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Friday, April 1, 2016

Campus Conversations!

Hello everyone!

Evangelism display at UTA
This month has been full of great spiritual conversations at all of our college campuses! It's been exciting, enlightening, and challenging.

We had the honor and privilege to host two groups from one of our sister ministries in Washington state, and we sent one team to the Dallas area and one to the Denton area. Students from Western Washington University gave their spring break to meeting students on all of our campuses and to have spiritual conversations. A big value of our ministry is getting to know the students on our campuses and seeing what spiritual backgrounds they come from, and to exchange ideas and experiences we have had with spirituality. The week the students from Washington came we posted up multiple questions to get conversations going! Here are some of the questions we asked on campus during the month of March:

  • What is spirituality?
  • Should we believe in something that cannot be scientifically proven?
  • What is one question you have for God?
  • What happens to your body when you die?
  • What issues would Jesus vote for?
  • How does one become rich?
  • How do you define love?

Responses from students at Collin College during our evangelism displays.
Student team from Western Washington

It was encouraging to see how passionate the Washington students were in getting to know students they will probably never see again, and to share Jesus with them. Before going out on each campus, they would pray and ask God for guidance on who to meet and what words to speak. Many of these students were new in their faith, and quite young, but one thing I love about God is that he doesn't call the equipped but He equips the called! These students teamed up with our campus students to discuss these difficult questions, and I am SO glad that our students got to see what it means to really care about others and how to be bold in approaching people. It wasn't so much about having an answer to every question or being able to argue that Christ is the Son of God, but sharing truth and experiences with one another. The hope and prayer will always be for everyone to believe in Jesus and to call Him Lord, and our Washington students and our FOCUS students were vessels for God to work in the hearts of college students in DFW this month.

A girl from Washington named Megs and I went around campus to ask students about their spiritual backgrounds and why they believe what they do. We met a sweet student in the Starbucks on campus who came from a Buddhist background. This student still attends temple every Sunday and explained to us how she doesn't think Buddha is God, but Buddha is a way to learn about who God is. She explained how she meditates on the texts about the life of Buddha and how she finds peace in his words. I asked her what she knew about Jesus and she said, "I know he is loving and that he said he is the only way to God." That was all she knew about Jesus.

"I want to be less..." at UTD

This conversation was perplexing on many levels and to be honest I am still chewing on what she said about her beliefs and faith. Her practice of Buddhism and the life she experiences because of that practice struck me as pretty similar to Christianity. However, I kept thinking about how Jesus said the only way to God was through Him, and that Buddha is not comparable to Jesus. Jesus was not just a good teacher who taught good morals. As much as I wanted to think this student understood God without Jesus, we cannot look at God and understand Him without Jesus, because Jesus and the Father are one.

We've been studying the book of Philippians in our small group (core) and our big fellowship meeting (TNF) and a passage from Philippians 3 connects with what I have been thinking in regard to knowing Jesus as Lord.

"If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal,persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith." 
Philippians 3:4-9
Ana (SSI student), myself, and Danielle (Collin FOCUS staff) 
We talked about how Paul was a faultless Jew that kept the law and accomplished so much in his life. His 'spiritual resume' was looking pretty good. He was zealous and considered what he was doing (before knowing Christ) as following God without error. Paul points us to the fact that following these rules and being a 'good person' did not give him true life. Nothing compares to knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection from the dead, which is the gift we receive when we repent and believe in him. Our pastor of the church I go to once said, "You are not saved by works, but you are saved to work." That stuck with me. Once we call Jesus Lord, it should produce in us the desire and lifestyle to be like Him.
Sermon over. Haha. I did want to share my thoughts with you all because it is a work in progress. One of the benefits of going around on campus talking to students is that it keeps you on your toes. God is constantly showing me I have MUCH more to learn. I don't have all the answers, but I know true life is found in Jesus Christ and that is why I do what I do!

Don't forget that Spring Showcase is April, 2nd THIS Saturday! Its not too late to purchase a ticket and enjoy an evening of wonderful music and artwork. 
Lastly, I wanted to invite all of you to the sermon I will be preaching on April 21st at UTA! You are most welcome, even when you are not a student. 
Love to you all!

1 comment:

  1. Hey April! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on outreach. I think starting those conversations on our campuses can have such a meaningful impact on students' lives. I've had many conversations that left me with new questions, but I always leave confident of this: God is drawing people to Himself through our faithful obedience. So keep reaching out to those students in friendship and open conversation!

    Love you April!