Saturday, January 4, 2014

January Update

The fall semester wrapped up quite nicely despite the ice storm causing us to reschedule/cancel a few events. Since church was canceled that Sunday during the bad weather, some of us walked over to Whataburger to meet together! The Christmas party was so fun. We got together to sing worship songs, do some Christmas devotionals, and enjoy each other's company. It was great to see everyone one more time before they left for the break! Also we sent a small group of students to New Orleans for a service trip, but you can read more about that on Sarah's blog since she actually went on that trip.


The body meeting at Whataburger.

I'm really excited to see what God does this semester with the time and effort our student leaders have invested in the students they have been ministering to. One thing that is often a turning point for newer students each year is Winter Camp. I think this is primarily due to the relational depth they experience in being immersed in Christian community for an extended period of time.


Winter Camp 2014

Winter Camp is quickly approaching (Jan. 17-20th). If you are unfamiliar with what I'm referring to, it's our biggest event of the year. This will be our second year at Sky Ranch in Van, TX.  All six of our campuses will be there. It's a very exciting time to experience our whole ministry at large and I would like to invite you out there for a day, evening, etc. Let me know if you are interested in visiting and I can give you details on the schedule. Winter Camp is also an opportunity for us to do some longer, in-depth teachings to the entire ministry. Our speaker for the weekend, Brady Bobbink, is the director of a campus ministry in Bellingham, WA, that we have had a relationship with for many years now (http://ccfministry.com/). Their ministry has actually taught us a lot of what we know about ministry on the college campus and we have been sending our potential leaders up there just about every year for a campus ministry leadership conference called SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry). Brady's series of talks are titled: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom." I'm excited to hear what he has to say and I'll likely try to relay some of that to you!

I would also like to point out a need in regard to Winter Camp. We, as a staff, always want every student to make it out to camp regardless of money issues so we offer scholarships to those who need them. Due to the size of our ministry this can add up to a large sum of money rather quickly. If you are interested in providing a scholarship for a student, please either let me know or fill out a Winter Camp scholarship form. Even feel free to do this after camp is over as many students sign up at the last minute and we collect most of the payments afterward anyway. The cost for camp is $135.


Recently on My Mind

Something I have been thinking about lately is the issue of idolatry. That's arguably the most common sin in the Old Testament. The main stipulation God puts on His promise to David about his descendants always being on the throne in Israel is that they cannot forsake Him by worshiping other gods. Then we see nearly every king of Israel and Judah forsaking the Lord through idol worship afterward. Growing up I always wondered why they continually messed up, generation after generation. Even when one of the more righteous kings would rise up they would eventually falter near the end of their reign. Of course I eventually realized that I'm following the same pattern with different "gods" and I am left with the same question: Why do I keep doing what is obviously counter to God's ways?

I recently found an insightful comment regarding one of the kings of Judah in an article: "His dependence on God was consistent when the odds were clearly against him. It was in depending on God for the day-to-day plans and actions that Jehoshaphat was weak." Looking at king David we see this daily dependence on God. The book of Kings continually compares later kings to David and they were not as righteous in the Lord's sight. He may not have been perfect, but David seemed to always be conscious of the true Lord. I believe to some degree that's what Paul is getting at when he says to pray without ceasing: practicing the constant presence of the Almighty. Do you practice the presence of God? Are you mindful of His desires in your day-to-day plans? Do you inspire others to think this way? Consider how God sent His prophets when people needed to be reminded of who is Lord. I would suggest the reason we as humans fall into idolatry so easily is our tendency to forget. We need our brothers and sisters to remind us of the truth regularly so we don't forsake our God; so that we can be true men and women of God.


Prayer Needs

Our winter staff retreat is this weekend, where we will spend time together in fellowship and planning. Please pray that the Lord strengthens the bonds of our team during that time in order to maintain the unity of our ministries. Also pray that He guides us in our planning and preparation for this coming semester.

Please pray for our six campuses as the semester starts (UTD, UNT, TWU, Collin, Richland, and Preston Ridge).  Pray that our students will engage with their classmates purposefully creating relationships with them.  Pray that our staff is spirit-led and focused on God's mission.  Pray that God gives me the strength necessary to lead the UNT ministry and please pray that we will see many transformed hearts this semester.


Thank you so much for all you do.  God uses you to help advance the gospel.  May God bless you in 2014 for your commitment to Him and His workers.

Yours for the Campus,

Matt