Author Info: A Buffalo native, Natalie Hill is best known for her unique vocals and indie style. Yet it's her heart for seeing students lives transformed by the power and love of Jesus that makes her a quality leader. She serves on the staff team at American University Chi Alpha. 


I remember sitting in American University’s Bender Arena on graduation day, listening to my favorite anthropologist and activist speaking to a room full of graduates on the very thing I spent my whole college career studying.  I remember wondering how many students were lucky enough to get to hear directly from the people they learned about, studied, and emulated so much throughout college.  I remember seeing pictures of friends during their graduation from Georgetown University with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger photobombing in the crowd.  I remember reading books in class written by distinguished AU grads or watching them on major news networks or reading their articles in the newspaper and thinking, this city has a lot of influence.  And I got to be there.

This phrase “City Heart” has been bouncing around our Chi Alpha offices a lot this year.  Honestly it’s a term we’ve been describing for a while, but until this year hasn’t really had a name (and we all know everything sounds better when it has a name).  It’s our way of simply saying that we have a heart for this city.

Yes, I work for American University and we have staff at Georgetown and there are Chi Alphas on many different campuses all over the country, but sometimes that makes us forget why we came here in the first place.  It was to reach this city.  I remember sitting in my commencement ceremony, watching student after student cross the stage, get their diploma, and enter a world where they’d have a lasting impact, one that could affect this nation and even the whole world.  They came to Washington, DC because they knew it was a city that produces difference-makers.  It’s a city that creates people who will impact the world.  I couldn’t help but think I was looking at future CEOs, ambassadors, inventors and innovators, creators of charities that would provide resources for the underprivileged, and the next generation of leaders.

It’s easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of my campus and forget the big picture, which is to reach some of the smartest, driven students in the world and have an impact on the nations.  

It’s to create an urban hub where we can train leaders and send people out to affect their families, workplaces, governments, cities, and countries.  Our dream is that DC could be a place where US missionaries come to train and are sent into other urban places that have yet to be reached.  And maybe it can be a place where we can show others that there is a need for ministries in hard places because it can have a deep impact.

I think the city, DC and others, scares people.  It’s expensive; it’s harsh; it’s exhausting.  The people are hard to reach.  They’re smart and often don’t believe in ultimate truth, especially if it’s coming from Christians.  It’s a difficult place to raise a family, and it’s a transient place, making it hard to establish community. I struggle with all this at times.

“City Heart” is our way of reminding ourselves that it’s worth it.  It’s our way of reminding ourselves why we’re here - why we’ve chosen to support raise for a living, why we live in studio apartments or with multiple roommates, why we live in community with other Chi Alpha staff and college students, why we spend some evenings going to Georgetown and praying for other campuses, why our lives are 24/7 surrounded by others, and why we’ve devoted our lives to colleges in Washington, DC.  It’s our reminder of why God called us here, no matter the cost, because we know the impact we can have is beyond worth it.

Reach this city.  Reach the world.  City Heart.

And as you consider serving with us, or as you pray and give towards this, you are developing a city heart that is truly making a difference. 


Syndicated & Updated on July 21, 2017 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/2twIdIu

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Author info: Michelle Luberto is a junior at Georgetown University. Her talents include all things media and design, photography, and consuming large amounts of lemons at the Tombs with Bonnie. When she's not studying abroad in France, she leads a women's Lifegroup and sings on the worship team. You can follow her on Instagram

Before I arrived at Georgetown, I was skeptical as to what my place on campus would be. Nearly every freshman feels that paralyzing fear at some point. The place that I now call home was big and scary and overwhelming - all I could do was hold God’s hand. 

Chi Alpha became a part of my story within days of my arrival on campus. Bubble tea and kind words (what I know now to be a staple in this community) were the vehicles that it used to work itself into my life.

I somehow found myself attending their first service of the year (dragging my roommate along too, of course). I was excited but nervous, hoping I had found my place. Jon Rice, our former director, gave a sermon on how messy this community was… an interesting way to welcome us new freshmen in. Looking back, those words were carefully chosen, transformative, divine, even. I learned from the very start that my involvement here would not be easy, but would certainly be rewarding. I remember leaving that night and thinking I had liked it there. I liked the way they served chips and salsa and lemonade. I liked the way the leaders had red name tags and were always there, spread out, ready to meet us where we were at. I liked the way the worship band was student-led and the prayers were authentic and Jesus was present. I decided to keep coming.

...my involvement here would not be easy, but would certainly be rewarding.

Chi Alpha was the first organization to let me in without an agenda. The first group of people to disregard the Georgetown culture of busyness and resume-building and look at me as the daughter of God that I am. Chi Alpha is a ministry who genuinely chases after God’s heart while seeking to protect each others’ - although we often fall short.

After two years of being on campus, I now know exactly why the Lord called me to Georgetown. I am nothing without Him and these people, this community that has built me up in ways unfathomable. I am at Georgetown to set up the chips and salsa and lemonade, to wear my red name tag, to lead the worship team and to pray bold prayers with the people I love. I thank God each and every day for this ministry and His faithfulness through it and have forever been changed since that first bubble tea.


Syndicated on July 6, 2017

Author's info: Sam Murphy is a recent alum of Chi Alpha at American University. You can connect with him on Facebook.

So I'm at work and my boss is coming down hard. Nothing is good enough, nothing is sufficient, everything must be better. I watch day in and day out as my work is pulled apart and burned like a moth in flame. I'm frustrated and I'm starting to panic every time I hear my name. That's when I remember Blane Young saying, “Make sure you aren't complaining about your miracle.”

You see I'd been praying that God would make me a better worker for several weeks by that point. I'd been struck by how inefficient I was and wanted to work in a way that uplifts Jesus. I wanted to work in a way that made me a good witness that reveals the glory of God.

So as I sat there at my desk and recalled Blane's words, it dawned on me that my prayer had been answered. Yes my boss was riding me like a small horse, but my work quality was steadily improving, my apathy rapidly dropping. So my grimace was quickly overtaken by a grin and I got back to work.

Prayer is such a profound gift that the only fitting adjective is magical.

In Chi Alpha I have learned an incredible amount about prayer. I used to pray before the occasional meal, when I was broken hearted, when I was confused,  but I never really "got it." Prayer is such a profound gift that the only fitting adjective is magical

Through prayer we are able to seek God and to see his profound grace in our lives. We are strongest when we draw near to Jesus, alone or together, standing or reverently bowed, laughing or weeping, we are strongest when we pray.


Syndicated on July 3, 2017

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Author info: XY Lau was born in Malaysia, raised in China, and is about to start his fourth year studying Public Relations and Strategic Communication at American University in Washington, D.C. Having attended multiple international schools in his lifetime, he has gained a fluency not only in a multitude of languages, but also in a multitude of English accents. The conglomeration of cultures through which he had lived would confuse his senses of ethics and personality, but he finally came to peace with who he was when he found his identity in Christ. He will resume his role as a Chi Alpha small group leader and homeless ministry leader once the Fall semester starts. Oh, and he loves puns and music. You can connect with him on the web and Facebook. 

Showing Up for the Showdowns

As this summer enters into its final phase, I eagerly await my final year of Chi Alpha. My daydreams fill with hope, and my plans are tinged with anticipation. Mulling through all the faces that I miss so dearly, I pray over all the new ones coming in. I am excited, once again, to show up for the showdowns.
 
Throughout my time here, I am becoming ever more aware of where I end and where God begins. I have seen Him soften the hearts of those I couldn’t approach, breaking down longstanding, robust barriers of hurt I couldn’t scratch and instilling a healing, lasting peace for so many longing students who let Him in. His presence has become that firm and steadfast anchor for our souls, His promises interwoven into the very fabric of our community. And with time, His Spirit has continued to mold us, growing us in holy wisdom along the way.

I am becoming ever more aware of where I end and where God begins.

As a Chi Alphan, I now understand that my commission as a Christian does not require me to go on a mission trip every year, but to constantly be on mission every day. The campus has become my mission field, teeming with precious images of God to be won for His Glory. It is in these instances when I see my cause as individual showdowns, each person I meet a new battle to guide them out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Seizing upon the urgency of the times, I ask God to use me in powerful and remarkable ways for His victory. And boy, does He deliver.

As a Christos apostolos, I now understand that I can’t win a showdown with a single act of greatness, but rather with a devotional, often monotonous rhythm of consistency. Sowing seeds within college students could often be frustrating, but at the sight of that timid, quiet freshman raising his hand in worship for the first time, I am willing to do it all again. For that sophomore who left his life of sin to devote it to ministry, I would do it all again. For that junior who became Chi Alpha President despite having almost died less than two years ago, I definitely would do it all again. From this steady rhythm came an outpouring of God’s transforming love, and I just had to be there to witness it all.

The significance of this ministry speaks for itself whenever one of my guys states that he would not know where he would be today had Chi Alpha not been there for him. It speaks for itself in the multitude of Godly relationships that have sprouted from the cracks of this university, from the deepest of brotherhoods and sisterhoods to the most committed of marriages. This is an impenetrable community, built on the rock to be the salt and light to the world. God has made a body of Christ out of our student body, and it continues to grow through the grueling showdowns of our mission.

As an Ambassador of Christ, I now know that God will make the best out of all we give Him— so isn’t it grand that we are called to give Him our all?


Posted on August 7, 2016 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/2aenb7m

Author Info: Blane has served on staff at AU Chi Alpha for several years and became the Director in the Fall of 2014. This New Mexico native is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama but has fallen in love with the big city. He and his wife (Hannah) moved to DC to complete the DC Chi Alpha CMIT Program under Mike & Jen Godzwa. They are parents to a pretty amazing toddler, Jeremiah. You'll find him biking around DC in search of a coffee by day and pouring over a book by night. You can find him at www.blaneyoung.com, and connect with him via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page.

*Originally published at: https://churchm.ag/in-celebration-of-tedbillion/

(Posted after TEDTalks had 1 Billion total views)

What an incredible milestone! I can’t even began to wrap my mind around the number of servers required to make this happen. As people are being encouraged to tweet their favorite TEDTalks, I thought I would share four incredible ones that you may have not have seen yet.

Susan Caine: The Power of Introverts
Lately, my wife has been trying to convince me that I am an introvert like her. I’m still not sure if that’s true as I tend to be as loud and engaging as a used car salesman at a Christmas party. But the more I read the confessional and heartfelt comments on YouTube, the more I thought I should at least take a look. This talk is inspiring, eye-opening and empowering, whether you are an extrovert or introvert.


David Blaine: How I Held My Breath for 17 Minutes
Where has this guy been? I’ve missed him! Anyways, in this personal talk about one of his biggest failures and accomplishments, we are given the privilege of seeing inside the mind of someone passionate about their craft. He is willing to make history despite the cost and so whether you are a fan or not, you will find this video worthwhile.

J.J. Abrams: The Mystery Box
If you’re like me, you miss LOST and there doesn’t seem to be a fitting replacement in sight. I even tried to get into Revolutions, but alas, it was not for me. I have probably seen this talk a handful of times but I continue to come back to it as I think about the importance of mystery as a communicator and creative.

Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, Happinness & Spaghetti Sauce
Who doesn’t like spaghetti sauce? Okay, there are probably lots of people. However, this talk demonstrates the brilliance of Gladwell and gives us insight into our desires, preferences and tastes.

What is your favorite TED talk? Which of the ones above did you most enjoy?


Originally published on December 1, 2012 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/2a11YKO

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