January was such a cool month! I don't know if it is just me, but I always like the spring semester or months so much better. It's like the year is energizing itself, and you can see the promise of God to make everything new being fulfilled in some small part as all the plants start to come back to life. Anyway I hope your January went well.
To start off our year in FOCUS, we had our Winter Camp. We had all of our six campuses come together for 4 days to learn about God and praise him together. It was so much fun. We had a speaker come all the way down from Canada. His name is Iain Provan, and he is an Old Testament scholar. He teaches at Regent College in Vancouver, and we've been listening to some of the audios from his and other professors from that college for years. We were shocked and excited that he agreed to come and speak. He did such a great job, too. Our theme this year in FOCUS is words of life, and every session he spoke at he revealed how the Old Testament fit into God's words of life. The interns and staff got to have a lunch with him as well, and it was so encouraging, for both him and us. Getting to see him in a more casual light just reminded me that he is just a man doing God's work, nothing more. That may sound weird, but it can be so easy to idealize a person. But he is just a man who had his own journey with God, which to me is so much more encouraging. He has impacted so many people because he listened to God. He shared with us how encouraging it was to see our community. He had no idea about us, yet here we were, listening to his audios, trying to learn more and more about who this God we follow is. Now this really neat relationship is being formed between us and Regent College. When Iain returned back home, he said he put in a good word for us with the other professors in case we wanted to ask someone else to come speak at a Winter Camp in the future! I could seriously keep going on about how great Winter Camp was. Just getting to see a few hundred college students, alumni, and adults praising God together is such an inspiring sight. I'm so glad we do it; all of the hard work needed to put that on is worth it.
It isn't the best photo, but I hope it gives you an idea of how many people were there.:)
We also had our first TWU and UNT FOCUS' for the year. Sarah King spoke at both of them, and she did an awesome job. We definitely had new faces at both large group meetings, which was encouraging. I just can't wait to see what God does on both campuses this semester. Something that Sarah shared at UNT FOCUS really challenged me, though, and I'd like to share it with you as well. She spoke about truth and how we shouldn't be afraid to search for truth because truth will be truth regardless of whether we admit it or not. With time our understanding of the truth may broaden or completely change, and that shouldn't frighten us, it should excite us. That means we are understanding more and more of God because our belief is that God is truth. With that, Satan has fed us a lot of lies, and often times we don't even realize we are believing lies. They just seem natural. I think the shape of a common lie is that we aren't good enough or we are too much, but either way it leaves us feeling like we don't quite fit. We then find ourselves trying to make ourselves fit, looking to people to satiate our need to be accepted, wanted, or whatever we're feeling at the time. We forget that God thinks we are precious; that he made us uniquely, and that no one in the world is quite like us. Instead of that being a bad thing, we need to see that as amazing. Even if we are the weakest person, and we do everything wrong, God uses the weak to shame the strong. God's power is perfected in our weakness. This lie that Satan has insisted we believe leaves us separate from God, incapable of action, and the body of Christ is much weaker because of it. We need to combat the lies with truth. We don't need to be perfect; we need to trust God and follow him because all things work for his good, even if they look terrible. At the end Sarah gave us the challenge to think of all the lies that Satan has you believing, then go to scripture to find the truth that God has given you. Use the truth to defeat the lies. I sincerely hope you do this challenge:)
Lastly, but certainly not least, this month we found out some of who the new staff members will be and where they will be going! Miriam Freeman will be coming on staff and staying at UNT, Cody McCarty will be coming on staff and going to UNT, Ana Fineout will be coming on staff, and Sarah King, who is already on staff, will be going to UTA to help start that ministry! I will also be coming on staff at TWU, and I'm so excited about it. I just want to ask that you be praying for that transition, with Sarah leaving and me staying on. I'd also ask that you be praying and thinking about continuing to support me next year.
Anyway, thanks so much for all the support you've already given. I appreciate it so much, and you really are an invaluable team member:)
You da best