Online Courses: An Insider Interview with Anna

online classes nyack college anna
anna

At Nyack’s Memorial Park

The following is an online interview I held with current Master of Arts in Biblical Literature student Anna Bailey Shuman. Anna is now in her second semester of her first year of study at the Alliance Theological Seminary. Having graduated from Nyack College May of 2013, Anna knew her next step would be to complete a seminary degree. However her busy schedule; coaching volleyball, playing softball for Nyack College and working in ministry prevented her from starting her degree within the classroom but that didn’t stop her… Read the interview below!

 

Q- Why did you choose to begin    softballseminary with online classes?
A- I chose to begin seminary with online classes because my schedule was too crazy to find an empty three hour block, but I didn’t want to put off my education.

Q-What was your online experience like?

annaanddave

Anna and her husband David(also a Nyack grad) at Nyack College’s chapel, in which she was given the opportunity to preach.

A-My first semester online experience was wonderful!  At first I was worried that I would feel disconnected from my classmates and professors, but that fear was proven false.  Everyone was super intentional about building a class community through the online discussions, email, and review sessions we held.  It was definitely interesting adjusting back into a physical classroom assignment this semester.   I grew accustomed to having time to research my responses to classmates questions or statements; a luxury I actually miss within the classroom.

Q-Are there any highlights you’d like to share?

A- I think my favorite part of the online courses was the structure and routine that accompanied it.  The level of organization made it easier for me to balance school, sports, work, and family at the same time.

Q-What is your advice for any prospective seminary students seeking to do an online program?
A-If anyone is considering partaking in an online program my advice is this:
1) Set a weekly schedule for yourself and adhere to it.  Find different sets of time to block off specifically for your class work and do not compromise.   It can be very easy to fall behind without the physical reminder of going to class.
2)  You will receive what you work for.  If you slack off and settle for doing only what is required of you, you will not have the best experience in the class.  Read the notes, do the entire reading assignment, ask the extra questions, and most importantly,  push your classmates towards excellence. pierparkPictured left to right: Amelia, Michelle and Anna.
Some of Nyack’s and ATS’ best at Memorial Park in Nyack.

         Thank you Anna! Great advice from someone who’s experienced both the classroom and online learning experience.  If you’re interested in pursuing a seminary degree, contact me (Madelyn.badillo@nyack.edu) and let’s see if perhaps an online program would work for you!

CTA button for Blog Adult Online

ATS to go Online… We Want to Hear from YOU!

Ron

Ron“Friends, may I ask you a favor? If you are involved in Church leadership or ministry at any level, would you please consider filling out the following 3-4 minute survey? Alliance Theological Seminary is preparing to launch several online degree programs and we would like to make sure we are listening well to Church and Ministry Leaders.”

Here is the link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NFHHFRZ

Thank you again,
 Ron- Dean of the Alliance Theological Seminary

 ATS

 

 

 

 

The Unoffended Heart

The cross
The cross

At Keswick Retreat Center dozens of young people left their burdens at the cross. #Freedom

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…” – Job 13:15

These past two months have been the most trying months in the recent history of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have experienced and participated in some wonderful things, but in the midst of the wonder and the work of the Lord; I have been dealt some serious pain and testing. I ended up in the hospital for a few days shortly after my return from Haiti with Dengue fever. After a quick recovery, I believe because of the prayers of my elders, family and friends; I faced some serious slander and verbal persecution and lost a friend to a misunderstanding. And in the heat of the pressure cooker; all of the dirt, all of the fears, all of the hidden chains that held be trapped in a cage, were exposed.

These past few weeks I have laid bare, naked, exposed before God and before man. The good, the bad and the ugly, hanging all out for all to see. Pain searing the depths of my soul, in ways words cannot describe. Yet the freedom and the eternally valuable lessons I have learned are worth all of the vulnerability, the tears, the loneliness, the fear, and the flesh I have been forced to tackle head on.

 As I lay in my new hospital room, filled with fear because the doctor told me, my kidneys and liver were not functioning, I cried out to Jesus. I asked him to make himself known to me in the room, I asked him to speak to me and I declared with the little bit of strength I had; ” Though you slay me, still will I trust in you… though you slay me, still will I say yes to you God.” Instantly the peace of God filled my worrying heart, and I knew he was right there, next to me, in that hospital bed. And I learned in that instance, that no matter what comes my way, I must have a resolution in my soul, to say yes to God, to trust him with my present and my future. Because he IS GOOD.

 I struggled my entire life with people pleasing, and with the bondage of perfectionism. With the NEED to be liked, accepted and loved by all. I was my toughest critic. I was not allowed to make mistakes. It was not okay for me to disappoint ANYONE. I had to cross every t and dot every i, PERFECTLY. And I felt the need to control what everyone felt and thought about me… Yet these past few weeks, in which I faced all sorts of slander, accusations and arguments, I recognized that even when the ugliest parts of me are exposed before God and man: I AM a LOVED, ACCEPTED, BEAUTIFUL BEING.

But the greatest lesson I have learned is that, in order to live continuously walking in freedom before the Lord,  I must live with an un-offended heart. A heart that does not become bitter or angry with God and man. A heart that  let’s go of the pain and decides to love, to trust, to forgive, to move on, to believe the truth and remain optimistic, even when the world around seems grim.

Having an un-offended heart, is having a heart that chooses to  ” love those who hate you… bless those who curse you and pray for those who persecute you” ( Matt 5:44; Luke 6:28).
 This is by no means an easy task. It can only come when you take all of your junk, offenses and pain to the presence of the living God and hand it to him, like a gift you’d give your best friend.  I have learned that even when I spill out garbage, God is so GOOD and faithful, to clean me up and make me new again. He loves when I trust him with my pain, and my insecurities! AND  He looks beyond my imperfections and He sees what a continual relationship with Him will create in me. And because everyday he makes me new and every day his mercies and grace are available for me to start fresh; I can forgive others, renew my relationships and live with HOPE and FAITH that sees beyond my present situations.
Keswick TeamAn un-offended heart is what enabled me to stand in front of 200 young people at the beginning of the month at Keswick Retreat Center for the Midwinder Advance with a team of Nyack College students, to declare the truth, love and freedom of the Lord over them.  Many accepted Christ and many more leave their burdens at the foot of the cross and walked away with true freedom. An un-offended heart is the reason I can smile, genuinely, at someone who wants nothing to do with me. An un-offended heart, is the reason I can admittedly say, I am not perfect, I will make mistakes, and that is perfectly OKAY!
( The Keswick Dream Team left-right; Esther, Jamie, Boris, Momoko, Eddie, Aaron, Wilkenson, Me, Tyler and Jennifer)
Being an un-offended child of God breathes a freedom in you to be who you are, with no chains of performance or expectations (from yourself and others) holding you down.
The un-offended heart, trusts in the Lord and has faith in HIS WORDS… ( not the condemning, anxiety, accusing, fear filled words of satan)
Unity

May we all with unoffended hearts; “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13

Why I <3 ATS!

ATS Faculty Blessing New students

 

  There are many reasons I love the Alliance Theological Seminary! But you’ve already heard my input on the matter through my post ” Why ATS?!”.  I think it’s time you hear from others what makes ATS the place they love! Enjoy =)!

If you are thinking about seminary, IT IS NOT TOO LATE! There is still time to apply and enroll before the end of our Add/Drop period.

Begin by filling out an online application here: http://www.nyack.edu/content/ATSOnlineApp

#HopeForHaïti

2013-12-30 09.24.32

I had the privilege to close 2013 by spending Christmas in Haiti with a group of amazing missionaries. The 10 days spent with them in the beautiful Caribbean country of Haiti, were truly transformational. Words still fail me in an attempt to describe my experiences. But as they say “A picture is worth a thousand words”, so I pray that this photo journal of my experience will somewhat tell you the story. These are only a few pictures, which captured only a glimpse of all we experienced in Haiti. 

IMG_0137This was our view from the roof of the church/missions base: “Light for Living International Ministries”, in which we stayed. We had wonderful hosts and a team of people of who really served and loved on us during our entire stay. Haitian Hospitality is beautiful. I am eternally grateful for Pastor Reginald Celestine, his wife Johanne and the their ENTIRE loving church, who became like

our family during our stay.

IMG_0144

 Day 2 – We sorted through tons of donations: clothes, vitamins, medicines, sandals, and toys. Pictured from left to right; Steve, Jodie, Carmella, Paul and Aaron.

IMG_0145
Having fun while sorting… who says serving is no fun!

IMG_0143
BT Sorting through the toys, what a joy she is!
IMG_0170
Worship in Haiti was amazing. God truly responds to the hunger and thirst in the souls of man!
IMG_0179
Adam Livecchi of We see Jesus Ministries and Pastor Reginal Celestin did a great job tag teaming and bringing a message of hope and faith. That night several people received physical and emotional healing. I saw a girls right ear open instantly at the name of Jesus Christ!
IMG_0165
This little girl slept on that roof…. She was trying to keep it some what clean, this image broke my heart.
IMG_0192
Taking on the Streets of Carrefour for some street evangelism. Not only did we share the gospel message and pray others. But we gave out sandals, clothes and vitamins…
IMG_0201
Paul, Sarah and Andrea enjoying a tight squeeze…
IMG_0204
The sights and sounds of Haiti are captured perfectly while riding on the Tap Tap…

Things get a little crazy in Haiti, so we had our own security guards courtesy of Pastor Reginald. These young men work for the church.  Left to right: Oge, Paul (from our team) and Elie.

Things get a little crazy in Haiti, so we had our own security guards courtesy of Pastor Reginald. These young men work for the church.
Left to right: Oge, Paul (from our team) and Elie aka “Bang-Bang”.

IMG_0290

Tap Tap; “There is always room for one more.”
Photo Credit: Adam Livecchi of We See Jesus Ministries.

IMG_0229
Adam praying for a beautiful little girl, as the team became acquainted with the kids at the orphanage. 
IMG_0224
The children singing for us as we entered into the orphanage… It’s safe to say we all cried. These faces are painted into my heart and mind. Those loving children need to receive the love of the Father, but who will give it to them, if we don’t?? Who will go to serve them, if we don’t? 
IMG_0247
The moments I spent praying for this precious little man changed my heart… William, one of our translators praying with me. 

 

IMG_0275
Jodie; the kids loved her and she loved them, deeply.
IMG_0299
Carmella, sharing her testimony on Sunday morning as Pastor Ricardo Francois translated… if you haven’t, you want to hear this woman’s story! Ex Muslim, who is now a fiery woman of God!

 

 

 

It is so important to do everything we do, IN LOVE. I saw what love looks like through this wonderful woman, everyday in Haiti. Andrea.  Photo Credit: Adam Livecchi of We See Jesus Ministries.

It is so important to do everything we do, IN LOVE. I saw what love looks like through this wonderful woman, everyday in Haiti. Andrea.
Photo Credit: Adam Livecchi of We See Jesus Ministries.

BT and a young woman we met while doing some street ministry. This girl invited us up to her home, where we prayed to bless their household. BT proceeded to pray prayers of blessing over all of the children, it was beautiful.

BT and a young woman we met while doing some street ministry. After praying for her brother, she invited us up to her home. There BT prayed, prayers of blessing over her, her siblings and her cousins, it was beautiful.

Leaders and Pastors conference in Haiti. They all received solid teaching, a new leadership book from Adam and a good meal.

Leaders and Pastors conference in Haiti. They all received solid teaching, a newly translated leadership book from Adam and a good meal, because they are worth the investment. Photo Credit: Adam Livecchi of We See Jesus Ministries

Steve, surrounded by kids who were intrigued by his camera. He did such a wonderful job, engaging them and showing them their curiosity was valuable and appreciated.

Steve, surrounded by kids who were intrigued by his camera. He did such a wonderful job, engaging them and showing them their curiosity was valuable and appreciated.

 

 

Here I was a leading a young woman to the Lord. She'd heard my testimony that morning and Jesus captured her heart. It was a true honor to lead her in prayer and watch and the Holy Spirit made her new. Thank you Pastor Ricardo for this honor and Adam for trusting us to represent you and the Kingdom of God well.

Here, I was a leading a young woman to the Lord. She heard my testimony and Jesus captured her heart. God sometimes sends us for the one. After all he is the good shepherd who will leave the 99 to find the 1… It was a true honor to lead her in prayer and watch as the Holy Spirit made her new. Thank you Pastor Ricardo for this honor and Adam for trusting us to represent you and the Kingdom of God well.

 

 

Buying some sugar cane. One US dollar got us 3 canes.

Buying some sugar cane. One US dollar got us 3 canes.

We brought pampers and a couple of other items to this momma who had none for her new baby. Earlier in the day she met with a couple of our team members who prayed for her. In Haiti I quickly learned it is never enough to just pray, one must also serve, give and sacrifice...

We brought pampers and a couple of other items to this momma who had none for her baby. Earlier in the day she met with a couple of our team members who prayed for her. In Haiti I quickly learned it is never enough to just pray, one MUST also go, serve, give and sacrifice for others.

IMG_0374
This little boy was walking around naked, so Jodie and Nadine proceeded to clothe him.
IMG_0366
Luckner of We See Jesus Ministries Haiti, dropping off clothes and shoes to this woman in need. Though not smiling here, her joy and gratitude was inexplicable, she hugged us all.
IMG_0425
“Big Momma” as we affectionately called her, is raising her grandchildren, on her own. Something about her reminded me of my grandmother. Perhaps it was her strength and love. She was so happy when we came by with toys and clothes for her little ones… Earlier in the day the team had prayed with her and then prayer for her granddaughter who for the first time WALKED!
The kingdom of God is in the miracles and in the sacrificial giving/serving of the saints.
IMG_0443
Luckner helping Jodie and Nadine make it down this rocky hill safely. After making our rounds he took us on a mini tour which led to a mountain top, where we could see all of  Carrefour from the highest point. It was beautiful. 
the lame walk
And here she is! After the team prayed, this little girl walked for the very first time! Here we see Luckner and Adam leading her, in her first steps.
Photo Credit: Carmella Ayaad of We See Jesus Ministries.

IMG_0447

         May I always see what God sees when He looks at Haiti…IMG_0448

IMG_0453
This is how we got our water to shower and use the restroom. I was grateful for the efforts they made to ensure we had water everyday. 
IMG_0452
We were very well fed everyday thanks to our wonderful kitchen team lead by Johanne Celestin! Haitian Food is delicious! 

 

IMG_0456
The view on our way to Jacmel on Christmas Eve.
IMG_0464
The Nazarene church in Haiti, in which we served that morning and afternoon. These children did not make it inside of the church because we only had enough gifts for a 100 kids. However, thankfully we had enough shoes, vitamins and coloring books to bless them as well.
IMG_0468
Adam and Pastor Reggie giving a word of blessing and instruction.
IMG_0471
Some of the women who did not make it inside with us. There was such hope in their eyes, mainly because that day, the people of Jacmel knew that they were not forgotten. 
IMG_0474
A little boy was walking around in these sandals that were falling apart.
IMG_0476
Paul fitting this boy with new shoes, his joy is evident.
IMG_0477
He did not care that his new shoes were pink, he was happy that his feet were covered and protected.
IMG_0486
We attempted to go to a water fall in Jacmel, but because of time we were unable to. Instead Adam preached the gospel to the tour guides,the leader as pictured above came forth to accept Christ. A little while later the rest would follow…

leading men to Christ
Carmella shared her testimony while Nadine translated and the rest of the tour guides decided to accept Christ… Here we see BT leading them in prayer to the Lord.
Photo Credit: We See Jesus Ministries.
This little had a 1 month old wound, which was continuously bleeding and surely infected. Aaron and Jodie took the time to clean her up, apply medicine and bandage her up. That is the gospel.

This little girl had a 1 month old wound, which was continuously bleeding and surely infected. Aaron and Jodie took the time to clean her up, apply medicine and bandage her up. That is the gospel. Photo Credit: Adam Livecchi of We See Jesus Ministries

 

riding in the back of a cop car
On Christmas day we went to a boys prison in Delmas. YES, Prison. The boys behind those bars have committed all sorts of crimes. We had the privilege to share the gospel with them. A few of us shared our testimonies including myself. We led 10 of them to the Lord for the very first time. A bunch were physically healed. They all sung, ate well and received brand new sneakers ( thanks to donations collected the night before!) and toothbrushes and toothpaste. It was a very Merry Christmas indeed.
Photo Credit: Sarah Livecchi of We See Jesus Ministries.

the Haiti Team
The Haiti dream team left to right: Nadine, Alan, Myself, Andrea, Aaron, Sarah & Justice, Adam, Carmella, Paul, BT, Steve and Jodie. Out side of the boys prison in Delmas. #Christmas in Haiti!

IMG_0501

IMG_0526

IMG_0514

 

 

 

 

 

 

<—Took a ride on this water taxi! If you look closely Adam is enjoy an iced coffee while relaxing in the Caribean ocean, that’s the life.

IMG_0558

Photo Credit: Jodie Garcia

IMG_0529

Absolutely gorgeous!

IMG_0544

Mountains on 1 side, the ocean and it’s unending beauty in the other, a perfect way to end a perfect trip at Kaliko Beach.

CTA button for Blog UG

  

Check the video! The team describes the trip in 1 Word!

To Adam and Sarah Livecchi, I just want to say thank you for the opportunity to serve under your leadership yet again. I am grateful for you both and all I’ve learned on our trips together! Words can’t express how blessed I am to be a part of your family… I look forward to traveling and ministering with you again!

If you want to go on a short-term missions trip that will change your life, check out We See Jesus Ministries

Alan standing on a wooden plank to hug Oge goodbye. I think it's safe to say none of us wanted to say bye. But it isn't "goodbye", it's " see you soon, Haiti!"

Alan standing on a wooden plank to hug Oge goodbye. I think it’s safe to say none of us wanted to say bye. But it isn’t “goodbye”, it’s ” see you soon, Haiti!”

“Abuser of God’s Grace”

Thankful
Eating dinner at PF Changs in Boston

Eating dinner at PF Changs in Boston

Tomorrow as we all gather together with our friends and families to celebrate Thanksgiving, we have something very special, undeniable and unmerited to be thankful for; Grace.  Grace is the gift from God that keeps on giving. The gift that connects us to Him and His great love. Grace is the reason I and many of you, are still alive today. God’s grace is the life-giving blood of His son, that has opened the door for us to receive eternal and permanent forgiveness and entrance into a love relationship with the God of the universe. Without grace, you and I would have no reason to be thankful, joyful and filled with hope. And while grace is a wondrous, beautiful gift, one I am sure many of us have or at least should have experienced a hundred times over, it is also one of the most abused God given gifts.  And I too have been guilty. I too have been an “abuser of God’s grace”.

 Two weekends ago, I took a drive with two friends to join a bunch of other friends from Eating Dinner  ATS and church ( Living Christ Church in Nyack, NY) for “Holy Spirit weekend”. We make this trek yearly to join Dr. Rob Reimer, Dr. Martin Sanders and Dr. Ron Walborn at South Shore Community Church in Brockton, MA, as they address topics like; the soul, the gifts of the Spirit, healing (of the soul, body and mind) etc. We go to these weekends in a search to learn, to grow and to encounter the Lord in a fresh new way and every year we come back renewed. This was my first Holy Spirit Weekend in Brockton. I was excited, filled with hope and expectation, sure that God had something new for me there, and surely He did.

 We got there 30 minutes before the first service Friday evening after being stuck in unpleasant traffic. I set up my table display for ATS with the help of a Nyack College colleague and got ready just in time for the worship to start. Dr. Martin Sanders spoke that night and out of all the wonderful things he said there is only 1 phrase I could remember “some are abusers of God’s grace” ( slight para-phrase). I remember this statement because of the way it pinched my heart, and I could not understand why. I chose to ignore the pinch, but that did not last very long.

At the end of the message, there were different response stations set up, for us to go to and be with God. A cross set at the front left of the sanctuary, for us to write and nail down our sins, struggles etc to the cross. A resolution station at the back left of the room, for us to make and write resolutions with God. A communion station in the back right, for us to partake of the Lord’s supper and a prayer station in the front right corner, to receive prayer from others. I went to the cross and found myself nailing some very familiar struggles to it. Then I confidently walked over to the communion table.

I picked up my little cracker and cup filled with grape juice, as I began to thank God for His sacrifice and prepare to take the communion, I heard God in my heart say very clearly; “You are an abuser of my grace, do not take communion, turn around and repent.”. I felt a deep sense of guilt, I knew God pegged me. He was right, I was/am an abuser of His grace.

Thoughts of the many times I have sinned knowing subconsciously He would forgive me, plagued my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I am not the kind of person to do something wrong just because I could get away with it, at least consciously. I never fell into temptation with the thought “well at least I know I can get away with it, cause God will forgive me.” But I have always known that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and I have learned that even in my failures, I can come boldly to the throne of Grace and receive mercy ( Hebrews 4:16).  And so this sense of knowing that I am forgiven, in a sick and twisted way, propelled my fleshly addictions.

 As I turned around and walked back towards the front with my cup and cracker in hand, I felt my heart-break. I knew I had offended God. I knew I had taken advantage of His goodness and mercy and it made me nearly sick to my stomach. I used to despise when people “abused His grace” and yet I was guilty of the very thing I once hated. I hastily wrote my sin on a piece of paper, nailed it to the wooden cross and took the communion. As I walked back with my little cup, I could not hold back the tears. I saw one of the awesome girls from my church and I told her what God spoke to me and why. I cried tears of repentance, tears that longed for deep change and tears that were aware of how much my struggles, hurt God.

My friend prayed for me and something she said really stood out to me ” God is saying Thank you, thank you for acknowledging me…” And in that moment I felt His grace and love once again. Because really all God is looking for; are hearts that are willing to admit their sinfulness, hearts that are willingly exposed before Him, hearts that long for true repentance ( a turning away from sin) and hearts that yearn for Him, to please Him and love Him above all others.

 So many of us have been stuck in cycles of sin, we make excuses ( I am really good, at finding those), we sin, confess, and sin again. This is offensive to God. This hurts His heart, but in His great LOVE, MERCY and GRACE,  He continues to shower us with the same grace we take advantage of.

My resolution is to NEVER BE AN ABUSER OF GOD’S GRACE, again! To be a woman who truly lays a hold of His forgiveness and kindness and turns once and for all from the very things that nailed Him to a cross.

Because truth is when He forgives us it’s permanent, and so is His freedom from sin over our lives (so let’s walk in it)!!

And THAT is something to be Thankful for!

     HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!! 

Thankful

The Struggle

Learning how to walk in freedom

Learning how to walk in freedomI have learned throughout my years here at Nyack and ATS, that we all struggle. We all have issues with sin, at some point or another. We all have fears, insecurities, doubts, anxieties, wounds and the list goes on. Whether we admit them or not we are all familiar with “The Struggle”; those things that seemingly kick our behinds at times. And if you say that you don’t have any areas of weakness, if you dare say you don’t struggle, I’d dare say you are not being honest with yourself and those around you.

And so I am about to be very real with all of you about “The Struggle”. That one thing in my life, that kicked my butt for years. This isn’t easy by any means. It’s not easy to share ones struggles with friends, nevertheless sharing it with the world-wide web, where millions of people will have access to it, forever. But with this being a growing, prevalent, and perhaps the most unspoken of issues within the Body of Christ, I will share with you all, my journey with “The Struggle”.

I became a Christian in 2008, and within the first month, of making my decision to follow Jesus Christ; I stopped smoking weed and cigarettes. I left a very bad relationship, and I abandoned mostly everything that connected me, with my previous lifestyle. Except for this one thing, an addiction to sexual sin. Now before you find yourself outraged with my confession; remember you, and if not you, someone you know, also has and/or does struggle with the very same thing.

I learned from a very young age, that if I wanted to be loved and accepted, than sex was the way to go. Sexual abuse taught me where and how to find comfort, approval, acceptance, love. And so I found myself as a Christian, dealing with my issues of loneliness, rejection, pain, etc. in the way I knew how;  by giving myself the self-gratification that I thought would ease my pain.

But I quickly discovered how different it is to engage in such things as a Christian. I would turn to this sin and immediately after feel ashamed, disgusted at myself and my behavior and completely disconnected from God. I would spend days depressed and angry at myself for committing such a horrible act. It took me years to understand that truly NOTHING could separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus ( Romans 8).  That even though, I messed up yet again, there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. That God still sees me as His beloved daughter and that His grace was TRULY sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9).  I learned this through my amazing leaders, friends and mentors while in Nyack College.

I learned to run to God the Father when I fellwomen who've helped keep me accountable, rather than run away from Him. But this wasn’t enough. Eventually I became SICK and TIRED of falling and running and I just longed for REAL freedom. I recognized I needed accountability in order for that to happen. And so I began to confess my sins. I started to open up to my close friends and mentors about my struggle. I gave them permission to ask me the tough questions and be in my face about it. But that still wasn’t enough. Because no matter how many times I confessed and how many times they prayed for me, I still fell. And even though it was something that happened maybe once or twice a month, it happened enough for me to recognize something was seriously wrong in my heart. 

And so through a class at Nyack, I learned how to begin to deal with the junk in my heart that was leading me to turn to that sort of comfort. I dealt with mommy issues, daddy issues, abandonment issues, rejection issues, abuse issues, fears, insecurities. I was as messed up as they come. I discovered that the more I dealt with my stuff, the less I struggled. But the struggle was still there.

So I went for a deliverance session, and dealt with some spiritual (demonic) influences that fueled the addiction, and that was amazing. I found myself walking in levels of freedom I’ve never known. Until I felt alone again, and fell again. And I realized then, that the only thing that would ever satisfy this longing heart was love, God’s love. So now I am learning how to spend time, daily, with the God who loves me. Allowing His love to wash over me, and fill every fracture in my soul. The more time I spend with Him, the less I crave  a false sense of satisfaction and the more freedom I know.

We all have “The Struggle”.  And after much trial and error, here are a few tips that have helped me walk in freedom:

  1.  Be real, admit there is an issue. Walk in the light. As long as you keep things hidden or pretend you’re not struggling, you will never find freedom. (1 John 1)

  2. Run to God, not from Him. He loves you. He longs to pour out his love and grace over you and over those areas that you struggle with. He is not angry with you or shocked by your sin. He understands, He gets it and He longs to walk through this WITH YOU.  (Hebrews 4:14-16)CTA button for Blog ATS

  3. Confess, share your struggle with a leader, friend, minister, a person you could trust, who will give you sound counsel, love on you and help pray you through; no matter how long it takes. (James 5:16)

  4. Deal with the underlying issues. Allow God to expose the holes in your soul and walk you through healing. It sucks, it hurts, but it is WORTH it. (Luke 6:46)

  5. Set up different levels of accountability- Screenshotblocks on your internet, friends who will ask you the tough questions and keep you accountable for your decisions and actions.

  6. Seek deliverance, often times addictions are influenced by critters. This doesn’t mean you’re not a child of God, it just means that we live in a world where there are spirit beings who seek to influence and rule our lives. And none of us want that.

  7. Soak in God’s presence and love every day. Ultimately we turn to other things to satisfy a need that only God could satisfy. So let Him quench your thirst, and ease your hunger, with the richness of His love.

Tales from a Traveling Admissions Counselor

ATS tableLast week I spent what felt like an eternity driving to an array of Christian colleges, promoting the Alliance Theological Seminary and Nyack’s graduate programs. While the overarching purpose of the trip was to bring awareness of the wonderful institution Nyack is, to hundreds of college students seeking a good seminary; God had other plans. And so in the midst of work, of being focused on getting as much visibility for Nyack as possible, of talking to prospective students and telling them about all of the incredible things Nyack and ATS have to offer them; God interrupted time and time again, seeking to impart something deeper and lasting than information about a seminary. He sought to use me, as a vessel of honor, one who would display His light, love and goodness to His children.

This for me was completely new and unexpected. While in the past I have prayed with prospective students and shared encouraging words, this time was different. Monday I drove 7 hours to Houghton College, where for 2 hours I hosted a table and spoke to a good amount of students about our graduate and seminary programs. After about an hour of recruiting, I met Jennifer. She is an eager Junior who is seeking to further her education in Childhood Ed upon graduation. While she shared her dreams with me, I noticed her rubbing her back and neck, so I asked her if there was any pain. She replied “yes, I suffered from an injury and since, my back always hurts.” I asked her ” could I pray for you?”, her reply came immediately ” please”.

So I prayed, I prayed for healing for her back, but most importantly I prayed for the love of the Father to be poured upon her heart. For her to know how deeply God desires intimacy with her, and for the truth that the Holy Spirit is always with her. I spoke peace over her. The prayer was relatively short. As I finished praying, I noticed she was crying. As soon as I said “amen”, she said ” my back has never felt this good”. And it hit me. I drove there, that afternoon, not just to recruit for ATS, I drove there, because God loves Jennifer, and He wanted to use me, to have a deep encounter with her.

 

Be a Vessel of Light Fast forward to Tuesday night. Tuesday was a long day of driving to Springfield,Ohio, where I would be staying to go to Cedarville the following day. Thankfully the drive was interjected by an impromptu lunch with a C&MA pastor, which was lovely and grabbing a cup of coffee with a longtime friend. I was about 2 hours away from my destination, when I really had to go use the restroom and was starting to feel a bit hungry. Determined on finding an Applebee’s, upon seeing what I thought was a sign for Applebees, I got off I 90. But instead, somehow ended up at a Dennys. Being unable to continue to drive, because of how badly I had to go, I resigned and decided to go in. I used the restroom and reluctantly ordered a small meal.

As I sat and ate, I asked God ” Why am I here?” I heard him say “Stand up and ask the people here, if any of them want prayer.” Now that’s just weird. Who stands up in the middle of a restaurant and asks  ”Hey does anyone need prayer?”. Okay so Dennys was relatively empty. But still… Anyway I decided to be obedient, stood up and asked. Instantly a waitress, walked up to me and said “Please pray for me, I am losing my home and I need to find a place to live that’s inexpensive for me and my children.” So I did pray. The time of prayer ended with a long hug and two teary eyed waitresses. She said to me:  ”This happens all the time, people always come in here and ask me to pray.” It was clear to me, that God is after her. He longs to pour out His love for her. And He unbeknown to me, led me to a Dennys, when I really wanted an Applebees, to show her, how much He loves and cares about every aspect of her life.

Morning Coffee

My journey ended at Geneva College. Which perhaps was the most frustrating day on the road for me, out of them all. Mostly because after waking-up at an ungodly hour and driving 4 hours, hardly any students would talk to me. Until one lovely girl, approached the table and engaged me in conversation. After a few minutes, she asked if I was hungry, of course,I was! And she offered to bring me food. As she walked away to grab me a meal, I heard God say ” You’re here for her.” “Hmm interesting”, I thought.

She came back, sat down and we shared a meal together. During that time, we had a conversation that enabled her to open up about certain things, things that I was able to speak life and wisdom into; having been in those same shoes myself. At the end, I prayed for her, about her dreams and being able to dream like a little girl again. About having peace for her future and trusting that God, is a good God and WILL take care of her. She hugged me tightly and asked “Are you real? Are you an angel?”  I laughed, “unfortunately I am NOT an angel…but God did bring me here for you today, because He loves you…”.  I thought about the trip and everything that had occurred as I drove back on Friday, I realized

CTA button for Blog ATSthat we are vessels of honor:

Flowers from the road

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2: 21

God has chosen ALL of us, who have been called by HIS name, to do good works ( see Ephesians 2:10) that HE planned long ago. I am not some sort of rare breed. I am not any different from you. I did none of those things on my accord, I only did what my Father was doing ( sound familiar?). And you too, can and should do the same.

I recognize finally, that I don’t only represent Nyack and ATS, I represent GOD. My life, (education, job, relationships etc.), is a ministry and so is YOURS!

Let the God of the universe USE YOU to bring glory and honor to HIS name. Be obedient in the little things and watch how He will BLOW your mind.

 

Nyack College Homecoming 2013 Pics!!!

Board of Alumni

This gallery contains 35 photos.

This past weekend, current students and students from years and decades past flooded the Moseley Field and Bailey Library lot, for Nyack’s Homecoming, Under the tent. There were soccer games ( GO Warriors!), volleyball games, good food, dunk tanks, and lots of opportunities to support Nyack College clubs and student activities. Below you will find a FEW of the MANY, captured memories. Photo credits belong to the wonderful Terry Arcia of the Nyack College Graduate Programs, Admissions Department! Enjoy!      

“God doesn’t Heal…”

praying for healing in Biblical Theology

“…Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they praying for healing in Biblical Theologyshall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away…” 1 Corinthians 13: 8 

( Our Biblical Theology class praying for the healing of one our classmates on 10/1/13 led by Dr. Chan—>)

 Throughout my career as an undergraduate student at Nyack College, I heard many arguments for and against the move of the Holy Spirit to heal humans beings physically. I listened to professors I respect greatly, use the verse above, amongst others, to explain why the move of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, such as healing, are no longer in function within the Body of Christ today. But I also heard stories of faith from many others who witnessed physical healings, and/or strongly believed on a Biblical basis for the gift of healing today. 

I shared in one of my posts God used words to create…so be careful with ‘em.” ,  my personal experience with the gift of physical healing. As I, last September experienced a complete healing from rheumatoid arthritis, after a time of praying during my “Divine Healing” class here at ATS.  That moment changed my spiritual walk, forever. 

 You see, like many of you, I’d struggled for a long time with the thought that “God doesn’t heal…” and even if He did, He certainly wasn’t going to use me to do it.  After all, I was just a little Christian college student, who was still fairly new to the faith and still struggling and working through a lot. During my time at Nyack college, I’d seen pockets of the move of God, but not much in the area of healing. And so while outwardly I looked confident and sure, inwardly I was just as insecure as a person receiving their first swimming lesson, after almost drowning a couple of weeks before. 

I’d prayed for healing for people, even though I didn’t believe much in it and for a long period of time I saw… NOTHING… Confession time!! While I do recall the several occasions during the small group “The Fire” (which I led my junior and senior years) seeing moments of healing and restoration, my faith was still small and filled with doubt. The constant reminder that God does not and could not use someone like me, kept my eyes off of Christ’s ability to heal, and on my limitations as a person.

CTA button for Blog UGUp until that point I believed that God didn’t heal others, when I prayed, because of me and who I was. Yet all along His healing touch was and is completely dependent on Him and who He is.

As a good friend reminded me of yesterday; “God’s miracles are not contingent on my belief in them.” -Darren Wilson in “Furious Love” (paraphrase)

That evening in class, when I encountered the God who heals, I recognized that it brings God nothing but pleasure to heal the wounds, diseases, sicknesses of His people. I encountered a God who delights in making His kingdom tangible in our bodies. A God who desires to display His authority over sickness, death and sin, by the complete removal of anything that manifests its effects. And a God who works through broken, hurting, disobedient, faithless people to display just HOW faithful, good and LOVING, HE is. 

I went on a journey as I took the Divine Healing Class offered at ATS, praying for the healing of several others. And I saw TEN people who that semester were HEALED; physically and emotionally. 

My favorite one was when my friend Matt was healed. Matt had severe pain in his foot, his foot was swollen and it was difficult for Matt to walk and stand (both of which he did all day) at work. My friend Bill and I decided to pray and pray we did. We began by asking Matt about his pain, the nature of his injury and so on. We then spent some time welcoming God into the moment. Bill led out in prayer, praying some specific blessings over Matt. As Bill prayed, my right hand felt like it was on fire, I immediately put my hand on his foot and I prayed. Long story short, by the time we stopped praying there was NO swelling, and NO pain and Matt stood up and literally ran around the house. We began rejoicing in the Lord so loudly, we woke up Bill’s mom, who also then praised God for the healing as well. GO JESUS!

Here is the cool thing about that story, Matt was not a Christian, He didn’t necessarily believe in God… but that encounter THAT night, led him to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! 

So here is where I challenge YOU. If you believe God cannot, and does not heal; if you’ve never experienced the move of the Spirit of God in healing, whether personally, or seeing it in someone else; give God a chance to BLOW your theology out of the water and go after healing! 

It would please the spirit of God to reveal to you the mysteries of God (Ephesians 3) in healing. 

I bless you to “seek, ask, and knock” and see that truly the “fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much.” 

                           love through hugs

                           (and sometimes the healing we need is in our hearts….) 

Death First

“Death first” was a statement made by Dr. Rob Reimer jokingly deeper lifeas he spoke at the Nyack College Deeper Life session on Tuesday night. And while the context in which he made the statement is different from the way I am about to use it, ” Death First” perfectly articulates what God has been doing in my life.

Since Brazil, and in the midst of the craziness that is new student orientation, plus the add/drop period for Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary, God has been talking to me consuming fireabout death. Yes, you read right, death. God is calling me to die, to deny myself and my pick up my cross and follow him daily ( Luke 9:23). He is challenging me to learn how to live my life as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2); To be one who offers up her life to the Lord wholly, so that His will would be done in my life, here on earth, as it is in heaven. 

As I tried to process and explain to my friends what God was doing in me, I was having real difficulty, until Dr. Reimer spoke on it during chapel at ATS.He helped me understand that what God was asking of me was completely normal and necessary.

 Truth is, Jesus very much meant what He said when He called us to die to ourselves. And most of us live under the false assumption that we already do this. We think that because we stopped doing the things we use to, or have dealt with some of the heart issues in our lives, that we have learned to die.

But death to self goes deeper still. It is a realm of self-denial that forces us to love our enemies as ourselves. It is living in a place where, truly, it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me (Galatians 2:20). It is surrendering ALL that we are, ALL that we have and allowing God to do whatever, however, whenever, with ALL of our lives. It is living a life that says, “God this is what I want, this is what I have, this is who I am, take all of it, consume it, and do with it all, what you will.” It is no longer making decisions and asking God to bless them, but truly asking; “God what is it that you want?” and walking under His leading.

And I have come to realize that unless we learn to live “Death Surrendered at the AGSM retreatFirst”, we are going to miss out on truly seeing God and His move here on this earth. Dr. Reimer touched on this while he spoke in our chapel. He mentioned that unless we live in this level of Holiness, we will not see God (Hebrews 12:14). We pray and plead with God for revival yet we are still the masters of our lives. We still live with division amongst us. We still live being offended and angry with one another. We still control our decisions and the things we do. We want to see God, without living wholly, Holy lives and that my friends will not work. 

CTA button for Blog ATSYou want to see God?  Choose ” Death first”. Choose to surrender all that you have and all that you are and let God have His perfect will done in you, as it is in heaven. 

“We desire that God would give us the death-stroke; but we long to die without pain; we would die to our own will by the power of the will itself; we want to lose all and still hold all. Ah! what agony, what distress, when God has brought us to the end of our strength! We faint like a patient under a painful surgical operation. But the comparison is nought, for the object of the surgeon is to give us life — that of God to make us die.” François FénelonSpiritual Progress 

Personal Advice for Seminary Student at ATS

Worship at ATS orientation
ATS Faculty Blessing New students

ATS Faculty Blessing New students with some words of wisdom at Orientation. ( Pictured left to right: Dr. Lim,  Amy Nehlsen director of AGSM, Dr. Widbin, Prof. Dressler, and Dr. Liu.)

As I look back and reflect on the last year of my life, (thanks to a good friend of mine, who through her blog, encouraged me to remember the faithfulness of the Lord),I am grateful for the many things I’ve learned in my first year as a seminary student and as an admissions associate for the Alliance Theological Seminary. Some things I learned the hard way-through tears, sleepless nights and what felt like endless struggles. And others I learned through the wise counsel of the many amazing seminarians I met. So this blog is a letter filled with words of wisdom from some of us to all of you.

Dear Seminary Noob,

1) Please be pessimistic when scheduling your time to do work, rather than being optimistic in assuming that you will get all of yourGet Started Right away work done. Seminary work requires more time and effort than undergraduate work. You are building a foundation for your ministry in Seminary. It is important that you give it your best and take your time. – Sam Lee 3rd year Masters of  Divinity (M.Div)  Bible & Theology, with Chinese Ministries student.

2) Stay as long as you can. Do not rush through your courses. -Kong Hang 3rd year Masters of Divinity Church Development student.

3) RELAX. That’s right—relax! This doesn’t mean you should get lazy, be irresponsible, or spend all of your time in leisure activities (instead of studying, researching and writing). Rather, choosing to RELAX is about adopting an attitude or trust-ful rest. It means choosing peace over anxiety, faith over fear and “good enough” over perfectionism.

4)  Don’t start “catastrophizing”. You’re here for a reason. And Katie Getting us Orientedyou’re not alone. God is with you. He will help. And you are surrounded by a community of others who share your experiences. concerns, and burdens. SO…

5) Embrace the resources God—and ATS—provide. -Katie George, Administrative Assistant to the Academic Dean.

6) Invest fully, while you  are here. There is a worthy cost to the great cause of ministry. The benefits will far outweigh the cost of your development; Spirit, Soul and Mind. – Drew Strecker 3rd year M. Div. Church Development Student.

7) Schedule free time and don’t forget to breathe. You will need the rest because your brain cannot work without it! – Terry Arcia ATS Alumni 2013 – Masters of Professional Studies, Church Development.

8)Have FUN! Enjoy your time in seminary!! – Dustin Collins- 3rd year M. Div Bible & Theology with Greek Student.

9) Seek community- ATS is a safe place. It is the best place to start dealing with all the “junk” in your life…so do it. – Eugenia Ko ATS Alumni 2013 – M Div. Bible & Theology.

10) Ask for HELP! - I survived my first year with its many ups and downs because of the many people in this community who were willing to invest in me. Whether you need tutoring, help writing a paper, someone to pray for you or even a hot meal, we are here to serve one another! So ASK!- Madelyn Badillo M.A. Intercultural.

And so with all that being said, enjoy your first year and welcome to Seminary!!!!!!!!

With Love,

The ATS Community

Receving the Blessing

Our new seminarians receiving a blessing from our Dean Dr. Ron Walborn and Faculty as they begin their journey at the Alliance Theological Seminary.

  • Real Time Web Analytics