February is always taken over by chocolates, roses and tears. All of this due to Valentine’s Day and a view of love that is not actually love. Love is supposed to be free, beautiful, and sacrificial. This year, Saint Paul’s Outreach decided to bring light and truth to relationships, how they are being treated and approached now, and how they should be. Derek Waldbillig and Rachel Lackups got up to preach the gospel and brought another approach to relationships to the table: a new way, a new rule.
For three weeks, we posted up in the Turner lounge every Thursday night and began to discuss the truths about love, sex, and dating. Each week was narrowed in on one topic, beginning the three part series with love. The students were challenged to reject the lie that we have all bought into, the lie that once we meet “The One,” everything will be alright and we will all live happily ever after. We ended the night and left them with the challenge to join us and stop looking for the right person, but instead become the right person, to start becoming like Him Who is Love. Using 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 as our guide, we asked them to start becoming a person who is patient, a person who is kind, and who does not envy.
The second week we discussed sex, beginning the night with an awesome rap. We brought to light the lies that sex is just physical and that sex is bad - in fact sex and our sexuality are a beautiful gift from God. Our view of sex has been morphed into a terrible thing by pornography and we want to reverse that, to bring the beauty back into it, as sex is supposed to be free, faithful, and fruitful. Derek summed up the night by saying, “Men, we need to be about self-sacrifice, serving our sisters and the women in our life, and living chaste lives.” Rachel followed that with, “Our femininity is not weak. It is strong and incredibly beautiful.”
The third talk was all about dating. We began the night with the reason that we date, which is to get married, and then wrapped up the series by asking everybody to take a year from dating. To take a year to intentionally grow in relationship with God, kick all of our bad habits, learn how to relate to our brothers and sisters in a healthy way, and serve - for it is when we are serving that we learn who we truly are.
Each week we had around 90 students come and hear what we had to say and take to heart the truth of relationships. Among the feedback we heard:
“I have to reevaluate the entire way I’m living. I need to start becoming the right person instead of looking for the right person.”
“Those were the most real and authentic talks on relationships I’ve ever heard. Thank you for not painting a pretty picture or sweeping things under the rug.”
Praise God for the work He is starting in these students' lives! Please pray for a renewal in relationships and marriage, beginning now, when the students are young and free to grow with the Lord.