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Renee DeVault

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April 26, 2016

Action Pact takes to the road

April 26, 2016 | By | No Comments

This last weekend the Action Pact travel team packed packed up our bags and jumped in our fifteen passenger van at 10:15 AM to begin what ended up as a seven hour road trip to Cimarron, KS.

Between moments of doing homework, sleeping, and jamming out to the radio our team of six alternated between melting in suffocating heat when the windows were closed or being slapped by relentless wind when the windows were opened.

Action Pact followed Voices of Praise, an eight person singing group, in Clifford, their big red van. This was the second event Action Pact has done with Voices of Praise and by far the most extensive. We stopped and ate lunch together as well as stopped at gas stations so we were able to talk to them.

When we arrived at the church there was pizza provided, we figured out who our host families were, and then went to Dodge city to explore their mall and hang out at Sonic. Some friends from MNU came to Cimarron with us too so it was a huge MNU country party getting to explore the town that some of our good friends from Cimarron spent so much time in growing up.

Sara, Linsey, and I stayed with a family from the church who provided a place for us to stay and a fantastic breakfast in the morning. I wish that we had been able to stay after church for lunch so we could have spent more time with them.

Action Pact did a last minute improv performance for the Youth Group before service which was interesting because while improv is intrinsically made up on the spot, our plan of what games to play and who is playing what games is usually planned out far in advance.

The actual service was probably my favorite part of the trip. Quinn led Voices of Praise in some incredible worship both before and after Action Pact’s performance of “The Complete History of Old Testament in 20 Minutes”. It was my favorite performance we’ve done of that show. I felt like the congregation was very receptive and Quinn was able to tie it into VOP’s next song so the transition felt seamless.

As soon as we had all of our stuff packed up after the service we got out of Cimarron and frantically tried to make it back to Olathe in time for the Theatre Awards Banquet. We were on campus for about five minutes before the banquet started. I was so proud of us.

The banquet was very fun. My fellow improv friend, Justin Collins and I won male and female freshmen of the year award, Quinn won one of the performance of the year awards and Joshua won a One-Act performance of the year award. There were several other awards but I’m afraid I won’t remember them all so I’ll just say congratulations to everybody broadly.

Enjoy some pictures my friend Sara Eigsti took on the trip.

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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

Isaac Walker

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November 23, 2015

MNU Serve Team

November 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

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Hey friends!

This past weekend was a pretty wild weekend for me, a few other MNU students, and a whole bunch of teens!  The youth groups of Grace Community Church of the Nazarene and KC First Church of the Nazarene left Friday evening and came together to have a joint fall retreat in Oklahoma.  And I am still exhausted!  Also a little sick…But it was totally worth it!  We saw God move this weekend and it was awesome!

The theme for the weekend was Christ Like Leadership.  The first night, Angie from First Church spoke about dealing with our pride, and as leaders, we should be willing to do whatever we ask of those we are leading.

I went as a sponsor with Grace Community and I also played on the worship team with other students from MNU. There were 8 MNU students total that went on this retreat.  Lizzy Atwell, Amanda Lampley, Thomson and Chi Ticum, Blake Owings, Mark Hall, and I were on the band. Maddie Carson came as well and was a sponsor. Lizzy, Blake and I were also sponsors for Grace Community.

MNU gang minus Maddie.

MNU gang minus Maddie.

On Saturday, our very own Blake spoke!  He told the story of Moses and when we are Christians, we are automatically called to be leaders.

We had a lot of free time Saturday between meals and services just to hang out and get to know each other.  There were a few different activities we could do. A lot of people played soccer, some played gaga ball, and others played basket ball.  But one of the most fun things we did was the massive zip line.  After we all got our harnesses on, we walked over to a suspended bridge.  Now I don’t really have a fear of heights but there were a few people there (Mark Hall) who were pretty scared!  I almost fell just from how hard I was laughing!

The suspended bridge.

The suspended bridge.

Once we made it across the bridge we had to walk up a massive, rocky hill to the tower.  It was about that time I noticed how cold it was.  And the farther we went up the tower the windier it got. It was ridiculous how windy it ended up being at the top!  It was worth it though because it was so fun!

Walking to the tower.

Walking to the tower.

Our youth group ready for the zip line!

Our youth group ready for the zip line!

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Sunday, we all woke up early, had breakfast, and went over to the chapel for the final service.  There Roland, who is the youth pastor for KC First Church spoke.  The sermons were all great.  We are fortunate to know these gifted people who are passionate for knowing God and delivering His word, but I got the most from a conversation I had with an old friend.

I worked at a summer camp two summers ago in Colorado.  When I walked into the mess hall for the first time, I saw someone that looked familiar.  Her name was Danielle and she was on my team when I was in Colorado!  I was so excited to see her!  During free time on Saturday I went over to her room and we drank coffee and caught up on life.  I opened up to her about how my life after working in Colorado hasn’t turned out the way I expected and how it was actually a pretty hard time for me and my family.  She told me her story, her struggles and how her life before working in Colorado was turned upside down.  She said something to me that really resonated.  She said “You can tell God you are mad with Him.  He already knows, but it is good to get it out on the table.”  She then went on to say that when we do that, we allow God to walk with us through these trials.  Our conversation really meant a lot to me.

Overall, even though I feel pretty awful now, the retreat was a really good escape from life and school. Even though it was only a few days.  I know I’m not the only one that got something good from it.

The whole GC gang...

The whole GC gang…

No caption needed.

No caption needed.

Until next time friends!

Renee DeVault

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November 9, 2015

Let’s Be Freaks and Weirdos Again

November 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

A lot of things can happen during a show week. When you’re forced to spend almost thirty hours in one week with the same group of people, crazy things are bound to happen.

Brigadoon was last week and, like most of the “fun” things I try to do on campus, God managed to wrangle his way into it.

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I’m not going to talk about the show its self–although it was totally awesome, everybody in the cast did a fantastic job, the crew rocked as did the pit, and the male lead was absolutely wonderful (I think he’s super cute too. For anyone who doesn’t know, Quinn, my boyfriend, was the lead).

The really cool stuff was what happened with my friend group back stage, after the show, exhausted, and just hanging out.

I don’t know if you have ever gotten a verse stuck in your head, but the whole week I had the same one.

John 13:35 states, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

This verse is right after Jesus has washed his disciple’s feet, had the Passover meal, and called out Judas for his future betrayal. Not to make an understatement, but these disciples were going through or about to go through some pretty serious stress: a lot of it in their relationships with one another.

When Jesus was crucified, I wonder how many of them thought their whole group would separate forever. I mean, in all logical reality, the twelve of them never should have been together to begin with. They were an odd group to say the least.

However, when I think about the church of Acts it talks about them eating meals together, meeting at each others’ houses every night, praying for one another, and confessing their sins to one another. Later on it is obvious how much Paul loves everybody in the church and how much they loved Paul.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” right after Jesus told them to love one another as he loves them.

This whole idea had been bouncing around in my brain while I did this show. I was spending more time with these people then ever before. With my closest friends, I was even choosing to stay up late: sitting with them and listening to problems they were having.

Why don’t people talk anymore? Really, really, talk?

What evidence is there that we really love one another? Posting “I love you!” on somebody’s Facebook or just saying it in passing just doesn’t seem real, not when compared to the kind of biblical brotherly and sisterly love we see as part of the early church.

I know my friends and I aren’t perfect. I am a self diagnosed freak and no offence to my friends but they are far from being relationally perfect as well.

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My friends laugh whole heartedly at this photo, for example

Ally Tinker (My Phantom gift giver during the show) made me a dinosaur hoodie. They made fun of me about it too like true friends.

Ally Tinker (My Phantom gift giver during the show) made me a dinosaur hoodie. They made fun of me about it too like true friends.

I think the key difference is being willing to tell people what needs to be said.

This could be me confessing something about myself that had been eating me up inside, or it could be telling a friend something that I know they need to hear. Both situations make things awkward.

It’s ok sometimes to be awkward.

Jesus washing his disciple’s feet was awkward.

Jesus sharing about his giving of his blood and his body was probably awkward.

Jesus telling Judas he knew he was going to betray him would have definitely been awkward.

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Love is weird.

I had to think about it. Why would I want to stay up to all hours of the night/morning talking about personal issues? Why would giving a stressed out friend a back rub, helping them with their makeup, or stopping in the middle of the street to legitimately ask them if they are alright be a normal thing?

It all hit me hard when, at Midnight Thirty (12:30 AM for those who don’t speak Renee), a friend texted me and asked me to bring them soup from Walmart. My gut instinct was to show the text to someone else who I knew loved this person, and before I knew it, I had a car-full of people who had previously been gung-ho ready to call it a night after a long and exhausting week of the show. We love each other.

I want my friends to be able to tell me absolutely anything they need to, and I don’t want to have a drop of judgment for, or resentment towards, them because I know there is a common grace. I want to be a relational freak, that one weird person who will say things that I culturally shouldn’t say to people and drop everything and go to their aid like a total weirdo if need be.

That’s my goal for relationships at MNU. I don’t want to attend a Christian University, have mostly Christian friends, and be able to leave without knowing what it’s like to love people to the point of it reflecting God himself.

Two things I’m praying for this week as rehearsals no longer force me to see certain people every single day…

  1. That I can somehow channel God’s love towards me into the way I relate to my friends. Jesus was radical in how he formed relationships and I need help so why not learn from him.
  2. That students at MNU would refuse to settle for casual. We were designed in the image of a being intimately dependent on three separate persons that all make up one God. It’s beautiful and complicated and engrained in our very being. Faith cannot be purely individual. We need to rediscover our need for each other.
Div Tosinglo

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October 16, 2015

Wonderin’ If it’s even worth the chase

October 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

Well I’m wonderin’ bout the road ahead of me,

Wonderin’ bout the things you said to me,

Wonderin’ if these dreams will ever do.

And I’m wonderin’ bout the way I spend my days,

Wonderin’ if it’s even worth the chase,

Wonderin’ if there’s still a need from you.”

These lyrics are from a old song by TobyMac called Wonderin’. Lately, I’ve not only found myself listening to it constantly, but relating to the idea of wonderin. A point most of us find themselves in more often than we would like to admit.

As college students we come in knowing about the debts, homesickness, hard work, and the rest of the adversities that come with attending college. But we still do it, because we believe all of the hard work has purpose, and meaning. That purpose drives us on the hardest days of school. The days we crave for an easier lifestyle. A lifestyle where finances ins’t a constant struggle. A lifestyle where everything and everyone is demanding not a piece, but all of you at the same time. But our purpose drives us through all of those hard times.

I came into college knowing that fulfilling God’s will for my life was my purpose. I was going to deal with the financial dilemma, the challenging courses, the work load, the jobs. I was going to take all of it head on, because at the end of all of that I will have gotten an education that will equip me to serve God effectively.

The hardest day for a college student is the day they wake up, and forget their purpose in being here. Their attitude about classes, homework, work, tuition is all apathetic. They stop loving it. They stop being grateful for the opportunities. Every waking second is a second stress holds their mind captive. They find themselves not trying to fix new-born attitude, but they find themselves pondering the idea of quitting.

Recently, I have been reminded that though

I want to do this for God; I shouldn’t  forget I can’t do this without him.

Without him classes are just classes and homework is just homework. Without him the college experience would be empty and dreadful one that I would be trying to survive. But college isn’t about surviving, but it’s about thriving and growing. God has reminded me that here at MidAmerica I’m learning how to serve and love a hurting world. I’m learning how to be an active christian.

God is more than my purpose; he is my strength. College is hard there is no doubt about it. The day will come where you’ll wonder if this degree is worth the chase. You’ll wonder if you’re wasting your time.  I pray that you’d bring your wondrein mind to God. I hope you come to see that these are the years he’s equipping you, so one day you can be used as an instrument in restoring the brokenness in our world.

Renee DeVault

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October 12, 2015

Intro to Ministry Retreat

October 12, 2015 | By | One Comment

Friday night into Saturday morning was the Intro To Ministry class retreat, a trip designed to help beginning ministry students get to know each other and their professors better as well as learn new spiritual disciplines, how to “be real” with people, and the importance questioning mind-set. They threw in a gorgeous catholic retreat center and food because they love us and we got to meet and hang out with the professors who will be teaching us as we embark on our quests for a degree from the Department of Christian Education and Spiritual Formation.
It sounded really nice. I would have been happy if that was all God wanted me to learn over our short, less than 24 hour retreat. But I guess thinking I could slide through a ministry retreat unchanged was a tad foolish of me.
As always, I had managed to get myself in way over my head, pulling my brain in a hundred different directions right before I needed it to focus. Dr. Dunn asked the class to handle the introduction, worship, prayer, and devotional for the group on Saturday morning.
When he sent out an email requesting help I responded, in my first week of college optimism, that I would definitely have the time to write a meaningful and well thought through devotional that could potentially impact the lives of a class of future leaders of the Kingdom of God and thus could have eternal consequences, sure thing.
I was a good little student and got my devotional written more than a week before the retreat, had Dr. Dunn edit it for me and felt like I had completed my assignment when I boarded the people mover with some of my classmates on the way to our Catholic Retreat Center.
Friends who happened to share the van ride up

Friends who happened to share the van ride up

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It was during all of the (absolutely incredible and I wish I could nerd rant about how cool they were) “get to know you” activities that I began to question my little ten minute devotional I had written. There was no heart in it, no real call to action. It was all facts and criticism. I was reminded about something Dr. Hayse said in Honors Seminar. I have to paraphrase him but it was basically that criticism is easy but offering a practical solution to the problem is hard.

As we moved into the night to play volleyball and board games I began to worry about it more and more. I wanted so badly to shine for ten minutes of informative Jesus glory but I knew my material was flat. I tried to talk myself out of caring, but it morphed into praying when St. John explained the spiritual discipline the group was going to be practicing that night.

Silence.

He asked us to not say a word to one another or even talk out loud at all for the rest of the night and into the next morning. Silence shows reverence to God, respect. He also urged us to quiet our minds. I was utterly confused about that even being a human possibility. My mind runs a million miles an hour, I constantly have dozens of things on my mind at a time but as we walked into the dark chapel my thoughts slowly began to lessen.

Its difficult to describe exactly what happened. I encourage you to try it some time though I can never promise God will act the same way twice. After our allotted prayer time we were told that we could stay in the chapel and pray or read our bible. I situated myself in the very back and began to pray, then just let my mind be quiet. The next thing I knew God started bringing aspects of my life that I needed to give to him to mind. In order to keep my mind quiet I had to give each thing to him as he brought them to me until everything that I was worrying about was gone. I opened my eyes to find myself alone in this big beautiful building, the only lights shining were on the crucifix up front and on the alter.

It was 1:00 in the morning.

God never agrees with my time table.

It was at that point that I began to rewrite. I opened my notebook, wrote what was on my heart, then at almost 2am I was allowed to sleep.

I woke up without a care in the world. It was an experience I haven’t had since starting high school. 8:30am rolled around, my friends and professors came into the chapel. We read scripture, we worshiped, and I got up to the pew and got to tell people what God put on my heart.

I shared from Jeremiah 29. I am unable to tell you exactly what I said because I threw out my typed manuscript, but basically I talked about how Christians today aren’t all that different from God’s people historically. We have a pattern of being exiled in a foreign land and then called out again. In Jeremiah, God is talking to his people in exile in Babylon. Since we, members of God’s Kingdom, are living here on earth, we are (in essence) exiles as well and thus, I figured since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, that his instructions to his people in exile in Babylon apply to us today.

God basically told them to settle down and work for Babylon, allow themselves to live life there, and called them to work and pray for their country of exile because their lives for the time being were bound up in that nation. However, God then warned about the false prophets and teachings of Babylon, telling his people not to be fooled by thinking their version of good was what God defined as good. He then gave his famous “for I know the plans I have for you” bit and promised to answer them when they called on him and to eventually lead them out of exile.

My devotional was about not allowing our standard for Christian behavior to be set by the culture, becoming comfortable and then being afraid of asking for God’s instructions because our God is one who cares much more about our character than he does about our comfort. I said that when we allow ourselves to use God’s standard to evaluate our lives we are no longer comfortable living as socially accepted Christians. I feel like we can be living in and working for our country of exile for so long that we begin to adopt their ideas as our own, and when we adopt these ideas God calls us to act contrary to them, and when God asks us to act contrary to them we have a crisis of faith, being unwilling to take the risk that God asked us to do. And when we don’t want to take the risk we stop asking God to give us instructions, and when we stop asking God to give us instructions God can grow quiet.

I don’t want to live in a world with a quiet God.

And so I called for two things.

  1. That we would begin to develop a holy discontent for the amount of God’s presence we allow in our day to day lives. I want to be a part of God’s church that has the same revolutionary impact and supernatural power as the church in Acts, but I was convicted, realizing I wasn’t even praying for it.
  2. That we would pray without fear of God messing up our lives. I had found myself avoiding prayer because I thought God would ask me to risk something, that he would make me uncomfortable. I have to stop questioning God’s attempts to make me uncomfortable and start questioning why I allowed myself to get comfortable in the first place.

Some people told me my devotional was really good. I was thankful for their compliments, but really I think it did me more good than it could have done anybody else. I loved it. I loved speaking about what I’m passionate about. I cannot believe the incredible opportunities MNU allows me to have. I got the opportunity to be completely scared out of my mind, learn to listen to the spirit, and get the practical experience of giving a devotional to a room full of professors and future ministers. In all technicality, this retreat was just one large class session. I got points for going, I think. But this was only one example of a time when the boundaries between class and “real life” went away and “school work” became God’s way of doing some “life work” on me.

 

Katie Linsey

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October 7, 2015

What Forgiveness Is – And What It Isn’t

October 7, 2015 | By | One Comment

Recently, I’ve had to forgive people for some things that I wish didn’t happen. Through the process of apologizing and forgiving, I came to realize that my definition of forgiveness was skewed. I assumed that forgiveness came with certain expectations and stipulations, but the truth is, it doesn’t.

On Sunday, my pastor talked about forgiveness, and what he said was nothing short of a revelation to me. Here’s what he said…

Forgiveness doesn’t make someone’s sin okay.

Forgiveness doesn’t deny hurt or offense.

Forgiveness is not always a relational reset.

And here’s what I got from what he said…

Forgiving someone doesn’t mean burying the hurt that you feel. It doesn’t mean that you have to force yourself to forget what happened. It simply means that you are no longer giving yourself the right to judge someone based on what happened.

Forgiveness doesn’t always result in things being back to the way they were before. It may mean that the relationship drifts apart, or even ceases to exist. And that’s okay.

I used to get frustrated when I would forgive someone and then still remember the hurt I felt, or when things wouldn’t go back to normal and I thought I had forgiven them the wrong way (or maybe not at all).

Ephesians 4:31-5:1 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Love people. Forgive people. Don’t be angry or bitter.

But don’t bury hurt. Don’t force relationships. Don’t ignore sin.

It’s a fine line, and sometimes I feel like it contradicts itself – but I do know that the Bible says to love and forgive… and that’s solid truth.

I’m still learning how to fully forgive, and what that looks like. I’d love to hear your input if you have any to give.

Thanks for reading, friends.

-KT

P.S. If you’d like to watch the sermon that my pastor preached, click here.

 

Renee DeVault

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October 5, 2015

Night of Worship and Prayer Round One

October 5, 2015 | By | No Comments

Last night, October 4th, about fifty MNU students walked in the cold to the Harvest Prayer statue in the middle of campus and found a team of about fifteen people who were in way over their heads and praying their heart out for God’s will to be done because their human ability was just not enough.

Before I tell the story of last night and the incredible things God did, let me just say hello! My name is Renée DeVault, I am a freshmen Bible and Theology/Communications major at MidAmerica Nazarene University and I am having the time of my life here. I want to tell the story of October 4th as my “introduction” blog because it presents a model for what I hope my life on campus stays like.

Jordan Warren and a group of our friends have been praying about this series of events for about eight months but had only been planning this particular event for a few weeks, ever since meeting with a group of students who all shared a vision for revival on campus. Jordan did most of the planning, he reserved the space and the equipment, recruited the worship team, and recruited me to coordinate the prayer side of this “worship and prayer” event. When he said that he wanted to pull everything together in only a few weeks we were up for the challenge but I admit I was highly skeptical that it would all come together, further proof of why I should not be in charge 😉

But sure enough, posters were made, people recruited, equipment rented, songs practiced, and I found myself walking from my dorm to the campus mall with my prayer team, all bundled up for a cold night and scared out of my mind. We had about fifteen people setting up when I arrived a little after 5:00. I gave a disjointed pep talk to my prayer team, trying to fit four years of tips I’ve gathered from prayer ministry into a four minute crash course before rushing to help the worship team set up.

I am technology ignorant and physically uncoordinated so I generally helped with tasks like “hold this metal bar up”, “hold my phone for me”, “fill this bag with rocks”, and “You should take a picture of this.” I am constantly amazed by the technical “know-how” of my friends, watching them run wires and set up sound systems, it was definitely a very humbling experience.

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At 6:00 when the team was scheduled to be practicing, the equipment wasn’t fully set up, the sound wasn’t working, the projector wasn’t working, and we were beginning to feel rain drops. Around 6:30 Jordan called us all together and asked me to pray. The fifteen of us stood in a circle, arms around each other and asked God to show up despite our human limitations, despite the sound not working, with no lyrics on the screen and possible rain. I was struck with the realization that if anything happened that night, it was going to be because of God, not because of anything on our part.

After we all prayed together, Jordan sent me to continue to pray while the rest of the team prepared for an acoustic worship set and the sound team desperately tried to turn on the sound. I began to walk around the area of our event and pray, just calling for God to come and praying for the people who were going to be coming. Fifteen minutes before seven, we found a button that hadn’t been pressed and suddenly the sound was working. There was barely enough time to do a sound check and absolutely no time to rehearse before about fifty students showed up ready to worship.

What these students got was a worship team that had never played together, a prayer team which had never prayed together, a sound system which hadn’t been fully tested, a screen which started working moments before the event, what seemed like the coldest night we’ve had in Olathe so far this year, and an encounter with the living God. It was incredible. That’s almost all I can say about it.

I saw people in tears who I had hardly ever seen show emotion. People I prayed for opened up about pain in their lives, doubts about God, anxiety about life, and generally just stuff they were struggling with. By the end of the night people were huddled in groups of two to five people praying for each other, listening for the voice of God with each other, and putting aside their worries as they discovered the joy that comes with corporate prayer and worship.

While packing up the event we shared stories about what God had done. I thought I had seen a lot but each member of our clean up crew had just as many stories as I did. It was late at night by the time we were done packing up and talking, but it felt like only a few minutes.

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Some people may say it’s a small start. Fifty students, two hours of worship, no big deal compared to the huge churches and worship teams which draw thousands into auditoriums and stadiums, but numbers weren’t what we were going for. In the culture of a private Christian school, we wanted to have an event that wasn’t on the original calendar. Worship has become so normal for us that we wanted to move it to a different setting, know that we weren’t going to get spiritual formation credits, and seek God for the sake of God, not for the sake of routine or requirement. This isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with the school scheduled events, we just reached a place where we wanted more of God than the schedule of events allowed for and we had a hunch that other students felt the same way.

So long story short we planned, we failed, but God still showed up. I can deal with that pattern. So we’re going to keep planning events because we want to be proactive in making our faith our own, not depending on what the school or ASG or Res-Life plans. We’re hoping that these events inspire people to plan their own and realize that there’s no pressure in having to perfectly plan something in order to develop their relationship with God and with fellow believers.

For our next “Night of Prayer and Worship” we’re planning on partnering with churches in the area to expand the ministry beyond MNU. For me, that’s the whole spirit of this school. We’re learning how to listen to and serve God here so that we can bring it out from here. Stay tuned, I’m hoping for many more adventures to come.

Isaac Walker

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October 2, 2015

Impact World

October 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hey friends!

I’m sure a lot of you have heard of YWAM by now.  They are an international Christian organization who’s sole purpose is to bring as many youth to Christ as they possibly can.  They have gone all over the world to places like India, the Philippines, England and even Delaware.  But the last two nights, they were in my hometown of Spring Hill, Kansas.

The local churches have been preparing for YWAM for months.  The churches have spent countless hours praying, organizing teams, preparing food for the Impact teams, and setting up the stages.  Honestly, I am relieved to be over with it.  Also, I had no idea how the actual events were going to be and how the youth were going to respond.

First off, the performers and the speaker for both nights were amazing!  Wednesday night, the team that performed and presented the Gospel was the Xtream Team.  It was compiled of a bunch of buff men that broke hundreds of bricks with their arms, elbows, and even their heads!  They also bench pressed a car engine, bent metal rods with their teeth, and ran through multiple layers of ply-boards.  The whole night, my anxiety was very high.  I was so nervous one of them was going to mess up and get hurt.  I was not mentally prepared to see someone get a compound fracture.  But despite me being a worst case scenario thinker, it was hard to not be impressed!

Here is one of the performers breaking a stack of bricks with his head!

Here is one of the performers breaking a stack of bricks with his head!

The second night, the GX Team was in town and they were a group that had a team of pro skaters and a bmx cyclist.  There was also a group that were professional dancers.  They did some hip hop and contemporary routines for us all.  Both groups did things that just blew me away.  I do not know much about either well enough to explain it over a blog.  Just trust me!  They were both amazing!

The BMX Biker jumping of a ramp.

The BMX Biker jumping of a ramp.

 

Here is a dancer from Guam doing a free style routine.

Here is a dancer from Guam doing a free style routine.

People responding to the messaged preached at the Impact World Event.

People responding to the messaged preached at the Impact World Event.

Now for the part that really matters.  How did the students react?  HUNDREDS!!!!  So many kids went up in response to the message they heard!  Hundreds of kids gave their life to Christ after just two nights!  This ministry is a great one.  I really did have my doubts, but they were put away after I saw all the people get up and go to the front when asked to respond.  I really do believe lives were changed.  Not every single one that went up, but I know a lot were changed for the better.

Impact has a few more stops in the area.  They are going to a lot of schools in the Olathe area.  A schedule for their Southern Johnson County tour can be found here.  The events are free to go to, and all ages are welcomed.

Until next week friends!