14 Things Not to Do this Valentine’s Day

Sarah Ball Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Leadership, Personal Development 1 Comment

I love Valentine’s Day, and I really love LOVE. But there are some things that even I find too cliché for Valentine’s Day. Here is what NOT to do this year.


1. Don’t Complain that You’re Single


Relax. You’re single? So what. Please do not go around posting all over Instagram that you’re celebrating “Single’s Awareness Day,” and that you’re “forever alone.” You my friend, are not alone, but joined by millions of others in the world who lack a S.O. on VDay.


2. Don’t Brag About Your Relationship



I do not need to be reminded that you are in a happy, committed relationship on February 14th when you’re consistently Instagramming your relationship daily. Instead of posting about how thankful you are for your S.O, how about you go tell them face-to-face.


3. Don’t Eat an Entire Box of Chocolate in One Sitting



First, chocolate is way overpriced this time of year, so wait for the sales. Second, no one wants that post-dairy bloat after eating all of the milk chocolate in the world from emotional eating on Valentine’s Day.


4. Don’t Buy Your S.O a Useless Gift


Okay yes, giant teddy bears are cute on February 14th, however they get insanely creepy after the season is over. Don’t buy your S.O a gift that will be sitting around taking up (very limited) space in his or her home. No one wants heart-shaped decor all over their space.


5. Don’t Be Cheap


I’m all for saving money, shopping on sale, and looking for deals but please do not brag to your S.O about how CHEAP you got his or her gift because of a coupon you used.


6. Don’t Watch the Notebook



Watching The Notebook on February 14th is the biggest cliche of all clichés, not to mention all of the false expectations of what a real and healthy relationship looks like.


7.  Don’t Take an Unrealistic Couple Photo


I just have so many questions when it comes to couples photos. Like who is there? Who is the third wheel, watching this happen, and not only watching but taking pictures? I will never understand.


8. Don’t Go Out to a Fancy Dinner



Go out to dinner on February 13th or February 15th, because February 14th is crowded and most of the time booked. Good luck getting a reservation, because most people book weeks in advance.  Unless you go to Taco Bell.


9. Don’t Spend an Obscene Amount of Money on Roses



Florists love Valentine’s Day because of the demand for flowers, specifically roses, which can easily add up to $100+ for a solid bouquet. You can find so many other options for a beautiful bouquet of flowers where you won’t break the bank.


10. Don’t Expect a Proposal



It’s easy to have high exceptions on Valentine’s Day, but please do not expect a proposal from your S.O (I hope he wouldn’t propose on  VDay because again, cliché). Enjoy your time with each other and throw expectations out the window so you won’t be disappointed and can enjoy the evening.


11. Don’t Celebrate Solo



Even if you’re single, you shouldn’t be alone on Valentine’s Day. Grab a group of friends and go bowling, celebrate “Galentine’s Day” Leslie Knope style, or have a movie marathon with your close group of friends. Don’t wallow in self-pity for not having a date, but go out and have a great time.


12. Don’t Be Glued to Your Phone


Enjoy the person/people you’re with. Don’t be checking social media every five minutes. You can scroll through your feed at the end of the night. Be in the moment, take a few pictures, and enjoy whatever plans you have.


13. Don’t Stalk Your Ex



Please, please, please do not stalk your ex on facebook to see what he or she may be up to today. It’s creepy, it’s unhealthy, and you’re preventing yourself from enjoying your time with friends.


14. Don’t Dwell on the Past



Sometimes we can dwell on past relationships especially on the international day of “love.” Don’t dwell on the past because you’re not able to change anything, but focus on being in the moment and look forward to the future.

About the Author

Sarah Ball

Sarah Ball graduated from Elim Bible Institute and College with a degree in Theological and Biblical Studies with a focus in ministry. It was at Elim where Sarah knew she had a passion for ministry and college students through the exposure of BASIC. In June of 2017 Sarah joined on staff with BASIC along with her husband, Elijah.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Anna Marie Magyar Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” -Pastor Peter Haas

Genesis chapter one is known as the creation story. For 31 verses, the Master Artist carefully designs every little detail from the veins in the leaves, to the color of the birds’ wings, to the movement of the sea. Each thing the Creator forms He saw that it “was very good” (Genesis 1:31, ESV).

In Genesis 2, the Artist grabs His cold brew, preparing to truly show off with His most fascinating production yet. In one breath, He wows all of creation with the formation of man. Again, we witness another good design.

It’s in verse 18 that the Lord speaks what we have not heard Him say as of yet, “It is not good…” What, we ask, in all that You have created cannot be good? He continues “…that man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18, ESV).

When man first steps on the scene of the creation story, God demonstrates the need for him to have someone by his side — a helper. Other words for helper include: backup, right-hand man/woman, and friend. God did not just provide Adam with any random person to keep him company. Rather, He created Eve, a “helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:20b, ESV).

We cannot read Genesis 2 and walk away thinking that God does not care about who we surround ourselves with, or ignore the importance in having the right people in our inner circle. Jesus modeled this for us very well. Although He spent time and built relationships with 12 disciples, it was Peter, James and John that Jesus chose to include within His inner circle. It was these three who witnessed the miracle of raising Jairus’ Daughter (Mark 5:37). It was to only these men that Jesus revealed the fullness of His identity to (Mark 9:2-7); and when Jesus was overcome with the distress of His upcoming arrest and the cross, it was these three Jesus chose to be fully vulnerable with (Mark 14:33 & 34).

If Jesus used wisdom, caution, and intentionality with whom He chose to share His heart, glory, and deepest emotions with, then why should we take our friendships any less seriously? How often do we consider the importance and value in the individuals we are spending the most time with, and being the most vulnerable with? How frequently do we assess our own responsibility as a friend to others?

The Bible is so very clear about the impact of who we surround ourselves with:

  • Paul shares, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV).  
  • Proverbs 22:24-25 explains, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person… or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared” (NIV).
  • Proverbs 13:20 advises, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (NIV).
  • When demonstrating the value of a good friend, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (NIV).
  • Lastly, Proverbs 12:26 explains “The righteous choose their friends carefully” (NIV).

The scriptures supporting the value of a good friend, and caution when choosing who you surround yourself with far surpasses the list I have included above. There is then no question that God sees great value in friendships and their quality.

I encourage you to seek God in this–to ask Him who should be in your inner circle, and to advise you on being a friend who “sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24, NIV). As He did with Adam, God can provide you with the helpers (friends) you need in this season, and grow you into the person those around you need alongside them. I have found such life in the close friendships I have, and I am confident God can provide that for you as well.

For more information on the value of friendships, and how to choose right relationships, see the links below to two of Peter Haas’ blogs on the topic. 



About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar


Wife. Cat mom. Lover of Jesus, coffee, and all things Disney. I was a student leader in my BASIC group at the College of St. Rose and have continued to help with the group as a co-adviser.

Engaging Your Campus-Interactive Tabling

Sam DiStefano Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

Sometimes we all need a little help when it comes to the area of creativity, especially when trying to think of how to interact with students on campus. With a new semester under way, tabling is a great way to engage with new and returning students. Some schools even host a student activities fair which is a perfect opportunity to REPRESENT. I wrote a blog just a few months ago on how to make tabling a regular part of what you do as a club (read it here).

This week I want to share with you a super creative idea that Long Island University used at their student fair this past week. Advisor Selina Oquendo reported that not only did they get a bunch of new sign ups, their table was the MOST popular table at the whole fair! Leverage your opportunities and watch how God uses you to reach people on your campus. This idea takes minimal effort but makes BIG impact.

Games are always a great way to draw people to your table. We have written and talked about other interactive games (watch it here) but this one uses Jenga! The first step is to buy a Jenga game and use different colored markers to write questions on each block. As a group you can decide what kind of questions you want to ask. It’s usually good to have a mix of personal, silly, and spiritual. If you want to make it a little more interesting, you can also add “dares” on some blocks (i.e high five a stranger, do 5 push ups, sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) Here are a few sample questions:

-What is your favorite color?

-Describe your mom or dad

-What are you good at?

-What is your favorite song?

-What is one thing you love about yourself?

-What do you think about God?

-What is your favorite holiday? Why?

-Who is someone special in your life? Why?

-Who do you consider role models in your life?

-What is your experience with church?

-If you could go on a trip anywhere, where would you go? Who would you take?

-What are some good habits you have?

-What do you think happens after you die?

-What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

-What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

-What does love mean to you?

-Describe yourself in three words.

The purpose of this outreach is to get conversations started and make real connections with students. Make sure you have volunteers at the table who are ready and willing to listen and engage. I’d also like to remind you to not forget the reason for playing these kind of games! You want people to learn about your club and join it! It is important to have a sign up sheet for students who are interested in learning more. Think through next steps and how you are going to follow up with the people who signed up and that you met.

At LIU, they played that people could pull and answer as many blocks as they would like. If they knocked over the tower, they would have to do a “dare”. Their sponsoring church was able to support this outreach by buying $200 worth of $5 Starbucks gift cards that they can hand out to people who participated. Make this idea your own by thinking through what you could add or give away that would work for your campus! Hope this encourages and inspires you to get creative and reach your school!

About the Author

Sam DiStefano


Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Escaping the Holy Huddle

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

For those of you who don’t know, the term Holy Huddle is defined as, “the tendency for Christians to surround themselves with other believers. It occurs when believers isolate themselves from non-Christians, developing relationships only with other believers. They end up having very few deep friendships (if any) with unbelievers.”

Houston, we have a problem.

Getting saved in college ministry, going to Bible school and then coming on staff with a Christian ministry, I get it. Without even realizing it, I can fill my days with tons of “good, Christian” activity but never once step out to engage with someone who isn’t in the family of God. It starts off well meaning. We meet for small group here, a prayer meeting there, and next thing we know our calendar is filled with activity that does nothing good for anyone other then ourselves.

In campus ministry, we must guard against this toxic mindset that operates in exact opposition to the heart of Christ. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and he calls His followers to do the same. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

-How do I spend most of my time?

-Who do I spend most of my time with?

-When was the last time I talked about Jesus with someone who didn’t believe?

-How often do I make an effort to make relationships with people who don’t know God?

Now hear me out. Community amongst other believers IS important and fruitful and necessary for the maturing believer. Meeting with others to be encouraged, refreshed and challenged is important. But a weekly BASIC meeting, a bible study and an occasional worship night was never meant to be the epitome of your christian experience.

You were saved to save. Forgiven to forgive. Loved to love. You are the light of the world. The living breathing testimony that God is real and His love is powerful. Everything that we have been given was always meant to be given away.

God has placed you perfectly into a certain context. Whether it’s in your lab, in your residence hall, with the student government, or the school dance team, God has placed you amongst people who don’t know Him yet. Believe it or not, His plan to save them is YOU.

In Romans 10:13-15 Paul shares this sentiment:

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Here is the truth. The way someone far from God draws close to Him, is if someone close to God goes far to reach them. The people on our campuses and in our life aren’t going to ever hear about Jesus if we don’t have the boldness to leave our comfort zone to tell them!

Here is my challenge to you friend. What can you do to intentionally love the people in your context? What friendships can you pour into, what groups can you spend time with, what habits can you set up, so that you are regularly seeking out and loving on the lost?  What would it look like to reshape and prioritize your life to spend MORE time with those that don’t know Him yet and LESS time with those who do? What would it look like to make sacrifices to make sure you were around the people that need the gospel the most? Escape the holy huddle and start living like the light that you are!


About the Author

Sam DiStefano


Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Fresh Eyes

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Sara Meier.

Hi, friends! My name is Sara. I spent five years as a member, servant, and leader of The College of Saint Rose BASIC group (Shout out to my #StroseBASIC babes!) and it completely changed my life. Now, I’m a newlywed and a post-grad speech-language pathologist in an elementary school setting for students who are deaf. I love coffee, all things Disney, flowers, lipstick, crepes and macarons, and of course, college ministry. I’m potentially one of the girliest girls you’ll ever meet, but at the same time I’m constantly seeking adventure. I mean – my husband and I spent a portion of our honeymoon zip lining through the rainforest and traipsing through an active volcano. Since we got married, we’ve experienced a lot of change and transition in both jobs and location, and most recently moved back to my hometown.

When you get used to a place, it’s easy to become complacent and lose grip of the vision you once had not only for the area as a whole, but the people too. Maybe this resonates with you as you think about your hometown, your college campus, or even your BASIC group.

While there are definite benefits to moving back to my hometown (like being close to my family again), I worried that I would become complacent and begin to feel stuck. Like I said, I’m an adventurer at heart, and I was concerned that my familiarity with the area and the people would cloud my vision and block my ability to serve the kingdom of God the way He has called me to. Do you ever feel like this on your college campus? Maybe you’re stuck in a routine and bored with the day-to-day of simply going to class, seeing the same faces, doing your homework, and repeating it all the next morning.

I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other. So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth! Revelation 3:15-16

The last thing I ever want to be is lukewarm. The weekend right before we moved, I was driving through town and “Fresh Eyes” by Andy Grammer began playing on the radio. How many people know that God can speak to you through literally anything – including a semi-secular song? He’ll do whatever He can to get through to us, and I am thankful for that. This song is essentially about finding new ways to appreciate your spouse in order to continue looking at him or her with fresh eyes, but as I listened to the song, I began interpreting it in a new way. As I drove through the area I once called home and soon would again, God began speaking to me about looking at this little city with fresh eyes, and I began praying and pleading for a new vision. Boredom produces complacency (lukewarmness) and prevents vision; but fervently attending to (in other words, praying for) your passion protects it.

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2

Jesus has called each one of us to a life greater than we can imagine. Live your life worthy of that call, not distracted by what isn’t happening or where you’d rather be, but fully planted in the hope of Christ: for your life, for your friends, for your campus, and for the area you have been called to live and prosper in.

If you’re feeling complacent and in search of how to gain some fresh eyes, here are three points that have personally helped me begin to conquer any obstructions to my vision:

Change your attitude

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s SO important to have an attitude of gratitude, and sometimes when life gets busy or stressful it’s hard to maintain a positive attitude if you’re not intentional about it. Maybe you have a big exam coming up, your parents have recently gotten divorced, you are struggling to find where you fit in on campus, or you’re not getting along particularly well with one of your professors. These things tend to place a lens of negativity over the way we look at the rest of the world. But let me tell you something, friends – even on the worst day, we still have the greatest God!

One thing that I find really helpful when I’m trying to change my attitude is to keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, I like to write down at least one thing that I’m thankful for. You’d be surprised how uplifting it can be when you look for something positive in each day, even though some days you might have to look a little harder.

If you really want to challenge yourself, try to choose at least one thing that you’re grateful for about your campus (or any other situation that’s blurring your vision). For me, one of the greatest obstacles to my vision is the familiarity and complacency of the area I’m in, so one thing I’m thankful for is the new businesses that are popping up around the area that are ran by local Christians – one of which I am actually writing this blog in (Shout out to Character Coffee)!

Have the courage to turn away from everything that doesn’t feed your soul

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Hebrews 10:23

One of my favorite worship songs is “Take Courage” by Kristine DiMarco. The verse that says, “Sing praise my soul, find strength in joy, let His words lead you on. Do not forget His great faithfulness. He’ll finish all He’s begun” is spot on. Your thoughts shape your vision, friends.

If you are hanging around people with a lack of motivation or vision for your campus, it’s going to rub off on you. Try chatting with people who make you see the world differently, brighter, because you see what you choose to see. This actually ties back to the first point about choosing gratitude because your perspective is paving the way for your future experiences. If you have an ungrateful heart, and spend your time thinking negatively about your campus, you’re not going to be able to share God’s great vision; but if you alter your focus and persistently pursue the purpose God has given you on your campus, you’re going to explode with vision and the dreams you pray to see will come to pass.

Create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18

Do you have a desire to see your BASIC group grow? Do you want to reach those students who don’t yet know Jesus? So does God. Give Him control of your vision, and He’ll provide you with the excited ambition to recharge and fuel your vision that you and I are so desperately in search of. You might be thinking, “Girl, it’s way easier said than done.” I know, but the word of God has a way of changing things that you have no idea where to even begin to start with. It helps you look forward with hope as opposed to backwards with regret. Make it a regular part of your life, and you’ll be on your way to chasing your vision out the door in the morning because of pure excitement and exhilaration for the things of God. It may not come easy, but it sure stays worth it.

I pray that your 2018 is filled with happiness and sunshine, but even deeper than that, I pray that it’s filled with fresh eyes because of a passion driven purpose. Thank you Jesus for imparting your boldness, your grace and your vision into the hearts of every college student that desires to serve you. I ask you to remove all blindfolds of complacency and replace them with fresh eyes and dreams beyond their wildest dreams. In Jesus’ mighty and loving name… Amen!

Cheers to intentionally seeking fresh eyes together in 2018!


About the Author

Sam DiStefano


Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Four Ways to Rock Your Semester

Sarah Ball Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 0 Comments

It’s 2018, a new year and a new semester. It’s time to put our resolutions to the test (and maybe not completely fail this year). But with the new semester upon us (or already starting) I wanted to give you FOUR WAYS to rock your spring semester. Let’s be PRODUCTIVE. 

Your Planning Needs

Your life is busy, you have assignments due for school or work, projects, and lists upon lists of things to do. Do yourself a favor and GET A PLANNER. Planners are a great way to schedule assignments, plan out projects, write “To Do” lists for each day, and even plan for vacations and school breaks.

*Helpful Tip: Use different colored markers/pens/pencils for different classes/assignments/projects to create clarity within your planner.

Planners have come a long way since we were in middle school and your teacher would give you a free planner you would be required to fill out.

There is a great selection of all different types of planners at Target.

If you’re looking for a planner to help with productivity AND help you set future goals, I suggest the Heavenly Planner by Horacio Printing (Bonus: 10% of what you pay goes to support A21 and rescue women from human-trafficking).

There are also some great apps out there if you’re not a paper person. (Just search “planner” in the app store and you can pick one that suits you and your planning needs).

This planner thing only works if you are intentional in using it. Schedule a time during the week (preferably in the beginning, like on a Sunday evening) and schedule out your whole week and what it will look like. Create time blocks for how long you plan on spending time working on an assignment or project.  This will help you know how full each day of the week is going to be, prioritize the important things, and increase your productivity. And with it all written down you’ll never lose it or forget!

Now you won’t have any excuse to hand in an assignment late to your professor.

Check it Off

I don’t know about you, but I love crossing things off of a list. There is so much satisfaction in crossing off a task that you have completed. This brings me to my next tip: create a to-do list.

I mentioned this about with talking about planners; however, I don’t think a to do list in your planner is enough to keep you on track of assignment and project progress. I highly suggest finding a task management system that works for you.

Some people prefer paper, and if you are going to look at your planner every single day and have it consistently in front of you, go for it. That’s the perfect place for your to-do list. If you’re not that kind of person, here are some suggestions.

Two task management systems that I personally love are Asana and Wunderlist. Both of these systems are online, and are able to be accessed by your computer, smartphone, or tablet. This makes it super simple to access your to-do list, anytime or anywhere. The other plus of having an online task management system is that you can organize them by project, assignment, and due date and set up reminders to finish your tasks before the due date. So even if you forget to check your list, you’ll get reminders sent to you through email and the app.

All Those Notes

One thing I remember about college is ALL THE NOTES. I remember trying to manually organize them in different folders on my computers which ultimately took up time that I could have been working on a paper to write, or an assignment I had due. It wasn’t until my senior year at Elim where I discovered apps like Evernote and OneNote.

Evernote can be accessed by both Mac and PC, where OneNote is more compatible with PC, but I was able to download it to my Mac through the App Store. I really like how these apps are organized because you can have different notebooks for different classes, and organize your notes by topic, unit, or basically whatever works for you, but it is all in one place – no more fishing around on my computer for documents!

I highly suggest looking into this if you are a computer note-taker. And if you’re a handwritten note-taker, more power to you (I just can’t write as fast as people talk).

Let’s Talk About Emails

Personally, I feel that your inbox is very important for you to feel like you have your life together. When I have more than 20 emails, I feel as though my life is spinning out of control until I delete all of them.

I know some emails are important to keep, BUT DO NOT KEEP THEM IN YOUR INBOX. I used to keep event reminders in my inbox thinking I could look back and see all the information if needed. But you know what? I never did. I let it just sit in my inbox until 2 months went by and then I finally deleted it because the event had already passed.

What to do with Emails: 
  • Emails about an event, an important date coming up, etc: PUT IT IN YOUR PLANNER. That’s what your planner is there for.
  • Emails about assignment details, or anything pertaining to a class: PUT IT IN YOUR PLANNER. It will help you remember when you’re working on that particular assignment. 
  • Emails with personal, important information you need to keep: DOWNLOAD IT. If you save it to your computer, you’ll never lose it. 
  • Emails about questions: RESPOND TO IT ASAP.

This will clear out the clutter of your inbox and make you feel like a more productive person (because you, my friend, are very productive).


Let’s be productive together this semester!

About the Author

Sarah Ball

Sarah Ball graduated from Elim Bible Institute and College with a degree in Theological and Biblical Studies with a focus in ministry. It was at Elim where Sarah knew she had a passion for ministry and college students through the exposure of BASIC. In June of 2017 Sarah joined on staff with BASIC along with her husband, Elijah.

Seek First

Anna Marie Magyar Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 0 Comments

Welcome 2018!

The start of a new year can be filled with such excitement and anticipation for all that is to come. We make plans to improve our lives or to step outside our comfort zones, so that this year can be the best one yet. However, this time of year can also be filled with post-holiday lulls or stress, and anxiety over many things the new year brings to mind.

In Mathew 6:33, Jesus states:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

I am not known for my patience. When I am passionate about something, my mind begins to run with ideas, plans, and other thoughts for the future. If I see someone in need, everything in my being begins to adjust and determine the best ways to help them. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but it’s the first, and most important step that I can often miss fully pursuing: seeking Him first.

Jesus says this verse above in the midst of encouraging listeners not to be anxious about their lives or meeting their individual needs (Matthew 6:25). Jesus beautifully puts things into perspective as He shares God’s faithfulness to clothe the grass of the fields, the lilies with beauty, and to provide food for the birds of the air. The Message translation says that the birds are “carelessly in the care of God” (Mathew 6:25-26).

Jesus then lovingly asks “Are you not more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26, NKJV). God cares for the lilies and the birds, how much more will He provide for His chosen people, His children!

As you look ahead to the New Year, what things come to mind that may cause worry or anxiety? The start of a new semester? Fear of failing the same resolution we had in 2017, but saw little success with? Meeting a financial need, or seeing healing for a loved one? The list is unending and varies for each person, but the solution, our starting place, is always the same: seek first.

Jesus goes on to state what may seem obvious, but is something I believe we all need to clearly hear and to be reminded of: “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:32, NKJV). No need of ours comes as a shock to our faithful Father, in fact He sees them all before they arrive at our doorstep, and He has already prepared the means to fulfill this need for us.

Our role is not to stress over these things, but to start by seeking Jesus first, and His Kingdom. Then, we will see His faithfulness as He brings his peace, love, and provision.

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.” 

Psalm 5:11 NKJV

About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar


Wife. Cat mom. Lover of Jesus, coffee, and all things Disney. I was a student leader in my BASIC group at the College of St. Rose and have continued to help with the group as a co-adviser.

Don’t Rush, Wait.

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Taylor Plourde.

Hey BASIC! I’m a coffee loving college student who still reads for fun. Originally from Maine, I have moved to go to school in Rochester. I am a student leader at the Roberts Wesleyan College BASIC and will be the social media intern at BASIC in the Spring 2017 semester. My goal in life is to encourage those who are lost, lonely, or feel forgotten. 

In life, we come across seasons of waiting. This can be hard, especially for a leader who is used to blazing the trail ahead. You may fight it at first, I sure did. Instead of submitting to God’s will you may try to start extending your ministry, your career path, your relationships on your own.

Spoiler alert- you can’t do life on your own! You can try, but it is going to be way harder than you could have ever anticipated and it definitely won’t turn out the way you planned. Instead of getting caught up in the here-and-now or trying to keep moving forward, just rest.

I know, “wait” and “rest” are words that don’t exist in our vocabularies anymore, but trust me, they are some of the most important words in your life. If you don’t believe me, just look at the Psalms. A lot of the Psalms praise God, others lament, but a common thread through many of the Psalms is the idea of resting in and relying on God.

Still not convinced? Imagine that you are baking some cookies. You get all the ingredients out and then follow the recipe to make the dough. You add in some chocolate ships and then it’s ready to bake. You scoop them out onto a tray and put them in the oven but instead of setting it to 350 degrees, you set it to 450 degrees, and instead of letting them cook for 15 minutes you take them out after just five minutes. Ridiculous, right? You can’t bake cookies like that; they’ll come out raw on the inside and burnt on the bottoms. So why do we try to live lives like that?

God has a plan, a recipe of sorts, for us to follow. Sometimes we go off book and try to tweak things here and there, and sometimes it works out. Other times we try to rush the process and finish up early, and rarely does that work in our favor. The most apparent solution and the hardest is just to sit back and wait for God’s plan to unfold. Wait for God to finish preparing you and your situation.

Like I said earlier, this is especially hard for leaders who are used to pushing the limits and barreling full speed ahead at a task or challenge. It may even feel like you are giving up when you wait. But it is in those moments where you wait for God to provide that you are building up your ministry.

At the Roberts Wesleyan College BASIC, we reached a point this semester where we were trying to do too much. We had too many events planned and not enough time to adequately prepare for all of them. At first, we pushed on and tried to keep all the events, but then God stepped in and took away some of our resources, so we had to step back and re-evaluate our plans. We were trying to reach out farther than we were prepared to do. We were rushing the process instead of trusting that God will bring us to the next step. So instead of planning more events, we took a step back and focused on what we knew we were meant to be doing: running BASIC meetings and connecting with our peers.

I personally have been receiving a message from God this past semester or so that I need to wait. I’m still not sure what I’m waiting for, but I do know that when my waiting is finished, I will be a better person and a better leader because I leaned on God in my waiting and rested in his shadow (Psalms 91).

So in your season of waiting hold on to this truth: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8: 28 (NASB)


About the Author

Sam DiStefano


Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Choose Joy

Anna Marie Magyar Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

“Jesus is the truth. Only he can give you the peace you crave” -Rich Wilkerson Jr.

Tis’ the season!

I love Christmas, and have been joyful preparing for my favorite day of the year since October (well, August…). There’s something about the rich scent of pine that fills a room, only illuminated by the lights on the tree that makes this season the most magical to me.

I didn’t always feel this way during the holiday season, and at times I still feel the sadness of Christmases past trying to sneak in and steal my joy. Memories of what was and no longer is, disappointments, and past tensions would desire to overtake my thoughts if only I would allow them.

In this moment, I approach an essential fork in the road: give way to the despair or choose joy.

Currently, I sit on a long overdue coffee date with Jesus. On these dates, I go to my favorite local coffee shop, order a delicious latte and a featured scone (it was weird…I wouldn’t recommend it), and journal or open God’s word to see what He would share with me today. It’s often the same process of spending time with God that I do at home, but there’s something so much more romantic to me about going out. Today, I opened to Psalm 37, which has inspired me to share with you the idea of choosing joy.

The first two words of the Psalm open with a clear command “Don’t worry…” (Psalm 37:1a NLT). As I seek how this applies to the choice I must make with the thoughts in my mind, it is clear the Psalmist has made the decision for me: choose joy.

I would never be so foolish as to say that it is so easy to make and stick to this decision. I know all too well the overwhelming, all consuming feeling of negative thoughts and memories determined to take over and control your mind, emotions, and actions. I believe David knew the same as he wrote this Psalm, because he did not stop with “Don’t worry,” but rather continued with applicable truths to winning the battle at hand.

As I read on, I found three major takeaways to help us choose joy when it’s the most difficult to do so:

  • “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 37:7a NLT) 

Oh, friend. If you are anything like me (super type A), then you understand that being still in the midst of turmoil can be so challenging. But, I love the Father’s heart in this command. I imagine God saying to us, as a loving father would, “Hang tight, kiddo. I’ve got this!” He takes the burden off of our shoulders, and takes on all the responsibility. We are only to be still.

  • “Trust in the Lord, and do good;” (Psalm 37:3a NKJV)

In the midst of waiting and trusting on the Lord to act on our behalf, there’s something we should never stop doing: good. In the midst of waiting on God to bring our blessing, we can be a blessing. In the midst of choosing joy for ourselves, we can help bring that joy to others. Ask someone for coffee, write a note of appreciation, or offer to help wrap presents. These are some simple examples of the endless possible ways we can do good while we wait.

  • “Delight yourself also in the Lord…” (Psalm 37:4a NKJV)

The source of our joy is Jesus. He’s the one who knows our inner thoughts, the longing of our hearts, and the pain of our past. He is worthy of all praise! In the car, at church, or getting ready for work, all present opportunities we can take to worship Jesus. He is where our hope comes from, and I believe that as we worship Jesus with total surrender, we cannot help but meet with joy. Verse 7 continues with “…and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

We don’t have to give way to the little, nasty joy thieves. We can call on our God, who is ready and willing to rescue us. We can choose joy!

Note: Check out all of Psalm 37 and Psalm 40 for more encouragement! Have a blessed holiday!


About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar


Wife. Cat mom. Lover of Jesus, coffee, and all things Disney. I was a student leader in my BASIC group at the College of St. Rose and have continued to help with the group as a co-adviser.