Category Archives: Guest Blogger

Jesus Is My Superhero

By Guest Blogger Susan Markloff, C.E. Mission Weeks Assistant Director

I’ve always been what you would call a nerd. I’m all about sci-fi, fantasy, and superheroes. My other fantastical loving friends and I have had our fair share of arguments over who our favorite superhero is and why. And these aren’t just small conversations; they’re hour long debates that go into not only the abilities of our favorite superheroes, but also their morality and general ties to humanity that lead them to the status of “superhero”.

It’s conversations like this that have made me ask the question of myself: What more could Jesus do to be my favorite superhero?

Talk about a sucker punch to the gut.

Here I am sitting debating with friends about why Batman is far superior as a superhero than Iron Man or Superman, when the truest definition of a superhero sits in the midst of the conversation and never gets mentioned. Why? Because he doesn’t have graphic novels that have sold in the millions? Because his stories aren’t “relevant” or “epic” enough for our visual craving minds? Because it’s cliché? Because if I say Jesus is my favorite superhero, people would roll their eyes (and maybe even decide to not be my friend anymore)?

I mean, yeah, Jesus doesn’t have heat vision. He doesn’t wear spandex and a cape. He doesn’t have a utility belt and he doesn’t drive a fancy car that has rockets strapped to the back. He doesn’t have a suit of armor or a hammer. He doesn’t turn into a giant hulking rage monster.

But y’know what? He never needed any of that. It’s kinda fantastical if you think about it. He was a nondescript person. A simple carpenter from a no-name, tiny town. A blip on the radar. He wasn’t even given a proper place to be born, instead legitimately only having animals around him as he entered this world. And what did he do?

He healed the lame, the leper, the sick. He brought the dead back to life with a simple command. He made food miraculously feed more mouths than it should have (and had more to spare). He spoke wisdom and changed lives with a simple sentence. He saw the worst of a person and still chose to see them with love. He punched death in the face and gave Satan the smack down of the ages.

Our superhero took imprisonment, lashes, a slow walk to death’s mountain, and a humiliating, criminal’s death on a cross. He took all of that, all of the things we should have endured, and took that burden for us. And then he conquered it. Not for his own sake, but for ours.

It kinda makes it stupid that I’ve never had the courage to say Jesus is my superhero.

The 28th World Christian Endeavor Convention EXPERIENCE

by guest blogger, Emmanuel Adomako

Hi, my name is Emmanuel Adomako from Ghana, West Africa. I am a graduate student at Lancaster Bible College/Capital Seminary and Graduate School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

To put words to thoughts in describing my personal experience at the 28th World Christian Endeavor Convention, I would say, “Truly, the time to Open Up and Go Out is now!” Although the World Christian Endeavor Convention has been going on for many years now, this was my first experience attending one. It was a blessing to serve as a speaker and small group leader during the event held in San Diego, California, July 25-29, 2018.

One reminiscence moment of the convention that will stay with me for a long time in ministry is when I literally saw “heaven opened” during worship time and felt the kind of hope and joy that is found in Christ alone, raining over God’s people like the dew of heaven. Yes, my heart was filled with inexplicable joy when I saw delegates from all walks of life singing Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch’s song: “I’ll fly away. To that home on God’s celestial shore. I’ll fly away. I’ll fly away, oh glory. I’ll fly away in the morning. When I die, Hallelujah by and by I’ll fly away.” Instantly I knew with every fiber of my being that the banner of our Lord Jesus is rising among His people across the nations of the world with no fear, no regret, and no shame and with no apology. We are standing for the cause of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with no shame.

Now, by a careful observation, I realized that God is using Christian Endeavor around the globe as a discipleship tool and a strategic catalyst to bring young people into a relationship with Jesus, build them up with the Word, and release them out to fulfill their unique Kingdom mandate. A scripture that best describes my kind of experience during the convention is Matthew 28:19-20. In this passage, we are inspired, encouraged and charged to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (NKJV). In the last two verses of Matthew, Jesus instructs His disciples to carry on the work He began in Israel. They are to go throughout the world just as we were equipped and encouraged to share the word of God beyond our small group meetings, workshops and open-air night gatherings at the convention. We are to share the word of God to “all nations” and spread the truth of His good works so that everyone may know and be saved. The last phrase in the scripture reminds me of our General Secretary’s message titled: “Go Out Now!” because “I am with you always, to the end of the age” says Jesus and preached by Dr. Dave Coryell. This is tremendously comforting to me as a child of God and a young Christian leader who is currently preparing for the Gospel ministry in Africa. I feel super-excited that God willing, in the summer of 2019, I will be heading back home with my family to start and lead a new wave of Christian Endeavor in Ghana for God’s glory. Yes, it’s refreshing to know that no matter where God leads us, we will never have to doubt that His presence is and will be with us.

Dr. Dave Coryell with Emmanuel at the
World C.E. Convention.

In light of my experience, I would like to intentionally pause and say thank you to Madam Etta Barner who generously and sacrificially supported me and a host of other Christian Endeavor volunteers to serve at the convention. Also, I would like to say thank you to my professor, friend, and mentor in Christ, Dr. Dave Coryell for inviting me and stretching me to think and live biblically as I serve Christ in the church and society.

Overall, the 28th World Christian Endeavor Convention in San Diego, California was inspiring, encouraging, educational and practical. There was no doubt that God was present with His people in the midst of all the high and low steams. I left inspired, encouraged and better equipped to lead. I would like to personally challenge all young Christian leaders to attend the next conference in Germany, 2022. I definitely plan on being there again to serve the body of Christ in whatever capacity as the Lord would use me for His glory. Blessings!

TWO ANSWERS THAT TRANSFORM

EASTER THOUGHTS ON JOHN 10 AND GALATIANS 2 & 3

By Bruce McMordie, former Member of the C.E. Board of Directors

Who killed Jesus of Nazareth? Who died with Him on Good Friday? Correctly answering these questions will transform Easter and your life.

Think for a moment about Jesus’ death. Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross where He died. Pilate unleashed those soldiers on Jesus. The crowd cried “Crucify Him!” This prompted Pilate’s action. Pharisees and Sadducees incited that crowd. Judas betrayed Jesus into the custody of those conspiring leaders. My sins and your sins inspired God the Father’s just wrath that filled the “bitter cup” Jesus embraced when he yielded to Judas and his mob. So, who killed Jesus?

Everyone is complicit in the death of Jesus, but the correct answer is no one killed Jesus! “No one takes [my life] from me,” Jesus says. “I lay it down of my own accord.” Jesus is Life incarnate. No one can deliver a fatal blow to Life!

God the Son gave up heaven to be Jesus of Nazareth. He became a man like us, finite and limited by time and place. On Good Friday, Jesus gave up the last remaining essence of His heavenly nature. Having suffered every last bit of God’s wrath for our sins, Jesus said, “It is finished,” bowed his head and gave up his spirit. He laid down His life.

Now, consider who died with Jesus. Two thieves died with Jesus that day. More importantly, the power of the Law died with them. From Sinai to Calvary the Law rightly judged every man, woman and child guilty of sin and condemned them to death. Then on Good Friday, the Law cursed an innocent man. Leviticus declares, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” In the moment the Law cursed Jesus of Nazareth, its power was broken. Christ redeemed all who believe in Him from the curse of the law and gave us the Holy Spirit! The power of the Law died that day.

I also died that day, so did you, if you’re a Christian. Put yourself in this passage. “I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Every believer died with Christ that day.

Jesus took His life back again at His resurrection and all of His people came to new life with Him! “We were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4).

All this happened because Jesus laid down His life. No one took His life. All who trust Him died that day as well. The Law’s power over us died too. And all who died with Him have been raised with Him! Walk in the glory of your new life in Him! Happy Easter!

4 Easy Ways YOU Can Help to Make C.E. Better

by guest blogger Colleen Ossman

Hi everyone! Our golf outing is coming up soon. Now, don’t click off and stop reading just because you don’t golf. Ha, caught you, didn’t I? Last year we had a record (for us) 87 golfers at our 6th annual tournament. SEVEN of those people golfed all six years, and FIVE golfers were there five of the six years. Our goal for this year is 100 golfers, but Honeybrook Golf Club will allow up to 144. So, how can YOU help to make C.E. better?

1. Would you be willing to print this half page flyer to put in your church bulletin, hang on your church bulletin board, or the community bulletin board of your local post office or gym or YMCA to help us find more golfers? We host some fun competitions and hole-in-one prizes, including a shot at $10,000 on the 10th hole. And the dinner after golfing is always superb!

2. Do you own a business? Or know someone who does and might like to try a different way of promoting their company to a new audience? We have six levels of business sponsor options. Their financial support will help us provide quality work camps for teens & their youth groups, as well as encouraging churches to unleash teens for leadership. The business partner will also receive promotion with the hole sign, name on our website, in emails & social media, as well as the program each golfer receives.

3. Are there any creative ideas out there for prizes and door prizes for the golfers? Can you donate a movie themed gift basket? Gift cards from chain restaurants would also be great (our golfers travel from Lansdale and Philadelphia to the east, to Lebanon and Chambersburg to the west). Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Penn State items are popular with many of our golfers.

4. Do you have connections with businesses who could donate snacks or coupons, or even their company brochures for goody bags? As noted above, our goal is 100 golfers this year, so please supply at least that many items. We give goody bags to our event volunteers and staff too. If we end up with any extras, we give them to our summer staff and volunteer site directors at C.E. Mission Weeks.

All the info you need to help make C.E. better through this event is found at bit.ly/Golf4CE or you can contact us at golf [at] ceworks.faith with any questions. Our deadline for golfer registrations and donations is April 18.

Thank you for helping C.E. provide a great tournament, but also for helping us to Inspire, Equip and Encourage churches to Biblically develop youth as Christ-centered leaders.

Solo No More

by Susan Markloff, Mission Weeks Assistant Director for Christian Endeavor U.S.A.

Every year at Mission Weeks, we strive to choose a theme that is relevant to youth, and can be an easy reminder for both campers and staff of what the Lord will teach us during our time at camp. My dad, Paul Markloff, is the one who has had the great insight into our themes the last two years. He likes to talk about how he came up with Solo No More, because it was in a place where Jesus can sometimes be absent from our minds.

In August of 2018, we as a family found ourselves in San Diego, California for World Christian Endeavor’s convention. By the end of it all, we decided to head north and join my brother and his family in Disneyland for a day to unwind from the marathon to California. While walking around Tomorrowland, there were posters and banners advertising the new Han Solo movie, the word “Solo” plastered everywhere.

As we traversed the crowds, my dad honed in on the word “solo” and began to think about how contrary that is for a Christian. We aren’t solo. We’re anything but solo. When we become believers in Jesus and saved by Grace, we instantly are brought into the family of God, adopted and rescued. For the rest of our lives, we have a defender, helper, healer, Almighty God at our side through all of life’s trials and tribulations. My dad turned to me and said, “Hey, what do you think of ‘Solo No More’ for our camp theme next year?”

We chose Romans 8:38-39 as our theme verses; “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Take a look at what’s referenced there in the “Things that can’t take us away from Jesus” category. It’s a stream of consciousness kind of list, where the Paul starts listing things only to go, “Y’know what, it’s pretty much everything in all of creation. None of it can take you away from God’s love. Not even death.” Mic drop.

This is such a comfort! Do you know how often I mess up and cave to sin? Daily! Whether it’s my actions, my words, or my thoughts, it’s a good day if I’ve only sinned once. And none of the days behind me or before me (that will undoubtedly be littered with my failures in life), none of those could make God not love me because of my faith in Jesus. Does that mean I’m going to skate through life because God “has” to forgive me?

Not a million years.

I refuse to let Satan get the better of me and just sit there and wallow in my sin. As though my sin were a muddy puddle, I won’t continue to let the mud and grime soak into my clothing and skin when I fall down. Instead I will quickly get back to my feet and run to my Father for help. And I know that He will receive me with open arms and swat Satan away like the bug that he is.

We all have this blessed assurance, and I cannot wait to explore the theme of Solo No More at Mission Weeks this year.

This Thing is GLOBAL!

by Joshua Good

This Thing is GLOBAL!

As I walked into the game room, the pungent odor of sweat and the roar of enthusiastic conversation hit my nose, ears & eyes. All the classic signs of a youth group retreat. Yep, I was in the right place! A short while later, those same 50+ students piled into the dining hall, and after prayer they eagerly began tucking into their dinner. It was such a joy to see the “Winter WOW” retreat in action. It included students & leaders from four different PA churches and they were obviously having a fantastic time!

But how would they respond to me, the big, bald, bearded stranger? And more importantly, what would they think of the things I was going to share with them as they ate? It can be an intimidating prospect to interrupt teenagers while they’re eating!

But I went for it with gusto and began sharing with them that, even though I didn’t know them personally, I believed that God had placed incredible spiritual potential inside each and every one of them. And because of that, one of the most important things they could do during their youth group years was to tap into those gifts, talents & abilities – allowing them to be unleashed! In doing that, God would do incredible Kingdom work through them, they would develop a deep and lasting faith, and God would be glorified in the process.

Then I got practical, sharing two ways that C.E. partners with churches to unlock that God-given potential in students.

MISSION WEEKS

Three students who attended Mission Weeks in the past got up & shared their thoughts. They spoke not only to the fun of doing construction projects & being with their youth groups, but especially about the heart change that God was able to do in them as they served. Mission Weeks are structured to encourage student engagement, and that has paid huge dividends in the lives of these three!

PRAYER WEEK

Then I held up one of the jankiest posters I’ve ever made…a mess of taped-together printouts on a poorly cut cardboard backdrop. (A number of the teen girls offered afterwards to help me with my poster-designing for next year…an offer which I will absolutely take them up onl!) After we had a good laugh at the poster, I explained what it meant. At the top it said “Awe & Wonder” in English. Then it had that same “Awe & Wonder” logo in nine other languages. This is where I had the chance to blow their minds.

The “Awe & Wonder” worship service that a number of those students were planning & going to lead was actually part of a global celebration! Little did they know that they were joining other young people from multiple nations around the world in focusing on the awe & wonder of God that very weekend. This was the kick-off of C.E.’s global Prayer Week; a time to focus even more deeply on seeking God and praying for His Kingdom to be built GLOBALLY.

The Spirit of God is actively moving. His presence was evident in the way those students responded to the things I shared, in the passion of the 11th grader who led worship during the evening session that followed, and in the freedom of the prayers students offered at the close of that session.

The Kingdom of God is being built globally. Giving students a tangible way see and participate in that is one of the most exciting aspects of the Christian Endeavor movement!

Interested in participating in C.E. Prayer Week? Check out the Prayer Devotional Guide here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/k9xmj31964auly5/DEVOTIONAL%20GUIDE.pdf?dl=0