Campus Leadership Summit!

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Campus Leadership Summit 2014!

Campus Leadership Summit 2014!

Over recent months, God has challenged us to think about how we can focus on what we do best, and, where we can bring unique value to the students and professionals in our area.  With 8 different campuses, we want to have an increasingly clear focus on what matters most!

Without a doubt, one way we can ‘mak[e] the best use of the time’ is to invest in our student leaders.  Since they impact others in their campus fellowships and experience nearly 100% turnover each year, equipping them is one of our highest priorities.

This past Saturday, along with Medical Campus Outreach (MCO), God allowed us to do exactly that.  Fifteen students from 7 of our 8 campuses joined us for a half-day event that exceeded our expectations. In addition, a resident and three professionals currently supporting the students joined us for portions of the day. Later, one of them shared this:

I was glad to come! Thanks for organizing it! I was able to get in some catching-up with [two of the women], and to hear the Temple guys out as they formed their “keys to the game” for the coming year – both very excellent things!  Especially that last little bit was helpful and I feel more aware of their priorities for the coming year and also more able to be involved. 

Here are the topics we emphasized:

  • What Matters Most: Your Walk With the Lord
  • Servant Leadership (led by Steve Munz, MCO)
  • 12 Principles of a Successful Campus Leadership Team
  • Everyone’s Back: Now What?  (Reaching First-Year Students, Establishing A Clear Vision)

Throughout the day, we allowed for small group sessions by campus so that the leaders could personalize what we discussed.  Afterwards, I emailed some key follow-up questions and will touch base on them as I go around to our campuses.

All in all, it was a tremendous time of teaching, fellowship and application.  We trust that God will multiply our small investment in the months to come.  Thank you, dear friends, for making it possible.  You are an absolutely essential part of our team!

With love,

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in praise & prayer for the following:

  • Praise God that the students are back!  And, that the Campus Leadership Summit went so well.  Pray that God helps our leaders apply a few things God impressed upon them, and, that he helps me (Bryan) follow-up faithfully.
  • Praise God for a new (to me) ministry car.  So thankful!
  • Please pray for great wisdom as I visit all our campuses as much as possible this first month.  I need God’s help in discerning what each campus’s leaders needs are, how I can help, and, which men to start/continue investing in.  Pray also that God helps Sharon connect with the women He has in mind.
  • Pray for many first-year students to get involved: they are the future of our campuses and next year’s leaders!
  • Pray for new donors, and, our overall account balance, which is lower at this time.
  • Pray for Intermed (teaching, fellowship, worship for local healthcare students and professionals; domestic missions theme) on Sat. 9/20 from 9a-1:30p at Esperanza’s Hunting Park location.
  • Finally, pray that many students and residents would come out to our Fall Retreat on 10/11-12.  We’re praying for 25 to sign up, in addition to several professionals to serve on a panel and connect with those who come.

Being A Team Player: You Know What You Bring – Now What?

photo by shubijam

photo by shubijam

Over the summer, my kids are in and out of camps, trips and clubs.  There’s one club, though, that never ends.  Any guesses?  (Hint: we have a teenager).

Yup, drama club, courtesy of our teenage daughter and (mainly) her circle of friends.  It’s not official, but it’s very, very real. Friendships start, friendships end.  Teachers are ‘awesome’ one minute and ‘the absolute worst’ moments later.

I’m not sure, though, that adults are, after close inspection, much different.  We hide the drama better, but it’s still there, barely beneath the surface.  And, it really affects us and the groups we’re part of.  Instead of concentrating on the work at hand, these hidden dynamics are a distraction from what God is calling us to accomplish together.

I can think of several student leadership teams where a few people weren’t pulling their weight.  Those who were more involved became burnt out and resentful toward those other leaders, creating a quiet, but clear, tension that made those teams more than a little awkward.

But, what can be done?

Last time, we took a look at the first part of one answer to that question – you’ve got to ‘know what you bring’.  When you know who you are and what you’re good at, you understand your role on the team.  You don’t try to take on others’ jobs and you’re free to contribute your own strengths.

Well, at least in theory.  Knowing may be ‘half the battle’, but, it’s only half the battle, right? We can all think of times where we knew what was right but didn’t do it.

That leads us to those deeper, annoying ‘why’ questions.  If I know what I’m good at, why do I sometimes hold back?  In our context, if I know what I bring to the team, why don’t I always share it?

We can’t get into all the possible answers here, but in my experience, team members often hold back because they’re afraid of what others will think.  Rather than risk looking stupid, we keep our thoughts to ourselves.

The bible has a ton to say about fear.  This is slightly oversimplified, but at the end of the day, we either choose to fear God or others.  The overall pattern of our choice will go a long way in determining how we live, and, whether we can make the kind of impact we want to as we serve on teams.

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)

I love this verse because it’s so clear.  If we understand that God is our ‘helper’ in each moment, we won’t be afraid because we’ll be reminded that others can’t really do much to us.  And in a culture with a fair degree of (outward) civility like ours, the negatives generally boil down to people talking behind our backs or cold indifference.

Getting back to our context of working with others, what happens if we fear God and not people?  When we start to worry about what others might think, God’s presence helps us step back.  We can evaluate our contributions apart from what others might think.  We can share them, and, if others find them foolish, it’s fine.  It hurts, but it doesn’t destroy me. God – and not someone else – determines my value.  He’s accepted us, so we don’t need to fear someone else’s rejection.

A student friend told me about a resident who was trying to make him do a procedure he wasn’t really competent to do.  He understandably felt a lot of pressure to comply, but he stepped back, remembered that he ultimately served God (and the patient) and told his resident that he couldn’t do it.  Sure, there was some tension, but ‘fearing’ God made all the difference and everyone moved on.

As we close, here’s your ‘assignment’, some possible steps to move forward:

  • In group settings, where do you find yourself fearing others?  What does that look like specifically, and, how does that lead you to hold back what you could otherwise offer?
  • How would ‘fearing God’ change how you think about your situation and shape your response?

We need to know what we bring (what we’re good at), but the key to actually contributing it starts with putting God – not others – at the center of our lives.  This is a lifetime journey, but each step adds up and allows us to make the impact we’ve always wanted to.

 

Being A Team Player: It Starts With You

 

athletics-868626-sLast week, I began a new summer series on ‘Being A Team Player’.  In case you missed it, here’s the bottom line:

If we want to make a significant, lasting impact, we need to work with the people around us – to be part of teams.  But, because we all bring our baggage with us, this is much harder than it seems.  In this series, I’ll share some of what God is teaching me about bridging this gap in the hope that it will be helpful for you, too. Let’s dive in.

Principle #1: To be an effective team member, you’ve got to start with yourself

This is fairly intuitive, right? At the end of the day, a team is made of individual players and it’s good or bad depending on the skill and commitment each person brings.

If we look in the mirror, though, we often don’t operate like this. Here are some lies and excuses I see in my own life. Maybe you can identify.

  • I can do my part, but no one else is really trying, so why bother?
  • I’m not sure I bring all that much to the table. Other people seem to have it covered, anyway.
  • I’ve got to focus on school/rotations/exams (or my job, my kids’ activities, making sure we have enough to retire, or…). After all, Jesus has called me to this – he doesn’t want me to be unfaithful to that, right?
  • I’m already being faithful; do I really need to improve?
  • In all honesty, being part of this isn’t all that important. I’d rather spend my time elsewhere.

Just to be clear, I never verbalize these things – I’m much too spiritual for that! Instead, these are the things that surface when I’m really, really honest.

We don’t have space to address all these excuses here, but Ephesians 4:15-16 is a good start:

we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

 

First, Paul says that each of us is part of ‘the whole body’ – that is, the church. Ultimately, that was God’s choice, so we need to be committed to other Christians around us. (And others who are not of faith; but, that’s not the point of this post). That will mean, at the minimum, being part of a local church, but I believe it often has other expressions, too. Like your campus fellowship or leadership team. Or, a local ministry you’re excited about. If God has called me to a particular ‘team’, it’s a privilege to participate.

 

Second, Paul says that everyone is critical. ‘When each part is working properly…’ No one is unimportant or overly important to the team. If people rely on you too much, or, don’t value your role enough, there are ways to begin addressing that, but the reality is that you are an essential part of God’s work where he has placed you.  

 

Third, everyone is called to ‘grow’. We can’t stay where we are – we have to move forward, specifically, by becoming more like Christ (that’s Paul’s point at the end of v.15; see 4:17-6:20 for the details). No amount of skill can make up for a stagnant walk with God.  Conversely, you don’t need to be a ‘superstar’ or off-the-charts at something to make a huge impact.  If you simply pursue Christ day after day, you will have a ridiculous amount to offer.  This is incredibly hard in the midst of busy lives, but it’s our privilege and calling.  

 

Finally, your contribution makes a tangible difference. Notice the result: ‘when each part is working properly… the body grow[s] so that it builds itself up in love’. You can only do your part, but when everyone takes that approach, great things happen.

 

The best teams I’ve been part embody these principles. It’s never perfect, but their members believe they’re there by God’s design, so they understand they’re important to the health of the team. They try to keep taking small steps forward. When those (simple) things are in place, amazing things happen over time.

 

Last time, I promised each post will contain an action step, something to think and pray over to help you grow. Here we go:

  • Think about one team you believe God has placed you on. Which (if any) of the above excuses do you find yourself struggling with?
  • Which of the four principles from Ephesians 4:15-16 applies most to your situation?
  • What one specific step of change could you take this week in response?

 

Personally, I’m convicted that I need to be more practically invested in my local community (small) group. God is showing me that I don’t always believe my efforts make a difference, but this week I’m going to pray for each of our members, trusting that God hears my prayers and is going to respond. That’s it – it’s not rocket science or earth-shattering – but I trust God will help me keep moving forward.

 

I trust that, as you take your own small steps forward, God will do the same for you.

 

 

Being A Team Player: A New Summer Series

Photo by Eastop (stepheneastop.com).

Photo by Eastop (stepheneastop.com)

The signs of summer are all around us.  The first ninety degree day.  Exams completed. Some of our students heading home. Others starting rotations or residencies.  The Phillies are floundering.  (I wish that was a joke.)

Summer is also a great time for re-evaluation, an opportunity to get out of the ruts we find ourselves in.  I’m not sure about you, but sometimes I feel like I have two people living inside of me.  One person likes being complacent and wearing blinders so that I don’t have to face things I don’t want to.  The other person wants to face himself and move forward, even if it’s hard.  

This new series of summer blog posts is my attempt to move forward with you.

The theme – being a team player – I admit, is not entirely intuitive.  

About 15 years ago, when I was still in seminary, I was sitting with my wife in the home of one of our mentors.  I forget what we were talking about, but the husband said, ‘Who knows what God will do through you… maybe you’ll impact millions of people like [the famous preacher] Charles Spurgeon!’  I wasn’t dumb enough to say it, but I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, maybe… I can see that happening’.  (My wife, who was more humble, later gently pointed out that he was being tongue-in-cheek).

The point is that, like my younger self, we all tend to put ourselves at the center of the universe.  And think that we can ‘change the world’ by working hard, being intelligent and talented.  Or, after we sour on the idea of making a real impact, we become jaded and largely give up, opting for whatever small pleasures and comforts we can find.

Over the years, I’ve started to learn that I really can’t do it alone.  I’ve always ‘known’ that, but every day it becomes more obvious and less theoretical.  As that is sinking in, I find myself working more on teams – official or not – and making a far greater impact.  

Which is what I’ve always wanted – to make a real difference.  I’m assuming the same is true for you.

I’ve also observed, though, that working with others is way harder than I ever dreamed.  If you’ve ever lived with anyone for more than a week, you already know this.

So, the premise behind this series is simple.  To make a real impact, we’ve got to work with others – be part of a team.  But, it’s crazy hard because we – and everyone else – bring our own baggage with us.  In this series, I’ll try to bridge that gap so we can move forward together. 

Here’s what you can expect.  Each post will:

  • be relatively short 
  • be biblically-informed 
  • speak largely, but not only, to people in healthcare
  • challenge you (and myself) to take a small action step
  • be published on Wednesday (this being an exception)

If you’re alive, God has exciting plans for your life.  He wants to make a difference through you, right where you are, even with all of the distractions and problems going on in and around you.

One of the major ways he does that is by putting other people in your life.  Nearly 2,000 years ago, the writer to the Hebrews had this advice for people who were facing their own (much more serious) problems and distractions:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Over these next few weeks, then, I hope to encourage you to ‘consider’ what it means to live a life of ‘love and good works’ with the people around you.  Welcome aboard!

Changes!

For those of us in the Northeast, this past week or two has finally brought a change in the weather.  We’re still experiencing a colder day here and there, but temperatures are now generally in the range worthy of the designation ‘spring’.

It may be coincidental, but, spring is also always a season of change for our ministry.  We’d like to share just a few of them with you here.

Bittersweet goodbyes.  On March 21st, our graduating fourth-year students went through ‘the match’, the process that determines where they’ll spend the next 3-5 years of their training as residents.  Although most are moving on to new locations, we’re thankful that a few are staying close.  Without fail, there are always some surprises as the computer algorithm works its magic.  (Under the Lord’s direction, of course!)

Jen, a graduating student from Jefferson, was one of this year’s pleasant surprises. We’ve know her really well for these last four years and watched her serve as a key leader at her campus.  Along the way, God led Jen into an interest in general surgery, a specialty that definitely fits who God has made her.  But, we (including Jen) didn’t expect her to match here in Philly, so we were overjoyed we learned that she’ll be with us for another 5 years!  Although most of our other students will be going to other locations, we trust that God will multiply what we and others invested in them during their time here.

New campus leaders.  Each year, each campus fellowship gets an entirely new leadership team as the year’s current leaders move on to their clinical rotations, (generally) month-long experiences where they learn about the different branches of medicine.  Every year, we marvel at God’s faithfulness in providing for each campus group new students who are ready to step up and serve.  Over the next few months, we’ll be meeting with the new leaders, helping them discover and implement God’s vision for their particular campus.

One Constant.  Throughout all the changes, one thing remains the same: our call to invest deeply in the students God has given us.  Currently, Sharon & I are involved with ‘couples counseling’ (i.e., pre-engagement or -marital) for 6 different student couples, one of whom I just had the privilege of marrying.  In thinking through my schedule for the next few weeks, I realized that I have been meeting with about 15 men on an (at least) somewhat regular basis.  Sharon invests in many of our women.

To mention just one example, recently I had the chance to meet up with ‘Jeff’, a local student leader over a cup of coffee.  The group is fairly new, and I had the opportunity to not only rejoice with him over its successes, but also to suggest what it might look like for the group to keep moving forward.  We discussed the need for more intimate community, connection among the men, and, identified outreach opportunities as a key medium-range goal.  I also had the chance to show Jeff that the confidence he can have in Christ is a key step forward in his growth as a leader, something that will make him more effective not only now, but as he moves throughout his training.  I feel so privileged to speak into, and encourage, the students God has given us!

So, as we head toward year’s end, many changes are taking place.  And yet, we are staying focused on our core priority of investing in students’ and leaders’ lives. Thank you, dear friends, for making it possible through your prayers and gifts!

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • praise for four wonderful years with our graduating, fourth-year students, and, for God’s faithful leading toward their next stage of training.  Please pray for us as we invest in them for these last few months, and, that God provides solid mentors and churches for them in their new (as of July) locations.
  • praise for new leaders for each of our campuses.  God is faithful!  Please pray that God gives wisdom as we begin investing in them.
  • Pray for Sharon & I as we mentor/disciple the different students God has called us to invest in.  We need discernment to see where God wants to encourage and challenge each one (or couple).  Pray that the Spirit takes our admittedly small efforts and powerfully multiplies them for His glory and their good!
  • Finally, please pray for our next student brunch tomorrow at 9am.  We continue to focus on the topic of ‘sharing our everyday faith every day’.  This semester, practicing professionals are joining us and sharing their real-life experiences to help the students gain a vision for this area.

Vital Signs: 5 Ways To Assess Your Spiritual Health (Part 5)

wowHere in Philadelphia, even in mid-March, everything is as dead as the Phillies’ chances at a postseason run.  The good news is that you – at least spiritually – don’t have to be.  (That was a joke; work with me, OK?).  It’s in that spirit that we offer this last post on ways to assess (and hopefully improve) your spiritual health from the Book of Malachi.

To recap our series so far, we talked about 4 other signs that you may be in a slump.  You may be struggling spiritually if you:

  • get defensive and find yourself arguing with what God says (Malachi 1:2-3)
  • want to do Christianity your way, making compromises and taking ‘the easy way out’ (1:6-12, 14-15)
  • find God’s way burdensome and boring (1:13),
  • miss the clear signs of God’s love in your life (1:2-5)

As we conclude the series, we add one final symptom of spiritual lethargy:

5. You don’t see God as great or awesome.

I get this from Malachi 1:8-9 – 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.

You can look here for more of the background, but in a nutshell Israel was offering God inferior sacrifices.  They were giving him the animals defective animals they couldn’t sell on the open market at full price.

But it’s not really about the animals; that’s just the surface issue.  The Lord puts his finger on one of the underlying problems by asking a pointed question: ‘Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor?’  The answer to this rhetorical question is, of course, ‘no!’  Offering a defective animal (or, to modernize it, any kind of flawed gift) to a political figure would never be tolerated, so why offer that to Someone much greater (God)?

Let’s make a quick application.  If we’re honest, we give God second-best (or worse) because we don’t really think he’s worthy of more.  And like Israel, it’s usually because we want to save the best for ourselves.  We would never say this, but in essence, we’ve made ourselves great.

I can remember a time when I used to hate giving money to the church.  I felt like we were poor (we weren’t) and all I could seem to see were all the things we couldn’t have, partly because of the money we were giving away.  God was so patient, but I needed to see that a great and awesome God kindly permitted me to keep almost all of what I earn.  He’s worth it.

How are you doing with this ‘vital sign’?  Where do you specifically struggle to see that God is great and awesome?  One starting point may be to identify those areas where you feel selfish or resentful and work from there.  Common examples could include demanding ‘me time’, your attitude toward serving others or money, or, your willingness to connect deeply to others.  This is where God wants to work in your (and my) life.

In any event, I hope this series has, in some small way, been useful to you in honest self-assessment.  We all have a long ways to go, but God’s grace is more than a match for us on the journey.

Community Life & Relationships Seminar Talks

speakerRecently, we held a Community Life & Relationships Seminar.  We wanted to make the sessions available in the hopes that they may be helpful to you.

Session 1: A Biblical View of Relationships (audio; Bryan Stoudt)

Session 2: Overcoming Obstacles to Healthy Relationships (audio; Liz Mosebrook)

Dating & Marriage Seminar (extensive notes only; Bryan & Sharon Stoudt)

The audio files must be downloaded before playing.  A special thanks to Scott Hoeckele for his work on the audio recordings!

Vital Signs: 5 Ways To Assess Your Spiritual Health (Part 4)

paper-heartAh, winter.  Here in Philadelphia, we’re feeling a little frosty as we’re enduring our ninth snow storm of the season and an unusually cold winter.  (With apologies to real Northerners).  I’m not sure if there’s any correlation to the weather, but a number of us have also felt spiritually sluggish at times.

In that spirit, here’s Part 4 of my ‘Vital Signs’ series where we’re taking a look at 5 ways to see whether you’re spiritually healthy from Malachi chapter 1.  (Here are the links for Parts 12, and 3).

4. You miss God’s love in your life.

Before we look at our lives, let’s back track and take a look at how things are going in Israel during Malachi’s day.  (After all, we can’t apply it faithfully without understanding it).  You can get a quick recap in Part 3, but in a nutshell, Israel is ruled by a foreign power, and, disillusioned at the huge gap between their expectations of God and their everyday lives.  Their disillusionment has led to a spiritual apathy where they aren’t committing heinous sins, but, they aren’t excited about God, either.

So how does God respond?

It’s interesting. He doesn’t crack the whip, but instead starts off by simply saying, ‘I love you’ (Malachi 1:2).

But Israel isn’t buying it and lets God know by essentially asking him to prove it: ‘How have you loved us?’

Again, God’s response is intriguing.  He doesn’t rattle off a bunch of the obvious answers I’d probably come up with.  ‘Hey, you’ve turned your back on me, but you’ve still got food, clothing and houses to live in.  And, I’ve given you all these amazing promises.  Calm down and repent, OK?!’

Instead, God brings up a lesson from Israel’s distant history:

“Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. ‘Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert’.”

Without getting into all of the details, yes, Esau and Jacob were brothers – twins, in fact.  Esau was born moments before Jacob, and under Israel’s tradition at the time, should have received the lion’s share of the family benefits.  More importantly, God had promised to do great things through their family and their father Isaac had expectations that Esau (as the oldest) would be central to that.

None of this happened.  Part of this centers around poor choices Esau made (see Gen. 25:29-34, for example), but also more deeply around God’s choice to bless Jacob – and not Esau – apart from anything they would do or not do (see Gen. 25:23; Rom. 9:10-13).

So, what’s the point?  Why does God bring that up as proof of his love?

The point is that ‘Jacob’ (symbolic of the nation of Israel) is no better than ‘Esau’ (symbolic of nations that did not worship the God of the bible), yet he had been treated much better.  Although the Israelites had turned their back on God almost constantly, God had not turned his love away as he had with other nations.  That fact alone is massive proof of God’s love, despite the reality that not everything is peachy keen.

With that background, we’re ready to think about God’s love in our own lives.  The truth is that we, too, tend to evaluate God’s love for us depending on how closely our real lives mesh with our expectations.  In a fallen world, there’s always a pretty big gap between what we have and what we want, which usually means we’re not all that convinced of God’s love.

That’s where Malachi gives us a reality check, the proverbial cooler of Gatorade over our unsuspecting heads.

Malachi reminds us that we can’t judge God’s love for us by looking at our circumstances.  By what kind of grades we’re receiving.  Or whether we’re dating someone.  Or whether there’s significant conflict in our lives.  Or… fill in the blank.

We have to look beyond what we see to what God tells us is always, always true for anyone who names Jesus as Savior and Lord.  The truth is that, even though we consistently wander away from God, he loves us anyway.  Not more on a ‘good day’, not less on a ‘bad day’.  The apostle Paul put it like this:

‘For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’.  (Romans 8:38-39)

That’s pretty comprehensive… ‘nor anything else in all creation.’  Anything we can come up with is categorically excluded.  If you’re a Christian, God loves you.  And because his love is based on what Jesus did, your performance can never add to, or take away, from it.

Let’s make this more personal as we close.  Are there things in your life right now that are tempting you to doubt God’s goodness and love?  Do you find yourself, in effect, demanding that he prove it to you?  What would make his love feel more real to you?

If that’s where you are, it may be a good time to remind yourself that God has proven it through Christ.  After all, ‘He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?’  (Romans 8:32)

But while God can’t do anything else, sometimes we need him to help us experience his love again.  Reacquainting ourselves with what he says in the bible, admitting we don’t trust him fully, and, praying for him to renew us are good places to begin again.

Community Life & Relationships Seminar Update

Community Life & Relationships Seminar Group ShotJust wanted to provide a short update on all that God did at our Community Life & Relationships Seminar this past Saturday.

God answered your prayers in bringing out 32 people to learn more about what it means to live in community and approach relationships from a biblical perspective.

I opened our time together with a biblical framework and overview on relationships, then Liz Mosebrook (a counselor) did a great job helping us ‘diagnose’ the common relational challenges we struggle with, and, providing specific help in moving forward.  Especially helpful was a time of personal reflection where we had the opportunity to consider where we struggle in particular, and, set specific goals for progress.

Later, one student mentioned that God had shown her that, while she was willing to put herself in risky situations physically, she has been less willing to do that on a relational level.  Seeing this disconnect in her life was very helpful and will be a blessing in moving forward.

After a fantastic lunch, we ended the day with two seminars, one on dating and relationships (Sharon & I), and one on life in community (Nurse Practitioner Deborah Moss).  These were rich times of teaching and personal interaction.

On a related note, Deborah has been casting vision for forming intentional community among healthcare students, and several have expressed a desire to possibly live together in North Philadelphia beginning in the summer or fall.  Among other things, it’s our hope that these students would both gain a heart for using healthcare to serve the underserved, and, be blessed by all that these communities have to offer.  Stay tuned as God unfolds this story!

As you can see, God blessed our time together.  Thanks again for your prayers!

Prayer Needed: Community Life & Relationships Seminar TOMORROW

puzzle piecesPlease pray for our Community Life & Relationships Seminar tomorrow (Saturday) morning from 9am-12pm, with optional seminars running afterwards until 2pm.

We’ll be thinking about God’s vision for relationships, the obstacles we encounter in them, and, how we can practically grow in this area.

More specifically, please ask God to:

  • bring those who would most benefit, and, to give them receptive, teachable hearts through His Spirit;
  • help the many details to come together and go smoothly;
  • bless Sharon, Liz Mosebrook, Deborah Moss, and I as we provide the teaching;
  • work in our lives long after the seminar ends; we are asking God to use this event as a springboard toward lasting change that honors him and blesses many others through those who attend.