Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sin's Curse Has Lost Its Grip On Me


I wanted to do some reflecting as I finish up my third year as a campus minister. It has been a really wild ride that has had its major surprises. I'm in a place where I didn't expect to be even after I had decided to be a full-time minister. I didn't think I'd be in Dallas long-term, I didn't expect to be a homeowner or a dog owner, and I didn't expect to have my life, personality, and who I am to be so radically transformed by Jesus even after I thought the years of rapid growth and change were behind me. He has made me into a better servant in my relationships and with my roommates especially, a much more open person who is willing to let others in and invest myself in others, and one who is earnestly seeking to learn and grow in Him. I get to watch my boss, Brandon, get married and be his best man, when really it has been him who has pursued deep friendship with me over and over again for the past seven years. One of my friends told me just recently that he still remembers when he was a student and would follow Brandon's blog. When I decided to be an intern with FOCUS, Brandon mentioned how excited he was to have me on staff on his blog. Being here was never part of my plan, I wanted to be a lawyer and make six or seven figures a year, but God knew what He wanted me to do. And now there's no money that you could pay me to make me to go back and pursue that dream again. 

Just this past week we took over 100 students to the Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM) as we do every year. But this was the first year that I decided to take a seminary course at Regent College in Vancouver, BC and that I was living in the FOCUS guys house with nine students. I have absolutely loved going to class every morning and learning from Iain Provan, an amazing teacher and disciple of Jesus. But on Wednesday, I finally got some time to hang out and talk to some of the guys at night, just to get to know their stories and how they ended up with us. One of the guys, David, asked me if I had ever been filled with the Holy Spirit, and I was confused and answered the best I could. But after some follow-up questions, I realized that he was really wrestling with understanding the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. So I got to have a great conversation about my thoughts and the things I still ask God about regarding His Holy Spirit. We were also able to rope in another guy, James, into the conversation and get to hear his thoughts and background on the topic. After that night I felt so encouraged by the good questions they were asking and earnest seeking after God that I thought, "this is why I do this, this is why I love my job." To be a part of these guys' formative years, and to be able to play a role in it, there's nothing else that compares. I know this is where God wants me to be. I know I'm imperfect, I know there's so much I don't know how to do, but He's still working through all of that. In the end, there's nowhere else I'd rather be than where God wants me to be. 

We also got to witness two baptisms at SICM this year. One of them was Charlie, a guy who was part of our house and someone I recently started studying the Bible with a month before the trip. He's been very inquisitive and a deep thinker, and I'm so proud that he had the humility to rethink his conviction and his preconceptions about baptism to make the decision to be all in. The other was a guy from Arlington that has been studying with my coworker and friend, Austin. The kingdom of God is so much bigger than any one of us and I'm so happy to have been able to witness some of the fruit of another's ministry.

Thank You!

And I would not be able to do any of this if it weren't for your generosity. Because of you and your continual support for this mission, I'm able to be where God wants me to be. I'm able to be in a place of constant harvest and encouragement. I expect that someday we will also experience the dry season, but I will always consider it pure joy to suffer for the Lord. Thank you all so much for your consistent encouragement and support for me. I hope to see many of you soon.