Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Paying Attention

Our students at Fall Camp this year! The weird thing they're doing with their hands is called the "whoosh"- it's a UTD thing. 

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Matthew 11:15

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: 
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."
James 1:19

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
James 1:22

In my short time doing ministry, I've learned that although time and money are very important resources, our attention and attentiveness are just as important. It's very possible to go meet with people, execute a planned Bible study, say some prayer at God, get home, say hi to roommates, rinse, and repeat. What God has been reminding me is that when it's your "job" to spend time with someone and help move them onto God's agenda, it's deceptively easy to fool yourself into thinking you're loving that person and truly being attentive to who they are. And what's scarier- when it's your "job" to talk about God, it's deceptively easy to fool yourself into thinking you're loving Him and listening to Him. What God has been reminding me of is that He has something to say and that people are precious to Him. 

Fall Camp
This year at Fall Camp we had a bunch of posters with markers where people could write out specific ways in which they had seen others in the ministry live out various "one another" commands given to the Church in the Bible.

FOCUS does two main camps each year for their students to spend a lot more time together than they normally would, and to get to learn about and worship God for an extended period of time away from their normal stressful environments. Fall Camp is the first of those two camps, and it's campus specific. Each year, students carpool together to Mt. Lebanon Baptist Encampment in Cedar Hills, TX to spend 24 hours together. Last year when I was working with UNT, my old friends from UTD were at the camp at the same time, but this year, I was back with them (although a lot of the students are new now!). It drizzled for most of the time, but people were still so happy to be together!

This year, we had students sharing about how they had been impacted by the community and how they had seen the sacrifices it takes to be All In for God and the Church (in keeping with our theme this year). One of my peer team guys named Josh shared the story of his college experience- how he had to overcome expectations of what a ministry should look like and learn to open himself up to people proactively. The weekend was a potent reminder of the profound things God does through groups of believers simply being faithful in loving one another.

Getting into the Word

Often August and September are so full of going out and meeting new people that you don't get to spend as much time studying the Bible with people as you normally would. However, this month I've gotten to spend a lot more time in the Word with guys from my peer team. We've been looking at the urgency of Jesus' ministry along with the images of God's movement in redemptive history in Mark, examining our hearts more closely and looking at what it actually means to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matt 22), and more. 

Also, I've gotten to start studying the Bible with a freshman at UTD who works at a tea shop that I go to regularly. For the sake of anonymity, we'll call him a name from the about Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz? My friend Maher grew up in church, but his family stopped going when he was around 10 years old. He's asked really good questions about Scripture and the story of the Bible, as well as who Jesus really is, and it's been an enormous encouragement. 

We also just finished preaching through the metanarrative of Scripture at our larger Friday Night Fellowship meetings, and I had the pleasure of preaching on God's promises of heaven, the resurrection, and a redeemed relationship with other, Creation, and God Himself. ( if you'd like to listen yourself!)

I never thought I would get to preach in a building where I went to business school!

Thank you so much to all of my supporters. You all have been such a blessing and so reliable.

  • Pray for our students to see the value in Christian community and in time with God
  • Pray for our students and leaders to see that God loves them a lot, and His love isn't conditional on what they "accomplish" for Him