What Happened to My Family at College?

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Summer break! A time to relax from the intense pressure of homework and the ever watchful eye of professors and hall monitors. A time to catch up with family in between work, church, and play. Summer break, a time to feel awkward about relationships…. Let’s be honest, relationships are messy and family relationships over summer break can sometimes be the messiest of them all.

The awkwardness of relationships often starts with parents. Chronologically they are the first relationships we all have and therefore have the most history. From day one, your parents had dreams and plans for you, many of which you do not have for yourself. This can cause some tension, but not nearly as much as the awkwardity of the transitional period of adulthood. This transitional period has many factors.

The first factor is that as a college student for nearly 9 months you were in control. You controlled your schedule, you controlled your entertainment, your study, your habits…. The person you reported to from homework to eating an extra pepperoni pizza @ 2:00 in the morning, was you. Now you are back in your little room with family members and parents who are not used to the way you have run your life. This combination is like miracle grow for tension. My suggestion is, talk it over with your parents. (Not while you are leaving the house and they ask, “Where are you going?”) Ask them about their summer schedule, and share with them some of the things you would like to do. A good rule of thumb, would be, treat your parents with the same respect you would your summer boss.

The second factor is the transition from teen to adult. If you remember back when you first hit puberty everything was different. Your desires and goals jumped from adult to kid and bounced around like a freshmen boy’s voice. That transition from kid to adult was difficult, and in a way that same transition is happening again on an emotional, and spiritual level. After experiencing life as an adult (in a dorm or apt), you feel ready to stretch your wings and fly, but the problem is, you are still in the nest. (For those of you who may be reading this at midnight, your parents are paying for the mortgage, mom is still preparing food, and you are diligently chirping for more freedom.)

When you kinda feel like an eagle being asked to go back into its shell, you have two options. You could sit your parents down and demand they show you some respect or else you are going to pack up all your things and camp out in your 1992 Corsica, or start proving to them you are an adult by showing them respect. Many times college students seem to view break as their time to relax. Realize that part of being an adult means that you don’t get time to relax. Explaining to your parents why you didn’t have time to clean your room, or pick up the Cheese Nip box in the TV room is not going to impress your Dad who puts in 50+ hours.

     If you want respect, you must give it out. Respect your parents by going the extra mile and showing them by your actions you are an adult. Look for ways to add to the family dynamic. If you know your mom is heading on a trip, fill up and vacuum out the car. Surprise your parents by finishing the dishes or making a meal and doing clean up. Volunteer to take the younger kids to swimming lessons or practice.

If you are not an asset, you are a liability.

Awkwardness can also result from sibling relations. While you were gone, it may seem like your younger brother must have taken Sarcasm 101 at night school, and what on earth made your younger sister decide to go all Goth? Obviously, it is up to you as the older, wiser, college student to unveil their stupidity and amaze them with your wisdom. Regarding younger siblings, there are a few things to remember.

First, remember that, “Only by pride cometh contention.” A soft answer will defuse tension before it  begins, but if you insist on showing your sibling how much wiser you have become during college, tension will explode and you may lose a valuable friend for life.

Second, remember that you have just come back into their territory. Your reign as older sibling matters about as much as the top 10 pop artists from the 70’s. You may be able to bully them into getting you your pop during a movie, or forcing them out of “your” chair, but you were never elected into your royal position.

Third, remember they have also gotten older. They may not look it with braces or a Mohawk, but they are many months closer to adulthood. Listen to their thoughts and ideas. Don’t cut them off mid-sentence or explain the ludicrousy of their ideas, for it is during those times that they are sharing their souls. Don’t let your pride cause you to put them in their place or cut them down. Determine to build them up and look for ways to genuinely compliment them.

Fourth, remember that they have had a life while you were gone. You may feel like everything is the same, but it is not. While you were away, your siblings won awards, performed in concerts, succeeded or failed in many areas. Ask them about their life. Nothing smacks of arrogance like the assumption that you know all about another person without asking.

Fifth, remember to spend time with them. You may not have many more opportunities to spend time with your younger siblings before you or they are out of the house. If they have the same interests as you, great, but make sure you invest time in doing things that they are good at and enjoy.

Sixth, remember that you are a huge influence. Younger siblings can be annoying, and who better to teach them how to grow up than their older siblings? As we discussed, this is not done mainly through words, but actions. Influence is not really an option, the direction, however, most definitely is.

I pray that you will be able to try out some of these suggestions. Let me know how they work, or share ways you may have invested in your family.

What Happened to My Church?

Awkward

Did you ever think you would feel awkward at church? Very few things surprise the college student more than leaving for college with dozens of cards and hundreds of dollars from church members, and then returning and feeling awkward at church. There are some easy ways to relieve that awkwardity at church.

First, engage. Get involved. Find a ministry that needs help and fill it. Ask the leadership about helping out in kids or youth ministries. Invest in the elderly. Purposely talk with them after services, and see if you could stop by and help or just visit some afternoon. Think of it, you just spent thousands of dollars to grow intellectually and spiritually at college, and many have never bothered tapping into 50-60 years of experience for free!

Second, interact. After 9 months at college things look the same, but they really have changed. Come to church prepared to ask questions. Ask about what God has been teaching them, ask about their joys/struggles. See if they have any special prayer requests or needs. Now is the greatest time to invest in people and get to know them on an adult level. Ask them how they met their spouse, or the steps they took when looking for a job or buying a house. After being gone, there will invariably be people at church who have never met you, go over and introduce yourself. Who knows if maybe you are one conversation away from making a lifetime friend?

Third, invest. Young people think college students are the bomb! (their word choice not mine) Do you remember how you felt as a junior higher when a college student took the time to talk with you? (If you never had that experience, then I am sorry the selfish, stuck up snobs robbed you of a very meaningful experience, don’t repeat their mistake.) You have an opportunity to shape moldable souls for eternity. You don’t have to teach a Sunday school class or do a weekly Bible study, to affect them eternally. Simply do what you do with a tag-along. If you are a race fan, kick out a few extra bucks and invite a younger kid to go with. If you like fishing, manicures, or whatever, invest in a young life. Remember, Paul’s admonition to be followers as he followed Christ. If you are a terrible role model, and an example of selfishness, then it is best that you stay selfish by yourself and not ruin a young soul for eternity.

Fourth, unveil. Church is meant to be a place where we share our burdens and take out our poky sticks and prompt each other to love and good works (Gal 6:1, Heb 10:24). When was the last time you helped someone carry a spiritual burden? When was the last time you agonized with someone else as they shared Scripture encouraging you to grow? Most people do not even realize that there is a spiritual battle raging in our souls. It is too dangerous to share and open up. The closest we may get to opening up is to share at prayer meeting, that we are struggling “with something”, or ask for an unspoken request. How many fellow warriors know about your battle with pornography? How many believers can raise their shields and help protect you from the assaults of depression, fear of failure, moral lapses, or the constant struggle with faithfulness? If I do not open up, church will become an archaic ritual, instead of a training ground for life.

Finally, pray. How often did you pray for your home church while you were away? HoMEDION DIGITAL CAMERAw often do you pray for your church right now? If I do not care enough about my church to pray for it, I have already left, and am just waiting for my body to catch up with my decision.

Awkwardity is a very good thing. It reminds us that there are some things that we need to change. If you are not engaging, interacting, unveiling, and or praying, then God’s gift to you at church will be the gift of awkwardity.

Failing Less, Winning More

Would you be satisfied if you were guaranteed a 95% in every area of life?

Would you be satisfied if you were guaranteed a 95% on all projects and tests for the rest of your life?successful-1078183-m

Would you be willing to trade your chance of perfection for a guaranteed 95% in everything you do?

95% is a whole lot better than my free throw percentage, 95% is a whole lot better than my comprehension rate, or even success in relationships. Even still, there is something incredibly unnerving about shackling the soul with a 95% success rate.

I am not so much bothered by the fact that 95% success dooms me to 5% failure as much as I am bothered by the inability to strive for perfection. Personally, I think the ramifications of 95% success are unlivable.

It would make life very predictable and dull. We all enjoy complaining about failed tests, bad pick-up lines, and dumb decisions, but frankly our failures are what brings a sense of mystery and excitement to our lives.studying-ahead-642559-m

It would negate any sense of accomplishment. What student has not felt the rush of accomplishment after hours of intense study as they look down at their grade on a project? The fulfillment of the grade does not necessarily come from a perfect 100%, but after working for a grade the ensuing accomplishment is a priceless gift.

It would destroy growth and the motivation for change. Failure is incredibly motivational. After losing a race, a motivated athlete trains longer, and works harder. Without a realization of our weakness, we are not motivated to grow stronger. I am thankful for failures, because in my failure, I am able to see that I am not, yet He is. Maybe that is part of what Paul had in mind in II Corinthians 12:9-10, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

For those reasons and many that you all could list, I hope your life consists of more failure in order to become more than a 95% person.

Don’t Trash Your Break

Don't Waste Your Break

Whoever came up with the word, “Finals” was a very misleading character. For months and months a student looks forward to finals, but life exists after finals. Granted there is an intense feeling of relief similar to finding a rest stop after finishing a 64oz Big Buddy slushy, but I viewed finals as the end, when in reality it was only the beginning of a new chapter.

Sadly too much time is often given in preparation for finals forgetting that there is life after finals. It is sort of like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, all of the suspense is gone after the ring is destroyed, but Tolkien still writes about the Shire, because that is important to those who live there. There is life after mount Final, and I would like to describe some of the things I wish I had known to prepare myself for the real world of Christmas break and beyond.

  1. I wish I had known that I had tied up my identity with being a college studentstudy-table-1275249-m

For months and months, I existed for one sole purpose, study. Now that purpose is gone. My affirmation and phony ideas of self-worth because I had memorized the periodic tables and could name the multiple parts of the Larynx no longer mattered, in fact those facts where considered boring in the real world. Along with my loss of identity came a sense of insecurity, I didn’t know where I fit anymore as this half child, half adult amphibian type creation.

  1. I wish I had known that I was not in control of my schedule

At college, I was in charge. I knew when I would eat, sleep, and recreate. I ruled my time as sole heir of everything that was allowed into my life. This monarchy met reality once Christmas break started. Families and employers had been planning and dreaming about what would happen when I got home. Save yourself a ton of strife and misunderstanding by calling them before you get home and asking if they have any plans. This is especially important with mothers as they have dreams to make everything special.

  1. I wish I had known that independence/respect was earned

While I was at college, I was treated as an adult. I needed to realize that not only was I entering the land of my childhood, but success in college did not qualify me for respect in life. A good rule of thumb would be to remember that I should never talk to my parents in a tone or way I would not address my professor. If I deserved an F for not turning in an assignment or for sloppy work, I deserve an F at home for showing up late or leaving my clothes in the walkway.

  1. I wish I had known that I had major opportunities to invest in real relationships

When home over break, most people get to spend time with the people who invested the most in them, and made them who they are. These are the real friendships that should get the most attention. Take mom or dad out for coffee, participate in a younger sibling’s project, sit and talk with the grandparents. If possible contact a high school teacher or spiritual leader, chances are they would love to hear about your life but don’t want to intrude. The cute cat photos on Facebook can wait while you invest in 3D relationships.

  1. I wish I had known that I needed to get involved

People wanted to know more about my experiences, but they also wanted to share theirs with me. I assumed that I knew what happened in their life because nothing ever changed at home. One of the best ways to get involved is to ask good questions about your family and friends at home. Even though you are only home for a month get involved. Get involved in your family. Play games, be adventurous, enjoy making new traditions. Get involved in your church through starting conversations, or joining the choir or helping in youth activities. One of the greatest reasons college students are stereotyped as selfish lazy slobs is because they view break as a well-earned rest to be spent on themselves.

  1. I wish I had known that I could still read a book over break

After hundreds of hours studying, I began to realize that there are many topics that I am truly interested in. Don’t let your mind go to waste during break. Grab a novel or read up on a topic you enjoy, look ahead to next semester and finish off a reading report to give an extra cushion in case of an Ebola outbreak on campus.

  1. I wish I had known that I should exercise fitness-series-3-68976-s

If you were to leave a tomato out on the counter for the entirety of Christmas break without moving, that would be similar to what happens to your body after stuffing yourself with Christmas goodies and a sedentary lifestyle for a month. Find an open gym, go play hockey, go sledding, enlist in a free gym membership, do pushups or jumping jacks for every helping of fudge.  Do something that takes more energy than watching It’s a Wonderful Life.

  1. I wish I had known that I needed a goal

You have been offered a free simulation of what life after graduation will look like. As in life during break, you have more education, and the ability to make your own goals to accomplish whatever you set your mind to. As a general rule how you spend your Christmas vacation will be how you spend your life.

Don’t waste your break.

Help the rest of us out by listing ideas and thoughts you wish you had known before break.

Is God’s Will Knowable?

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     If you could ask one question of God, and He guaranteed an answer, what would it be? If you could ask Him one thing about your future what would it be? 

Genesis 24 sets forth a great pattern for those who would seek to do the will of God.

     Follow the Words of God. In Genesis 24 the servant of Abraham, Eliezer, is commanded to seek out a wife for Isaac. God specifically stated that Isaac was not to marry an ungodly women (Gen 24:2-4).  Eliezer listened to the commands of God.  God will not give you a map of tomorrow if you are not willing to listen today. Following involves studying and applying God’s Word. It would have been much easier for Eliezer to disobey God and find a wife near home for, but it would have been partial obedience.

I should not expect that God will show what He wants for my future if I am not willing to follow what He is showing me today.

I must realize that disobedience has consequences. If I am not willing to obey, then I lose the blessing and power of God (James 4:4). I lose the help of God. If I am considering something that is ungodly, God will not help me. It would be like a terrorist asking the United States government for money. In disobedience, I lose the peace and surety of God.

Obedience and preparation walk hand in hand along the road to success and accomplishments. Abraham’s servant, expressed his concerns about the low chances of success regarding his quest of wife hunting (Gen 24:5), but then he prepares himself and obeys.

In order to achieve God’s guidance, we must be willing to prepare ourselves for God’s blessing and that is done through obedience to what I know to be true today.

The best time to prepare for the future is today. The best time to prepare to be a good husband or wife is before you are married. As I pursue my marriage to Christ, I will unlock understanding that is needed in my human relations. A lot of Christians know God in the same way that someone can swim through taking a correspondence course.

In our preparation, we must never forget to depend on God, “And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.” (Gen 24:12) If I am not depending on and seeking God, how will I know if I am in His will? Eliezer sets forth a pattern that is worth following of dependence and prayer. I can only rely on God, because my heart is going to fail me, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9 )

We must be doing. It is impossible to steer a parked car. We so often wait and treat our service to God like a menu. We sit down and look at what God has to offer and decide what we will take. “I being in the way, the LORD led me… (Gen 24:27). God will not reveal tomorrows plans, if I am not willing to follow today’s. We often step into subtle rebellion. We do not outright deny God, but we wait to see if it is safe. We sit and stare at the stop light like a 15 year old getting his permit afraid to go in case the instructor might flunk us, and forget that our hesitancy is more dangerous (1Sa 15:23).

God rewards the diligent (Mt 25:28), one of the ways God rewards us is with bigger tasks. Eliezer had been diligent and sacrificed for God. Eliezer was going to lose out on some big time temporal blessing for helping Isaac. Before Isaac, Eliezer was going to receive Abraham’s wealth (Gen 15:2). Because of his faithfulness, Eliezer is able to play a part in assisting the line of Christ, and now has his name memorialized in Scripture.

     Eliezer was successful in his journey and God revealed to Him His will as he faithfully followed the Words of God, and got busy doing what he know to be true.

These dual ideas of following God and doing His will are reflected in another character in this passage.

Genesis 24:16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. 18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. 19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. 20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.”camel-737239-m

Rebekah was busy doing. She was from a wealthy family, yet she was doing servant’s work for her family, and she volunteered to serve others. Men, if the women you are interested in is not currently serving, run! Rebekah was using her body and her resources for others. These wells often were over 100 feet deep and all she had was a 3 gallon pitcher. A camel can consume up to 10 gallons of water apiece. If you do the math, she would have made over 30 trips and drew over 100 gallons of water for an old guy, unbathed servants, and 10 ugly camels. Rebekah was busy using the things she had for others. So to make it personal: 

What things do I have that could bless others?

What talents do I have that could bless others?

How have I been using these to bless others?

We not only see that Rebekah was busy doing, she also was faithful. She was pure, “And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin.” (Gen 24:16). God specializes in using unclean vessels such as Rahab, but God will not use a vessel that is not committed to Him. Purity does not come by accident, purity is a choice to put God above everything else.

In the end of the story, Rebekah finds a godly husband (Isaac is worshiping God on the mountain when she finds him) becomes fabulously rich, and is immortalized as a women of faith. Because of their faithfulness Eliezer and Rebekah both found the will of God, not only for themselves, but their actions still play out in the lives of every believer, because Rebekah was the great… Grandmother of our Savior.

What does God want for my future? Exactly the same thing He wants for my present. He wants me to follow Him in every command big or small, and get busy doing. I being in the way, the Lord led me…

The beginning…

Why Wait God?

worhsip

Have you ever wished God would take the guesswork out of following Him and that He would give you a map of the next 20 years? Those who have studied the Scripture know that the goal of a Christian should be to glorify God, but it is difficult to know what that looks like as a college student facing graduation, marriage, or even the possibility of singleness.

God is more concerned with who we are than what we get done.

The prophet of the Lord, Samuel, anointed David as the king over Israel (I Samuel 16: 1-3), and then for fifteen years David waited, was hunted by the Royal guard, lived in enemy territory, hid out in the rocks and desert wilderness all the while waiting for God’s promise to be fulfilled.

What sort of doubt do you suppose tried to creep into David’s life as he waited? Especially since he originally started out defeating the # 1 bad guy in the land (I Sam 17), was married to the King’s daughter, and originally had the support of the people before going into exile as a condemned fugitive.

While David waited, God was doing amazing things in David. He became the man God needed Him to be in order to rule with a heart after God’s. God will not do anything great through you, until He has done it in you. Many times God will make you wait, and it will seem like Heaven is silent, but it is in those times that God is up to something great.

Have you ever felt like God is not answering or fulfilling His promises, wait on the Lord and be of good courage. God’s promises will always be fulfilled, but often, He has a different goal than we do.

Leave a comment telling us how God worked a situation to grow you.

Little Changes Big Results

Is this killing you spiritually

Little changes make a big difference. Little changes create huge impacts. In college, my brother Luke and I switched to drinking skim milk, and between the two of us in a year at college we cut out close to 60 pounds of pure fat from our diet. That’s the equivalent to eating 240 sticks of butter. This principle of little changes has ramifications for good as well as evil.

My little habits and choices toward sin may not seem earth shattering but with time they can grow and become disastrous hindrances to my Christian walk (Gal 6:1-7). It does not take long for small choices to grow and soon begin to hinder us.   A single bacteria cell by binary division can multiple to become 9 x1030 in 24 hours. (Think of that next time you want to reheat a pizza that was left out all night or watch a movie that God would not approve of, or harbor bitterness, or self-justify.) Sin will multiply quickly. Although it does not take long for the effects of sin to inhibit us, it also does not take much to stop the work of sin if we submit to God.

My little habits and choices toward God are able to stop the spread of sin in my life. To follow our bacteria illustration, if I had put the pizza in the fridge after baking, it would cut the bacteria down to 2. A small change grows to big results. I may not feel like I am making life altering decisions, but every small change puts me either closer to or further away from my goal in life.

Imagine the immense changes in your life today if you had decided ten years earlier to be a better worker, a better student, or a better Christian. Just imagine if a 10 year old decided to commit to reading the scriptures for 30 min a day, by the end of his lifetime he would have spent 14,600 hours before the presence of God. That’s like way longer than the Lord of the Rings extended edition! (I should add that it is a grave fallacy to equate Scriptural intake as the only sign of holiness as the Pharisees memorized the first five books of the Bible, and still crucified Christ). I am simply trying to point out that a small decision over time yields phenomenal results.

So how about you? What decisions are you making that with time will result in significant results? What changes are you glad you made and can share with the rest of us?

 

 

Get In The Game

Get In The Game

Have you ever sat in church and wondered, why am I here?

I would like to compare church going to a basketball game. In a game there are 4 types of people.

Those who are on the court, on the bench, in the stands, and those who hear about it from someone else. Said more succinctly: Those who do, those who sit, those who watch, and those who hear.

Regarding those who do, nobody experiences the game like a player. Those who do, get to see the wisdom of the coach. Those who do, get to experience the thrills of the game. The intensity of a play well executed, the focus of a unified team.

Those who do, also get to experience the joys of preparation. Their hard work pays off. Their discipline is shown. Those who do are motivated to train and grow, and are able to not only add to the team, but grow personally.

The next group of church goers are those who sit. This group makes themselves available but to a lesser extent. I am not talking about the 6th and 7th man but the third string, the ones who are sent in when it really doesn’t matter. Generally there is a dedication difference between 1st and 3rd string. (I do understand that in many schools there are extenuating circumstances such as politics, age, or position.) The starters, however, as a whole are focused on training on and off the court. The third string can “afford” an extra dessert or more time on the PlayStation instead of the gym.

When a coach looks at someone who is consistently late for practice or gives half effort during practice, his natural inclination is to reward them with the honor of watching the team dressed in their jerseys.

The third group are those who watch. Those who watch are bound to get tired, their buns are going to get sore, and they will get bored (that’s why they are eating.) When they are not stuffing their face with extra-large sodas and popcorn, audience members have the rather unique privilege of commentating and criticizing all from the comfort of their uninvolved perch. Audience members can join in the excitement, but cannot truly claim victory.

The final group are those we hear. This last group has no investment in the team or outcome, they simply hear about the game from another observer. Chances are after a few highlights the conversation drifts to other topics.

So the question remains, where are you today?

Let me know your thoughts, how can you determine the difference between a player and an observer? Is it fair to base commitment levels on actions? What changes have you noticed when you have been a player or observer?

What I Wish I Knew About Church

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Choosing a new church particularly as a college student can be a monumental task.  Many times we treat churches like a McDonalds menu, we order what we like, and we expect it our way.   There are many things I wish I had known as a college student picking out a church.

I wish I had known that I was an answer to prayer. The first new church I went to, the Pastor had prayed for a college student. Many churches are tired and life has zapped them of the energy of youth. Your presence could herald the fact that God is not done working in their church.

I wish I had known that it wasn’t about me. I wanted a church that could minister to my needs and make me comfortable. Nowhere in Scripture will we find this philosophy blessed. In fact the opposite is true, church is not about me. You should be searching for ministries that stretch you and move you away from your current comfort zone. If you are attending a church where you don’t feel you fit keep reading.

I wish I had known the value of the assets I possessed. I did not understand the value of what I possessed as a college student. Even if you cannot sing or feel qualified to teach, there is an enormous amount of untapped potential for a church in every college student. You have:

Abilities: The most obvious abilities in a church would be singing and teaching, but the list goes so much deeper. If the thought of standing in front of a congregation is more terrifying to you than a herd of rabid monkeys, that’s OK, simply check out what you do well.   An ability is simply a skill that you possess and every person has them. If you are sports minded, maybe you could be involved in a weekend camp. Maybe you are gifted with media and know how to convert audio into MP3’s, most churches could use that. Maybe your skills lie in art. See if you could design a bulletin or brochure. If you are mechanically minded, bring your tools and start some repairs. Maybe you like to cook, find an elderly lady who needs encouragement and bake away! Whatever your skills, God wants you to use them, and the church will be more than happy to plug you in.

Energy: This can translate into, playing ball after church, shoveling the walk, cleaning the church, chaperoning youth activities (includes free pizza), giving rides, greeting people, pushing children on the swings, giving testimonies, passing out flyers, setting up for activities, decorating, hanging out with the youth, talking with different age groups, writing a letter to a young kid….

Prayer: If you are not praying specifically for your church, it is not your church.MEDION DIGITAL CAMERA

There are many more assets that people possess, but make sure you are proactive about finding needs.

 

I wish I had known that people wanted me involved. I wish I had proactively gotten involved in people’s lives. I wish I had taken a directory home and memorized people’s names, and then told them I was praying specifically for them. I wish I had asked about people’s needs and done what I could to meet them. I wish I had understood the value of a listening ear. Larry King once remarked, “I never learned anything new when I was the one talking.”

I wish I had known to have a conversation with the pastor. I wish I had asked him about Scripture and his thoughts on theology. If I am paying thousands of dollars to get an education, why not take advantage of a man with oodles of degrees and years of life experience, and it’s all free.  I would have asked him several questions. I would have asked: if he ever doubted his choice to go into ministry, what concerns did he have for the church, what is his passion in ministry, how could I free up his time, if there was any way I could specifically encourage someone, what areas would he like me to serve in?… Most pastors are looking for someone to invest in, there is nothing more energizing for a pastor than someone who is willing to be poured into.

I wish I knew that church is a place where sinners go. So I should not be surprised when things are not perfect, including me.

I wish I had read ahead. If the teacher is going through a study or a book of the Bible, if you take a little time to read about the topic being discussed or read the Bible passage, it will increase learning exponentially.  

I wish I had known about consistency. Sadly, I attended 5 different churches during my 4 years at school. A lot of that had to do with logistics (transportation, and travel time), but I was not able to build lasting relationships or a consistent ministry. I wish I had kept with a church ministry and seen it grow. I also wish I had sent off a letter or two during the summer to keep everyone in touch with my life. If you do have to leave a church for some reason, be sure to let the leadership know as they have begun to care about and count of you.

Your church experience will directly mirror what you put into it. If you are willing to apply some of these practical ideas, I guarantee it will transform your church experience.

I would love to hear about your experiences or other suggestions for making church going a more fruitful experience.

 

Personal Works Cited???

 

It is an observable truth that those who refuse to learn from stupidity are bound to repeat it. That is why I wonder at the works cited paper. In this post we are going to focus on the question, “Does the works cited paper truly increase learning?” We will be examining three basic realms in which the research paper falls miserably short. It is proposed that the research paper is a waste of time, is inaccurate, and bound to previous learning.

The works cited paper is a colossal waste of time. The very idea that a student is required to research a field or topic that has already been researched is insane. The very phrase, “Personal Works Cited Paper” is oxymoronical in nature. The student is required to write his own thoughts on other people’s thoughts? If they have already written on the topic, wouldn’t it be more profitable to write on a different topic or if the teacher insists on a certain topic let them read what is already written? Does this logic apply to any other area in life? Imagine going to the local car dealer and after examining ten to twenty automobiles you are told in the interest of fairness and research to go build your own? Similarly, why should the student write his own paper when there are many references already written? If I am to write a paper and truly call it my paper, I shouldn’t be using anyone else’s ideas. (1)

This leads to my next point. Research papers are grossly inaccurate. They are the philosophical equivalent to a grungy buffet where you have no idea where the food came from or who (if any) washed their hands before handling your pizza. Because a research paper must have different sources the student is left with a huge variety of unhealthy ideas from a myriad of perspectives only one of which can be right. Supposedly this is to help the student be discerning in their study, but apparently that tactic didn’t work because there are still undiscerning people writing alternative papers (who ironically had to read various viewpoints).(2) If a student is required to write based on the research of others, what if the sources are wrong? Furthermore, as a student studies, he is invariably placed in a position of compromise, as he may be incapable of discerning a matter and may purport several untruths based on the research of faulty individuals. Research papers are also based on outdated material as the materials studied have all been written in the past.

Finally research papers are cyclicic, as they continue to plunge mankind into a sort of vacuous whirlpool of ideas. A student may have a completely new thought but in order to meet the criteria for the paper must suppress and smother the spark of intellect. (For actual case studies the writer recommends checking out the lives of persecuted geniuses such as Galileo, Edison, and the guy who invented Totinos pizza). This fact is one which all students should be intently concerned about for the simple reason that all intellectual progress is hindered by it. It must be asked, where did the source get its source? If we follow this idea far enough, someone started it all. Someone had to not cite his sources! Why is a student required to cite his sources, when the sources he cites from originally where not cited?   The implications of this fact are immense. Someone is in control of our entire intellectual system and therefore created the works cited as a tool for his own diabolical scheme. (3)

The world is being held in darkness as students everywhere are wasting precious time on inaccurate research determining preconceived conclusions. The only way to stop such a mad menace and deliver the thinking mind from certain doom is to ban the work cited paper. I realize this is no easy task, as it has grasped the intellectual world in a strangle hold (4), but there are subtle ways to let your mind shine and carry the truth to our needy world. Next time you write a works cited paper, you must determine what you are to write on before-hand and simply add those who agree with you, or if needed add the most ludicrous and unbelievable source you found and add it out of context, at the very least, write your paper and then add an outline. This is the only sane way to recover what we have lost in circles of academia worldwide.

 

Bibliography

1: Live Your Own Life, N.O. Learning, Shortsighted Press 2001

2: Never Trust a Book, S. N Eacky, Whatever Publishing house 2009

3: The Schizophrenic Guide to the Universe, Al. Fraido, Basement Publications

4: Sunday Morning Comics, Marmaduke goes to Space