|A group photo from our last UTD campus ministers' reception. I was so challenged by the dedication to the Gospel that all of these men and women demonstrated. Some of these people have been doing campus ministry longer than I've been alive, and they seem to have only grown more passionate!|
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep.
So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.
Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep."
John 10:11-13 (NIV)
"Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season;
correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction."
2 Timothy 4:2
The first semester of my senior year, I had 3 jobs (not something I recommend). I worked for a guy who sold shirts on eBay (super weird, but I kind of enjoyed it), I did social media work for a small company (an awesome opportunity within my field of marketing), and I helped direct the drama program at my old high school (if you know me, you know I loved being in plays in high school). These were all three great jobs, but none of them were my passion. The thing that I got excited about, prayed about, worked towards improving in, and had ambitions surrounding was ministry, and more broadly, my relationship with God as a whole.
The thought of my job and my passion being one and the same seemed almost too good to be true! When God called me into ministry, that vision became a reality. It's a crazy blessing to get to do campus ministry as a full-time career. But I've learned this semester that this blessing can become a pitfall. God has been showing me my tendency to seek to placate the desires of my supervisors and bosses, rather than pour myself out for others. I remember meeting with Ronnie Worsham (see some of my early apprenticeship blogs for more on the amazing man of God that he is), and telling him how refreshing it was to spend time with people who I wasn't expected to mentor, and who I wasn't reporting to as a part of my job. He responded: "I understand what you're saying, but you're always a disciple." A tough reminder, but an important one. God also brought this lesson home when Brandon, the director of UTD FOCUS, assigned me to preach "a challenging sermon on discipleship." I was reminded of how much Jesus truly calls us to sacrifice in order to follow him (hint: if you're looking for a certain amount, you're missing the point). (https://anyfocus.org/media/never-underestimate/ to listen to that sermon)
In a week or so, most of the students I meet with on a regular basis will be back at their parents' houses with their families, and my "job" will go on hold for a couple of weeks. However, as I talk to God about the break, I get the sense that He's calling me to love my family more intentionally than I have in the past.
"Repent and believe the good news." No sphere of life is off-limits for the Spirit's work.
|Adam and Luke have been a huge blessing to meet with this semester. This is a silly photo of them sitting on some furniture in a parking garage.|
God's taught me so much through meeting with the guys in my peer team this semester. One extra praise-worthy thing from more recently: a guy in Adam and Luke's core (small group) went from being distant from Jesus and afraid of getting to know him to wanting to follow God and be baptized! The transformation in this guy's relationship with God (and subsequently, his life) has been amazing.
Other Great Humans
|Sirak Asfaw was on FOCUS staff when I came into UTD as a freshman. I remember playing basketball with him when I was 17, and absolutely WRECKING him with my superior skills.|
He's challenged me so much this year to turn interactions with people into loving, prayerful insights, to turn ideas into actions, and to do all of it for God's glory instead of my own.
|Drew Cleveland was the second person I led core with- my junior year. Here he is, wearing my glasses and looking better in them than I do. |
Our friendship has been a mixture of 10-year-old boy stuff (riding scooters, going to trampoline parks, laughing at everything) and the understanding, challenge, openness, and dedication of a long-lasting spiritual friendship. Also, I was the best man at his wedding, and his encouraging note to me at his wedding was better than my best man speech. Drew is doing the apprenticeship this year, and he's already being used by God to minister to our staff and our whole community at UTD in so many ways.
|This is Brandon Worsham, the director of FOCUS. The first time we got lunch together, I was 18, and I accidentally nuzzled him on the cheek.|
I've lived with him, worked under him, been mentored by him, fallen on the floor laughing because of his stories, and said some pretty stupid things in front of him. Even though Brandon isn't my supervisor, he's found a way to get time with me almost every week this year. Besides my parents, probably no one else has impacted me as much as this man.
Finally, y'all have impacted me! The financial help, prayer, and encouraging messages from my supporters have continued to be something I quite literally could not do this without.
An additional thank-you to everyone who gave to KFG! We raised $75,000 in one week!!!
- Pray for our students to pursue God on their own time over the break. These breaks can be a time of spiritual growth or of stagnation.
- Pray for our students and staff to love their families well over the break.
- Please text me or email me how I can be praying for you as well!