The One With All the New Testament Stories

by Ruth Hallstead

Last week Wade showed us the dangers of seeking power at any cost. While the example he showed us involved seeking power for selfish reasons, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes people seek power because they don’t think they are enough. They aren’t worthy, or equipped to handle what God is asking them to do, so they reach for more power. They say, When I… or If only I… Then, I could serve God well. While the motivation is different in this case, desire for power is still wrong. Believing you aren’t enough is a very real fear, and a daily struggle for some. You may think you aren’t strong enough, brave enough, smart enough, rich enough, the list goes on. It can be difficult to get yourself out of that downward spiral of self-doubt. You may think you will never be enough. I’ve seen it in my friends and in myself.  I look around and see what others are accomplishing and think I could never do that. Or perhaps God is calling you in a specific direction, and you feel unable to follow that path. However, He knows who you are. Frantically grasping at power, or waiting to follow the path He has given you until you think you are ready is a foolish game. You are enough. It’s as simple as that. Look at the example of the widow in the temple. She followed a long line of very “generous” givers, simply to drop in two copper coins.  Yet Jesus praised her offering more than any others! (Mark 12:41-44) She gave what she had, and that was enough. You will always be enough for God. Whether you can give two pennies or $2000, God loves you the same. Trying to be more than you are because you don’t want to disappoint God never works. This week, remember that you are God’s. Repeat I am enough. See your value, and go take on the world, without hesitation.

The One With All The Old Testament Stories

by Paul Selden

Everyone has something that they are especially good at, whether it is at math, music, or simply being able to hold an engaging conversation, there are strengths to be found in most everyone.  

A great instance of this in the Bible was with Daniel, whose talent was in interpreting dreams.  While often times we might separate these talents into different spheres of our life–math for class, music for performances, conversations for making new friends–ultimately in God’s plan all of these strengths have a greater meaning with purpose towards glorifying God.  With Daniel this is true as he helps interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams and eventually save him from the madness induced by his one pride, thus helping his friend declare “Now Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just.  And those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).   But Daniel demonstrates his faith in more than one way, not only does he guide those around him to grow closer and deeper in relationship with the Lord, but he leads by example.  Over time with his gift, Daniel was able to gain prestige and status but he never forgot the one who equipped him with the talent that he had.  When King Darius came to rule, he was advised to make a decree that would punish anyone who prayed to anyone except for King Darius; however, Daniel remembered and kept his relationship with the Lord.  So often we see the opposite, where different actors, athletes, or other people who gain status, forget what their purpose is and why they were blessed with their strength.  And though many fear that this may cause judgement when one makes a firm stance on beliefs and that the repercussions could be tough, with a little trust, I don’t think those Lions will bother you.

 

The One With the Old Testament Stories

Some of us like some background music with our prayer time. Here’s one of Alexi’s favorite worship playlists, if you’re looking to try it out 🙂

 

by Hannah Alford

If you’re reading this right now, congratulations, you’ve already passed the very hard task of staying true to your beliefs and surrounding yourself with word and scripture. In college many students find it difficult to go to church, you’re surrounded with idols and earthly possessions that hold much more tact than faith and God’s never ending love. But, just because he isn’t always visible, doesn’t mean he’s not present. This reminds me of an old testament story from Exodus, the story of the Golden Calf, and it goes a little like this…

So Moses is on the mountain with God, and all the people on the bottom of the mountain begin to lose faith because Moses was taking a long time away from his people. They turn to Aaron, and asked him to make them a god, he then takes all the gold and throws it into the fire, and out pops a calf. His intention was to give the wicked people a god that they could look at, but they began worshiping it and praising it as the Egyptians did to their false gods. This made God very angry and those who stood by him were spared while the others were slayed. In the end God forgave the people who turned from him, because they came back and that’s what was important. First semester is hard, for many of us, church was a family event, and when you’re away from your parents for a long time you start to think that it doesn’t really matter if you go to church or not. College students turn to parties, alcohol, starbucks, etc. there are an immeasurable amount of things to praise and distract one’s self with in college and it takes effort to say “no.” Even if you did turn to them, don’t be afraid to start going to church again, God loves you and wants nothing more than for you to be actively loving him. Second semester, it’s a fresh start, use that fresh start to remove some on the golden calves in your life, worship God and only God, and you will find that your life will become so much simpler, and your future more clear.

The One With the Old Testament Stories

by Ruth Hallstead

With the start of the new semester, it can feel like you might not be in the right place right now. Whether this is because you did some serious thinking about your future (aka had an existential crisis… or several), or your grades from last semester cast some serious doubt on the practicality of your dreams; right now you might be feeling like the exiled Hebrews. Stuck in a foreign country and not sure what to do. The Hebrews were told to just hang out in Babylon until…later, I guess. That can be a hard message to stomach. When your world falls apart as your path suddenly hits a dead end or reaches a bazillion pronged fork, “build a house and live in it” seems like terrible advice. Let’s fast forward a bit. Imagine being called to the palace in a strange land and then several weeks later becoming the new queen. Oh, and you’ve hidden your faith and can’t let anyone find out. Not only are you stuck in a foreign land (okay, this was technically after exile ended, but some Hebrews stayed where they were at), but now you’re the wife of a temperamental king and harboring an intense secret. Welcome to Esther’s life. If you’re unfamiliar with Esther’s story, her big moment was saving the Hebrew people from unrestrained slaughter through an intense saga of calculated flattery and meticulously following royal procedure. However, what she did isn’t the focus here. Instead a conversation she had with her cousin is what really hits home. When she is tasked with stopping the impending slaughter, her cousin encourages her by saying “Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this”. I love this part of the story. First of all, no one says that she is queen because now she can save the Jews. Instead her cousin says perhaps. Second, she appeared to have no purpose whatsoever when suddenly, a possible (absolutely terrifying, potentially deadly) path appears! To me this is a story of hope. Esther never knew if this is why she ended up where she did. Yet she pushed onward, working towards something, until a path made itself visible. When your plans change, you may not know why for a long time, or even ever. Yet just like Esther, never give up. Continue pushing forwards. Pick something good (or at least less bad) in the situation and go with that. Ride that hope until you find something else. Eventually your path will be made clear. It may take a while, and it won’t be easy. It’ll probably be scary. But as our fearless leader often says, the worst thing is never the last thing.

Cancellation

Per UA’s schedule, activities are cancelled and the building closed until noon tomorrow. Changes to evening activities will be announced tomorrow if needed.

All I Want For Christmas is You (Wednesday)

by Hannah Alford

On Monday, Ruth gave us a prayer and reminded us then in this time of studying we need to bring our focus to the Lord, as well as our classes. By now we’ve reached the thick of it, finals week has begun and it’s like you can feel the tension around campus as people walk to their next exam. Some students care too much and some students care too little, but, there is something they all share in common. Whether they know it or not, the Lord is working in their lives! He’s there to support you and keep your head in the right space, however, if our own ideas and motivations get in the way, it can be hard to feel his presence. We must be actively seeking the Lord both in times of bliss (like the upcoming Christmas break) and times of great stress (finals, duh). A verse that helps keep me in check is from Romans 8:6 “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Those times when you’ve stayed up hours studying and pumping yourself with caffeine and you feel like death, it’s not just the lack of sleep. Make time in your day to relax and connect back to the Lord, I promise you’ll feel better after you do it, then you’ll find that when you go back to study your stress is at least somewhat relieved and you’re more focused, or at least this works with me. So try praying, even a small prayer, nothing too fancy, and see what happens! To help you along I’ll leave you a prayer too

 

Hey God!

I’m using this time to connect with you. This week has been hard insert concern here and I could use your support. So Lord, be with me in my studies this week, help my mind stay clear and my motivations good. Lord help me feel your presence throughout the week as I take my finals and remind me if I forget to spend time with you because you are stronger than any stresses I have, and your glory will live on past my anxieties!

In Jesus’s name we pray, AMEN!