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It's Close to the End

Happy Late Thanksgiving.  I hope you had a great one with loved ones. I know I did. 

Waldo was posed so perfectly by our Christmas tree that I had to snap a photo.

The photo above one of our students taking home pizza from our event in November, Pizza Theology. She just cracked me up bringing to box with her into the lecture. Her name is Laura and she is easily one of the kindest people I know. She is one of our senior nursing students. The range of people she knows blows me away. I had the opportunity of hanging out with her and some TCC students during this month. I walked into our TCC cafe and there she was. My immediate thought was this girl is juggling so much, and still makes time for friends on other campuses. 

I believe so deeply we need nursing students who model being a good student and someone who makes time for others. I see many nursing students disappear or become less involved once they are in their program. This isolation is honestly driven by fear of not preforming well in school. There's this deep anxiety they carry and it's rather hard to convince them otherwise. Laura and the many of nursing students who have served in FOCUS are valuable leaders in our ministry. They push against the nursing school culture. They model for younger nursing students that you can learn to manage your time to make good grades and maintain friendships. 

Pray for her as she finishes up this semester because this girl is graduating soon. Pray that God bless her with an amazing memory for all the things she is learning, time-management skills and just a whole bunch of joy and peace.

This semester has blown me away with the amount of scripture engagement we had. I feel like the amount I have brought this up may make our ministry seem like we never read scripture before. But, seriously, our students want to read the Bible! This is music to a campus pastor's ears. The most recent opportunity our students had was an after event where we read Amos. Amos is a short, but bold minor prophet. He shows God's heart for justice and how seriously God cares for those who are neglected. 

Here is a set of verses that always strikes me when I read Amos: Amos 5:21-24:

“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
    your assemblies are a stench to me. 
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
    I will have no regard for them. 
Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
 But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!"

These are powerful words. There are harsh words. These are the kind of words we should take to heart and let ourselves be challenged. God cares how his people treat those around them. I could go on, but I won't. I would venture to say most of our students have not spent much time in the Old Testament. So, reading this book out loud together was special even if the book subject is a harsh rebuke. Graham led this after event and in the middle led a time of prayer. The prayer was for injustices students see in the world. To name a few, our students prayed for the Congo and the unrest and violence it is facing, children facing food insecurity, homelessness and many other matters. I found this time to incredibly meaningful. Lament is a very real way to connect with Jesus even if we have hope his future coming. 

Here's a photo of Graham leading discussion. This is such a creeper-wife photo. 

Our semester is wrapping up. Our students are prepping for finals which means we are about to be in a slower season. This time of year always reminds me to pray for those students who are going home to more difficult situations. Pray for the students who just had an awesome semester; ones where they made friends and experienced places they belong, but maybe the hometown isn't as welcoming. Pray for students to continue to spend time with God and not regress because they are back somewhere comfortable. 


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