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Keep Focus Growing

Wow wow wow! Today is Giving Tuesday and you can help Keep Focus Growing by making a special contribution today. This year we are inviting people to pave the way for not only this generation to know Jesus but for all of the college campuses in DFW to be known as a place where disciples are made and people can experience the love of God for generations to come. Will you join me in giving today towards that vision? Everything we raise today will be MATCHED dollar for dollar by some of our generous ministry partners, up to $42,000. Also, starting at 7AM, Facebook is matching 100% for the first $2 Million, and 10% after that until they reach $5 Million. So all or part of your gift could be matched TWICE by giving today! https://www.facebook.com/donate/1050987058753315/?fundraiser_source=external_url Thank you for your investment in college ministry! Because of you hearts are being turned to God each and every day.

Hearts Turned Towards God

 God is so good! This months blog will be short but jam packed of good news. This year more than any other year since we have gotten started we have had an influx of students join our ministry who were previously opposed to, or passive in, a relationship with God and who have now become convinced in their hearts that Jesus is Lord and are determined to live their lives for him. Connor is a new guy in our ministry this year who came to college skeptical of Christianity. So skeptical that he says in high school he used to debate people who believed in Jesus and convince them that God was not real. This year he said he made friends with several guys in our ministry. Taylor Bass and Jalen Quintana invited him to play spikeball. As he put it, he found friends first and then he found God. At the same time that he joined a core and started doing a one on one bible study with one of our corefas, Taylor Bass, he also met several other campus ministers from several other campus ministries. He be

Cores and More

Hello friends! It's been a great second month of the school year. I continue to see God at work as all of the new students that first became interested in checking out focus a month ago have already begun to join cores, build friendships, and even consider this community to be their own as we all seek God together.    This semester we changed how we do our Thursday Night gatherings. We used to do 30 minute sermons and include worship and community sharing every time we got together as a large group. But we decided with the unique situation that COVID is that we should limit praise through song and make more room for teaching. So we changed our name for what we do on Thursday's from "Thursday Night Fellowship" to "Deep Dive" and all semester we've been going through the gospel of Mark in hour long teaching times. I got to preach through the first 5 weeks. If you want to take a listen to one of those you can do so here!  https://www.twitch.tv/videos/751120

God Continues To Amaze

 Hello friends, The last two weeks have been like nothing else I've ever experienced in ministry before. With restrictions from the University on where we can meet and how many people can be present we knew going into the two weeks of Maverick Stampede that we would not be able to operate like we usually do. There would be no pajama dance party to attend, or candy poker night to invite people to, or a waffleopolis to be overwhelemed by with the amount of people who come to that event just to eat one free waffle. None of those would be happening like they have in years past. In fact we weren't even sure how many students would be on campus. And with all of this uncertainty and our unability to rely on strategies we've used to reach the campus in the past, there was anxiety for us and for our student leader team. What would college ministry even look like this year? How could God possibly work with so many restrictions impeding our efforts? Well, good news, God is not impeded

Commiting to 4 more years of ministry.

Today I will be recommitting to 4 more years of ministry with Focus as a campus pastor to UT Arlington. While we could not invite people to join us for the ordination ceremony I wanted you to know that you can watch me make those commitments to the community online at 6:00 pm tonight on the website twitch.tv/utdfocus. This week I've been going through a devotional that was curated to help pastors pray and think through the commitment that they are making. The call to be a good shepherd, to be an example to the community, to be humble and a servant of all, to know God deeply and allow our ministry to flow out of a relationship with him, and more. But I also this morning have spent time thinking about the reality that 4 years is a significant amount of time. As I was praying through the decision I still intend to make this evening I felt like God was leading me to reflect on the last 5 years of ministry here at UTA and remember just all of the amazing ways I've seen him work. Typ

The Test of Our Work

Hello Friends, I pray that this update finds you well. Ministry over the last month has certainly been encouraging. I'm excited to write to you the news of how I see God working in the lives of these students. I see God's kingdom breaking in to the world in exciting ways and I hope that this news serves as an encouragement to you as well. In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul gives instructions to a young leader who was learning how to lead a church . This young leader was named Timothy. Paul himself had mentored Timothy and now Timothy was in a position to lead others. And this was the instruction Paul gave him. "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. " He told Timothy to take this good news, and the life that follows it, and share that same news and that same way of life with other reliable people, who would th

Summer Leadership Training

Dear ministry partners, I have to start by apologizing for not taking as many pictures this month! There has been a lot to do over the last few weeks much of it I'm incredibly excited about. But in the excitement and the rush, I am guilty of the disservice of not capturing these moments in images that I can share with you. I fully intend to be better about that in the month to come! But let me share with you several of the things I see God doing in our ministry right now. 1. Summer Leadership Training - Typically, at this time of year we take the next generation of our student leaders to a leadership conference called the Student Institute of Campus Ministry or SICM for short. SICM is based in Bellingham, Washington and it is hosted by a great ministry that we are partnered with up there called Campus Christian Fellowship. During that week the students learn how to make and mature disciples of Jesus on their campus, through reaching out to their peers and entering into intenti

Disciple Means Student

Two of the things that I have been most grateful for in the last month is the fact that God gifts us with so much fun in this life, and secondly, how God blesses us by giving us the ability to learn. At our online TNF's we have been hosting after events for our students where we try to do something that helps everyone feel connected. At one of our most recent after events we decided to host "show and tell" where everyone finds one or two objects that they are most proud of owning or they consider to be the most interesting thing they own. It was such a blast to see what the students loved and wanted to show off. In the bottom right Taylor Bass, one of our student leaders, was showing off the set of armor that he and some friends had crafted from cardboard. And 2 blocks above him Nathan Baugh, another one of our student leaders, shows off his autographed pictures of Ariana Grande that he got when he was in middle school. It was so sweet to laugh with those in attendance

The Steadfast Love of God

Hello from everyone here at UTA Focus! This Gif was made from our digital gathering last Thursday Night. I have had the opportunity recently to read through some more of the psalms and I was recently struck by the language of the "Steadfast love of God endures forever". Even as things have looked different than usual, I am convinced that the love of God is as with us today as it was a month ago, and his work, that is always essential, has not come to an end.  I thank God for the opportunity that technology has provided to us to still meet weekly, read and discuss scripture, worship God through song, and encourage the body.  Since these shut in orders began across all of DFW, college ministry has certainly looked different. All of my appointments that used to be in person are now over video chat or phone call. But I don't believe that has in any way lessened the impact that Jesus is having on students lives. If anything the isolation and the stillness has caused our st

Changes with Coronoavirus

Hey friends, I just wanted to send a mid month update as I'm sure many of you are wondering how everything happening with Covid-19 has affected ministry and the lives of the students involved. I'm going to share with you a letter sent by our director Brandon Worsham. As well as update you on what specifically we are doing here at UT Arlington to protect the students and their loved ones ,while still being faithful to the call that we have to make and mature disciples of Jesus. I'm going to start with the letter and then transition into giving you UTA specifics. " To the FOCUS Community: I want to update you on how FOCUS is responding to COVID-19, especially in light of so many of our campuses extending spring break and moving to online instruction only afterward. A s a community , we need to be praying diligently for our world during this concerning time. We don’t need to panic, because we know our hope is secure in Christ, b ut we do need to take action i

Remembering the Mission

As any person with sight can see below, I'm not a great photographer. At least definitely not when it comes to selfies! But God is really good, and over the last month, I've been reminded more and more about how everything I get to do is for a specific mission that I believe God has called me and the rest of our campus pastors to. To make and mature disciples of Jesus on the college campus for the glory of God. Being reminded of this mission has reignited in me an excitement for the day in day out activities of ministry. This poor quality picture is of a high-quality group of guys. This last week I got to go visit one of our core groups! This core group consists of from left to right, Charles, Taylor, Marcos, Travis, Alan, Thomas and Jessie. Every week these neat guys get together to catch up on each others lives, read scripture together, and have a discussion on how to live in a way that honors God in their daily lives. It was so encouraging to be there and watch them

You're Invited!

I hope you can make it to Spring Showcase this year. It is an evening you won't want to miss! Not only is it a fun filled night of incredible musical performances but all of the proceeds from the event go directly to sending students to Bellingham, Washington to attend the Student Institute of Campus Ministry. At SICM the students will learn how to be witnesses to their college campus for Jesus. For me SICM was a life changing, week long conference where I decided that for the rest of my life not only was I going to be a disciple of Jesus but that I was going to make disciples of Jesus. If you want to further help support raising up the next generation of missionaries to the world than buying your ticket for spring showcase is one of the best ways to do that. I'll be there as well so it will be a great opportunity to catch each other. I will even introduce you to several of the students that your gift has been so positively impacting! If you buy the VIP package you will get

Winter Camp and Spring Showcase (You are Invited!)

We recently returned from our annual Winter Camp retreat at Sky Ranch in Van, Texas. Over 60 students from UT Arlington came with us to join the over 600 college students from across our FOCUS Campuses to join for one 4 day weekend of worship, games, sermons, and friendship! It can be hard to explain just exactly what happens every year at winter camp. But every year students' lives are changed as they make decisions to follow Jesus, to commit to Christian community, and gain a vision to share the good news of the gospel with their friends, families, and peers. This year during the sermons we taught through many of the psalms, and students gained new perspectives on how we are able to worship God in whatever season of life we find ourselves. It is often this event that causes students to catch a vision of what God wants to do during the rest of their time in college. I have already gotten to have some great conversations with some of our young male leaders about how the