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Life in Greencastle - GCB's and the Way of Jesus

What if I were to tell you that in the last few weeks, over 750 people moved into Greencastle - coming from as far away as China? What if I told you that several of these 750 people came here knowing almost nothing about Indiana, had never heard of Dairy Castle or a 4-H fair or Headley's? And what if I went on to tell you that these people were planning to live here in our community for months at a time for the next four years - visiting our grocery stores, tutoring our children, and visiting our friends and family at Asbury Towers or Autumn Glenn?

That would be news worthy, wouldn't? This would be front page material: "750 immigrants arrive in Greencastle." 750 new people coming from a place to a place that is not home (not yet) to live here. But, we don't call them immigrants. We call them "freshman."

And, it is not just those 750 new faces. In the last few weeks, almost four times that many have arrived again as students of DePauw University. Certainly, these are bright young men and women. Certainly, DePauw does a wonderful job of helping them get acclimated to their new home. The professors and staff help get these students get ready for their new place. But, as a former freshman at DePauw, I know what it can feel like to arrive feeling overwhelmed and uncertain where to buy groceries, or which building to go to for Econ 101, or - for that matter - where to go to church.

My point is to help us see how important it is for us to reach out to these young men and women who come to our community. Sometimes we expect them to find us, but that is hard (you know how "weird" it can feel walking into a new church). I believe one of the ways we can show them God's love is by going to them.

I can tell you as a former student, I was encouraged by Don Fields. Don Fields: a seventy year old man who cared about my world enough to enter into it, to sit down with me in a dining hall and open a Bible with me. And he did more than that; he opened his ears ... and he opened his heart. He helped me understand God's love for me and call upon my life.

That's what it takes: willingness, openness. That is the way of Christ. Meeting people where they are. And, that isn't just for the students at DePauw. Meeting people where they are is what it means to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ. That's what this faith is all about.

So, if you happen to run into a young man or young woman, you might ask them their name. You might go deeper than that and just listen to their story. Who knows: maybe you'll end up sharing a GCB at Marvin's with a young Korean woman?

I'll see you Sunday. We'll gather to hear from Paul, the one who became all things to all people so that some might know the grace and peace of Jesus Christ.




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