Friday, August 7, 2015

The start of something amazing

August is here, and that means FOCUS is gearing up for thousands of freshmen and returning students to flood our campuses in just a few days!  We have an incredible pastoral staff, including fourteen new interns, who are ready to greet those students with the love of Jesus!

Our incredible staff at Port Aransas
To prepare for this new season of ministry, our staff and interns took a retreat to Port Aransas.  The work that we do as ministers is very personal and relationship-based, and we work very closely with other members of our team.  With a team this large and new interns arriving every August, it's hard to build close relationships with the other ministers on our staff.  That's why we took four days to get away and spend some meaningful time together.  We got to know each other better and had fun doing it.

One of the most memorable activities of our retreat came after dinner on Tuesday night.  We all sat around the living room of our rental house (it was a big house!) and told the story of FOCUS.  First, our founding members told how they got the vision for campus ministry and found other like-minded believers.  Then, in chronological order of when we found FOCUS, we all shared our stories of who first invited us, how we got involved, and how God used the FOCUS community to shape our lives.  We shared embarrassing stories about each other and laughed at the people we used to be.  We cried and praised God as we considered His mercy toward us in helping us find this community.  We looked across the room at our co-ministers and said things like, "You were the first Christian I met at UTD," or "I remember meeting you for the first time and being amazed that you wanted to be my friend."  As our stories wove together, we began to see God's bigger story unfolding around us.  The Holy Spirit has always been at work in His people to draw them to Jesus.  Each of us as an individual plays a tiny but significant role in that grand story.

As we stand on the threshold of a new school year, I dream in eager expectation of the new stories that are yet to be written.  College students from around the world are about to set foot on our campuses and be swept up into the story that God is working through FOCUS.  They don't know it yet, but one day we will all sit together around a great banquet table and tell God's magnificent story as He smiles over us.

Please pray for these students who will soon be stepping onto our campuses.  Pray that each one would meet a loving Christian friend.  Pray that believers on campus would not grow weary in doing good, but with all God's energy would meet and befriend as many as possible.  Pray that new students would have a college experience that orients them toward Jesus and leaves them with no regrets.  Pray that families and generations would be changed forever by the work of God happening right now.

Thank you for joining together with me in this mission by your prayers and support.  Praise God!

A Titanic moment on the ferry to Port Aransas with two of our pastors