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Collegians respond to spiritual emphasis

BLUEFIELD, Va. (BP)–What’s the most important cause for Christians in the world today — to spread the Gospel or feed the hungry, to evangelize or comfort the lonely?

Bluefield College in Virginia challenged its students to consider such questions during its 17th annual Christian Emphasis Week featuring evangelist David Nasser of Birmingham, Ala.

Twelve students made professions of faith, according to a report from the college, while others made commitments to model the life of Jesus Christ.

Nasser noted how Jesus set the example for Christians in his feeding of the multitude, a story recorded in the Gospel of John.

“What I love about this story,” Nasser said, “is that Jesus doesn’t say that they all came unprepared, so they should go home hungry. He says, ‘They’re hungry, so let’s feed them.'”

What’s even more interesting about the story, Nasser said, is that the next day, when the people came back to see Jesus, He addressed more than their immediate needs.

“Their ultimate need was Jesus,” Nasser said, “but Jesus met their immediate needs first and used that as an opportunity to build a bridge to their ultimate need. Our challenge is the same today — to model the example of Jesus.”

Nasser said 35,000 people die each day because of starvation. “We live in a world of hungry, lonely, thirsty, desperate people,” he said, “and they all need Jesus. How are we going to get to them? Meet their immediate needs first, which will build a bridge to their ultimate need.”

Nasser, who escaped religious persecution with his family in Iran in 1979 to come to the United States, also used the Apostle Paul’s example to show how “good” people, even professing Christians, can be “lost.”

Paul was lost despite being one of the most religious men on earth, before his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, Nasser said.

“The only thing worse than being lost is being lost and not knowing it,” Nasser said of those who have been misled into believing Christianity is about being religious and doing the right things. He cautioned Bluefield College students not to be like the “old” Paul, clinging to religious history and rituals, but instead to “cling to the cross.”

“It’s not enough to be nice, to sing hymns, to read your Bible, or to complete a long list of good things to do,” Nasser said. “It’s not about doing the right stuff to become a Christian. We are saved by works, but not by our own works, but by Jesus’ work and the sacrifice He made on the cross.”

Bluefield student Courtney Robertson of Dry Fork, Va., said Nasser “helped me understand the importance of standing up for Christ, even when it seems like I am the only one standing. Jesus often did the things that were not popular but were the right things to do. David Nasser encouraged me to do the right thing and stand for Jesus.”

“[Nasser] had a great way of presenting the truth,” said Becky Perry, a student from Newark, Del. “His directness was challenging and confrontational.” Ashley Clampitt of Chilhowie, Va., said Nasser “helped me understand the importance of meeting needs in people’s lives so you can have a platform to share the Gospel.”

Since 1992, Bluefield College students, faculty and staff have dedicated a week during the fall term to examine their spiritual lives through inspirational speakers like Nasser, who spoke Sept. 24-26 at the campus.

The Christian Emphasis Week was created and funded through the generosity of Drs. Gene and Jane Duremdes of Princeton, W.Va., who sensed a special calling to share with the campus community and local residents the opportunity to seek answers to life-impacting questions.
Based on a report by the Bluefield College staff.

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