Puerto Rico Mission Trip

This summer our team partnered with Praying Pelican Missions to serve in Dorado, Puerto Rico, from July 20-26. The trip was incredible and we built lasting relationships.

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We served alongside Iglesia Cristiana Cantico de Victoria: they were so welcoming, so full of joy, and so full of the Holy Spirit. Serving alongside them gave us renewed purpose and they encouraged and reminded us that the body of Christ is more than one church.

12 The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. 13 Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God’s Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 CEV



It has been easy to get discouraged while we go through this season of transition where we are without a senior pastor. However, our team realized that UHBC in Springfield, MO can’t function without ICCV in Dorado, Puerto Rico. 


The founding pastor of ICCV has stayed with the church, acting as prophet for its people while his son leads as pastor. During a meeting with the pastor, prophet, and our trip leader, the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet and declared that our trip leader would see miraculous things happen in his home church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Somewhat selfishly, I wished that the Spirit would have something to say to our church.


Several nights later at the conclusion of the farewell service, the Holy Spirit spoke to us. The prophet came forward, took the microphone from his son, and said the Spirit told him that God is not finished with University Heights Baptist Church in Springfield, MO. 


The Spirit said God is going to use this church to bless this community. 

The Spirit said God is going to use this church to bless people across the world. 

The Spirit said God is going to grow this church. 

The Spirit says be encouraged, keep praying, and be ready for God to do more than you could ever imagine. 



After hearing the words from the Spirit, it led me to the words of Jesus.


The Spirit is the one who gives life! Human strength can do nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are from that life-giving Spirit.

John 6:63 CEV


We have taken this to heart and begin a season of prayer while we wait for what God has planned, but while we wait, we are going to strive to follow the Spirit’s words and be a blessing to others. 



While we were working alongside ICCV, Anelis, the pastor’s wife, told me God put it on her heart to begin preparing for the next big disaster by collecting clothing, water, canned food, air mattresses, and other supplies. She said they wanted to be able to help not only their own church members, but their community as well. 

UHBC has committed to blessing them in this task, because as Paul says,


26 If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy.

27 Together you are the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:26-27 CEV




God has promised that we will be a blessing to our community and to people across the world.


I, for one, am excited to get started.



Trey

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What is Required?

School is starting back up, which always gets me thinking about the classes I had in college and how many of my professors kicked school off with an unofficial holiday called Syllabus Day.


Syllabus Day was all about convincing students their class was going to be the hardest, most important class ever and that students needed to buy $700 worth of books to even come close to a passing grade.

What I quickly realized was most of my professors never referenced the required textbooks, let alone tested from them, and the class was rarely as difficult as the syllabus made it seem.

The syllabus did one thing that I appreciated, though: it told me what was required of me. I always knew where I stood in class because I knew I was meeting those requirements, or I wasn't.



We need to know the requirements for so many different things in our lives, but most importantly, we need to know what is required for us to live as humans. Thankfully, God didn't give us a syllabus, but instead a story that points to Jesus. The Bible talks a lot about what is required of us, but the simplest answer is the one Jesus gave: love God, love people.

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:34-40 NIV



At University Heights Baptist Church, we use these requirements to guide everything we do. To help us focus on them better, we say

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We love people, learn from Jesus, and serve Springfield and the world.


This Sunday, the Missouri State Pride Band will be performing several selections for the service; after the service, we will feed them and all of the other students the greatest meal a college student could eat: a free one (this free one is from Ott's Pasta, which makes it doubly good).

We love college students, and we want them to connect with a place where they can learn, serve, and love; we just so happen to think UHBC is a good place to do that.


Trey

Serve Springfield 2.0

If you are on Facebook you probably saw the hijinks, yard work, inside jokes, and fun activities that our youth group participated in for their summer tradition, Serve Springfield. Serve Springfield is a week long event that provides an opportunity for churches all over the area to serve the community through service projects, prayer tours, and random acts of kindness. This year, the youth group did their own version of this event, Serve Springfield 2.0

 

Trey put together a fun schedule for our youth group. As the intern I was able to tag along with them to work sites, share meals with them, play mini golf, go on the lake, and do all the other activities that were planned.

 

A majority of the service that the students did involved yard work. They pulled weeds, cleared brush, sawed off small trees, mulched a garden, cleaned out gutters, picked up trash, and raked debris at four houses in the Rountree neighborhood. They were troopers. Thankfully the weather was on our side, but it was still a lot of hard work and they did a great job maintaining a positive attitude.

 

When they weren’t working at houses, they were writing encouraging notes to people at Mercy Children’s Hospital or putting together care packages for Convoy of Hope. They went on a prayer tour around town, stopping at Harmony House, Glendale High School, Mercy, Convoy of Hope, and Rountree Elementary.

 

There was also time set aside for students to sit and learn about the Bible. Trey led them in a three day series on Jonah, and I was able to lead them in a devotional about the woman at the well each morning. They are such an attentive group of students that want to learn and discuss the Bible.

 

To reward them for their hard work, the youth also had a blast hanging out with each other on Table Rock Lake, mini golfing, and playing laser tag in the church building. Our church was complemented by the guy who worked for the laser tag company, who said that UHBC has the best architecture for playing the game, which is now an unforeseen bonus feature of this church.

 

This week was filled with bug bites, scratches, sunburns, and sweat, but it was nice to see Matt and Lucy enjoy their last mission event with their friends before they move to a new place and get used to a new youth group.

 

I had a blast working alongside these guys and I hope that the church recognizes how phenomenal these young people are. Continue to support the students as they grow at UHBC. Also support the church staff, because they really do go above and beyond for the younger faction of this church.

 

A lot of good is being done in the community and the church because of this tight-knit, supportive, funny, smart, oddball group of students.

 

Cally Chisholm

Worship Must Cost Us Something

“How strange is it that these same people… should, about five days after, change their hosannas for, Away with him! Crucify him! Crucify him!  How fickle is the multitude!  Even when they get right, there is but little hope that they will continue so long.”

Can you imagine what Palm Sunday might look like if it were to happen in our present time, in today's international climate, somewhere in the modern world?  Picture Jesus entering New York or Los Angeles, London or Tokyo.  I'm sure that people would come out in droves, especially if the news media had just reported Lazarus being raised from the dead.  The crowds would exceed those of a Super Bowl or World Series parade (well, maybe...), and the celebrations would be truly epic.  Just like in the gospels, the whole world would come out to see Jesus (John 12:19).  They would doubtless be intrigued, and our social media driven populace would be lined up hoping to get a selfie with the Messiah so they could post it on their platform of choice.  The tweets and memes would dominate the news cycle for days!

But, in truth, I have absolutely no doubt that, by the end of the week, we'd have Him nailed to a cross, too.  

Jesus came to establish a Kingdom that still threatens the "kingdoms" of this world--the kingdoms of power, self-promotion, lust, greed--and yes, even religious superiority (just look at the Pharisees).

It has never been easier than right now to notice how fickle we as human beings can be.  We can be loved one minute, and absolutely despised the next simply because of one petty action, an offensive statement, a politically charged tweet, or even something that happened decades ago in our past.  The idea of "loyalty" no longer has any real meaning.  But, according to Matthew and John, not much has changed since Jesus fired up the crowds on Palm Sunday.  

On that Sunday, just like in our world today, the people waving palm branches all had different reasons for doing so.  Some were hoping Jesus was coming to overthrow the current government and liberate Israel from Roman rule.  Even his disciples were expecting Jesus to establish himself as an earthly king.  Many were just there out of curiosity, not wanting to miss the "trend" and be left out.  Still others were there out of desperation.  After all, Lazarus had just been raised from the dead, and these onlookers may have been sick or had loved ones that needed a miracle, and so they waved their branches hoping to be noticed and receive aid.  

That day, only one person knew why Jesus was coming into Jerusalem--Jesus himself.  He had a mission, while everyone else had an agenda.  

I suspect that most of us find it a lot easier to cheer for Jesus than to actually lay down our lives for Jesus.  It's nice and easy to sing "Hosanna" as a member of the crowd when we can simply head home and back to our daily lives after the celebration.  Posting clever Christian-themed messages or creating meaningful memes doesn't cost us anything.  There's no degree of sacrifice.  

This Easter season, let us remember that our worship must cost us something to go beyond Sunday morning "Hosanna" cheerleading.  

Chris Brammer

New Goal

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The new year causes us to think about goal setting and striving to improve ourselves. Last year I set a goal to read through the Bible in a year, which was silly to do when my first child was born in July.

I didn’t finish but I did develop a greater understanding and respect for the Old Testament and its importance to our faith. Then I began to notice how much Jesus and the New Testament writers quoted and referenced things that happened in the OT, and my mind was blown.

 

Even though I didn’t finish reading the Bible in a year, it made me want to spend more time in the scriptures. The Bible is so deep that the more you dig into it, the more there is to learn.

 

I love the definition used by thebibleproject.com. They say the Bible is unified story that leads to Jesus. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he says that the Bible is from God and equips followers of Jesus to do good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

 

Make a goal to invest your time and energy in the Scripture. Use a study Bible that can point out the nuances of a text or show you what is being referenced. Fall in love with the Bible so that you can point others to the good news of Jesus.

 

As followers of Jesus, we need to read and study these unified stories so we can be equipped to share them with others.


In love,


Trey

Done with Just Surviving

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A few weeks ago, Abby, Harlow, and I journeyed to St. Louis to attend the National Youth Workers Convention. Through my connections at Download Youth Ministry, for which I am an author, we got steeply discounted tickets. Five thousand youth pastors and volunteers gathered for three days to learn, grow, and worship together.

It was great to be around people who do what I do and love what I love because between you and I, my tank was starting to get pretty low.

Consistently pouring into teenagers and adults is physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining, and I’ll be honest, I’ve been running on fumes. Thankfully, the people running the convention have experienced the same thing. They put me in a position where I could hear from God and be refilled by Him; I wasn’t responsible for anything other than showing up and I didn’t have to fix anything that went wrong. The keynote speakers spoke directly to me and the breakout sessions gave practical knowledge and advice (I’m still combing through all the notes I took).

I have caught myself over the past few months thinking things like, “Let’s just get through Sunday,” and “Wednesday night is almost over.” My focus has been on surviving, but one of the speakers at the convention, Robert Madu, reminded me that my eyes need to be on Jesus. Jesus gives me grace to run the race and not just to survive, but to thrive.

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says,

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I’m done with just surviving, and I hope that you are too. As we look towards Christmas and the end of the year, set your eyes on Jesus and join me in striving to do the good works that God prepared in advance for us to do.


In love,

Trey


ONE

My baby girl is an infant, so all she can handle is milk. As she grows older, she’ll need mushy baby food, then eventually she’ll be able to eat solid food.

When you became a Christian, you started out as a spiritual infant and needed spiritual milk.

Love God, love others, and make disciples is the bare basics of what it means to live as a Christian. It is the milk that you must have to be able to grow. However, you shouldn't stay spiritual infants; you need to grow and mature; you need solid spiritual food.

This semester the youth group is going to build up to that solid food. We are taking an in depth look at the book of Ephesians to grow in our spiritual walk. Everything we do is going to revolve around the idea of ONE.


ONE Love

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...Love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:37-39

ONE Hope

Jesus alone is our one hope. He is the redeemer and king of a new humanity and empowers us to follow after him.

ONE Life

There is one person in your life who you can focus on. Live your life in front of them, pray for opportunities to have spiritual conversations, and go out of your way to show them love and kindness; don't just invite them to church, bring them.

ONE Step

Each of us needs to take a step in our faith. Maybe it's accepting Jesus as your lord and savior; maybe you are meant to join the local church. Your one step might be to teach a Bible study or volunteer in one of the ministries of the church. Don't be complacent; continue to grow and mature in your faith.


The big idea for ONE comes from Ephesians 4.

Ephesians 4:4-6

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
 

Ephesians summarizes the Gospel and shows how it should reshape everything about our lives.

[For an overview of the book, click here: Read Scripture: Ephesians]

 

Chapters 1-3 explore the grand vision of Jesus as the redeemer and king of a new humanity that is made up of every type of person; every race, color, socioeconomic status is welcome and included in this new humanity.

Chapters 4-6 deal with the character traits, life habits, and moral and relational commitments it’s going to take to live in this new community together.


Join us this semester as we live in the grace of the ONE Love of God. Pray with us as we rely on our ONE Hope in Jesus Christ. Live with us in unity and find the ONE Life who needs the freedom of the gospel. Take ONE Step with us in faith to grow in spiritual maturity.

Amen.

Trey Hathcock - Minister of Students and Media