Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Bragging a Bit

So much to update...this time of the year has always got away from me.  Or rather, as I should say (and encourage the young men I meet with to do) I let this part of the semester get away from me.  Geesh...it's easy to always blame stuff other than myself.  Anywho... :)

Just a quick update to brag on my wife.
If you don't know already, she is an amazing artist.  She paints like no-body's business.

see the background through the glass? Those are the statues that these are a painting of...cool.

And now a couple of her pieces that she was commissioned for the Student Union at SDSU are hanging up in a prominent, visible place, just outside Einstein Bagels.  Thousands of students walk by it every day, and if you're ever in the union, stop by and check them out!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"The Nations are on our doorstep"

The title and the picture are (sorta) unrelated in content.

The title is something that "Jake" said last night at Equip Large Group.  He was referencing the fact that 95%+ of the unreached people in the world live in the "10/40 window"...basically from Africa through China and in between.  But at Universities like SDSU, they are literally living among us, and headed back home.  So, what an opportunity.  Jake, btw, is from "The Traveling Team", a missions mobilization ministry that goes all over the country speaking at college ministries.  They were great!

The picture is of the recently started "Reading Group".  There are about nine of us, and we are reading and discussing Doug Wilson's "Same-Sex Mirage".  We are three chapters in, and there has already been some very good discussion and interaction over the content.  I'm eager to see where it goes for the rest of the semester.

ps.  The more complete e-newsletter is forthcoming...soon and very soon!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A great Night

In a nutshell, tonight's first large group worship meeting was really good. I had some really fantastic conversations with several guys and saw the same thing happening pretty much the whole entire time after large group ended for a couple hours. 
There wasnearly 70 students there, which is a pretty good start for the semester I think. 

We have probably 2 to 4 dozen people interested in Bible study so please pray for wisdom and how to best proceed... We only have six Bible studies. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

222 is the Mark of the Lamb

If 666 is the "mark of the beast", 222 must be something, right? I've determined, through careful exegesis, prayer and much magic-8 ball staring, that 222 is the number of...students that we had fill out a survey on Sunday afternoon.

Actually, it was just the total that we counted afterward.

And it was good, 222 surveys is a very good day for us at the booth where thousands of students walk through.  We had some amazing student leaders and volunteers working the booth all day, and there was a high percentage of people who filled the survey out who gave high numbers in response to the question "What is your interest in knowing God more?" or "Interest in learning more about God with others in a small group?".

AND, we had over 200 students attend the Kickoff BBQ last night.  I always enjoy the BBQ a great deal, but I also have a love-hate relationship with such recruitment things, so although I'm glad it's over, I'm also very thankful that God blessed it by bringing many students, and seemingly many students who seemed genuinely interested in getting involved.  I tell them a bit about Equip during the middle of the meal, share the gospel and essentially briefly implore them to consider Jesus.

It was a good night, and I would very much covet your prayers for tomorrow night, when I tell them what we're passionate about as a ministry and give a better explanation of the gospel.

  • Please pray God would move in my heart and mind as I finish preparations and delivery tomorrow evening
  • Please pray that we'd have ready what we need for large group to most effectively connect the students to Bible studies and relationships with believers
  • Please pray for the student leaders' ability to facilitate small group discussions well, leading toward the Bible and being outward focused during the night for the benefit of others.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Running out

Booth day is going great! So great, we are about to run out of surveys so I am going to print some more. Pray that we could do a sufficient job with follow up with so many. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016


So, tomorrow in some way marks the official start of the school year / ministry year for us!
Campus and Community Fall Festival (C2F2) starts around 2:00 tomorrow on campus.  We'll have a booth set up, meet dozens or hundreds of students, hopefully having the same fill out the "Spiritual Interest Survey" that we had 500+ freshmen fill out this summer and begin the first few weeks of kickoff events and relationships.

It's kinda a hectic, full and frenzied time, but it's also great.  The first few weeks (3-6ish) of college ministry are pretty darn significant, in that it's perhaps the most ideal and important time to meet and engage with these incoming students (and returning, seasoned, wise returning sophomores and on up).

So, please pray!

Pray for faithfulness for us and the student leaders.

Pray for genuine desire to seek and save the lost.

Pray for God to bless the work of our hands, and that he would grant faith to believe that the fields are white for harvest...and that the fields are ready for planting.  There's lots and lots of planting, and lots of harvesting to be had in this thing we call "college ministry".  It really is a huge opportunity, ask that the Lord would give us peace and faithfulness as we seek to fulfill what he is calling us to.

Pray that God would truly be lifted up, honored and magnified as great and awesome to save.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Leadership training & retreat

This weekend, starting tonight, we have our annual summer leadership training and retreat. I'm very excited and eager to see all the guys and gals again. 

This will be the first time that Brandon wont be there, and so I would appreciate prayers that God would grant an extra blessing of passion and clarity for ministry. 

Perhaps half the time is simply bonding and time together as a team. The other half is some various vision and training regarding Bible study, discipleship and odds and ends of ministry for this coming fall semester. 

We left our oldest (Asher) in northern MN with my family, and although we already miss him, it'll truly free up Emma this weekend to be involved. 

Lewis, however, decided to not sleep last night, so we are both exhausted (especially Emma). Prayers for energy and reliance on God would also be fantastic. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Basically, it's a mid-summer day of fun with students who haven't seen much of each other for a couple months.

It was a really good time of volleyball, disc-golf and a good devotional about the nature of competition and sport in the christian life.

Here is a fantastic video that one of the students put together...super cool! (follow the link itself for the best quality)


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

This is what a mission field looks like to me

Notice how nicely they sit there like low-hanging fruit, just ready for the plucking...

I mean it when I say that college ministry is an immense opportunity, with thousands of students all living the same basic lives, (many) living in the same square mile.  How can't I do college ministry?

Please pray for our NSO sessions this summer.  The first freshmen one starting in like 35 minutes! (at 5:00ish today, Tuesday Jun 14)

Monday, June 13, 2016


New Student Orientation (NSO) begins today! Yikes, it came up fast. 

Please pray for fruit, that we would engage with many and God would grant some solid connections going into the fall semester. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Burn it Down

Just a little diddy here...
Our end of the year party for Equip was a fire and games at our house.  The backyard continues to prove to be a fantastic gathering place.  If you didn't hear, we moved into the house in late January, and only recently have been able to host things outside.  Several of the students walked from campus since we live three blocks straight West, it's less than a 15 minute walk.

20ish students showed up, and we stayed up late playing mafia and all sorts of stuff.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

"Say hello to my little friend[s]!"

They're not little, but they are my friends...
 More specifically for the purposes of this post, this is next years leadership team for Equip!  Technically, two of the people actually won't be on the leadership team, one of which is Brandon the other of which is Taylor Waltner. I shared about Tayler briefly recently and so stay tuned for a more detailed post concerning Brandon! It's good news, and it's big news...

I'm excited to see what God has in store for us in the Fall.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The End of Days

The days of the Spring semester, that is. 

We had a good turnout last night; Brandon preached on 1 Peter 2:13-17, where Peter tells christians to submit to the governing authorities. Brandon did a really good job expounding what that looks like in our cultural climate today. It was one of the better messages I've heard from Brandon. If you're interested in listening to it let me know I can send you the file. It's certainly a challenging text in light of a lot of increasingly hostile legislation and cultural attitude against Christianity. 

Not everyone is pictured but here are a couple of pictures of some of the gals in some of the guys. 

We also had our "Senior Spotlight", where we give several minutes to interviewing and letting our graduating seniors share about their experience, and give advice and encouragement to underclassmen. Deryn Beck is our only senior this year and she did a great job last night Sharing about her experience and giving good counsel to her peers and underclassmen. 

"One thing I'm thankful for is having friends that will tell me when I'm wrong", Deryn shared. She encouraged students to be intentional with their time as soon as possible for the good of their neighbor. 
I would say that I will miss Deryn but fortunately she is starting grad school and will stick around next year!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

For the Ladies

Not really "for" the ladies...

Taylor Waltner (second from the left on the bottom) has been a valuable volunteer and a good sister for at least a couple of years now (for Equip).  She went and got engaged (to be married), and so is headed off to Timbuktu this summer to tie the knot.  So, she won't  be here to volunteer anymore, which will be a loss for us, and a find for her new husband.

She has led Bible studies, discipled girls and all sorts of stuff for awhile now, and I will miss her.

Taylor's Bible study she led this semester.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Old and the New

On the right is Josh, an Equip and FBC alum whom I discipled for most of his time in school. He graduated a couple of years ago and is now living just east of Sioux Falls and involved in a good church (Connection church), along with almost every other Equip alum that lives in or near Sioux Falls. I miss Josh, he is quite a guy, married, learning to live and sacrifice for his wife and lead his family. He was a loss to us when he graduated :( , but I'm excited to see him involved where he is. 

On the left is Trent, a sophomore now and very involved in Equip: student leadership and just overall a young man who loves Jesus and is one of those dudes who loves people, gathers them and is liked by basically everyone.  He is growing a lot, and I'm excited to spend more time with him next year. 

As you can see, they sparred this weekend at our men's summit shingdig. It was a very good time. More perhaps on that later. 

Abraham (left), and Michael also sparred, two more equippers. 

The whole Brookings crew that came: Amos, Brandon, Abraham, Adam, me, Michael, Trent and Seth. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Men of God Summit

Last night and today, we are participating in a little men's event shindig called Men of God Summit. A handful of ministries and churches joined together to put it on, led by an Equip alum and some other young dudes. Brandon spoke last night, I teach today at 3:00, and lots of stuff in between.  Please pray for God to bless our time, that he would convict and lead us into further knowledge of him and his will for us. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday Night Live

 I have no idea why the students named it "Thursday night live". It was a good night. :) A handful of college ministries got together where everybody came and sang and heard God's word preached. 

It was a good night, even with the "hype amplifier" turned all the way up to 11 (not quite the way we typically do it at Equip. :) Ryan Franchuk (a friend) preached with clarity and fire from Matthew 19, so please pray that God would grow fruit of Godward passion and sober-mindedness in these students' hearts and mine. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Screwtape and Wormwood

So I absolutely love the Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. Our Reading Group is finishing the semester with it,  and it has been fantastically helpful and enjoyable. Yesterday was chapters 12-14, and here's a little snippet. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Ratio Christi

As I've mentioned in one of the past newsletters, we (Equip) have been involved in helping create a new student group on campus called "Ratio Christi".  It is exclusively an "apologetic" ministry, with the express purpose of serving already established college ministries to reach and serve students.  We have been doing essentially the same thing on Monday evenings for several years, and it has been good overall, although with ups and downs.  However, we have never been too successful at reaching other christians on campus involved elsewhere, something we've wanted to be able to do.  So, Ratio Christi was born, with participation with us, Navigators, Intervarsity and others.
It has, by God's grace, been a great year for it, with upwards of 15 students regularly coming and involved, and seemingly some good progress towards better, deeper and more Christ-honoring christian thinking.

It really serves a major role in the mission of Equip..."enable students to humbly proclaim, explain and defend the gospel...".

Tonight, we had a little social BBQ & fire at our new place (3 blocks straight west of camps).  After a while we had everyone hare something more about themselves, as well as a major question/issue/thing they've dealt with in terms of theology or philosophy or whatever.  There were lots of great questions and issues, and we had a great night with all these students!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Lost Opportunity & God's Grace

[In part, this post is motivated by this article I read recently.  It's about how we should not exaggerate and embellish in a world that is always about being better and bigger.  To not put too fine a point on it, I was convicted.] 

Almost two weeks ago now we participated in and helped sponsor an event called "The Veritas Forum" (you can see many examples here).  The event was called "Religious Texts and Social Conflicts: Challenging Interpretations in a Changing World".  
The original title something like "Dangerous Scriptures:  How to read controversial passages in the Bible and Quran" (it was more provocative...).  The idea of the event was to have two scholars discuss various "difficult" aspects of both the Bible and the Quran, with special emphasis on violence and gender and slavery (yes, all three...).  Overall, I felt good about the event beforehand for various reasons, although I had had some significant hesitations and concerns during the process.
Unfortunately, the event did not pan out the way we had hoped or planned.  I've describe it in various ways, but one helpful way is that it was a "lost opportunity".  In a nutshell, there really wasn't hardly any actual discussion between the two speakers, the main topic of violence was hardly addressed, half the event was introduction (leaving little time for actual content), and the non-christian presenter made some claims and accusations about God that were not truly responded to or addressed by the christian panelist (including a bizarre explanation of Ezekiel 16, essentially accusing God of being incestual and that God's daughter/bride was given over to be gang raped). The christian presenter did not respond to any of this unfortunately, and the nearly 300 people present left with the impression that this is what Ezekiel 16 is about (which, if you read Ezekiel 16, is quite clearly not the case).  
          The event was a lost opportunity, but it was also quite possibly misleading to many young believers in the crowd who don't have the resources or categories to process some of the things said.  So, please pray that God would work great things even out of unfortunate circumstances, as we know he can, and does, do. 

Speaking of God working, here is one example of something He already granted as a result of the event.  The following Wednesday (23rd) we addressed the Ezekiel 16 debacle at our large group.  Brandon basically facilitated a glorified Bible study, with added guidance and teaching from the front.  It went super well! Four small groups read significant passages of Ez 16, and then responded to about 7 different questions relating to it and to the claims made about it during the event.  Lots of good discussion happened, and the gospel was made quite clear during the process (read Ez 16 for yourself and see if you don't see the gospel...it's there!).  We had at least a small handful (2-3) students come just to engage with that (I texted our entire 800+ list about it).  So, we were thankful for the opportunity in this way.

Please pray for us for next year, when the time comes to discuss whether we want to try and do another Veritas Forum.  Even though I would never repeat what happened at this past one, the Veritas Forum has arranged dozens of really good debates and events in the past couple decades now.  They have a good track record, and we are most certainly interested in addressing important issues that attract large numbers of students.  The Forum was certainly well attended, and so there is great possibility.  Please pray for wisdom for us in this way.

I'm taller than you

Do you know how tall Harney Peak is in South Dakota?
Neither do I, but it's really tall.