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Renee DeVault

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February 8, 2016

When School sets your eyes on Jesus

February 8, 2016 | By | No Comments

One thing that I absolutely love about MidAmerica is that my professors will lead devotions before class or tie the material that we are learning that day into faith.

This has really helped me to see how faith can be applied really everywhere in life.

I remember sitting in a Communications Class and discussing how the theory of Cognitive Dissonance relates to the Holy Spirit and personal conviction of sin. It caused me to think about how God uses human psychology at times and how he goes against at other times causing us to know it has to be from him.

Dr. Flemming, my professor for my Book of Acts class, lights a candle on his desk before every class as a reminder that the Holy Spirit is in the room and working on our hearts. It is hard to watch him teach without seeing the candle in the corner of your eye and being reminded. He also takes praise reports and prayer requests before class and we pray together.

Our faculty advisor for the Trailblazer does the same thing. She always asks for prayers and praises and she prays for us before we start every class. She also likes to recite a memory verse to us.

This practice from my professors is not only good for my own thoughts, which I get to return to God more often than I probably would have otherwise, but it is also good to see the faith in action of my professors.

It helps me to relate to them because while I am a nineteen year old undergraduate college student and they have their doctorates and live lives very different from my own, I can relate to them through shared faith. It makes the professors seem less distant or so far above me that I can’t talk to them on a personal level.

Quinn has been focusing a lot on discipleship after learning about stages of development and methods of teaching in his Lifespan Development class and since I happen to talk to him a lot I have been thinking about it too.

I think one of the reasons why I love the professors being able to share devotionals and pray with their classes is that I feel discipled in a way from them. I am learning not only about the subject they are teaching, but how that subject relates to my faith and how I can weave my faith into every aspect of my life. Having mentors like that has been an incredible experience and something I don’t believe MNU students should take lightly.

Renee DeVault

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January 25, 2016

Them there Crazy Christian People

January 25, 2016 | By | One Comment

Sunday night my small group gathered together in Weatherby chapel, sat in a small circle on the floor at the front, and spent the next two hours praying together and singing worship songs. I wish this was more normal for us and in time I hope it will be.

It got me thinking though…why isn’t this more normal?

Why do I feel uncomfortable praying for more than thirty seconds or worshiping without a leader or even a single guitar?

Jesus said in John 15 that the world will hate us as Christians because they hated him. We have been chosen out of the world. This is a theme all through the bible. In Exodus 19 God describes his people as a holy nation, a people set apart for him.

Being set apart naturally means that we will not fit into what is considered “normal” in this culture.

In 1st Peter we are called (depending on translation) aliens, foreigners, sojourners, and exiles and are told that we will be spoken against by the gentiles, or, metaphorically, people who haven’t accepted God’s Kingdom. As aliens, members of God’s kingdom living in this earthly kingdom, our actions will naturally be different because we are of a different people group.

Just think about the insanity that we are accused with when we obey God. Isaiah 55 explains that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. When we become obedient and align our thoughts with God’s thoughts and our ways with God’s ways we cannot help but look foolish to the world because God’s thoughts and ways are different from what is traditionally accepted.

We’re freaks and weirdoes.

At least I believe we should be.

I began to wonder, while in my worship and prayer session, about something my pastor asked us this Sunday. He asked if all of our decisions made sense. He asked if the way we live appeared completely normal by worldly standards. Do we put our own interests first, do what seems logical, and spend our free time enjoying ourselves or are we something radically different; a wild, exotic freak.

Think about quitting a high paying job to pastor a small church. That doesn’t make sense.

Think about spending hours on end in prayer and worship. That doesn’t make sense.

Think about giving generously and without even thinking even when you don’t logically have the money to spare. That doesn’t make sense.

Putting others above yourself, loving your enemy, and taking care of the poor don’t really make sense.

Even talking about God in everyday conversation seems odd to me at times. I could go for days without bringing up God in my personal conversations with my friends and it would be perfectly normal by cultural standards.

Christianity doesn’t make sense within the value system of our culture because these actions put value on something other than personal gain, enjoyment of life, comfort, and money.

These are the kind of crazy things that I want to be normal for me. I want a new normal. To do this I believe I need to reconnect with my homeland, with a God utterly rejected by this world, and begin to think thoughts that that aren’t my thoughts by nature and live in ways which would not be my traditional ways.

This requires a flipping of the perception of what is valuable. Prayer and worship is valuable. Other people are valuable. Generosity, following God’s instructions no matter what, and trusting in him are valuable. I want it to be normal for me to discuss him with my friends in casual conversation because he is what I want to be the most important to me. And people talk about what is important to them.

This is all simple obedience which stems from the joy of catching a glimpse of the greatness of our God and the magnitude of the mercy he has on us. That messes with a person.

It’s about obedience. These “crazy” things may seem impossible to do, but if God has called us to them, we can do anything because he will give us strength (Philippians 4) and we will find contentment in our lives. Plus, God’s plans are to prosper you, to give you a hope and a future (Jerimiah 29) so that “crazy” thing is for your good…I’d say it’s probably best to do it.

So at least in myself and with my friends I’m going to try to make that a reality. I want to be seen as illogical and crazy. I’m praying for that right now. It’s scary, but also very fun. I’d challenge you to do the same.

 

Katie Linsey

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January 21, 2016

A Passion to Serve at MNU

January 21, 2016 | By | No Comments

MNU has lots of wonderful ministries that give students the opportunity to go into the community and serve others.

To be honest, I’ve been to a few ministries, but haven’t found time in my schedule to regularly commit to attend a ministry.

Last week, I was hired to create the MNU Ministries launch video for this Spring 2016. It was such a blessing to me because it allowed me to hear impactful stories from students who have been investing in ministries for a full semester. It’s encouraging to know that there is a group of students at MNU that devote time to ministries every week.

I love attending a school that equips students to serve in the community, and do it with the passions and talents that the Lord has given them. There are many different ministries, which I’ve listed below in case you’re curious about them.

LOL (Loving on Littles) – A group of students that goes to an apartment complex and plays with children.

Deep Cries Out – An anti-human trafficking ministry that educates themselves, brainstorms ways to help, and prays for the victims.

Freedom Fire – A group of students that goes to a community center to play with children and tell them the Gospel.

EMT (Emergency Mission Team) – This is a new ministry this semester. This group will be available for any “emergencies” that come up in the community.

SMILE (Students Ministering in the Lives of the Elderly) – This group of students goes to a nursing home and sings hymns to the elderly.

Center of Grace – This group of students goes to a soup kitchen and serves people in the community.

I’ve attached the video below so that you can hear from the students yourselves. I hope that you’re inspired and encouraged like I was!

If you’re an MNU student, it’s never too late to sign up for a ministry, or simply attend for a week. :)

If you’re not an MNU student yet, this is what you have to look forward to! A university with a passion to serve, that encourages and equips students to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

-KT

Lynsie Petersen

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January 21, 2016

It’s Never Too Late For A Peace Treaty

January 21, 2016 | By | No Comments

I hate watching the news. It’s full of hatred and anger. I can’t tell you the last time I turned on Fox News and heard a story of peace and love.

Why is it that we live in a day and age where my Bluetooth speaker can tell me the weather report and my daily schedule, but I can’t feel safe walking out to my car after dark?

This week we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr Day and I sat through a passion filled chapel, but the whole time I was struggling with the concept of “peace”. Dr. King called for it and yet we haven’t gotten any closer in the last 43 years.

In Tuesday’s chapel, Michael Randle spoke about loving God with everything and loving our neighbors as ourselves. “We don’t need justice. We need to extend mercy to one another” -M. Randle

Michael Randle preaching about loving our neighbors.

Michael Randle preaching about loving our neighbors.

Randle spoke about showing mercy to all people, just like God does for us.

Randle spoke about showing mercy to all people, just like God does for us.

We live in a time where things can still be changed. Yes, I’m white, but that doesn’t matter. God calls us to love all people, no matter their race, religion, or walk of life!

I want to leave a legacy worth leaving, so maybe this is the first step. If we join together, we really can change the world. My parents always taught me to leave a place nicer than when I arrived, so why isn’t that applicable to the world we live in?

Renee DeVault

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January 10, 2016

Resolution vs. Solution

January 10, 2016 | By | No Comments

I have always had an issue with the concept of resolutions. Especially around New Years time because it all seems too overdone. No one is expected to really follow through on theirs and it seems to have become a cultural joke.

When I used to make resolutions I always found myself becoming increasingly depressed as I failed at my resolutions and constantly had to start over and fail again. I’m not sure if this is a personal problem or something common but in either case it raises an issue.

Are resolutions worth making if it’s just going to depress me when I don’t fulfill them?

However without resolving to change will I ever?

Is there a better way?

I propose that for real change to happen in a person’s life resolving to change is not enough. Perhaps at least in my life there needs to be less resolution for the future and more solution for the here and now. Some points that I’m exploring…

1, Accountability

I think this is why some people post their resolutions on Facebook. Once it’s public we may feel like we will stick to the goal better. I have seen this work for other people but it does not work for me. Public resolutions may seem like they would keep one more accountable but I think it just adds to the guilt factor when resolutions aren’t being met.

I would propose telling a smaller group of friends or family about what you want to change. The accountability is still there and in times when the plan gets rough you can focus more on getting back on track and less on the guilt of being off track.

Mutual accountability is also a beautiful thing. Finding a few friends who are trying to solve things of their own can be very helpful. Not only can you remind each other of what you want to do but one friend’s success may inspire another’s.

2. Creative Solutions to individual problems

Trying to fit an individualized issue in life into a mass solution may seem at times like fitting a square box into a circular hole. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. When a resolution is made I believe that a creative brainstorming session will almost always be necessary.

Perhaps the popular solution to a problem simply wont work. For example, joining a gym and working out a certain amount of time every day just wont work with a college budget or time table. And if this method is attempted anyway time and time again fails then it can cause resolution depression. The problem may not be with you if the resolution isn’t working out. The problem may be with the method.

Put on your thinking cap. Sit down, make a schedule and look at the realities of your time and resources and try to find a solution which is both possible and fits somewhere naturally in your life.

Ask friends for their help in designing a solution. they may see windows of opportunity or other creative solutions that you can’t. If the first solution or method doesn’t work then go back, be honest, say it doesn’t work and begin brainstorming another solution.

A quest for a solution allows for much more self-given grace than a resolution often does. When you fail or fall short finding a new solution can be more productive than failing the same solution multiple times.

3. Praying

First, I think that before setting out on a quest of self-improvement, God, who knows us best and knows who we were created to be, should be asked to reveal what needs to be changed in order to make us more like him, better able to do his work, and better able to bring praise to him with our lives.

I believe that if we ask God what we should focus energy on changing in order to fulfill these created purposes, he will tell us. Resolving to change and having a God-appointed mission to find a solution are two very different things.

If God calls you to change an aspect of your life or relationship with him then he will give you the tools you need to change it.

Our God seems to care much more about our process than our final product. We put a lot of stock in the product but it is through the relentless, suborn process of trying solution after solution to fully obey God that we develop our character. The difficult process, not the resolution and not the final product, is what equips us to be able to obey a call to change in the next area of our lives that he presents.

 

I do not believe that resolutions are bad. They can be very effective and significantly impact us, our lives, and our likeness of God if the effort goes past the resolution in into a solution. Trust your friends, be willing to try things differently, look for growth in failure, and constantly be asking God for strength and guidance into how to invest the resources that he has given you.

 

 

Isaac Walker

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January 6, 2016

My New Year Resolutions

January 6, 2016 | By | One Comment

Hey friends!  It is five days into the new year and I have been doing some thinking.  Looking back, last year was not necessarily the best year of my life.  It was actually pretty rough on me.  Through all that, I have grown to be the person I am now and I think I have handled this past year very well. I have grown a lot from all of the trials I faced.  I made amazing new friends and strengthened the relationships of friends I already had.

I want to continue growing and becoming the person God wants to be this year.  With that, I have a few resolutions for this year.  I think I had made some every year and never followed through a single one!  I am kinda lame when it comes to things like that…But I have a good feeling about this year.  So if you all don’t mind, I am going to share some of my resolutions for this year. These are in no particular order and some are not quite as deep and serious as others are, but they all are important to me!

  •  Start a book and actually finish it.
    • I cannot tell you how many I have started reading and never finished.  Some books I started more than once!  I actually am about to finish a book I started a few months ago, but I want to start and finish one in the same year.  And a year is a very long time to give myself for one book!  I really am not that slow of a reader.  I just wont read it often.
  • Learn a new skill and become better at a preexisting skill.
    • I am taking a painting class this upcoming semester and honestly, I am a little scared!  I have never really painted seriously like that before.  I love Bob Ross, but I never even thought about attempting to replicate his visionary masterpieces.  So we will see how that half of this resolution pans out.
    • Some of you may know me as the violin guy that plays in chapel.  Well you are wrong.  It is actually called a viola.  It is similar to a violin, but it sounds better.  That is a skill I would like to be better at.  I literally never practice my viola and I know for a fact that if I did, I could be so much better.  I am not trying to be cocky or conceded, but when one practices, they get better.  I also sing.  I would go far enough to say that I am a good singer, but I know I have a lot of room for improvement.  I could increase my range and I could have better control of my voice.
This is my very own viola. I think I have been playing for about 11 years now.

This is my very own viola. I think I have been playing for about 11 years now.

  • I want to start exercising more regularly.
    • Last summer I took a yoga class at JCCC and the semester before that I took a gym class at JCCC and just used their work out facility.  I dreaded it every day but I felt really good from all the exercise.  Now I do nothing…I get winded walking from Colony to the caf…So many people I know work out regularly.  When they tell that they work out, I can feel the condescending tone in their voice.  What they really are saying is “Yes I know I am better than you”.  I want to be that person.  I will probably just run in the evenings or something.  Nothing too crazy.
  • Start a YouTube channel.
    • As I mentioned before, I love to sing.  I even write song lyrics from time to time.  For years I have wanted to start a YouTube channel where I posted covers.  I even would love to start one with my best friend Chelsea.  I follow a variety of different YouTubers and I know I could do what they do!  Me and Chelsea are just as funny and ridiculous as Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart.  We just aren’t famous!
For those of you who do not know her, I am sorry. This is Chelsea. We have been froends now for about 10 years now.

For those of you who do not know her, I am sorry. This is Chelsea. We have been friends now for about 10 years now.

  • I want to be more organized.
    • I am the worst procrastinator I know.  Every semester I start out using my planner like a boss.  I write everything I need to do in it, but by the second month I forget that it even exists.  It gets buried far down in my backpack.  That is when I forget about things.  Long term assignments are my worst enemies.  I put them off till the very last minute.  This semester I want to be on top of things better.  I will finish my assignments long before the day they are due.
  • Keep a daily devotional all year.
    • This may seem cliche and basic but I am serious!  I have always been encouraged by my mom to do this.  Over the many years of my short life, I have  accumulated quite a few different devotional books.  I have started a few of them, but not to my surprise, I did not stick with it.  I have My Utmost For His Highest and I have heard a lot of great things about that devotional.  If anyone has any recommendations, shoot them my way!
This is the daily devotional I am going to do every day!

This is the daily devotional I am going to do every day!

Here are some more with less detail:

  • Climb a 14,000 ft < mountain.
This is Mt. Beirstadt. I hiked up this mountain over the summer with Kairos.

This is Mt. Beirstadt. I hiked up this mountain over the summer with Kairos.

  • Get all my assignments in on time.
  • Figure out exactly what I want to do with my life.
  • Get a Chia Pet.
Chia pets are just cool.

Chia pets are just cool.

Now I know I will not accomplish all of these.  I will be happy with myself if I do one of these!  But I am going to try gosh darn it!  But in all seriousness, I am very excited for this new year.  I have a feeling God has a lot in store for me.  And I know that it is not going to be easy.  I am thankful for all the people He has put in my life that have helped me along the way and that are going to be here for me this year.

Happy new year friends!  I hope you all have an awesome year full of God’s blessings!

Until next time.

Katie Linsey

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January 2, 2016

2016: A Year of Digging Deeper

January 2, 2016 | By | No Comments

At the beginning of every year, I ask God to reveal a word for me to focus on throughout the year.

I spent hours praying for a word for 2016, but wasn’t feeling a decisive “yes” from God to any of the words that popped in my head. As I was worshipping at church tonight, it was clearly revealed to me that my word for the year should be “deeper.”

In 2015, a lot was brought to my attention about my relationship with God. Growing up, my Christian friends and mentors would always talk about having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” but I didn’t fully understand what that meant.

For most of my life, I think my relationship with God was comparable to a relationship I have with a celebrity. I may know a lot about Taylor Swift. I may know who she’s dating, all the lyrics to her songs, and when she’s going to be on tour, but that doesn’t mean I have a relationship with her. If I saw her in public and started talking to her like I knew her, she would probably think I was weird because she’s never met me before. I think that’s how I was with Jesus. I knew all the stories in the Bible, I’d memorized some of the words He’s said, and I talked like I knew Him… but I’m not sure I had that personal relationship I heard about so many times.

2015 consisted of asking myself a lot of questions about my faith. It included figuring out what I believe, and how those beliefs should change the way I think and live. It’s not enough that I believe the words of Jesus. They must transform me in some way. After all, even demons believe in Jesus.

With all of that said, I believe in Jesus and I have a personal relationship with Him. But He continues to draw me deeper still. You can never have enough of Jesus. You can never be too close to Him.

In all the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to make quick decisions without taking God’s will into consideration. There have been times when I’ve been offered jobs and took them without even asking what God wants. I’ve dated people in the past without praying about it. It’s easy to leave God out of small and big decisions in life, but that’s not how Christ followers are meant to live.

Toward the end of 2015, I started praying about nearly every detail of my life. I started noticing drastic changes in my priorities and attitude. I’ve chosen to invite God into my relationships, my finances, the way I spend my time, where I serve, etc… and it’s clear to me that this is how it’s supposed to be.

The word “deeper” sums up everything I want 2016 to be. I want to dig deeper in my relationship with God and my relationship with others.

I encourage you to pray that God would reveal a word for your 2016. If you choose to do that, let me know what He says. :)

-KT

Renee DeVault

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December 8, 2015

Slaying the Stress Monster

December 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

This week is insane.

It just is.

The week before finals everyone either seems to walk around like zombies who have given up on life or are running around like overly caffeinated squirrels trying to get everything done at the last minute.

I have taken to switching between the two pretty much on the hour.

I would prefer not to talk about the things that are causing me stress (as they are all my fault for putting them off). However, I would absolutely love to talk about the way God has blessed me with ways to keep me sane.

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For example, Gabe stole my phone during lunch earlier in the week. Usually it would have made me upset but looking back on it, and the billions of pictures my poor phone was subjected to, it just really makes me happy that I have such goofy friends.

They constantly do things that make me smile and most of the time they aren’t even trying.

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My friends have really become like a mini campus family. We eat meals together, make fun of each other, support each other, sit in silence and do work, and then make fun of each other some more. We’re living life together. That’s my favorite part of college so far.

I love explaining what I’m learning about in class to them. As a communications major communicating about communication to the people I most often communicate with, it makes me very happy.

I have an unhealthy nerdy obsession with learning, but it’s made even more fun when I can wave my arms around like a crazy person and explain why I am so excited. Even if they don’t think it’s as absolutely fascinating as I do, they at least humor me to let me talk about it. I appreciate that.

I also enjoy the random theological discussions Jordan poses in our group chats or when somebody asks for prayer, or when we’re able to vent about some life frustration that we just need somebody to listen to.

Another awesome stress reliever has been Action Pact, MNU’s improv team.

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Improv is a form of live performance comedy in which  the actors make up everything on the spot, often asking for audience participation. I am on both the main improv team as well as the smaller Serve Team which travels to churches and does shows on weekends.

The main team did a show on Saturday night which was just too fun for words. It was our Christmas show so we got to dress up and many of our sketches had a Christmas theme.

Tickets to the show were $5 and those who came sat at a table in the Black Box theater and enjoyed cookies and hot cocoa.

I love improv because it requires little to no preparation on my part. That means no agonizing over lines, trying to remember where to stand, or making sure my voice or inflection is quite right. I just have to understand the rules of the game and then act on instinct.

I lose track of time when on stage with this team. An hour long show feels like almost five minutes. Not only is it fun to perform, but I also get to watch what hilarious and often awkward things my teammates do.

This kind of performance requires a lot of trust. I have to put myself out there on stage and say whatever I feel needs to be said and I need to be able to trust that they aren’t going to leave me out to dry. They constantly support me and have my back.

I wonder if any studies have been done on if there is a relationship between trust on stage and trust in real life? Or maybe trust on a team (like football or soccer) and trust in real life? I feel like they would subconsciously go together…just a thought. I should look into that.

Isn’t college great? I bet I could ask some professor about that and they would give me six books, a web address, and the name of someone they “have a connection with” who is an expert in the field.

Either way, I find I have gotten closer to members of the improv team by just allowing them to see pure, unadulterated, crazy me.

And they haven’t run off screaming yet so that’s a plus.

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Another great thing about school this year which has really helped me to de-stress is the knowledge that everybody living around me is in the same boat.

We all have finals. We all have to deal with the cold weather and the last minute assignments and the random frustrating bursts of sickness which always come at the worst moments. Even the professors have finals stress. They have to grade assignments and deal with all of us students going to them for last minute help.

It’s kind of nice to go into the library and see a whole flock of poor students frantically doing assignments and coveting the few precious outlets in which to charge their laptops. They understand me when I put down my backpack with a heavy thud and mutter “ugh!”. Often, they join me.

So I guess we all have to learn to help each other out.

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We have to, like my friend Justin does, clear dishes in the caf for our friends because we know it is a way to help them out.

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We have to squeak into town, after going home for the weekend like Alex did, and rush to Bell Center in hopes of hearing the last song of the choir concert that our friends have worked hard to put on.

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And we have to show up in the library when someone says they don’t want to study alone like Jordan did for me earlier today.

We have to take care of each other.

We have to take care of our professors, realize they’re people too. They’re not trying to ruin our lives, they’re just trying to do their jobs. We like when they make life easier for us, we should try our best to make life easier for them.

We are in a community centered around hope and love which comes as a graceful extension of God’s love to us. He never promised us that things would be easy (and really, we have it so easy compared to what some other people are going through right now) but he did promise to never leave us.

So we need to be willing to bring ourselves to God and not forget about him as we have a million other things on our minds.

Staying connected with God will help us to better serve our fellow students, be a blessing to our faculty, and hopefully keep a fragment of our personal sanity.

So that’s the three things I’m praying for this week

1. That I will not forget who really holds me accountable. It’s not my grades that matter in the end, but who I am as a person, and the amount that I have invested in casting my cares on God and trusting him to help me be the best student I can be.

2. That I will remember my fellow students; remember to care about what they’re going through, and not allow myself to think I’m the only person with problems or stresses.

3. That I will remember my professors: remember that they are human beings, like myself, just trying to do their jobs and live a Christ-like life to the best of their ability. I want to remember to trust that they know what they are doing and remember to pray for them in their efforts to help us while still remaining fair.

Best of luck y’all.

Div Tosinglo

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December 4, 2015

A LISTENING GOD

December 4, 2015 | By | No Comments

 

 

The semester is winding down rather quickly. We made some new friendships, and ended some old ones. We surprised even ourselves with how well we did academically, or maybe we learned we should and will do a lot better than we did next semester. We ate a lot because college fifteen comes for the weak. We accepted eight hours of sleep five days a week is only a dream. We learned how to cope with how poor we felt every time we left the cashier’s office. A lot of things happened this semester. You learned a lot, well I know at least I did. And I’d like to share a little bit about that.

During welcome week my freshman year, Dr. Hayse spoke to our class and said something that has stuck with me since, he said, “Here at MNU you will be challenged to make your faith your own.” I can personally attest to how true that statement was. This semester has been a shedding and growing faith season for me.

Ever since I was a kid, my prayers were so robotic. I prayed what I should and what sounded good. I ignored confessing to God how unworthy I felt at times , or how I wrestled to believe he loved me. I didn’t confess to him the pain and distrust that I carried. I didn’t confront the resentment that had grown in my heart for others. Those were things I didn’t believe were in his intrest. But that’s not at all who JESUS reflected God to be. Jesus was a man who desired to know and see the inner parts of humanity be transformed. A transformation that required vulnerability.

This semester I have learned how to share  my true feelings about the things I’ve been recently going through. In doing that I’ve gotten to exerience the grace and comfort of God work on my heart, and cultivate a deep intimacy between God and I.

Max Lucado (My role model from afar) brings it all together with this quote:

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This truth about God has forever changed my perception on the concept of relationship not religion. Not only do I empty my heart out to God, but I also get to listen to Him responsed. I listen to his love reassure the fears in my mind that I am still his. I feel his mercy conquer the shame I once carried. His grace rescues me from bitterness and resentment. I’ve come to really understand the heart of God in these past few months.

Here are two songs that have been a lot of help in my journey of genuinely seeking God:

I’d love to hear some of your faith shedding and growing experiences, so feel free to leave a comment below.

Lynsie Petersen

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November 25, 2015

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

November 25, 2015 | By | No Comments

My all-time favorite Thanksgiving themed “movie” is “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”, and it has been for as long as I can remember. The message is just important to me now as it was when I was a little girl: No matter the circumstances, you should always remember to give thanks for what you do have.

Barely 2 minutes into the short film, Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally says the following: “Why should I give thanks on Thanksgiving? What do I have to be thankful for? All it does is make more work for us at school.” and then complains about an essay her teacher asked her to write.

How often do we complain about the little things in life? Or do we question what we have to be thankful for? As Americans, we tend to take things for granted? Like the fact that we live in America and have the freedoms we do.

My mom is in the Air Force and has been deployed twice. My dad was a Marine as well. I’m definitely not the biggest fan of the US government because of this, but I’m still thankful I live in this country and that my parents are willing to give up their lives if needed to protect our country.

I’m just as guilty of the next person for taking the obvious things for granted. The air I breathe, the fact that I have a home and loving parents and (sometimes annoying) siblings, and that I go to college, or that I’m allowed to be writing this blog post. These things seem to be the things I’m supposed to have, but so many people don’t. And that’s why we should be grateful.

I'm thankful for my family, my pets, and the privilege to celebrate Christmas openly.

I’m thankful for my family, my pets, and the privilege to celebrate Christmas openly.

Towards the end of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”, around the 17 minute mark, Peppermint Patty begins complaining that Snoopy and Charlie Brown are serving toast, popcorn, gummy worms, and pretzel sticks for Thanksgiving dinner, more specifically, the Thanksgiving dinner that Peppermint Patty invited herself and two friends to, last minute nonetheless. “Where’s the turkey, Chuck? Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving dinner? Where’s the mashed potatoes? Where’s the cranberry sauce? Where’s the pumpkin pie?” Next, Marcy reminds Patty that she invited herself over, thus she should be thankful there’s any food at all.

That’s another thing I take for granted, having food every day, multiple times a day. I do complain about Campus Center, but at least we have Campus Center. It may not be Chick-fil-a or Chipotle, but at least a source of daily nourishment is offered. When I go home for the weekends (which I’m blessed with the ability to do), there’s always food in the cupboard and fridge, and a good chunk of America doesn’t have that luxury.

The “movie” rounds out with Charlie Brown’s grandmother doing what any grandma does: invites the unfed friends of Charlie and Sally to Thanksgiving at her condominium. Snoopy and Woodstock share their Thanksgiving meal and all is well.

I'm also thankful for my decor-crazed mother and brother. Our yard looks awesome!

I’m also thankful for my decor-crazed mother and brother. Our yard looks awesome!

So take a minute and be thankful for what you have because it could all be ripped away from you in a flash of an eye. And if the opportunity arises, be like Charlie Brown’s grandmother and invite someone over for your Thanksgiving feast. They may need it more than you think.

What are you thankful for? Comment below and let’s all share in the blessings! :)