Archive for June, 2012

17 Jun 2012 JonathanSalmen

Becoming God’s Artwork on Earth

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Regent University Chapel Student

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 1.10

One of the great things about attending Regent University is that it equips us to do good works as part of the church. When we hear the words “good works,” our Protestant ears have been trained to cringe at the thought of any way attributing “works” to our salvation. This is not all bad, as Paul affirms in Ephesians 1, right before verse 10, the great truth that it is grace in which we are saved and not works. However Paul has something different in mind when he says we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” The good works of course will include moral behavior, but in this passage, Paul is more concerned with the church being a light in and for the world. Good works is read in Greek as poiem, which is God’s artwork, His “poem.” The church is to shine as each individual member uses his or her gifts to light up the world. Whether it is art, dancing, preaching, singing, business, politics or something else, we are to be His poem in the world. We are to bring Jesus’s prayer of “on earth as it is in heaven” to a reality by showing that His resurrection has called all the church to live as a new creation. Regent is not just giving us head knowledge – they are training us to be God’s artwork on earth as it is in heaven.

15 Jun 2012 JennaEdwards

Submitting to God’s Will is Easier Than I Ever Imagined

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Regent University Adult Ed Christian MusicEvery time someone asks me what my major is, I get a little nervous. Regent University offers so many great majors that you can do anything with, such as Communications, Business, or even Psychology. Personally, when I was accepted into Regent, I declared my major as “Interdisciplinary Studies,” or more commonly Elementary Education. I was so sure that I wanted to be a teacher from 9th grade all the way up to graduation. I just thought that teaching young children was exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Something was always missing inside my heart.

Once I got to Regent and actually started praying about it, my heart was being drawn to “Christian Ministry.” After a few months of continuously praying, I knew without a doubt where I was supposed to be. The only drawback? My family. I knew questions would be coming from every corner. “How can you get a job with that kind of major?” or “Are you planning to make any money or just be a bum for the rest of your life?”

In the end, I was exactly right. Even after I shared that call God placed on my life of living in Guatemala, teaching English to children and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to each and every person I would meet, they still didn’t and still don’t understand.

Growing up, being a missionary was never the “job” that I thought I would have as an adult, but God has placed such a strong call on my life that there is no way that I could spend 30 years teaching in school systems in the U.S. It might not be the “norm,” but it’s my purpose in this life. I am blessed to be at a school like Regent where I am continuously encouraged to pursue God’s calling on my life. I am being equipped to be a wise, honorable and strong leader.

Money is the last thing on my mind when I think about all of the men, women, and children who are going to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ because I submitted my life to the call God strategically placed inside of my heart.


“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

(2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

14 Jun 2012 RyanJohnson

Tornadoes in the Heartland, 1,000 Volunteers and a Class at Regent University

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After a tornado, the debris always makes the same crackly sound in the wind. It’s the pieces of plastic and insulation stuck to construction debris that creates the noise. I’m still not used to sound, even though this is my fourth time in a disaster zone after a tornado. I work for Operation Blessing as a disaster photographer, but I photograph much more than just disaster; I document the hope and perseverance of a community picking itself back up and recovering from a terrible event. That’s why I do it.Regent University Christian Adult Education

I was in Harrisburg, Ill., for the first half of March, documenting a tornado that destroyed 300+homes and took seven lives. Even brick structures had been destroyed, leaving behind bare foundations and scattered cinderblocks. Big trees looked like giant toothpicks snapped in half. The sights and sounds were familiar to me, but the heartbreak and consequent hope in a community is something that always amazes me. If you ever want to see God working in a community, visit a disaster zone.

Regent University Adult Student Volunteers

A couple sits on their front steps, looking down the block at the destroyed homes. Their own brick foundation is all that is left.

I just finished taking a Disaster and Terrorism Consequence Management course in the Robertson School of Government here at Regent University. I’ve had the unique perspective of studying disaster from a desk, and then experiencing it in the field. The complimentary nature of the two has been amazing. The online nature of the class has been helpful with my unpredictable work schedule. As we were learning how to manage volunteers in class, I was watching Operation Blessing handle volunteers in the field. Not only was the classroom content helpful, it was dead on in its practical application.

As we learned in class, managing volunteers after a disaster or crisis can be very difficult; where do they sleep, what do they eat, are they a liability, what are their skills, how do they get access to the disaster zone, where do they park? In Harrisburg, we had the same questions for our volunteers: how do we equip our volunteers with the things they need to volunteer for a week?

Regent University Adult College Volunteer

An Operation Blessing volunteer cuts construction debris with a chainsaw. Wearing the right safety equipment is imperative in a disaster zone. Volunteers must be safe while assisting cleanup efforts.

Emergency Management was overwhelmed by the volunteer response, and lacked the structure to handle the logistics for so many people. We offered to help. Operation Blessing saw just over 1,000 volunteers show up our first morning in Harrisburg. We had the structure, materials, and answers. We worked with a local church to provide housing, our mobile kitchen cooked meals, and we used our volunteer forms and organizational systems to manage them safely. We even strategically placed portable bathrooms and water in the disaster zone. These were all management issues we studied in class, and I was watching it happen in the field.

It was amazing to me the level of applicability that our class content complemented my field efforts. It is no surprise that God, our amazing Father, is able to orchestrate such a coincidence. And it is also no surprise that God can use Regent University academics to complement my understanding of volunteer efforts on the ground in Harrisburg, Ill., after a natural disaster.

Regent Adult Education Volunteer Cleanup

Volunteers show up for a day of debris cleanup in Harrisburg, IL. They must first go through a quick orientation so they understand some of the safety rules and volunteer requirements.

Leo Buscaglia said, ” We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters?” I would suggest that in addition to our internal response, as Christians, we are a part of God’s larger response to comfort his hurting children. Between the hope I saw in the community, and the things I had learned during that spring semester at Regent, I can safely say that we responded to the Harrisburg tornado as God intended, comforting his hurting children to the best of our abilities.

13 Jun 2012 FrederickJones II

The Pressures of Life

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After graduating from high school, I had dreams of playing baseball for Florida State University and majoring in Sports Management. My dreams were shattered, as I was denied twice by my dream school because my SAT scoresRegent University Student Center did not meet the freshman admission qualification, though I graduated with honors. Determined to make some use of my life, I attended a small community college in Cuthbert, Ga. However, I engaged with the wrong crowd and allowed the lies I believed and circumstances surrounding my father and high school baseball coach to discourage me. I spent the next few years aimlessly attempting college at several different schools while moving in with my mom to take care of her and my younger sister. Soon the pressures of life got to me and I left college, while looking to imitate the lives of men I admired, having no real vision or purpose of my own.

In my mid-20s, I made a decision to quit school because of the disappointments from false promises from my so-called “mentors,” lack of confidence and insecurities. Then the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts and said, “Finish school. Your education will be a networking tool to provide access to relationships that you will not acquire by your own way.”

Since Regent University gave me another opportunity to achieve academic excellence, the curriculum reshaped my focus and sense of purpose in my life.  Several of my class projects challenged me to write about my personality and biblical worldview. By doing so, I was able to discover who I am, and what I need to do make a difference in the marketplace.

The pressures of life can weigh anyone down; sometimes circumstances in life are unbearable. The easiest thing to do is to quit, when it seems all odds of circumstance are against you. Keep your heart and mind on the prize – the reward – not on the present of unfinished work.

12 Jun 2012 LindaOwen

Another Ordinary Manuscript?

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Regent University ProspectusSometimes I feel so ordinary. For years, I longed to do great things, achieve milestones, or be famous in some unforeseen way—any way. Yet now, much closer to age 60 than 50, the likelihood of such posterity is becoming remote, and the remaining pages of my life’s manuscript probably less than those already inscribed.

Do you ever think that your life is not remarkable enough? Do you want to rush through your studies, job or daily routine with the hopes of filling in the blanks with mighty deeds for God and man?  You’re not alone. It is a common human predicament to focus on service or accomplishments in order to have an exceptional testimony or noteworthy Christian resume.

But the greater relevance is not what is on our pages, but Who.

“And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”  2 Cor. 3:3 (ESV)

“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  Col. 1:27 (ESV)

“Letus fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

As author and speaker Paul Tripp says, “God is the author of your story.”  When we focus on the Sovereign Writer, we will view our personal story differently—not with a view

to what we can accomplish, but rather, to Whom we serve and what He has already done. This focus changes everything.

So when we think that our life, routines or responsibilities appear rather ordinary, may we humbly relinquish trust in our own understanding and return the pen to His hand.  The Lord will finish our manuscript with sweeping wisdom and beauty.

The following excerpt from The Valley of Vision, a well-worn devotional of mine, expresses it better than I:

If traces of Christ’s love be upon me,

may He work on with His divine brush

until the complete image be obtained

and I be made a perfect copy of Him, my Master.

As we continue to learn and grow at Regent University, may each page of our life be written and reflective of Jesus Christ.  Our story may appear like another ordinary manuscript to some, but He has written eternity on each page with His blood.

There’s nothing ordinary about that.

 

11 Jun 2012 RudolfKabutz

A Thorn in the Unicycle Tire

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Regent University adult college educationMy son had been riding his unicycle amongst the bush of a nature reserve. When back home, he complained that the wheel made a strange sound when it was at a certain position while he was riding. Once he investigated, he found a little thorn stuck in the tire that made a sound on the ground each time the wheel turned. So he asked me to help him fix the tire. We expected the repair to be easy: since we had inserted slime into the tubes to close little holes, it was just a matter of taking the tire off the rim, removing the thorn, and giving the wheel a spin so the sealant liquid could fill the hole. All seemed fine – the hole was closed.

Then we started pumping the wheel. The pressure increased until the tire felt hard. Suddenly we heard a soft whistling sound coming out of the hole in the tire. This is impossible, we thought, because the hole was sealed by the slime! So we opened up the wheel again, but the hole in the tube itself was really closed. We re-assembled the wheel once more and started pumping, but again the air whistled out through the tire. We then went one step further by pumping with a compressor, but still the air blew out of the tire.

We analyzed the wheel as a whole and realized that if the tire fitted very tightly against the rim, another hole in a different position could cause air between the tube and the tire, and the air could finally get out through the hole that the thorn had made in the tire. We had no option but to remove the tire and tube once more. This time we took the whole tube out the tire. What a surprise to us, when we found a 5mm gash in the tube on the opposite side of the wheel from the hole caused by the thorn. The liquid sealant would never be able to seal such a large rupture!

During my studies of systems thinking at Regent University, I had learnt that systems function together as a whole, and that the causes of certain effects seen in a system are often not obvious. In the problem my son and I were trying to solve in the simple system of a unicycle wheel, the evidence of the problem appeared on a completely different side of the system to where the actual problem was! What a practical lesson to my son, where he learnt that trying to fix a problem only where it appears may not solve the real problem. Systems thinking theory helped us to see the challenge of the unicycle wheel from a wider perspective.

09 Jun 2012 SeretaCollington

The Absence of Spirituality in the Seminary Is Disastrous!

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Regent University CrossWhen I received my calling to preach, attending a seminary was the first thing on my mind. I knew I needed to learn more about the Bible, preaching and other components of theology. I wanted to receive the full discipline.  At that time, I had not spoken to my pastor concerning my calling. I just knew I needed the education to become better at interpreting my Bible.  This, I believe, is the major misconception of seminary, both for the students and the school. If a seminary is just about Bible academics and biblical history, it will not prepare the student to be successful pastors or ministers.  I believe that spirituality is the most important course that any person, who is chosen to lead the sheep of God, needs.

When I took my Spiritual Formation class at Regent, I was so excited to receive my books in the mail. This class opened my eyes to the full understanding of seminary and validated my calling. I am not saying that without spiritual formation I would not know that God called me, but it validates my calling, as the passion within me ignited when I learned about living a disciplined Christ-like life. For me, spirituality should be the core of all seminaries; it should be the first lesson in every class.  Knowing God’s words and the biblical language is important, but the central idea is to know God. I find that this can be primarily achieved through Christian spirituality and not academics.

Christian spirituality brings about the understanding of who God is and examines His character.  During my Spiritual Formation class, I changed the story that I had always known about God. This is one of the most important components of spirituality. When we get to know God in the Spirit, we get the full idea of who He is and how we can please Him through discipleship.  When we are called to serve God, our cultural and religious denominations have already given us a story about God. This is the story that shapes most of our beliefs and understanding. Christian spirituality gives you the opportunity to start a new story about God. I believe it’s a new story because we learn more about God’s grace and how we can have a better relationship with Him.  When I took my first Spiritual Formation class, my story about God changed from one of a God who punishes and rewards to a God who is full of grace. This new story gives me an opportunity to experience God is new way. My experiences with God are what will shape my ministry, so it will make my experiences more important, more mature and more spiritually developed.

I am looking forward for my second Spiritual Formation class because I am excited for a learning process that allows me to be formed in the likeness of Christ. The real game plan here is to remember that the seminary is only preparing us in the basics of the ministry. Only God can fully prepare us for the job that He has for us. Therefore, our duty is to have confidence in God to do that for which He calls us.  What are your thoughts? Do you believe that the seminary can develop good Christian leaders without training in spirituality? How can that goal be accomplished?

08 Jun 2012 WendyHarris

Got water?

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Regent University Bible PageI am that peculiar girl who lugs in a gallon of beverage to work every morning.  I’m not incredibly picky when it comes to beverage choices, but apparently I am very Southern in my desire for iced tea instead of soda or coffee.  I even stretch my peculiarity a bit further by toting a big insulated glass with me throughout the day.  Apparently I stay very hydrated although it’s more about the drink than the result for me.

At the same time, I am that girl who provides cash and change to panhandlers when given the opportunity.  And Houston has plenty of opportunities.  I’ve had many discussions with individuals regarding what my donation is funding.  My argument has steadfastly been that this is between the panhandler and God.  I can’t always control the end result but I can faithfully act as the hands and feet of God.  However, I do realize many disagree with my efforts.  I also admit to moments when the cynicism in me creeps up and I question if my actions are truly helpful to these individuals.  So, I’m excited to explain how these two particular sides of my personality recently collided.

The other morning I flipped on the news as I got ready.  In a very distracted state, I heard an interview with the founder of a charitable organization that focused on providing drinking water to the homeless.  In my hurry, I finished my task, turned off the TV and moved on to my next activity.  However, the seed had been successfully planted…providing drinking water to the homeless.  What a great idea!

So at the next opportunity I purchased a six-pack of bottled water and placed it in my car.  I have to admit to being excited to encounter a panhandler after this preparation.  I developed a keen eye as I waited for my first opportunity to hand that precious water out.  How fun this was going to be!  And I was not let down.  My first distribution of water was around 4 p.m. on this year’s first day of 90 degree heat.  The woman was so appreciative that she asked, “If you come back around, bring me another.”  Dispensing the second bottle of water was less eventful.  However, I look forward to many happy provisions going forward into the hot summer months.

Once I decided to write on this topic, I researched the charity mentioned on the TV.  Without much difficulty I found the website for the I Am Waters Foundation — iamwaters.com.  A quick review of their webpages identifies former fashion model Elena Davis as the founder.  I urge you to take a minute and explore their website.  Not only do they have information regarding their mission of providing water to the homeless, they also put a face to these individuals through video interviews, pictures and quotes.

I also urge you to consider how you are the hands and feet of Christ.  Our education at Regent University teaches us many things but among them is how to “change the world.”  With “Christ-centeredness” as one of Regent’s values, identifying effective ways of ministering to our community is critical.  According to Matthew 25:40, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  What an awesome privilege we have to love on those in need through a simple drink of water!

What other ideas do you have for loving our community in God’s name?

07 Jun 2012 TracyRuckman

Do They Offer a Degree in Juggling?

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Regent University InteractionJuggling responsibilities of home, work and school can be a full-time job all by itself. I enrolled as a nontraditional student at Regent University in 2010 (after a 28-year hiatus), and then in 2011, I reorganized my business and launched two publishing companies. Talk about juggling!

Five things have helped keep me sane (or at least keep what little sanity I had left.)

1)      Prioritize. Every night, I make a list of all of the things that need to get done the next day, or the next week, and then I prioritize the list, based on deadlines, available time, and speed with which I can get that particular task done. School deadlines for discussion board posts and papers are prioritized by due date and by difficulty of assignments. Last session, I had two upper-level classes, each with a 10-page paper due toward the end of the session. Both classes required much research and a great number of academic sources, but one class had even more restrictions and guidelines. I focused intently on that paper for five weeks, while gathering my sources and formulating ideas for the other paper. As the deadlines approached, the priorities shifted.

2)      Delegate. I went back to school because my husband was forced into early retirement due to the economy and company layoffs. Since he’s now at home fulltime, he offered to take over some of the household chores. Busy moms can enlist help from friends, family members, and even age-appropriate children. Delegation is a tremendous time-saver and stress reducer. My husband’s contribution is an investment in our future, and I could not do all I do without his hard work.

3)      Focus. One of my friends, a life-coach, recommends putting various aspects of your life in mental “boxes.” When you tackle the top priority on your list, keep the lids on all those other boxes closed until you finish with the first box. Then when you’re done, put the lid back on, and move to the next item on the list. This compartmentalization allows you to focus on one thing at a time, without worrying about what’s in the other boxes.

4)      Play. This one is hard for me because I tend to give my all to everything – work hard, play hard. But I don’t always have time for play, so it got pushed to the side until I learned to play in tiny increments. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day, take time to just play and unwind. Do something that makes you laugh – be silly. The refreshment will surprise you.

5)      Rest. The busier our week gets, the more tempted we are to push things to the weekend so we can get caught up. But don’t neglect one day of rest. Make yourself unplug – no phones, computers, internet – for 12-24 hours, more if you can stand it. (I try to unplug from sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday, then I’m not so swamped first thing Monday morning.) Trust me, the world won’t collapse while you’re gone and you’ll be stronger for it.

Balancing work, school, and family life is indeed a challenge, but there are benefits. Discipline, perseverance, determination, focus – these benefits are not listed on our degrees, but they are character traits not easily attained. Who knew juggling offered such reward?

06 Jun 2012 MadelineWenner

Best Job Ever

No Comments School, Work

Regent University Atrium Like most college students, I need to supplement my loans with extra money to pay for school—in this economy, everyone to some extent has to work to go to school. But, after all, I came to Regent to learn, and the challenging but edifying curriculum, along with my non-salaried internships, often left me wanting to relax, not job hunt. After sending out 10 applications that came to nothing, I asked God to send the perfect job my way.

He did. He knew I wanted more than money. I wanted to be challenged, energized and restored. I wanted my job to be both a learning experience and an environment to practice my education. So that’s what He gave me.

At this dream job, I am served five-course meals at a fancy restaurant. I become both evil stepmother and fairy godmother in a pantomime Cinderella, eat fluorescent ice cream made from Play-Doh, watch PBS Kids, and even have time after a few hours to read my Modern Literature assignment.

I am a babysitter.  During the past year, I babysat eight kids ages nine months to 12 years. Most of their parents are Regent students and graduates. All of the children are sweet in their own way. Some are outgoing, some shy; some willingly listen, while others need persuading. The five-year-olds, with their active imaginations, create stories more brilliant and fantastical than any I read in my literature classes, while the babies’ wide-eyed smiles alone speak volumes.

I come from a big family, so I’ve been babysitting since I no longer needed a sitter myself, but coming to Regent changed the experience again.

Babysitting fights off homesickness. I was used to being around little siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins and neighbors. At college, I was on ‘kid withdrawal” until I started babysitting. Twenty-year-olds are just too tame; I need some chaos to calm down.

It heals my stress. Nothing cures that midterm exhaustion like the wild, buoyant, infectious, untamable, scampering, choking, shrieking laughter of a toddler.

It changes my perspective. My own stress about living expenses and a heavy workload was caricatured in the personal gravity of one four-year-old girl. For her, every decision was important, from the doll she played with in the afternoon to the pajamas she picked out at bedtime. Every small moment was inflated with her immense appreciation, and I too could be grateful for misty mornings and warm cookies, for cold popsicles and sunny afternoons.

We play dolls and make-believe and pirates and trucks. The world becomes new again as old experiences are presented as if for the first time. When a two-year-old and I saw, right in the heart of suburbia, a small rabbit nosing in the grass, we shared a wide-eyed, wordless wonder.

Babysitting allows me to apply my lessons from Regent, too. In Communication and Popular Culture, we learned how to pitch a project or story idea to an employer in less than a minute. I had to do use the same technique, only faster, while babysitting. Creative executives may have short attention spans, but three-year-olds have no attention span at all.

I step away from the battle of grade-point-averages, textbooks and Blackboard posts and enter a different crusade. I learned logic in Philosophy, argumentation in Research & Academic Writing, and persuasion in Public Speaking, but this mighty arsenal of rhetoric failed to convince one charge to eat all her dinner. I used instead a mightier weapon that Regent arms every student with: prayer.

In this new world, child A is in a tattle-tale, child B is a possessive three-year-old, and child C still requires frequent diaper changes. So while A snitches on B for stealing A’s toy, you don’t have time to intervene and stop the ensuing fight before C remorsefully announces, “Poo-poo…”

But oh, what triumph when they settle down and play together nicely! I could hear triumphant fanfare when they cleaned their plates. I rejoiced when they fell asleep at bedtime. And when their parents came to drive me home, I was grateful for the job that paid more than money.

Babysitting strengthens me for college. Regent enriches the experience.

How do you coordinate school and work?