When I was a freshman in college, I gained the dreaded freshman 15. Going into college I struggled with body image, and this new weight just made it worse. God wants us to love our bodies and take care of them. He does not want us to gain the freshman 15.
Since I’m no fitness expert, I’m having my friend Nikki, a Beachbody coach, share how to avoid the freshman 15. Check out her 8 tips below! (more…)
Do you ever wonder if God cares about the people who don’t love him? While being a college student, I wondered this daily. I questioned, “Jesus, will my classmates ever know you?” I recently read through Psalm 62 and found encouragement, hope, and some answers.
The main point of the passage – we can never give up on others because God never gave up on us. (Tweet this!)
Looking for an activity for the next women’s time at your church or in your college ministry? Here is a great topic, activity, and craft that is perfect for a women’s event! No matter the crafting ability of each attendee, this activity will be empowering and turn out beautifully. We all believe lies, and we all need to shatter them.
Crafting brings women together and provides an opportunity to introduce Jesus to non-believers. (more…)
Today I will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida. Walking across the stage, I will be wearing medals, cords, and a sash representing my awards and accomplishments. You could say I learned a lot in college, but the awards I recieved and the academic knowledge I learned is not what stands out the most. Yes, I’m thankful for the academic knowledge I have learned, but I am even more thankful for the 30 life lessons that God has taught me throughout my college experience.
Here are 30 life lessons that I learned during my 3.5 years in college: (more…)
Since starting college, I have lost a few really good friends because of my faith. Both of them told me we could not be friends because my beliefs did not match up with their beliefs. This is something that is incredibly hard to hear. Even though the Bible warns us that we will lose friends and people won’t like us, it is hard to have someone you love turn their back on you.
Here are 5 lessons I took away from both experiences and from the story of Joseph:
1) God’s plans are still perfect even though we might not understand them.
Early in the story of Joseph, his brothers desert him. Essentially, Joseph loses the only friends he knows. In that moment, Joseph had no idea how God would use the pain of being deserted for his glory. We may not understand why losing a friend is part of God’s plan, but we can put our trust in God and believe that good things will come out of the pain.
In Genesis 43, there was a severe famine in Canaan. Imagine how confused all the people were. How long will this last? Are we going to die? Why is God doing this? No one could see God’s big picture – this famine would reunite Jacob and his sons with Joseph. The brothers were going to be given food in plenty and taken care of for life, but in the moment they felt only pain and hunger. In the end, Joseph and his brothers understood why God had the famine – to reunite father and son and to give an opportunity for Joseph to show his brothers forgiveness.
2) No one can change God’s plan.
Here is Joseph’s response to his brothers: “…I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” – Genesis 45:4-8
Joseph’s brothers tried to control the situation by selling Joseph to Egypt, but Joseph realized that God had sent him to Egypt for a reason. God used Joseph’s brothers desertion to save lives in Egypt.
3) God’s plan is hidden to unbelievers.
“We declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” 1 Corinthians 2:7.
We don’t know if Joseph’s brothers were Christians or not, but their actions of selling their brother and lying to their father are not very Christ-like. Thus, God’s plan for Joseph remained hidden.
4) We have to continue to love them.
How easy would it have been for Joseph to hate his brothers? Instead, he choose to love them. Joseph blessed his brothers with gifts, food, and spared their lives. Think about the friends who have turned their back on you. We have to continue loving them.
When we are confronted with conflict, we usually respond by defending ourselves and our actions. What if we responded with the gospel? We should respond with grace, love, peace, and mercy. When my friend said goodbye, I wanted to defend myself. I practically listed all the ways I had been a good friend to her in the past. I wonder, would the situation have ended differently if I responded with the gospel? In a loving way, I should have apologized for hurting her. In a graceful way, I should have asked how I could be a better friend. In a peaceful way, I should have said I will not change my beliefs, but I don’t love you any less for your beliefs.
5) Always return to scripture.
As humans, we tend to get self-righteous. An amazing thing happened because of the situations with my friends – my faith grew stronger. Before I was confronted about my beliefs, I knew what I believed, but I did not know why. Confrontation forced me to turn to scripture to find the answers. Any time we are questioned, return back to scripture so you will understand why you believe what you believe.
God warns us that people will hate us. “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 10:22. It hurts when people, especially people you love, hate you. God warns us that this will happen, and he commands us to endure.
Friend, I know how hard it is to lose a friend because of your beliefs. Remember that God has a perfect plan for you. He will use this situation for his glory. Surround yourself with a community of believers who will help you through this challenging time.
“Our hearts often detect the lies long before our minds begin to process them.”
We fail to realize that we are believing lies until they effect us. How scary is that. The enemy wants us to believe lies because he wants to ruin our relationship with God. The good news is that lies have no power over us. In this 3 part series, I will unpack what scripture tells us about believing lies. By looking to scripture, we can define lies, discover where they come from, and learn how to break free from their grips. As a resource, here is a step by step guide on a craft idea for a women’s ministry night: Women’s Ministry Craft Night: Shattering the Lies We Believe. Feel free to combine this series with the activity for an empowering women’s night! (more…)
With the start of a new school year comes the start of new small groups/Bible studies! Small groups are the heart of every college ministry. Maybe it is your first time leading and you’re feeling a little nervous? I completely understand. I’ve been there!
The second semester of my freshman year I co-led a Bible study with 3 other leaders. I was the youngest leader and had never led a study before. Right before our first study, I sat with one of the other leaders outside the dorm where our study would meet. I said to her, “I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it.” Fear crippled my mind and almost stopped me from even walking into that building. My biggest fear was what people would think of me.
On day. One mission. To tell others about Jesus. I am engaging on 10.14.14, will you? `
The Bible tells us that God wants us to engage with Him and then to engage the world with the gospel of Jesus. There is a movement happening across the world, and I am so excited to be a part of it! Engage24 is a specific time set apart for engaging the world with the good news of Christ. While Engage24 is intensely focused on a single day of evangelism (10.14.14), the mission is to promote a 24/7 lifestyle of evangelism and engagement with the gospel.
Engage24 is a 24 hour period when college students purposefully engage their campuses with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The goal is to see every believing college student share the Gospel with at least one person that day.
On my campus, the University of South Florida, my campus ministry Cru is taking part in Engage24. We are wearing shirts that say ‘Tell Me Your Story”. The girls below are some of the girls in our ministry who rocked the shirts!
Our hope is that students at USF will see hundreds of students wearing the shirt and then will ask one of us what it is about. Here is our reply, “Today is Engage24, and we want to engage with the students by listening to their story. We would love to listen to your story and hear if God plays any part in it.” (more…)
Jesus came to heal the sick and the broken. He came to save the sinner. In one of my classes, this thought came to mind as I heard sad story after sad story from my classmates. (Jesus, will my classmates ever know you?) This does not mean that he supports their actions, but his love for them will never change. Why is this? Because Jesus came to save the broken.
Jesus came to save my classmates, but they lack the realization that they need him. Maybe they think their lives are fine without him. Maybe they think they’re spiritually healthy.
While on earth, Jesus spent most of his time with the lost and broken. In Matthew 9:12-13 (NIV) Jesus states, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Healthy people don’t understand that they are sick, sinful, and in need of a savior. But the sick, they line up outside of the doctor’s office hoping for something to heal the pain. Do you realize that you are sick and in need of a savior? Maybe you are immune to the hurting in your heart. Maybe like my classmates, you think these feelings are a normal part of life. Or maybe you actually think you are healthy. (more…)
I walk out of class in a daze. So much sadness. So much pain. Jesus, will these people ever come to know you? Will they ever experience your life change? When will they experience your healing, forgiveness, redemption, grace and love?
This is my last semester of undergrad at the University of South Florida. I’m taking a class called Storytelling, and each week we share personal stories from our lives. During class last week, students shared one sad story after the next. Topics included: abortion, death, getting kicked out of the church, loss of friends, moving, getting arrested, abuse, and more. I was left questioning, God, when will you change their hearts?
In class, I looked around at my classmates and thought how beautiful each person was because God created them in his image. God, shouldn’t that mean you care about them? Yet, they don’t know you at all. Do they want to know you? Do they even have the information that you exist to be able to make this decision?
So many thoughts. So many questions.
Then, I think about how God saved me. What makes me different? Why did God choose me? I’m just like them. I have similar stories of pain and brokenness. I have screwed up just like them. What makes me different than them? (more…)