A Very Joyful January


I'll praise 'cause You're sovereign, praise 'cause You reign
Praise 'cause You rose and defeated the grave
I'll praise 'cause You're faithful, praise 'cause You're true
Praise 'cause there's nobody greater than You

As long as I'm breathing
I've got a reason to
Praise the Lord, oh my soul
I won't be quiet, my God is alive
So how could I keep it inside? (I gotta)
Praise the Lord, oh my soul

These lyrics from Elevation Worship's song Praise was the anthem of our annual Winter Retreat. In listening and singing these lyrics, it entered my heart how wonderful it is to have this opportunity to proclaim this news about who our good God is. Not only that, but hearing this echoed in the voices of 500+ college students made it all the more incredible! So for this month's blog, I want to share some way the Lord has been on the move and how your support has been instrumental in the furthering of these anthems of praise among college students. 

Ringing in the New Year with Worship 

In December, one of our students at Collin initiated to put together a board game and worship night to ring in the New Year. Young adults began to stream into the doors of the church and the atmosphere quickly began to resound with laughter as board games were spread throughout the room. When it got closer to 11:00 pm, a team of students from different college campuses gathered to lead us into a time of worship, scripture reading, and group prayer. I think of Paul's words to Timothy to not "let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." These young adults were pouring out their praises long through the night. What made me most joyous was that it was completely student led. God clearly placed a desire for him in their hearts and they responded. 

We had a room packed with students from all over the metroplex
singing and praying as the clock stuck midnight. 


Staff Retreat - To Love as God Loves 

Much like in August, our minister staff team took a few days to regroup after the holidays and prepare our hearts and minds for the semester ahead. Our team read through a book, "To Love as God Loves: Conversations with the Early Church" by Roberta Bondi and discussed it's major themes. It was an encouraging time meditating on God's love for each of us and how we can then pour that love to others. 




Winter Retreat 2024 - Disruptive Grace with Dr. Daniel Lee 

Each January, FOCUS hosts a four day Winter Retreat where hundreds of students in our community gather to be encouraged in by the reading and study of scripture, participation in moments of worship expressed through song, and fellowship and communion with each other. 

Our guest speaker, Dr. Daniel Lee, shared a message about the extravagant nature of God's grace. As believers, we are meant to experience the Gospel as good news! He explained that this largely starts with honesty and allowing ourselves to be seen by God's compassionate glaze. Dr. Lee also spoke of how we can tend to distrust God and lean toward disobedience, but we can also distrust God while being obedient in our actions (see the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son). Distrusting obedience causes us to feel like we are slaves to the Father rather than children who have access to all that belongs to the Father. 

Another highlight that many students in my small group talked about was the worship expressed through singing! The different sessions featured a variety of styles of praise - from a gospel choir to acapella style hymn singing to singing in Spanish! On our Saturday night service, we also had a time of scripture reading in different languages. There were about 20 students who were emboldened to read scripture tin their native language. It sure made me anticipate with gladness the day when people of every tribe, nation, and tongue will worship Jesus as King. I was thankful to have experienced a foretaste of that at Winter Retreat! 




Thank you for your prayers! God really was on the move and turning hearts toward him!


Another Semester Started

Apprentice classes started back up on January 8th and it has been a time of learning more about the following:

  • The New Testament by looking at what the cultural context that Jesus grew up in.
  • The importance of our communities reflecting the diversity of heaven and how different cultures and peoples can be united in and through Christ. 
  • Who the Holy Spirit is and how He is still at work in the community of believers. 

These topics have been immediately applicable and a cause of fruitful discussions. Reading through the cultural backdrop that Jesus was born into moved me to tears and worship. 



 

Another semester means many more celebrations! We got to celebrate our dear friend Jessica for her birthday! 

Big Thanks 

Thank you again, for the prayers and support! I am excited for what God is doing here at Collin College and all over the DFW area in the lives of college students! What's more is that these students get to go home and radiate God's goodness to their families and friends. 

"We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:19 


My the grace and peace of God be with you! 






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