Archive for September, 2012

27 Sep 2012 LindaOwen

Learning at 1500 MPH

No Comments Home, School

I just finished my first year of graduate studies, plodding along at the turtle pace of one class a semester, or nine semester hours per year. Too slow, perhaps?

Actually, considering my husband and I logged over 14,000 miles on our Trustee Toyota at the same time, I was studying at 1500 miles a (semester) hour!

Regent University’s distance education program fits well into a busy lifestyle like ours. While racking up the miles visiting family, friends and staying plugged into a ministry, I’m still able to pursue my graduate degree. When my family is on the move, Regent University moves with us–as long as there’s an internet connection or café somewhere!

Regent University

Ottawa, Canada - Three trips in three semesters

What makes the distance education program even better is the Christ-centered, dedicated professors who provide well-organized, comprehensive instruction and follow-up. Each professor I’ve had has personally prayed with and encouraged me, and always pointed me to Christ through their syllabi, projects, readings, and desired outcomes. School email, Blackboard technology (Regent’s online learning “classroom”) and online library resources faithfully support professors and students, and knit them into a team, working toward the same end—to equip one another to serve the Lord and be a light to the nations!

Regent University

Inner-City Christian Coffee House, Ottawa, Canada

Such a Christ-centered and distinctly professional program is convenient, but not easy. Although, nothing worthwhile really is. Studying on the road–or at home for that matter–requires focus and discipline, learning how to prioritize time, energies, and assignments. Sometimes it means pulling away from the crowd to read, watch a video, or pour oneself into a research project. Or it might mean owning library cards from different cities like I do.

Non-traditional education is becoming the new traditional, and Regent makes it more feasible than it used to be. When I started my educational pursuits in the mid-‘70s, I attended an inner-city college in Denver that had no real campus. Classes were held in various high-rise office buildings or low-rise modular trailers. Through the ‘80s and ’90s, as a mom and sailor, I took courses and CLEP exams as often as I could—whenever they were available on base. Finally, in 2004, after enduring the wiles of D.C. traffic to attend evening on-campus classes, I completed my Bachelor’s degree. That was when I was 50.

Now, I hope to complete my Master’s before I’m 60. Thankfully, Regent University’s online program makes this goal possible and plausible, from the comfort of my laptop and couch. Or car.

I can be a student, pursue my educational goals, AND stay on the road at the same time.

26 Sep 2012 WendyHarris

First Impressions

No Comments Work

Regent fountainI must admit to some internal struggles that I’ve been going through recently. It is nothing earth shattering- just wrestling with the idea of first impressions.  I recently visited a commercial website and was somewhat put off by the spelling and grammatical errors I noticed.  I’m not the grammar police but I do notice common mistakes. I try to remain gracious though as I recognize that I don’t have the best grammatical skills around (I’m often corrected). However, some of the more common problems such as the correct use of “to,” “two,” and “too” and “its” vs. “it’s” will drive me crazy.

We recently went through a due diligence process for selecting a vendor at work. We set up demonstrations with several vendors who had made it through the first cut. During the demonstrations, one vendor in particular had a very poor showing. In discussions afterward with my team and boss,it became clear that this was a fatal error on the vendor’s part. No amount of coercion was enough to get my selection committee to reconsider this particular vendor.

Around the same time, we experienced the first day of school. Outfits were picked out with great care to ensure an accurate first impression. Especially for my oldest daughter who started middle school this year with many students she has never met before.

Coincidentally (well not really – I believe God was speaking to me here), our Sunday morning sermon touched on moving past first impressions to invite others to church. We saw an excellent video short you can find at this link.

Overall, I can certainly imagine there are situations that warrant the use of first impressions and gut instincts. I can imagine walking into a new doctor’s office and immediately leaving if I find the waiting room filthy. I can imagine the necessity of listening to your gut during police work or battle. However, other than for health and safety reasons, is there ever really a good reason to judge a book by its cover?  (See, I used the correct word. :) )  More importantly, what does God expect from us here?  What are your thoughts?

25 Sep 2012 RyanArmes

The Joy of Servant Leadership

1 Comment Church, Community

One of the most valuable leadership concepts that I’ve learned since becoming a Regent student is that of servant leadership. As a Masters in Organizational Leadership student, the concept was important enough for the school to introduce it in the very first course, LMOL 601 Foundations of Leadership: History, Theory, Application & Design. In every course since, servant leadership has either been an important aspect of a project, embedded in an assigned reading, or made honorable mention in a forum post by either the instructor or a student. There is no doubt that Regent puts a high emphasis on servant leadership. Personally, I have gained absolutely nothing by practicing the concept of servant leadership, but that is precisely the point. Servant leadership isn’t about what I can gain, but about what I can give. “The focus of the [servant] leader is on followers, and his or her behaviors and attitudes are congruent with this follower focus” (Patterson, 2003, p. 3). In John 13:5, we see Jesus demonstrate servant leadership when he washes his disciples’ feet, “Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (NASB). Bible commentator Matthew Henry calls Jesus’ actions, “a miracle of humility” (1994).

Regent University Servant LeadershipNow that I can articulate servant leadership better, I often walk into my work area in the morning, grab some coffee, log on to my computer, and then think of ways how I can serve my subordinates, peers and superiors in the midst of my daily tasks. Sometimes it means writing a formal recognition package on a subordinate and at other times it means praying for and being there for my superiors when they need that extra effort to get things done. In any case, it means emptying self for the sake of someone else’s benefit. A summation of the life of Christ described in Matthew 20:28 gives us the ultimate example of a servant leader: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (NASB).

References:

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume. Peabody: Hendrickson.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Patterson, K.  (2003).  Servant Leadership Theory.  Virginia Beach, VA:  School of Leadership Studies, Regent University

24 Sep 2012 TonyaJohnson

Sharing our Faith

1 Comment Community

I recently found myself thinking about our fore-parents, Adam and Eve, and how we are an extension of that union no matter what region of the globe we come from. It is that wonderful union that makes us family.  I also found myself thinking how often people pay too much attention to where another person comes from and not enough simply loving and reaching out to another human being.

On my way to run an errand, I was drawn to a shop in the El Barrio because the displays were very inviting. As I walked around admiring the merchandise, I noticed an employee of the store walking behind me while other patrons seemed to go unnoticed. I thought to myself, “Is he following me?” He then stopped and stood at a distance. I thought of asking why he was following me, but chose to remain silent. As I selected a few items to purchase and came to checkout he said: “You’re an honest woman” and we got to talking about Puerto Rico. I told him about my paternal great- great- grandfather who was born in Puerto Rico, like him. He briefly shared Puerto Rico’s history and said he was “also boriken” (a term Puerto Ricans call the island of Puerto Rico and commonly used to identify someone of Puerto Rican heritage). After paying for my items, he began pouring out his heart to me and sobbed, sharing how he “lost everything.”  I encouraged and prayed for him.  In the process, praise God, he accepted Jesus Christ into his heart and life.  After chatting, he handed back the money that I’d given him to pay for my items. I threw my arms around him, gave him a big hug and said, “God loves you, be encouraged, I’ll stop by again; Keep the faith.”  As I was leaving, I thought about how this had started out as an uncomfortable and uncertain situation, but turned out to be a blessing instead. Things are not always what they appear to be at first glance. I left feeling very joyful and thankful to God for all that He had done.

Just a few days later another unexpected situation to share my faith presented itself. I had let an exterminator into my home for service, and after chatting and learning of the nose bleed he had had earlier, I asked if I could pray with him. Afterwards, he said, “I feel good! What did you do?” In response, I praised God, asked him if he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and shared a pamphlet my church prepared entitled “Four Steps To A New Life.” We discussed accepting God’s love and inviting Jesus into his heart. I used relatable stories and answered the questions he had. He eagerly recited a suggested prayer. After congratulating and encouraging him to get baptized, I invited him to church. He described his previous relationship with God as “loving and dating a girl but not having enough time to spend with her.” I encouraged him to take his new faith one day at a time.

We are encouraged here at Regent to make positive connections with those around us. Throughout my daily walk, I am often reminded of a statement my former professor, Dr. William Cox shared with the class. During one of the sessions, as we talked about following the Great Commission, I remember him saying, “the Greek says…as you go…as you’re about the business of living do the great commission,” adding “As you’re living your life then keep the great commission in the forefront of what you’re doing.” I learned from taking a number of Dr. Cox’s classes about the importance of making a difference by influencing others in our sphere of influence. Not everyone is called to witness in mission fields. As believers, we are called to seize the daily opportunities to witness, share our faith, love and spread the Word of God with those around us. With this in mind, I ask you my dear readers and partners in this wonderful Christian experience: Is there a special life that you can touch? An impact that you can make on the earth to advance God’s Kingdom? Have faith, trust God and forge ahead with great victory.

13 Sep 2012 FrederickJones II

Stress Management

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As the season of summer is ending, most high school students are closing their senior albums to start a new chapter in their lives as a college student. While young adults mature, students rebuild their energy after a summer break to go through the process of quizzes and staying up late writing papers. For high school students entering their first year of college, the majority lose focus or create negative study habits, and is unaware of how to manage their stress. Stress can affect your studies, and cause loss of/increased appetite, sleeplessness, mental exhaustion, severe feelings of frustration and so on. Stress symptoms can also manifest in a student’s social and physical life.

When I first returned to college after a two-year hiatus, I suffered from a loss of appetite, which led to a loss of weight, feelings of defeat, anxiety, mental lapse. The mistake that I made as a young student was that I didn’t seek educational counseling. Regent University counselors are trained to help college students to manage their stress levels by providing tools that will give the student the ability to maintain control when situations, people, academic studies and events make excessive demands.

It is imperative to learn how to relax yourself: fill your mind with positive words of inspiration, positive music, meditation and breathing exercises. Enjoy the journey! Don’t overwhelm yourself with so many classes that will damage your grade point average (GPA). Start with a few classes to learn the system of Blackboard and other functions at Regent. Then handle each class with excellence and integrity. In your spare time, try to exercise by walking or jogging around campus or home with your iPod or with a friend, because exercise reduces stress and builds your immune system.

11 Sep 2012 MadelineWenner

Why Study English?

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Regent University EnglishAre you considering studying English, but wonder how to justify majoring in the arts in this economy? Or do you dismiss a major revolving around books as, frankly, a waste of time?

I myself have had to listen to people who believe that English literature is unmarketable, even moribund. I’ve struggled to articulate my reasons for pursuing this degree. I know that God has a purpose for me with literature, but I’m always grateful for encouragement and affirmation. In a recent class discussion, I received just that.

On the first day of British Literature: Middle Ages Through the Eighteenth Century, Dr. Elam asked us why literature matters. To begin the discussion, he had us read Psalm 14:3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20, which remind us that we all suffer the consequences of the Fall. We have all sinned; we all live in a fallen (or post-lapsarian, for you sesquipedalian word lovers out there) world full of tragedies, with the greatest tragedy, sin, on our backs. The Fall goes beyond individual sin, too. All around us we see the “ought-is” problem: while the world is full of darkness, it ought to be full of light. Young children die of leukemia; hurricanes destroy whole towns. This should not be so. We know that things are not right, but we have not the power to set them right. In the profound words of one of my classmates, “Reality kind of sucks.”

Through literature, we can step back and experience reality, with its tragedies and victories, with much lower stakes. When we close the book, we are not in a war zone, mourning the death of a loved one, or going through a divorce—but in a way, we feel as though we are. We internalize the conflict, so we can learn from a cataclysmic life even without ever actually experiencing it. We see in ourselves that character, in our lives that situation, in our hearts that struggle, and we learn about human nature as it exists in us and in others.

“In literature, tragically flawed characters reflect the recognition that you can’t escape from the Fall,” Dr. Elam told us. “Still, the things that ought to happen, happen. How many of you have read The Lord of the Rings?

I sat a little straighter in my chair and raised my hand with the rest. It was one thing to talk abstractly about literature, but illustrating a point using my favorite trilogy? This professor was awesome.

“Okay, a few of you. Would you say that Frodo succeeds in his mission?” He paused. “No, Frodo fails miserably. Once he finally gets the ring to Mt. Doom, he decides to keep it and refuses to destroy it. Frodo fails his mission. But it’s still accomplished—the ring is still destroyed.”

I smiled to myself, remembering Gandalf’s words: “And that is an encouraging thought.”

Outside the Bible, literature portrays the Fall and reveals Redemption. God is at work, and even when we fail, He doesn’t. A work need not be explicitly Christian, or even Christian at all. A story can show us what’s wrong with the world, condemn our nature, promise a better land with the Greatest Being, and encourage us along our way. A nonbeliever who wouldn’t read the Bible might pick up Paradise Lost and feel homesick for a place they’ve never been, a place where God reigns.

The right book in the right hands can change the world, and Regent has a great English program to get you on that track.

10 Sep 2012 LeilaMills

An OL’s Perspective

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I know what you’re thinking: what’s an “OL?” Well, my friend, an “OL” is an Orientation Leader and they are the students involved with the various orientations that Regent offers. To accompany the variety of students coming onto campus, we have “SOAR” (Summer Orientation Advising and Registration) for the incoming freshman, “Transfer Transitions” for the transfer students, and “Campus Connection” as an additional event for both!

So far, I have been involved twice with SOAR and most recently with Campus Connection. Our Undergrad Student Services Office pulls these orientations off so effortlessly it seems like planning such an event is a breeze. But trust me, it’s not. Just from my perspective there is a lot of training, testing, talking, setting up and more involved to make sure every new student is ready to make Regent their second home.

As much work as SOAR was, it was definitely the highlight of my summer! This year, the freshman and I rocked the PANK (pink) team! Oh yes, that’s right PANK! The incoming students were just as excited as we were and their energy has made me so excited for the start of the new school year. With Campus Connection already behind us, I can hardly believe the summer has gone by so fast! I feel as if I was just having fun at SOAR yesterday.

With summer slowly fading out and fall, my second favorite season, blowing on in, I look back at my time at Regent so far and realize I am truly blessed. Being able to welcome the new students to a university I love is such a privilege and I can’t wait to start the new year with the friends I have made through orientation.

06 Sep 2012 WendyHarris

How Many Hours Do You Give Away?

No Comments Home, Work

Let’s talk about work-life balance. Who doesn’t struggle with achieving balance in this area either as an employee, professional student, or otherwise? I have been thinking a lot about this lately and have come up with some reasons why I think work-life balance is so difficult to obtain.

Regent University Library

1. We identify ourselves by our occupation. Think about the last time you introduced yourself or met a new contact.  How did you identify yourself? Typically we start with our occupation and end, maybe, with a little of our personal information. Even when we are asking for introductions, we often ask “so what do you do?”

2. There is typically no ‘boss’ at home to approve requests for ‘time on.’ Most jobs have some type of official tracking system to identify how much time off we use throughout the year. Who tracks our “time on” during personal hours? Furthermore, there is typically no permission required to answer a few emails or take a phone call.

3. It is easier to cheat ourselves than others.  It is so easy to work through lunch, stay a little late, come in early, or answer a few messages from home.  In many cases, you can even do this without cheating anyone other than yourself. So if you don’t mind it, why should anyone else care? However, in the end, you are cheating yourself from the downtime needed to recover from the stress of work. Our bodies need relaxation and downtime to maintain good health, attitudes and energy levels. As a result, you may be cheating your family of the healthy, happy spouse, mom, or dad they need.

4. Being a good parent or spouse does not usually get us a promotion. Aside from our performance ratings at work, we often have other opportunities for bonuses, stock options, promotions, salary increases, new challenges or even a certificate and a handshake to recognize a significant contribution. What compares to this in the home environment? While it is true that our wonderful families are all the reward we need, human nature craves recognition.

So I go back to my original question – how many hours do you give away? You cannot get them back. Think about the little things you can change to make work-life balance easier to achieve. Here is what I plan to do: I commit to introduce myself personally before professionally; get my job rating for being a mom; ask permission for ‘time on’; respect my personal needs for downtime; and look for opportunities to reward my husband’s outstanding contributions. What about you?

06 Sep 2012 KevinMills

My Pet: God

No Comments Church, Home

Regent University- dogWe as humans love pets. They bring us comfort. They make us feel good. And above all, they give us that token feeling of having something solely dependent upon us. A person once said this about pet dogs: “We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.” People love coming home to something (or someone) that shows them love, comfort, and acceptance. Many people will actually find themselves confiding in “pets” their most intimate struggles and secrets. In other words: Pets  make us feel good inside and usually give us comfort and acceptance when we cannot readily find it elsewhere.

But how many of us would take our pet dog, cat, budgie, or other animal to work in order to solicit advice from them? Or how many would ask advice from their parrot on relational difficulties? This series of questions may bring a chuckle to us,  but we often treat God the same way.

How often do we compartmentalize God into the areas of our lives where we think He is applicable? How many times do we treat God as the “pet”? We’ll only run to Him when we need comforting or an ego-boost. We throw Him a few treats (prayers, church attendance, etc.) and figure all is well and He’ll be there again when we need Him.

When it comes to real situations in business, relationships, politics, and health, we fail to ask for His advice or wisdom. We’ve relegated God to being our pet–that something or someone we come to for comfort and then go back to our “real lives.”

Galatians 6:7-8 says, “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Many times we isolate the spiritual from the physical instead of realizing that sowing to the spiritual (i.e. pursuing God in all areas of our life) causes the physical to benefit as well.

Let’s be careful to not compartmentalize God to an area of our life which we run to only in times of trouble, but let us seek His wisdom and grace in every aspect of our lives and consequently bring glory to Him in all of our “business.” God is not anyone’s pet, but we unfortunately have a tendency to treat Him exactly that way. It’s time for us to realize who God really is and focus our entire life around Him.

06 Sep 2012 SeretaCollington

Superwomen in the Seminary

No Comments Home, School

Regent University Robertson HallMy life is so busy. I have to work; go to school; minister to others; create my blogs; and attend to my family duties. Learning to balance everything is quite complicated, and I think I need to master the skills of being a “superwoman.” I believe women in the seminary may have it more difficult than men do because we have the duties of being mothers and wives, as well as students. My experiences have been very time consuming over the years, and I am still learning to balance it all with the help of God.

I’ve tried many time-management skills, but few of them have worked for me.  I have combined my studies and my experiences and have come up with a list of ideas that can help me to become a “superwoman.”  I don’t have “superpowers,” but I have the ability to really let go and let God. So far, what I’ve learned is that I cannot balance my time on my own, regardless of all the skills I have; I have to depend on God and His wisdom to get me there.

First, I evaluate my current daily schedule which, by the way, is a lot! Then, I find ways to cut back. The following is my plan.

I create a daily schedule using my Google Calendar, which synchronizes really well with my phone. My daily schedule is fixed by time, so I can know what is done and for how long it is done. For example, it will take me two hours to cook dinner from 6:30-8:30 p.m. So, I change the ways in which I prepare dinner.

  1. It’s a good practice to pray over your schedule, daily. Not that God will allow it all to happen, but whatever should be done, will be done.
  2. I use times that are unaccounted for to do other things. I recently changed some of my “unaccounted for” time. On the train on my way home, I normally try to complete some class readings. However, what I realized is that since I have no free time, using my train ride home for relaxing is much more valuable.
  3. I keep the Sabbath. I know it’s hard, but on Saturday I let everything go. I sleep, relax, read a book, and watch television. I have to do this because my weekdays are so crazy and busy, I need this as my “down time.”
  4. Finally, I leave it to God. When I am tired in the evening and cannot get some of my class assignments completed or cannot write a new article for my Spiritual Renewal blog, I just leave it to God and go straight to bed.

I’m still working on getting enough sleep. That can be a challenge when you are a wife and a mother. The most sleep I get is four hours each night, and sometimes, I sleep on the train on the way to work. Getting home at 6 p.m. and getting up at 3 a.m. is not easy, and I do not get enough sleep. But, this is my next challenge as a “superwoman” with God at her side.

What are you doing to balance your life?