I love young people, especially college students. From my own college experience I know that college can be some of the best years of your life. It can give you some incredible life-long friends. It opens a world to the students that is bigger than their world in high school. It allows them to live on their own and grow up, to say the least. Even though there are so many wonderful things about college, I believe the first year for most students is like “taking a drink of water from a fire hose”. A little overwhelming to say the least, and the environment can be stressful and lonely at times.
For as long as I have lived in Columbia, 25 years now, I have enjoyed getting fed weekly by some pretty awesome people in ministry such as Dick Lincoln, my pastor, and Adrian Despres, a full-time evangelist and team chaplain for the USC football team. Both of these men have greatly influenced my life and my growing relationship with Christ. Many times I have heard their personal testimonies of becoming a Christian and, uniquely, both of them came to know Jesus in college.
Both were greatly influenced by their college roommates. Dick tells the story of coming into his dorm room and seeing his roommate reading his Bible and praying. Interestingly, Adrian’s college roommate, who greatly influenced him, now lives in Columbia. He coached at AC Flora where our kids went to high school and led a weekly FCA Bible study in our home at 6:30 a.m. for 2 years. Adrian also led a men’s Bible study in our home on Thursdays at 7 a.m. for over 10 years. Both men were also greatly influenced in college by young ladies, Patti and Lisa, who eventually became their wives. As I have listened to their testimonies over the years, it has increased my love for college students. It’s made me realize that college is also an environment where many come to a “fork in the road” and have the opportunity to make some very important decisions. Many students make career decisions, mate decisions, faith decisions, and addiction decisions.
Having 3 in college at the same time, two at Clemson and one at Georgia, has ENLARGED MY TERRITORY. Both schools being just a few hours away has prompted me to go often to involve myself to a certain degree. I get to love on them and their friends. I am so grateful for the opportunity to build some pretty awesome relationships with their friends. Some brought their faith boldly to college, some still don’t know Christ and some have become Christians. All of them I dearly love. I have been tagged by a few as a “helicopter mom” but, as I have said before, I just don’t really care anymore about the opinions of others. They really don’t know my motives or some of the needs that these kids have. Every time I drive away from one of the campuses I realize this is the next generation of leaders in our country. I am encouraged by the ones who are boldly living for Christ unashamed. I pray for the ones who are misguided and seek to love them and pray them to a relationship with Christ. Matt. 28:19,”Go therefore make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
I write this post to remind you of a very popular book from several years ago, The Prayer of Jabez, written by Bruce Wilkerson. The book is awesome. You might think about reading it or rereading it. It teaches the reader to apply the prayer of Jabez to your own life. The prayer, “Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and ENLARGE my territory, that your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from evil.” I don’t hear anyone talk about this book or the prayer very often now. It has greatly impacted my life by reminding me to continually ask the Lord to expand MY TERRITORY. He certainly has through my kids and their college friends.
I want to encourage you today to know that God desires to expand your territory and your life. This book helped me to recognize that God immediately expanded our territory when our first child went to college. He continues to do so today. It is truly an awesome thing when you ask God to enlarge your life so you can make a greater impact for HIM. He will NEVER NOT HONOR THAT PRAYER. You may be surprised by how He answers. Deuteronomy 19:8 remind us, “If the Lord your God enlarges your territory as he promised on oath to your ancestors, and gives you the whole land he promised them.”