Growth

It's December, folks! Take a deep breath. You made it! We're almost to the end of the year. But our work is not done yet!


Meeting these two was a joy. I'm so glad they could come to our Preston Ridge "Friendsgiving" celebration!


On another note, I've been thinking a lot about plants these days, especially since there's a tree right outside my window that is blooming bright red. It's so ironic, because we're supposed to be seeing trees wither and grass go brown, but instead, we're seeing growth and life and a little cold front. With this mix of growth and color, I found myself remembering a Scripture a friend of mine used to reference all of the time:

"Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you -- you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it." (Luke 12:27-29)

Some of our Core (small group) ladies attending Pizza Theology. Ignore my tired grin. I was so shook by the sermon. So good!

The idea of letting go of worry has been essential to this season. I struggle with it, the women in our small group struggle with it; our community is in deep need of peace.  This week, our Cores (small groups) are all reading Phillipians 4. From that passage, Phillipians 4:4-10 stood out to me and our women a lot. Like me, these women are having a hard time preparing to transfer schools, pass final exams, leave home, and make committments. But God has been so good to us.

He has used our worry to push us towards Him - one of our ladies found herself downtrodden, and instead of reaching towards social media or a friend, she went to Scripture first. She was astounded at the peace that came from digging into God's word, and seeking Him first and I see that theme repeated. Another girl found herself in one of the toughest weeks of her life recently. She felt hopeless, anxious, and a little at the end of her rope. But after she met up with another girl in Core to talk about Scripture, she told us that she felt the most peaceful she had in weeks and how she desires that for everyone. God is doing amazing work here among our students.

However, that's not the only good news from this November. In previous posts, I've talked about our ministry and churches feeling called to focus on the necessity, beauty, and story of Scripture. I knew our students were eating it up, but now it's even more obvious! Our students share Scripture to one another during community sharing time at our Thursday Night Fellowship (TNF) gathering. They're hosting their own Scripture reading events in their homes. They use Scripture to minister, and learn more about the goodness of their God. The Spirit is at work. We cannot stop talking about how neat it is to see our students set the example, and rise to know God more. I never could have imagined a world where college students spend weekends on top of 2-3 weekdays in God's word. We're saturated in it! I'm eager to see the long-term impacts of this on our students' lives.

My roomies and I decorated our apt for Christmas. Love this gal live crazy. 

Speaking of which, we recently had an event called Pizza Theology where we invited guest speaker Bill Watson to talk about the narrative of Scripture. Pizza Theo is our semesterly 4 hour event that all of FOCUS is invited to and about 400 students came! It was an absolutely joy. The ladies I study the Bible with often reference this night when I ask them questions about Jesus, and how they understand the biblical narrative. It was seriously so memorable.

You can listen to it here if you're interested!
https://anyfocus.org/media/pizza-theology-the-story-of-scripture/

Our Core took up an entire row at Pizza Theology! Look at those smiles. Lub them girls. 

I've also been really blessed by how our students are responding to worship. One of our students who leads worship set aside time for two worship nights this month, and our pastor had a post-Thanksgiving worship night at our church. All of these nights were dedicated to fellowship, Scripture, and song. I couldn't have asked for a better place to be during those nights. I'm so proud of our students and how they're allowing God to impact them.

One of the three worship nights a student house hosted after TNF. 
Lastly, I want to give a big thank you to anyone who contributed to our Keep FOCUS Growing fundraiser this past Thursday. God provided abundantly and we are beside ourselves with gratefulness. Thank you!

And I say it everytime, but it is always important and beyond worth saying again: thank you so much for your prayers, generosity, and general enthusiasm for God's work in our ministry. We couldn't do this without you. Let me know how I can pray for you!

With that, I'd like to ask you to...

Join me in prayer!

First, I want to just ask for you to give a special prayer to our students at Collin and across all campuses. This time of year often brings a lot of stress when it comes to exams, money, and the holidays. Please pray that they could not be anxious and turn to God with trust in times where they find themselves in panic.

Secondly, please pray for our staff as we go into the next week meeting people, inviting them, and trying to push on towards the end of the race (aka the school year)!

I am so thankful for you! Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or send prayer requests. I am all for adding more prayers to my list.


'Tis the season, y'all,

Sam



Comments

  1. I am so encouraged to hear about your students connecting to God more through his word and through worship! Those are exciting signs of the Spirit's work in that community. I think he has big plans for that group of young people!

    This time of year is definitely one of worry for so many people we encounter. Thanks for sharing the scriptures that have brought you peace in your worries.

    Love you!

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