06 Sep 2012 KevinMills

My Pet: God

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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

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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?

06 Sep 2012 TimothyNargi

The C.S. Lewis Experience

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At the end of June, I visited Oxford, England as part of Regent’s C.S. Lewis class. The class consisted of reading his most famous works for the first few weeks, then the class convened in Oxford for a week. While there, I saw and experienced the places where Lewis lived, ate and worshiped. It was an amazing experience, spiritually and intellectually, the way Lewis would have liked it.

The week-long course consisted of lectures on Lewis’s life, philosophy and theology. There were also lectures on Tolkien and the Inklings as well. We met Michael Ward, author of Planet Narnia, which seeks to explain why The Chronicles of Narnia seems to be inconsistent, but in fact, it actually is not. We ate at practically every pub that Lewis and the Inklings ate at, one time even walking 3 miles through cow pastures to get to a pub.

We visited Oxford campuses where Lewis taught, walked and eventually converted to Christianity. Many of these places were also locations for the Harry Potter films.

We took a trip to Lewis’s home at the Kilns, learning about his home life. There was a wall in one of the rooms that was an ugly yellow from the nicotine of his pipe he smoked every day. Behind his home was a beautiful lake that some say is the spitting image of Narnia. If you saw it, you would agree.

It is very hard to express what I saw and how it impacted my life, but hopefully this quick overview and these images will help give a tiny glimpse of this trip, so that one day maybe you too can experience the wonder of Lewis and Oxford, in person.

06 Sep 2012 RyanJohnson

In-N-Out, Greasy Guilt and Chuck Colson

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I was about halfway through a delicious burger from In-N-Out when it hit me. In addition to a greasy burger and fries, I was being served a big side of guilt. I was on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, eating a late lunch at 3PM, frustrated that my schedule was pushing my lunch back so late.

I had been photographing work done by a group of college students on Skid Row, a chronically poor section of downtown Los Angeles. Skid Row contains one of the largest stable homeless populations in the country. In the span of only a few blocks, 2,000 people of L.A.’s 80,000 homeless population spend the night on the street (L.A. Downtown News, 2011). I had been tagging along, documenting the students’ interaction with the homeless as they served food. Not that I minded much, but my own lunch was pushed back as the students prepared food for a group of young moms who arrived late.

As stroller-pushing moms filled up the mission’s tiny cafeteria, I watched hungry families devour hot trays of food. Students played with the more energetic children, holding crying infants while chasing trouble-making toddlers, giving the moms a few minutes of peace. It was fun to see Christ’s love shared in this way, over a tray of hot food and a screaming infant. Those moments soon ended though as the moms and their children filed back out onto Skid Row. It was time for the group of students and me to get lunch, so we piled in a large white van and sped off for an In-N-Out burger on Hollywood Boulevard.

Within minutes, we were waiting in a large line at In-N-Out. We were surrounded by clean, hip, iPhone checking fellow fast-food goers. We carefully studied the simple menu, deciding on what greasy delight we wanted. It was ironic that only five minutes before, we were in an area of L.A. where people live hungry all the time, struggling to get a full meal even once a day. Here I was, grumpy we were eating at 3PM, but excited to eat my second full meal of the day. That’s when the greasy guilt hit hard, in the middle of a large bite.

There’s nothing wrong with In-N-Out, but in that moment, it hit me: the complacency I felt for the closeness of these two worlds. I had separated them in my heart. I had built a fortress. To put it simply, I felt guilt.

In the Christian Foundations of Government course, a required class in the Robertson School of Government, we were taught about Christianity as a worldview, as presented by Chuck Colson in his book How Now Shall We Live? We were exposed to ideas regarding post-modernism, the effect on Judeo-Christianity, and the need to live out faith in action as a result of a comprehensive, Christian worldview. Colson’s writings and my professor’s lessons leapt into my head, sitting in that crowded In-N-Out.

“We must be men and women who will dare to wrest Christianity free from its fortress mentality, its sanctuary stronghold, and establish it once again as the great life system and cultural force that acknowledges the Creator as sovereign over all” (Colson, 36).

Chuck Colson, a course at Regent University, and a greasy burger from In-N-Out broke down the fortress mentality I had been carrying around all day. As we went back out into the hurting communities of L.A., I found my fortress had crumbled, and I was grateful for it. Here’s to hoping it stays in ruins.

06 Sep 2012 TonyaJohnson

New Beginnings

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Regent University LibraryWelcome fellow students and co-laborers in God’s great kingdom!

What is life like for this new blogger? Aside from being a disciple of the Lord, daughter, sibling, aunt, godmother and student, I am a wife, mother of three sons, grandmother of six and very blessed to have God in my life, many wonderful family members and dear friends, especially those like you. To say the least, trying to wear all of these hats keeps me quite busy.

What I like to do when I can finally convince myself that it’s okay to take a breather and not be such a work horse is what many of us like to do: let our hair down long enough to really sing and dance when nobody’s watching, pop in Zumba or some other fitness tape, go to the gym and work out, barbeque, write stories, try a new recipe, work on a cookbook, kick back and read a good novel, study science, explore anatomy models and diagrams, put something new together, take a stroll, go to the park or the beach, which is one of my favorite places to visit, call someone we haven’t talked to in a while, change a piece of furniture around, watch shows like “Law and Order,” “Cold Case,” “Seinfeld,” “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “The Price Is Right.” Well, enough about hobbies.

Just as some might say “you have to crawl before you can walk, walk before you can run” and “practice, practice and practice some more before you can make any substantial improvement,” as a first time blogger, I will take one step at a time while trying not to “put the cart before the horse.”

In this blog as well as in upcoming ones, I will highlight some of the experiences and teachings here at RU and how it impacts school, work, home, church and community life.

Isn’t it interesting how God sometimes sets up challenging opportunities to help us stretch and cause us to grow? That’s exactly how my RU journey began. After working in the New York City school system for fifteen years, pursuing graduate studies for a year in childhood education, and attempting to follow an entirely different career path that included working as a case manager for adults diagnosed with mental illnesses; serving  adults who were diagnosed with emotional and physical challenges as a direct care professional and job coach (which are just fancy words for showing love toward others by caring for their daily needs and empowering them to function better in society and throughout their lives); I was later challenged to resign to home school my granddaughter whose parents were deployed overseas in Iraq. In the process, my love for God, His people and for teaching was further strengthened and I was led to Regent University.

If I could sum up my experience here at Regent in three words, it would be “sincere unconditional love.” It is this type of agape love which emanates right out of the heart and mind of God and into the minds, hearts and lives of every person that I’ve come in contact with here, throughout my distance learning experience and visit to the campus. Expressing God’s love, positively influencing the world for Jesus Christ, and equipping others are the central themes taught and displayed in every class. From the moment I was led to this university, I wanted to be a part of it. God gave me favor and answered my prayers. RU is a special place where God resides. I’m sure that you feel the same way I do when I say that the more time I spend here at Regent, my life is forever being transformed. I am happier than I’ve ever been and becoming a more loving and kinder person and strive to share love with not only my RU family but those around me. God’s Word teaches us in 1 John 4:8 that “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” As a body, we are one. It doesn’t matter where we’ve been, where we come from, what we look like or where we’re going; together we are family, we are united and we carry the love of God with us.

Be blessed dear hearts.

22 Aug 2012 JennaEdwards

Shine His Light

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“Let all that you do be done in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

Regent University joy

I recently watched a video on John Piper’s website. The video is called “Why We Got Married,” and it tells the story of two people named Ian and Larissa. Ian and Larissa met in 2005 and dated for almost an entire year before considering marriage. “Ian and I had planned to get married as soon as we graduated from college in December of 2006. But instead, everything was halted with his brain injury, which he received on September 30 of that year in a car accident” (Larissa Murphy, May 2012). There are times when we go through trials and tribulations and it looks so easy to quit. Larissa and Ian chose the opposite. Marrying someone with a brain injury made Larissa sign onto things she never would have chosen for herself, such as working all her life and having a husband who can’t be left alone (Larissa, 2012). The simple fact was that they loved each other. Does a brain injury cancel out love? Do our circumstances affect the love we share and receive? The simple answer is no, it does not. Paul said, “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 ESV). In the name of our Lord, Ian and Larissa made a covenant not only to each other, but to God. While other couples in their twenties are going on road trips and dancing with their significant others, Ian and Larissa are sitting back watching it all, not able to take part. What is so incredibly amazing about this? They aren’t alone. They have never been alone. They will never be alone. Jesus has been right next to them, holding their hands and comforting their hearts.

“We know that we have made a covenant to each other, just as Christ made to the church. The church that He made that covenant with is so imperfect, and sorrowful, and disabled. Just like our marriage. This church, and this marriage, are hemmed in by Jesus and eagerly long for heaven. He is their author and sustainer” (Larissa, 2012)

I hope this video blesses you as much as it has blessed me. I see Jesus in this video. His love is pouring out of these two beautiful souls and God is truly using this couple to work in the lives of others. This video reminds me a lot of Regent University. Love pours out of Regent. When I step on campus, I feel the Holy Spirit all around. We are blessed, friends. We are so truly blessed.

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.