Hey all! Per usual, it's been another busy month! But it has been full of amazing experiences and new relationships. Above is our student testimony from Hallie, a student from UT Arlington. Her story is so powerful, one that really exemplifies Jesus' call for us to drop our nets, or sell all our possessions, or pick up whatever your cross may be, and follow Him.
Hallie shared her powerful testimony at length at our Pizza Theology. Pizza Theology is a four hour session of intense teaching about one particular topic with a one hour break in between for pizza! This semester we dived into the topic of race. I got to speak the first part: The Biblical Vision for Race and laid out the groundwork of reading and interpreting God's Word and seeing His plan for humanity including its different races, cultures, and languages. If you'd like to hear it, or any of the talks or student testimonies, go here. Even four hours is not enough to get through a fraction of the topic, but it's more than we could do in a typical 30 minute sermon. And our students come out in droves, eager to learn more!
This doesn't have much to do with work, but it was an encouraging time for me. I got to hang out with some friends that I had made in Austin, TX when I worked there for the government during my undergrad years. These friends welcomed me into their campus ministry, Epic, and became fast friends in my very short eight-month stint there in 2013. They were a big part in shaping my view of Christian community, and a shining Godsend during a difficult period of life. Now we're all graduated and doing our separate things, but seeing us all back together again was life-giving and reminded me what Christian community is all about. I recently heard in a sermon that there are only two things God's Word commands us to do daily: to take up our cross and to encourage one another. And these men have been a great encouragement in my life.
Spring Student Impact (SSI)
Now for what I've been going this past week. I've been waking up doing outreach, debriefing, outreach, dinner, then outreach again, almost daily for this past week. Every year for one week we have students from Western Washington University come down who have signed up to use their spring break to evangelize at another university campus, what they call SSI. This year, Sarah and I had the pleasure of planning and running their times of outreach on campus. We've been moving our students to view outreach as a part of their lifestyle as a disciple and not an events-based part of their life where they only talk about the gospel when we put on an event to draw people. We want disciples to be ready and able to talk about Jesus whenever the opportunity arises. Part of that is being to talk to people, to invite people into your life, and build a relationship where those conversations and a walk towards Christ can happen. And even though these students were only here for a week, they were amazing in making those relationships. Some of them built relationships, many of them made connections accepting the fact that they wouldn't be able to walk with many of these people from beginning to end, but could link them up with one of our students who might be able to continue that journey with them. These students come to grow in their ability to reach out, but they also have encouraged and reminded me of my purpose here as a disciple of Christ. They've reminded me of the bread of life that I receive from Christ and the fulfillment that comes with pursuing Him with every waking moment. They gave up their break to be exhausted for the cause of Christ and every time I asked any of them what their favorite part of the trip was, it was always one of the conversations they had or relationships they developed. I can't wait to see them on their home turf in a few months!
And as always, thank you for your support! These blogs remind me that God has truly blessed me with the privilege of working as a full-time minister. Even when I'm stressed and busy beyond belief, what I get to do is unbelievably rewarding and I would never trade it for a cushier job, a bigger paycheck, or an easier workload. My heart is so full even when I'm mentally and physically drained. I cannot wait to see many of you soon and be able to talk face-to-face about what God is doing here and in my life!