Monday, December 1, 2014

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." Psalm 100:4

Happy Thanksgiving!  We've just celebrated one of my favorite holidays.  I love that people from many faiths and cultures join together on this American holiday to give thanks.  I give thanks first and foremost to my God who made me, saves me, and guides me daily.  I give thanks also for every blessing He has given me, including incredible people like you.  I thank each of you who has prayed for me or contributed to FOCUS, because your support empowers us to reach students with the good news.  Your prayers and gifts help us introduce people to Jesus, and no one can remain the same after meeting Him.

During this season of celebration and giving, I ask that you would consider making a special gift to FOCUS.  We have launched our first annual Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative to fund our continued expansion across the Metroplex.  Our sights are set on UT Arlington and North Texas Central College.  With your help, we can plant FOCUS communities on those campuses in the fall semester of 2015.  Please watch the video below, made by some of our talented student leaders, to see more of what we're already doing and how you can help:

Click here to read more and make a donation.  Whether or not you are able to contribute to this special initiative, please pray for FOCUS and our continued growth.  Pray that God would open doors for us on these campuses.  Pray that He would position our staff members strategically to reach these students.  Pray that He would send generous supporters who believe in this mission and will give extravagantly to keep it going.

I am excited about planting FOCUS on these new campuses because I have seen firsthand how campus ministry changes lives.  In the past month, I've had challenging conversations with a few young women who are considering changing their lives by choosing to follow Jesus.  One student I've been meeting with, let's call her J, is hesitant to believe what the Scripture teaches, but her boundless curiosity keeps her coming to our meetings.  Her questions about God are deep and thoughtful.  I find myself frequently answering with, "I don't know," or "I've never thought of that."  Thank God that the Spirit speaks through me when I don't have the right words to say.  J may not get all the answers she is looking for, but I am confident that God will reward her curiosity with a knowledge of Him that transcends understanding.

I am also excited about the expansion of FOCUS because the life change that happens in our communities doesn't stop at graduation.  On a Sunday afternoon in November, we held our first FOCUS alumni reunion.  We invited alumni from all of our campuses to join together in the home of one of our generous supporters.  About ninety people arrived to reconnect with old friends, celebrate the continued growth of FOCUS, and eat some delicious food prepared for us by Debbie.  It was clear to me after this event that God is still at work in the lives of so many people who have been involved in our ministry.  The people who gathered together that day are a testament to the goodness of God; many of them are now parents and professionals, artists, teachers, managers, husbands and wives who strive to honor God daily in every aspect of their lives.  Some have lived through tragedy since we were last in touch, but all of them can say that God has been faithful.  Two UTD alumni who were not able to attend the reunion are featured this month on our updates page.  Read how Brittany & Kevin have been changed by their time in FOCUS by clicking here, and listen to their new album by clicking here.  Brittany and I were in Core and Chamber Singers together at UTD.

As we move into the Christmas season, I pray that you would spend this time remembering the first Christmas gift that God gave us: His son Jesus.  Spend some time with the people who mean the most to you, and don't let the hustle and bustle of the holidays distract you from the true meaning of Christmas.  Please pray that our students can do the same.  The next time you will hear from me on this blog will be in January, so Merry Christmas and Thank You!