Aslan is on the move...

These paradigm altering words spoken in the seventh chapter of C.S Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe cause an immediate reaction in the hearts and minds of the hearers. Lewis describes these reactions writing, “Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”  

If my time so far as an RUF intern has shown one thing it is this; God is on the move.  Our God is a mighty warrior who saves.  Our God is a King who Reigns.  Our God is the lover of our souls and He is moving. Answering prayers, he is drawing unbelievers near and has even rescued another soul out of the darkness and into glorious light!  Indeed, it is evident that He is at work, as He is consistently blowing my mind with how He is choosing to show up.  
It is because of your partnership that I am able to be a part of this ministry and I am both grateful and encouraged by your generosity and willingness to invest in me and these RUF students at Rice. Sharing with you about the work and mission of RUF so far this semester, I hope you see how God is using you.

Jesus said to them, "my Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working" ~ John 5:17

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What RUF at Rice Looks Like…

RUF is a very tight knit community and the students know and care for one another really well.  Currently we have six students on ministry team.  These student leaders are a fun and dependable group who are instrumental in making RUF happen.  The full size of the group is about 25 students.  This is roughly the number of students that will attend Large and small Group meetings throughout the week. 

The students I have met so far at Rice are all extremely bright and hardworking people, however; they are also very warm and welcoming.  Despite the rigorous nature of the academics and the obvious intellectual giftedness of all Rice students the culture of Rice RUF, and indeed of Rice as a whole campus, is very kind and caring.  There is none of the cut-throat competitiveness that you might expect at an elite private institution.  While the students work very hard, they are also genuinely happy to see one another succeed.

Weekly Events

After the craziness of the first few weeks, which were a little bit more hectic, we have settled down into a good weekly rhythm.  Each week we have three different small group studies that meet along with one large group meeting on Wednesday night. This semester our Campus Minister has been preaching through the book of Revelation and this has generated a ton of interest from students, many of whom have never heard a sermon preached from this book of the Bible. Of the three different small group studies this semester two are book studies reading through a Christian book together and one is a Bible study going over the book of Mark.  The book studies are gender specific and the one on Mark is a Co-ed study.  In addition to these weekly events we also have another regular event every other Friday called Friday Night Fellowship where all the students carpool over to Juan Carlos’s house for some great home cooked food, board games and fellowship.  This group particularly loves playing board games. Codenames is the current game of choice and it can get very competitive, especially when it is guys versus girls (the guys have won more games so far). 

One of the goals of RUF is to be a haven of the gospel for these students, both Christian and none Christian, as both need to hear the good news that we are not worthy of God’s love because of our achievements nor are we ever beyond His love when we fail.  We have a God who loves His people “even while we were yet sinners.”  The gospel of salvation is through grace alone and it propels RUF as a ministry to love God and love students.  The gospel anchors the worth and identity of Christians in what Christ has done.  I honestly believe that one of the big reasons students keep coming back is that RUF is a place where they are constantly reminded that their worth is not in what they do but rather in what Christ has done. 

A Few Stories...

Walking across campus early in the semester, bag of snacks in hand, I was angrily praying to God, “Father if you want students to come to this Bible study then you are going to have to put them there.”  I had been very excited about this first meeting just an hour earlier.  That was before I was texted and informed by four guys, who had all expressed interest in coming to our first guys book study, that each were canceling.  This meant that I was heading to the first guys' study unsure if there would even be anyone in attendance.  “I don’t know what else to do,” I prayed as I stalked across campus, “I know this study is a good thing and I want it to be an outlet for students to grow closer to you God. So, if you want students to come, then please make it happen.  Please give me opportunities to invite students.”  It was at this moment that I realized that I was now lost.  I spun around not sure which way I needed to go then headed in what I incorrectly assumed was the correct direction.  Turning a corner, I almost walked headlong into someone. Stumbling back, I looked up to find that I had almost bumped into a freshmen guy that I had met once the previous week.  “Hey Man! How has the first few weeks of school been? What are you up too?”, I asked.  “Oh hey Josh. It’s been good and nothing much”, he said with a shrug then asked, “what are you up too?” I told him about the bible study that I was headed to and asked if he would be interested in coming. “Sure,” he responded, and we went together.  The study ended up being this freshmen, a sophomore guy who is one of the RUF student leaders, and me.  I had asked God to provide opportunities to invite students and He responded by dropping one right in my lap!  What’s more, he was already answering my prayer before I even started praying as He had me lost and heading in the wrong direction, but on the exact right path to intersect with this guy leaving class! 

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. ~ Isaiah 65:24

From Death to Life...

One of the students here at Rice just became a Christian two weeks ago!  The Lord has been working on his heart and gospel seeds have been planted over the last few years of his life but he has finally gone all in.  He was jogging and listening to Christian music when he heard a line in the song, “He died so that we might live.”  In that moment God grabbed his heart like never before.  He stopped jogging and began to weep.  He prayed right there accepting God as his Savior without any reservation.  Jesus is King and He is rescuing souls!  Praise God!!

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. ~ Romans 5:1-2

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