Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Campus Outreach SOP from J. Stephens on Vimeo.
God's Movement
"Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. 5 Thus says God, the Lord,who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it,who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6 “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. 8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. 9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:1-9

Above is one of four Servant Songs found in Isaiah that prophesy about Jesus, and what He would fulfill in His life, death, and resurrection. So in light of this passage, I wanted to give you an update on what we, as a staff team, having been trusting God for this semester, and how He has been graciously and faithfully (despite our weaknesses and failures) answered those prayers in Christ. Now, I want you to know that numbers are NOT as important to us as is believing and living out the Gospel, but we will not and should not be scared to ask God for BIG things.

Look at what God has done:
Trust God List for the Year
  1. All staff at 100% by the end of May (moving there thanks to your faithful giving and prayers)
  2. Fall Retreat – 50 students (58 students went to Myrtle Beach!)
  3. New Year's Conference – 40 students (39 students traveled to Atlanta)
  4. Converts – 17 students (over 10 students have come to Christ this year, totaling 25 in the last year and a half!)
  5. Evangelistic Bible Studies – 8 (6 Bible studies have been going with students who are exploring the claims of Christ)
  6. Weekly Meetings – 75 student average (we have been averaging this and more!)
  7. Winter Retreat – 60 students (63 students went to Asheville!)
  8. Summer Orlando Project – 35 students (please keep praying for this!)
  9. Student leaders (The PACK)- to catch a vision for communing with God deeply, discipleship, evangelism, and the Church (I have 100's of stories...they are getting it by the grace of God!)
Love always wins

Recently, I have been reading a book by Paul Miller called "Love Walked Among Us: Learning to Love Like Jesus", and I want to make a bold statement about it: "Every Christian should have this book in there top 5 books to read! I am convinced that if the Gospel is to go deeper into our hearts and overflow into the culture around us, we MUST understand how loved we are in Christ and how to extend that love to others." Go grab a copy and learn to stop being efficient. Love is NOT efficient. In fact, it is risky and messy, but that is how the Kingdom is going to be advanced. Praise be to you God because you have designed the Kingdom to be advanced by you being the hero and not us!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Support Update

Dear Supporters, thanks to your prayers and your generous and faithful giving, Kelley and I were able to finish 2008 in the BLACK! We are so thankful that you have continued to sacrificially honor God with your money during this tough economic time. Just like Paul tells the Church at Phillipi in chapter 4 of his letter to them, that he is thankful for their partnership in the Gospel, we say "thanks" for not only helping meet our personal needs, but also freeing us up to evangelize on the campus at NC State. I am sure that if they could, there would be about 50-60 students that would love to thank you for being apart of changing their lives forever. God is using you to create a movement that I believe will continue to ripple out for many years to come. Things to pray for:
  1. Our support over the next year. With the economy struggling, we are feeling the effects greatly, like I am sure many of you are. We have about a $400-600 monthly need (depending upon how the government handles the present crisis), and we only received $1,600 in January. So please pray for us! We need you!
  2. Our marriage. Ministry can be hard (although very rewarding) on a marriage as you give and give to others. Please pray for Kelley and I as we seek to love and submit to one another in a Christlike manner. We desire for people to fall in love with Christ as they see our marriage.
  3. Our student leaders. Pray that they would be Jesus-centered, Spirit filled, and Spirit led.
  4. Students. There are many students that we have been building relationships with and taking spiritual steps towards over the last two years. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will convict their hearts and open their eyes to the Glory of Christ (We have seen 27 students come to Christ in less than 2 years and we are praying that many more would come to know Him personally before the year is out).
Love you!
The Red Zone

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:1-5

"The Red Zone" is our weekly meeting, where we seek to bring people that we have built relationships with, in order to do what Paul charges his son in the faith Timothy to do...preach the Word! The Red Zone is a place that we want seekers, doubters, and believers to come and be challenged by the Word of God. So far this semester, we have been exploring questions that many of us tend to have as culture and Christianity collide. We have ONLY had 3 of these weekly meetings since we got here over a year and a half ago. Last meeting blew us away as around 80 students showed up and heard the Gospel (we are going to have to get a new room already) . Please pray for us as we preach the Word clearly, relevantly, and honestly. Also, pray that as we seek to care for and love students after these meetings, that their hearts will be convicted and that they will submit their hearts and lives to Christ.
Developing Men

Mason Bednarczyk and Mike Hall- Please meet two guys that God is developing into men of His Word, lovers of His Glory, and leaders for His Kingdom. Mason is from Wilmington, NC and Mike is from Apex, NC. Just to give you a little bit of background on these guys; we (our team) met them late last Spring. Mason was a believer when we met him (although he didn't know much about practically walking with God) and Mike "thought" he was a Christian, but had a very "works" based mentality. After a lot of relationship building as a team, I began to met with these men several times a week to open up God's Word and see how it could be applied to our hearts and lives. Over the Christmas break, at NYC 2008 (read below) Mike surrendered His life to Christ. Myself and our team were ecstatic because we had been praying for Mike for a long time.

Now, these men and I are continuing to dive into the Gospel and how it applies to our daily lives. I am completely blown away by their desire to know God more, love people, and be a part of a local church. I can see the fruits of the Spirit all in their lives, and they are making some pretty remarkable decisions to love God wholeheartedly and be missionaries on the campus at State. Please be praying for them as they continue to seek the face of Christ, be emptied of themselves, love the students around them, and grab a vision for what God might do through them in light of His heart for the world.

Supporters (both prayerfully and financially) you are changing lives by freeing us up to do evangelism and saturating our days in your prayers! God is moving!

New Year's Conference 2008

Dec. 28- Jan. 1, we took around 40 NC State students to our annual conference in Atlanta. It was a great time in the movement that God is graciously building at State. We were challenged by the realities of the Gospel and how Christ died on the cross to satisfy the justice of the Father. It was amazing to have God pierce Kelley and I hearts, along with our students. God really used this time to not only call seekers and doubters to Himself (we had 2 students submit their lives to Christ), but He also enlarged our student leader's hearts for His Glory, and seeing His reign and rule advanced in Jerusalem (NC State), in all Judea (Raleigh) and Samaria (the Carolinas), and to the the ends of the earth. Rejoice, God is building an incredible movement here!