WOW WOW WOW! Where to begin...

It has been such an incredible first month of the apprenticeship and I have so much to update you all on but first, some thank you's are in order.

First and foremost, thank you and all praise be to God! We serve an incredibly good God, one worthy of adoration and full of mercy and grace. Amen! He is already moving in some pretty big ways in the hearts of these teens as well as in the minds of my fellow apprentices. 

Thank you to all members of my financial and my prayer support teams. None of what I will be updating you on in the coming months would be happening if it weren't for your faithful support and your earnest response to the invitation to join me in my ministry this year. Through your support you have purchased everything from lunch to football game tickets that have allowed me to try and point teenagers to our Lord Jesus Christ! You are doing just as much as I am, and God is doing all of it. I am truly thankful to God every time I think of you all.

CTF Camp 

It's been over a month now since we took our teens to Sacramento, NM, but the effects of that week are still shining through. We saw minds changed in favor of pursuing God more intently and hearts turned away from the world and toward the love of Jesus. We shared meals together, sang songs, played games and heard from some of the most talented and wise speakers our family of churches has to offer. We confessed sin to each other, sought forgiveness from those we may have wronged, and began the long process of just doing life together. 

Our theme for this year was God is With Us and we spent the week driving home the significance of what it means to have the Spirit of the living God dwelling within us and how he has always been there and will continue to be.

I feel a common scripture for young people comes when Paul writes in 1 Timothy "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." But let me tell you, these teenagers have caught the vision and they are doing incredible things! Young people will live up to or down to our expectations of them. They are young, inexperienced, steeped in the sin of this world and need guidance but who among us isn't?

While his letter to Timothy is helpful for our young people to meditate on, the verse I have been trying to drive home with them is Romans 8:6 which states "The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace..." There is a constant battle within each of us between our flesh and the Spirit and teens are no different. But every little victory, every base hit, is significant in what will be a lifelong battle for any and all who call Jesus Lord.

While base hits and little victories are crucial, we also experienced some pretty huge victories at camp. The week culminated with two baptisms and two young people determining to no longer chase what the world has to offer, and to run after the God who has been with them all along. Amen.

William baptizing one of our teens, Tyler

Bri baptizing one of our summer interns, Nicole

The Apprenticeship Begins

As all of you know, my time this next year will be split between active ministry (things like studying the Bible 1-on-1 with teens, CTF Camp, outreach, preaching, etc.) and seminary level pastoral training and learning. 

Our classes began and we have been focusing a lot on the Old Testament and how to read it. The Bible itself is a small library filled with different genres and styles of writing. We see everything from ancient Hebrew law to poetry to personal letters. That being said, we can't just open it up to any book and read everything the same way. One of the things we are learning to do with each and every book is first ask "who wrote this?" and then ask "why did they?" 

A helpful analogy we learned in one of our classes is the difference between how you would describe your house as opposed to how you would describe your home. Two words that mean the same thing yet mean something completely different at the same time. The description of a house could deal with the physical layout, the things that filled it, what your backyard was like. Whereas describing your home elicits ideas of memories and experiences, the people that filled it, the good, the bad and the ugly, so to speak. 

So we look at the Old Testament and have to wrestle with how this ancient near-Eastern text is not relevant to us today, but it contains truth about a being that transcends space and time and is teaching us about the heart of God as well.

But all of this said, it has been so encouraging and challenging already and we are just getting started!

My fellow apprentices reading together

In Conclusion...

Again, a most sincere thank you to everyone who has joined me either financially or prayerfully. Thank you to everyone who has asked me how I'm doing and what I'm learning. Please continue to do this! My cup is quickly filling up and I love having the opportunity to pour some of what I'm learning out and into your lives. 

I want to ask for continued prayers for my own wisdom and growth as a disciple and a leader as well as the growth and hearts and minds of the teenagers that I am working with. For next month's blog I'll be sure to give an update on the lives of some of the teens that I get to meet up with.

I love you all and I'm thankful every time I think of you. God is good!

Prayer Requests

- Myself and all of my fellow apprentices as we learn and grow and apply what we learn in our own lives and ministries.

- The teens in CTF...for wisdom and the desire to seek Christ and Christ-like mentors.

- My fellow youth leaders and CTF staff....that we can seek out and meet our students needs and that we will step into their lives and hearts and serve and love them well.

Matt Carothers



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