Serving Side By Side: This is the Body of Christ

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Technically, I spent this past week at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference in Harvey Cedars, NJ. But I would say I spent this past week in a small slice of heaven. Even though I hardly got any sleep all week, it left me feeling energized and closer with both Jesus and my students. Upon arriving at HCBC, my group of teens found themselves surrounded by hundreds of teens from other churches and almost immediately began to initiate conversation and participate in activities together. IMG_0792

As a leader, I found myself in a slightly more exclusive group. Each morning, I attended  leaders’ meetings and was surrounded by people who I felt were much more qualified for my job than I was. As the week went on, however, I became more confident and felt very close with my fellow leaders even though I had only known them for a matter of days.

CTA button for Blog UGI soon found myself wondering how I connected with these people so quickly. Then, I realized that it had nothing to do with how much time we spent together or how many laughs we shared, but rather, it had everything to do with Jesus. Never in my life have I experienced a better example of the body of Christ and the church outside of the building. It was a powerful thing to be surrounded by people who both loved Jesus, and were dedicated to teaching teens about Him.
IMG_6267At one point during the week, emotions were running high and several of my students came face to face with their struggles in a very real way. Many were asking for prayer, and help, and advice, and it was extremely overwhelming. One night, I approached a young leader from another church and just asked if we could pray together. All I knew about this leader was his name but we laid hands on each other and prayed for strength, energy, and wisdom. I am confident that this connection was Jesus at work. As young leaders, we were both seeking wisdom and guidance in an attempt to serve our students in the most effective way possible.
I believe heaven will be much like this week, consisting of  fellowship with believers and constant worshiping of God. The only difference is that God will physically be there with us to audibly join in the conversation. I will never forget that night I prayed fervently alongside a brother in Christ, because serving God side by side– this is the body of Christ.

The Commute

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Commute

Imagine this: you had to roll out of bed earlier than you wanted to, an hour-long drive lies between your home and your job, and you have an eight hour day of work to look forward to when you get there. Then you have to drive an hour to get back home. Your back and neck are stiff, your eyelids feel heavy, and your driving leg is killing you. Do you feel stressed yet? Now imagine doing it Monday through Friday for over a decade. That’s what my dad, and many other men and women like him, has had to do for years. I never understood how difficult this was until this summer when I entered the “real world” and started working a little less than an hour away from home, pretty near to where my dad works. I have learned a lot about what my dad goes through by experiencing it for myself.

On days that we are both able to do it, my dad and I ride to work together, but there have been plenty of days when I had to commute on my own. Often, it is hard to keep my eyes open and there is no one talking to you to keep you awake. I have to drive to work without enough sleep and I have to drive back from work after a slow, uneventful day. I am usually tired, cranky, and unpleasant at the end of a workday. What amazes me is that my dad is able to do this five days a week and still be pleasant and fun when he gets home. Doing what he does has caused me to appreciate him more than I did previously. When we ride together, I get to learn a lot about him through the conversations we have. These conversations and the stories that he tells reinforce the qualities that are already apparent, such as strength and determination.

When I was a child I did not fully understand the difficulties that my parents face to provide for our family, and I did not appreciate their struggles. Now that I face some of those difficulties for myself, I am more easily able to relate to and comprehend what my mom and dad have to do to keep our family fed and clothed. An hour commute has changed my perspective on my father and what he does and goes through for me. It’s hard to appreciate your parents or guardians when you do not understand their struggle, but before you get upset with them for being stressed out or angry with you, remember what they go through to provide for you and try to imagine yourself in their place.

Church in PA and Chapel at Nyack College

I love church, I really do. While at Nyack, I did a lot of “church shopping“. But on weeks that I didn’t make it to church, chapel was a great stand-in. The community of believers, worship, and message encouraged me and gave me many opportunities to grow in my faith. Being back in PA, I’ve been attending the church I work for, and it’s been hitting me how alike yet different church and chapel are.

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In my “church-shopping” especially, I have learned the importance of worship. God has shown me that if your heart is honest, the worship team and style doesn’t matter. Sure, I prefer some styles to others, but I have really learned the importance of the meanings behind songs rather than the rhythm of them. Nyack’s rotating chapel worship teams provide a contemporary mood, so I like to look for a more traditional set in a church –but that’s completely preference– and my church in PA has a great mix of both.

A prominent part of any church service is the message. Nyack books an incredibly wide range of speakers from around the world: men, women, locals, people from other countries, alumni, students, and more. This is one of the things I really love about Nyack, but there is also something I love about having the same few pastors preach and having a personal connection to them. Nyack taps into this as well, and occasionally invites a pastor to speak for an entire week. Working at a church, I have the awesome opportunity to get to know the pastors on a personal level, and even observe them as they go through the process of writing sermons.

Finally, a crucial part to any church atmosphere is the community of people involved. I love going to chapel with the same people I live with and go to class with because it provides an awesome opportunity to experience God together. On the other hand, I like having a separate group of believers who aren’t necessarily going through all the same stuff I am. I like interacting with people of all ages, some who work, some who are parents or children, and worshiping God with them, and that’s why having a home church is very important to me.

CTA button for Blog UGAfter thinking through the similarities and differences between these two atmospheres, I found that both are essential to my life as a college student. I would encourage all students to go out into their communities and become involved in a church, even if they regularly attend chapel. Not necessarily because chapel is lacking in any particular way, but because church and chapel are two very different experiences. But, however it is your choice to meet with God, I would encourage you to be all there. A devoted, real, and honest heart is truly pleasing to our God. “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” -John 4:23-24

How to Travel Between Nyack and New York City

Many people that live in New York City are comfortable staying in the five boroughs and attending college there, and the Nyack College Manhattan campus is available for them to do just that. Other residents of NYC would prefer to escape the urban atmosphere during the academic year, and the Rockland campus is the perfect place for them to be removed from the city for a small town artsy community. The problem comes when it is time to travel between Nyack and New York City at the beginning or end of a semester, or for a short trip or a weekend visit home. When transporting a lot of luggage during move-in or check-out, driving will be your best option; there are a few different routes that will bring you to Rockland County from the City. When you are staying a short while and all of your necessities can fit in a carry-on bag, public transportation will most likely suit you better than driving; there are two modes of public transportation, bus and train, that will bring you from Rockland to New York City or vice versa.

CTA button for Blog UGThere are three ways to drive between Nyack and New York City: the Palisades Parkway, the New York Thruway, and the Garden State Parkway. The Palisades Parkway is the shortest route, being about a forty-five minute drive. The Thruway and the Garden State Parkway are both a few minutes more than an hour drive. Which route you choose should depend on traffic; if one route is stopped up because of an accident or rush-hour traffic, you should choose a different route.

The bus is the cheaper of the two public transportation options. Rockland Coaches, a company that operates through Coach USA, offers bus rides into and out of the City and is in place mainly to service commuters. The coaches pick up passengers in Nyack as well as in various other locations throughout Rockland County. A one way trip between Nyack and the George Washington Bridge terminal costs just under nine dollars, and a trip between Nyack and the Port Authority terminal costs ten dollars.

If you would like to take the train, you will need to find a way across the bridge to the train station in Tarrytown, which is about fifteen minutes away from the Rockland campus. A taxi will be your most comfortable option, but taking the Tappan Zee Express from Nyack to Tarrytown will be much cheaper. The Tappan Zee Express is a bus service that runs daily and costs three dollars to ride. Once in Tarrytown, you can take the Metro North train service from the Tarrytown station to Grand Central Station for thirteen dollars one way. With both bus and train fares included, your round trip cost will be about thirty-two dollars.

Traveling between Nyack and New York City can be a hassle, but with proper planning, it should not be an issue. Transporting a lot of luggage may present problems, but as long as you or a loved one have a car that is big enough, one of the three driving routes should serve you well. If you are not carrying a lot with you, the bus or train will serve you better. However you choose to get there, I hope you have safe travels and enjoy your trip.

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Behind the Scenes of Nyack’s New City Campus

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It’s almost time to say goodbye to Broadway.  It’s almost time to pack up the trucks and make the move downtown.

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Nyack College is igniting a new beginning in a neighborhood steeped in history.  On an afternoon stroll through Manhattan, our students will be able to visit the Freedom Tower, St. Paul’s Chapel, and even Fraunces Tavern Museum—where George Washington delivered a farewell speech to his generals after the Revolutionary War.

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And this will be our new home.

 

Outside the administrative offices, a faux wall separates sidewalk traffic from the buzz saw commotion inside.  It’s hard to imagine new offices while watching this current hum of construction.  But with a few weeks left, the furniture and fixtures are almost ready for placement.

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Inside the main building, men at work lay colored tiles according to the bright schematic that our new New York City classrooms will have.  I visited the orange floor where the tangerine pop of color accented doorways and hallways.  On the red floor, carpenter tools stand by freshly laid textile carpeting while workers measure and check the quality of work.

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In Fall 2013, undergraduate and graduate classes will be held in these rooms.  But for now, the space is maximized for organization.  Artwork and breakables are designated to their own classrooms while “the command center” resembles a gallery walk through a beautiful mind.

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what will new classes look like at Nyack

Maps, plans, and checklists line the walls.  Sketches lean against each other in the corner.  Meanwhile staff and administrative personnel from our Rockland campus flip through charts and check details on laptop computers.

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It’s happening!

 

Winter is ended and spring comes with many blessings including our city campus’s move to 17 Battery Place.  The days are ticking away and a small army of workers continue to hammer, paint, and solder their way toward our big move!

 

In a few months, students will climb out of subway stairwells and zip up elevators.  Fall classes will commence and in the backdrop through the windows, we’ll have this view!!

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Are you Nyack’s Next Blogger?

blog for nyack

 

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Represent our Christian College!

 

Are you Nyack’s Next Blogger?

Nyack College is searching for six student bloggers with the skills and stories to make our blog, Life at Nyack stand out.  Each week our bloggers will be featured on Life at Nyack with stories that cover our passion for higher education at New York’s Christian college… And, yes, this is a paid position!  So…

Are you a writer?

Can you inspire others with your insight into college life?  Can you tell a story that is entertaining? Do you want to develop a 21st century skill that will boost your resume?

If so please forward a writing sample and one photo that illustrates your article to Melissa Ruttanai via email: melissa.ruttanai [at] nyack.edu

Writing samples should be no less than 400 words and focus on one of the following themes.

-higher education

-New York lifestyle

-Christian college

-another topic of your choice

 

Good luck!

 

 

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