Dear College Student: An Open Letter

Dear College Student,

Welcome to the new season, Learner. Congratulations on taking a leap of faith and daring to further your education. There are some days where it will feel incredibly natural, there will be other days where concepts seem so foreign, they must originate from Mars. My experience is that higher education ranges somewhere in the middle of those two vast ideas.

While the function of higher education is fun and exciting (and again, an applause for pursuing knowledge), know now — learn early —  it is not the end of the rope. This season is a peculiar one, in that you have amazing opportunities ahead of you. In this season you can be a blessing to a church who needs your energy and support, but also you’ve been placed inside classrooms, study groups, and dorm rooms, where it is likely that you are the only Apostolic, truth-wielding Christian in the room. Learner, understand that you’re in new soil, so soak up the Living Water, and breathe in the SON-shine; this is the season for growth.

Some real-talk: when I first moved to Tallahassee, these were ideas I struggled with. I made up in my mind that I was approaching the new year with a “yes” attitude, but was secretly harboring misconceptions that because I loved Children’s Ministry so deeply, it was the only ministry I had a gifting for.  I saw the empty gaps where I could be of use, and approached them with hesitations, asking: “God, are you sure? I need you to carry me, I can’t do this on my own.” And He did carry me. He pushed me out of my comfort zone, and made me realize that when you love souls, Learner, it doesn’t really matter how you win them. What matters is that you start blooming where you’ve been planted. Stay soft, pliable, soak in the advice of your pastor and leadership. Consecrate yourself; go deeper, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your “school-church” needs YOU. You provide energy, support, and a Spiritual sensitivity that is unique; this is the opportunity to be a blessing.

Just as you bring a peculiar gift to your church, that gift is even more peculiar to your campus. Of every classroom you enter, every study group you attend, every suite-mate in your dorm, it is likely that you are the only one with the Holy Ghost, the truth, and the answers their souls are longing for. This is why our campus ministries are so important. While you’re being shaped and molded by the Holy Spirit, the enemy is making his best attempt at selling your classmates his earthly pleasures and providing empty promises. The fact that God has put you among people who, while consumed with enlightenment, entertain darkness, it is with increasing importance that your light shines. Show your friends, your class-mates, your professors, the love of God, Learner. It’s time to bear the fruits of the Spirit God has given you.

There will be days where the weight of it all may seem heavy, but know that His yoke is easy and burden is light (Matt. 11:30). You’re job is to sow seeds, He is the savior. And on the rough days, find comfort in that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). Learner, you have a divine purpose. God wants to use you.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Blessings in your new adventure,

Alexys Rea

Not apart of a campus ministry yet? Find out if there is one at your school, or get information on how to start one at http://www.campusnow.org, a website loaded with resources at your fingertips!

about alexys

Alexys Rea Griffin is a 22-year-old coffee connoisseur, bibliophile, Disney aficionado, and fresh-flower-lover. Seeking her English Literature degree from Florida State University, Alexys devotes her time to the Campus Apostolic Ministry at FSU as well as Kids Ministry at her local church. Do you do Instagram? ‘Cause so does she: @alexysasalways

Keep on Waiting: Charity Huba

From to the beginning of time, man has never ceased in wanting to be in control. It’s been in our DNA from the first human; to be curious and try to take matters into our own hands-thanks a lot, Eve! We can all personally testify to being pushy and obsessive when it comes to our future, our well-being, and most commonly our romantic relationships. It’s natural!

But, poor God. You think after creating all the universe and every living creature in it, he’d have a little credibility for knowing what he’s doing! We live in a society that does not rely or pay respect to God. Our culture is very self-sufficient. Everyone is expected to make their own way, determine their destiny, and create their own future. Jesus has definitely given us the freedom to make our own decisions, but if we truly want the best and blessed life, we must leave him in control! He has plans for you that are transcendent than what you want for yourself. I don’t know about you, but I have wild plans and expectations for what I am to do with myself. But, it doesn’t scratch the surface of what God could create for me if I let him.

There is numerous scripture on waiting on the Lord: (Isiah 64:4, Hebrews 6:12, Psalms 33:20-21). But, there’s one in particular that will make you look at being patient with God a little differently.

Isaiah 30:18 “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.”

This scripture is a bit of a “toe stepper”. God waits on us all the time: every time we sin, are unfaithful, and deserving of His judgment. So, we have no right to be impatient with the one who is perfect and without flaw! He is forbearing with us…why should He deserve any less? He doesn’t need our mercy or forgiveness, but He does expect trust in return for His daily tolerance with our fickleness. Wait on God, because he often waits on you.

But, beyond the fact that God deserves our belief and confidence, waiting on the Lord is the only way to live! This is why suicide rates are high, stress levels are through the roof, and psychiatrists have people lined up outside their doors. People try to depend on themselves for a happy and bright future…and it never works without God. Do yourself a favor and keep yourself from a tiring life of frustration, worry, and stress. You’ll never regret to make the decision to keep on waiting.

about blogger

Charity is a 23 year old Floridian. She is the financial secretary for her church and works at Division of Elections for the State. She drives an old beat-up 2000 Honda Accord that has one wind shield wiper and her favorite Disney princess is Pocahontas!

A Woman of Worship: Sarah Barnhill

Many people are mentioned in the Bible. Some of these people are known for greatness and some are known for the opposite; however, one woman is known for both. This woman remains nameless, but is mentioned in Luke 7:36-50. This woman heard one night that Jesus was invited to dine at a Pharisee’s house. She hurried over to the dinner party with her most valuable possession in hand, her alabaster box. When she arrived she immediately went to Jesus and knelt at His feet. In a true act of worship, this woman began weeping at the feet of Jesus. She washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She kissed His feet and anointed them with the perfume from her alabaster box. Others at the table mocked this woman’s worship, calling her a sinful woman, but Jesus looked through the surface and saw the heart of this nameless woman. On this night, Jesus forgave that woman of her sins and used her worship as an example for the others.

This story speaks volumes to me because of one reason: I am a sinner and Jesus saved me. In these scriptures, Jesus explains that the ones who have a greater debt forgiven will have a greater love for the one who forgave. This is how I view my life. I am a sinner and I do not deserve the mercy, grace, and love that the Lord shows me every single day, but through His forgiveness I have found a greater love for my God. When Jesus died on the cross He changed my identity from sinner to a child of God. He saved me.

Before this night, this woman was known as a sinner, but after walking by faith and giving her all to God, this woman became known for her worship. Her story is now taught in Sunday school, preached on, and remembered as a story of a woman with a great love for God. Even though this woman was not perfect, she did not let her past determine her future. She did not let her mistakes keep her from going to Jesus that night to worship Him. This woman may not be named in the Bible, but she will always be known. She will not be remembered for her many mistakes that the Pharisee pointed out, but for her worship that Jesus admired.

In today’s society we can become so caught up in the idea of people knowing our name; however, this woman’s faith has challenged me. I want to be known as a woman with a great love for God. A woman that lays everything she has at the Lord’s feet. A woman that cannot miss an opportunity to humbly kneel before Jesus. A woman that is not afraid of what others might think or say because I am too enraptured by the love I have for the Lord and the love He shows me every single day. I want to be known as a woman of worship.

about sarah

Sarah, 21, is from Texas and is the middle sibling out of three girls in the Barnhill family. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with her Bachelor’s degree. Her favorite snack happens to be Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos!

They Call Her Blessed: Mary-like Faith in Transition

I think I might be a control freak.

Maybe… maybe not, but the rolling lists of “yes-es and no-es” make their regular brain cycle as transition after transition slides its way into my life. Since I was old enough to recognize a season of change, I made a nasty habit of approaching possibilities with an impossible spirit. A new school year? Fear of making friends. A new friend? Fear that I wouldn’t gain their approval. A new place to live? Fear of inconvenience and longing for what I used to have. A new ministry to work in? Fear of failure. I was catering to an anxiety fed by inward thinking that ultimately left me longing, hungry, and oblivious to a God who had (and has!) greater plans for me than anything I could orchestrate.

After a particularly striking Sunday night, I realized that I was stuck. I had become paralyzed by my own doubt, and I realized that I could not become a house for the Holy Spirit and the spirit of fear. It was all or nothing, and I had to do something about it. I began to commit scripture to memory that would combat fear (such as II Tim. 1:7, Rom. 8:28, Deut. 31:6), and I made prayer a continual habit, not a ceremony reserved for a certain part of the day. Fear still crept in, but I made up in my mind that it would not find a home within me. I could not serve two masters.

My small testimony got my gears turnin’, and in a more recent event I began searching for a Biblical example of a woman who handled transition, trials, change, and fear with grace, courage, and unshakeable faith. This led me to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mary’s story has no shortage of transition and trial: impregnated as a young girl, she was chosen by God for a purpose that would defile her name as well as her betrothed, Joseph’s name. This situation could alienate her from the ones she loved and would definitely derail the plans she had made. However, despite the anxieties she had to of felt, she faced the situation and said: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 ESV). The first thing to note is that she took on a spirit of servitude. Mary knew who her master was, and took his direction without question. Her role as a servant came before any other role she possessed. She embodied I Samuel 12:24: “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you” (KJV), and used this principle to catapult her faith, the second thing to note. Her absolute willingness to accept God’s will in her life executes an unshakeable faith reminiscent of Abraham’s offering of Isaac (Genesis 22:2). No wonder she found such favor with God, she was immovable!

Mary trusted in God before His earthly ministry and her faith progressed as Jesus grew older. Because of her faith, Mary was apart of amazing miracles. She encouraged Christ as He turned water into wine, and was ultimately in the upper room on the day of Pentecost! Just as Mary did, we all know that transition and change is apart of life. It cannot be conquered by fear, but rather, it is conquered by an immovable faith and an unconditional love, formed by spending time with God. If you feel like you’re lacking faith, fall in love with prayer and fall in love with the Word of God. That’s where you’ll find the answers you’ve been searching for. But as the transitions make their way ahead, find comfort in “Thy will be done.” Trust in the Lord. Don’t lose heart.

about alexys

Alexys Rea Griffin is a 22-year-old coffee connoisseur, bibliophile, Disney aficionado, and fresh-flower-lover. Seeking her English Literature degree from Florida State University, Alexys devotes her time to the Campus Apostolic Ministry at FSU as well as Kids Ministry at her local church. Do you do Instagram? ‘Cause so does she: @alexysasalways

Be Changed By: Charity Huba

If you are like me, you have been raised in a church. I played hide-and-go-seek between the pews, drew pictures during sermons, and knew every word to every song repeated innumerable times. It has been a beautiful life and a golden childhood. I thank God for it. But, in a sense, it’s a struggle and a curse. It’s easy to become complacent and callus when so involved in church and the ministry. It becomes mundane to hear a good sermon, it becomes dull to feel conviction, and a habit to be inspired momentarily. We do not change nor progress.

You are an accountable, mature, and independent young lady! So, you are responsible for revival; the prayer, the fasting, and work that brings it. We are not children anymore and must put away childish ways.

It hurts to grow up. Don’t I know it! I recently moved out on my own. It’s exciting and I enjoy the privacy. But the bills, home care, and long list of responsibilities- not so much. But, we cannot stay vulnerable naive kids forever. Although it’s a challenge, it feels good to be responsible! I get the benefits of having an adorable personalized home, being on my own schedule, and getting to host parties and have friends over!

The same can be said of our spiritual efforts. It’s hard to push yourself to spiritually “grow up”; the large amount of praying, painful fasting, and time consuming service to the church. But, the benefits are far beyond what you can imagine. And they last beyond life itself! You will be happier, have more peace, be motivated about life, and get to be used to better those around you.

God forbid we stand before the throne on judgment day, next to someone we knew from our earthly life and hear them say: “She never told me! She never invited me to church! I went to school with her, I worked with her and she never reached out to me once…” all because we spent a lifetime playing games.

“Getting pumped” from a good conference or a moving church camp lasts for about a week or even two. But, being changed stays with you at your core for all time. Stop being stirred and be changed.

about blogger

Charity is a 23 year old Floridian. She is the financial secretary for her church and works at Division of Elections for the State. She drives an old beat-up 2000 Honda Accord that has one wind shield wiper and her favorite Disney princess is Pocahontas!