Thursday, September 13, 2007

These are pictures of our staff team as we remodel the house that was purchased for ALL our single staff to live in near the campus. The 3 girls live on the main floor, and the five guys will be living upstairs. Also we will have the CO-Raleigh office in the basement initially, as well as a game room for students to come over and enjoy. Please pray that God would use this house to make His name famous at State.

Comfort: The Silent Killer
My favorite line in C.S. Lewis' novel The Loin, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, is one made by Mr. Beaver to Lucy when she asks if Aslan is safe. "Safe? Who said anything about being safe? Of course he isn't safe. But he is good. He is the King, I tell you."

Over the last 6 months I have been living a very comfort, safe life and trying to serve a safe God, but recently I have realized that God is calling me as He does all of His children to live radically. Radical is normal in the reality of the Gospel. I mean how could I not abandon everything for a Savior that lived a life I couldn't live and died a death I deserved, but the truth is that I do it often. In fact, if you want to know the truth I am a coward. I know all the Christian lingo and how to minister to students on paper, but diving into the dorms when I am 26 and with a ring on my finger is a different story. It scares the mess out of me! What do I have to offer? The answer is nothing a part from Christ, but God is calling me to give my life away and even make a plan to suffer as I love the broken and hurting students at State. Listen to Paul:

"And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:22-24

Comfort will kill your desire to get outside of yourself, and therefore, it will begin to slowly decay your soul. I (we) must continue to "get" uncomfortable for the Gospel. Not only do the hurting people around us need us to do that, but our very souls need us to do that. Are you comfortably dying? I don't know about you, but I am, and today I make the commitment to fight like heck to finish the race!
Home Is Finally Home!
No more tailgating chairs for us. After 10 weeks, Kelley and I feel like our home is finally complete. It was a fun time representing the WOLFPACK daily with our chairs, but I have to say I will never take having couches for granted again. The couches also allow us to have more people over, as we seek to build relationships and share the gospel. Please pray that these couches will see many people come to know Christ seated on them.



Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Heart of our Marriage

Sometimes it is hard to believe that Keith and I have only been married for a little over 3 months - it seems like we have adjusted quickly to living here in Raleigh and stumbling through life together! We have both grown so much through our marriage and I am thankful for the way that God is moving in our hearts. The way that I interact with Keith reflects my relationship with God, which sounds like a good thing; however, it has shown me how selfish I tend to be with God - even though He is my Savior and Lord. Because Keith responds to and speaks directly to my selfish actions/words, I can finally see how I am cheating myself out of truly trusting in and relying on simply demanding my own perspective.

Likewise, I have seen how Keith struggles to simply enjoy God (and people). He is always moving and striving in his relationships, which I usually love about him; however, it often disappoints him when people don't respond as he anticipates or when it seems there is a failure. I have realized the pressure that this causes him and I can see God asking Keith to really trust that His grace is sufficient (for him and others). Little by little, he is learning to live in that is so fun to watch Keith grow through this time. Keith's tender heart and desire for God is such a blessing to me.

We would love your prayers as we continue to learn how to supportingly love each other and God...and, of course, as we grow in our communication :) Marriage is a huge responsibility, gift, and, most of all, symbol of God's desire to have an intimate relationship with His children. We are blessed.

Kelley Ann

The Start of a Legacy
August 18th, 2007 was a monumental day. It was the day that everyone involved with Campus Outreach Raleigh (supporters and staff) stepped on the campus of North Carolina State University for the very first time. The day started at 7:30am, with my wife and I, along with one other staff guy named Bryan Bender gathering to pray and then heading to the center of campus to register as volunteers for freshmen move-in day. The excitement was incredible, but the excitement soon was met with anxiety as hundreds of volunteers from the Greek system, churches, and on-campus ministries began to trickle in to help 5,000 freshmen get into their dorm rooms. I am not going to lie at that moment I wondered, "what in the world are we (Campus Outreach) doing here?!" I mean having all these groups and ministries reaching out to this campus is awesome, but I wasn't sure how we would or could fit into that. We definitely don't have the thousands of dollars that these organizations are spending towards events and marketing themselves (which is not a bad thing), but God quickly reminded me that He had called "us" here not to establish a huge movement but to give our lives to a few. With only about 10-20% of the student population (approx. 31,000) being reached with the Gospel, there is still a great need for life-on-life discipleship. Not only that, but also that He has already ordained people for us to meet and that He will provide in-roads for us as we continue to step out in faith. Like in Numbers 13, this land is flowing with milk and honey! The harvest is so plentiful, and God has called us here to cultivate relationships for His glory. Ministry starts and ends with relationships, and we are just asking Him for a few laborers that will change this campus and be apart of changing the world for His Kingdom.
And guess what? That is exactly what He did. We all got to meet some really cool students, and genuinely look forward to serving and loving them more in the future. Even today, Bryan and I went to a campus-wide event where we played ultimate frisbee with about 20 guys and had a great time connecting with these students. Who knows the very first guy we see come to Christ this year may have been in that game. I wish I could describe for you how amazing it is to pioneer a campus for the very first time and watch God go before you, and do things that you would not imagine. Giving your life to these students is so much fun! Thanks for your partnership supporters!

Please join us in praying for the following:

  1. That God would grant us favor with the administration, organizations, and students (I meet with the administration of the university this week to discuss recognition)
  2. That God would continue to provide support for the following staff members: Landon Heatherington, DT House, Zach Griep, Betsy Dobbins, Liz Dyar, and Stephanie Hood (I am trusting God that everyone will be on campus by September 13th)
  3. That God would help us cultivate relationships with the following guys: Daniel, Nate, Davis, Jon Eric, Chris, Robert, Harrison, Sam, and Corey.
  4. That God would help us to continue to step outside of ourselves and love people

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Update: Oliver Marmol
    Most of you may not know that one of the guys that I discipled for 3 years just got drafted in this year's Major League Draft. He was picked by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 6th round. It has been a definite dream come true for Oli, and I have recently talk to him several times and all our conversations have been extremely encouraging. Why? One, because he is continuing to pursue God wholeheartedly in a very tough environment. Secondly, because he has also continued to value the hearts of people more than he has the game of baseball. He really understands why God has him there, which is to impact the hearts of men with the gospel. And lastly, he made a comment to me that motivates me to want to do this job for the rest of my life. He told me that since he had been away from the campus that he had begun to see the huge impact that life-on-life discipleship had on his life, and that the training he had received the last three years had prepared him greatly for impacting the players around him for Christ. To build laborers for a lifetime is why I do this job, and I pray that you can rejoice with me in celebrating this laborer that God has used us to build into and develop for His glory and the advancement of His Kingdom. May there be many more like him to come!
    My Identity as a Saint

    I have been studying Ephesians recently, and to be completely honest I have been utterly encouraged and brokenhearted at the same time. I know that it is hard to imagine both of those emotions existing simultaneously, but somehow my fickle heart has swung back and forth between both of those feelings. In Ephesians, Paul is laying out the vision or purpose that God intended for the Church (the body of believers), but before He dives into that he starts by reminding the church in Ephesus who they are "in Christ". He tells them that they are the following ONLY in a relationship with Christ:

    1. Blessed (v.3)
    2. Chosen (v.4)
    3. Predestined (v.5)
    4. Adopted (v.5)
    5. Accepted (v.6)
    6. Redeemed (v.7)
    7. Forgiven (v.7)
    8. Enlightened (vv.8-9)
    9. Given an inheritance (v.11)
    10. Sealed (v.13)
    11. Assured (v.14)
    Ephesians 1:3-14

    As I read the words of my Heavenly Father say these things about me, and who I am in Christ without having to earn a single ounce of it, I am excitedly overwhelmed. There is no richer mercy and no greater love than that of our Creator. Oh how I wish I lived in my identity as a child, co-heir, and saint in the Kingdom. That is where my heart begins to break! To many times I fail to rest in and preach my worth and value in Christ to my ever wandering heart. In fact, I fall captive to the expectations and demands of this world more than I fight to preach the gospel to my own soul. I am willing to bet that too many people in churches across America fall victim to the same expectations and demands, but have no idea that they are letting the world shape them more than what their Father says is true about them "in Christ".

    Without resting in my identity in Christ it is impossible for me to actively dive in deeply with my God and with other people (especially my wife). Without resting in my value and worth in Christ it is impossible for me to have right perspective in support raising, leading a team, or why I should continue to pour my life out daily as a drink offering. Please God let me be a man who rests and preaches to my heart more than I call others to preach to their hearts because without being filled with Your love and grace I can't give it.

    Please be praying the following for us as we fight to pursue the King together, and lay down our lives as His redemptive agents:

    1. They we would rest in the Sovereign, Loving arms of our Father
    2. Wisdom in how to minister to our staff and approach the campus at NC State
    3. That God would continue to lay us on the hearts of people and give us partners in spreading the Gospel to college students ($1500 monthly)

    Saturday, June 30, 2007


    We have just gotten settled in Raleigh today, well sort of. As you can see from the pictures we still don't have living room furniture, but the Wolfpack chairs are holding up just fine. Life has been overwhelming at times lately with moving, support, family concerns, and just being married. God, however, has blessed us daily, and we both are growing so much in repentance and trust of Him. Times like these really do expose the idols (things that we run to besides God) in your life, which can be painful to see and struggle through with Christ, but God is so committed to us. He exposes these idols, breaks us, but through the whole process He is gently massaging His character into our hearts. What a loving God and King we serve!

    Below is some pictures of our "tent". Please pray that it would be a place where God not only cultivates a Christ-like marriage in our hearts, but that our staff and students would come to and be forever changed by Christ's love in us and the Gospel. To all our supporters thank you for your faithful prayers and giving. This is your home! We love you!

    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    Going to the Chapel!
    May 6th, 2007 is a day that I will never forget, or at least I better not! really was the PERFECT day though. It was extremely cool to dream with my soon to be wife about what that day would really look like and feel like, and it was everything we had dreamed and more. I can't tell you the excitement and chills I felt when the doors opened and my beautiful bride walked step by step towards me. It truly was breathtaking! I worshipped along with the singers, screaming on the inside, "Allelujah, Allelujah!" I am so blessed to have Kelley in my life. She is the best gift I have ever received from the Lord besides His merciful grace at salvation.