Why did Jesus have to die?

Each week at Cru a staff member or guest gives a talk to the students. This fall, we kicked off the semester with a 6-week series based off of Tim Keller’s book “Reason for God.”

Courtney shared out of Keller’s chapter “The (true) Story of the Cross” answering the question, “Why did Jesus have to die?” We thought we’d share it with you. 🙂

The TCX proposal

Each December, students from all over the five-state region of the Upper Midwest gather in downtown Minneapolis to experience God in a new way. We call this “gathering” the Twin Cities Xperience (TCX) — it’s a four-day conference designed to draw college students closer to the heart of God.

God worked radically in the lives of the students and staff who attended, and Erick and I are definitely looking forward to sharing some stories with you.

But before we do that — we thought we’d share this sweet (both literally and figuratively) video first.

Note: I’m anticipating our blog getting big hits today cause I threw down both the words “TCX” and “proposal” in the title of this post.

First, a little back story. In central Wisconsin, there is a movement of Hmong students growing within the Cru movement at UW-Stevens Point. More than 30 Hmong students attended TCX this year — amazing!!! — and a group of them decided to participate in the annual New Year’s Eve dance competition we have at the end of TCX. It is here that the TCX proposal takes place.

Erick’s had the opportunity to get to know some of these students personally, so it just made it extra special for us to witness.

Let me warn you — what you are about to see is so unbelievably beautiful, special, and sweet. I totally had tears in my eyes the whole time.

Move ahead to the time of 01:44:00 to watch. Enjoy. 🙂


What do I know of holy?

I’ve been listening to this song on repeat for more than a week now. Our God is so big. He is so good. Do we know Him? Do we recognize Him when He is at work in our lives?

I continue to see who I am not, and who God wants me to be. I’ve asked myself — Am I willing to be battered into the shape of the vision God has for me? Am I willing to be used by Him? The God who created me, the God who created … everything.

There are days, I confess, when I just don’t want to take the hits anymore. I’d rather sit-up on the mountain top and live in the memory of the vision God has for my life. It’s more relaxing. My pride and my control don’t have to take a beating. But by doing that, I lose sight of who God really is.

As a follower of Jesus, He has called me to be holy. And that is hard to do … without Him. He is the regenerator of my faith. My little “I am” sulks and pouts when God says do. “I am who I am … has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). He must dominate. He is my redeemer. Only through Him and my surrender can I be holy.

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were might to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life it’s name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

Piper, Carson, and Keller on Sustaining the Covenant of Marital Love

I was going to post something else today, but came across this video and wanted to share it with you. Marriage is precious. Appreciate the wisdom shared by these three men.

By Collin Hansen, editorial director for The Gospel Coalition

What sustains the marital bond and affections over the long haul? Three men with a combined 116 years of marriage reflect on what they’ve learned from God’s Word and others along with their experience.

Don Carson, Tim Keller, and John Piper offer insight on falling in love again and again and the ground of covenant in which the flower of love grows. In marriage, man and woman change, but their promise does not, sustained by the God who enacted his covenant between Christ and the church.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to a young married couple, “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”

Piper, Carson, and Keller on Sustaining the Covenant of Marital Love 

For further reading, check out the Lewis Smedes article Keller cites from Christianity Today and read the full Stanley Hauerwas quote in context. Then consider picking up these two powerful books on loving, lasting marriages:

Think Hard, Stay Humble

About a month ago a friend from California came to stay with us because he was attending the “Desiring God Conference,” and checking out the Bethlehem Seminary as a possible next step in his life. The weekend was filled with reconnection, new knowledge (I had no idea the Minneapolis bus system is as well organized as it is) and forgiving of old sins and hurts.

Speaking at the conference was one of my (Erick) “heroes”, Francis Chan. Francis has been an incredibly influential teacher in my life. I got a chance to talk with my friend about how Francis’ sermon, and the overall experience of the conference — and then put it completely out of my mind.

Until a week ago.

My best friend Jonathan sent our Bible study a link to a video of Francis’ talk at the Desiring God Conference entitled, “Think Hard, Stay Humble.”

Francis starts off talking about knowledge. His sermon surrounds 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 which talks about a kind of “knowledge” possessed by the Corinthians that Francis describes as “no duh” knowledge. Knowledge that had an attitude of saying, “how did you not know that? Everybody knows that!”

The part of the talk that really got me was when he transitioned into humility. He spoke of a woman named Joni Eareckson Tada who is a paraplegic — Courtney and I referenced Joni back in our August prayer letter. Francis talks about when Joni was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was in the hospital — because after her chemo treatments she got pneumonia — and during that time writes a letter to Francis to encourage him in his faith, and in his ministry, and to stay strong.

Francis notes, “Are you kidding me right now? How can you be thinking about anyone else? When I have the flu I’m only thinking of me? You know what i mean? … But here’s this woman, in the midst of her pain, in the midst of her sickness she’s thinking, ‘I should encourage Francis. I wonder how he’s doing?'”

This image of humility, of absolute selflessness brought me to tears. I was completely blown away.

If you have an hour during your week this week (and hopefully everyone has a spare hour during their week) and an internet connection, watch this talk. God has a lot to say to all of us through Francis in these words.


Here I am, send me

Reflecting on the need to go to the world today. Will you pray for those who don’t know His name today?

This slideshow was shared at our region’s Campus Crusade Christmas conference last year (a.k.a Twin Cities eXperience – TCX).