Wallentin is a sophomore news/Internet and English major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 100 students gather at Campus Fellowship’s Alive on Thursday nights to spend time in fellowship and praise. I’m included in that number. Those students are my friends. They’re some of the best people I’ve ever met. They’re fellow Christians. I know we’re living for the same purpose: to glorify and live for God.
I was raised in the church, but my faith didn’t become tangible and meaningful until I came to Drake. Some people from C.F. invited me to church and Bible study the first week of school. I went and have been going ever since. I’d never been around people like them before, people who talked about God in normal conversation, read their Bibles in public and looked forward to waking up early on Sunday morning.
In October of last year, I got it. I bought a Bible and actually read it, delving deeper and slowly exploring. I asked questions and prayed genuinely for the first time. I saw how my life and God’s word didn’t match up. I saw how the lies I believed about religion were shattered once I read and experienced for myself. I saw how loving, merciful and beautiful a relationship with Jesus Christ was. I made the most vital decision: I gave my life to Christ last October. I didn’t understand everything, but I knew God was the greatest relationship in my life.
To some, the act of surrendering one’s life to God may seem like a weak move, or an oppressive way to live. The key to Christianity isn’t based on rules or rigid formality, but on the person of Jesus: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6). We need Jesus because none of us are perfect; we all fall short of God’s perfection, holiness and righteousness. Our sin separates us from God.
God loves each person the same and desires for all to be saved. God sent his son to die on the cross for the sins of humanity, past and future. Jesus, as our substitute, willingly suffered the punishment we deserved. God wanted to be reunited with his people so badly he sacrificed his own son for the hearts of mankind. Jesus died and rose again to allow all people the chance to know him. But, God won’t force anyone to love him. I needed to realize that I was a sinner, ask God for forgiveness and allow him to enter my heart. Since then, I’ve been forever changed.
Many people see college as a time to have no boundaries and to experiment. In C.F. our desire is to honor God with our lives: actions, speech, work, relationships and time. We see the Bible as the perfect guide, and we want to follow it. Being a Christian in today’s world isn’t easy, but God gives us the strength to live for him in a world where not everyone is. Talking openly about our faith in classes, with professors, or even in the dining hall can be intimidating. We know that many people have different beliefs, and that our lifestyle may seem weird. When people ask me what I’m involved in at Drake, C.F. is the first thing I say. I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people about what C.F. is about, and I love when I do. I want to explain why I love the fellowship and answer any questions because I think it’s easy to write something off without giving it a try. I’ve for sure done it. But, I hope that the Drake community would see C.F. as a loving group of students. I hope anyone would feel welcome to ask about the fellowship or hangout with us sometime. Our desire is to love people as God has loved us. We want to serve and welcome others. Our actions aren’t motivated by greed or a need for recognition; our lives are an outpouring of God within us.
I’ve been loved deeply by my brothers and sisters in C.F. They’ve formed relationships with my family and friends from home. They’ve prayed for me, given me a place to stay, and driven me home. They’ve opened up their houses to 40 people for a game night on a weekend or heated up the grill for an impromptu barbeque. I know that I could call any of them and they would gladly help me out or talk with me about something. C.F. is a real family of people who deeply care about one another. When I’m having a rough time, they’re right alongside me by being encouraging and comforting. We have a connection, not because we’re all in college or around the same age or like the same things, but because we each know God personally. He brought us all together. He formed the friendships. He is the one we praise and love and adore.