How Have You Experienced the Gospel?
Happy New Year! The apprenticeship is about halfway over, but I can see God ready to work as the spring semester starts up soon!
The class that we spent most of our time exploring pneumatology (just a fancy word for studying the Holy Spirit). The bulk of that class was reading through Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God by Gordon Fee and discussing it as an apprentice group with Peter, my supervisor and one of the senior staff members. While a lot of the book was over my head, it was good to begin to take a serious, hard look at the Holy Spirit and seeing how Paul understood Him. It was really cool to see how the Holy Spirit is so integral in uniting the Church as a whole and how He is the mark for salvation, which will lead into our last class of the apprenticeship, Eschatology (which I'm really excited about).
Overall, all the classes we've taken so far (Old Testament Foundations, Financial Stewardship, Evangelism, Pneumatology) have really shaped how I view so many things in my walk as a disciple of Christ.
In December, all the apprentices were tasked with giving two sermons. Our first was part of a "preaching lab" where we preached a 20 minute expository sermon on an Old Testament passage to a small group of other apprentices, a senior staff member, and an outside minister. I chose to preach on Genesis 3:1-7 and took a closer look at the strategy the serpent used to deceive Adam and Eve in the Garden, and giving the application of how important it is that we have God's Word written on our hearts to resist temptation. Less than a week after that sermon, we gave our big end-of-semester sermon to the FOCUS staff. Every year, Ronnie, the pastor of Northeast Church, assigns us the prompt "what is your Gospel?" It was so impactful to hear how the Gospel has touched and changed the hearts of the other apprentices and to see how God is always moving even when we think he's absent. You can watch my sermon here, but all the other FOCUS apprentices are also on the same video, and I highly encourage you to view them if you have time! They were all so impactful. William and Clint, the apprentices at CTF (Christian Teen Fellowship) Wylie and Northeast Church, also gave sermons on the same prompt, and I've linked them here. They're also definitely worth a listen!
While the thought of giving a 20-minute sermon to the entire FOCUS staff and anyone who happened to be watching the stream was pretty daunting, it was a privilege to be able to share how the Gospel has impacted me and changed me in such a short time walking with Christ.
The apprentices and a couple other friends from FOCUS decided to go to Six Flags together one Saturday. It was a great time to relax and get to know each other better outside of work.
Here we are at Six Flags! Was a peer-pressured to get on most of the rides? Yes. Did I have a ton of fun? Also yes.
For our last all-staff meeting before the Christmas break, we had a Christmas party! It was a great time of fellowship, but it was also a great time reflecting on how God has moved in our ministry this year. It's such a privilege to work on a team that loves God so much and loves each other, too.
The FOCUS staff made us all stockings and filled them with letters! It was such a sweet gesture and really made us all feel loved, seen, and known.
Thanks for sticking around and reading my blog update for this month!