Tuesday, November 6, 2018


[Most of] our UTD staff at the Halloween party FOCUS put on for the campus. From left to right: Sarah, Abbie, Emily, an ugly rendition of The Hulk (me), Jesse Bales, Drew, Darby, and Jessie Wang. These people have been a huge blessing to work with!

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven,
but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner!'"
- Luke 18:13

"At Sunday worship, as in every dimension of our existence,
many of us pretend to believe we are sinners.
Consequently, all we can do is pretend to believe we have been forgiven."
- Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

This school year, God has probably grown me most in my ability to observe people. So much of ministry is about helping people look at themselves through an honest lens as they learn to look at God through an honest lens. Having Sirak Asfaw as my supervisor in ministry this year has probably contributed a lot to this- the man asks questions about my life that I've never thought to ask. 

Recently, I had multiple meetings with guys in a row in which I felt like they couldn't see any of the ways they could be growing, but I could see 50. Before starting my time with a couple of student leaders, I felt God lay the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector on my heart. "Oh, that'll be good for them," I thought. "Thank You for showing me how to minister to them, God." That night, I realized why God was reminding me of that story- and it wasn't for them. God was reminding me that I couldn't "graduate from the Gospel," and that when I tried to ignore my ugliness and my sin, I was also ignoring God's grace for me. Ronnie Worsham, the pastor of Northeast Church, often says "we can't appreciate the good if we don't process the bad." 

Meeting More People!
A bunch of students dancing at our Halloween Party! Much appreciation to Karlo for coming as an avocado and wearing a sign that says "avoKarlo."

Recently our outreach team, which the apprentices and Sarah Glenesk (leftmost in the top photo) put together a free party for the campus to have a great time. I got to meet so many new people (many of whom were international students), and heard some encouraging things. One person said this night was the best time they had ever had at UTD (proof you don't need alcohol to have fun), and another said: "I had no idea Christians could have this much fun." I'm reminded of Jesus' first miracle being the remarkably "useless" and extravagant turning of water into wine. 

Also, the president of the Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists group on campus visited a Tuesday Night Fellowship at FOCUS recently and was very engaged with us. One of the apprentices and I got to visit one of their discussions, and we were surprised more by their openness and eagerness to talk than we were by anything else. A few of them are interested in coming to FOCUS to get to talk about Jesus from a different angle than the one they're used to.

  • Please pray for our student leaders as the semester wears on. In my experience, this time of the semester is often the most difficult- the initial burst of energy has worn off, but the end is barely in sight.
  • Please pray for the people we've been meeting on campus throughout the semester, that God would continue to work in their hearts, and that we would see where He is working and join Him there.
  • Recently, one of our church members lost their two-year-old grandson in his sleep. Please pray for the family as they grieve.