What I Wish I Knew About Church

sinners

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

What I wish I knew at College

 

 

Welcome to a whole new world.   College, a chance to spread your wings, stay up late, learn new things and eat cold pizza for breakfast. If I could relive a portion of my life, it would be college. If I could relive it, there are several things, however, I wish I knew before starting college.

  1. I wish I had known about life…

Lots of learning happened when I didn’t expect. After tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of books, I couldn’t repeat one main point or reproduce one study guide. The learning that will stay is the learning that is done. My learning often came through involvement. Go out of your way to find ways to utilize the stored information until it becomes part of you. This utilization will take different forms depending on your major (particularly if you are a heart surgeon), but find ways to involve yourself.

  1. I wish I had known about family…

My adventure was a bigger loss for my family, than me. While I was looking forward my family was looking backwards to the way things used to be.

People could not experience my life if I didn’t share.  People back home want to know about your life.  It helps them feel connected.

They also want you to ask about their life. One of the biggest mistakes is thinking that because it used to be that way when you left that it will stay that way  Even if nothing changes at home, the family still wants to tell you about themselves.

Come to think of it, I don’t know if anyone back home knows that my intermural football team went undefeated?

There are lots of ways to keep in contact, but do not forget the simplicity and importance of writing a hand written letter. There is something extremely meaningful about this form of contact especially for moms. I would suggest making a list of all the blessings and skills your family gave you and making it personal.… Mom, thank you for giving me the best years of your life. Thank you for the skills you gave me, potty training has been immensely useful….

  1. I wish I had known about snacking…

Don’t eat pepperoni pizza past midnight.

Never ever, ever, even think about taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach.

Most granola bars are candy bars in disguise.

Eat a salad once a day.ramen

Buy Reese’s Puffs when it’s on sale.

Remember not all Ramen noodles are created equal.

Anything from the Dollar store should not be eaten.

(After years of concentrated study and field research,

Maruchan brand should be sought after as the ultimate in epicurean delight.)

www.eduinreview.com/blog/2010/08/10-ways-to-spice-up-ramen-noodles/

 

  1. I wish I had known about friends…

I wish I had invested more in friendships. Find people you can invest in. Use your skills and areas of expertise to help people. Don’t be afraid to just hang out.

I wish I had purposefully invested in those who were investing in me. To this day, some of my strongest friends are professors and pastors I met at school. Feel free to take your Pastor (or his wife) out for coffee, send them an email thanking them specifically for their investment. Remember, your home Pastors and wives go through withdrawal seeing their “kids” go off into another world.

Remember your professors. Most professors have been in school for longer than you have been alive, yet even with their education, you probably make more money flipping burgers at McDonalds. They are there because they love you. Talk with them after class, ask them deep questions that show you are interested. Not only will this help you learn more, it may result in a better friendship, and probably a better grade.

  1. I wish I had known about me…

I spent a lot of time making sure I didn’t fail. Failure makes you stronger. Make sure you put yourself in situations where failure is inevitable. The process of picking yourself up will create character and build stamina for life.

It is easy to have a very egocentric outlook on life. Criticism shows more about me than it does the other person. When you find yourself complaining or not liking a situation ask yourself a few basic questions. “Why don’t I like this?” “What can I change?” “What can I learn?” Be specific in your answers.

As a quick example, when I was at school there was a rather boring professor. The answer to the first question involves stating the facts. He was not engaging, the topic was not made relevant.

Part of my solution was found in the answer to the second question, “What can I change?” I realized I could not change the teacher, but I could engage by asking questions, and make the lesson relevant by talking to him about the significance after class.

In answer to the third question, “What can I learn?” I analyzed the teaching style and kept track of things I would do as a teacher, and things I wouldn’t. After asking those three questions, a boring informational class actually became a time of intense personal learning.

  1. Things I am glad somebody told me…

Keep a journal. It will help you analyze your thoughts and is an excellent resource.

Wake up at the same time. It is tempting to sleep in on off days, but your body will work better on a schedule.

Take a power nap. 15 minute naps are like plugging in your smart phone while online.

Plan ahead. Get big projects like reading done at the beginning of the semester. (Make sure to check if there are requirements attached such as a weekly quiz or report.)

Exercise with a friend.

Don’t date the first semester. (Desperate people are looking for you…!)

Pursue personal interests.