Sunday, February 11, 2018

What We Have Seen and Heard

A photo of our students at Winter Camp this year! It's amazing to think of the stories of how God brought each of these students here.

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete."
- 1 John 1:1-4

I'm going to do something a little bit different and start by sharing something we apprentices learned in a class (in a textbook for that matter) and then getting to the good part about what God's been doing in the ministry. You thought you were going to be able to skip the boring stuff, did you? Ha!

The FOCUS apprentices have been reading through the New Testament along with a New Testament textbook by Luke Timothy Johnson and lecture audio from Regent College by Rikk Watts. Before I move forward, I again want to mention how much of a blessing it is to get to learn about God in this way. It wouldn't be possible for me without you supporters, and I believe it really does impact my ministry. 

Anyway. This textbook said something about the New Testament and about the Gospel that has been on my mind for weeks. In the interest of not having a 10,000-word blog, I'll paraphrase:

The people of the New Testament had their own way of looking at the world before Jesus came,
but once they experienced Jesus- and later experienced the Holy Spirit- they had no choice but
to adapt their view of the world and their reading of Scripture to this experience.

That is something incredible about the Gospel. At some point, it goes from being the good news about what God did 2,000 years ago to being the good news about who God is to us, now. The Gospel is happening right now!

The Gospel in Action

This semester, God has been working in our ministry in some pretty unique ways. At a peer team meeting last semester, we took some time to talk to God and ask Him how He wanted to work in our ministry as a whole this coming semester. The next 3 people in a row all said something along the lines of: "God has been preparing us for a time of growth, and we just need to seek Him."

This semester, I've seen people seek God with a renewed vigor, each week having something new to share about relating to Him. I've seen God bring a lot of new people into the ministry this semester who have been seeking a community that can help them seek Jesus. I'm watching God heal a lot of pains and break a lot of cycles of destructive thought, not through anyone's wise advice, but simply through letting us be with Him.

Winter Camp

Winter Camp this year was one for the books! 
  • Around 650 students were there- watching them all worship God was so beautiful!
  • Geoff and Jessica Mumley, campus ministers from Campus Christian Fellowship in Bellingham, Washington, came and spoke to our students about being sent into the world. Jessica talked about recognizing when we're listening to God and when we're listening to someone else by asking ourselves the question: "Who told me that?"
  • Brandon, a staff member / FOCUS director who is a friend, mentor, past roommate, and two-time half-planned vacation buddy of mine proposed to his girlfriend Sarah King. The shrieks of excitement were great.

Other Great Things

Students playing a game at the start of a TWU FOCUS gathering. If only you could hear how loud it got in there. 
  • God has been growing the men's side of the ministry at Texas Women's University a lot this semester. This was a challenging area for us last semester, and now God is bringing people in faster than I can keep up. A lot of these guys are excited to build friendships and study the Bible. 
  • I gave my first sermon at a Friday Night FOCUS this week! I think God blessed so much in giving this sermon. So many people were praying for me and encouraging me, and it simply felt like I was sharing what God was teaching me with my friends. 
  • I got a houseplant for my birthday, and I think it's not dying. I'm relieved by this.

  • Pray for these new students to get plugged into the ministry!
  • Pray for God to help us seek Him with all we have.