Destino Winter Conference Highlights

Check out this highlight video of the Destino conference, which includes excerpts of Jose Luis’s story. He was the student highlighted in our latest newsletter, Soccer and Salvation in San Antonio.

Soccer and Salvation in San Antonio

160 Latino students and dozens of Campus Crusade staff were packed in the meeting room, listening as students, one by one, stepped to the microphone to share their story of what the Lord had done earlier in the day.

It was the day of outreach for the conference and many students told stories of sharing their faith and the people who had responded to their message of hope.

Jose Luis (left) and Sara Ramirez, a student at Arizona State
Jose Luis (left) and Sara Ramirez, a student at Arizona State

Jose Luis, a Destino student at Texas A&M stepped up to share his experience. He nervously began to share how God had worked that day.

Many of the students went to neighborhoods in San Antonio to pass out “Bags of Blessing”, gift bags of food and toiletries we assembled with the help of a local ministry that are designed to give hope and spark spiritual conversations with those who receive them.

Other students, however, were assigned to go to an orphanage of older youth to give hope and encouragement to them.

Jose was in the group that was assigned to go to the orphanage. He was nervous because 10 years ago, he was an orphan who was temporarily housed in a shelter in San Antonio after arriving to this country from Honduras.

Jose nervously shared about his fear and anxiety as they approached this location that he had never heard of.

Jacob prepares for the rush of students!
Jacob prepares for the rush of students!

When they arrived, Jose stepped out to look around. In the distance he saw a bunch of kids playing on a soccer field. That’s when it hit him. He had been here before. Jose realized that this was the place he had been housed 10 years earlier.
Jose told us how he was able to share a message of hope with 20 teenage boys at that shelter. He told them how they could make it because he made it. He explained how he was in college now and they could go to college too. He then shared about the hope he has through his relationship with Christ.

10 boys trusted Christ that day with Jose. There was nary a dry eye in the room as he shared his story.

As Jose finished his story, Jose Diaz, the student MC from New York City, approached Jose and handed him a soccer ball that was signed by all the teenagers from the shelter.

They signed the ball as a thank you to Jose and to Destino for coming to them and sharing his message of hope and encouragement.

It was a powerful moment to see how the hope of the gospel is spreading to many open hearts within the Latino community.

Joshua fills the bag of one of our staff members
Joshua fills the bag of one of our staff members!

Jennifer, I and the boys were privileged to be there at the conference to serve and help Destino minister and train their students. It was so exciting to see that the conference doubled in size from last year to this year.

We had the opportunity to interact with many of the nearly 40 students who were there from our region and it was fun for our kids to help us put together the “Bags of Blessing” that were used on the Day of Outreach.

Thank you for your partnership in reaching students for Christ and for giving every student an opportunity to experience Christ in a way that culturally relevant to them!

Click here to view the pdf version of The Lowedown!

Destino at Chico State

Visited Chico State last week. Check out this cool video their students produced while I was there where they share a little bit about Destino at Chico State.

Destino PSW

A few weeks ago, Latino students from all over the PSW region came to Los Angeles for a weekend retreat. Here is a short video that our students put together to share more about DESTINO!

Ronco, OxyClean, ShamWow and P90x

It’s late at night and you can’t sleep. You should probably use that time to read your Bible and pray for all the things going on in your life but instead, you decide to kill some time by watching TV. The only problem is that even though you have 500 channels on your satellite dish, there is absolutely nothing on.

Wait, what was that? You go back to the channel you just passed to listen to a guy tell you about ShamWow, the amazing chamois, towel-like product that will absolutely revolutionize your life. You’ll save money because you’ll never need to buy another paper towel as long as you live. In addition, it will absorb any spill or stain that has ever soiled your carpet.

The Amazing ShamWow!
The Amazing ShamWow!

You’re mesmerized as you wonder how you’ve lived even one day without this fantastic, amazing, revolutionary product.

Such is the world of infomercials, 30 – 60 minute “paid programs” which aim to sell you products that you probably wouldn’t pay a dime for if you saw them in the local Wal-Mart. But somehow, when you watch the infomercial, you’re tempted to sign over the deed to your house to get a bucket of “Oxyclean.”

Growing up, I remember Ron Popeil, who popularized the infomercial with his amazing food dehydrator. I desperately wanted one so I could make beef jerkey, but I wasn’t old enough to have a credit card, so I could never order one. Just maybe though, I’ll be lucky enough to acquire one through a white elephant gift exchange!

Amazingly, Ron Popeil is still promoting his Ronco products. Infomercials have come a long ways though. Recently, I saw an infomercial for a revolutionary fitness program called P90x. To be honest, I have wanted to get this program because I know that if I go through the 90 day intense workout, I will look more ripped and fit than just about any man alive! Seriously though, I know many who have used the program and it does seem legit. Perhaps I’ll give it a shot when I have about $70 laying around that I don’t have anything else committed to it.

In the mean time, I’ve come up with my own version of P90x. As you know, Jennifer and I are giving leadership to our staff to encourage and coach them to reach the nearly 2 million students in California, Arizona and Hawaii who are ethnic minorities. The number of students who are culturally non-white continues to increase and is now approaching 60% in our region.

In order to reach these students effectively, we need to start movements within their cultural group that will communicate the message of Christ in a way that is culturally relevant to them. That’s our goal.

Jen and I have identified 90 different cultural ministries that we would like to start on campuses throughout our region. So what is our version of P90x? Well, we are starting with Prayer. We’re praying for the Lord to help us start 90 new cross (x) cultural ministries. Hence P90x is Praying for 90 crosscultural ministries to be established in California, Arizona, Hawaii and Las Vegas.

We are trusting the Lord to establish 8 of these new ministries by December and 18 total by May. This is a huge step of faith for us and we’re working hard to surface leaders for new potential movements. Please pray for us and with us that the Lord would establish HIS P90x program here in our region. I can say with all sincerity that this P90x program WILL revolutionize things. And if you have a cool idea for how we can
turn this into an infomercial, please let us know!

Click here to view the pdf version of The Lowedown!

Fall Retreats

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at the Fall Retreat for our San Diego Campus ministries. I do a series of talks based on Jesus’ invitations in the gospels to “Follow Me!”

Check out this brief highlight video of the weekend. I’m not prominent but if you look closely, you’ll see me make an appearance!

This weekend, our family will be in the San Bernardino mountains as Jen and I will be speaking at the Fall Retreat for my alma mater, Cal Poly Pomona. Please pray for us.

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Destino-Epic Fall Retreat

Last weekend, many of our Southern California Epic and Destino ministries converged in the mountains outside of Los Angeles for a joint Fall Retreat. About 130 students came. Students from our new Destino movement at Chico State drove 7 hours to connect with other students from Destino at Long Beach, USC, Fullerton, UCLA and even Arizona State! Check out this short video they produced to share a glimpse of their weekend:

Bracing for the Future

Not long ago, we heard the words that no parent wants to hear from their dentist.

“Your kids need braces.”

When we broke the news to our kids, understandably, they were not very happy.

I can sympathize with them. I remember having braces when I was in junior high and high school and it was horrible. It was bad enough that I had all of this exposed metal in my mouth, but the orthodontist told me I had to wear these little rubber bands that went from my top teeth to my bottom teeth. I couldn’t figure out what they were supposed to accomplish other than getting me to keep my mouth shut! Maybe it was a directive from my parents!

Dave - freshmen year
Dave – freshmen year

The orthodontist also gave me this contraption that he called “head gear.” It was basically a big metal bar that connected to the braces in the back of my upper teeth and attached to a strap that wrapped around the back top of my head. It looked kind of like an old school football helmet, with that bar sticking out in front to protect the kicker’s face. (Some have referred to it as a Halo)!

The purpose of the “head gear” was to put tension on the upper jaw, pulling it back to correct an overbite. The orthodontist instructed me to wear this thing “at all times”, including when I was at school.

“No Way!” That’s where I drew the line. I remember one person from school who wore a “head gear” and it permanently ostracized her from the rest of society. It was like having leprosy or some nasty skin rash. If you’ve seen the movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, wearing a “head gear” at school was equivalent to having the “Cheese Touch”. I wore it to bed and that was it.

During my freshman year of high school the inside of my mouth got so cut up from wearing braces during wrestling season that we referred to the inside of my lips as “meatloaf.”

Jacob with braces
Jacob in the 4th grade with braces

One day, my dad asked the orthodontist if he could finish what he needed to do without the braces. The dentist agreed to take the braces off if I would wear a retainer every night. It seemed like a good trade, so I enthusiastically agreed.

When the dentist took the braces off, I had nice straight teeth. Man I looked good! At that point, I was glad that I had invested over 2 years in braces. At some point though, I stopped wearing the retainer every night. It just didn’t seem completely necessary. I didn’t see the point.

One day, years later, I came across that retainer. When I put it in my mouth, I realized that it didn’t quite fit anymore. It turns out that my teeth had shifted. Slowly, they were drifting back to the state they were in before I had braces.

The concept of braces is simple: you put a wire around the teeth and slowly tighten the wire to straighten and align them. Once they’re aligned, you wear a retainer in order to keep the teeth from drifting back to their crooked state.

It seems to me that spiritual disciplines are a lot like braces. In my heart, I’m prone to sin and wander from what’s right and what’s true. I read God’s word, pray and practice other disciplines in order to stay on the right path.

God’s Word transforms me and helps align me to Him and His purposes. So spiritual disciplines are like braces in some ways.

Joshua - 4th grade with braces
Joshua in the 4th grade with braces

And it turns out, that once I stop applying these disciplines to my life, I’m prone to wander back to my sinful, selfish state, just as my teeth, without that retainer, will slowly drift back to being crooked and unaligned.

So when I question the purpose of reading my Bible, praying and meditating, I think about braces. The benefit may not be immediately apparent, but it’s the end goal that motivates me—to become more like Jesus.

Now if I could just think of a way to help my 9 year old boys to see the “benefit” of braces now. Because at this point, the motivation that “you’ll look good for the ladies” isn’t quite working. I’m guessing though that by the time they get their braces removed, they’ll have a much greater appreciation for “the ladies”!

Please pray for our kids and us to be constantly “aligned” to God’s purposes!

Click here to read the pdf version of The Lowedown!