Monday, November 11, 2013

A couple of cool stories

We had our UTD ministry Park Day a little over a week ago.  Because our first date on a Saturday was rained out, we decided to have Park Day in lieu of our regular Friday Night Fellowship on campus. I wish you could have watched firsthand as lots and lots of students came out, played games, ate dinner, and stayed for a devotional.  People new to our community formed new relationships and got to see how a Christian community plays and has fun.  At the devotional you would have heard 4 students share about how Jesus has impacted them through this community over the past few years.

One of the guys shared about how he came in not knowing what to expect, but that he simply said "yes" whenever he was invited to something ( like small group, one-on-one study, the SICM training) and was open to what God wanted to do in his life.  He shared how God used those simple things to change him and prepare him for ministry.  Then he challenged the freshmen to say "yes" and be open.  That's a message for each of us, no matter how far along in our spiritual journey.  When God invites, say "yes" and be open!

We also had a girl in grad school and a guy who is a junior share, and they both shared about the same person making an impact on them--Christa Smith (formerly Kenyon) who graduated years ago.  I love how in the kingdom simple things that we do can continue to bear fruit for years to come.  Jesus loves the imagery of seeds that start tiny and grow into huge things!  Both of those students have been deeply impacted by Christa's invitation in their life, but it wasn't immediate.  I encourage you to "not become weary in doing good" (Gal 6:9), because God's harvest comes in the right time (Mark 4:26-29).

I would have included an incredibly sporty picture of me, but I didn't want to outshine the students.

You can't see the majority of the group, but we had a great time of worship and sharing outside.

One more story: this past Friday night one of the Sociology professors at UTD came to our Friday Night meeting to share with the students about the ongoing impact Jesus has on her life.  You would have been so encouraged to hear her share!  Most challenging to me were her comments about the times in life when God has led her to do really hard things--getting her PhD, her first job as a professor, etc.  She shared that when she feels overwhelmed and incapable, she goes back to the question, "Is this what God wants me to be doing?"  If the answer is "yes," then she knows she can finish what He sent her to do.  I hope you find that encouraging too and remember it in those moments when you think your strength has run out.

One of our student's favorite professors sharing her testimony at FOCUS!
Thank you for investing in me, in these students, and in a Kingdom vision for this campus.  You're making an impact, and it's only growing!

PS:  One great thing about having a larger staff at UTD this year is that I've had more time to invest in teaching.  I've been working my way through a commentary on Mark's Gospel from the NIV Application Commentary series to help me prepare for a weekly Discipleship Class (or "D Class") on campus at UTD.  This book is awesome!  I thought it would be just a reference book to help me write curriculum, but it has taken me deeper into the scripture and is challenging me so much as someone striving to follow Jesus.  I highly recommend it if you're looking for something to read and want to understand Jesus more.  It goes beyond explaining the text and gives insight into how it should shape our lives as Christians, both individually and collectively.

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