|UTD Students at Winter Camp doing the Comet "Whoosh"|
We're back from Winter Camp and going full-force into the semester. We took a great group of students out to Bridgeport (the picture above is just the UTD students, not Collin, Richland, or UNT!). Eddie Howard, who has spoken at Winter Camp a couple of times in the past, joined us again this year sharing lessons looking at the character of Joshua in the Old Testament. I think one of the most impacting lessons for me was when he talked about being "bud-nippers." He was sharing how avoiding problems today just leads to bigger problems tomorrow. The Israelites weren't completely obedient to God when entering the promised land and generations of their children paid the price. Eddie talked about how when we don't nip things in the bud, the monsters we face today can become other people's monsters in the future. As we came back from camp, I've started seeing how that message of urgency has spurred some students on to dealing with tough issues and sins in their lives. Sin is never fun and is always messy, but it's always better to deal with it today than tomorrow. One of my dad's many repetitive quotes is, "Sin will always take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay." We all need to deal with stuff now--be bud-nippers!
A quick story about the day I came back from camp: I got home, unpacked, and took a nap. I woke up at 5:01 pm and saw a text message from a student saying he was getting baptized at 5:00 and wanted me to come. Thank goodness everything runs late in college ministry! Michael is a guy who was pretty inconsistent last school year, but this year he moved in with some committed disciples and it's been great for him! He's been studying the Bible and building deep spiritual relationships. He was so impacted by the "walk & talks" at Fall Retreat that he's been setting up his own walk & talks with guys in the ministry every since. His roommate Jonathan (who leads our tech team and plays drums sometimes on our worship team) has been studying and talking with him for months. Had I done this baptism, it might have been a bit more polished, but our impact is really limited if everything has to go through me. I know I'm doing something right when I just get a text message that exciting things are happening and I can be a part if I make it in time!
We have a lot of students visiting for the first time with the start of a new semester, so be in prayer that our students will be faithful, loving missionaries and will demonstrate the love of Jesus to each and every one. The enemy is at work as well, but "we are not unaware of his schemes" (2 Cor 2:11). We'll continue living out the message of a crucified God who deeply cares about every student, even those who have set their hearts against Him. Pray that we will look more like Jesus than all the false images of God that the world has offered.
I'm so thankful for each of you and your heart for the campus. God is good!