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Renee DeVault


November 23, 2015

Success Mushroom

November 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

I can’t sing. I am not a musical person. My friends are musical people but I was not given that gift.

I can art…sometimes. People tell me I can art but I won’t attempt to draw something that I’ve never drawn before because people might look at it and realize I’m not very good at arting after all.

I am as good of a Christian as I am ever going to be. I have a certain ability to understand and experience God and I should be content with where I am.

These were statements that I believed about myself about a week ago which I am currently being forced to question due to Dr. Hayse’s annoying habit of actually making his students think.


In Honors Seminar we are reading Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck in which she asserts that qualities such as intelligence, artistic ability, athletic ability, leadership, and relational ability are not fixed, something one has a certain amount of or none of, but are rather able to grow and develop in a person.

She calls this the Growth Mindset.

Basically if I believe that I am fixed with a certain amount of smart then I will back away from anything that would be challenging because failure would mean a forced identity redefinition. However, in my growth mindset, I see my intelligence as something I can grow by challenging myself, seeking to collaborate with others, and working my butt off.

The book helped me to realize that in the area of intelligence, I was following right along with the growth mindset. If I had read only the first three chapters I would have been totally fine.

But Dr. Hayse made us read the whole book.

The rest of it went on to say that the idea of seeking new challenges, collaborating, and having a good work ethic could be applied to sports, art, music, management, parenting, and teaching.

I was caught in my “I’m not good at music” mindset and despite having a beautiful guitar and a love of music, have stopped trying because I believed the amount of musical talent I had was all I will ever have. If I believe I can grow this ability by challenging myself, asking my musical friends for help, and working at it, perhaps I can enjoy playing again.


Probably the most fascinating aspect was her thoughts on relationships. I’ll use Quinn (Quinndonesia, Quinnifer Aniston, Bi-Quinning, Quinntervention, To inQuinnity and beyond, the Quinncredible Hulk) as my example.

If I believe that relationships are either good or bad then the moment Quinn and I have a fight I would think that our relationship was inherently bad and thus would avoid any and every possible disagreement for fear of proving our relationship wasn’t as “good” as I had thought.

She called out fairy tales for making “good” relationships look like if they weren’t “meant to be” then they were bad. While I believe that it is true that God has people planned for us to marry, I don’t want to get trapped into thinking that the relationship with my God ordained man will be perfect.

With a growth mindset for relationships, disagreements and fights are seen as opportunities for improvement.

If I have a fixed mindset I may think that some annoying habit Quinn has is unfixable and thus a deal breaker while a growth mindset would refuse to define Quinn by this hypothetical habit and be willing to communicate my feelings about it.

I can’t cognitively imagine having a relationship with anybody without this mindset yet I’ve fallen into the trap of it several times. Luckily by the grace of God and Quinn a fixed mindset has not prevailed.


The book did not address spirituality but I feel as though I must because it is the area in which it hit me the hardest. I was raised in a Christian house, went to every Sunday school, every VBS, interned at my church three times, and now am a Theology major. Despite all of this I catch myself feeling so depressed about my spiritual life sometimes.

After reading this book, I began to wonder if I think of my Christianity as something fixed. “I can only experience God so much” or “I can only understand so much of the Bible”. If I start letting myself think “I’m about as good as I can get” then I stop trying to get better, stop digging, stop looking for challenging material and stop asking God to come into my life.

I don’t want to get stuck in that mindset.

I want to want to grow. I want to seek new ideas and a deeper experience. I don’t want to be afraid to dive into difficult ideas in the Old Testament or spend hours of my day in prayer.

I don’t want to view others as judging if I am a good Christian or not. I want to view people as allies, fellow travelers in mutually helpful relationships.

I think that is the point of me being in the Honors Program: to grow an intellectual passion for learning, not only in academics but in all areas of life.

To relate it to video games: you have to actively seek the growth mindset mushroom in order to grow to your full potential, and even when you fail and feel small again, be willing to keep seeking again.


What I’m praying for this week:

That a growth mindset will be fostered in both my own life and in the lives of others in regards to passionate intentionality in walking with Christ. We can decide to give all we can to growth in Christ with the knowledge that where we are not isn’t where we are condemned to always be.


Isaac Walker


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!




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


November 17, 2015

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! I attempt to blog about newspaper!

November 17, 2015 | By | No Comments

When I decided to come to MNU, one of the first things I did was grab one of the newspapers from Bell Center when I went to a choir concert. I’m not even sure I read the whole thing, to be honest, but right from the beginning I knew that an element of my life was going to be wrapped up in this paper.

At MNU the paper is called The Trailblazer. The print edition comes out roughly three times a semester, and the online version is usually updated every week.

Over the summer I met with the advisor, Melinda Ablard-Smith, for coffee at Starbucks. Nervous, I told her that, despite having little to no journalism experience, I was wanting to potentially write for the school paper.

Melinda was incredibly helpful in answering all of my questions, and she assured me I would be able to sign up for–and fit into my schedule–the class.

Basically, how the newspaper works is students enroll in a class, called Multimedia Workshop, which is a one credit hour class that meets at 6:30 Monday nights. This semester Melinda is teaching a journalism workshops at 5:30, before class, where we all get together, eat good food, get chocolate thrown at us for answering questions, and just generally have a good time together while learning the nuts and bolts of journalism.

Advertisement last year for students interested in signing up to work for the Trailblazer

Advertisement last year featuring the modeling talent of Josh Brisco to promote Journalism at MNU.

The actual Multimedia Workshop class splits into students doing Yearbook or Newspaper, and then the Newspaper students further split into three categories: the editors, the reporters, and the video team. This semester I am a reporter.

At the beginning of the actual Trailblazer class session, Melinda sits down with all three groups and goes over a short journalism lesson, recites a bible verse, asks for prayer requests, and then leads the team in a group prayer. Then she dismisses the video team and turns over the class to the Editor-in-Chief, our fearless leader, Robbie Wegley.

Robbie and Josh (Joshua Brisco, Managing/News Editor) usually talk through some specific things the reporters need to work on (like the fact that I keep forgetting to submit pictures with my stories), talk about some current events both in the world and at the school, and then go through story pitches.

Every week the reporters and the editors turn in story pitches–ideas for stories or topics we think the Trailblazer should cover. In class, Robbie reads through the pitches, asks those who pitched them to expand upon their ideas, and decides which stories make the cut. The stories are then assigned to reporters, who usually have the rest of that week to get the story done and sent to their section editor.

I’ve worked mostly with Josh, for news, and Morgan Peiffer, for life stories. Wyatt Stark edits sports, and Sydney Wright edits opinion pieces. Katie Linsey edits the videos, and Hailey Kendrick is the graphic designer.

The Staff

The Staff

When I first started writing stories, I was pretty freaked out. I had never conducted an interview, or wrote any sort of news story before, but the editors really helped me out. If anybody is thinking about being a reporter next semester, I would highly encourage it even if you don’t have any journalism experience. The writing is very different than writing for school papers, or almost any other assignment I’ve been given.

It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, I just get to talk to people about what they’re passionate about, and I help them communicate that passion to people who may not have otherwise been able to hear about it. That’s my favorite way of looking at articles.

For example, I got to talk to people involved in the LQVE Haiti Passion to Serve project for my first article. I got the article done, but I also got to hear their stories about Quincy, their vision for the future, and their passion for what they are doing. I count it as a great privilege.


And of course not all stories are like that, but I have yet to be assigned story that didn’t require me learning something new in order to write it. Yes, it is a lot of hard work, but I have met so many people I never expected to meet.

How many students have sat down for half of an hour and really talked to the Manager of the IT department or the head of Campus Security? They are incredible people who have a lot of passion for their jobs, and they taught me things about their respective departments that I never knew, ways they are serving the school that I would have otherwise overlooked.

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It took me out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways, but I think that is what makes it one of my favorite things I do on campus. I am forced to learn in order to continue, and I’m forced to work closely with people if I want anything to get done. In the end getting the paper out is a team effort, and I’m incredibly proud of it.

I also think that having a completely student led newspaper that is allowed to talk about tough subjects, present opposing sides to issues, and investigate the school itself speaks incredibly highly of MNU. It is hard to brag about The Trailblazer without bragging about this school.

The Forum is one of my favorite sections of the paper where opposing viewpoints about an issue are discussed.

The Forum is one of my favorite sections of the paper where opposing viewpoints about an issue are discussed.

And most of all The Trailblazer is just fun…at least for me it is 😉

The people who work for the paper know how to talk to people, know how to tell a good story, and tend to enjoy being around each other. I love hearing everybody’s opinions about topics in class, and I also enjoy listening to them talk about what is happening in their lives and around campus.

Plus you get to experience the hilarity of Josh after class ends, and that’s always fun.


Trailblazer Online Link

Mackenzie Theiler


November 5, 2015

✧Always Find the Light in the Dark✦

November 5, 2015 | By | No Comments

This woman is phenomenal! Her name is Amy Wong. She is a professional life coach. If you ever need guidance or just enjoy reading inspiration articles, she knows what she is talking about! I picked this article for you guys all to read because it is extremely inspirational. If you are having a hard time with something, this article can definitely help you through your hardship. She has tons of other articles posted, about different things that could be going on in your life. The main motto of all her topics is, that everything is on purpose! Even though, times may get tough, there is always an upside to every downside. Keep staying positive and stay strong, even when you feel like giving up. One of my favorite quotes is: Before you give up, remember why you started!”

Facebook: /kenzie.theiler
Twitter: @kenzietheiler
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Renee DeVault


October 26, 2015

Don’t Go as God for Halloween

October 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

Fall break was this week. I vowed to do two things

  1. To kickstart a revival of my bible reading habit
  2. To get all of my homework done so I could bask in a glorious no-homework, stress-free beginning of my week

Let’s just say God may be happier regarding my fall break reading habits than my professors. I didn’t get much homework done. I read my bible and hung out with my friends doing caffeine induced non-study study parties, mall trips, movie nights, and listening to music.

In communications studies there is a concept called “reframing” in which the words chosen to describe something effect how one perceives it or acts towards it. So instead of saying “I slacked off and hung out with friends and read my bible instead of my textbook”…I’ll say “I spent Fall Break forming meaningful relationships with both humans and the almighty” which causes me to think better of myself than I probably should :)


I don’t know if you have ever had this happen to you, but sometimes when I read the Bible God smacks me in the face with something and no matter where I go it follows me. I believe God has to do this to me because I am stubborn and often refuse to listen to what I need to hear the most.

The phrase of the weekend for me seemed to be “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” This is the beginning of Proverbs 1:7 in the NIV. Other translations substitute knowledge for wisdom but something about the word knowledge stuck with me better. Being a college student I am pretty much a knowledge leech, just frantically soaking up anything I can get from my professors, friends, and random internet literature.

Later in Proverbs 2:1-5 Solomon writes that the fear of the Lord comes from storing up the commands of God in us, attempting to understand them, and earnestly seeking further understanding of them. I had never thought of “the fear of the Lord” that way. But, since I didn’t want to write a paper and I had a perfectly good cup of hot apple cider already made and sitting on my desk, I decided to try it.

In Pentateuch with Dr. Edlin we’re studying the Exodus. I began to think about Moses standing before the God who brought the horrifying plagues on Egypt, who killed the first born of all of their households, who parted the red sea and killed the Egyptian army. I thought about when Moses first came before God and had to remove his shoes. I thought about how, later, the Israelites couldn’t go on the mountain of God because God’s presence would destroy them. And in light of the acts of a terrifying all powerful God, I thought about the commands God gave his people and how immediately God’s people broke those rules.

This led me to think about the law in general, the rules we follow as Christians and I began to realize something about myself. I’m not afraid to sin. I know that sounds odd, but in that moment I realized I’ve never really felt the wrath of God when I’ve sinned. The ground has never swallowed me up, I have never been struck by lightning, my water bottle has never suddenly turned to blood, and I may have been attacked by a frog once but I do not believe that was retribution from God.

The grace of God is incredible. He is the same God today as he was in the Old Testament. My physical, sinful self should not be able to physically exist in the presence of God and yet I know his presence is with me wherever I go.

I take for granted the fact that I can just pray to him. I don’t have to climb a mountain, and almost more importantly for me, I don’t have to be Moses. I don’t have to be born of a Levite or brutally murder petting zoo animals in order to talk to God.

Reading the Old Testament and Proverbs always makes me feel humbled. I am living in the Kingdom of God, a new era of personal relationship with the Father. That is a huge gift. I was very convicted as to the level of my own personal reverence of God. He put me in my place as a puny little human and praying from that perspective feels much more natural to me. I guess the fear of the Lord helped me gain some knowledge about my own shortcomings in that department.

To throw one back to Communications, I had to reframe my concept of myself from “obligated to pray to God” to “somehow miraculously able to talk to God”. My reality didn’t change, but the way I perceived it did and that in turn has effected how I’ve been praying.

So I am most in fear and awe of God while entering this Halloween season. Ghosts and Vampires are not real, but an all powerful being who can destroy whole nations with the words of his mouth is real. I’m just glad in his grace he has let me be on his side.

Two things I’m praying for this week

  1. Appreciation and acknowledgement of the sheer might and power of the God I am attempting to serve
  2. A humble and thankful heart for God’s grace and acknowledgment of my wimpy human status


Renee DeVault


October 19, 2015

How to Make Friends with the Awkward Dinosaur

October 19, 2015 | By | No Comments

One question that I get asked all the time is, “Renee! My goodness, you are a college student now, what ever is your major?”

I reply with “Good Sir or Madam, I am a double major in “Bible and Theology” and “Communications”. I love it very much.”

To which they reply, “Good heavens! What an unusual combination! What ever do you plan to do with your life?”

And they receive from me a blank look of alarm because despite my air of cool collectedness I am quite uncertain of my path in life. This fact never really bothers me unless somebody asks me about it. I know I am supposed to be a Bible and Theology major. I know I am supposed to be a communications major. I know I am supposed to be at MNU. I’d say I’m pretty well off for now.

As my boyfriend Quinn (Quinston Churchill, Quintonamore, Quinny-the-pooh, Because of Quinn Dixie, Quinn to the Woods) often tells me, “God doesn’t give you the tickets until you’re ready to board the train.”

Quinn and I at homecoming this weekend

Quinn and I at homecoming this weekend

So I’ll be content waiting at the station with my bible and giant communications text book nerding out over communications theories and how they relate to the bible and my group of friends.

Speaking of friends, I had a lot of fun this homecoming!

Friday night a group of us went down into Kansas City for an adventure

Friday night a group of us went down into Kansas City for an adventure

Quinn and I love going on adventures like these with our friends

Quinn and I love going on adventures like these with our friends

We often compare Jordan to Ted from How I Met Your Mother so we made him take this photo with a dumpster

We often compare Jordan to Ted from How I Met Your Mother so we made him take this photo with a dumpster

We found an alley with art all over the walls. It was insanely cool stuff and we had a lot of fun with it.

We found an alley with art all over the walls. It was insanely cool stuff and we had a lot of fun with it.

Quinn had a brilliant idea to start posing with the art.

Quinn had a brilliant idea to start posing with the art.

Alex and Shakespeare

Alex and Shakespeare

We went to "Thou Mayest",  an awesome coffee shop in Kansas City

We went to “Thou Mayest”, an awesome coffee shop in Kansas City

We got up on the roof of the coffee shop and had a cool view of the city.

We got up on the roof of the coffee shop and had a cool view of the city.

Saturday afternoon we decided to go to the Cider Mill.

Saturday afternoon we decided to go to the Cider Mill.

Sparkling cider and donuts made an awesome pre-homecoming snack

Sparkling cider and donuts made an awesome pre-homecoming snack

Homecoming was incredible. Quinn and I have a fun habit of attempting to ballroom dance to pop songs

Homecoming was incredible. Quinn and I have a fun habit of attempting to ballroom dance to pop songs

Sunday afternoon we went to IKEA for dinner and adventuring

Sunday afternoon we went to IKEA for dinner and adventuring

Throughout our adventures this weekend, one of my communication theories stuck out in my head. Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor’s Social Penetration Theory basically states that deeper intimacy and closer friendships with people can be achieved through a process of self-disclosure and vulnerability.

It explains personality like an onion where, to get to a person’s core, you need to get through layers of more shallow or obvious information. It encourages, to gain more meaningful and intimate relationships, voluntarily opening up to people with both depth and breadth. This basically means letting people know who you really are, what you really think, and letting them have this information for multiple areas of your life.

There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the key point.

When we first studied this theory (sorry Dr. Hamilton) I thought it seemed nice, but I doubted that simply telling deep and diverse stories would lead to close friendships. I thought personality, similarity, and spending time together would be bigger factors, however, when I was out with some of my friends this weekend I began to think about this theory a little bit more.

Our trip to the city brought out conversations of various Kansas City experiences and city experiences in general. When we got to the coffee shop and were walking around we got into a conversation about experiences with spiritual warfare and our vision for Kansas City as a church. This formed into a conversation about our personal strengths and weaknesses.

Our cider mill trip sparked conversation about fall and Halloween family traditions which led to talking about our families and fall traditions we miss now that we’re in college.

Going to IKEA led to conversation about our future plans and dreams.

These are some of my closest friends. Over the course of a single weekend we hit several topics of conversation and we have known each other long enough to be comfortable in talking about things we wouldn’t usually talk about with casual friendships. We were naturally participating in this communications theory without even realizing it, but now that I’ve learned about it I can use it to make other friends.

But self-disclosure involves vulnerability which is difficult to do. In order to grow in my boldness to share to and be open with potential close friends I have turned to the bible.

In 2 Corinthians 6:11 Paul writes “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.”

The Beginning of James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

So as I love and appreciate my friends, I realize that I can’t keep my spiritual life, struggles, visions, and dreams a secret from my friends. It’s in the Bible and in my Communications Text book so I should probably listen to it.

I’m the girl who runs around IKEA acting like a raptor from Jurassic Park…I need all the help making friends I can get.

Points I’m praying over.

  1. I want to be willing to be real with my friends. If God is really the center of my life I want to be willing to talk about him and my relationship with him including struggles and visions. I want to be vulnerable to my friends so as to better the kingdom of God.
  2. I want to be the kind of person that people feel comfortable opening up to without fear. As deep of information they want to give and about any subject they want to give it I want to be trustworthy enough in their eyes to be someone to have a close friendship with.







Mackenzie Theiler


October 18, 2015

▿ Recognize the Good in Your Life ▿

October 18, 2015 | By | No Comments


“God blesses you to become a blessing. When he gives you a gift, it is because he trusts you with it. He hopes you turn around and do something powerful with it.”  

                                                       – Anonymous

   Throughout life God blesses us. These blessings are gifts. These gifts can be a wide variety of many things, from a challenge we have to overcome, learn from, start over, accept, appreciate, be thankful for, etc. He gives us these gifts to help make us into the person we are today. He would not bless us, if he was unsure we could handle them. A lot of us have dealt with some type of challenge or challenges, that we either had to overcome, learn from, start over, or accept. I know I have. This is why I am, who I am today. Does he still challenge me? Yes, I am not perfect . . . I am always changing and bettering myself to become the powerful blessing he created me to become.

   Choosing a difficult major and a collegiate athlete, let alone, is a lot of time, effort, and hard work. Trying to juggle that, with a social life, family, and friendships, is a lot to take on! With last week and this week, there has been so much that has gone on. Since, I have arrived at MNU, I feel as though God has been challenging me. To see if I am capable of over coming the obstacles he has placed in front of me.

   For those of you who haven’t started college, in college, or even out of college, we are already half way through the semester. God has thrown a lot at me, just in these last few weeks. This is about the time when students start getting sick (strep throat) and tired (late nights studying) because classes have started to pick up with exams, homework, projects, etc. Besides school life, to be a top athlete you always have to be preforming at your highest level every practice. Being so far away from home, students start to get home sick. Realizing you cannot talk to your friends every day or plan a get away weekend, just to relax. Students may start to feel overwhelmed and feel as though there is to much to do and not enough time, in the day, to do it all. This is what people experience in everyday life. A coach told me, “Life keeps going. It does not care about your feelings or what is going on in your life. Deal with life as it comes at you, and no matter what, you, keep going.” 

   What God has taught me to overcome from these last few weeks is how to time manage, stay disciplined with my life, and focus on what it is that I want to accomplish.

   As we make our way through this hectic, fun, adventurous, stressful, tiring, vivacious, and energetic life . . . maybe, currently dealing with a challenge God has placed in front of you, know that you are not alone. Be thankful for the opportunities he has blessed us with. If it is rough, it too shall pass . . . and . . . if it is gratifying, enjoy every moment of it.

Facebook: /kenzie.theiler
Twitter: @kenzietheiler
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Renee DeVault


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.


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.

Katie Linsey


January 15, 2015

Blessed Semester Ever

January 15, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

My church has been doing a series called “Blessed Year Ever” to kick off the New Year. During this series, my pastor has talked about how, as Christ followers, we can ensure that 2015 will be a year of blessing, and possibly the blessed year ever.

This series, along with the mindset of “starting over” that the New Year always brings, has gotten me thinking a lot about how I want 2015 to look for me personally. I learned a lot my first semester of college and went through lots of new experiences, both good and not so good, that have taught me a lot. These lessons have changed the way I think, act, and the way I want to live my life in general.

If I had to describe my first semester in college in a few words, I would describe it as “amazing and overwhelming.” It was amazing for obvious reasons: new friends, community, and an opportunity to grow as a Christ follower. It was overwhelming because of the lack of balance I experienced. I had a hard time balancing my time, people I wanted to get to know, schoolwork, and many other things. Having to find that balance (and realizing that I will never fully find it) honestly changed me for the better.

I want to dedicate this semester to growing deeper in my relationship with Jesus and building stronger connections within the community at MNU.

I want to seek God wholeheartedly. I want to become bolder in my faith, listening to the Lord and being intentional in everything I do. I want to delight in the presence of God. I want passion and zeal and fire. I want to be so recklessly confident in what God is doing in and through my life that I listen to Him without second thoughts. I want to feel Him all the time, inviting Him into every aspect of my life.

I want to better understand what it means to be a part of a community of believers. I want to dig deeper in my friendships that developed last semester. I want to talk about the hard stuff. I want to encourage and push people to become stronger in their relationship with Jesus. I want to make new friends. I want to make the most of every moment I have in this community because it’s beautiful and I won’t have it forever. I want to make memories that I will never forget. I want to laugh and cry, going through the joys and sorrows of life with some of my favorite people on this earth.

MNU is a special place. I am confident that God has me here for reasons that are unknown to me now. Growing deeper in my relationship with Him and also with the community is something that I’m very excited about. I couldn’t think of a better place to be.

Praise God that a place such as MNU exists.

Cheers to second semester, Pioneers!


Katie Linsey


December 31, 2014

3 Resolutions Everyone Should Have

December 31, 2014 | By | No Comments

“Lose weight.”

“Go to the gym.”


“Save more money.”

Those are some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions I’ve heard, and I can definitely say those have made my list in the past years. While those are not bad things to want to accomplish, I’ve always found myself abandoning those resolutions less than a month into the New Year (and I know I’m not alone in that).

2014 was an interesting year. I learned more about myself than I have in any other season of my life. I went part-time at my high school in the beginning of 2014, which allowed for more personal time and opportunities to become more connected in my church, but also created a disconnect with peers at my school. In the summer, I took on a summer staff position at Youthfront Camp West, which taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. I learned a lot about my leadership style and what it means to be involved in a community of believers that are striving for intentional growth in their relationship with the Lord. In the fall, I started my college experience at MNU and learned even more about myself. Throughout all of those experiences, I grew immensely in my relationship with Christ and also gained a greater sense of passion and desire to live adventurously and boldly.

This past year, I felt more alive than ever before. There are certain practices I took part in that gave life to my soul, which in turn allowed me to encourage and motivate others. I want to continue doing those things and give meaning to every day of 2015. I believe that all of us long to feel alive, but maybe some of us don’t recognize that yet. I’ve put together a short list of my resolutions, which are things that I think everyone should strive to do more of. So, without further ado…

3 Resolutions Everyone Should Have

1. Read more

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Words are powerful and inspiring. They can encourage and discourage, build up and tear down. Books have captivated my heart and led me to deeper understandings of what it means to live. There are books I read in 2014 that I plan to read again (and again), and unread books that I have added to my list. If you want to read inspiring, life-changing books, here’s a short list to get you started:

  • Love Does by Bob Goff
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  • Radical by David Platt

2. Write more

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In 2014, I had a lot of friends that I didn’t get to see very often because we didn’t go to the same school and were always busy. We didn’t want to lose touch, so we wrote letters to each other (some by snail mail and some by e-mail). Doing this made me fall in love with the idea of writing letters (and also receiving them). It’s fun and encouraging and special. I think everyone should write letters to people, even if it’s a simple random encouragement. Sometimes those are the best.

3. Go out more

Go out more

I’ve lived 30 minutes from Kansas City my whole life, but until 2014, I had never been downtown to explore it. After many Saturday mornings at the City Market and late nights at local restaurants downtown, I quickly fell in love with the city. People always say there’s so much that they want to see in the world and they wish they could travel all the time, which I don’t disagree with, but sometimes I think we forget that there’s a city full of wonder and excitement right down the highway from us. In 2015, I want to go see more places and experience more culture, whether that’s spending a day in Kansas City or a week in (insert state or country).

So, there you have it. I hope you’ll consider reading more, writing more, and going out more in 2015. I promise that you won’t regret taking the time to do these things. Also, make sure to pay attention to what makes you feel most alive, and make sure to do more of those things. Peace and blessings to your 2015.


(Cover photo courtesy of