OverbookedSo far, this summer has been the busiest summer of my life. I work two jobs (one of which is forty-five minutes away), volunteer at church, help out around the house, spend time with my family and girlfriend, and on top of all that I still try to find time for myself to do the things that I enjoy. In summers past it was easy to find time every day to sit down and read a book or watch T.V., but this summer it has become a rare occurrence. Sleep is in short supply and leisure times are few and far between. I placed higher priority on other things and other people than on myself and my own well-being. It would be easy for me to blame my dilemma on other people or on circumstance, but the truth is that it is no one’s fault but mine that I am overbooked.

Now that I have more things to pay for; such as car payments, gas, food and dates; I have begun to want as many hours at work as I can obtain. After all, the more I work, the bigger the check, and the bigger the check, the happier and more at ease I will be…or so I thought. Taking on two jobs and more hours than I could comfortably handle ended up being stressful, and the bigger checks did not make it any easier. I am blessed with enough to sustain me without needing to work more than one job, but over-ambitiousness caused me to go beyond what I needed to do and stress myself out. I need to be thankful and trust God that what I have will continue to be enough.

I have never been one to let other people maliciously keep me from progressing and advancing, but I am in the bad habit of helping others to the point of neglecting myself. It is easy for me to say no to someone who is doing or saying something intentionally to keep me down, but it is very difficult for me to deny the request of a loved one who genuinely needs my help, even when it inconveniences me. To a degree, this is a good quality to have, but it can quickly get to the point where I place the needs of others over my own needs and damaging myself just as much as I am helping the other person. This summer more than ever I have come to realize that I am doing others a disservice when I do not tend to my own needs before tending to theirs. I need to be at my best in order to give my all to people that need my help.

There is only so much time in a day, week, or month, and there are only so many things that can fit into that time. It takes foresight and experience to properly allot your time to accomplish what needs to be done and still salvage some time for yourself. Be careful when making commitments, because filling you schedule with too many of them can be detrimental.

The Six Flags of Youth Ministry

photo 4My youth group’s trip to 6 Flags Great Adventure had been scheduled for months, and all the senior high students anxiously awaited the opportunity to be free from their parents and spend the entire day with friends riding roller coasters and eating overpriced junk food. Upon the arrival of said day, however, my boss (the church’s youth pastor) was unable to lead the trip because of an injury. That left yours truly, the youth intern, to bear the responsibility of 21 students, their money, park tickets, and their safety.
Long story short, it ended up being a great day. Among all the rides and junk food, I got to put to test all the things I’ve been learning in the past few months about youth ministry:

1) It’s not about you. All other points fit under this capstone. The second  you begin to focus on yourself, you lose sight of your students and it is no longer about what’s best for them, but rather what’s best for you. Even though you would rather not attend an all-nighter, or sing a stupid song on stage, your willingness to be selfless might give CTA button for Blog UGway to good talks with a student, or evidence of a transparency they need to know you have.

photo 22) Leader first, friend second. Believe it or not, you can make the most difference in a students life when you first establish yourself as their leader, not their peer. In no way should you not be their friend, but it is necessary to first establish respect because then they know that you can answer their tough questions and and you’re trustworthy, setting you apart from their teenage friends.

3) Comfort zones don’t exist. As a youth leader, that kid who no one talks to is now your responsibility. Sure, you wish your students would put aside their egos to approach him, but most of the time, that’s not the case and it’s up to you to be a good example.

4) Flexibility is key. It might be a kid who calls late at night to talk when you have to be up early in the morning, a fellow leader who drops out of an event last minute, or a sound system glitch. You name a problem, and it can happen in youth ministry. The important thing is to remain level-headed because that is not only the best way to handle the situation, but it also sets a good example for your students.

photo 35) Listen. Even when the play-by-play of their softball game seems dull, or their favorite music drives you crazy, listen. Listen to their stories, experiences, and questions; you might be the only person who does.

6) There are no days off. Every hour of every day, you are their mentor, friend, and example. This line of work takes commitment, confidence, selflessness, and most of all the humility to ask God for help because you can’t do it without him.

Fun Summer Livin’…On a College Student Budget!

photo 1 (1)I love summer break, I really do. But, I have come to realize that the prime purpose of my summer is to make money (rake in the cash, if you will). Since I’m working a few jobs during my summer away from Nyack College, I have really exciting bi-weekly Fridays as I receive pay check after pay check. More often than not, it’s tempting to channel all that excitement into pampering my newly wealthy self with a mani-pedi, or dinner and a movie, or all of the above. But, since growing up is all about making wise choices, and being in college means growing up, I find myself doing most of my summer livin’ on a budget. I can imagine that many other college, and even high school, students find themselves in the same situation and, like I do, they struggle with how to have a fun summer with out spending a lot of money. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking outside the box:

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Go exploring: This is one of my most favorite things. I love to bike, and finding new bikephoto 1 trails is always thrilling. I also suggest going on a walk with a friend in a park you’ve never been to before, or through a neighborhood that you usually just drive right past.

Host a “dinner and a movie” night: I love to cook; it is literally my last name. Instead of going out with friends for dinner and a movie, have everyone bring a movie to your house and cook a meal together. You can

photo 2 (1)make something easy like pasta, or something more daring like chicken cordon bleu. If it’s a nice night, break out the grill. Then, watch a movie or two while you eat.

Hangout with Jesus over coffee: Have some friends over and make a pot of coffee. Use stuff you have around the house like chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, sugar, etc. and make a coffee bar (If you want, ask all your guests to bring their favorite ice cream topping then surprise them when they find out they’ll be putting it in coffee). Then, while you all enjoy your drinks, have a Bible study or time of worship. This is great for small intimate groups, and it can be really refreshing to have some real, deep conversations with some people you love.

Create and decorate: This may be geared a little more toward the ladies, but my roomie and I love crafts. You can get cheap little magnet or sun-catcher sets at Walmart, and it’s so fun to get together with friends and make decorations for your dorm room. photo 2It doesn’t have to be your roommate– it can be anyone. I also love friendship bracelets, so if you’re doing this with friends from home, making bracelets can be a cute bonding activity for pre-separation.

So stay on that budget, all you crazy college kids, and don’t forget to think outside the box!

Abraham: Man of Faith

Abraham is often referred to as the ‘father of faith’, but was his faith always so strong? Like every person bad or good they are all flawed. Even Abraham, The father of all nations had highs and lows of the faith journey. We are able to learn so much from the examples of Abraham and ultimately find that though we mess up and doubt at times, God can and will still use us for his plan.

God promises Abraham that he will begin a great nation and all the people of the world will be blessed because of him and his family, but Abraham had no sons to continue his family line. Abraham had many times of doubt that God would provide for him. First of all his wife could not bear children also they were both very old and still had no children. Even when God sent a messenger to Abraham to tell him Sarah would have a son she laughs at the thought.

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God does come through on his promise though and they have a son and name him Isaac. God was faithful, but now it was Abraham’s turn to prove himself as faithful to God above all else. In Genesis 22 God told Abraham to give a burnt offering to him and that he needed to offer Isaac to him. Believing that God would come through for him Abraham set up the offering and was about to kill Isaac when God spoke to him and said he had proven his faith and did not need to kill his son. This is the climax of the story of Abraham’s great faith in God. We see a great maturation in Abraham as we see him go from the man who doubts to the man with great faith in an almighty God.

Even with his downfalls Abraham is still listed in the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11. In this chapter of the Bible all the greatest warriors of the faith are listed and Abraham is listed amongst them. It is incredible how God can change a man of such great doubt into a man of such great faith, so much faith that he is written about as this man of faith so many years later. Abraham’s journey goes to show that God can and will use anyone, regardless of there faults, to do his will

Much can be learned from the life of Abraham about how God can use imperfect people for great portrayals of faith. Everyone has times in their life when they doubt that God is powerful enough to come through for them and provide for them. But, God uses imperfect people to do extraordinary things. Like Abraham, even if you have screwed up time and time again in life, God can and will use you to do amazing things for Him and His kingdom.

God is the MASTER of Blowing Minds

Missions trip fund

An envelope I received through Nyack/ATS campus mail! Giving $205 towards my missions to Brazil!

These past few weeks have been nothing short of inexplicable. I could come up with a ton of fancy words and phrases to describe the moments, encounters, prayers and day by day occurrences, but none could capture my thoughts quite like ” God is the Master of Blowing minds…”

Worship @ LCC

Holy Spirit Weekend @ Living Christ Church; Worship: Andrew Meher, Julie Hodson,  Matt Ellenberger and yours truly!


From seeing someone completely healed from a spinal injury (amongst the many who were physically, emotionally and spiritually healed during Holy Spirit weekend at my church, Living Christ church in Nyack), to watching financial provision pour in through my community to support the missions trip to Brazil,to my amazing ATS and NYACK friends who put together a wonderful last-minute Birthday party for me, God has not once stopped to amaze me recently.

CTA button for Blog ATSYes, even after the car accident (yeahhh… I crashed my car into the back of cab on the FDR…), I saw Gods incredible purpose, when I was able to share His love with my tow truck driver. Who afterwards told me, that usually Christians get angry and argue with him when he shares his beliefs and he couldn’t believe how nice I was… I mean come on; only God could put something together like that.

Fancy  Pants

My co-workers at ATS admissions showed me love on my Birthday… By writing ALL over my windows haha

God is a ninja, a master at blowing minds.

He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. He knows how to deliver, how to captivate our hearts and how go above and beyond what we could ever ask, think of, or imagine. And that’s just it, GOD DESIRES to blow our minds. He desires to do the inexplicable. He seeks for every opportunity to display His glory in our lives. He gets a thrill out of working ALLLLLLL things together for our good ( Romans 8:28). And He thoroughly enjoys putting a smile on one of His kid’s faces.

God, is a good God. Nothing, no circumstance, mishap, disease, trouble, violence, natural disaster could ever negate that truth. And truly it is up to us, to see HIM for who He is and seek HIM for what he wants to offer us; His mind-blowing presence in every corner of our lives.

Bday party

These people made my birthday a special and blessed one!

The reason my mind is being blown so much lately is because I finally understand that God wants to do the incredible and give us the incredible, because HE is the incredible one. And He wants to give us HIMSELF.

I can seek God for finances, a spouse, provisions for my job, (insert any other need here)… But friends there is something so much greater to seek God for and that’s HIM!

Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying to not pray for anything you need, I am a firm believer in the effectiveness of our prayers for all and in all things.

BUT I AM saying; SEEK HIM FIRST. You’ve heard it before, “seek first the kingdom and all its righteousness and everything else will be added onto you.” Matt 6:33

God is not a means to an end my friends. HE IS THE END. HE IS beyond anything we could ever ask for, think of, or imagine…( Ephesians 3:20)

And so my ninja God, who has so masterfully exploded my mind lately, longs to do the same for you! Because he’s a master at blowing minds and He loves to do so! =)

intentionally diverse

Me+friends from ATS/Nyack= Intentionally Diverse


It’s All About Love

Camp is going amazing as we just got back from our first week on the road taking the camp experience to 160 kids in Warren, Ohio. God definitely showed up as we came together as a team and worked to get the kids excited and love them like Jesus loves us. It was a powerful week filled with joys and hardships, but all resulting in seven kids accepting Christ into their lives for the first time. God is certainly moving not only our team, but also back at the camp in Vermilion.

One of the top things I enjoy most about spending the weekends at camp is having lunch with my small group on Sunday afternoons. As an entire staff we are split into smaller groups of four or five and meet weekly to discuss the book of James. This morning we went through the beginning of James chapter two where it tells us not to show favoritism. We had a really great discussion on the topic and pondered the idea of seeing all people as equal. For me I tend to get along with most people, but there is a pesky few whose personalities don’t align or we just hit it off on the wrong foot. I’m an expert at avoiding these kinds of people in my life. But, going over this passage and discussing it with the girls in my small group pointed out the importance of finding value in all people.

I 100% want to live a life of love towards all people and that is something that I was reminded of through this experience. Several years ago before going on a mission trip someone told me “just love the person in front of you”. This phrase is so simple, but so significant and vital to grasp I believe in order to live my life with purpose. As long as I can just focus all my attention and energy on whomever I am with at that moment than love will flow from the actions. This applies to my family, classmates, campers, and coworkers. God has so clearly placed each and every one of these people into my life and his plans for our lives are far greater than I could ever know or imagine. Another thing that I have come to realize is you never know what impact one simple conversation or action can have on someone’s life. I am learning to love with equality and greater intention.

The Word- Spoken Word Piece

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The Word- Spoke Word piece written by yours truly.

Watch and listen first before reading below! ( hahaha, no seriously!!)

This piece was inspired after a time of prayer two years ago in my dorm room in Simpson Hall at Nyack college. I remember exactly how my though progression took place;  As I was praying, and using several scriptures to pray, I remembered that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. And then I thought about John 1:1 which describes Jesus as the Word. And suddenly it ocurred to me; God used words to create, and the word He used was Jesus and Jesus came out of the abundance of God’s heart.

In other words, JESUS is the revelation of GOD the Father’s heart. INCREDIBLE. So if we know Jesus, we know the heart of the Father. WE know the very things that move him, that cause him to smile, that make him cry…  If we want to truly have God’s vision, we need to first know his heart and the revelation of His Heart is: Jesus.

I pray this piece and revelation blesses you as much as it blessed me.

~Are you interested in ministry?  Discuss how you can serve God and others at the Alliance Theological Seminary. Ask us! 

2013 Graduate Daniel Looks Back

commencement line at nyack college

Daniel Ortiz sat behind the front desk of the Admission’s Office inside Shuman Hall.  Finishing his Nyack College years with a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry, Daniel looks back at his undergraduate experience on campus.

undergraduate degee

Freshman year was “crazy and unexpected”, he stated.  Everything was a huge learning experience even though Daniel was once just happy to graduate high school.  “I’m the first person [in my family] to graduate from college.”  At first he wanted to go into the military but his sister encouraged him into another direction, toward higher learning and Nyack.

“It felt right.” Daniel said,  tilting in his chair.  Born and raised in New York City, he was glad to transition away from an urban lifestyle to a campus that was beautifully set overlooking the Hudson River.  Leaving home was a difficult decision but in doing so Daniel says that God restored his relationship with his parents.  By leaving, he could appreciate them more.

banner at graduation westchester county center

Like any teenager, he felt his parents were overprotective but as he looks back over the past four years, he’s grown to understand their beliefs and actions.  “Superglad,” he said, describing the stronger bond he feels towards them.

“To see my parents so happy at graduation… It’s meant everything to me.” Daniel, the youngest of six, added and discussed how faith is a verb, an action word.  His time as a Nyack Warrior gave him new perspective as well as opportunities.

the bible

As a front desk coordinator assistant, he likes to work closely with both the director and assistant director of admissions.  They teach him about counseling and behind-the-scenes practices in college enrollment.  But he also said that he is grateful for learning about leadership from them.

At the end of our conversation, I asked Daniel “What has been the highlights of attending Nyack?”

His face is serious as he says without hesitation.

Above all “I understand my relationship with Christ.  As a kid, I was in choir and preached. But here, I learned that I am never alone.  Even when academics and relationships caused trouble, my teachers pointed me back to Christ.”

Second, “meeting my fiancé.  She is a student here too, from Minnesota and one of the biggest factors for my relationship with Christ.”

Third, “Being able to walk across that stage [at graduation].  My high school was a ‘push school.’”  Daniel’s secondary school was a funnel to process students through the grades and rush them through graduation.  One teacher, Daniel said, would finish the lesson and then look at the class, saying “You’re never gonna remember that tomorrow.”

commencement line at nyack college

Daniel shook his head lightly and smirked at me as if saying “Can you believe it?’

Today, Daniel continues working for Nyack College as he and his future wife plan their wedding.  Congratulations, Daniel!

10 Amazing Adventures around Nyack

Here’s a list of 10 amazing adventures you can have for cheap or free while you are looking for something fun to do while you are a Nyack College student. College life is busy, but sometimes it is hard to come up with fun and new things to do. Or maybe you are a perspective student and you want to know what there is to do around Nyack in your free time. This list is a compilation of just a few of the fun things I have gotten to do since I’ve been here and I look forward to adding many more adventures in the future.

Day in downtown Nyack

Nyack College is nestled in the small, but lively town of Nyack which is filled with cute shops, unique food, great events, and amazing river views. I have spent whole days just walking around downtown and especially on days they have street fairs I love walking around and meeting some of the community.

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Hall Events

Whatever dorm you live in there are sure to be many hall events which are hosted by different floors and R.A.s. I love going to the ones on my floor, but have also crashed many other ones. These events offer free food, good conversation, bonding, and often time some crafting and all for free.

The Woods

Another great way you can spend your time is taking a hike or walks through the different wooded areas and trail that sit on the mountain behind the school. This is a great place to just relax and enjoy nature or visit some of the infamous sights that students like to visit in the woods.

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Of course if you have a little money and some willing friends you can always go and spend the day in the incredible city of New York. There are endless things you could do in the city and even get out without spending a lot of money. Take the public transportation in and eat cheap like at the $1.00 pizza joint at 40th and 7th street.

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Set a date with a friend or even your roommate to share some tea and coffee or watch a movie together and pop some popcorn.

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Go Home with a Friend

I live 8 hours from Nyack so I don’t really have the option to go home, but I have gotten offers from some great friends to go to their home for the weekend. I got to go spend the time in a nice bed, get my laundry done, eat home-cooked meals, and spend time with a great family. It was such a huge blessing!


The Tappan Zee Bridge can be seen from the college and just across it is the city of Yonkers. My favorite things to do across the bridge are to visit a giant market-style store call Stew Leonard’s or to visit the other unique sites on the other side of the bridge.


Sports Events

There are a ton of different sporting events on campus that I have been able to attend throughout my time at Nyack. We have lots of different teams and it’s a great way to spend time with friends and support our Nyack teams.

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Just a short drive along the Hudson River lays the adorable town of Piermont. It’s right on the water and as you can guess the town is complete with a huge pier. I love driving out on the pier and singing or to watch the sunrise on occasion.

top10 piermont


This idea may be last, but it is definitely my favorite thing to do with my friends on slow Friday afternoons. We get dressed up and go to take pictures at different places around campus or hop in the car and visit some of the beautiful abandoned building that dwell in Rockland County.

top10 photoshoot

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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.


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

Dorm Rooms at Nyack College

Coming into Nyack as a freshman, one of my biggest questions was what my dorm room would look like. I searched the internet for picture of dorms, but couldn’t wait to move in and just find out what the place I would be living in would look like. Since being here the dorms still fascinate me and I love seeing how different peoples look and how they choose to decorate them. So if there is anyone out there anxiously trying to find out what their new home will look like here are several pictures of some of the rooms I have lived in as well as rooms on my floor in Christie and Simpson Hall. They are all unique and creatively decorated and I hope this gets you excited to move into your new home if you are a new student.

Here are some panoramic shots then some general ones that reflect dorm life. Update: New pictures here for Simpson Hall. Enjoy!





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The Wall at Nyack College


“I love The Wall because there’s a great view of the entire campus from there. When the sun hits the stone, it gets nice and warm making, it a great place to relax. It’s also a great place to hangout with friends because it’s in a very central area.” -Inez Montgomery


“I love it there because the view is really pretty. When you’re chilling on The Wall, you can see the river, and people on the field, and watch the sports games. It’s one thing the athletic department has that other schools don’t. Also, it’s a little dangerous up there.” -Rebekah Williams


“The Wall is a great spot because it’s close enough to the cafe that you can grab a sandwich and sit there and just enjoy the view.” -Tori Hummel


“It honestly makes me feel nostalgic. And it’s really high up, which is fun.” -Kathryn Stoehr


“I love watching sports games from there. It’s a perfect view of the field.” -Brian Lawrence


“The Wall is a wonderful place to interact with my friends.  It provides a neat, natural environment where I can enjoy watching nature and other students. Also, its central location is ideal for meeting up with people.” -Rachel Kunker


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