Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Some Big News!

Winter Camp Updates

The UTD Students at camp Whooshing. We had an amazing group from UTD this year and our biggest overall group ever!
Me with the 4 corefas I get to mentor this year (Austin, Jesse, Casey & Luke). I have fallen in love with these gifted young ministers. 
I got engaged in front of 600 screaming students! You can probably find the video on facebook if you haven't seen it yet. Sarah and I are planning to get married this summer.
A couple of my wonderful donors came to camp this year. Eileen has been a friend of my family since I was a very little boy, and she has been a big encouragement to me as a minister. Eric Anderson also came out, but I failed to get a picture with him!
I don't think Winter Camp could have gone any better. Geoff and Jessica Mumley came down from Washington State to share with our community about what it means to be "Sent." All the talks are online, but so many were especially touched by Jessica's first talk. I highly recommend you take the time to listen to it here.
Geoff and Jessica in front of the main building at Sky Ranch.

A Winter Camp Success Story - UNT Dallas

One of our students from Richland recently transferred to UNT Dallas (a newer campus in south Dallas). After hearing the messages at camp about living as a "sent one," she started reaching out to other people in her dorm. She realized that there is not a single Christian ministry on that campus, so she found a faculty advisor and some students and signed us up for an organization fair on campus. So I guess FOCUS is on 12 campuses now! Please be in prayer with us as we pray about which staff person can reallocate some time to support this excited young lady. I love when the Lord does our strategic planning for us.

An Update on Our Friday Night Teaching Times at UTD

Last semester we gave the students a pretty extensive survey about theological beliefs. As we looked through and prayed over the results, a few key areas of confusion and uncertainty stood out. So we have designed our sermons this semester to address these. Here's what we have planned:
  • We're almost done with a 4-week series from Laurence on God's heart for Justice. We've been studying how justice in the scripture is most often about God's expectation for his people to defend the rights of vulnerable people--in the Old Testament, these are most often orphans, widows, foreigners, and the poor. We've been focusing on certain vulnerable groups in our own society and reflecting on how God would have us treat them--the mentally ill, the poor, the incarcerated, and the elderly.
  • Next, Sirak will be talking about how to think about the relationship between faith and science. At the end of the series, he'll be interviewing some Christian professors from the natural sciences about how they have navigated that cultural schism.
  • Later in the semester, Sarah will be teaching a series on the Holy Spirit, perhaps the least understood member of the Trinity.
  • And for our Pizza Theology this semester, we'll be diving into the topic of the second coming of Christ. I'll have more about that next month!
Please be praying for those preparing to teach and for the students preparing to hear, that we would listen carefully to what God wants to say to us on these topics. Thank you for your prayers and support. Lives are being changed, and hearts are being turned toward God!

Student Testimony (from SMU!)

Candice Fudzie, Southern Methodist University, Freshman
Math, Environmental Engineering, and Sociology 
"This past semester, I was a 17-year-old girl who felt very overwhelmed with all that college had to offer. I deal with depression and anxiety. Throughout high school, these disorders tore me apart and made it extremely easy to block out my friends, my family, and God. I was going down a destructive path and, frankly, it’s by the grace and love of God that I am even alive. FOCUS has given me a community where I’m allowed to be vulnerable and transparent. FOCUS has helped me emphasize my personal relationship with God; now I’m sure to let him know how I’m feeling (something I couldn’t accomplish in high school). Due to my growing relationship with God, I’ve been able to see a clear and healthy path towards dealing with my depression and anxiety where He is a part of my journey. PRAISE God! Whether it's lying on the floor listening to “Build My Life” by Housefires, writing out my negative thoughts and turning them into positive ones, or calling my mom to tell her how I’m feeling, I remember the Spirit is with me to give me strength."

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