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Summer Season

  300 college students gathering together, on Thursday Nights, every week, all summer. Not to get drunk, or attend a protest or a political rally. But to praise God with their peers and learn how to walk as a disciple of Jesus. Our sermon series for the summer is about Embracing what God has given us. Embracing the difficulty of life. Embracing friendship. Embracing intimacy with God. In short, I think it's a way to address maturity. But this word embrace is so visceral. God embraces us. Jesus embraced the cross. I'm excited to see what God does as these students learn to embrace God in response and embrace the cross in their own life, as they embrace their friends and peers on behalf of Jesus. Speaking of embracing. The slower summer pace has given me more time to be around my daughter, Lucy a little more than usual and I'm so grateful. She truly is the greatest gift God has given me, second to his mercy. But what a sweet reminder she is of that mercy! Whether I'm just
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One Of The Best Years

 As I think back on this last year of campus ministry I am so grateful to God for this year of revival and refreshment. I've had some of the most encouraging conversations with students, in which I got to see them make serious turning point decisions for Jesus. And as a community at large, FOCUS at UTA has slowly moved from health to deeper levels of health and spiritual maturity. Please allow me to give some examples! This is most of our men's leader team this year. From left to right, myself, Vincent, Graham, Ian, Josh, Colton, Hart, Luke, Ben, Crew, and Rhett. Not pictured is Mauricio. These are the guys that I had the genuine pleasure of spending time with every week. Even though there were weeks where we had tough conversations about improper use of humor, arrogance, immorality, or shallow relationships, over the course of the year God revealed to me just how open these guys were to hearing wisdom from His word and were willing to change how they live and act in order to l

72 Hours of Prayer and a Total Eclipse of the Sun

  Every year, the campus ministries on campus gather together to host an event in the middle of campus called 72 Hours of Prayer. For 72 hours straight, students from all the ministries sign up to come into the tent and pray for an hour. Within the tent there are opportunities to write down prayer requests for others to pray for, a cross to sit beneath and nail confessions too, and a bunch of other guided prayer prompts. I am so thankful to be on a campus where God calls this many students to prayer and increased trust and faith in him. Every year I am encouraged to hear our students description of their time in the tent, and their increased interest to pray regularly, so that they might learn to depend on God's strength rather than our own. I'm confident God used these three days to forever change people's hearts, lives, and circumstances. This was a collective worship night in the middle of UTA to close out 72 hours of prayer. Students from FOCUS, Cornerstone, and BSM wer

When Miracles Are Common and Pizza Theology

  A student shared this at our most recent Thursday Night Fellowship and I thought it was so beautiful that I wanted to share it with you. "In Focus, Miracles are happening all the time. People are becoming saved, like I was a year ago, through this community, and equally miraculously people are becoming more like Jesus, like I'm still learning to do. But God is using this community to bring about those miracles. And I know that this all can feel common to us, especially those of us who have been around for a while, but if we are in a community where the miraculous is common , we should thank God for that community." That was shared by a student named Josh Krause who I have the pleasure of studying the bible with over the duration of this school year. I have been so encouraged by his willingness to keep learning about the grace of God and respond by living out of that reality. And I was doubly encouraged when he shared such a beautiful and praise filled sentiment with th

More Winter Retreat and Lucy Update!

  The fruit of winter retreat is evident! God really used that time to bond our guys together and point them more collectively towards following Jesus. Since winter retreat we have been able to identify several guys that we are excited to invite to be leaders next year in the ministry from Austen, to Josh, to Manny, to Chris (who's testimony is below) God is raising up young men who are eager to not only know Him but to share him with their peers. I couldn't be more grateful for you who helps to make that kind of heart transformation possible! One of our core groups, led by Ian and Crew has been in a particularly healthy place. These guys look forward to spending time together, reading God's word, praying for one another, and sharing their lives. Here they are hanging out an arcade together recently. But every week they are learning about Jesus together and growing as disciples! Speaking of Growing, Lucy is getting bigger. This photo above was from her first wedding recentl

A Child Is Born (Welcome Lucy) and Winter Retreat

 Hello Everybody, I can't wait to introduce you all to Hayli and I's first child, Lucy Ann Gage. I couldn't be more proud to be her dad, she's beautiful and strong and as far as I can tell, a great personality. Although that last one is still a little hard to read. I am continually struck by the immensity of God's grace for me, and for Hayli. Why either of us would  be given such a gift is beyond understanding. I wept when I first held her, floored by the tangible reality of God's grace and mercy held in my hands. I can't wait to get to know her, but also to have the opportunity to play a role in the shaping and upbringing of another daughter of God. Hayli and I have been praying for a while now that Lucy would be a woman of peace, that she would be a light to the world around her, and that she would be wise beyond measure. Please continue to pray for her and for us as we do our best to help her to know and follow the Lord. Lucy was born on December 17th 202

One Week Until I Get To Be A Dad, and Christmas with College Students

  Mauricio rarely smiles in pictures but he's a joyous guy, and this last weekend was his birthday. A collection of people from FOCUS and our church got together to celebrate him and play soccer, his favorite game, at River Legacy Park. It was a perfect day, and I was so thankful Mauricio got to experience a community of people who love him like Jesus loves him. Isaac and Jacob up front are brothers and Isaac (who is holding Jacob) had just won a full scholarship to winter retreat because he had memorized scripture verses all throughout the semester and successfully recited them to me before every TNF. Every verse memorized was an entry into a raffle. I'm glad he won, because I know that God will use winter retreat to continue to help form him spiritually and become a better friend to others as he and interacts and learns and worships together with 400 + college students from all across the metroplex. From left to right: Austen, Luke, Blaine, Carson, Alan, and Garrett at our re