Bracing for the Future

Not long ago, we heard the words that no parent wants to hear from their dentist.

“Your kids need braces.”

When we broke the news to our kids, understandably, they were not very happy.

I can sympathize with them. I remember having braces when I was in junior high and high school and it was horrible. It was bad enough that I had all of this exposed metal in my mouth, but the orthodontist told me I had to wear these little rubber bands that went from my top teeth to my bottom teeth. I couldn’t figure out what they were supposed to accomplish other than getting me to keep my mouth shut! Maybe it was a directive from my parents!

Dave - freshmen year
Dave – freshmen year

The orthodontist also gave me this contraption that he called “head gear.” It was basically a big metal bar that connected to the braces in the back of my upper teeth and attached to a strap that wrapped around the back top of my head. It looked kind of like an old school football helmet, with that bar sticking out in front to protect the kicker’s face. (Some have referred to it as a Halo)!

The purpose of the “head gear” was to put tension on the upper jaw, pulling it back to correct an overbite. The orthodontist instructed me to wear this thing “at all times”, including when I was at school.

“No Way!” That’s where I drew the line. I remember one person from school who wore a “head gear” and it permanently ostracized her from the rest of society. It was like having leprosy or some nasty skin rash. If you’ve seen the movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, wearing a “head gear” at school was equivalent to having the “Cheese Touch”. I wore it to bed and that was it.

During my freshman year of high school the inside of my mouth got so cut up from wearing braces during wrestling season that we referred to the inside of my lips as “meatloaf.”

Jacob with braces
Jacob in the 4th grade with braces

One day, my dad asked the orthodontist if he could finish what he needed to do without the braces. The dentist agreed to take the braces off if I would wear a retainer every night. It seemed like a good trade, so I enthusiastically agreed.

When the dentist took the braces off, I had nice straight teeth. Man I looked good! At that point, I was glad that I had invested over 2 years in braces. At some point though, I stopped wearing the retainer every night. It just didn’t seem completely necessary. I didn’t see the point.

One day, years later, I came across that retainer. When I put it in my mouth, I realized that it didn’t quite fit anymore. It turns out that my teeth had shifted. Slowly, they were drifting back to the state they were in before I had braces.

The concept of braces is simple: you put a wire around the teeth and slowly tighten the wire to straighten and align them. Once they’re aligned, you wear a retainer in order to keep the teeth from drifting back to their crooked state.

It seems to me that spiritual disciplines are a lot like braces. In my heart, I’m prone to sin and wander from what’s right and what’s true. I read God’s word, pray and practice other disciplines in order to stay on the right path.

God’s Word transforms me and helps align me to Him and His purposes. So spiritual disciplines are like braces in some ways.

Joshua - 4th grade with braces
Joshua in the 4th grade with braces

And it turns out, that once I stop applying these disciplines to my life, I’m prone to wander back to my sinful, selfish state, just as my teeth, without that retainer, will slowly drift back to being crooked and unaligned.

So when I question the purpose of reading my Bible, praying and meditating, I think about braces. The benefit may not be immediately apparent, but it’s the end goal that motivates me—to become more like Jesus.

Now if I could just think of a way to help my 9 year old boys to see the “benefit” of braces now. Because at this point, the motivation that “you’ll look good for the ladies” isn’t quite working. I’m guessing though that by the time they get their braces removed, they’ll have a much greater appreciation for “the ladies”!

Please pray for our kids and us to be constantly “aligned” to God’s purposes!

Click here to read the pdf version of The Lowedown!

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

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The “Crusade House” has been a hub for ministry to San Jose State University for over 25 years!

I nervously held the envelope in my hand. After 4 weeks of New Staff Training, I was anxious to open it up and see where I was going to be assigned as a new missionary with Campus Crusade.

As I slowly began to open the envelope, many thoughts raced through my mind. Would they assign me to work in the office? After all, I had a computer science minor and there was always a need for people with computer skills in the office… (Read the rest of the Lowedown)

Campus Crusade creates iPhone Evangelism application

If you have an iPhone, you can now download a cool application that has just been developed and released by Campus Crusade. It’s called “God Tools” and it is an application that has “The Four Spiritual Laws” booklet, the “Would you Like to Know God Personally” booklet and a couple of other spiritual tracts. In addition, there is a link to many popular articles from our everystudent.com website.

Overall, it’s a great application to help you as you share the love of Christ with others. And best of all, it’s free. I’ve downloaded it already to my phone and it’s pretty cool.

You can check it out by searching “God Tools” from your iPhone App application.

You can also learn more from the iTunes website:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/god-tools/id378125624?mt=8

Enjoy!

Patricia’s Story

Patricia Calderon
Patricia came to know Christ when she learned about Him through the website: every student.com

Before entering her freshman year at UC Davis a few years ago, Patricia visited our everystudent.com website. In an attempt to quench her spiritual thirst, Patricia read just about every article that was on the site.

Patricia ended up giving her life to Christ and began getting followup resources through the site.

A few weeks later, she showed up on campus at UC Davis as a brand new freshman, looking for a place to plug in socially. She saw the signs and banners for Campus Crusade for Christ and recognized us as the group behind the website that had dramatically influenced her life.

Right away, she got involved in a Bible study with some other freshman girls that helped her to grow in her new faith. By the time she was a senior, Patricia was leading a freshman Bible study herself!

Did you know?
www.everystudent.com gets over 3 million visitors each month.

Making a Global Impact

So there I was, staring at a huge LCD flat screen monitor on the wall that displayed in bright colors a map of the entire world. Every few seconds, a small flag would pop up with the name of a different country, indicating that someone from that country had either visited one of our websites, indicated a decision for Christ or requested follow-up of some kind. (read the rest of The Lowedown)

Epic Conference Highlights

2010-Epic-Main Session

Over 400 students attended our recent Epic Conference, making it the largest Epic Conference ever. Read about the experience of two of our former UC Davis students who are now serving with CCC at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in the Lowedown.

Campus Crusade for Conferences?

2009-WC-Worship
Over 700 students worship at our annual Winter Conference in San Diego


Every time you turn around it seems like there’s another conference we’re attending. Our staff sometimes jokingly refer to our organization as Campus Crusade for Conferences.

So why are conferences so integral to what we do? Read the rest of the Lowedown to find out more.

Fall Highlights

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Staff reaching out to Latino students at Cal State Fullerton

The Fall was a busy season of ministry, filled with lots of unique opportunities. Read about two different ministry endeavors in the latest version of the Lowedown.