God is REAL, Jesus is REAL, Holy Spirit is REAL
This is the conclusion we all came to at our April retreat, Empowered. The five students pictured above all came in knowing and believing in God, but at Empowered they were given opportunity after opportunity to experience him in ways many of them never had – and it was AWESOME!
When we practiced listening to the Holy Spirit we heard him speak to us. When we invited Jesus to walk through the “house” of our hearts, he lovingly did, even gently opening the doors to the rooms we were hesitant to open to him. When we asked God for spiritual gifts, he gave them to us. When we learned the skills of prophecy, healing, and prayer ministry, God blessed our willingness to faithfully partner with him by practicing together. These women shared vulnerably with one another both confessing sin and encouraging one another to press further into the things God was speaking to them. And, as Empowered came to a close, they were excited to take more risks, to continue listening and obeying the Spirit’s voice, and to share their experiences with others back on campus. PRAISE GOD! He is GOOD, ALIVE, and ACTIVE TODAY!
A Community of First-Years and Seniors:
We held the last Bible Study of the year by the lake at sunset! It is finally Spring and the warmer weather lured us outside for a time of closure, celebration, and commissioning. We finished our year-long study of Acts by reading chapter 28 and discussing what it is about Jesus and his death and resurrection that made him the “hope of Israel” then, and our hope still today (v.20). Challenged and inspired by Paul’s obedience and perseverance in proclaiming the truth about the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ “with all boldness and without hindrance” (v.31), we ended the evening by praying over each of the seniors asking God to make them bold in their faith and to strengthen them as they go onto the next phase of their lives.
Since Empowered, I have been meeting with each of the first-year students, as well as with the four of them and Julia, a graduating senior who is currently the only leader. Getting to know these students and allowing them to get to know me through weekly one-on-one meetings has been wonderful! Personally, I have been practicing how to follow the Spirit in catering each student’s time to her needs.
To give you an idea of what these meetings look like, I asked two students if I could share with you what they and I have been discovering together:
- Sally and I have been reading through Jeremiah and each week we are more amazed by God’s justice and tremendous grace for his people! She will be spending her summer in Boston and we plan to continue our weekly discussions on Jeremiah after the school year ends.
- Grace and I have been learning about righteous anger and how to respond to difficult situations in God-honoring ways. Using manuscript study methods, we have been studying Esther and also plan to continue this via phone calls over the summer.
As our Seniors graduate (May 31st!), let’s pray for their trust in God to increase as they navigate all the transitions and newness coming their way with Him.
The first-years will be spending their summers at home and in Boston, working jobs and internships, going on family vacations and overseas mission trips. Let’s pray for all their new and old relationships, continued spiritual growth, and for time to rest, play, and enjoy the warmth!
The Urbana ’18 Album is out!!! The worship team released their album and it is amazing! Here is the link, now go listen and be amazed! Let us worship the Lord of every nation, tribe, people, and tongue!