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.

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.

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.

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 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. 


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.


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.


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.

A Devotional on Glory

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 Mariah Morse.

Mariah graduated from SUNY Cortland and has a passion for prayer and people to have genuine encounters with the Lord. She loves kids and is currently teaching this year.

“I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” Psalm 86:12

As the sun rises early in the morning, so shall my heart rise with praise towards my God. When the light fades behind the hills, so shall my heart quietly remember His goodness towards me. If there is one thing I was made to do, it is to give God glory in all things.

This is the most powerful revelation He has for His children. Life has no meaning other than glorifying God. The longer I serve the Lord the more gratifying I find this truth to be. I believe that without this understanding Christians would be lost in their purpose for serving the King.

What can I give a God who needs nothing from me? What can I bring my creator who is all sufficient? The Lord has answered this question many times before, and the simplicity of His response provides me relief.“Your heart,” He whispers to me. My heart is all He’s wanting.

Each time I inquire this I am given the same response. I am reminded that He endured all things that I might know this truth. He doesn’t need my love, He wants my love. My response is to love Him in return. Glorifying God begins in the heart. It begins when the affections of His people are for Him alone.

The bible tells of a purpose for all of creation, everything exists and was created by God for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). Here lies the beauty of it all. God takes pleasure in His people. There is nothing that can be added or taken away from this truth. I cannot make God love me anymore or any less than He always has. I choose to spend my lifetime in constant affection for the Lord who has given all for me.

The purpose of my life is to continually return love to the one who loves me unconditionally. In giving Him my heart He is well glorified. Love is the highest form of obedience that glorifies the Father. In fact, God shows in His word that He will find all who love him walking in His way.

“Anyone who loves me will obey my commandments,” John 14:23.

Jesus makes it clear that when we walk in God’s way it shows love for Him. I have never shown affection for the ones I love by causing them grief. I please those I care for by doing what they ask of me. The same is true in my relationship with Christ. Jesus glorified the Father through His obedience unto death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).

Jesus did all His Father asked of Him and brought eternal glory to His kingdom. My life should mirror how Jesus loved the Father. I purpose to live in a long obedience towards all that God calls me to do. I am not forced to but want to, no matter the cost, do all He asks of me.God does not force His love on us, nor does He make us love HIm in return. Obedience is not a requirement to receive God’s love.

God is love.

Love is never forced. Love is gentle. It is patient. It is kind. Love is enduring.  

I glorify my God by returning to Him the love He deserves.

I pray that my love for God would endure all seasons.

I pray that my love for God would manifest by walking in His ways.

I pray that my love for God would produce the fruit of His spirit in me.

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.” John 15:8

I live my life on display for the glory of God. Let all who see me see Him. That they may come to know His goodness and favor in their lives. I was made to glorify my King.


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.


Leaders Lead People

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

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds” -Proverbs 27:23

If you have just read the title of this blog and are thinking “Well, duh!” you are most likely in good company. Grab your cold brew, and let’s dissect this thought together.

Jesus lead 12 men. Yes, He had other followers, but these 12 did life with Jesus. They witnessed Him seeking the Father’s heart, doing the miraculous and unthinkable, restoring hearts, mending brokenness, and saving souls. They heard Jesus speak of the cross, and what would come as a result. Jesus said to the 12 He led, “I have given you an example to follow” (John 13:15a).

Jesus did not just show the men how to walk through this life; He taught them how to lead people well. Jesus gives this statement we see in John 13 right after He very humbly washes the feet of all 12 disciples. Did you catch that? ALL. This included Judas, who would shortly betray Him. Jesus completes His thought in John 13:15 by commanding “Do as I have done to you.”

So what does this mean for us as present day leaders? Do we start every BASIC or other ministry meeting by washing the feet of all whom we disciple? Not necessarily, though I do recall one leader’s meeting where our BASIC advisor literally washed our feet. It was a beautiful reflection of God’s heart for us through this selfless, and humbling act of our advisor. We shared tears (and some laughs) knowing we were so deeply valued and loved by the one who led us each and every week. Although this acted as wonderful declaration of our advisor’s servant heart towards us, there were many other ways she regularly demonstrated this (Check out the diagram on the bottom for practical ideas!)

I love the way Jesus interacted with Peter. Peter, much like myself, had a terrible tendency of putting his foot in his mouth; saying things he should not, and making bold claims he could not live up to. Despite Peter’s imperfections, Jesus invested in Peter and called out his giftings and strengths (Luke 5). Peter was often invited to witness Jesus’ miracles (Mark 5:37 & Luke 8:51). Jesus never stopped pursuing Peter. He never stopped loving Peter, believing in him, or calling out his destiny. Jesus never compromised the truth with Peter, rather He held him accountable (Mark 8:33). Jesus taught Peter how to lead and left him with one final command “tend to my sheep” (John 1:15-17).

I believe this is the same command Jesus gives to us. We are gifted with the wonderful opportunity to lead others as Christ led the 12 then, and leads us today. As a team, we have our different missions or goals, events to plan, meetings to host, and many other obligations. Let us not get caught up in directing task-completers, but in leading people. These are people who will go on to influence a culture desperate for a God who would humble Himself in every way. Let us lead in such a way that those who follow us would, like Jesus said, go on to do even greater works than we have (John 14:12).

Practical Ways to Lead People:

I. Know who they are, not just what they can do

  1. Invite those you lead out for coffee, or to play basketball. Share a meal.
    1. This can be done individually and as a group.
  2. Get to know their interests, dreams, things they struggle with, and more of what makes them individuals.

Note: When individually building relationships, it is important that male leaders meet with other males, and female leaders meet with other females. This guards each other’s hearts as deeper relationships are built.

II. Show gratitude, respect, and humility.

  1. Those we lead often sacrifice much of their own time and resources, as well as hard work while serving in ministry. Gratitude for this can be shown in a variety of ways including cooking a meal for your leadership team, or simply saying “thank you.”
  2. Respect is huge! Consider the tone of your voice and things you say when speaking to those you lead.
  3. Although we desire to lead as Jesus did, we are far from perfect. Show humility by owning your mistakes, and asking for forgiveness. 

III. Lead with a servant’s heart.

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.

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.


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.