Sunday, November 22, 2020

I'm Excited to Share this Song With You

Many of you may be aware that most colleges in the US are sending students home before Thanksgiving this year due to COVID. Ours are no different. Many students have already left and others will depart in the coming days. And then they won't be back until January 19! So we've been working to connect with them before they go and preparing to move even more of our ministry online for the next 2 months. 

At UTD, we've been studying through Mark's gospel in our weekly Deep Dive meetings this semester, and we're almost done. This past Friday night, Rhett led us through the crucifixion narrative. It was excellent! He shared a number of things I don't think I've ever heard or thought about. You can find it at twitch.tv/utdfocus if you'd like to hear the sermon. But to go with the message, Rhett wrote the lyrics to a song, which Pico Dickinson then put to music and sang for us. It was very touching to me, and I want to share it with you here.


4 Holidays in One Day

Since we missed Fall Camp this year and with the students leaving so early, we came up with a new outdoor event to wrap up the semester: Holidays in the Park! We were outdoors all afternoon and evening. We played Halloween games, had a catered Thanksgiving dinner together complete with a thankfulness reflection time, were led through a Christmas devotional, and ended with sparklers and singing All Glory Be To Christ (set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne) to celebrate the New Year. It was a fun way to cram all the holidays in since we won't get to be together for most of them.

Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a windy day to eat outside, but the wind was good for safety!

Christmas Devotional. It's hard to tell, but everyone is spaced 6 feet apart.

New Years. It was so fun so worship together with sparklers going.


Keep FOCUS Growing!

Our annual fundraiser is upon us! On Giving Tuesday, December 1, we have $42,000 of matching funds up for grabs! (The students already had their KFG offering and more than matched the $8000 in matching funds we had for them!)

Please prayerfully consider giving an extra gift during this time to help cover all of our extra expenses beyond staff salaries. Depending on how things go with the virus, we are considering pioneering FOCUS ministries on some new campuses in 2021, and you can help us Prepare the Way. Thanks for all of the ways you've already helped us do just that!



Saturday, November 7, 2020

What are YOU passionate about?

For my seminary class this quarter, I've been reading a lot of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s writings, speeches, and sermons.  He was passionate about justice, passionate about injustice, passionate about people both young and old, passionate about the poor and the rich. He was truly passionate about creative nonviolent resistance as the only good alternative to either acquiescence or violence in the face of blatant evil and injustice. And his passion made him repetitive. Very repetitive! 

This is the book I've been reading from. So much good stuff!

This has me thinking: what am I passionate about? We live in a culture of neophiles. If you don't know that word, a neophile is "someone who loves and embraces new things and experiences, regardless of whether they are any good." We LOVE new stuff, the newest model, the latest upgrade, the newest trend. Then we get tired of our new stuff so quickly and go looking for something new. We replace our phones and gadgets, our hobbies and entertainment, sometimes our relationships or our convictions. We're bombarded with new needs and new problems in the world.

In the face of all that, it's up to each of us to, with the Lord's help, examine our hearts. Do I love what is good? Or do I just love what is new? Am I passionate about the same things the Lord is passionate about? His heart is unchanging, and while ours aren't, are they changing to be more like his, or are they just changing? Many of you have been serving and giving and investing and praying in the same places for many years now. Is your passion dwindling? Has it become stale? Do you need to rekindle something, reconnect with why those things are important to you and the Lord?

My passions play out in repetitive words and deeds. Those become habits, and our habits shape our hearts. But they can also stand to be refreshed from time to time. Perhaps it's time to remember why I do some of the things I do for the Lord, and let him renew my heart for the things he loves.

If you haven't ever listened to MLK's speeches or sermons, or read any of his writings, I highly recommend them. Many are readily available on the internet, and I'd be happy to give recommendations. I'm struck over and over again how very relevant to today his message is, as well as how deeply Christian it is. That's the part I never learned in school.

Thank you for caring about the Lord's work on college campuses. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. I pray the Lord multiplies all you do for his kingdom and renews your heart to look like his!

Student Testimony



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