New year. New mercies.
So thankful for everyone’s support over the last few weeks. Thank you for the notes, encouragements, and prayers during my sabbatical in December. I have felt so refreshed and envisioned.
”I RECOGNIZED MY NEED FOR GOD OVER WINTER BREAK...”
Marshall and I were on campus inviting students into Lifegroup on the first day of the semester. We met a freshmen in one of the Res halls. After inviting him, he shared, “I recognized my need for God over winter break. I would love to come check it out.” I loved how immediately he shared this, right in front of one of his classmates when we spoke with him. He came to Lifegroup and church since, and expressed within the group how thankful he was that God led us to speak with him that day. Earlier that morning, Marshall had prayed specifically for someone to respond in this manner. God loves to answer prayers that are specific.
“GOD WILL HEAR YOUR PRAYER...”
It’s not normative to see students express such raw and beautiful desperation for God like this next story... Earlier this week, a student came to my home broken in their sin and longing for the mercy of God. In humility and brokenness they shared, “I’m finally realizing I can’t live without God, but I’ve already rejected Jesus. I’ve done the unpardonable sin. I need Jesus and I don’t know if I can ever have Him. But then I thought to come to you, because I know if you pray for me, God will hear your prayer.”
What a powerful confession. It was truly a holy moment. We spent the next few hours responding to God in prayer and song. Hearing them sing and release a song to the Lord was a taste of heaven.
I couldn’t help but think of Acts 10 when Cornelius’ prayer is heard and then he is led by an angelic host to hear the gospel from Peter. God answered Cornelius before he heard the gospel. Let that sink in. The same is true for every believer. Even when we were separated, He hears us. Never forget that God hears you. If He heard you then, He’s listening now.
I ran into a grad student today I’ve known since he was a freshmen. The picture above is from a wedding I officiated where Tom (left) was the best man. He joined us on Spring Break Trips, hosted Lifegroup as an underclassmen, and has been an encouragement to all in his time at SMU.
Recently, he was diagnosed with cancer and has begun treatment. Please join me in praying for Tom Landers. I’m asking for God to move on His behalf while he is undergoing a few rounds of intense chemotherapy.
God is good. He stands in the gap with us in our times of great need. He is listening.
These guys are world changers. That’s actually SMU’s current tagline and I think it’s perfect. World changers are shaped in Lifegroup at SMU. We had a spontaneous moment where God led us to take communion during worship. We passed the Bread and wine around the room, and as each person took hold of the elements, a deep and sweet emotion began to come out of student after student in response to the presence of God. When the cup was passed to me I realized the inside of the cup read, “I Belong to Jesus.” 😭😭😭😭
We spent time consecrating and preparing ourselves for the semester in desire to walk in the ancient paths the Bible lays out for His people: prayer, worship, fasting, confession, communion, service, community, and the public reading of scripture.
The next day some of us gathered on campus and read the book of Habakkuk aloud at the footsteps of the Dallas Hall Lawn.
Thanks for reading! Love you guys and thankful for the ways you are contending with me for what God is believing for for college students in Dallas.
ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS
New Student Leaders: we have new student leaders who joined the team this month: pray for Stephanie Halgren and Peyton Howard to make disciples of other students at SMU.
World Mandate: praying for God to call students to the harvest in the nations.
Carry the Love: we are leading a unified campus worship event at SMU on February 6th. Pray that God shakes the student body awake to faith and love, that students who follow Jesus already are filled with power to be His witnesses and ambassadors on the campus.
Global Hope: During my sabbatical, I was able to help redesign Heather Mercer’s website for her ministry in Iraq. Take a look at globalhope.com and pray for increased favor in the region and stateside support with her work among the Kurds.