Thursday, May 12, 2016

All Creatures Here Below

Pizza Theology

"He answered, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind...'" Luke 10:27

We had another Sunday of learning this semester for all of our campuses to come together and dive deep into a single topic, a topic that can't even be scratched by a normal Sunday or Friday night sermon: Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality. It amazes me how our students are constantly so excited to spend 5 hours of their weekend learning about how to think, and they come out in droves! Hundreds of students packed into the room to hear our campus pastors talk about what they've learned, what they've read, and what they've studied. And in the end, there are more questions than answers! But more often than not, it's about arriving at the right questions rather than the "right" answer. And our students are learning to think for themselves, how to think like a Christian, rather than just a mindless drone in society gobbling up whatever anyone tells them. They'll think like a true follower of Christ.

End of the Year

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a  time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..."Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

As the school year drew to a close, it was filled with bittersweet memories. Every year at the last Friday Night Fellowship we open up the mic for our students to share, and share they did. Story after story of students talking of how God had changed their lives that year. Through relationship and community, God's love was apparent to them and the truth of God was allowed into their hearts. One of the guys in my core shared how he was challenged to speak before the whole community of how God had worked in his life, how he rededicated his life, and how he's been clean from drugs for months. Another student spoke about finding real friendships and deep relationships here where no one was judged for the things they've never told anyone. These are the testimonies that you have been investing in! And I hope you know how much of an impact you have. 


"For lack of guidance, a nation falls. but victory is won through many advisers" Proverbs 11:14

Finally the time has come! At this very moment, I'm sitting in an airport with six of the 110 or so students that we're sending to the Student Institute of Campus Ministry at Bellingham, Washington (my home state!). This leadership conference will prepare them for the future as they lead others in discipleship. It is so exciting to be seeing the next generation of leaders ready to learn and serve the community in the coming years! Please pray for energy, open hearts, and eager minds in the next week as they learn so much about best strategies to impact college students' lives.

Thank You!

"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35

One of the sermons in our last month touched on the topic of generosity. As a visual example, over 200 paper stars were taped to the walls, each one representing a supporter of a staff worker at UTD. Each one representing one of you. That was a moment of impact as it sank in. These students, many of whom you've never met, are loved and cared by you, whom they also may never meet. That is the kingdom of God. That is the family of God. So, thank you so much for loving me, loving these students, and for all your support this past year. It means so much to me!