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A Long Obedience In The Same Direction

 Hello Friends,

I hope that you had a sweet and restful Christmas season with your family and loved ones, and that reflecting on Jesus and all that he is doing in the world made you hopeful for the year to come. I know it did for me! In case you didn't know, the title of the blog is actually a quote from Frederick Nietzsche. But a pastor who I have enjoyed reading the work of, Eugene Peterson, repurposed that quote to describe his summation of the Christian life and specifically the life of a pastor. And it has really been encouraging to me recently. As I think about all that I would like to be able to do for God, I realize that all he asks of me is simply to pick up my cross daily and follow him, a long obedience in the same direction. 

But this task is not nothing. It is often painful and difficult, but it is also the only way to real life. But another thing I find beautiful about a long obedience in the same direction is that as a pastor friend of mine, Ronnie Worsham, always says... "You can't out give God." So as we all follow Jesus, he often blesses us with getting to see glimpses of his coming kingdom as a result of our obedience.

The top photo is of our UTA Christmas Party. Just part of the fruit of 6 and a half years on the campus. It was wonderful to see our students gathered together to celebrate Jesus and be friends to one another before heading home for the holidays. Here is a video of one of our newest students Jacob, who I get to study the bible with weekly, getting the crowd going with his rendition of Feliz Navidad. His duet partner is Graham Spencer, one of our FOCUS apprentices at UTA.

I'm so thankful that just a little obedience, following after Jesus can lead to a community like this, where young people like Jacob can come and find Christ centered friendships who will care about them and celebrate them. I know Jacob will one day contribute to helping other students feel this same way as he also continues his long obedience to Jesus. And the implications of more and more students taking up that obedience to Jesus amazes me as I think about the impact just a few people really following Jesus can have on a campus over the decades.

As an example of this I got to attend a church leader conference recently. The conference hosted men and women from around DFW who in one way or another serves in our family of churches as leaders or ministers. I got to listen to Ronnie Worsham, a man now in his 70's, describe how in awe of God he was that when he came to Garland, Texas 30 years ago with a vision for churches that supported campus ministries that vision would result in a family of 6 churches and 12 college campuses. And how simply following Jesus, and discipling others, 30 years later led to a room full of 50 ministers of all different ages. I'm so excited to see what God does as you and I and hundreds of college students continue to follow him for the long haul. Thank you for your partnership in ministry, I would not have the opportunity to lead others to be followers of Jesus as often as I do without your partnership in this mission. Don't forget to check out the student testimony below!


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