The Power of Song

Ryan Raflowski Advisors & Student Leaders 0 Comments

It is commonly understood that music pervades every culture across the world. Music manifests in experience, expression, and diversity. It has the power to instill hope, shift a mindset, and calm the storm within. Music is also a means of expression and our song can carry us into a new stage in life. Lyrics, as well as melodies, can literally change lives! This is the power of song.

Music tends to be a part of our churches and our ministry meetings. Often, there is a time of worship through music. This can be a powerful ministry time for everyone because we know what God can do through song! There have been countless occasions when His Beloved are deeply humbled and moved by the Holy Spirit during times of worship through music. Heavy hearts are softened by His grace and hope is a vaccination within our veins! We are profoundly moved by what can be done through a song.

The Bible has many examples that denote the power of song. Let’s look at a few examples.

Music Ushers in the Presence of God

2 Chronicles 5:13 says: The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud”

David committed to worshipping God through song and dance. He ordered musicians to lead people in worship and as a result the Lord’s glory filled the temple. Wow! When God shows up, we should get excited! He is the lover of our souls and He absolutely loves when we worship and spend time with Him.

Music Can Drive Out the Darkness

1 Samuel 16:23 says, “Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.”

Darkness cannot stand to be in the presence of God—the demons must flee! Satan’s strongholds crumble down when our song is full of joy and we celebrate the goodness of the Lord. Captives can literally be set free from the spirit of oppression. Yet another reason why there is such power in our song for the Lord.

Music Can Transcend Our Bad Situations

Psalm 27:6 says, “Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.”

The enemy of our souls often thinks he has us trapped in a corner, but the mighty hand of God delivers us from our troubles! When we experience what it means to have true freedom from the power of sin and of death, we can make songs of praise to the only One who can truly deliver us! God’s goodness and faithfulness to us truly changes our perspective—even in the midst of dire situations!

We can see now that there is power in our song and we must be free to sing it! Nothing should hold us back from our praise and sometimes we just need to fall down in worship of the One who saves. If you do not already have music as part of your ministry time, I hope you will consider this powerful and effective means of bringing people closer to the Lord. I believe that it truly can change lives.

 

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.

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.

15 Back To School Moments Every College Student Can Relate To

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Uncategorized 0 Comments

For many this week marks back to school! Whether you are a Freshman, Senior, or anything in between, check out these 15 relatable back to school feels.

1. When you realize school is starting and you didn’t do anything over the summer (it’s cool, nbd)

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2. When you are PUMPED to wear your new back to school wardrobe

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3. When you can’t wait for the Fall weather (and sweaters and football and pumpkins)

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4. But also don’t want to let go of Summer

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5. When you are trying to unpack but all your friends want to hang out (AHHHHH)

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6. When you meet your new roommate for the first time

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7. When you finally reunite with your college SQUAD

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8. When you don’t recognize a single soul in any one of your classes

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9. When it’s the first day and EVERY.SINGLE.CLASS. you have to say a “fun fact” about yourself (we can’t even)

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10. When the Professor assigns homework on the first day (Not cool)

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11. When you take one look at the syllabus and see all your free time disappear (*weeps silently*)

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11. When you remember the dining hall food is the actual WORST

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12. When your crush from last year passes you in the hallway looking FINE (oh, heyyyyy)

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13. When you see how much your textbooks are going to cost this year (excuse me, what?!)

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14. When you start questioning everything

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15. But then you realize there is no place you’d rather be

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Welcome back friends! We are excited for this year!

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.

Do it Afraid

Do it Afraid

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

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to go on “adventures” with my friends. Adventures can be anything from deciding to get ice cream, to going kayaking, to finding a sunflower field. One day, I had the pleasure of adventuring in Ithaca and found myself at a swimming area that was surrounded by cliffs to jump off of.

I saw person after person jump into the water from all different heights and I wanted in on the action. I went to the biggest cliff first and peaked over the edge. My throat closed up and I felt my stomach drop. I was afraid, my mind started racing with all the ways this was a dumb idea and how badly I could get hurt if I did it wrong. There was a certain level of risk involved. Not only could I actually physically get hurt, but my pride would be bruised if I stepped up and didn’t end up jumping. No one wants to be that guy.

I went back and forth a million times, waiting for my turn, then getting out of line when I got close. Finally, I took a deep breath and decided I was going to do it afraid. The thoughts hadn’t stopped, the sinking feeling in my stomach hadn’t gone away, but something inside me knew that taking on this cliff was what I had to do.

In life, we are often confronted with these kind of moments. Maybe you aren’t jumping off a literal cliff, but it can certainly feel like it. We have all encountered decisions or opportunities that scare us. What if I make the wrong choice? What if I risk everything for this and I fail? What if I take a chance on this person and they end up hurting me?

There was a man who was very comfortable in the life he had built for himself. He had a wife, children and a peaceful job working for his father in law. But one day, God showed up in a burning bush, and spoke something that would change his life forever. “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Our man Moses was not about that plan, and for good reason. He had a nice, safe life. He had a past he would rather forget in Egypt. He did not see himself as qualified for the job. He was not eloquent and certainly not confident. He says in Exodus 3:11, “Who am I that you would send me?” That’s how he felt. Maybe that is how you feel too.

I think there is a tension that exists inside of all of us to live a life worth telling stories about and to feel established and safe and secure. Life with God often means being called outside your comfort zone. It means daring to dream that you were made for so much more than simply existing. Moses was given an opportunity to go on a God sized adventure, and he was very much afraid.

God’s response to Moses and to you is simple, “I will be with you.” It is ok if you are fearful. It’s ok if you don’t feel adequate, or prepared or qualified. It’s ok if the uncertainty of the future causes you to be afraid. Just don’t stay there.

Today I am here to tell you that God himself goes with you. He is already on the other side of your big decision, your crazy leap of faith, your stepping out into the unknown. He knows where you are going and leads you with wisdom and kindness. Don’t let fear paralyze you from making moves. Let the knowledge that God holds you bring your heart into perfect peace. He will make the way, He will give you what you need, and He will give you the courage.

Spoiler alert: Moses did leave everything to go to Egypt. His yes to God impacted an entire people. He was very much afraid, but he did it anyway. I jumped off a cliff. What are you going to do? Are you willing to hand your fear to God so that He can take you on the adventure of a lifetime? Sometimes you just got to do it, do it afraid.

 

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.

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

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.

New Year, New Vision

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

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” -Isaiah 43:19

Hello, friend! I hope this blog finds you well and with a great big cup of coffee! I would be dishonest if I did not share with you that as I write this it is currently 8:00 at night, and I am enjoying the most delicious vanilla sweet cream cold brew!

As a sixth grade teacher and a volunteer serving in college ministry, the summer presents itself as an invaluable time. I am intentional to rest and recuperate, but also in preparation for the new school year. I begin to pray and ask the Lord what new and exciting things He will do. I celebrate as I recall His marvelous works the year prior, and recount the ways He provided, opened doors I thought were sealed shut, and gave us opportunities I could not have asked nor dreamt of.

I also bring to the Lord the areas I may need wisdom in, situations I felt were challenging, and things I feel we need to do differently or completely get rid of. Without failure, the Lord meets me in this time of dreaming and visioning for the new year. I am filled with a new hope, new excitement and joy, and a new vision for how we can show the unconditional and unimaginable love of our God to our campus.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” -James 1:5

As the topic for this blog began brewing in my mind, I was reminded of James 1:5. For so many of us, we expect the same from the Lord that we have received or encountered with people. Circumstances with influential people in our lives begin to influence the lens through which we see our Heavenly Father. It becomes easy, even natural, to question if we deserve what we seek from the Lord, or if Jesus is truly faithful to give as generously and freely as He has promised.

It is for this reason I am so thankful for the Word, and the wisdom James received and shared. The Lord is faithful to give to you generously and without finding fault; not because He gains anything, but because He made you, He loves you, and He is pleased with you. If you question this, I challenge you to put it into practice. Seek the Lord, be open to Him doing a new thing, and watch as He amazes you with His faithfulness.

I am so excited for the new things the Lord will do this year. I am seeking Him as I embark on the new challenge at my job in doing math centers to improve learning opportunities for my students. Excitement fills me as the leaders and advisers of Saint Rose BASIC begin a whole new structure to our weekly meeting schedule (read on below if you are interested to see what this format will be). And I am filled with joy and wonder in the new thing the Lord has for you!

My friend, I want to encourage you that there is new vision for your future, your family and your life. The Lord promises to do a new thing, and I believe that is possible for you regardless of your season of life. I pray you seek His face diligently knowing that although change may seem difficult at times, you have a God who is so passionate about you that He would never leave you nor forsake you in the midst of these changes (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5).

Saint Rose Basic Meeting Schedule: Fall 2017

Starting in the fall, we will run our meetings in a four week rotation, as follows:

Week 1: Meeting will include a worship set of three songs and a message from an in-house speaker, like our advisor. A student leader will be asked to take notes on the message to share a summary of at the next week’s meeting.

Week 2: We will have worship, most likely a shorter set to account for time, and then the student leader who took notes the week prior will come up to briefly share a summary of week one’s message. This is done so that anyone who missed the week prior will not be left out of the small group discussions we will be transitioning to after the summary. Small groups will be led by student leaders who will have focus questions that will build off the week prior. We will end our meeting with a social activity of some kind.

Week 3: During this week, we will have a typical worship set of three songs, and a guest speaker. The plan is to get guest speakers from our sponsor church to help our students get even more connected.

Week 4: On the final week, we plan to have a fun get-together. We chose to incorporate this into our meeting schedule for several reasons. Firstly, many of our members already plan to attend the BASIC meetings Thursday nights. Trying to plan an event on another evening often loses several people who can’t come because of classes or other commitments. Additionally, our leaders work so hard and pour so much of themselves into the bi-weekly leaders meetings, weekly BASIC meetings, getting together with students, and their own personal to-do lists and responsibilities. Oftentimes planning additional events on top of this can be too much for our leaders. We’re making this change to avoid burnout in our leaders, and to prevent what is supposed to be a good thing becoming a burden upon them.

Words cannot express how excited I am with the changes we are making! I hope to update you on the progress of this shift in the future. 

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 out with the group after graduating.

Comparing and Competing

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

Something that I’ve noticed lately is how fascinated we are with talking about our personality types. Everyone asks each other whether they are an introvert or an extrovert, a thinker or a feeler. And if you don’t know, then you’re supposed to go online and take a free test to figure out how your mind works.

The last time I took the test was a few months ago and I turned out to be an ENTJ. So that makes me extroverted, intuitive, a thinker, and a judger, or what 16 Personalities likes to call it, “The Executive.” After you get your results there are pages upon pages of explanation of your personality type, how common it is or isn’t, and how it relates to other personalities.

I find that we tend to compare our personalities with each other. We like to see the differences between us, and then determine if one personality trait is “better” than the other. Comparison is something that has exploded throughout our generation as millennials. We compare personalities, we compare our Instagram profiles, and we compare ourselves to impossible standards portrayed through media exposure.

I find myself comparing all of the time. I compared myself to other women I would see on social media, and to other people’s lives and how great they were compared to mine. It came to a point where I had to delete my social media pages because I became consumed in measuring up to the standards set before me on my iPhone.

And then I had a thought, how is it possible to compare two people who are uniquely made?

If we look at the definition of the word compare we see it defined as, “to represent as similar.” We are not able to live in this unhealthy mindset of comparison because we were not made to be compared with each other. We are each uniquely designed and created by God for a purpose that is set apart from all else, we are not similar.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mothers womb.” We were uniquely created by God, not carbon copies printed out designed to be compared to each other. We are God’s special possession, something to be cherished.

I love Lisa Bevere and her book, Without Rival. It really takes this idea of comparison and being made unique to a new level of understanding.

She says,

“God uniquely created your DNA and knit your frame in secret so he could surprise the world. He authored how your heart expresses itself; he was the architect of your smile and the melody of your voice; he made all of your features with the fondest thoughts of only you in mind. He celebrated along with your parents your first smile and watched with affection your first steps.”

I love her wording and her explanation throughout this section in her book. We are unique and complex creations. We look different, sound different, are gifted differently, we like and dislike different things. We were created this way to celebrate the differences and uniqueness, not compare them and decide who is better than who.

Often, especially on social media, when you’re comparing yourself with others, you’re comparing their highlights to your behind-the-scenes. Not only are we unable to compare because of the fact that we are unique, but we are unable to compare because of the fact that what we see on social media is not real. It’s edited, fabricated, and embellished from the truth. 

When we change our mindset and outlook on comparison we are no longer insecure, we have less doubt, and we are able to live life freely and more enjoyably. We are able to stop competing with each other and begin to encourage and lift up others. 

Stop Comparing. Stop Competing. Be Unique.

 

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.

When Other People Get What You Want

When Other People Get What You Want

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 1 Comment

Let’s face it, we have all felt it; that hot jealousy that rises up in us when someone else gets what we really wanted. We don’t want to feel that way, we don’t want to be upset over it, but sure enough, the feeling hits you like a brick wall.

It comes in many shapes and many ways. Maybe you are feeling inadequate because you have applied to what feels like a million jobs with no luck and your friend got their dream job right out of college. Maybe you feel stuck or left behind because you have received your 6th wedding invitation this year and you can’t even snag a date!

Maybe you scroll through your feed and are overwhelmed with feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction because you didn’t just climb a mountain in Peru like your friend Paco. Maybe you are feeling frustrated that someone (who in your humble opinion is a big ol jerk) is stepping into their dreams and you feel like you are still waiting on something, anything to start going good.

You are not alone. We live in a world that is fast paced and on display for all to see. With the prominence of social media today, young adults more often then not walk away from a scroll sesh feeling envious and inadequate. So what gives? What do we do when other people seem to be living the life that we want?

God has something to say about this. God thought it was SO important that He made sure to include it in the ten commandments. Deuteronomy 5:21 says, “ And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

So in today’s language, don’t be desirous of your friend’s bae, their stuff, or their life. The word covet means to yearn, crave, or want really really badly. Craving someone else’s stuff, circumstances, financial situation, opportunity or relationship status doesn’t change anything for them and really only hurts you. Teddy Roosevelt once accurately said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

The author of Hebrews writes in 13:5, “ Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself (Jesus) has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’” A jealous heart is usually a discontent one. A discontent heart says, “What God has given isn’t enough.” This attitude is harmful to your spirit and can lead to bitterness, frustration, anger and reeks of ungratefulness.

As believers we have a promise. Jesus comes alongside of you and says, “I’m not going anywhere kid and I’m never going to abandon you.” God knows us and loves us. He knows exactly what we need and want and will always provide for us according to His perfect will. He actually promises to give us the desires of our heart when we make a habit of delighting ourselves in Him (Psalm 37:4) The discipline we must learn is being content in the knowledge of His goodness.

If you are struggling today, I challenge you to take a break and challenge your own perspective. Where is your gaze? What are you focusing on? What is one beautiful thing in your life right now? When was the last time you took time to delight in God?

It is only in the light of understanding who you are and how loved you are by the God of the Universe, that you will be able to trust. God is for you. He is writing YOUR story and you can be sure it’s a good one. Don’t let the enemy steal one more second of your joy. Focus your heart on Him and His promises to you and watch every fear and jealous thought disappear.

 

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.

Goodbye to the Big Guy

Goodbye to the Big Guy

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, BASIC Crew 0 Comments

I’m writing this letter as I sit at my desk in the BASIC office. Though I have known about the transition for months, we are now in the final countdown of Jonathan Burgio’s last days as Director of BASIC College Ministries.

Many of you know Jon from visits to your campus and on stage at BASICCON. You might have been impacted by a word he spoke or a conversation you had with him. He has a way of making you feel valuable and seen and heard. I have had the privilege and honor of working with him for the past three years and I wanted you to get an inside look and the kind of leader he was by sharing my personal letter with him.

Dear Jonathan-

Words cannot express how much I will miss you and Nicki. My time working with you both has deeply impacted me. I wanted to take time to thank you.

Thank you for being a man of character.

They say you can judge someone’s character by who they are when no one is watching. A lot of people look up to you and see you from the stage but I have had the chance to see how you roll in the in between moments of life. The moments when things don’t go as planned. Things like certain people flying into the wrong airport (so sorry about that one), Sprinter tire blowouts on the way to conferences, lighting consoles refusing to work, and missing passports on missions trips.

In every circumstance you hold true to who you are. You are a man who loves God and loves people to the very core. It’s just your nature. Whether you are talking to the students, volunteers, or the well known speakers and artists flying from across the country, you treat everyone with respect and kindness. You are patient. You are understanding. You are gentle. You make people feel comfortable in your presence. You are a man of integrity and it’s clear to everyone who knows you.

Thank you for being a servant leader.

You and Nicki both embody this in a way I have never seen before. You will gladly and willingly go out of your way to serve your staff and the students of BASIC. There are almost endless examples.

How many times have you and Nicki took your personal time to do tasks for BASIC? How many late nights have you stayed at the office? How many hours figuring out things for us that weren’t really your responsibility? How many times have you went out of your way to plan something special for the staff? How many phone calls have you made to ensure that we would be taken care of? How many emails sent to make sure groups felt supported? How many times have you given up sleep for us? How many times have you given up what you wanted for our sake?

Too many times to count. You have always made us feel taken care of and fought for.

Thank you for adding value.

There is a quote by John Quincy Adams that says, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I don’t think a quote could better describe who you are. You add value to people by making them feel important and inspiring them to be better. You consistently ask questions and make suggestions that have helped me change perspective and walk in the fullness of what God has for me. That’s what you do for EVERYONE. You help them be the best they can be.

One of my favorite lessons from you is the value of thanking people. I watched for three years as you took the time to write notes, make phone calls, and have meetings to communicate to supporters, volunteers and friends that you were thankful for them. Because of your example of pointing out value in others, you have added incredible value to mine.

Thank you for being generous and kind.

You are generous in every way. Generous with your time, generous with your finances, generous with your care. I am floored when I look back at the times you and Nicki have been patient to listen, set aside time to hear me out, have treated me to coffee and lunch, and have somehow always gifted me with cards or presents exactly when I needed them most. Your care is over the top (you could say extravagant even haha) and your kindness has meant more than words could ever express.

Thank you for believing in me.

Probably most of all, I have been impacted by your unwavering belief in me. You boldly speak life over me when I feel insecure or afraid. Your confidence in me makes me brave. Your overwhelming support has made me feel comfortable to try new things and grow into leadership roles I never thought I was capable of. I always felt safe in the knowledge that you were for me and you would do anything to help me be the best me I could be. Thank you for being the kind of leader that people dream of working with.

My time as your co-worker has changed me for the better. I am so incredibly thankful for your character, example, and hard work. I could say so much more, but I will leave it at that. Nicki got you that “World’s Best Boss” mug before your first day as Director four years ago and you have been living up to it every day since. On behalf of the entire BASIC network and crew, we’ll miss you, we love you, and we thank you for a job well done.

 

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.