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. 

https://www.peterhaas.org/how-to-find-transformational-fellowship/

https://www.peterhaas.org/your-friends-affect-everything-so-choose-them-well/

About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar

Facebook

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

Twitter

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

Facebook

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.

Grow Great Leaders

Sarah Ball Advisors & Student Leaders, BASIC Crew, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

Leaders, what is your goal?

I love the topic of leadership. I listen to countless podcasts, read leadership books, and research leadership blogs consistently because I never want to stop growing as a leader.

One of my favorite leadership podcasts is by Craig Groeschel, the senior pastor of Life.Church. He did a series called, “The Six Types of Leaders,” outlining leadership tendencies, what kind of followers these types of leaders produce, and how to grow.

You can find part II here.

The fifth type of leader was “The Healthy Leader.” The Healthy Leader does leadership right, and produces faithful followers. However, the last type of leader is “The Empowering Leader.”  The Empowering Leader takes healthy leadership a step further and does not produce merely faithful followers, but the empowering leader produces other great leaders.

This is our ultimate goal with leadership, to produce other great leaders. Not to increase our numbers in our ministry groups or church, or even to get the word out about your ministry and become nationally and internationally well-known, but to impart and empower those we were entrusted to lead to become great leaders – even better than what we currently are.

How do we make the transition into empowering leaders?

There are four specific areas that we can focus on in order to grow into becoming empowering leaders.

Mentorship

Mentorship is vital in leadership. Not only should you be seeking out leaders that are ahead of you in life and ministry in order to be poured into, you should actively be seeking out those around you to mentor and invest in.

There is so much value in mentorship for spiritual reasons like encouragement, accountability, and prayer. But there are also more practical reasons for mentoring as well: feedback. When we have someone in our lives, whom we trust, we are able to ask the tough questions and receive the tough answers about who we are as a leader, how our organization is being run, and maybe even the mistakes we are making in ministry.

We tend to think that investing into others needs to be all encouragement with no constructive criticism, but we can still give (and receive) correction lovingly to help those around us (as well as ourselves) improve.

Jesus is a great example of this with Peter. How many times do we see Jesus lovingly correct Peter in his mindsets and ministry? A lot.

Jesus could have seen Peter’s mistakes and prayed for or encouraged him throughout them, but He didn’t! He corrected Peter because He knew that Peter was going to be that rock where His church was going to be built upon. Peter had to grow as a leader to get there, and encouragement and prayer was not solely going to do it. 

Vulnerability

Leaders who are open and honest about leadership mistakes they have made have a sense of vulnerability with those around them. This produces trust and transparency between you and those you lead. This also produces a healthy mindset in leadership that it is okay to fail, and failure is a part of the process.

Failure is inevitable, and dare I say vital. When we discover what fails in our leadership, we are closer to discovering what works. When we fail, we learn, we adjust, and then we try again. We should not hide our failures from our team, but be vulnerable with them.

Example

Leaders who produce other great leaders lead by example. We commonly hear the term, “practice what you preach.” When we lead others by example, we produce authenticity within our organization, church, or ministry.

Words mean nothing nowadays. We see pastors, politicians, and great leaders preaching for what they stand for, and what is “right,” but then receive word in the media that they were caught in an affair, with a drinking problem, or some other controversial scandal.

I’m not saying that people and leaders don’t make mistakes, but I am saying that people look at you as an example, and what they see you do: how you respond to that upset church member, the way you talk about other members of your team with frustration, the way you treat your spouse, and follow that example.

When we lead with integrity and through example, we are producing great leaders who will do the same.

Delegation

Healthy leaders listen to their team, but empowering leaders take listening a step further and begin delegating those ideas and collaborations to their team members. Often in leadership, we think that because we are the leader, we are the ones that have to do it all. This mindset is totally opposite of what empowering leaders do.

Delegating tasks to those on your team produces a confidence in them, as well as a trust that makes a statement. It also begins to foster that leadership gifting in them, fulfilling our goal to produce great leaders. I’ve heard it said that if you think someone on your team can do a task or project at least 60% as well as you can, delegate it to them. It may not be perfect, but the goal is not perfection, it is growth.

You can have control, or you can have growth, but you can’t have both. 

In order to develop great leaders, we have to make mentorship a priority, be vulnerable with our team, lead by example, and delegate to empower those on our teams. I can sum it up this way: If you want to develop great leaders, take the focus off of yourself and place it on those you desire to impart to.

This is our goal.

Jesus is our example.

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.

Do Not Fear Change

Ryan Raflowski Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

Has there ever been a time when you were driving down the road to get to a destination only to be stopped by the unexpected? Whether it be construction, an accident, or maybe something blocking the road it can have an effect on your day. You might have to wait because you are stuck in traffic, turn around, and find an alternate route in order to be on your way. If you are like me, then you may get a little impatient at the inconvenience.

Most of us humans tend to enjoy a degree of predictability in our lives. We know exactly how we like our morning coffee, the fastest and most efficient route to work or school, and just where that one comfy spot is on our living room couch. We like knowing what is expected of us in our jobs or in our classes, including what responsibilities are ours and how we may accomplish them. Though we may enjoy some spontaneous moments in life, there are many situations in which we thrive off of routines.

But…

Change tends to always land on our doorstep. We run out of coffee creamer, have to get a new couch, and have to take a detour due to construction. We know that these things happen, and we find ways to cope or adapt to these changes. This adaptation happens even though we are frustrated or confused because the bottom line is we have to get to work or class. We have to get our morning pick-me-up beverage somehow (or this day is going to be rough, am I right?). In some ways, we are forced to just “get over it” and move on with our day.

Well, what about the things in life that do not require an immediate response from us? Or what about the things in life where we can “get away” with things staying the same? You know things I am talking about—that thing that God has asked you to do, but you are just too scared? That change that needs to happen but you would like to hold onto predictability a bit longer? Perhaps you just are not sure how to go about it. Or maybe you know exactly what He is asking you to do and…you just are not going to do it?

May I suggest that we have all been here?

Well we have. Sometimes we just want to “be sure.” However this is, most times, an excuse to cling to our predictabilities. I always tell myself:

Delayed obedience is disobedience.

I am here to tell you today that God is interested in bringing you to a better place. It may be new or different, but His word tells us that His master plan is to “prosper us and not to harm us” (Jeremiah 29:11). Though it may seem like you are “losing,” God’s intentions are to give you something better or to bring you to a better place in your walk with Him. I think sometimes it is all about positioning us to receive the things He has for us, but we cannot always see it from this vantage point.

Maybe you…

  • Are not in the right relationship.
  • Are are meant for ministry and not what you originally planned to do.
  • Should consider the opinions or thoughts of your subordinates.
  • Need to take that next step that God has been asking you to do for a long time.
  • Need to make some different and more spiritually uplifting friendships.

Whatever it may be, let me offer you one piece of advice: if you are being challenged to make a personal change, share it with those around you. When we verbalize the things that God is calling us to do, our friends and mentors can keep us accountable. They can help remind us of what God has asked us to do, and even spur us forward in this truth! We need to be thankful for this accountability and not shy away from it. Our insecurities can sometimes be rooted in our own pride.

I will leave you with one simple but powerful reminder from scripture:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

 

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

 

About the Author

Ryan Raflowski

Ryan is a school psychologist and co-advisor for the BASIC Chapter at SUNY Oswego. He desires to see a generation of young people recognize God's purpose and plan for their life. He tries to live "Kingdom-minded" and longs to see revival fire sweep across college campuses. You could probably find him walking around town playing Pokémon Go with his wife Kdee or indoors with their two cats Oliver and Lupin.

It’s Sufficient

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

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” -2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Can I confess something to you? Just between us friends? I am on my fourth cup of coffee…Don’t judge me; it’s been a long week (it’s Wednesday).

This summer, I was believing God to provide in a big way. I reminded myself of his past faithfulness, agreed with others in prayer, and believed I had heard from the Lord that He would meet this need.

One night, I was struggling to go to sleep as “what-ifs”, and feelings of worry flooded my thoughts. I was restless and without peace. Rather than distracting myself with Netflix, I got out of bed and went to sit with the Lord. I journaled the simplest prayer, “Lord, I trust you, but, right now I need you to encourage my soul.”

I opened the Bible, awaiting the Lord’s response. I was planning to turn to the Psalms where I often receive great encouragement, when I opened to the book of Esther. Sensing there may be a reason for this, I began to read Esther 1, and wow, talk about a word in season!

In chapter one, we are first introduced to King Ahasuerus who was throwing a feast for all of his officials and servants. The guest list for this party included “military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces” (Esther 1:3b). This feast was seven days and was the continuation to 180 straight days of the king showing off his awesomeness.

At that time, Queen Vashti was hosting her own party for all the ladies. However, at the end of the seven days, King Ahasuerus decides to show off what he felt was very beautiful to “behold,” Queen Vashti in her royal crown.

When she refused, the king was furious and embarrassed. Those closest to King Ahasuerus essentially looked at him and said “So you just gon’ let her do you like that?” The Bible states King Ahasuerus’ response was to “give her royal position to another who is better than she” (Esther 1:19b). This is what opened the door for Esther, a beautiful Jewish girl whose influence as queen would lead to the rescue of God’s people.

After I read this, I was hit with the question “where was Esther in all of this?” I doubt she had any clue she’d end up as queen and the great impact she’d have on her people. I am sure she had no idea we’d be reading about her life thousands of years later.

And this is when the Lord spoke to my heart.

Through this story in chapter 1 of Esther, the Lord showed me how He is opening doors for us before we even have a clue we will need them. Before we even pray to God for something, I believe He is making moves to meet our needs, teach and grow us, and to use us in mighty ways for His kingdom.

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8

In our greatest need, to be made right with the Lord and have relationship with Him, He pre-planned and set into motion the answer to this need. Friend, I do not know what you are going through right now. I am unaware of the healing, restoration, or answers to prayers you are waiting on. I may never know the dreams you are consistently bringing before the Lord, waiting on Him to bring them to pass. But one thing I am absolutely confident in is God’s undeniable faithfulness to meet all of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

Let me encourage you to be honest with the Lord. Ask Him to give you hope, strength, and grace in every season. Share your heart with a trusted mentor or friend who can pray with you as you hold on to the promises of our God. Press in.

He is faithful. He has opened doors before we ever knew we needed them. He will do it again.

The Lord was opening doors this summer I did not expect, and He provided in a big way! I am thankful for this, but honestly, I am more thankful for what I learned about His character in the waiting season.

About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar

Facebook

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.

Tabling 101

Sam DiStefano Advertising & Recruiting, Advisors & Student Leaders, Event Ideas, Planning, Resources 0 Comments

I know what you are thinking, tabling? Really? I know, I know.  In the world of social media and well designed flyers, who needs to table? Well my friend, YOU do.

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, tabling refers to setting up a table outside of your dining hall or in your student union to advertise your group. Many groups miss out on this awesome opportunity to easily reach their campus because they just don’t know how to do it well.

Tabling is important because it is a free and easy way to advertise that takes just a little effort on your part. Think about it. Most schools allow groups to reserve tables as often as they would like. That means every week you could be meeting and talking to new students that might not ever have wandered into your weekly meeting on their own. Here are a few tips to take your tabling to the next level.

Make it a Habit

I challenge you to make tabling a regular part of what you do on your campus. It’s easy to table at the student activities fair, or the first few weeks of school, but often tabling drops in importance as the semester goes on. When we make tabling a habit, your campus will start recognizing your group name and have a better understanding of what you do. No matter how big or small your campus is, regularly being out there making connections makes a difference.

Get Creative

Tabling doesn’t have to be boring and it doesn’t have to just be passing out flyers for your group. Brainstorm ways for your  table to stand out. Do you want to do a Midterm Munchies giveaway and pass out snacks during that week with encouragement? Do you want to make an interactive board and ask passing students to answer questions about life and purpose? Do you want to play games and engage students about the Bible or spiritual questions they might have (click here for a fun game idea)? You know your campus best, so engage students in ways that they would be most intrigued by.

Students always love food and they love free!! Check with your school’s tabling rules and use your budget to help you make your table the coolest around. Think of key holidays ( Valentine’s day, Christmas) and times in the semester (midterms/finals) to reach the most people. Tabling can be a creative tool to love and serve your campus. Check out more ideas here.

Make it Nice

Listen friends, aesthetic is important! Take the time and effort needed to make your table look presentable. That means getting a tablecloth that fits and isn’t dirty. That means having a sign that doesn’t look like a kindergartener made it. That means having a nice and neat table. It might not seem like a lot, but when you put in the extra effort to make your table look appealing, you will see an increase in your table traffic. A clean and well designed table communicates to your peers that you have integrity in all that you do, even the little things.

Be Ready

You may think there isn’t much to tabling, but that just isn’t the case. Not only should you be prepared practically with all the materials you need to set up your table, but spiritually and mentally as well. Pray before you and/or your team tables. Ask God to give you open doors and divine connections. Your attitude at that table speaks volumes to your peers. Are you engaging with people? Are you friendly and kind? Are you genuine? Students will just walk by unless you are willing and ready to break the awkwardness and grab their attention.

Tabling might be one of the most overlooked resources we have on our campuses today. I hope you will use tabling as a tool to reach more people on your campus and get them thinking about God.

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About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

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.

The In-Between

Anna Marie Magyar Personal Development, Resources 1 Comment

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” -Psalm 130:5 (NIV)

It is in those moments, the chaos of the still in-between where you’re not where you were, yet not where you want to be, that the Lord does some of the most miraculous, beautiful things.

I can attest to the Lord’s faithfulness to fulfill all of His promises to me. However, I can also attest to the Lord being faithful to work in His own timing. That means some things take longer than I may like them to, causing a struggle and tension between where I am and where I want to be. It’s the waiting season. What are some of the things you are waiting on? Grad school acceptance? Financial aid? A future husband or wife? A restored relationship? Your coffee to be finished brewing?

It is very easy to feel discouraged, frustrated, or be inactive during the waiting season. However, I believe that in this beautiful struggle of the in-between is found an invaluable time with the Lord that if we would be open, the Lord could do something He would be unable to do at any other point in time.

So, what do we do in this still-waiting season? Think of Joseph. Joseph was given two dreams from the Lord (Genesis 37:5-11) that one day he would come into a position of great power and authority, so much so that his mother, father, and brothers would bow before him.  Before the dream came to be true, Joseph was rebuked by his father, betrayed by his brothers, sold as a slave, thrown into prison, and more. These things all occurred during Joseph’s waiting season.

Joseph very easily could have become frustrated with God, questioned the dreams he was given, refused to honor the Lord during this time, or walked away from God completely. The temptations to do so were certainly there.

Yet, Joseph chose to believe in who his God was and His promises rather than in the chaos surrounding him. As Joseph pressed through, remained faithful, and continued to honor the Lord, God began to show Himself to be sovereign and faithful in ways Joseph would not have seen if he had not endured the waiting season (Genesis 42:6-Fulfillment of the dreams).  

I don’t believe that our Lord just allows seasons of our lives to pass by unnecessarily. I don’t believe that He brings us through the waiting without purpose, or to leave us disappointed, discouraged, or disheartened. No, rather I believe He brings us through these seasons to show us something, to teach us something, to reveal more of His character, or to help us grow. Although the waiting season can be challenging, if we are willing, God will use them for our good (Romans 8:28).

I’m prayerful that you will see the Lord’s faithfulness in each season. I encourage you to, like Joseph, remain prayerful, honorable to the Lord, and not to standstill, but to utilize this time to see God be faithful, close to you and so very compassionate.

He’s in the waiting.

About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar

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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.

Super Simple Bible Study

Super Simple Bible Study

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

I never grew up going to Sunday school, but almost everyone knows the song, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” At the risk of sounding ridiculous, the lyrics are actually pretty profound. Somewhere along the line, we have made cool one-liners and little sound bytes a substitute for you know, ACTUALLY reading our Bibles. If we did, we would find that the good book does indeed tell an incredible story of redemption and love. The word leads us in wisdom and has the power to transform our hearts and minds.

Romans 15:4 says, “Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.”

So if you are anything like me, knowing that we should read the Bible isn’t the problem, it’s how to do it well. Where do you start? How do you understand what it means? How do you make sure you are interpreting it correctly?

I have done some research and asked some questions. I wanted to find the MOST simple and easy way for leaders and students to read the Bible and lead Bible studies with confidence. The following five questions can be utilized on any passage of Scripture and can easily be used for one on one situations or in a large group setting.  They are not my own, but versions of them have been floating around the internet for some time (If you know please let me know so I can kiss them with thankfulness!)

  1. What does this passage teach us about God?
  2. What does this passage teach us about man?
  3. Is there a command to obey, an example to follow, or a promise to claim?
  4. How does the truth of this passage differ from what we see in culture today?
  5. How can I specifically apply this passage to my life?

That’s it! Can you believe it?! I love these questions because they are super simple. They are easy to model and easy to reproduce. This is a good place to start if you want to grow your Bible reading muscles or if you would like to start your own Bible study! These questions help us figure out what the word is actually trying to communicate and leads us to a place of personal application.

Do you have a go to Bible study? What are your favorite questions to ask while you are reading the scripture? Comment and share your experience!

 

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

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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.