5 tips for college students on spring break

As you start your spring break here are some tips to help you get the most out of your time:

1. Set Your Spring Break Schedule

There are so many things you want to do (or not do) during this next week. I recommend creating a schedule so that you don’t “waste” any time. I don’t mean that you should schedule every minute of your day. That happens enough throughout the semester already. I am talking about a loose schedule of things you want to do and on what days to to them. For example, write down everything you want to get done this next week. Then put them on what days you want to do them. For example, Homework/study on Monday and Wednesday, movies on Thursday (or everyday!), beach on Friday, run around in a circle on Saturday, stress out on Sunday, etc.

2. Catch Up

There so many things you need to catch up on right? How about actually studying during your break? Woah, that’s a scary thought but you would be surprised because many collegians actually do this! Why not spend just a little bit of time catching up on the classes you are behind in. But, studying isn’t the only thing that you can catch up on. How about catching up with friends who didn’t go out of town for the break? Renew those relationships because you will never have this kind of free time again. Another thing you could catch up on is rest. Sleeping is great but resting is better. You can rest your mind from the stresses of life by just reading for an hour or doing something else that can stimulate your mind but allow your body to rest.

3. Spend Time With God

If you are a Christian you can do this by reading your Bible and praying. If you are not a Christian you can do this by reading your Bible and praying! Seriously, haven’t you said to yourself, “Self, you should get back to going to church, talking to God, and reading my Bible.” Why not spend some time just reading God’s Word and talking with Him. Where to start? How about the book of John, which is the fourth book in the New Testament. Take about an hour everyday during the break and make it a habit. If you want a small daily snippet (what we call here a devo) head over to the InTouch daily devotional. If you aren’t a Christian and want to know more about the Good News of how God loves you and has a plan for your life, head over to The Story to learn more.

4. Don’t Be Stupid

We use this saying at the USF BCM all the time! But seriously, don’t be stupid. If you are going on a trip and plan on drinking be careful where you leave your drink, don’t drink a ton and be safe whatever you do. Always have people YOU TRUST by your side. The stories you have heard are true, especially in other countries. Many times, your friends will also dare you to do stupid things. Be wise in your decisions and don’t fall to peer pressure. If you are follower of Christ don’t be stupid and give in to Satan’s lies. He wants you to mess up during this break, feel too guilty to stand before God and give up. Stay in the Bible and He will give you wisdom (Proverbs 8:10-11).

5. Have Fun

Yes, you are allowed to have fun. Tear it up and have a great time. If you have to study set aside at least one day to bbq with your friends, go to the beach, relax a little. Like I said earlier, you will never have more time in your life than now. When you do have fun, make it count, don’t be frivolous with your money but be wise with it by building relationships with people.

Do you have any other tips you would add to this list?

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Crossroads: How much do you focus on Discipleship?

Discipleship

Last time in the Crossroads series we talked about Evangelism. How much focus do we put on it when it comes to college ministry (or ministry in general) versus everything else. Today let’s talk about focusing on Discipleship.

I love meeting with students one-on-one and really focusing on what is going on in their lives. I am a problem solver and this is where I feel I can really listen to someone and help them find answers in Christ through the Bible. However, the problem is there are only so many hours in a day. Evangelism can focus on multiple students but when I spend time with a student alone it is that person for one hour and no one else to invest in.

Paul tells us to not just share the Gospel but share our lives as well:

1 Thessalonians 2:8

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.

Jesus even said go and make disciples…not converts:

Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Based on these verses are we supposed to just focus on discipleship?

Let’s start by defining what a disciple is:

dis·ci·ple/diˈsīpəl/

Noun: A personal follower of Jesus during his life, esp. one of the twelve Apostles.

Therefore discipleship is the act of creating/training a person to turn them into a disciple. This means that I need to help students focus on becoming a follower of Christ? To me, that sounds like evangelism. So, shouldn’t I spend a majority of time on that? Or, does it mean that discipleship is more like this video:

or this video:

All these things take time and I only have a small window with the students I have. How do you make the most of your time and balance discipleship with evangelism? Can you do one without the other?

Drinking – Guest: My wife Annie!

Lately, my wife and I have been dealing with drinking as a problem for our students (college students and drinking? That never comes up! ya right!) So she wrote this and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I was doing my devo and reading through some verses in Ephesians and I came across 5:18 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit.”

I knew this was some more of God’s perfect timing, especially after some face to face and phone call conversations I’ve been having this week… so I looked it up for further info in the commentary- what it says- well, I wanted to share:

“In our N. American culture, such a command seems almost shocking and unnecessary, since total abstinence is the rule among so many Christians. But, we must remember that the Bible was written for believers in all cultures and in many countries, wine is still a fairly common beverage on the table. The Scriptures do not condemn the use of wine, but they do condemn it’s abuse. The use of wine as a medicine is recommended (Prv. 31:6, 1 Tim. 5:23). The Lord Jesus made wine for use as a beverage at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11).
But, the use of wine becomes abuse under the following circumstances and is then forbidden:
1) When it leads to excess (Prv. 23:29-35)
2) When it becomes habit forming (1 Cor. 6:12b)
3) When it offends the weak conscience of another believer (Rom. 14:13; 1 Cor. 8:9)
4) When it hurts a Christian’s testimony in the community and is therefore not to the Glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)
5) When there is any doubt in the Christian’s mind about it (Rom. 14:23)

WOW! Don’t you agree with everyone of those 5 statements?!!
I loved 4 and 5 especially because they are more reflective of ourselves- “If I hurt my testimony for Christ- forbidden…If it doesn’t bring Glory to God… forbidden… If I have ANY doubt in my mind- forbidden!” Wouldn’t it be easier to gloss over ourselves and only focus on others in this issue? However, the Word of God doesn’t allow it!

The recommendation Paul makes is to instead by filled with the Spirit. There’s alot on this, but I love these 2 statements:
1) In the case of drunkenness, there is a dissipation and debauchery. The Spirit’s filling NEVER produces these.
2) In the case of drunkenness, there is a LOSS of self-control. But the fruit of the Spirit IS self- control.

Anyways, I thought this was good stuff to chew on and pray over. Hope it speaks to your hearts, as it did to mine!
Love,
Annie

Are you an enabler?

I am going through Ephesians with the guys I am discipling on leadership and came across this passage (Ephesians 4:11-18). I’ve always said that my desire (and job) is to work myself out of a job. These verses confirm what I’ve said all along (yes, I know Mcfly! The Bible has been around a lot longer than I have). Christ gave me a gift of being in ministry through being a pastor/teacher/director to college students. My responsibility is not to do the work but to “equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”

Why?

  • To unify the people of God in faith and knowledge (v. 13)
  • To mature the people of God so they will not be deceived (v. 14, 2 Peter 2:1-3)
  • To grow more like Christ to speak the truth in love (v. 15)
  • To help each other do their own “special work” that helps others grow (v. 16)

I am an enabler.

When expectations are exceeded…the world changes

This past month we did a series called “Get Uncomfortable.” I spoke about social justices going on around the world for purpose of creating awareness and how God is working through them. We talked about how meeting a need required Christ to be involved, otherwise we are just making others comfortable for a season. We are to sustain people through the Gospel along with the resources that convey the love of Christ. We are called to be compassionate which means to “suffer with” instead of just having empathy.

However, this post is not about the series but what happened as a result. I rarely ask students to give money from the stage. This time was different. I wanted the students to truly understand what “suffering with” truly means. That can only come from self-sacrifice. The first night a former student donated pizza (First Wow!). We called for donations to Haiti as a result. To be honest, I was hoping for $100. Instead 76 students gave $428. (Second Wow!)

Next, we looked at everything we spend money on. We were to write down everything we spent money on in the past week and find ways to “cut the excess.” I talked about an organization called Hope International and how microfinancing provides loans to start small businesses through families. $100 is given to a family who are required to pay it back (interest-free) within six months. After the business is self sustaining the loan is then given to another family…and then another…and so on. The value of $1 is tremendous in that situation. That night we had over $200, many of which were $1 bills, given. We are now helping 4 families sustain themselves every year. (Third Wow!)

On the last week we worshiped through different stations where we burned our baggage (literally), wrote letters to orphans from Haiti, painted our thoughts of injustice, and studied verses about the poor and abandoned. At the end of the night I showed this video from Catalyst about how a sponsored Compassion International kid was able to meet his sponser after twenty years. I asked the students to sacrifice one meal a month and give $5/month until they graduate to sponsor a child as a whole community. I could not believe that the USF BCM is sponsoring two children as a result! (Fourth Wow!) What’s crazy is that after all that three more individuals also sponsored children. (Fifth Wow!)

I was blown away by the generousity and love of these students.

$428 – Haiti
2 – $100 small biz loans = 4 families/year
5 – Kids who will live, get educated, have a roof
= Priceless

I can’t wait to give you all updates about what we as a community are doing around the world! (I’m creating a blog that will have all of these updates)