Seeing the Body at Work
As I complete this third month of the FOCUS apprenticeship, I figured I was overdue to take some time to share about the kind of community FOCUS is, and why I believe God's fingerprints are all over it.
Over the last month, I've seen students of a wide variety of ages and backgrounds minister to me and to one another in very real ways. During one Friday Night Fellowship (our larger group meetings), we were talking about Psalms of Lament, and how we often see the authors in the Psalms express painful realities and difficult questions to God while still choosing to trust in Him. After the sermon, students were asked to come up to a microphone (in front of ~150 of their peers) and share a sentence that matches the prompt:
"[Lament], but I choose to trust Him."
Pain comes in many forms, so the prompt was left as simple as possible. Over the next several minutes, students shared about illness and death amongst their loved ones, broken relationships, depression, anxiety, and countless other things that often don't make sense. Even as they were sharing these things, it was obvious that God was using the Body to comfort them.
Just last night, Matt (FOCUS's director here in Denton, also my mentor, also my friend) preached on humility, putting forth a phrase that has become popular in FOCUS: "humble people honor people." Again, students were challenged to put this into practice by directly encouraging and thanking people who had made an impact on their lives that year. The amount of very real, simple, vulnerable encouragement that went on in that room was beautiful.
This is a body of students who truly want to know, follow, and live like Jesus, and I'm humbled that I get to help them in that.
Nate and Jacob (left and right, respectively) are two of the guys in my peer team. This picture was taken after they finished praying for one another. This time of the semester is always hard in campus ministry, but God has been faithful to give us the peace needed to do His work.
My relationships with the group of student leaders who God has put into my life to mentor (which is a joke because they minister to me more than I minister to them) have begun to sprout and bring fruit in ways that I could only hope for at the beginning of the year. All I could ask for from these guys is for them to show up to do what God has called them to do and allow Him to work in their hearts, and I've gotten to see so much more than that. All of these guys are within a year of my age (both older and younger), and the spiritual "acquaintances" that we started with are fast becoming spiritual friendships. One day I might be having a difficult, challenging conversation with a guy, and the next day he could be beating me in an arm wrestle. One moment, I might be reading through Scripture or an article with a pair of core leaders, and the next moment, one of us could say something unintentionally ridiculous that becomes an inside joke.
God's goodness continues to be surprising, baffling, and better than the human goodness that I often ask for from Him.