Thursday, February 29, 2024

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

 I've been thinking a lot about fear this month. We just finished a sermon series called Perfect Love Casts Out Fear (based on 1 John 4:18) and it hit home with so many people, including myself. This generation of students is often described as anxious; we reference the Fear of Missing out and Fear of Better Options that keeps people from community and friendship. But there's also just a very high rate of fear and anxiety in the world. World events, the future, disease, death, exams, social situations - there's so much we can find to be afraid of or at least intimidated by. 



There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

We can't control what's going on around us. I often tell my students that they are not responsible for how other people respond, only how they do. We can't control other people and we often have little say in our circumstances. But we can control our response to the things that worry us. We can choose to take those worries to the Lord and let Him love us with his perfecting love. He can reshape us. He can reshape our priorities, our emotions, and our concerns if we let Him.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

So, I've been thinking a lot about surrender and trusting the Lord. I thought I'd share some reflection questions that came out of the sermon series:
In prayer - 
- What am I actually afraid of happening? What's the worst that could happen?
- If that happens, what would I do?
- How likely is that to happen? Is my fear reasonable? (We talked about how fear is a natural safeguard against dangerous things but our minds build these  thought patterns that can lead to anxiety when that isn't the appropriate response.)
- What is God's heart in this? How does He want to take care of me? What might he want to teach me here out of His love for me?

I hope some of that makes sense and is an encouragement to you. I think these sermons were good for our students and for me. If you wanted to listen to any of them, they are on Spotify!

Pizza Theology

This semester's theology talk with pizza for dinner was so good! We talked through how the Bible came to be as we have it, why it can be trusted, and how to study it more holistically. What a good time! 





Photo Dump










I am reminded every day how blessed I am to get to do what I do. And that absolutely wouldn't be possible without you paving the way with your prayers and generosity. Sincerely, thank you. 

Kindly,



Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Winter Retreat and the Start of the Year!

What a good start to the year so far in Denton! I'm feeling refreshed and I'm excited about what I see God doing on these campuses. It seems like our students are the most invested in building God's kingdom I've seen in a number of years.

And oh how sweet it is to do ministry with my kid along for the ride. I love watching people love Owen. They get so excited for him to be around! A student described him as "a little drop of sunshine" and I couldn't agree more. My meetings have more interruptions these days but I think it's been so good for the students to have him there. So many of them have broken family backgrounds and have expressed how cool it is to watch a baby grow up in a better environment. 






I have also been able to be on campus more this semester, meeting new students and doing outreach! Owen is a pro at running an information booth. I've missed being on campus so it's fun to be back!



We had WINTER RETREAT!

This was probably one of our best retreats. I've heard so many students speak about how impacted they were. The theme was Disruptive Grace and the Lord seemed to disrupt and exceed people's expectations of how He works and how much He loves them. So sweet! You're welcome to listen to the audios from the weekend, they're so good!

Spotify Link





Our little community has experienced real growth in terms of both numbers and maturity. However, many of our students and staff have experienced real hardship, too. There have been family deaths, medical emergencies, depression, family hurt and drama, and other tough situations. Will you join me in praying that those facing hard things will be able to turn to God for strength and comfort? Thank you.


Love y'all! Praying for you.




Monday, January 8, 2024

Pray with Me for Winter Retreat

We're already hitting the ground running as the spring semester approaches! This Friday kicks everything off with our annual Winter Retreat. Generally, we tend not to put a ton of emphasis on events but this one is our biggest and often most impactful of the year. We take the long weekend and invite students to spend time with friends in fun and worship. The winter break can be difficult for many students but we find that God uses retreat as a catalyst for real change in many people's lives and faith. Would you join me in praying for this weekend? Pray that people would be willing to take a chance and give up their time for this. Pray for us to be open and looking for how God is moving in people's lives. Pray for GOd to draw people closer to Him. And pray for deepening friendships to help people grow in their faith in community.


December



Owen and Eli love hanging out at staff meeting.

We had our Christmas party with the students! This group is so fun and fun loving; they jump at any chance to hang out together. And most enjoyed getting super dressed up!




My staff and friends, they make ministry so meaningful.


We got to dedicate our sweet boy to the Lord alongside some close friends. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for this church and community that wants to support us and love Owen so well.



Merry Christmas!



Love y'all!




Thursday, November 30, 2023

Another Month Down (and a Keep FOCUS Growing Update!)

Our Keep FOCUS Growing fundraiser is wrapping up and we're so close to our goal! If you would like to help us close the gap, you can give at anyfocus.org/kfg



Owen's Adventures in November



Our women's leader team continues to impress me. They give up so much of their time and resources so they can minister to other students on their campus and they do it gladly, often with the attitude of "how could I not?' They are hard workers learning to juggle school and family and friends and ministry and jobs all at once. And they volunteer to lead in our ministry, how cool is that??



Our staff dedicated a day to spend some time resting and sabbathing together out at Grapevine Lake. It was chilly but Owen felt refreshed. I've been relearning how to spend time with God as I navigate being a mom. It's challenging because I'm pretty task-oriented. God has reminded me again and again He is with me and He is patient, which is so kind and gracious.



I'm so grateful for the people I work with. And a bonus that they love my kid so much!



Owen loves to watch people talk about their lives, He'll give you so much attention for about 30 seconds.







Love y'all!



Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Friends and Fall Retreat

Happy November!

I've been feeling overwhelmed with gratitude this month and not just because Thanksgiving is approaching. There have been so many instances where God has provided sweet moments and so much grace.

We were invited to a birthday zoo trip for a good friend's one year old. I was reminded through that day how important community and support is, especially when you have young kids. The burden is lighter just knowing other people are experiencing similar things as us while we try to figure this parenting thing out.



How kind of the Lord to give us a community willing to walk through life with us.



We also had our annual fall retreat! This is a chance for all the students from Denton to get together, away from some of the stress of school. We played some really fun team-building games (hence the team colors) and spent time worshipping the Lord together.



This was also Owen's first retreat! It was a challenge for me to navigate taking care of him and running my parts of the event and being present with the students. It was a learning curve for sure and Jon being there made a huge difference! The whole time (when I wasn't stressed about our Chick-fil-A catering order) I felt so grateful for this chance to participate in ministry with my son. It was hard and sweet and encouraging. And maybe not as smooth as I wanted it to be but that's good for me too.


My coworker took this picture and pointed out me working in the background while the guys hung out after a nap.


Said nap.


Ronnie, a hugely influential pastor in our wider ministry made time to come and speak to our students about decision making and what life-long discipleship looks like.


Some of the girls from TWU went to lunch after retreat. They're some of my favorites!


Grant and I had too much fun with this ice shovel.

The other thing that made me just sit in awe of the Lord started out pretty scary. Some of y'all might have seen the story, but a whole tree from the park our yard backs into fell on our house at about 1am. Jon and I couldn't sleep so we reacted pretty quickly when what sounded like an explosion went off. We quickly figured out a tree was involved but it wasn't currently coming through the ceiling. Owen and I got to the safe side of the house while Jon met the firefighters and took care of the initial problems. This is the picture he sent me.


Terrifying, especially because right on the far side of that chimney is where we all sleep. But the more we investigated, the more we realized there was very little damage. Our landlord got a tree removal crew out there in record time too and as they worked we saw how much God was protecting us. There's no real substantial reason why the tree didn't break through the ceiling - the retaining wall? The chimney? The stout support beams in the attic? Maybe sort of. The Lord? Definitely. I was seriously about to start packing up thinking there's no way we aren't gonna have to move, at least temporarily. But no, there were no electrical problems, minimal water damage/leaking, and nothing that a tarp couldn't protect us from for a bit. 


The view from our back door, right next to our bed and Owen's bassinet.


Why do we have so many Home Depot buckets? I have a weird job okay.

I know this isn't directly campus ministry related but I wanted to share how God has been teaching me to trust him again and again. He is good and worthy of our trust. By his grace he shows me that.

And here's a few random ministry pictures!


Owen enjoys a one on one.


Owen sleeps through peer team.


Owen becomes the entertainment after peer team.


Owen leads our staff meeting.

And some family pictures!


Owen's first pumpkin patch


Owen's first Halloween

I still believe there might come a day where I take pictures of people other than this kid. Maybe next month.

Here's a testimony of one of my corefas from last year - so proud of her!



I wanted to flag for you that our big annual fundraiser is coming up at the end of November! I'll send more info about this in a couple weeks but here is your Save the Date.

Love y'all so much!