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Two weeks ago we got acquainted a bit with Dan Cruver, an old friend to Heritage and our new Director of College Ministries. Part 1 gave us a basic introduction; read on for some helpful influences and curiosities about our new partner in ministry.

We left off on the topic of ministry to college students, so let’s pick up there. How can we be praying for Heritage’s ministry to college students in this coming semester?

Specifically pray that each of them would grow to know and enjoy the love of God in Christ more deeply through our corporate body.

We’ve been blessed with many college students who call Heritage home for a season. How can our broader church steward our position in a region with so many universities?

The college years represent a season of life in which young people are largely separated from all the influences which have shaped and formed them up until now. Whether they have grown up in a Christian home or not, college students find themselves within a time of change where different areas of study are explored and new ways of thinking and living are considered. The internal and external pressures students face in these years are significant and far-reaching. Separated from home, each student is seeking to establish his own identity and place in this world, formulating beliefs, relationships, and patterns of living that will determine, in large measure, the trajectory of the rest of his or her life.

A university-rich city like ours provides the church with the strategic opportunity to move into this life-changing season of life in order to equip students with a biblical view of God, the church, and the world. Since it is the church that God has commissioned with the responsibility to hold forth the Gospel and its solution to the world’s problems, the church must be there for students during this critically important season of life. If we faithfully steward our God-given position in this region with so many universities, we will further advance God’s kingdom in the world as students leave to pursue their particular vocations.

What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?

If I had to pick just one, it would probably be the book of Hebrews, if only because of its unrelenting focus upon the high priestly ministry and intercession of Jesus. In life’s hardest seasons, I find myself running to the books of Hebrews and the Psalms (Hebrews quotes the Psalter throughout); and when I run to the Psalms, I see Jesus as the one through whom the songs, prayers, cries, and praises of the various psalmists are sanctified unto me in my deep distress.

What three books have had the most impact on your life, besides the Bible?

Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, by Graeme Goldsworthy

Paul: An Outline of His Theology, by Herman Ridderbos

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Tell us about the most influential sermon you’ve heard.

It was a sermon on the baptism and temptation of Jesus (Matt. 3-4) by Dr. Michael P.V. Barrett, and I listened to it via a cassette tape (remember those??) back in 1996. I can still remember how I felt when I heard Barrett say, “Jesus not only died in your place, he also believed in your place” (i.e., Jesus defeated the devil’s temptations by believing God’s Word for us and in our place). Barrett’s stress upon the vicarious faith of Jesus in that sermon is why it’s the most influential sermon I’ve ever heard. Since I grew up doubting whether or not my faith was genuine enough or sincere enough, in that one sentence, Jesus became exponentially bigger in my eyes than he ever was before. It’s almost as if I felt my doubts fall off my shoulders as I heard Barrett speak those words.

How do you like to spend your down time? Any hobbies?

I enjoy basketball, and since my two boys enjoy it as well, I love shooting hoops with them in our cul-de-sac. If you hang around at our home for any length of time, you may see me stop anywhere in our home and perform a pull-up jumper, without having anything in my hands, I might add! Having been born in Indiana, basketball’s in my blood.

Another one of my hobbies is all-things J.R.R. Tolkien. Unbelievably, 9 years ago I was the one person out of the 7 billion on earth to see if @JRRTolkien was available on Twitter. It was, so I grabbed it. I use my @JRRTolkien Twitter account to post quotations from all of his writings. I’ve always tried to use that Twitter account as curator of joy and goodness, which is hard to find on social media these days. With over 117,000 followers, I view my Tolkien hobby as an opportunity to be a steward of redemptive-themes in our fallen world.

Okay, now a few left fielders: What is the dumbest thing you did as a kid?

Talking two other kids into seeing if it really was possible to “knock someone out.” My working hypothesis was if you hit someone over the head with a two-by-four, you would knock them out (i.e., go to sleep) without them feeling any pain. Of course, I was able to talk those two kids into being the active participants as I was the scientific observer. Needless to say, it didn’t work. The kid who received the two-by-four to the back of the head did not “go to sleep,” he did feel a lot of pain, and I learned soon after that what I talked those two kids into doing was extremely dumb and terribly dangerous!

Any odd talents that we should know about up front?

I can walk like a zombie.

Oh, going back to basketball, I can also (or at least I could) make three-quarter court shots while lying on my back. I once made three of those shots in a row to win several pizzas.

What’s your favorite animal, and why?

Grasshoppers are my favorite in the animal kingdom. They’re a great source of protein.

Let’s not end on that note. How can we pray for you specifically, and for your family?

As we continue to transition into the Heritage family, please pray that we “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints [here at Heritage] what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:18-19).