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To Him Who Is Able To Do Far More

I can hardly begin to count the ways that God has showed himself present on this campus and in my life over these past several weeks. Seeing as how I consider you all partners in this valuable mission of making disciples of Jesus on college campuses, I want to share and celebrate with you in all of these things so that we can find joy together in what God is accomplishing through your support and prayers. God is very good and his ability to change lives goes beyond our comprehension.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." - Ephesians 3:20

The month of February was one of Growth, Change, Challenge, and Celebration! Sorry I couldn't think of a word that starts with C that is a synonym to Growth. Alliteration will have to take back seat on this blog for now. Our student body this month grew in quite a few ways! Not only in sheer number (new students are walking in every week) but also in closeness, and ownership. Coming right off of Winter Camp in January our students returned to school with special bonds formed with one another. But what is truly amazing about that is that those special bonds did not become cliques. Instead every week the students in our ministry are inviting their friends, classmates, students they meet on campus to come and join in what is going on. And then once there, those students that are invited feel so included, because the students that have been with us since last semester do such a wonderful job of making new people feel welcomed, cared for, and valued. These are just a few of the students in the ministry at UTA, and (with the exception of Travis my roommate in the bottom left hand corner) I really hope that you can visibly see the joy on their faces. I want you to be aware that this joy is a result of the love that these students have experienced within this community. Not only have they experienced love from us but they have been taught about the love that God has for them. Because of this they are eager to invest in the students around them that they meet on a daily basis and invite them to come take part. I believe Jesus often worked in that way, demonstrating love and inviting others to then come take part. (Zacchaeus, the woman at the well) 
It simply has been an incredible blessing for me to watch these students grow personally and in their love for one another. Now, speaking of a student that has changed a lot. I want to tell you a little bit about Hawkins.
Hawkins is a guy that first came to focus about halfway through last semester. When I first went to go introduce myself I could pretty quickly tell that he didn't have much of a desire to be there. He was engaged to a girl that was also there for the first time that week and if I had to guess I would have told you that he was only there because she wanted him to be, and, according to him, I would have been right. But he signed up to join my core group that evening and shortly after he came he and I were going through a one on one bible study together. I prayed pretty regularly for Hawkins that he would fall in love with God above all else, and that his reason for attending Focus would shift from a necessary part of being with his fiance to being because he had an eager desire to know God further and to participate in community with fellow believers that are fired up about what Christ has done in their lives. But I was unsure how that was going to happen. How do I convince someone that they need to rethink all of the priorities in their life and re shift many of their plans for life as a result? I hardly had to do anything. God answered those prayers. Hawkins' heart has taken a 180 since being a part of this ministry.  Partially because of the conversations that we've had in our one on one, partially because of the sermons that he hears on Thursday nights, partially because of the Christ centered community that he has experienced in core, but 100 Percent because of what God did and is doing in his heart. In Hawkins' own words he would say "My whole life I went to church, but it was just something I did, I'm at a point now where I want to and know that I need to know God personally. I want to make every effort to make that happen." In the weeks since Hawkins has really begun to demonstrate the heart and mind of a disciple. Our studies together are one of my favorite times of the week. To watch him grasp and understand the grace that Christ has for him and the effects that the truth of the gospel should have in his life fills me with joy. I'm excited to see what God does in his life, I truly believe that he is going to be one of God's disciples for the rest of his life.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." - Ephesians 3:20

Classes

I don't have a picture for this next part because it's about classes but here is a picture of me enjoying lunch with a future student leader in our ministry, Rachel Dellinger.
In our internship class this semester we have been going through a Christian Theology course taught by Doctor Rikk Watts from Regent College in Vancouver. I've thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio and going through the textbook for this course. Hearing the dialogue of discussions that Church fathers and those outside the Church have had on the staples of the Christian faith over the course of the last 2000 years is fascinating to me. One thing in particular that I'm incredibly thankful for about this internship is how much it has encouraged me to be a learner and a critical thinker about the things that I believe. In the end I truly believe that having those skills and the educated background will allow me to be a better minister throughout my life, always standing firm on the fact that my ability to lead others towards Christ is not entirely dependent on my own understanding of who God is but on the truth of who God is that has been revealed to all of us through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Parent Night


We had our first ever Parent Night/Open House this month and I was lucky enough to be able to lead worship that evening. Open House is a time for Parents, Friends, and Loved Ones to come and experience Focus for themselves and share stories about ways that they have seen God impact their student since that student first became involved in this ministry. God really ministered to me that evening, both students and their family members shared about how God has used Focus to work in their hearts and lives. Many tears were shed, but they were tears of Joy and Thankfulness. I wish I could describe to you the way that has God has used Focus to bring me deeper into a relationship with him and how thankful I am for the fact that he did that. It would take me a while. But this evening was filled with just that. Through College Ministry, God changes lives. I really and truly believe that. It was such an honor to be able to lead the body in Worship that evening and give all the glory to God for being willing to use broken people like myself in order to bring college students face to face with His truth and Glory.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." - Ephesians 3:20

Spring Showcase

Coming up here in about a month Focus will be having their Spring Showcase! Spring Showcase is a fundraiser to send potential student leaders, like Rachel (seen above) to our SICM retreat! SICM stands for Student Institute of Campus Ministry and it was an incredibly formative week of my life where I learned to engage students on my campus with conversations about Christ, to lead a small group well, and the importance of making God the rock of all that I do. Sending students to SICM is more than worth investing in and Spring Showcase is a great way to do that! During Spring Showcase you will be able to enjoy an evening of incredible acts of singing and dancing and comedy, as well as enjoying an art show, all for the benefit of sending these students to SICM. Please, if you have the time purchase a ticket and attend this event! It's worth it!

2016 Spring Showcase
Date: April 2nd, 2016
Time: Art sale starts at 6:30PM; Show starts at 7:30PM
Address: North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship
Purchase Tickets Online: anyfocus.org/showcasetickets OR in person from SICM students.  

Big News and Prayer Requests

  • I was recently offered an Associate Staff Position with Focus! I'm incredibly thankful for  and Humbled by the opportunity. God has used this internship to grow and shape me so much, that I consider it a blessing to stay on with Focus for another year and help to Pastor the community at  UT Arlington. God has placed this campus and these students deeply in my heart and having seen already the amazing things that He is doing here I can hardly begin to imagine all that He will accomplish in the year to come. Because I love each one of you dearly, I would like to ask for you to prayerfully consider continuing to support me as a campus missionary on staff with Focus in the year to come. If you are unable to, I want to reiterate how incredibly thankful to you I am for the opportunity that you have already provided to me for being here if only for this year, but if it is possible and you are willing, I want to remind you how deeply I believe that your gift is far more than just financial support of me, but an investment in the lives of countless college students. We have over a hundred students from over 6 different countries participating in this ministry and each one of them will take what they have learned about God and His love for them in to their future careers, their families, their nations, and their friendships. Their whole life will be changed and used for God's Kingdom because of the community that you helped provide for them. I love you all, I am so incredibly thankful for your prayers, love, and support. As always, please never fail to hesitate to let me know if there is any way that I can pray for you or others. You all are incredibly important to me, and I look forward to calling you all soon and talking to you again! 
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." - Ephesians 3:20

In Christ,
Austin Gage

Comments

  1. Hey Austin!
    What a neat story about Hawkins. I am so glad you have befriended him and helped him get to know God in a new way. Your relationship with him is going to have a lifelong impact on him. I think it's such an incredible honor that God uses us, sometimes in simple ways like friendship, to accomplish His work in this world.

    I am also so excited that you will be staying at UTA and that I will get to work with you! I can't wait to be on the same team with you.

    Love you Austin!

    ReplyDelete

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