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The peace of Christ castS out all fear. 

By: Charlie H.

This is my third year at CIY MOVE and I have been beyond excited for the past year, to be back at a place full of the Holy Spirit. Restless nights and early mornings were so common that we were considered lucky if we got more than 4 hours of sleep, but we love it regardless. 

I woke up on Friday morning at 7:40, to the sound of that train that we all know pretty well. Having to rush out the door to breakfast was something that my roommates and I have mastered at this point. The food is always amazing and I’ve never been disappointed by the service here in Holland, Michigan. So many amazing people that work so hard to make sure that all 1900 of us are having a wonderful time. 

My small group made a quick walk over to the DeVos Fieldhouse and attempted to prepare our hearts for what was in store for us. Mark Christian was our speaker for the morning sessions and had been heavily preaching about this idea of being released from our chains and being called to obey. For a while now, I have been struggling with some anxiety because, in all honesty, I am scared of this world that we live in. It’s amazing to see the Lord working through the speakers to impact every individual on a different level. I noticed this today, especially because today’s theme was Love/Fear. Often times I wonder how God could ever be concerned about me and my struggles when I know my situation could be so much worse. Then (and this is the cool part) I am reminded of his unending and sacrificial love that calms the storms and casts out all fears. Fear comes when we believe the lie that Jesus cannot do what he says he can. 

An amazing band from Carrollton, Kentucky has joined us in worship for quite a while now. This week I challenged myself to see worship in a way that I hadn’t seen it before. I would be concerned to raise my hands or raise my voice higher than normal due to the judgment of others. Then I am reminded that the God that tells me how loved I am, is the same God that rightfully receives all of the glory. 

After some amazing worship songs, we head back to our dorms to gather with our small groups. For the first 15 minutes, we split up and found our own spot to follow along with an app called “Selah”. Selah is an acronym that essentially tells us to take that time finding peace in the Lord. Stop, exhale, look, ask, and hear. Today, this was just what I needed. The voice on this app explained that “there’s no room for fear in the presence of the King of Kings!”

Later, my small group headed to an engage elective and it was so so wonderful to get to learn about Aubree’s Journey in Northern Ireland and how the Lord only needs a simple “yes” to take you on the journey of a lifetime. Last year at MOVE, I experienced a calling to go on a trip to Northern Ireland but ended up falling shortly before the registration deadline for the trip. This has motivated me to look into traveling with my church on our Haiti trip next spring!! 

The moment we’ve all been dreading but also anticipating... the last night! There’s something indescribable about the atmosphere during the worship on the last night. Everything seems so much more surreal. In the book of Matthew, it states that “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them.” He hears us, even in our darkest hours, in our shame and in our suffering, when we have nothing more to give. He hears us! How amazing is that?! As Glorious Day plays and I look around as I’m jumping up and down with my closest friends, I thank the Lord for my trials. For without the lows, I would have no reason to be running out of the grave and into the light. I am thankful for the scars that I wear on my heart each and every day. As the song ends, we make our way back to our seats and this is where the evening takes a turn. 

Jayson French takes the stage and immediately presents 1 John 3:16, it says that “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” He preaches that we experience the love of God through the reckless love of a family. We have strayed from our origins of being the first to show up and the last to leave. We come from a stock of people that make themselves available for those who are hurting. The Lord invites us in, just as we are to do for others. Jayson says this amazing quote that I find so interesting because a lot of us would choose to go on a trip to a third-world country than spend a day in service for our neighbor. He says, “they’re not loving half a world away, they’re loving on their neighbors.” This is where I know that I struggle, I’ve been doing just the bare minimum when it comes to service for so long so this was such a wake-up call to actually get out there and risk it for my fellow believers. We got a bit of a history lesson in discussing the rule of the Roman Empire. Emperor Julian longed for the government to become the supplier that would meet the needs of the people because the church had forgotten what it means to risk it for their community. Turns out we are still seeing this issue today. We sit back and wait for the government to pass a bill but the truth is, the legislation does not love. Julian said his final words in the Battle of Ctesiphon, “You have won, Galilean” because what Julian could not defeat, was the love and benevolence of the Christians. Jesus laid down his life daily, we are to do the same for others. Not loving on others, especially fellow believers, is like having all of the riches of the world while living in a community dying in poverty. Share the wealth! I encourage you to ask yourself, “How am I treating those that I sit in the pews with?” 

Here we are, in your presence Lord, that we may draw close to you. You are here with us. Nothing is special about Holland, Michigan. For the life-changing experiences that we associate with Hope College, can be found in the most ordinary places back home! It doesn’t take a group of nearly 2,000 kingdom workers to gather in his name for our voices to be heard each and every day. That is something that I hold dear to my heart as I begin to pack up my belongings. This has been my favorite move theme so far and I pray that this spiritual high will hold on and stay in my heart because who are we if we have learned the greatest news but do nothing with it? I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to attend move for the past three years.