Stop to Smell the Roses and Count My Blessings

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Pizza Theology: A lecture on a topic of theology we offer to all of our FOCUS campuses combined. 

    It is crazy that the end of the semester is just a week and a half away! I feel like August was just yesterday and I woke up to find out it's December. So many things have happened this semester and I've been learning so much, sometimes I just have to pause and sift through things, make sure I don't pass them by.
 I'm learning that in a ministry vocation the things I've been learning are much closer to home. In ministry the stakes are just higher, I don't clock in at 9 am and get to clock out at 5 pm. I am always on the job. Part of that can be REALLY exciting! As my job I get to hang out with students, I get to study the Bible and introduce students to a God who is CRAZY about them.
  Another part of ministry as a job is pretty tough. There is always more I could do, always a student I could've been more loving to and a better question I could've asked. Something that is beginning to dawn on me though is how doing ministry vocationally is preparing me for the rest of my life. Whichever direction my life goes I'm always going to be faced with the question of “What could I have done better in this situation?” In dating or maybe someday raising kids, even now interacting with roommates there is always the potential to be more like Christ. I think the question I need to be asking instead is “did I do my best for God?”
  This question may seem just as hard to answer as the first one, but I think the emphasis shifts from me to God, focusing on God's best rather than my inadequacies.

God's Best at Richland:

Selam, Me and Hazel in our FOCUS

   This is a question I want to be consistently asking at Richland. What does God's best at Richland look like? I'm still figuring out God's best and I'm not sure I'll get a complete concrete answer, but I want it to be something I pray and strive for. I will say I have been pretty encouraged by the last few weeks at Richland! Please be praying for Richland as we go into the new year, with a community college there is a bigger potential to lose students between semesters.
We did outreach about a month ago and from that we've had new girls trickle into Core. It is pretty late into the semester so I wasn't too hopeful they would stick around but three of them have and I'm so excited! (Our core fluctuates from around 5-10 girls) These girls have come excited to make friends and really dive into the Bible!


  We just finished up our Old Testament Intern class. In the Old Testament class, we read through the entire Old Testament and went back through it again for an in-depth study. This might have been one of the hardest classes I've had in a while, even thinking back to my college classes. I had never read through the entire Old Testament before and there was so much of it I thought I basically understood. Wrong. At the end of the class, we had to write a paper on “How a Christian should use the Old Testament,” talk about a daunting task. I've found that it is pretty hard to narrow down the Old Testament and to write a paper without working for a grade but again for the best we can do for God. My college career would have looked a lot different than it did if I had written all my papers as if for the Lord rather than for a grade.
  We've also been reading through and studying the New Testament. Again I went into that thinking I knew the in's and out's of the Gospels and was again proved wrong. My favorite thus far has been reading through Luke and John, I think I am overall less familiar with those two of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John). Luke just does a great job of capturing small personal details. Several times Luke records “And Mary cherished these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:19 & 51) This is just so powerful to me, seeing how Mary really caught onto the majesty of what was happening before her very eyes. 
  Moving into John, I got so caught up in the first few chapters. I've read them before, but I don't think I've ever stopped and thought about the depth of truth that is packed into each verse. John 1:10-11 for example: “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Just the idea that the world's creator was in the world and the world did not even recognize him, how crazy is that to think about? I feel like I'm rediscovering Jesus, or at least getting to know him on an adult level.

It's Worth It:

  It is crazy to try to look back to my freshman year, where I started and where I've come through this journey of walking through college in FOCUS. I can't picture how different my life would be had God not used this ministry to really show me his love and call me to maturity in my faith. I remember being pretty lonely and frustrated in parts of high school and then coming to college and my family moving away to Iowa and feeling alone all over again. It was so cool how God brought in a family of brothers and sisters in Christ to show me a part of Christ's love that really caused growth in me. Campus ministry really is so worth it. 
  Last year FOCUS had our first annual “Keep FOCUS Going and Growing Initiative” and with that money we were able to plant another ministry at UTA (University of Texas Arlington) this year. This year we have our second annual “Keep FOCUS Going and Growing Initiative” with the goal to raise $45,000. 
  Please pray and consider if you feel led to further invest in this one-time fundraiser for FOCUS so that we can really be the most effective next year!
Go here to donate:

How you can be praying:

-Please just pray for guidance as we go into the new year. I'm thinking and praying a lot about what this next year might look like for Richland and for myself.
-Please just pray a prayer of praise for all the amazing staff at Richland who have really worked hard to help us out with getting rooms and such.
-Winter Camp! This is one of our biggest events of the year! it is a weekend long camp where students get to fellowship and learn more about Jesus, really start of the school year on the right foot. It costs about $150, which can be tough for some students to afford. Please be praying for financial help from Richland faculty and praise God for the use of vans provided by the school as transportation for Richland students!
-Please pray for the community of Richland Focus, that God would raise up new leaders and continue to solidify a community at Richland.
Thank you all so much for your support both financially and especially in prayer through this semester, I get so excited to hear responses from you!
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