The Cop Out


In the last week or so, I haven’t really had much to say.  I could tell you that writing was pushed to the side during my Thanksgiving break, but that would definitely be a lie.  I thought about writing.  I ached over the fact that I hadn’t written.  To be totally honest, I was blank, and couldn’t think of anything worthwhile to write about.  But now I have something.  And it’s something I actually take to heart.  It’s important to me.  I’m going to write about something that deeply upsets me.  I do it, and I find that many around me, at my Christian University do too.

At my school, each student is required to partake in a “course” called CSER.  It stands for Christian Service, or Community Service, and many call it C-Serve.  Because I transferred into Liberty University this last year, I had never participated in CSER.  I went out job hunting so to speak, and I found a health and rehabilitation center here in Lynchburg that caters to the elderly.  It’s similar to an elderly home, but most of the patients here are younger, but have physical problems or illnesses that require constant monitoring.

Now I’ll dive into what upsets me.

I’ve been going since September.  And since then I have become friends with a few of the elderly gentlemen that live there.  There is one elderly man, whom I shall call Bob, that I have become good friends with.  I’m upset with myself because there will be days and weeks where I tell myself I’m too busy to go to hang out with Bob.  Every time I go, I enjoy Bob’s company.  We have great talks.  I really enjoy going, and every time when I leave, Bob thanks me for coming and spending time with him.  I am disgusted with myself because some days I’ll say I have too much homework to do, and then I’ll waste my time on Facebook.  I could be really making a difference in the lives of many people, but I sit on Liberty campus.  Nevertheless, I do go.  I’m glad I go, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else for CSER.

The fact that I don’t spend a lot of time at the health and rehabilitation center does upset me,  but there is something else that upsets me even more.

There are so many CSER opportunities out in the community.  There are tons, just to name a few, working at an elderly home, working for Habitat for Humanity, Invisible Children, volunteering at the hospital, or anything out in the community.  But I find that most people at Liberty find really horrible CSER opportunities.  Instead of being out in the community, where people need Christians, and Christians are needed to serve, like Jesus, they decide to do a CSER right here on Liberty University campus.  WHY?  The word of God and presence of Christians is already right here on campus.  But in Lynchburg, only 2 miles away from campus, I don’t find Liberty University students doing CSER.  People can choose to do a CSER on campus where they sit in a professor’s office and do paperwork, or you can work for the Liberty security and do office work for them.  To someone in the community, looking in on CSER, it would seem as if Liberty is just getting free labor.  I, as a Liberty student, see it that way too.

God has called Christians to be out and among the community.  If we are going to do Christian service, or COMMUNITY service, then Serve The Community. Working on campus for Liberty is a cop out.  God desires every one in the community to follow Him, and if we aren’t in the community, and off Liberty campus, how is that going to ever happen?  If  the CSER isn’t out in the community, then call it Liberty free service, where you work freely for Liberty that is right now spending 50 million dollars on their new Library.  They have the money pay people to work on campus, but they can’t pay people to love and care and desire a change in the community.

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Mercy and Grace Abide


Thunder and lightning in His presence,

But still mercy and grace abide,

It’s like I was running within the shadows,

And He’s the only one with the light,

He is the light, and I was wandering,

For lack of better terms I was blind,

I saw my caricature of innocence,

But guilt had distorted it’s white,

I tried to walk the road straight,

But always ended up following a lie,

Sailing with the weeping winds,

Indulging in the nature of mankind,

I knew I was made for a mission,

And sin was not what God had designed,

I was given mercy and grace,

And such forgiveness cannot be declined,

For Jesus Christ paid my price,

And in my place He died,

A sacrifice that defeated all death,

So in Jesus Christ I confide,

No matter a storm of hell or claim of man,

Will ever push my heart to slide,

For it is in Jesus Christ,

That my heart and soul reside.

                                  -Zachary Pinkston

An African Folk-Tale


This is a folk-tale from Africa that I heard once upon a time. This story does have a moral, and I believe that it can be greatly appreciated, especially after the United States had their presidential elections a few days ago.  I have written this story in my own literary form.

Once upon a time there was a small African village, deep in the African bush.  In this village, there was the village chief.  He was a man that was respected greatly among his people, and even though sometimes he got a temper.  He had many friends within the village, and one of his best friends, was a man named Josef.  One day, Josef went to the chief’s hut.

“Hey chief, would you like to go hunting? I feel as if today is a beautiful day, and the perfect day for us to go out for a hunt together.” Josef asked.

The chief agreed, and thought it would be good for him to get away from his chiefly duties and spend some time with his friend.  They went far out into the jungle, each carrying a small caliber rifle.  They weren’t hunting for anything in particular, maybe a monkey, or something small.  Anything they could find they would hunt.

The chief decided to tell Josef a riddle.

“Once upon a time, two men went out for a hunt,” the chief started. “They eventually saw a chimpanzee in a tree.  The first man aimed his rifle and shot the monkey.  When the chimpanzee fell, the second man ran to the ape, and cut the tail off.  The first man argued that he should be given the tail since he shot the chimpanzee.  Who should keep the tail?” The chief finished.

Josef thought for a second, and eventually, he smiled at the chief, and shook his head.

“A chimpanzee doesn’t have a tail Chief!” Josef answered.

The chief chuckled, “That is correct Josef. Well done.”

All of a sudden, there was movement in one of the trees.  Josef and the chief ran closer to get a better look.  There up in the branches, was in fact a small monkey.  The chief aimed his rifle, and shot, but missed the monkey.  This time Josef was going to take a turn at it.  The monkey started climbing down the tree rapidly, and Josef started aiming, and he shot.

“Ouch, ahh, urgh.” The chief yelled out.

When the chief turned around, Josef ran to the chief in horror.  He had accidentally shot the chief’s right ear off.  The monkey escaped, and the chief’s ear was gone.

After the chief was bandaged up, his pain turned to rage. He promised Josef that he and his family would be exiled from the village for his ignorance.

Sure enough, when they got back to the village, Josef and his family were sent away from the village and told that they were never allowed to come back.

About a week later, the village was attacked by a group of cannibals.  They came in and killed many, but took some as prisoners to eat.  The chief was among those that were captured.

When the cannibals decided they were ready to eat the chief, they brought him to a big cauldron with boiling water.  They were going to boil him like a chicken.  They brought him to the cauldron, and just as they were going to throw him in, they stopped.

He heard them arguing about the fact that he was missing an ear.  You see, they believed that whoever they ate, they would receive the same physical form.  They believed they could receive blessings and curses through the people they ate.  He heard them talk about the fact that he was missing his right ear and that it must be a curse.

They promptly untied him and forced him to leave and go far away.  They did not want anything to do with the chief.

The chief realized then that everything happens for a reason, and he went out and found Josef.  He apologized, and explained to him what had happened.  Not only did Josef save the chief from being eaten, but the Chief had saved Josef and his family by exiling them from the village.

Fellowship


I realized something yesterday, that I had missed over the last few months.  Last semester, I was on leadership here at Liberty University and every Monday night, we had a prayer group and small devotional with the leadership.  This year, it took a few months for me to get into leadership, and yesterday wasn’t my first day on leadership, but due to other circumstances, it was my first day being involved in the leadership prayer group.  I must say that while I sat there listening to the devotional we received, I realized that in the last few months I missed that fellowship.

Our prayer group is made up of all the leadership on the dorm, and we are all Christians.  What’s different from this prayer group and the normal prayer group each week, is that this one is for the leaders, while the regular one is by the leaders for the guys in our dorm who may or may not be followers of Christ.  While the prayer groups for the regular guys on the dorm is really good, the fellowship and devotional within the leadership prayer group was just so much better.  Everyone within the group participated, and brought something different to the table.  We each had a knowledge of the Bible, and so we all were able to discuss, instead of just listen.

What I realized last night, is that as a Christian guy, I don’t only need Christian friends, but I need to fellowship with them and dig into the Bible and learn with them.  We need to support each other, and pray with each other.  I needed to be a part of this leadership prayer group as of the beginning of school, but since I didn’t have one during the summer, I didn’t really miss it.  But then when I experienced it, I realized that I had missed it, and that I needed it.