The house is full of young people from USC. The atmosphere is energetic with laughter, connecting, and spiritual discussions over a meal.
After dinner, my friend Wes announces, “Time for the Jesus story discussion!”
Everyone gathers in the living room. Ben and Justin take turns singing a couple songs.
Ben says, “One of our ways of connecting with Jesus is singing songs that celebrate how good he is. Jesus means a lot to some of us here. You don’t have to sing if you don’t know the song. I encourage you to just chill and think thankful thoughts while you open up your mind to Jesus. Or if you catch on to some of the words, feel free to sing along.”
We sing a couple songs. Then we dive into the story. We read about a woman Jesus encountered who was caught in adultery.
What does this story tell us about people?
What does this story tell us about Jesus?
What do you learn about your life from this story?
The discussion is lively. Afterwards, some people need to leave. Others hang out, play games, and have fun.
This is what most nights look like when I travel to plant simple churches with my team.
One night, a cool girl who, as far as I know, had never been to church in her life opened up to us about nightmares she’d had the last several years.
Nick says, “I used to have nightmares until I spoke with Jesus about them. I discovered he has power to take nightmares away and bring us hope, faith, and love. Can we pray for you to have a similar experience?”
“Sure,” she says. “I’ll try anything.”
An artist and dreamer, I am impressed with her courage and passion for life. We pray for her. Suddenly Nick and I both start to hear things in our minds to encourage her.
We tell her the things we’re thinking about. This goes on for about five minutes as we start to flow together in the Holy Spirit.
She looks up and smiles, a slightly bewildered look on her face.
“What you prayed was SCARY accurate.”
The evening ended with her talking to Jesus herself for the first time in her life.
We pray for some tough stuff going on in her life. We hang out a bunch more during the week and deepen the friendship.
It was beautiful.
I love what I do.
Make friends with people who don’t know Jesus.
Help them discover Jesus for themselves.
Gather together to learn to follow Him with them and their friends.
Nurture a vision to make a difference on campus, in relationships, in the marketplace and the nations.
It’s what movements are made of: multiplication of values, relationships, ideas, and meaningful experiences together.
Here are a few other highlights from this last week:
Rui encountered Jesus last year. He’s now a strong disciple. Here he is with his beautiful wife, Christi. We enjoyed lots of quality time together this week. Rui is already making an impact on several other international students at USC.
Nick (left) discipled Rui by leading him through the Pocket Disciple experiences. Above, Rui and Nick lead a group of internationals through the first experience, “Change.” A Japanese international student walks over and says,
“I am a total atheist. But I am curious about Jesus. Could I please join you in this discussion?”
We read the story in John 3 where Nicodemus asks Jesus how to experience eternal life. Jesus then talks about being born of the Spirit.
The Japanese student asks, “So, this Spirit life… does this happen simultaneously with our physical life?”
Rui says, “Yes! I know it does because I started my spirit life when I became a follower of Jesus last year. He gave me a new kind of life. Anyone can experience it.”
This international group is starting to meet regularly in one of the student lounges on campus.
We go out on campus each day, meeting new students and starting spiritual conversations with people. One tool we use is “20 Second Teachings of Jesus.” We share 20 second summaries of major things Jesus taught. It’s a fun way to share about Jesus in simple, encouraging ways. Often, conversations and friendships start.
Samuel praying for a girl who recently injured her leg. Jesus told us in Luke 10 to heal sick people when we go to new areas to communicate the gospel. You never know if someone will be healed unless you try!
Jae Jin and Justin playing music. Jae Jin and I got to be friends last week in Baltimore. The weather was rainy all week, but we still had fun and met a ton of cool people.
This is Katie. She is part of a sorority simple church started by Emily, who just graduated from USC. Here she is going through the Disciple book. Her newfound passion for Jesus is inspiring!
Wesley (left) is doing a great job taking care of the church plants at USC. Here he is with our friend Tom. Tom is pursuing life with Jesus. He’s a talented and compassionate writer with a great destiny ahead of him!
The way of Jesus is GOOD NEWS for everyone. We’ve got a whole world to reach for Jesus. Let’s do it!