Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas everyone,
This past month of November I have been given a lot to be thankful for. Two of those reasons just happen to be events that you personally helped to make happen! 72 Hours of Prayer. And Pizza Theology. Both of these event are reasons why November ranks among my favorite months in college ministry. Because in both of these events students are given opportunities to encounter God and Scripture in ways that go beyond the common practices and routines of every day life.
The first event that I want to share with all of you is 72 Hours of Prayer. This event is a joint ministry partnership of all the college ministries on campus at UT Arlington. The goal is to create a space for students who are in need of prayer to come and make those requests known. And then, facilitated during every hour for the entirety of 3 days and nights there are students inside the tent praying over those requests. For many students, these three days are a time of healing as they write prayer requests, aware that there are others on campus who want to help them carry that burden, who are faithful enough to pray for God to intercede into their situation. For other students this is an experience like they've never had. In a world where attention spans are lessening and distractions are all around, inviting students to come and simply pray to God for an entire hour is a new discipline and practice to them. But many of those students leave this event with a desire to instill these disciplines and practices into their own life on a regular schedule. And they desire this because the find that in their hour long time of prayer they really could tangibly sense God's presence with them, listening to their requests, and giving peace to their hearts.
Here is a picture of many of the prayer requests written on the inside of the tent.
This is one of the displays inside the tent. If the students don't know how to pray for an hour there are displays hung inside that will help them to focus their hearts and minds on the things of God.
I love this event for so many reasons. I always leave encouraged by the unity between the various campus ministries on this campus, and also excited and hopeful for all of the change that God will enact on this college campus and in the world, because of a faithful few who choose to bow before God and make the requests of their heart known to him. John 15: 7 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Another one of my favorite events of the year is Pizza Theology!
Once a semester, FOCUS hosts what we call a pizza theology. It is not a lecture on the theology of Pizza. But it is an in depth time of teaching on a particular topic of scripture, for an entirety of 4 hours, with an hour long pizza dinner break in between. Walk up to any college student and ask them if they would like to spend their weekend listening to a 4 hour lecture, and I believe that most of those students would respond with a no. But every semester we invite all of our students to come and do just that and they show up in droves. This semester the subject was the sermon on the mount. We invited a professor from a local seminary to come and teach on that passage for 4 hours, and for 4 hours our students listened as their insight into scripture and God's character and God's call for their life increased in understanding. It was both an incredibly encouraging and convicting time. As believe it or not, while the words of Jesus always bring life, they often come with a lot of power.
If you would like to listen to this particular Pizza Theology you can do so here.
As always, I am so incredibly grateful for your partnership in this ministry. Every week I get to meet with college students and share Christ with them, and every week I get to witness the Spirit of God drawing college students closer and closer to our Lord. I will forever be grateful to you for the role that you are playing in all of that. Whether or not you believe this to be true, I fully believe that by investing in college ministry, you are laying up for yourself treasures in heaven. I pray that one day each one of you will be able to see the full effect and impact that your donations have had on the Kingdom. But until that day, I'll keep trying my best to relay what I see happening through these blogs.
My sincerest thanks, Austin.