Author Archive

What are we raising anyway? Fanning the Flame, Spring 2016

Comments Off on What are we raising anyway? Fanning the Flame, Spring 2016 Written on May 23rd, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Have you noticed that the world teaches us to handle our money a certain way? Our culture trains us to:

steve-cummings - office

Steve Cummings is Vice President of Advancement at Multnomah.

1. Enjoy our money. (Usually we over-enjoy it, which lands us in debt.)

2. Repay the debt created by overspending.

3. Save for future needs once we’re out of debt.

4. Give, if and when anything is left over.

God, on the other hand, teaches us to manage our money by inverting this order: Give first, then save, repay and enjoy. Reordering our priorities according to God’s principles results in more peace, deeper generosity and greater financial freedom.

Multnomah doesn’t do fundraising. For us, it’s all about “faith raising.” Why? Because we believe God is primarily interested in growing our faith, not getting our money. And when we grow in our faith, giving will naturally occur. We’re committed to staying connected with you and sharing stories that are both meaningful and inspiring.

Only after showing you the fruit Multnomah is producing will we invite you to exercise your faith through giving. We desire to grow your hearts to be rich toward God (Luke 12:21). We don’t want something from you — we want something for you! That’s why we encourage you to be generous no matter where God asks you to deploy His resources.

We’re asking the Lord to provide $211,445 by June 30 to complete funding for this past year’s student scholarships. You can participate with your gift online by visiting multnomah.edu/donate or texting the word “multnomah” to 77977.

Steve Cummings

P.S. Catch the latest news or give as God inspires you with our new MU mobile app. Download it today on the App Store or Google Play.

A tale of two forests: MU prof reflects on forest regeneration in honor of Earth Day

Comments Off on A tale of two forests: MU prof reflects on forest regeneration in honor of Earth Day Written on April 18th, 2016 by
Categories: Events, Faculty

Dr. Keith Swenson, professor of natural sciences, shares some fascinating thoughts on forest regeneration in honor of Earth Day, celebrated nationally on April 22.

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There still seems to be a common understanding within some circles that Earth Day and Christians don’t mix. Is this perception flawed? Let’s consider two of our great western forests.

I remember when Mount St. Helens blew. That was 36 years ago. Our family was on the Oregon coast that beautiful Sunday morning, so we didn’t witness the initial blast. But as we drove home to Portland later in the day, we saw an eruption plume rising 60,000 feet over the volcano. Later we began to learn the full extent of that day’s eruptive activity and its effects on people, landscapes and the region as a whole.

Certainly the great forest surrounding Mount St. Helens did not escape the volcanic maelstrom. Instead of producing an upward column of ash, St. Helens’ first salvo surprisingly was sideways, directly over the forest to the north. This oven-hot “stonewind,” as it was called, spread outward, producing a fan-shaped area of destruction, later named the “blast zone.” In the space of only three minutes, 230 square miles of old-growth and plantation forest was “disturbed” (to use the language of ecology) to an extreme degree. Days later, scientists observing the monotonous gray desolation, exuded dire predictions concerning the forest’s return to life. Many called it a “sterile landscape,” predicting it would be at least decades before significant recovery occurred.

But a surprise awaited! The forest began recovering from its destruction much more rapidly than prophesied. Within three years, 90% of the forest’s plant species were back and much of the animal life as well. It appeared that the forest ecosystem was equipped with mechanisms enabling it to rapidly react to cataclysmic disturbance. In ecology, an ecosystem’s ability to respond to a disturbance is termed “resilience,” and the blast zone forest at Mount St. Helens proved itself to be highly resilient.

But is an ecosystem’s resilience bounded by limits? Can humans, for example, do whatever they wish — or think best — to a forest, assured that it will bounce back? Could a forest be highly resilient and yet somewhat fragile at the same time? Let’s consider a second forest.

In 1910, a seminal event catapulted the U.S. Forest Service into national prominence. That event was a great wildfire in the northern Rockies of Montana and Idaho, usually referred to simply as the “fire of 1910,” or the “big burn.” In the span of 48 hours, three million acres of prime western white pine forest was incinerated, along with human lives and property, including the mining town of Wallace, Idaho. The fire was so monstrous that it got the attention of the nation. Something had to be done to protect our forests from fire. That job fell to the fledgling Forest Service, which over the better part of the twentieth century attempted to prevent forest fires – with some measure of success. Fires on the public lands of the West were markedly contained, but at what cost?

Through careful scientific study, much more has been learned about forest fire in more recent years. For many forests, fire is as essential for their health as good soil and adequate rain. Periodic fires control the buildup of brush and other forest fuels, provide a needed pulse of nutrients into the soil and enables certain tree species, including Douglas-fir, to regenerate. Oregon State University forest ecologist David Perry puts it this way: “We now know that fire played a crucial ecological role in these systems, and its removal set in motion a chain of events that wrecked the health of forests throughout the region, increasing their susceptibility to insects and pathogens, and making them vulnerable to fires that are much more destructive (and difficult to control) than we fought to exclude.”

So, on this Earth Day, how should we view our relationship to our forests that are sufficiently resilient to rebound, but fragile enough to degrade from decades of fire suppression? The Bible provides some guidance.  First, it tells us that the “earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24:1). He created it, and He owns it. But to our first parents (and to all mankind) God gave dominion over His creation – a mandate to “rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air . . .  and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:26). It’s clear now that Christians and Earth Day do mix. But how are we supposed to successfully rule over the fish of the sea (like Pacific Salmon), the birds of the air (Osprey) and creatures that move along the ground (Red-legged Frogs) today when all these creatures are dependent on healthy Northwest forests?

Dave Perry suggests the following: “Avoiding similar disasters in the future will take more than good intentions (those early foresters had the best of intentions); it will require knowledge” (emphasis mine). I see an implicit requirement in God’s dominion mandate to scientifically study the creation He’s given us (such as forest ecosystems) in order to understand it and thereby successfully manage it for His glory – and the benefit of mankind. We will never do that perfectly, but we can do it better.

EDITOR NOTE:

  • “Mount St. Helens” is always written with an abbreviation for “saint.” The Baron of St. Helens, for whom the mountain is named, is said to have been so humble he never wanted “saint” in his title spelled out.
  • Reference on the Dave Perry quotes:  David A. Perry, Forest Ecosystems (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), p.9

Natalie’s Story

Comments Off on Natalie’s Story Written on March 18th, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Music major Natalie Correll shared her testimony with listeners at a recent event for friends of Multnomah. The following is a condensed version of her speech. 

Multnomah plays a leading role in my life story. I thought I had everything planned out perfectly, but at the last minute all my plans came to a hault. After I’d graduated high school, in summer 2009, I was traveling in Europe for a short-term mission’s leadership training. My team leader asked me why I hadn't considered Multnomah; some of his kids had attended, and he had nothing but positive comments for the MU community. I had been to a few youth events at Multnomah, but I had never considered it as a prospective university.

My 19 year-old self that summer was enduring a heap of pain and shame as I was going through the traumatic ending of a unhealthy relationship. My world was being shaken to the core, making me question who God was and how He was going to use me — a very lost girl — to change the world around me. Despite my broken heart, God had a plan that was rapidly unfolding. After talking with my leader during our trip, and through heaps of prayer, I decided to submit my application to MU while I was in Europe.

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While I was still out of the country, my parents were generous enough to meet with Admissions and the Registrar’s Department to figure out the details. In the trusting relationship I had with my parents, we decided together that God was leading me to Multnomah. After such a painful year in my life, I wanted to live, breath and eat the Word. There was nothing that I wanted more than to become a woman who loved my heavenly Father more than myself. I was so tired of choosing my own path and refusing the acceptance of Christ.

After my first two weeks of classes, I realized very quickly that Multnomah was home for me. This was the start of something new. My story, once characterized by ash and death, was now being revitalized into beauty, new growth and the reality of flourishing! God, through the renewal of my mind, cast hope where darkness raged out of control. At the core of who I was, God was speaking a message of value and giving me genuine desire for unity, friendships and cause. This was all hitting me within the first two semesters at Multnomah.

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Over the next three years, my perspective started to look very different. I became much more aware of the value in personal leadership, and I changed dramatically:

  • I used to think if I took what I considered to be authentic friendships and used them like networking cocktail mixers, I could really gain some life traction.
  • I used to think I had to be somebody important to accomplish things, but I started to realize Jesus uses ordinary people more.
  • I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but I started to become more afraid of succeeding at things that didn't matter.
  • I used to think Jesus motivated us with ultimatums, but I now know He pursues us in love.

I started to see that Jesus asks us to join the adventure of a sincere faith in Him so He can direct our hearts, not our self-promotion. Multnomah created an environment of accelerated growth that prompted me to start asking real questions. Would I take what I thought defined me and leave it behind, or would I let God define who I was instead?

In my second year, I became very involved with our Student Life team as a Resident Assistant, started leading a chapel worship band and jumped into a Jazz Ensemble! And as my junior year approached, my best friend and I felt lead to plan an event for the youth of this generation to become more aware of the injustices happening just one street away on 82nd Avenue. We co-founded a human-trafficking event ministry called the Isaiah Project. With the help of our student friends and Karen Fancher’s wisdom and insight, we had over 350 students packed into Central Bible's auditorium for an evening of learning and inspiration. These youth groups and their leaders not only heard ways of identify human-trafficking and insight into its reality, but they were also empowered by the Gospel Story that gave insight into why we should do something about this in the first place. We viewed the issue through a Jesus lens!

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As I was finishing my third year at Multnomah and planning for the next, another surprise came around the corner: I enrolled at Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia. Even though I knew this adventure would set me back one year from graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I knew this opportunity was from the Lord, so I went after it. I spent the entire year of 2013 in the land down under.

It was a year of studying worship music, creating stage designs for international conferences and diving into a deeper love for the Church. Multnomah had prepared me with a biblical foundation so that I could experience all that God had planned for me that year. My life was transformed eternally as my world became very big; I was able to work alongside people from France, Germany, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa, America, England, The Netherlands and Egypt!

In all honestly, there were some very hard, physically-taxing times in Australia, as I was dealing with a ruptured disk in my back. But there were so many moments where I was blown away by God’s faithfulness and provision. This was definitely a time when Jesus was teaching me (in the words of Bob Goff) that “I have an invitation every morning when I wake up to live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.”

wedding pictureGod used every last experience at Multnomah and at Hillsong to launch me even further into His presence. Since I came back to the States in January 2014 and began my senior year at Multnomah, I have been overcome with thankfulness that God led me to MU, which ultimately led me to a life filled with Christ. The legacy has touched me and my husband (whom I also met at Multnomah), as well as some of my closest friends, who will be in my corner forever.

Because of the leaders who established Multnomah’s culture and foundations a very long time ago, so many students have been given the opportunity to answer God’s whisper to humanity: “It's your move.” I picture Heaven leaning over the rails, waiting to see what we will do with our lives in response to and for Him. Thank you for investing in Multnomah. The students here are looking to the future with the expectation that God can and will use them to make a difference. Thank you.

Transforming lives in challenging times

Comments Off on Transforming lives in challenging times Written on March 17th, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Dear Alumni and Friends of Multnomah,

Dirks_Chapel_In_Spring-alt02This February we held a series of events at Multnomah to celebrate 80 years of God’s faithfulness to this beloved institution. About 250 alumni visited campus for Homecoming, and a week later we hosted another event with some friends of MU. At the latter function, Natalie Correll, who works in our Admissions Department and graduates in May, shared a powerful testimony (read it here).

Natalie’s story reminds me so much of two verses in John 8:

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As God’s Word took root in Natalie’s life, the truth set her free! But her story is just the tip of the iceberg. Disciples like Natalie are constantly experiencing transformation at Multnomah. But it takes time. Jesus invested in His disciples for three years, preparing them for effective ministry. Likewise, we pray that our 762 undergraduate, graduate, degree completion and seminary students come to know truth while they continue being prepared for what God has in store for them.

This is happening today in various ways.  Let me share three examples:

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Professor Jay Held, chair of the pastoral ministry department, meets with a student.

It’s happening in the classroom. Just last week, Professor Jay Held, our pastoral ministry department chair, interrupted his class with an impromptu “field trip” to call on a student who was hurting. The student had received news of the death of a friend back home and had chosen to skip class that day. Professor Held and his class located their classmate across campus, loved on him, and prayed with him. That intentional act touched this freshman deeply as he felt the truth of how much God and His people cared for him.

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Students listen during a chapel session.

It’s happening in chapel. Just last month, Tasha Irwin (a senior in our MA in TESOL program) received a life-changing message from MU alum Marcus Brotherton, who shared a powerful truth in chapel. “Marcus challenged us to learn to love ourselves as our heavenly Father loves us,” she says. “That resonated with me so deeply. To love our neighbors as ourselves, I understand. But the part I often forget and struggle with is loving myself as God loves me!”

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Associate Dean of Students Rich Ward hands out gift bags to students in celebration of Encouragement Week.

It’s happening in Student Life. Just last week, Associate Dean of Students Rich Ward launched a new event — Encouragement Week — because he wanted each student to feel supported amidst the stress of midterms.“When people know that they matter, they feel that they belong,” he says. Ward had surprises planned for each day of the week, and his team hung encouraging posters around campus that spoke truth to passing students: “Stay strong, “You can do it,” and “We are always praying for you. Bible and theology major Jennifer Kildal was one of the many students who loved the event. “It’s so cool to be at a school where they actually appreciate their students,” she says.

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Dr. Derek Chinn, director of the Doctor of Ministry program, prays with a group of students.

I could share even more inspiring stories about our students; amazing things are happening on campus every day. But despite these wonderful testimonies, we continue to face an increasing number of challenges. Here are a few of the pressures we face on a daily basis:

1.   Attempts to prohibit or limit MU’s free practice of our biblical beliefs and standards (a recent local news story illustrates this dilemma).

2.   The addition of regulatory standards from the Department of Education and the state of Oregon that will hinder our student enrollment growth and increase costs to students (read more about these issues).

3.   Retaining students who want to continue their Multnomah education but lack the resources to do so.

4.   Growing enrollment for our online programs.  It takes time and resources.

5.   Our Student Aid Fund goal this year is $1.5 million. To date, we are relying on God’s people to help us make the final $405,000 to meet this goal. The good news? Every gift given through June 30 will be matched, dollar-for-dollar.

give now

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Even though these issues are challenging to navigate, I’m so encouraged by the responses of our friends and alumni. Why? Because so many of you consistently display generous hearts toward Multnomah, even when we don’t ask for it. Yet God’s Spirit moves you, and your response is to give! I recently heard from one alum who attended our 80th Homecoming celebration: “We thoroughly enjoyed the Alumni Homecoming, Craig,” he wrote. “I noticed that a collection was absent, and I think this encouraged me to give even more, which I will do.” What a beautiful response! I was so energized by this alum’s experience.

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I wrote this letter because I wanted to share with you the amazing transformations taking place on campus — and to let you know we’re facing real challenges too, so you can know how to pray for us and follow God’s lead in joining with us. We can only navigate this university with His help. Will you join our MU Prayer Warrior team? Will you participate in what God is doing at Multnomah as He directs you? Students are coming to know the truth, and it is setting them free! We invite you to invest and share in what God is doing at Multnomah.

Growing in generosity,

Craig

Rev. G. Craig Williford, Ph.D.
President
Multnomah University

give now

Multnomah thanks supporters with a gift from the heart: Fanning the Flame, Winter 2016

Comments Off on Multnomah thanks supporters with a gift from the heart: Fanning the Flame, Winter 2016 Written on February 22nd, 2016 by
Categories: 80th Anniversary, Alumni, Newsletter, Pray For MU
steve-cummings - office

Steve Cummings is Vice President of Advancement at Multnomah.

What a delight it is for me to serve at Multnomah amidst sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ and countless others like you who have walked this campus, studied God’s Word and grown deeper in your faith. These 25 acres have been a sacred space in Portland for 80 years and counting as God continues to transform lives in and out of the classroom. Multnomah has an amazing legacy rooted in God’s faithfulness.

We are fostering a culture of generosity that is taking root and bearing fruit in amazing ways. We are proclaiming truth, and people are responding in obedience. Here at MU, we tell our students, staff, faculty alumni and friends: “We don’t want your money.” Instead, we urge them to deploy God’s money to accomplish God’s purposes. In that light, we celebrate what we want for people — not from them. We want everyone to enjoy with us the privilege of participating in God’s work.

Bless you, dear friends of Multnomah, for your prayers and support! We could not do what the Lord has called us to do without you. We would like to say thank you in a tangible way. We have a free copy of “Ignite Your Generosity – A 21 Day Experience in Stewardship” for anyone who would like one. Request your copy by sending an email to advancement@multnomah.edu or by leaving a message with your name and phone number at 1-877-9-ALUMNI (877-925-8664).

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Fanning the flames of generosity at Multnomah

Comments Off on Fanning the flames of generosity at Multnomah Written on January 6th, 2016 by
Categories: Alumni
Fanning the flames of generosity at Multnomah

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A special word from our VP of Advancement

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Vice President of Advancement Steve Cummings

Multnomah Family:

What a delight to serve at Multnomah amidst sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ, and countless others like you who have walked this campus, studied God’s Word, and grown deeper in your faith. These 25 acres have been a sacred space in Portland for 80 years and counting as God continues to transform lives in and out of the classroom. Multnomah has an amazing legacy rooted in His faithfulness.

Two traits related to our students and graduates get me really excited these days. They exhibit spiritual maturity, and they have a deep love for God and His Word. I have personally witnessed our students giving from their limited resources to help a fellow student go on mission trip and send another home to Africa on Christmas break. Who does that? Not just our students. I see selfless generosity in the graduates I meet across the country.

Every year at graduation, I have the privilege to fan the flame in our graduates hearts so they may grow in the grace of giving. It’s a privilege to do this because Im speaking to mature Christ-followers who understand that all they have comes from the hand of God. I remind them that when they get to heaven, God will ask each one of them to give an account of how they used what they had to bring Him glory. Its my desire that each one will be ready to share how they used their time, talent and treasure to advance God’s kingdom. That’s how we roll at Multnomah today – and many of you who have gone before are leading the way!

Participating in Gods work

Americans live in the richest nation, and yet statistics show that the “average Christian” gives 2.43% of their income to charitable causes. Do you know we gave more to charity as a nation during the Depression than we do now? That means we have room for growth, and  we understand this at MU.

Thats why were fostering a culture of generosity thats taking root and bearing fruit in amazing ways. Were proclaiming truth, and people are responding in obedience. Here at MU, we tell our students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends: “We don’t want your money.” Instead, we urge them to deploy God’s money to accomplish God’s purposes. In that light, we celebrate what we want for people – not from them. We want everyone to enjoy the privilege of participating in God’s work.

Across the globe, I learn about members of the Multnomah community who appear as joyful distributors rather than hoarders of God’s resources. Their lives are rich toward God (Luke 12:21) and inspire us to grow as faithful stewards. Just the other day I was visiting with one of our alums from 1973, and I asked him why he gives to Multnomah. His response was simple yet powerful: “Multnomah invested in me, and I just wanted to say ‘thank you!’”

Why do we tell their stories in emails, social media posts and snail mail? Because we want you, the Multnomah family, to experience the rich joy of giving to God out of gratitude for what He has already given to you. We hope you will excel in the grace of giving (2 Cor. 8:7), no matter where the LORD stirs your heart to give!

A free gift

Bless you, dear MU community, for your prayers and support. We could not do what the LORD has called us to do without you. We would like to thank you in a tangible way by giving you a free copy of Chris McDaniel’s book “Ignite Your Generosity – A 21 Day Experience in Stewardship”!

If you would like a copy, send an email to advancement@multnomah.edu or leave a message with your name and phone number at 1-877-9-ALUMNI (877-925-8664). One book per person, please.

A special word from the author

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Author Chris McDaniel

I am so excited for the Multnomah Family and their vision to grow givers’ hearts who are rich towards God. It reminds me of Acts 2, where we witness early believers giving and sharing with one another. As a result, the “Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (verse 47). That’s what Multnomah University is all about: equipping leaders who reach the lost and disciple mature believers.

When you are generous, you accurately bear the image of God to a lost and hurting world. He gives us life, relationships, our basic needs and His own Son so we can live with Him eternally. God’s a giver! That’s what makes Christianity different than religion: radical generosity. We can give because we have all we need and because we follow a generous God. So stand bold in your faith and live generously. My prayer is that God uses “Ignite Your Generosity” to speak directly into your hearts and that He “ignites” a unique journey of generosity!

Chris McDaniel

Author of “Ignite Your Generosity – A 21 Day Experience in Stewardship”

Multnomah University requests clarification regarding Title IX exemption

Comments Off on Multnomah University requests clarification regarding Title IX exemption Written on December 11th, 2015 by
Categories: General

CONTACT:
Steve Cummings, Vice President of Advancement
503.251.6464 or scummings@multnomah.edu

 

PORTLAND, Ore. — Multnomah University is a Christ-centered institution of higher education. For 80 years, we have held firm to our founding values based on historic, orthodox Christian views.

In February of 2015, Multnomah University asked the Department of Education for clarification regarding its Title IX exemption due to some recent presidential executive orders. The university has held this exemption since May of 1989. Our goal is to ensure our constitutional right to freely practice our religious beliefs.

Multnomah University does not discriminate on the basis of how students identify themselves sexually. We ask that all of our students be in alignment with our core values and doctrinal statement. In addition, every student at Multnomah is expected to abide by the university’s human sexuality understanding, which is aligned with our core values and doctrinal statement.

The university recognizes that some students may deal with issues surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation. We believe that members of our learning community are best supported if they are able to share their questions, struggles or self-understanding with trusted faculty, administrators and staff. In all such personal issues, MU will respond with compassion, respect and grace while remaining consistent with the university’s core values, doctrinal statement and community life standards.

Currently, dozens of colleges similar to Multnomah are dealing with a lack of clarity related to recent presidential executive orders. Until the Department of Education explains how these orders should be universally applied, it would be premature to comment further on this issue.

###

About Multnomah University
Multnomah University is a fully accredited, private, non-denominational, Christian institution of higher education located in Portland, Oregon, with teaching sites in Reno, Nevada, and Seattle, Washington. Composed of a college, seminary, graduate school, degree completion program and online distance-learning program, Multnomah issues bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements. For more information, visit multnomah.edu.

Join our students in this season of giving

Comments Off on Join our students in this season of giving Written on December 8th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Pray For MU, Students

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God’s generosity in sending His Son cannot be matched. It’s the greatest gift ever given! For 80 years here at Multnomah our students have celebrated Christ’s birth and shared generously at Christmas time. Let me share two recent instances.

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On Giving Tuesday (December 1), our students collected food for the hungry by partnering with the Oregon Food Bank. Despite the limitations of their student budgets, they donated four large barrels of food and personified God’s generosity. It was really amazing to see!

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Then, when hearing of needs within their midst, MU students surprised two other students by taking up collections to send one to Thailand for a missions trip and the other home to Africa for Christmas. No fanfare. No announcements. No applause. Simply sacrificial sharing so there was no needy one among them.

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Why do we give to those in need and share with those who have limited resources? God’s greatest gift to us inspires our greatest response to others!

At this time we are praying that God will provide for the financial needs of our students through generous giving. Would you pray with us? To date, Multnomah alumni and friends have given $715,388 toward Student Aid of our $1.45 million goal for this fiscal year.

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God, indeed, is with us at Multnomah, and our students’ hearts are reflecting His character through their generosity. Will you join with our students and remember Multnomah in your year-end giving? We invite you to invest and participate in what God is doing at Multnomah.

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Your gift will be doubled, thanks to God’s provision of a match, so that Multnomah students will be equipped to show His generous love for a lifetime of ministry and service.

Growing in generosity,

Craig

Rev. G. Craig Williford, Ph.D.

President

Greetings from the Vice President — Fall 2015

Comments Off on Greetings from the Vice President — Fall 2015 Written on November 2nd, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Newsletter, Pray For MU

Dear Multnomah Family,

I am on a journey to grow my heart to be rich toward God (Luke 12:21).  It hasn’t always been easy, as I used to see my money as…well...MY money. That is, until God got a hold of my heart one day in a very subtle way. It was about 6 years ago, but it seems just like yesterday. I was working for Prison Fellowship, enjoying my new role of raising resources for the kingdom and encouraging those that God put in my care to be generous. I pulled up to the post office with 200 letters tucked under one arm.  I was excited to sow seeds of biblical truth and encourage others to respond, no matter where God led them to give.

As I walked up, I saw a young man, 19 or 20 years old, standing near the door holding a 3x5 card. He needed $3.00 for a bus fare and lunch.  I did what we all do.  I avoided eye contact and kept moving.

Side note: I used to love to collect change in my car ashtray: quarters, dimes and nickels. I loved to watch it pile up. I never used it. My family knew not to touch “Dad’s coin tray.” It’s for looking at and admiring the collection as it grows. It made me feel like I was saving up for something special, for some rainy day that never came. It gave me a sense of control. Because, after all, it was MY money.

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So, I’m standing in line with this mass mailing I’m sending out for God to help His people be generous, and instantly I hear the Holy Spirit nudge me and quietly speak into my heart:  “You know all that change you have in your ashtray? I want you to give it ALL to him.” 

But LORD! I immediately protested, That’s MY... — but as soon as I said the word “my,” I stopped. Here I was being the “good messenger of God” and the Spirit was speaking to me to lead by example. How could I encourage others to give generously when I myself needed to let go of “my stuff” and see it as His? Everything I have been blessed with is “His stuff.” I am just privileged to manage it for my Master.

After mailing my letters, I went immediately to my car, with exuberant joy in my heart for what I was about to do. I couldn’t wait to see the expression on his face. It took me awhile to scoop out the  $30 worth of change and get it all into my two cupped hands, but I did it, and I walked up to him with a huge ear-to-ear grin.

“Hi, I’m Steve. What’s your name?”  He gets a pen out and writes his name down for me. It turns out he is deaf. “Mark,” he scribbles. I said, “Mark – God asked me to give this to you. It’s for you. He wants you to know He loves you and is taking care of you.”

You should have seen his eyes bug out. He only needed $3. I just gave him $30 of God’s money!

I wish I could say Mark came to Christ that day, but I don’t know. But I do know that I will never forget that day. God changed my heart that day — or should I say my wallet? I took a major step forward in my journey of generosity and haven’t looked back. Who do you think was blessed MORE: Mark or Me? I believe it’s always the giver who receives the greatest joy. It is a joy to steward all that God has entrusted to us: our time, our talent and our treasure for the kingdom.

steve-cummingsThat’s exactly what we are fostering here at Multnomah. Not because God needs our money. He already owns it and is really the “Chief Fundraiser” here at MU. God wants our hearts. I pray you stay engaged with us and grow with us in your journey of generosity.

Steve Cummings, M.Div.

Vice President of Advancement
Multnomah University

A Call to Worship for the Tragedy in Charleston

Comments Off on A Call to Worship for the Tragedy in Charleston Written on June 19th, 2015 by
Categories: Faculty, General

The Multnomah community grieves the tragic loss of nine of our brothers and sisters in Christ at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Once again we find ourselves mourning because of a senseless and evil act of racially targeted violence. Our hearts are broken.

We echo this liturgy shared by one of our local churches in expressing our heartfelt cry unto the Lord on behalf of our kingdom family in Charleston. Read the rest of this entry »