Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Update

The school year is wrapping up!  Cores and Bible studies will be ending soon.  For a lot of students this is a time for making a decision to follow Jesus.  We have had several baptisms already over the last couple of weeks.  I wanted to share one with you here:

Alex's Baptism (sorry this is kind of long and hard to hear at times)

Please pray that other students will be led to make decisions like this, but that they would also count the cost before doing so.  One of our goals is to share with them the whole truth of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus so there are no surprises later.  At the same time we don't want anyone to be a halfway committed Christian so we do lead them to a decision.

Over the next few weeks in core we plan to wrap up a series on purity talking about being whole for God.  An example we got from Brandon to demonstrate how unappealing it is to be even a little impure was offering a water bottle to anyone in the group who was thirsty.  When someone said that they would like one, I opened it up and spit in the bottle.  Of course no one wanted the water anymore even though my saliva was only 1% of the bottle's contents.  If we really want to give God our best we can't be content with spitting in what we offer to him.

After that talk we plan to spend a week taking stock of what each guy has learned this year in regard to God and how to live for Him.  It will be a great time for them to remember what those things were and if they haven't put them into action yet to formulate a plan to do so going forward.  This will help them to get a vision of what their lives can look like as core ends for the summer or as some of them transfer to other schools.  The idea is to get them kingdom focused.  To help facilitate that even more we are planning to have an encouragement time the next few weeks.  In this time each guy will be able to share how they've seen each person grow over the year or the impact they have had on their lives plus challenge them in areas they could grow as well.  This is so often a very meaningful and intimate time.  Please pray that God will use it to move these guys to where he needs them in the future.

My Bible studies with Greg and Preston are going great!  There are a lot of penetrating questions throughout this study as it uses scripture to examine their hearts.  This definitely makes some people feel uncomfortable.  A lot of people these days are afraid of the truth.  Just look at the culture around us.  How do you even know what is real anymore with TV, the movies, video games, the Internet?  Our culture tells us that we have the power to do anything on our own if we are dedicated enough.  God wants us to put our faith in him.  This world is tough to live in and often things are not easy, or even possible, to handle on your own.  Our job as ministers is to teach people to trust in God.  "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."  Greg had trouble with giving up control at first when we met last school year, but God has really changed his heart over time.  It's one of the most encouraging things to me personally because of how sad I was when he quit for the time in between.  What God has done in Greg's life is surely praiseworthy!  Preston isn't having the same difficulty, but I would ask that you pray for him to continue to be open to God's word and strive to challenge himself.

I'm sad to say that my friend David no longer seems to be interested in any sort of relationship as I have not been able to reach him lately.  I can understand that he didn't have an interest in doing the Bible study, but it's painful that he has removed himself from my life completely.  Please pray that God is with him wherever he goes.

Kenneth and I are still able to get together occasionally although it hasn't been to continue our study of the Bible.  I'm still not entirely sure what his reasons are for stopping, but I'm glad that he still comes to me for support and lets me speak into his life.  It may be that it was just too intense for him to have an hour and a half spent on deep discussion of how Biblical principles apply to his life, but perhaps he would be more engaged by smaller chunks or one thought at a time.  I ask that you would pray for me to be led by the Spirit and be able to efficiently minister to Kenneth.

One pretty neat thing that God has done through Kenneth is in regard to an 18 year old kid he has been ministering to for the past few years.  Essentially this kid has become entangled in a bunch of his own lies and now he has started to believe a lot of them.  He is really hurting his relationships with his family who loves him and he decided this weekend to move out of his parents house.  Kenneth convinced him to at least stay at the house I live in with four other guys in our ministry so that he will have some positive influences.  Hopefully God will use this situation to teach him something.  I can't help but think about the story of the prodigal son in relation to this kid.  My prayer is that he will one day realize the mistake he made and return to his parents who desperately want their son back.

On another note we are going to fly over 50 students up to Washington this summer for SICM in May!  And another smaller group in June.  It's so exciting to see how God has moved in our ministry to impact that many people to step up and lead in ministry.  Please keep these students in your prayers that they can take advantage of the opportunity to learn while on the trip and that they can put it into action in their lives next year and beyond.

Thanks again for everything you do!  May God bless you.

Yours for the Campus,

Matt