During the summer of 2007, I received my calling for ministry through multiple waves of spiritual awakening and conviction. It all began in a city in a middle east country. Our small team consisting of college students who came together to reach muslim college students that summer became legendary for the loudness of our laughter and joy.

I had the honor to serve as the student leader of the missions team and being young and inexperienced, I felt the burden of leadership heavy throughout the trip with feelings of being unqualified. But rather than leading me to defeat, it led me to my knees every night and tears flowed regularly as I depended on God for everything. And our legendary exuberance as a team only amplified throughout the trip but after going through all the experiences we shared, we all returned home with a much deeper sense of the eternal weight of glory.

To continue our series of memorial stones, I went back to my journal of 2007 and 2008 and was pleasantly reminded of how shockingly unfiltered my passion and zeal for God was during that year in school. I’m not ashamed to share anything I had written back then but I do confess that some of the ways I expressed my convictions were not the wisest and not in the most loving ways. It may be very late but I do apologize for anyone who may have been thrown off by this young revivalist overflowing with the zeal and wrath of God’s holy fire. Below is something I think I could share to show a little bit of what was going on in my heart.

I don’t want to be comfortable; I don’t want to settle down. God is leading me in the most random times of the day to get on my knees and cry out for Him. I feel surrounded and alone in my struggle to keep focus on Christ and not the things of this world. It has been a burden in my heart as I came back from missions for all of God’s people to come in true repentance and a whole surrender before God. I expect this year at Rutgers will have much greater suffering and I know that God will break us. I’m really excited for this because in this I know that God is moving in our ministry. And in knowing that, I know we have a hope that does not disappoint. He is going to go beyond what we expect and I want to do the best I can to seek Him through it.

Joseph Ryu, 8/1/2007

It was during this season of intentional and prolonged seeking of God where God met me in so many incredible ways. The Bible was never the same after this summer. Prayer was never the same after this summer. Sharing the Gospel and serving in ministry was never the same after this summer.

This undying fire and passion continues to burn inside me even now after all these years. It doesn’t mean I’ve lived a perfect life and surely I’ve made so many mistakes along the way. But I would not have it any other way than now. It is this undying pursuit where A.W. Tozer puts it best when he says, “I want the presence of God Himself, or I don’t want anything at all to do with religion… I want all that God has or I don’t want any.”

Nothing less than everything of God will satisfy. If our faith is only but a portion of our lives, I would not be surprised if that person was struggling with sin and doubts and unable to keep a consistent discipline of faith. The consuming fire of God, the very presence of God Himself in our lives, is not something you ask for like when you order a meal at a restaurant. There is an effort involved and mainly it is that of dying to oneself and surrendering our will to God.

Seek God today with all your heart, mind, strength and soul. He is worthy of nothing less.