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Sent to Sacrifice

The sacrificial life is connected to Jesus sending you.


I was gathered around a huge bonfire many years ago in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I was part of a larger Christian camp and I had students that I had been pastoring and reaching out to from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and we were now doing a special week together up in the UP of Michigan. To my right was a former gang banger, a Puerto Rican from Humboldt Park in Chicago, who had just made a decision to become a follower of Jesus. Over here was a young African American sister. She had just that day, for the first time in her life, seen a live deer and was so afraid by that from her city experience that she was hoping to go home that day and I had talked her out of it. It was new for her. And a Latino over here who would be leading us in beautiful worship in a few minutes. After that time of beautiful worship­—I didn’t know it then—we would enter into a massive conflict, all of us. A major bonfire argument that was fueled by significant cross-cultural differences, immaturities on all of our parts, and the challenge of working in an environment with people that were very new to the faith, people that were still choosing Jesus. I would again and again in those five years of serving at the University of Illinois at Chicago scratch my head, and I would say to myself, “How did I get here? How did I find myself here?” My background would not naturally lead toward this situation and opportunity at a state school. I went to a private college, I grew up in Indiana, and here I am in one of the major cities of the world, with profoundly multi-ethnic opportunities.

Do you ever scratch your head and say to yourself, “How did I get here?” Dishes are stacked up in ...

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Stewart Ruch III is the rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois and the Bishop for the Midwest Diocese for the Anglican Church in North America.

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