Welcome to March and what feels like the start of the Spring three weeks early! I know five days ago in Cincy we had snow on the ground and just yesterday I went down to play ultimate frisbee with a group of people in 60 degree weather. So, like many of you, I have no idea what the weather in Ohio is deciding to do. For all I know it might start snowing tomorrow. What I am certain of, however, is that God is moving on the University of Cincinnati and that everything you are about to read about below is just the beginning of His plan for us.
Things in H2O have been going incredibly well recently. We have been seeing God open doors for us with the univeristy itself and also break down walls within our students. It's seriously a blessing to be a part of a ministry that seeks after God's will so much and isn't okay with complacency.
One of the best parts about this semester has been the sermon series we are going through as a church: Revelation. We just finished up the seventh week in the series upon going over the Letter to the Church in Philadelphia. I know this series has not only been educational for everyone involved, even those preaching, but also eye-opening and convicting to many. I highly reccommend giving this past weeks sermon a listen to!
Manmaker and Women's Weekend
The two biggest events H2O has in February are our annual Manmaker and Women's Weekends. The amazing part of these trips is that they are actually all-network trips, meaning that for each individual trip we had men and women travel from all across Ohio (and Indiana) to congregate for worship. During our time together at Manmaker we focused on the life of David and the redemptive power of God through the Gospel. Psalm 51 is one of the favorite Psalms and the story of David and Bathsheba one of my favorite stories in the Bible, but something about hwo they were presented got to me at this retreat. Here we had a man who is described to us a man after God's own heart commit adultry, try to cover it up, then, when he couldn't have it merely covered it, had Bathsheba's husband and dozens of other men killed in order to take Bathsheba as his wife. If was the only story of David we had in the Bible he would be depicted as a despicable man. Even with the other stories this makes me angry at how God could simply passover David's sin here and not strike him down for causing so much pain. But that's the point of the story--the point of Bible. In Psalm 51 we see David turn to God after Nathan calls David out for his sin and laments before the Father; and in the midst of this horrendus mess, we see God's incredible mercy meet David right where he's at. Why? Because this story isn't about David, but God and His redemptive power.
One of the highlights for me at Manmaker was the opportunity to lead my own workshop. What are workshops? I'm glad you asked. Essentially, there are roughly 15 workshops offered during each of the time hour time slots ranging over a variety of topics. Each student can pick two to attend based on where they are at in life or simply what sounds interesting to them. The one I led was over Spiritual Disciplines and, more specifically, about how since God made us unique in His image we cannot all expect to follow a copy and paste model of worship. For example, musical worship on Sundays doesn't really put me in the worshipful mood so I often take that time to pray and simply sit at God's feet. This workshop was a lot of fun to lead (even though I had to skirt around someone trying to bring up psychedelic drugs) and I received a lot of good feedback from those who attended.
Below you will find two videos we made detailing both retreats. Obviously, I could not go to Women's Weekend, but it was sitll awesome to hear about what God did during that trip and how he met the women exactly where they were at, just like he did with David.
So what has God been doing in my life? One thing is Him putting multiple people in my life whom I've had the privledge to disciple and be there for. Something cool that's been happening though is these people have begun pouring back into me and what began as mere discipleship has turned into a multitude of friendships ranging with people who are four years younger to two years older than myself. It's simply been a testimony to how God can use anyone in your life. Scripture wise, I've been going through the Old Testament and I've never realized how bloody Leviticus is. I'm not talking about the wars, but the sacrifices alone would have stained the soil beneath the tabernacle crimson red. To think that's what is required for the atonement of our sins has made all the more grateful that the blood of animals was replaced with one man in Christ. Hebrews is one of my favorite books and within it, the author speaks of this exact thing in Hebrews 9. If you've never read Hebrews I highly suggest it as it ties the two covenants together so beautifully.
Spring Break Trips
So what is going to be happening in March for H2O? We have two MAJOR trips coming up over Spring Break. The first one is a diaster relief centered trip that has roughly 35 students and a few staff members headed to the Carolinas to aid people who's lives are anything but normal right now. The second group is headed to Panana City Beach for an evangelism heavy trip centered around spring breakers in PCB (which is the trip I will be headed on).
How can you help? Prayer. Both of these trips are heavy with spiritual warfare. Some people are aware of this upon entering these environments for the first time. Others aren't and attempt to lean on their own strength to overcome the enemy. So, be praying for wisdom for our students, widsom for the leaders of the trips, against the enemy, that God will soften the hearts of all those we come in contact with, and for Him to bring people from death to life.
Once again, I want to thank all of you who are supporting me either financially or via prayer through all of this as you are making it possible for me and the rest of H2O Cincinnati's staff team to reach the students at the University of Cincinnati. If you are not a part of my financial support team, I ask that you prayerfully consider joining me and my mission with H2O Cincinnati at a monthly amount by clicking on the give button on the top of your screen.