Marriage part 1: Opposites

Rick Mattson Devotion, Uncategorized 3 Comments

Sharon and me, 1982 About six years ago I started a little wedding business on the side. To date I’ve hitched about 30 couples. One of the requirements for my involvement is that couples sit with me for two sessions of pre-marriage counseling. I give them homework and in our discussions we get pretty deep into their relationship and issues. …

Equipping Teens for College: Part 6: Social and Racial Justice

Rick Mattson Devotion 2 Comments

I’d like to review my hopes for the “standard equipment” of first-year students when they arrive on campus. Ideally, they’d have these tools in the toolbox: A big-picture overview of the Bible. Inductive Bible study skills. A basic gospel outline they can share with nonChristian friends. A beginner’s apologetic (see last week’s post). An awareness of social and racial justice. …

Equipping Teens for College: What I wish they brought with them from home

Rick Mattson Bible, Devotion, Evangelism Leave a Comment

Recently Sharon and I bought a car.* It got me thinking about the oft-used phrase standard equipment. Here’s the “standard equipment” I wish Christians students possessed when they enter college from their hometowns and churches: 1. A big-picture overview of the Bible, Genesis to Revelation. Important because it keeps students grounded in the story of redemption. In contrast, students tend to arrive …

Conversations from Campus: Jeremy with a Secret

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The prayer team asked if there might be a student named Jeremy in the crowd of 35. “Here,” he said, standing up.“In our prayers an hour ago we thought we heard things from God that might help you.”Jeremy was the fourth student to receive words of special knowledge from the prayer team — a humble, soft-spoken trio from a local church. “Jesus …

Character 12: Modeling What?

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William was powerful, influential, a “leader of the pack.” People revered, quoted, even feared him. You walked lightly around William because if he outed you, your days of having any status with the in crowd were numbered. William possessed an astonishing arsenal of tools for manipulating others. He was cynical, funny and volatile. His quick tongue could recast any situation …

Character 11: The Other

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In sociology there is a term called the “other.” It refers to people different than oneself in a variety of categories: ethnicity, gender, political party, sexual orientation, religion. At Macalester College in St. Paul where I work, the other is everywhere. I find it tempting to deal with the other categorically:  “She’s in category X. Thus I can manage her …

Character 10: Strength or Weakness?

Rick Mattson Devotion, Leadership Leave a Comment

For evangelicals, the 1970s and 80s were characterized by strong male pastors and elders who knew the word of God and preached the gospel unambiguously. These men were part of the “Builder” or “Silent” generation and the early boomers. Then something changed. The arrival of the later Boomers, Gen-Xers and postmodern culture in the 90s caused the guys at the …

Character 9: Finding Yourself

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After a recent meeting with a college student at a school in Minnesota, I went away thinking, Wow, she really knows herself.I don’t often think that. Imagine it: 21 years old and self-knowledge squarely in place. I can’t say the same for myself at 21 or 31 — or . . . Maybe at 51 I was getting a clue. …

Character 8: Scary Comfort

Rick Mattson Devotion 4 Comments

Pausing to reflect on the relative comfort and ease of my life, a deathly chill comes over me. Members of the early church and her Apostles certainly didn’t have it so easy. Walk with them through the book of Acts and you’re likely to find yourself in danger half the time, peril the other half. I suppose the disciples could …

Character 7: Losing People

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As an introvert who enjoys people, I tend to collect them. Not all are close friends. That would be impossible. Yet, scores of casual acquaintances and activity-centered relationships are meaningful to me. Perhaps you count yourself among these. The tough part is when people leave. They enter by the front door, stay for awhile, slip out the back — occasionally …