometime this academic year. Yippee!

Also, it looks like we’re going to have around 30 people crammed into our apartment for a Thanksgiving lunch tomorrow–almost all of them Stanford students!

The Faith of a Scientist

From an interview at Christianity Today: John Polkinghorne worked for years as a theoretical elementary particle physicist and then a mathematical physics professor at Cambridge University before resigning to train for ministry in the Church of England. Earlier this year, he was awarded the 2002 Templeton Prize for progress in religion…

Polkinghorne on whether science and faith are compatible: “I’ve never felt an either/or situation that I had to choose either my science or my religious belief. Of course, there are puzzles about how the two relate to each other, and I tried to think about those during my science days. And, of course, I’ve thought a great deal more about them since then.

“I try to hold the two together as far as I can myself. I want to be, so to speak two‐eyed: looking through my science eye and my religious eye at the same time. I’m glad that I’m both a physicist and a priest and, though I’m puzzled by how those aspects of me fit together, I want to hold them in dialogue with each other.” (read the whole thing)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

It’s fun to have an influence!

This is so cool! I waxed nostaligic last week, and so I visited my old church’s website to see how things were going. While there I happened to glance at their ‘What We Believe’ page, and I noticed that it looked very familiar.

You see, when I began talking to Stanford students about Chi Alpha many were curious about our beliefs. I quickly realized that I needed a more student‐friendly way of explaining our beliefs than the formal Assemblies of God statement of faith. So I thought about it and decided to revise and expand the one that we used to use back at SMS Chi Alpha.

In any event, I wound up writing a concise statement of faith for Chi Alpha @ Stanford. Lo and behold, it’s identical to the one on my old church’s website! I emailed Cal (my old pastor), and he said that he saw it and liked it so much that he decided to adopt it. Furthermore, he’s shared it with two other churches (Timbercreek and Timberline) that are considering adopting (or adapting it).

Since one of the things I get most excited about is sharing resources that help other people be more effective, I’m pretty happy about it! I’ve wanted to be a mean meme machine for the Kingdom…

Minor Site Redesign

a quick update on the site’s organizational scheme

I’ve done some tweaking of the site. Basically, I’ve changed the layout of the front page slightly, and I’ve updated the way I categorize information on the site to reflect a refinement in my thinking.

For several months now I’ve been explaining to people that there are three key ways they can be a part of missions (aside from becoming a vocational missionary), and I’m redesigning the site so that information is categorized accordingly. Most of my entries fall into one of four categories:

1. Intercession: Praying for Missions
My basic thrust in this section of the site is to encourage people to pray for us, and especially to pray what I consider to be the core biblical prayer for missionaries.

2. Investment: Giving to Missions
This section of the site invites people to partner with us financially, which is actually given more prominence in the Bible than is praying for missionaries. Many of the entries revolve around anwering people’s questions about giving to missions.

3. Involvement: Working for Missions
In addition to praying and giving, people without a call to full‐time missionary work can frequently do things to help out. Within the Assemblies of God, this includes working with such missionary auxilliary ministries as Light for the Lost, Speed the Light, Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade, and the Women’s Ministries Missionary Boutique. This is a new section of the site, as I really didn’t have anything up about this prior to yesterday when I posted practical ways people can help.

4. Information: Learning about Missions
Finally, I added one category for entries that were relevant, but just didn’t seem to fit the above classification.

I haven’t completely finished revamping things yet, as I’m still thinking about how to handle the remaining categories and whether or not I should launch a personal blog (wherein I actually express opinions) in a subdirectory of this site. I express more of my personal interests and observations over at http://www.xastanford.org/, but there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t put there because that blog, like this one, is a blog with a purpose.

To give credit where credit is due, I got the categories from First Assembly of God in Des Moines, Iowa. I don’t know if it’s original to them or not.

How To Volunteer

practical things you can do to help us in our ministry

Paula and I have been thinking lately about how people can become involved with our ministry at Stanford beyond praying

and giving. Here’s an ever‐evolving list of things you can do to help out:

  • Come and prayerwalk the campus. Not familiar with prayerwalking? Learn more about it!
  • Serve as a mentor for a Stanford student. We’re especially eager to find Stanford alumni willing to develop a purposeful relationship with a student.
  • Act as a host family for a student. Let them come do laundry at your house, feed them home cooked meals every once in a while, and take them shopping once a month or so.
  • Do their homework for them (just kidding).
  • Provide rides to church.
  • Come utilize a ministry gift at our weekly worship service (Wednesday nights at 8pm). We’ve already got a worship leader and a speaker, but tell us what you’re interested in and we’ll see.
  • Volunteer your expertise with creating compelling dual‐encoded HTML/AOL/text emails.
  • Volunteer your web expertise and help us make our sites (xastanford.org and glenandpaula.com) better.
  • Help us fold and stamp our print newsletters once a month. We send out about 500, and our fingers sure get sore!
  • Send Glen useful links, articles, and book recommendations to assist in his sermon preparation.
  • Introduce us to Stanford alumni that you know (especially Christian ones).
  • If you feel called, pursue appointment as a Campus Missionary Aide through Chi Alpha Campus Ministries and work with us part‐time on campus.

If you’re interested in any of these opportunities, let us know. We’ll interview you and talk to you about expectations (both our expectations of you and your expectations of us).

How To Pray For Us

Pray that God would give us opportunities and the ability to take advantage of them.

If you ever don’t know what to pray for us, pray for us like the early church prayed for the apostle Paul:

“Be sure to pray that God will make a way for us to spread his message and explain the mystery about Christ… Please pray that I will make the message as clear as possible.” Colossians 4.3–4, CEV

In other words, pray these two things:
1) That God will create opportunities for us to tell Stanford students about God’s love for them.
2) That God will enable us to take advantage of those opportunities to communicate the gospel clearly and credibly.

And as always, you can look at our list of prayer requests.

Appreciating God’s Gift of Sex

Last night we talked about Appreciating God’s Gift of Sex, and I referenced a few different resources and statistics. Since this is a topic of such interest, I thought I should post some related resources in case you want to do some further reflection.

Here’s the sound‐byte version of my message:

Sex was God’s idea, and He’s given it to us as gift. We need to understand how to receive His gift with respect and gratitude. The first thing we need to know is that sex is fundamentally relational and not merely recreational. The goal is intimacy in relationship, and purity paves the way to intimacy. Research shows that the best sex is monogamous sex, and that if you’re promiscuous, you’re actually sacrificing quality for quantity. Maintaining purity in a polluted world requires wisdom and self‐honesty, and God can restore our purity when we have lost it.

Some of the passages of scripture that I referenced: 1st Corinthians 6.12–20, Colossians 3.5, 1st Thessalonians 4.3–8, Matthew 5.27–30

, and Hebrews 13.4.

Here are some online resources you might want to check out:

First, some data:
* Cohabitating Doesn’t Lead to More Committed Marriages, Study Finds
* Missionary Cohabitation, Missionary Cohabitation Part 2
* The Best Sex
* Leadership U Special Focus: America’s Sexual Revolution

Second, some common‐sense via articles by J. Budziszewski:
* Going All The Way (this is the conversation I quoted from last night)
* Sex At The Edge of Night (why sex outside of marriage is not a good thing)
* What If We Love Each Other? (why “being in love” isn’t sufficient justification for extramarital sex)
* Ordinary Lust (practical tips for winning the war within)
* Who’s On First? and The Moves (articles about dating)

I hope these resources help you as you reflect on sex and developing a Chrisian perspective on it!

Anybody have an extra fifteen million dollars lying around?

in which the Jewish center at Stanford lays down $15,000,000 smackers for a piece of property on campus.

Today’s edition of the Stanford Daily had an interesting article about Hillel (the Jewish campus ministry at Stanford). [Hillel’s website]

They were able to lease some property on campus–for a whopping $15,000,000. Yes, that’s 15 times 10 to the 6th power. Fifteen million bucks. If I read the article correctly, that was $5,000,000 for the lease and other initial costs, $5,000,000 for renovation, and $5,000,000 to create an endowment fund for the center. They’re still working on the last $10,000,000.

Wow. I remember when I was a student back in Louisiana, and we were able to purchase a house and a six unit apartment complex for less than 1% of that price (a relatively paltry $90,000).

Doesn’t look like we’ll be getting a Chi Alpha house at Stanford anytime in the near future–unless you’d like to charge $15,000,000 to your credit card!