|God reaching out to Adam (representing mankind) in the Creation of Adam section of the Sistine Chapel.
“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
All day long I have held out my hands
to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
pursuing their own imaginations..."
God to the Israelites; Isaiah 65:1-2 (NIV)
"He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?'
'You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'
'No,' said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.'
'Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.'
'Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied,
'not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!'
'Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet;
their whole body is clean.
And you are clean, though not every one of you.'"
Jesus washes Peter's feet; John 13:6-10 (NIV)
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."
Jesus to the Church in Laodicea; Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
"God doesn't clean His fish before He catches them."
From a song I heard, and also from an embroidered
pillow someone was selling on Facebook.
God has been using a handful of Bible verses, conversations, pieces of art, and times of prayer to point something out to me: repentance is relational.
Some of the Bible's strongest calls to repentance are followed closely by some of its strongest calls to approach God.
Recently, I gave a sermon on unity in the Church, and the Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel (pictured above) spoke to me a lot. In the picture, God is reaching desperately out to Adam (literally reaching out from heaven towards mankind, straining towards them), and Adam is relaxing like a lazy Roman king eating his dinner, draping a limp hand back out towards God. It hit me as a call to reflect on all the things God has done in history and in my life to reach His hands out to me, and all of the ways I have neglected to grab ahold of His hand.
Perhaps the first step to repentance is often to repent of the way we see God.
What I've Been Up To
- Peer team- getting to meet with, be friends with, mentor, and pursue God with 12 different student leaders this year has been a huge blessing and challenge. More on that below!
- Core visits- Each pair of these student leaders facilitates a different core (small group), and I've gotten to visit each of these small groups over the last few weeks. Seeing what God is doing and getting to share the experience He's given me in that area (you become "the experienced one" quickly when the turnover rate is 3 or 4 years) has been awesome
- FOCUS on Jesus videos- I've had the privilege of filming training videos for our new 1-1 Bible study. These videos will loosely guide hundreds or even thousands of students over the next several years as they study the Bible with their peers. Many thanks to Laurence Glenesk over at SMU FOCUS for writing the new study!
- Preaching at Tuesday Night Fellowship- I've gotten to preach every other week at our large-group meetings on Tuesdays. This has grown me a lot in trust and time-management. Also, it's definitely pushed me to grow in public speaking.
- Marketing- I've loved getting to oversee our awesome 3-person marketing team at UTD. Our goal is that no student has to graduate without having heard of a Christian community on campus- we want to be a visible community of Christ for our peers to see around them. This has involved video commercials, banners, yard signs, Instagram posts, etc.. Many thanks to Ashley and Maria (two of our apprentices this year) for all of their creativity and hard work in this area!
|A student named Corbett who is an alma mater of my old highschool, Coram Deo Academy. Getting to be friends with someone who is in the same spot I was in 5 or 6 years ago is such a cool opportunity :) Love you, dude!
|Ashley Obregon- UTD apprentice, Christian Instagram influencer, all-around godly woman. It's been great working with her this year.
|Jack Steele- two years in a row in my peer team. Jack is one of the most generous young men I've met, and I've seen him grow in confidence and pastoral thinking so much over the last 16 months or so!
|Jalen Quintana- UTA staff member, and the first person I ever led a small group with. This is a terrible picture of him, but I know he won't mind. He has the spiritual gifts of evangelism, wisdom, and laughter.
|Charlie was an honorary member of my peer team last year, and now he's leading a core! He's been so influential in bringing people from different interest clubs at UTD to FOCUS, and he brings a sharpness and energy that I value so much.
|Our students at Fall Camp! We had such a good time this year learning about making and sticking with decisions in our walks with God.
|One of my core visits this year turned into us waiting out a tornado in a garage (which I now know was maybe not our best option). Everyone was safe!
|John Bunyard- a friend, roommate, and peer team guy. He has a dry sense of humor that has had me rolling on the floor laughing, but I've also been floored by his insight into Scripture and into people. Definitely wise beyond his years.
|Apparently, bracelet-making is the favorite activity of males at camps.
|Our community put on a small surprise birthday party for David Maynard (you can guess where he is in this picture) at Braum's. David has impacted as many people in this community as anyone I can think of, so it was well-deserved.
- We are re-integrating our Tuesday Night Fellowship with our Friday Night Fellowship to redirect more staff hours away from event-planning and towards time with students. Please pray that this would lead to fruit in our community.
- Please pray for the victims of the tornado in the Garland area.
- Please pray for our busy students and staff to walk in step with God and be at peace.
- We have a lot of students who aren't Christians, but who have shown interest in learning more about the Bible. Pray for us to be faithful in loving them and showing them who Jesus is.