Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Here in the Love of Christ I Stand

A Word of Hope

A lot has changed in the past few weeks, and everything is up-ended. The world as we know it is different, campus ministry looks different now, but what hasn't changed is God's sovereignty and that people need him. It's often in the grim times that people realize their need for God a whole lot more than when they think they have life under control. 

It's times like these when I think of James 1:2-4, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

As well as Genesis 50:20 when Joseph is responding to his brothers realizing that he's in a position of power that could save them and their families from famine because they sold him into slavery decades ago when he was a boy. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

However, "the saving of many lives" seems inappropriate for such a time as this. But we as followers
of Jesus believe and can say

"'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'

'Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?'

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

We don't believe death is final. We believe that Jesus has conquered even death. And we believe that he's coming again to make all things right. That is why in the face of an unknown future, we can have hope and we can have stability because we've built our houses on the rock. 


So, what has changed for campus ministry? Unfortunately, many of our students have gone home for good now. UTD has extended spring break an extra week (the students are only halfway through their first week), and they're moving to online classes for the foreseeable future. The University is also kicking out students on campus unless they have no suitable alternative (not sure how tenable that will be). FOCUS has had to cancel the outreach trips from Washington we had planned on hosting because the campuses were shutting down the week they were coming. SICM is up in the air right now as we wait and see what happens. Social distancing measures have been put into place and we are working on and figuring out how to have our FOCUS core group and large group meetings move to online format. We're continuing to have our one-on-one Bible studies continue in-person if possible or over the phone. But not only are we figuring out how to continue doing what we normally do, we're also trying to discern what opportunities God may want us to take advantage of in this unusual time. We're not satisfied with just doing Plan B of everything we usually do, doing everything but in a suboptimal way. I firmly believe that there are opportunities that we wouldn't usually have because of the circumstances. Already, I've heard of core groups where guys who came once or twice and have been wildly inconsistent and flaky throughout the year come out of the woodwork and be excited to join the group again. There's something in us that, when times like these happen, we want to know we're not alone, that there are people ready and willing to walk beside us. And I hope and pray that all of you have that as well.

Thank you all so much for all your support, through finances, through prayer, through emotional support. I couldn't do this without you. And in the coming weeks, what I do will be different, but people need Jesus. Now, seemingly more than ever. Students don't typically do too well over breaks when they don't have structure and they don't have this community to spur them on to love and good deeds. So pray, please pray, that we can meet their needs in that, that the good news could be dispersed and preached because of their migration home, not dispelled and kept distant. Instead of bemoaning the loss of students this school year, I choose instead to be thankful for the time I did get to be with them, develop relationships with them, and make memories with them.