3 Simple Steps To Keep Your Faith in College

3 Simple Steps To Keep Your Faith in College

Feel Your Faith Slipping? Get Your Rhythm Back.
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Worried that your faith isn’t as strong as it was since coming to college? It happens all the time. The college lifestyle inevitably disrupts your old rhythms, including the ones that kept your faith vibrant. So if you feel like you’re starting to struggle, or would just like to avoid slipping in the first place, the solution is easy. All it takes is to make a new weekly rhythm around three things: worshiping, studying, and sharing.

1. Worship once a week

Every person was made for worship. The need for worship pulses within our psyche. So there is no question of if you’ll worship, but what you’ll worship.

Taking time once a week to worship the only thing worthy of worship – God – will help keep your mind and spirit attuned toward God and away from all the little false gods that vie for our focus and adoration. Little idols like popularity, parties, dating, sports, and yes, even academic success.

Find a local church or campus ministry you can attend once a week that worships God in song and prayer. It doesn’t have to be the most exciting worship. It just needs to be Christ-focused worship.

2. Study once a week

We can only follow God so much as know what kind of God we’re following. If I want to live into God’s plan for my life, I need to know God’s will first.

The sermons you hear in worship may be great, but it’s a general rule that we only remember 20% of what we hear. Yet when we are able to ask questions about what we hear, discuss what we hear, and make a personal plan to apply what we hear – the percentage of what we remember goes up exponentially. By meeting with a small group, bible study, or mentor once a week, we can study who God is and what God wants for us in a way that will really stick with our hearts.

3. Share once a week

We live in a highly compartmentalized culture, where it’s now normal to keep parts of our life completely separate from one another.

Yet God reigns of over all of existence and can’t be sectioned off to just a quiet, private corner of our life. In fact, the more we compartmentalize God – whether its intentionally or by accident – the less real God will feel. One of the best antidotes to compartmentalizing our faith is simply to share our faith. No, this doesn’t (and shouldn’t) mean handing out tracts outside of class or bible-thumping your roommate.

Sharing our faith is just spontaneously bringing God into our daily conversations. Outside of planned worship or study, we talk about how our faith might relate to our lives. Whether applied to relationships, friend groups, academic majors, current events, or politics, God will feel more real and relevant.

When you do this at least once a week, you’ll find that talking about Jesus even with your non-Christian friends isn’t some intimidating showdown, but a seamless and natural expression of your identity.

But how long?

You probably want to know that if you make these three things part of your weekly rhythm, how long it will take to start getting your faith back?

Honestly, you probably can’t get it back to the way it was, nor do you want to. God wants to change and mature your faith, so expect some growing pains to be part of the process too. Still, in my experience with our collegiate worshiping community, any student who sticks to this rhythm for a semester will begin to see God’s Spirit return to you in ways that will not only challenge you, but give you a true and beautiful hope again.

Cover Image Credit: A Pilgrim's Friend

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15 Bible Verses To Calm An Anxious Mind

Finding peace in the midst of turmoil.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.

As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?

We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.

The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.

1. Philippians 4:6

We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.

2. John 14:27

Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.

3. Isaiah 41:10

Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.

4. Psalm 94:19

Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.

5. Psalm 34:4

Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.

6. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about us so much, that He allows us to cast all of our worries on His shoulders.

7. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Human capacity is limited. We can by no means do everything, in fact, we can't do anything without the help of God.

8. Philippians 4:13

Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.

9. Proverbs 3:5

We always try to lean on our own understanding, but it will never be enough. We try to control everything, but it will always fall through. It is because of this that we need to trust in the Lord for everything.

10. Matthew 6:25-34

This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.

11. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.

12. Isaiah 26:3

If we simply keep God in the forefront of our minds, we will have perfect peace. Trust in Him brings the greatest peace.

13. Matthew 11:28-30

How comforting is this? Anxiety causes a lot of weariness but knowing that we can rest in God is amazing.

14. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for us, so we don't need to worry about it. His plan is always good and always exactly what we need. His plans will always be better than anything we try to control ourselves.

15. Isaiah 41:13

When we feel anxious and afraid we can take comfort in knowing that God is reaching out His hand to us to help us trust Him and walk with Him.

While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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The Evolution Of Easter

Hopping through time!
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Among all modern celebrations throughout the year, Easter is one of the most ancient. It began as a Jewish tradition which turned into a Christian one and finally a secular one. Its diversity has led to many interesting celebrations. In the Jewish tradition, Passover celebrates the freedom of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery around 1450 BC.

It is named Passover because the enslaved Jews were to mark their doors with the blood of a lamb so that God would pass over them and not kill their first-born son. For Christians, Jesus Christ died on the Passover. After three days, Jesus resurrected which showed that he conquered death and sin. By his sacrifice, every person who believes in him will be freed from sin and death. This monumental event in Christianity is celebrated as Easter.

The transition from Passover to Easter was a long process. Early Christians celebrated Easter much like Jews had been celebrating Passover. There was even a big debate on whether to rely on the Jewish calendar for the date or create an independent way to figure out the date. As Christianity developed, Easter became more distinct.

In the end, Christians decided to create their own calendar. However, as time went on, even the new calendar became fractured. Now, Western Christianity celebrates Easter on a different date than Eastern Christianity.

In most other languages, Easter is better translated as “Passover”. But, in English, the name Easter comes from St. Bede, an 8th c. English monk who studied history. He wrote that Easter derived its name from the pagan festival of Easter, which celebrated the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre.

It was celebrated around the same time as Easter, and so, early Christians replaced Eostre with Easter. The name stuck through the influence of St. Bede. It literally means “dawn” or “east, toward the sunrise”.

In modern times, Easter has gone a secular transition as can be seen in the Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny. Originally, the Easter egg was a pagan symbol of new life. Christians adopted the egg as a symbol of Jesus’ resurrection and our new life. The empty egg is a symbol of the empty tomb Jesus was buried in. Today, the Easter egg is filled with candy.

Similarly, the Easter Bunny was a pagan symbol of Spring and new life since rabbits reproduce prodigiously. Christians adopted it as a judge who determined which children were good or bad during the Easter season. In Australia, the Easter Bilby is becoming a popular alternative to the bunny since they are pests there.

The long history of Easter and its interesting combination of cultures and traditions make it one of the unique holidays we still celebrate. Despite the many differences, life and people are at the heart of this celebration.

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