Our weekend began with worship and student testimonies. We asked our students to share about key decisions they've made in submission to Jesus' lordship and how God has used those decisions to change their lives. We heard about one student's decision to not allow her personality to determine whether or not she lives evangelistically and how she is now able to lead a core despite naturally being pretty socially anxious. We heard about another student's decision to reform his thought patterns so as to be of better service to the Kingdom and find greater intimacy with God. And we heard about another student's decision to read Scripture daily and how that has impacted his walk with Christ. Praise God for how he transforms us when we say "yes" his calls to obedience!
Our weekend continued into a fun time of socializing and fellowship. It was so cool to see students who, prior to this weekend, saw FOCUS as something they attended become students who see FOCUS as a body they belong to.
Our worship that night consisted of less singing and more engaging with God through various forms of worship that students could then put into practice at home, such as Prayer of Examen, in which a disciple examines his last 24 hours through the lenses of gratitude and whether their thoughts and actions reflected the values of discipleship and Christian community, confessing sin before Jesus, and meditation on psalms of various genres. It was so cool hearing students talk about what new things God laid on their hearts during that time of worship, and I had numerous students request the instructions to these activities when we got back from camp, meaning they're hungry to implement these practices in their daily lives!
We concluded our weekend with another time of student testimonies. This time, we heard about a student's decision to wrestle with doubt instead of sweeping it under the rug and the resulting intimacy with God and preparedness for ministry he has experienced. We also heard about a student's decision to follow Jesus in the midst of financial instability and suffering in the form of death of loved ones. I heard so many students point to the student testimonies as the parts of camp that they not only enjoyed the most but that led to the most life-change and decision-making. It's one thing when a paid campus pastor talks about making tough decisions for the Kingdom, but there seems to be something effectively raw about hearing from a peer that makes discipleship in tough seasons seem accessible.
I wanted to invite you all to our annual Open House on October 19th at 4:00 pm at UTA. Our students and staff are inviting those we care for to come see what this community is all about and join us in worship. We'll also go out to eat afterward so you guys can meet some of our students and our staff. It's going to be a great time, so I hope to see you there!
With love and gratitude,