Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Who Do You Say I Am?

People worshipping God at Teen Camp. More on that below.

"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, 
he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of Man is?'
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; 
others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'
'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?'
Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'"
Matthew 16:13-16 (NIV)
Lately, God has been calling me to look at Jesus more.

Crazy, right?

But seriously, amidst all of the lessons on prayer, justice, honesty, patience, forgiveness, Law, etc., etc., etc., I find myself forgetting to look at Jesus. Ronnie Worsham, my pastor, my boss's dad, and one of my mentors, often says: "the whole Old Testament is designed to get us to the conclusion: Jesus is Lord." That's so true.

Recently, I read a book called What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? that explored the historical impacts of Jesus' legacy on human rights, education, and technology. As silly as it sounds, it seems like we really owe much of the rights we take for granted not to technology or philosophy, but to a homeless Jewish man who was given by his own people to be executed.

How often do I try to become a better person by asking the question: "Who do I feel like I need to be?" rather than by first imagining Jesus asking me the question: "Who do you say I am?"

Time with Friends
From left to right, me, Peter (lower), Brandon (upper), Austin Nelson, Austin Bailey, David, and Casey. Not pictured is Laurence.

I recently got to drive to Breckenridge, CO with several friends from FOCUS. It was so meaningful to get to spend time with these people. We all have multiple shades of relationship. Brandon is my boss, my mentor, and my friend. He also helped parent me some when I moved out. Peter is a friend, coworker, somewhat a boss, and a landlord. I don't know Austin Nelson very well- we lived together for all of two weeks last year- but he's hilarious and godly. Austin Bailey has been a friend from a different campus for years, and he will be doing the FOCUS apprenticeship at Collin College this year. David just finished his sophomore year, and we got to become much better friends during this trip. He's such a servant to people around him and loves deep conversation. Casey was in my peer team last year and will be a peer team leader this year. He's becoming a good friend. Laurence was my first peer team leader in 2014, and we've been friends since then. 

I remember being one of a couple of students who went on a trip with Brandon and Laurence three years ago. It was impactful to me to interact with them as friends. It was just as impactful this year. Nothing says "we're not going to be content to just be coworkers" like piling into a car together for 13 hours...twice.

Teen Camp
When I have longer to prep for a talk, I like to make more engaging slides. When I find out that I'll be speaking to an audience in the age range of 12-18, I need to make more engaging slides. I got to borrow a bunch of construction paper and made slides that displayed the ideas I was talking about. Here's my favorite!

I recently had the honor of getting to go to the annual camp for Christian Teen Fellowship (CTF), which is our church family's teen ministry. I don't think I've ever seen God do as many amazing things in as many amazing people's lives in such a short period of time as I did this past week. People experienced the Spirit for the first time. People forgave one another for bullying. Couples decided to stop dating in order to honor God more- and didn't feel the need to start drama over it. People shared their stories with one another. And most of all- so many people got closer to Jesus and gave more of themselves over to him. 

Sarah Worsham (she directs our UT Arlington campus) and I got to speak to the teens from Wylie over the topic of the Biblical story, and how we are also part of the Biblical story. I got to write a talk about Creation and about Jesus, and they were so rewarding to write and give. 

  • Pray for wisdom in pairing our small-group leaders together. Our small groups (cores) are almost always led by same-gender pairs, and we really want God's guidance in selecting pairs of people who complement one another and work well together.
  • Pray for the incoming freshmen, international students, and transfers at our campuses.