Ezekiel 11:19-20

 

Winter Camp 2022

 "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God."

Ezekiel 11:19-20

A New Heart

The longer I walk and fix my eyes on Jesus, the harder it gets. He shows me weak areas of my heart that are very hard for me to fix on my own. It's humiliating to see myself as weak and I try my best to avoid hardship, mistakes, and weakness. If I try to avoid them then I wouldn't need Jesus at all in my life and would say I'm perfect, but I'm not. I can't rely on myself or follow my flesh to avoid my own mistakes. I need to admit that I am a sinner and weak and I need God to change my heart, even when it's painful. "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalms 73:26, italics added). God is a faithful and good that He wants to help shape and mold our hearts to be like his, like a potter molding the clay into a new pot. I thought about this verse this past month throughout the month of January. If you don't know why this verse is here in Ezekiel, here's the main points you should know about the book of Ezekiel:
  • God handed Israel over to Babylon because of their act of wikedness, injustice and worshipping other gods.
  • God’s justice on Israel creates future hope for them and wants to restore His people. 
  • The book of Ezekiel can be vague and confusing for some readers, but with careful reading, we can see key details of God’s character and his care for his people.

God is addressing His people, the Israelites, promising to one day restore them to the land and to a right relationship with Himself. God promises to gather the Hebrews from the nations where they had been scattered (Ezekiel 11:17) and give them a new, undivided heart (verse 19). The result of their receiving a new heart will be obedience to God’s commands: “Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God” (verse 20). 


What does it mean to have an undivided heartThe human heart was created to mirror God’s own heart (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9). We were designed to love Him, love righteousness, and walk in harmony with God and others (Micah 6:8). But part of God’s design of the human heart is free will. That free will carries with it the opportunity to abuse it, as did Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:11). God desires that we choose to love and serve Him. When we stubbornly refuse to follow God, our hearts, which were designed to communicate with God, are hardened.


Jesus the Messiah is the answer and prophecy from God who gives us an undivided heart, and grants us a new spirit by believing in Him.

I think about these young students on the Preston Ridge campus what they live for is what their own heart tells them to do. I heard from students last semester asking them what life to the full looks like, and a common theme i heard repeatedly is following what your heart desires. That philosophy is scary because God desined our heart with free will, and it's the choices they make can lead them not knowing the true creator who gave them their hearts. Please be praying for the students at Preston Ridge for a tranformative heart.


Winter Camp 2022

It was super neat to be back at Sky Ranch seeing new faces and Rikk Watts teaching us good material about why the Gospels matter and how they influence our world today. Here's some photos from the camp.



This is Rikk Watts, professor from Regent College. One of the best things I love about Rikk is his zeal for Jesus when he speaks about him.

Here's a close up professional photo.

These are some of my guys from Collin FOCUS worshiping the Lord together.


Our peer team (some missing) from 2020-2021. What a sweet reunion seeaing each other at Winter Camp


Here's an oldie. This is the 2011-2012 Collin FOCUS ministry at Winter Camp. It's so crazy how 10 years have flown by quickly. Good luck finding me.

Coming soon!!!

Cailtlin and I are having a BABY!!!!!!!!!!!
The baby is due around August 21st and I'm excited to be a dad!


Preston Ridge Campus

Tom and I did outreach on our campus at Frisco, and we served breakfast tacos from Taco Cabana. We had a question board prompt that said, "If someone hurt you, would you forgive them?" Some said they would, others said they don't know and depends on the circumstance.



Spring Showcase 2022!

Spring Showcase is coming soon on Feburary 26th, and YOU ARE INVITED! Every year we host a fundraiser like Keep FOCUS Growing, but it's a fundraiser for our students who we selected to go to SICM (a campus ministry conference in Bellingham, WA). Student Institute of Campus Ministry is a one-week intensive training in the beautiful Pacific Northwest for college students who want to take seriously Jesus’ call on their life to “Go make disciples.” They spend time in the classroom unpacking Jesus’ method of discipleship and evangelism, study His approach to small group leadership of His original 12 disciples, and teach effective Bible Study skills. And students come back feeling encouraged to be on their campus to be disciples of Jesus to their peers! Here's a picture of my year at SICM from 2015.



We will have two show performances at 2:30 pm and a second show at 6:30 pm. Typically our Showcase has had a flat ticket fee but this year people can give what they can at anyfocus.org/showcase.  We also are selling VIP access for spcial food treats and seats at the front for the concert! Plus, we will have an art sale from talented alumnis from paintings to photography and other items you don't want to miss. Showcase will be located at CARE Church on 1504 E Campbell Rd, Richardson, TX 75082. I hope to see you there and tell your friends!




Prayer Request

  • Showcase to go smoothly and raise enough funds and scholarships for students that need help paying for SICM.
  • For Collin FOCUS Students. We're going over a sermon series called "Live No Lies" and hope they can encounter God's truth in the lies they hear and believe.
  • Pray for our baby's health and Caitlin going through her first pregnancy.

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