Posts By Sereta Collington

22 Aug 2013 SeretaCollington

They Are Watching

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Regent Univeristy - ComputerTechnology has allowed employers to monitor the actions of their employees in almost all work settings. Funny thing is, even though employees are aware that they are being watched, they sometimes forget and get caught in an act that leads them to lose their jobs.

This same concept is applied to our Christian lives. Jesus said we are the “light of the world” in Matthew 5:14. When we accept Christ in our lives, we immediately become the bodies that He can use and the voices through whom He can speak. He needs us to realize that we are the only visual representations of Him in this world. People around us in church or temple settings start watching us even more closely than before. There are several things I think we have to do when we become the “light of the world:”

1 Create a visual reminder that you are being watched by everyone.

2 Start each day with God and ask Him to monitor your reactions throughout the day.

3  Surrender your words to the authority of Jesus Christ, so that He can help you to think before you speak.

4 Don’t live to please people; live to please God, so that your actions match His standards.

These are not foolproof methods, but they are ways to get started. Like the employees who sometimes forget that their actions are being monitored, sometimes we forget that we are being watched. So, we must ask God to assist us through the power of the Holy Spirit. No one is perfect, but trying for perfection through God’s words can bring you very close.

14 Jun 2013 SeretaCollington

The Benefits of Praying for Our Country

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Regent University - prayWhen God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, it was because of the wickedness of the people in the country. It was not because of one person or because of the government; it was because of the actions of those living within the country. Our own actions, even if they are small, can have vast effects on our country. I believe that praying for our country is the greatest action that we can take. Regardless of where you are living, if you believe in God, then your prayers should also be for your country.

The benefits of praying for our country are tremendous. Prayers for our country can: Read more

28 May 2013 SeretaCollington

Academic vs. Spiritual

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Regent University - chapelOne of the biggest challenges that any seminary student faces is balancing the academic and the spiritual. When we are learning about God’s Word and the history and the foundation in which the Word was developed, we can easily forget the spiritual. One of my most difficult classes at Regent University was Hermeneutics; I never really thought that what philosophy believes is important to the way in which I interpret the Bible. Yet later in the class, I realized that we are just using the opinion of highly regarded historians to help with the interpretation of the Bible, but we are also using the Holy Spirit. How can we know the difference? How can we balance the two? For me, I have learned to:

  1. Trust the Holy Spirit first by praying before I study anything!
  2. Ask myself why I am studying the material; this way I do not put the academic emphasis in the wrong place.
  3. Continue to pray and ask God for wisdom and understanding throughout my studies.
  4. Know what I believe in and stick to it.
  5. Remind myself that this is not about me, it is about God. I am learning how to use different resources to do what He has called me to do.

I pray that anyone who is going through seminary remember that God is the ultimate wisdom and understanding that we need. In addition, our Bible is the only book we can know about God; textbooks are just additional resources that should never replace your Bible. As I continue to learn to balance the academic and the spiritual in seminary, I can only trust God and His words. Yet, I still want to be able to trust Him in textbooks too.

I have realized that, though textbooks are crucial to our learning, we do not have to agree with everything the books say. If there is something against our belief or something that seem farfetched, then we must examine what we are reading. God did not inspire every author, and not every textbook is error free. Ultimately, it all comes down to trusting God, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us, and reading each book critically.

 

25 Mar 2013 SeretaCollington

The Blessing of a Guilty Conscience

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Regent University - campusAt the beginning of the year, I decided to do things differently and to be a better person than I was the year before. My pastor’s theme for our church is “Greater than….,” a nice theme that opens our eyes to the fact that with the power of God, we can do great things.

One thing I’m learning is to appreciate my guilty conscience. When I do or say something wrong, that still, small voice is letting me know what I did or said that was wrong. When I hear this voice, I immediately feel guilty and say a quick prayer or apologize to a person I may have offended. I believe that this still voice is necessary for us to be better than ever because without that still, small voice: Read more

25 Feb 2013 SeretaCollington

The Power of Positive Thinking

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Regent University - beach

I know the phrase “power of positive thinking” is a cliché, like one of those self-help seminar slogans, but when we renew our mind in Christ we need to harness the power of positive thinking. This is not an easy task. The enemy preys where he knows we are the weakest.  Our mind and heart are our weakest links. If we can harness the power of positive thinking into every situation by allowing the Holy Spirit to be our guide, our lives can change, tremendously. With the Holy Spirit as our Guide, we can change in a permanent manner.

The secret weapon is practice. Practice can become perfect when we ask the Holy Spirit to assist us.  With God’s help, I have started taking the steps to positive thinking on a daily basis: Read more

02 Nov 2012 SeretaCollington

Is the Seminary a Good Investment?

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When I received my call from God to preach, I did not receive any instructions that I had to go to seminary. I grew up in a country where preachers were just using their Bibles and depending on the Holy Spirit to preach. So, why then are there so many requirements for us to receive a degree from a seminary so that we can become a preacher? Well, for one, the lessons we learned in seminary will last for a lifetime. I do not believe that we need a piece of paper to say that we can preach, but I do believe that the journey to receive that paper is worth it.

Regent University - TeachingIn America today, education costs are higher than ever. This can limit the number of candidates who attend seminary. Many years ago, I told myself that I would not go to seminary because it would only bring “unnecessary” knowledge. However, one of the requirements of my church is to be a seminary graduate, so I did not have any choice. For me, the pros of going to seminary really outdo the cons, and here is why:

1. Seminary opens our eyes to the history of God’s Word and not just to our own interpretations.
2. Seminary teaches us how to appreciate many different interpretations.
3. We get to meet new classmates who share the same life purposes and meanings and who, eventually, become lifetime friends.
4. Learning about God’s Word is important; doing it on our own can be more difficult.
5. Seminary teaches us things that we need to have a successful church in this generation.

The results of going to seminary always outshine the reasons not to go. Though other degrees can be just about work or career, a seminary degree is about our lives. Serving God through preaching is a life calling, and we can use seminary to better that calling and to give us the credentials that society requests. Very few congregations will listen to a pastor who does not possess a degree; this is because today’s generation believes that degrees prove our worth. We can never prove our worth with a seminary degree because the Spirit of God does all the work for us when we preach. Nevertheless, we can prove our commitment to God’s work when we take the time to attend a degree program to learn more about our Biblical history.

06 Sep 2012 SeretaCollington

Superwomen in the Seminary

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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?

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?