Stephen MurrayComment

December 2018: Winter Break Sabbatical

Stephen MurrayComment
December 2018: Winter Break Sabbatical

December is a great month to reflect on your year and ask the Lord to bring to remembrance all the things He has done in and through you to be thankful for.

December 1st 2018 marks six years for me working at Antioch Dallas.

It’s been an incredible journey. I’ve been asked by my Lead Pastor to take a three week sabbatical from ministry as my students enter into their finals before winter break. I’ll be using this time to rest, invest in my marriage and friendships, and to visit family.

When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’
— Joshua 4:1-3 (ESV)

I’ve been thinking about this passage as I come to this six year mile-marker. God has made a way for His people, and He commands them to make a memorial, a signpost of His goodness toward the people of God so that other generations may remember and see what He has done.

21 And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
— Joshua 4:21-24 (ESV)

“As the Lord God did to the Red Sea…” Joshua brings to mind the fact that this is how God has always been. This act of God at the Jordan river was to remind His people what He did at the Exodus with Moses. What He did with Moses He is doing again.

Everything God does points back to the things He has done.

Who He has been is still who He is today. He is the deliverer. The way maker. As we look forward to the things He has yet to do, we are called to remember His works and the things He has done. And in this act of remembrance, our hope rises.

As I look back at every year of ministry, there are so many stories of God’s faithfulness that run through my mind. I want to view my stories and testimonies in the same light the Israelites viewed the stones taken from the bottom of the Jordan river.

I remember the student healed of a back injury and seeing her weep in God’s presence.

I remember the baptisms of student athletes giving their lives to Jesus.

I remember the disciples made in Peru and the Dominican Republic and Uganda and Belgium and France and Kurdistan.

I remember the students who have lived with Katy and I over the years who became leaders in our ministry, and now are professionals in their own fields still loving Jesus.

I remember the times God has saved students from suicide, healed people of depression, and given a new identity to those the enemy has deceived.

I remember the international students who have received Christ and told their families abroad about the life they have found in Jesus.

I remember watching demons come out of a student during a prayer meeting.

I remember every Spring Break Trip where students learned their Father’s voice, were filled with the Holy Spirit, and returned to their first love. And the trip when God poured out His Spirit on me and I wept for a straight hour and a janitor put up a “CAUTION WET FLOOR” sign next to me.

I remember the Freshmen who I walked with in discipleship until their graduation, who are now living throughout the country and abroad changing the world.

I remember the leaders and church members at Antioch who have supported and moved this college ministry forward over the years.

I remember the Chinese student who gave his life to Christ after another student and I sat down with him to share the Gospel during a discipleship lunch.

I remember the students over the years who have tasted and seen God’s goodness and then by God’s grace led other students to Jesus.


God, let our hopes rise this December as we look back at all You’ve done, and are left utterly assured in Your goodness and faithfulness toward us.

Winter Break Resources

Here are some resources we put together for our students over the break.


We have an awesome unity event coming up in February with Carry the Love, the Circuit Rider’s campus tour to inspire college students to love like Jesus. We’ll be hosting an event alongside other campus ministries at SMU on Wednesday, February 6th. Pray for us that this event catalyzes a student-led revival at SMU!

Personal Updates

  • Katy and I are hoping to sell our home by the end of January. Pray we’re able to finish getting it ready to show by the new year! We’re looking to move to Richardson.

  • I’m headed to Houston the first week of December to attend my roommate Joseph’s court date for his application for Asylum in the United States. This is huge that his court date came within two months of applying! Pray they will hear his case and that he will be able to not only remain here, but also that there would be grace for his wife and three kids to move here from Haiti as well.

  • Pray for my December Sabbatical to be restful and envisioning for the next season of ministry.

Ways to support:

  1. Contend in prayer for the campuses I’m reaching: UTD, SMU, and DBU. I will start consistently sending  out prayer requests so you can contend for us in our ministry. Our prayers will kindle the next student-led revival on campus in Dallas.

  2. Consider giving $100 monthly to support me and Antioch College Ministry at

  3. Join me in ministering to college students, or connect me with others who are interested in making disciples on college campuses.