ADAPTING YOU TO LIFE. ADAPTING YOU TO GOD
Vol. 3 Issue 3
THE BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE A CALL TO FAITH, HOPE AND STEADFASTNESS
SCHOOL IS STARTING AGAIN! WILL YOU FINISH WELL? 5 MOST ANTICIPATED FALL ALBUM RELEASES
RECENT GRAD CHARNAY BLAND DISCUSSES MOVING WITH GOD
SO, MY DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS, BE STRONG AND IMMOVABLE. ALWAYS WORK ENTHUSIASTICALLY FOR THE LORD, FOR YOU KNOW THAT NOTHING YOU DO FOR THE LORD IS EVER USELESS. - 1 CORINTHIANS 15:58, NLT
P. 16 | The Timely Life
P. 40 | Most Anticipated Fall Album Releases
IN EVERY ISSUE
P. 22 | Rising From Failure to Graduate P. 24 | The Connection Between Frustrations, Vanity and Finishing Well P. 28 | When God Calls you to Move
CAREER & MONEY P. 36 | Social Speak-Easy
• EDITOR’S LETTER
Photo: Carine Abraham
Me in my cap and gown after graduating from the University of Florida in December 2010. Two semesters later than planned, but right on time. Photo: Natasha Dure
I’d like to say that I’m a finisher, but the truth is, I’ve struggled to finish just about everything I’ ever started. Part of that is just the way I’m wired. I’ve come to realize that I’m great at starting things but I tend to lack the endurance to finish, especially when things get really tough. It’s a weird phenomenon because I’m such a high achiever -- and a perfectionist. I’ll aim high but then in the midst of my pursuit of these lofty goals, I lose momentum and I eventually burn out. College was the same way. I went in with the goal of getting straight A’s, running organizations, graduating top of my class, creating the next great magazine publication, going on, like, 50 missions trips (okay, maybe like…two), etc. But that didn’t really happen. Instead, life happened….Jesus happened! I learned really quickly that I couldn’t do everything that I wanted to do AND get straight A’s (I failed two classes and had to retake one of them three times before passing, yikes!!). I also couldn’t study all the time and maintain friendships. And, neither was I able to accomplish amazing feats for God because my relationship with Him was suffering. I needed to learn how to prioritize. I needed to learn how to nurture my relationship with Christ, and how to put Him first. It really is the weirdest thing. Once I actually put Jesus first, everything else in my life began to fall into place. I became a better student, better friend and a better disciple. I’m sure you can relate. It can be so easy to give up when things get tough. It can be even easier to prioritize everything else above Jesus. In this issue, we talk about this, and much more. As you prepare to start classes again, we want to encourage you to finish well. Life can be challenging and sometimes Jesus will ask us to do things that are really uncomfortable and, at times, nonsensical. But if I, and the rest of the contributors, have learned anything, it’s that trusting Jesus’ way is the best way. We hope you enjoy this issue!
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THE TIMELY LIE Tiffany Morrow, Contributor
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. - Matthew 6:33 I’m sure many of you have been part of a conversation that goes something like this...
more important than my desires for you and that worldly success is more important than eternal success – the way I define true success.
everything done that I want to get done. I keep a ‘to-do’ list, but hardly do I get everything on the list done.
focus on knowing you and get things done - meet the demands of being an employee, student and child.
YOU: Gosh. When you put it that way I sound terrible and YOU: There just isn’t enough time in the day for me to get ungodly. I don’t think its either-or, rather both-and. I can And the list is always there, resting in the back of my mind, reminding – even nagging – me that there are still things I’ve got to get done. It’s never ending!
JESUS: But you don’t. You were just complaining about not
The things ‘to-do’ keep adding up. More responsibilities. More tasks. If only time could stop so I could at least catch up.
having enough time and always having a nagging and growing ‘to-do’ list. And when you don’t have enough time – or so you think, because of your faulty view of time – I know what the first to get cut is: your time with me, getting to know me.
Then Jesus enters into the conversation…
YOU: Okay. You are right, Lord. But it still doesn’t seem right that I can stop everything and just seek to know you all the time with all my energy and only think about you.
JESUS: You don’t need a ‘to-do’ list, you need to know me.
YOU: Well, yes, I need -- and even want to know you, Lord. JESUS: Have you tried it? But, there are also things I need to get done, some of which are even for you. You know, things you have called me to do.
YOU: No. JESUS: So you don’t know what the results would be, do you?
JESUS: I have called you to know me.
JESUS: I’ll explain it to you. When you seek to know me, and
JESUS: There is no ‘and’. Before I died on the cross my plea to
that becomes truly your sole aim, I transform more and more of your identity, growth and purpose.
our Father was that you would know me, be with me where I am and see my glory! The more you know me, the more you are with me.
I begin to open your eyes, open your ears, open your mind and open your heart to be in tune with things your natural body could not perceive or understand. These things, which I begin to reveal to you and you begin to receive, are spiritual and everlasting, they transcend the physical realm and allow you to see on a deeper level and act on what is truly important.
When you focus your energy, thoughts and time on knowing me, I lead you and guide you and move you to do exactly what I want you to do each and every day.
YOU: That seems off. Like it’s too easy. I feel like I’d be lazy and unproductive.
Without this insight, you are convinced that the things you are doing or told is expected of you are the important things, but you are terribly mistaken. I hate to see you running yourself dry chasing after things that are not truly important.
JESUS: Is seeking to know me lazy and unproductive? YOU: No…But, I have to do other things too. I have a boss and teachers and parents who expect things from me, things that kind of determine my success in work and school and life.
YOU: I do recall that thing you said in one of the Gospels: ‘Seek first His Kingdom and Righteousness and all these
JESUS: You have just told me that people’s expectations are things will be given unto you.’ 17
JESUS: Yes! There is a deeply rooted belief in your heart that you and sustain you and guide you. I – and my Father and the Holy Spirit – will not grant you the time, energy, space and even motivation to complete what you need to complete. But we know, more than you do, what needs to be completed in a given day, and what doesn’t.
You trust me when there is no other option, but when it comes to daily living, you think it’s up to you – because I won’t be enough.
YOU: No. It’s not that. I’ve just always heard things like: God
doesn’t do for those who don’t do for themselves. I got to do what I can do, and God will do the rest. You know, stuff like that.
The bottom line is you don’t trust us. There is another word that my servant Peter wrote about me: ‘My divine power has given you everything you need for life and godliness through your knowledge of me.’ Don’t you see? I have given you everything you need for each day; enough time, enough energy, enough motivation, enough everything!
JESUS: ‘Do for yourself… what you can do.’ Is this ‘doing’ a pursuit of your own goals–even the ones you have convinced yourself are godly–or the ones I determined for you?
But you only come to realize that through knowing me. That is why seeking to know me is the most important: it is everything.
Tell me again, my child, what is my goal for you? The reality is that you are afraid I will not lead you to complete what you and what you think others want accomplished.
YOU: So you’re telling me I don’t trust you when I make ‘to-
do’ lists and I don’t trust you when I prioritize the things I think I need to get done over seeking to know you?
You are afraid that my priorities are different than yours. You are safe in your Christian ‘to-do’ list because it fits nicely with the world and me, or so you think.
JESUS: Yes. Aren’t those lists generated based on your finite and limited understanding of what you think needs to get done on a given day? Everything I want to get done in a given day, I will accomplish. No one can thwart my plans.
You are afraid that the truly important things are not your things. But, consider this: Do you believe, really believe, that I want what is best for you? Do you believe, I mean really believe, that I know what truly is best for you? Do you believe that my methods for achieving that are best?
When you seek to know me above all, with all that you are – no self-reserves for that ‘to-do’ list after quiet time – you rest in me and depend on me and allow me to open your eyes, ears, mind and heart and move you accordingly. You then receive humbly what I allow to happen to you each day, and submit to my means of drawing you closer to me.
YOU: I suppose so, on an ethereal, intellectual level more so than a real reality in my heart.
JESUS: And that is exactly what seeking to know me will do –
make this truth a real reality in your heart. You see, you are living in a lie. A lie about time, about what is best for you, and about who can achieve what is best for you and how.
The glitch is when you think that everything you want to get done in a given day is what I want done in that day. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts, and my ways are higher than your ways. I see eternity - you do not. Do you know better than I what needs to get done today, or any day?
Only knowing me will correct this lie and open your life to the way it was meant to be lived – free of worry and anxiety and -- ‘to-do’ lists.
YOU: No, I don’t know better than you. But I do have people in
YOU: It still scares the hell out of me God, to let everything go
JESUS: Are you on their time or my time?
JESUS: But you want to! And that is the first step.
authority over me that also think I need to get certain things done on a particular timetable.
and just seek to know you. I don’t even think I can. I don’t know how.
YOU: Well, I guess in view of the big picture, I am on your Many of my children walk around convinced that their ‘todo’ lists are fine with me, even pleasing to me. They think all their ‘doing’ impresses me or makes me glad.
JESUS: You are right. I created time and you are on my time.
But they are sorely mistaken.
Even when you think you are on their time or even your own time, you aren’t. You are always on my time.
I want their hearts. I want them to know me and know how much I love them. I want them to be with me where I am, to fellowship in my Father’s love, and to be transformed into the being I created them to be in the first place.
You make things harder for yourself with your back against that, trying to run ahead or drag behind. Wouldn’t it be better if you really believed that you are on my time and lived like it?
YOU: Hmm. I think I see more clearly now.
YOU: I don’t even know what that would look like? I am JESUS: Oh, the seeing has only just begun. Seek me and I imagining myself turning stuff in late and getting fired or flunking out of school.
will show you a whole new world, literally! A world that has eternal significance and is beyond your wildest dreams, a world in which the reality is rest and peace, joy and contentment, trust and dependence, hope and love.
JESUS: And in that you are assuming I will lead you into failure and destruction. You don’t trust me. You have just revealed that you believe, deep down, that if you aren’t doing things to keep up with the expectations of others on their timetable, that I will not be sufficient enough to provide for
I long for you to be there with me. Seek me, my child. Above all else seek me. 18
Remember that time, as you formerly saw it, was an illusion. You are not on your own time or their timetable, but are on my time – and I know the right time for everything to happen, for your good, too. Seek to know me, so that you trust me more and more in this. I am with you, to the very end of the age.
Jesus throws a monkey wrench in our concept – the world’s concept - of time, and the way we operate within it. Many of us often feel anxious, stressed and overwhelmed by the perceived pressures we feel are pressing down on us, some of which are derived from our own expectations of ourselves and some from others’ expectations of us. We suffer from headaches, stomach problems, anxiety attacks and sleeping problems because we can’t seem to shake the mounting pressure and worry. If we dig deep enough, or allow God to dig it up, we see a lie about time and a lie about what is best for us and how that best is achieved – which we are believing. These are the roots. Unless the roots are dealt with, we will keep returning to the same problem.
PLAIN AND SIMPLE TRUTH NO. 1
You are not on own your time and neither are you on ‘their’ timetable – whoever ‘their’ is for you. You are on God’s timetable and He alone knows the right time for everything to happen. You will be able to experience the freedom, rest and assurance of His orchestration of the right time for
GO FURTHER.... If you are not sure what it means or how it looks to seek Jesus, and if you have surfacing questions like: Is the seeking passive or active? Do we need tools such as the Bible, church community, a guitar, etc., or, can we just engage in daily conversations with Jesus? Does seeking Jesus look different for everyone? Does it look different in different seasons? You can check out these resources for a better understanding • Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge • Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer • The Hour that Changes the World by Dick Eastman
everything – and be blessed by it. Yes, you will have to wait. But it won’t be an anxious wait; it will be a peaceful and confident wait.
PLAIN AND SIMPLE TRUTH NO. 2
God has given you everything you need for life and godliness through knowledge of Him. It’s a promise, a given, a sure thing! Everything… given… not chased after or pursued or worked for… given… to you… that which is needed for both life – the daily grind – and godliness – your transformation into Christ-likeness, which is eternal. It is already given! Amen.
PLAIN AND SIMPLE TRUTH NO. 3
God knows what is best for you and how to achieve that ‘best.’ God can see better than you can, and more than you can – try eternity, every butterfly effect in existence and potential, and the hearts and souls of every single person – yes, he sees much more than we do. Do you trust in His daily investment and promise to do what is best for you? Do you trust Him – fundamentally, to your core? What does this now require of us? Many of you are asking, well how do I begin changing this deeply ingrained way of thinking? How do I let go of time, my plans, and my ‘to-do’ list? By first, seeking to know Jesus! Then, secondly, renewing your mind in truth: the truth about time, and your plans vs. God’s plans.
RISING FROM 'FAILURE' TO 'GRADUATE' Marc Seide, Staff Writer You take a class related to your degree and you don’t pass it. Your reaction is to not make a big deal of it and so you signed up for another class that is part of that program, and once again, you fail! You’re now freaking out because that class is preventing you from walking across the graduation stage to receive your degree. You begin to question whether you should change majors, finish it or drop out altogether. I had a similar experience during my time at the University of South Florida, where I studied Mass Communications with an interest in Journalism. It was the Fall of 2012. I was taking a class called Public Affairs Reporting -a class designed to show students what public documents are in the State of Florida and how to obtain and use them in a story. We met twice a week and our professor required us to write weekly recaps of our experience on field trips the class attended. In the beginning, I kept up with his standards – and expectations, but as the semester progressed I began to slack off, skipping classes and not turning in assignments on time. I attended my last football game, participated in Homecoming week and went to an annual retreat for a final time. As the semester came to a close, I thought I had passed with at least a ‘C.’ Then, one day, as I was rushing to turn in an assignment for another class, I received an email that my professor has turned in our final grades. I clicked on the link and saw that I received a D+. Not a ‘C’ or a C-, but a D+! My heart sank. I was shocked that I ended up with that grade. I had just completed one half of my farewell tour since I was planning to graduate the next semester. Then I had to tell my parents that I was going to graduate in the fall. I was disappointed. The following semester I told myself I wasn’t going to slack off. I took a class called Wetland Environment. It was part of Capstone requirement for my degree, and I heard it was easy. After receiving a ‘D’ in a previous class I had taken for my Capstone requirement, I told myself from then on I was going to do every assignment. But, as the semester progressed, I fell into the same trap again. After I took the final exam, I was confident I had passed the class, but when I checked my grade online, I received a D+. That grade caught me by surprise I did every assignment, but one. I didn’t think one assignment would determine whether I passed or not. It did, and I was frustrated! After not receiving a non-passing grade in both classes, I vowed that the fall would be my last semester in college and I would graduate. I took a class that caught my interest to complete my Capstone and participated in my group discussions. I turned in my assignments on time and did not miss another class. I also took Public Affairs Reporting for a second time and ended up with a ‘B.’ So, yes, I may have failed three classes, but after retaking them and changing some habits, I finally finished – and finished strong! Obstacles come during college. To get through them, do the simple things such as attending classes and turning in homework assignments. You’ll graduate on time. 23
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN FRUSTRATIONS, VANITY AND FINISHING WELL! Tiffany Morrow, Contributor
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. - Psalm 127:1 Prior to graduate school, I had not experienced such a difficult and arduous feat in my lifetime. And yet I finished well -- and “on time.”
God; seeming blockages to their goals or even the promises God had given them. Most of these men had moments where these roadblocks (of various sorts) caused them to distrust the Lord, become frustrated and sometimes try to achieve the goal in their own way, by their own means: builders laboring in vain. Yet, in due time, the Lord revealed to them the following things:
Anyone who has pursued a graduate degree realizes the stark contrast it bears to undergraduate studies. The rigor is 20 times harder and more demanding. Many graduate students in my cohort did not complete their program “on time” and often asked me how I got everything done. They saw that in addition to our courses, I was also working as a graduate assistant, conducting my own research and writing a thesis; involved in a ministry that met and served 8-10 hours a week, training in my sport, and I pseudo-adopted a girl from the ministry in which I served, whom I cared for every weekend and sometimes during the week.
Job said to God in chapter 42, Lord, you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. I spoke to you without knowledge. I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. Lord you said to me listen. Job, in his pain and sorrow, complained and criticized God’s way of carrying out His will. Yet, Job was speaking of things he did not understand. In the same way, how could I know the perfect will of God? How could I really presume to know better than Him how things in my life should go?
Yes…my cohort looked at me like I was superwoman and was baffled at how I managed to complete our degree program in the two-year allotted time.
David said in Psalm 39, I remained silent because I knew it is you that have done this. What struck me here was that David was not speaking of God having done something awesome or pleasant on his behalf. Rather, David was speaking of a trial!
Truth be told, there was one passage in Scriptures (found in Psalms 127:1-2) on which I meditated often -- almost everyday to be precise. It predominately guided me through the years in grad school, enabling me to endure and finish well, and not only in school but also in the other areas in which I was involved. In meditating on the words in those verses, the Lord began to break down for me His truth and revealed my own heart to me, which fundamentally shifted my perception of the world, my tasks, and how I made it through grad school.
The pain, the sorrow, the struggle, and the waiting were God’s doing. David’s response was (eventually) not to complain or attempt to tell God how things should be. But, then the question arises, why would God do or allow such things? Joseph said in Genesis 50, Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You [speaking to his brothers who sold him into slavery] intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Psalms 127:1. Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. For me the ‘house’ was the graduate degree, the end to which I was laboring. And I certainly was laboring! But I had to ask myself, “Was my laboring in vain?”
God allowed the wickedness of men to happen to Joseph, which for a good deal of time seemed to block his dreams, in order to do good for him and others. God’s ultimate objective was not the goal Joseph originally saw in his dreams.
The words of God chiseled away at me: Unless the Lord builds the house… I would ask, “How do I know that You are building the house, Lord? And how do I know if I am toiling in vain?”
This is very hard for us to believe in the midst of trials and things that seem to block our goals. Yet, this is God’s truth. Do we believe Him to truly be sovereign?
The Lord spoke clearly: When things don’t go according to your plans, or there arises seeming blockages to your goal, do you get frustrated, angry and bitter? “Yes!” I responded! God spoke again: Is that not an indication that you are laboring in vain?
Moses said in Psalm 90, Who of us considers the power of God or his wrath towards sin – such considerations would lead to the fear of God. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Hmm. “Okay, God, you are going to have to break this down a little bit more for me,” I said. So faithfully, over time, He did.
Moses asked God to teach his people to evaluate their daily lives in the brevity of life, so that they would gain a heart of wisdom.
God made [it] clear through a multitude of ways that I was supposed to be in graduate school pursuing this degree. But was my goal: the degree -- God’s ultimate objective for me? And was the way I had ‘planned’ out the process of acquiring the degree, God’s plan for the process?
And, godly wisdom (to be contrasted with earthly wisdom) denounces autonomy, independent pursuits and vain toiling, instead focusing on God’s sovereignty and revelation. Godly wisdom draws us near to listen and submit to God’s will rather than be guided by our own understanding.
The Lord led me through the life of some pivotal Old Testament men of faith: Job, David, Joseph, Moses, and Joshua. God highlighted to me that all these men endured hardships, hardships that were orchestrated or allowed by
Finally…Joshua. He was given the instruction to take down Jericho. Goal: defeat Jericho. How? By marching around its walls seven 25
My frustration was ultimately a result of my heart idolizing the goal as w best, or most quickly, achieve that goal rather than believing God as the and roadblocks...
well as my understanding of how to e author of (or allowing) hardships
times. Is this the most direct method of achieving the goal or the fastest route to reaching the goal? It doesn’t seem like it. But Joshua listened to the Lord and submitted to his will, even when it did not make sense and before him stood a wall, a roadblock directly in his way. What happened? The walls came tumbling down, not because of Joshua’s toilsome laboring, but because of submission to God’s will and way and timing. Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. God said to me: Isn’t your frustration [when things block my goals] an indication that you are laboring in vain? Like the engine light going off on the dashboard of a car to signal engine malfunctions, when I felt frustrated it was a signal that my heart was not trusting in the sovereignty of God, and not submitting to His will, His ways and His timing. My frustration was ultimately a result of my heart idolizing the goal as well as my understanding of how to best, or most quickly, achieve that goal rather than believing God as the author of (or allowing) hardships and roadblocks. Frustration signaled that I perceived them as barriers, which I needed to labor to overcome. Frustration was a mark of my denying the sovereignty and goodness of God and resisting, even fighting against His will by trying to continue to do things my way and in my timing. Frustration signaled that I was, indeed, laboring in vain and the Lord was no longer building the house. The next verse in Psalm 127 reads, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, eating the bread of anxious toil – Yet, He provides for those who love Him.” When the goal -- the building of the house, the graduate degree -- was my primary focus, I was rising early, staying up late, often riddled with anxiety and pressure, laboring in vain and often frustrated, even toiling against the will of God. Yet I noticed that when submission to God was my primary focus, I slept well, I felt peace in all my tasks and fully present in each moment, I did not become frustrated, I did not labor in vain and everything was miraculously accomplished. In the course of all these revelations, I asked God, ‘How do I put this into practice?’ He said: 1. Remember if I am not building your house, your labor is all in vain. 2. Heed the warning of feeling frustrated, this is a sign that you are laboring in vain and more focused on the goal than on loving Me and submitting to My will. 3. Repent and release your stubborn ideas and labors towards how you think things should go, not criticizing or complaining about My ways and My timing. 4. Submit to My perfect will in faith that I am faithful and will fulfill all My promises to you. Rest in My ways and My timing, no matter how things appear right now or how you feel. Listen to My Spirit and obey Me out of this trust. I endured and finished well in graduate school because I continually came back to letting God build the house! 27
FAITH, HOPE, SACRIFICE: WHEN GOD CALLS YOU TO MOVE Charnay Bland, Guest Contributor
It is not easy to get up and move…to pick up your things and move to another state or country. I guess it’s almost like answering a call from God, like when Jesus told his disciples to “Come and follow me.” It’s not easy, you don’t know what’s ahead but you know that you have to trust God in the midst of your uncertainties. It is a call to get up and leave your familiarities to be placed in the unknown. When I first received the call to leave Florida, it wasn’t an easy decision.
found a church and it was very similar to my church back home. I became friends with various people who attended different churches (there are pros and cons of this sort of relationship).
I came from an amazing spiritual community, where there was accountability, growth, encouragement, and authentic relationships.
Despite His provision, things became difficult because I was never in community. I always felt alone, and I didn’t have deep authentic relationships like I did in Florida. I would just have my “God talks,” which I felt helped me but it never sharpened me in comparison to my relationships in Florida where I had friends that were/are world changers.
I had my family, my second nephew was just born, my baby sister and I had a bond, and I had dates with my mom. I had a job that met my needs beyond financially and I was not in debt. It was good, but I knew the vision for my life was beyond South Florida.
In these conversations I would leave the conversation desiring more of God, I always felt loved, and I encountered people who, when passionate about something, their flames touched me in a way that made me (or anyone) want to grow deeper in my relationship with God.
I prayed and fasted, asking God what was next. I had this feeling inside of me, that Florida was not where God wanted me and I was meant for more than this. The call came when I received the opportunity to start graduate school in Hawaii. I was excited at first, because it’s Hawaii. Hello! It’s not Florida, the people are different, and I would learn more about there are different cultures that exist.
I didn’t find that in Hawaii. In every relationship I encountered, I saw the constant desire for community but [people] were not actively involved in [pursuing] community. No one wanted accountability or those deep soul-awakening talks.
I was thrilled but then fear crept in. I was initially conflicted between leaving my family and friends for this “aloha” [adventure]. It took some time in prayer and debating on why would I go to Hawaii rather than finish my studies in Florida or in another state.
I was never “plugged” in the church I was attending, because I was helping my friends with their ministries and supporting them. But unknown to me there was spiritual damage evolving inside of me. I started relationships with people that became emotionally damaging because there was no consistency or vulnerability. I was hurting.
But it wasn’t until I had boarded the plane in August 2012, that I felt peace. I heard loud and clear from the Lord in that moment, that I was done in Florida. He told me to trust Him as my heavenly Father and it was time to grow further.
My heart started to become hardened. I started to slowly pull myself away from people. I had to constantly turn to God and ask God to show me that He still loved me and to encourage me in the midst of it all.
Once I landed, God showed his faithfulness towards me like crazy. I found a part-time job the following month (working with Pre-K to High school students, and I loved it!), I always had groceries (despite the high cost of living in Hawaii), I 29
As I look back, this move to Hawaii was like a call to discipleship...
In 2014, I faced so many trials. In January, my car was broken into and my laptop was stolen with my thesis paper on it. In February, I had to finish up my thesis within that same month, because I had to present the stolen paper at a national conference in March. When March arrived, my little cousin in Florida died. My heart was broken because in the previous year his sibling was murdered.
In April, I was prepping for graduation, but heard the news that my beloved Grandfather/ best friend wasn’t doing so well (he was suffering from Stage 4 cancer). I was hurting, still no one was there for me. I reached out to people but I felt alone. I asked God to make sure that someone was with me when He passed. Then in May, I was with this woman, who reached out to me and as we were talking, I had received the news that my grandfather had passed. I was broken, but God heard my cry. In June, I was supposed to graduate but I didn’t because [I was dealing with] the pain from my grandfather’s death. In July, I was juggling three jobs and transitioning into starting a career. From that point, I was [just] working and hurting. I didn’t have my friends from Florida physically with me to console me, or my parents to physically comfort me, rather I [found myself] alone in my room. If only those walls could speak they would speak of my cries, prayers, and worship. But in the midst of all that, I felt God’s presence near me and I knew God was with me through it all. I just wanted community and it wasn’t in Hawaii. I spoke with my counselor about the trials I faced in 2014 and, as I was reflected, I wept. He asked me what does all of this meant to me and it all came down to my happiness. As soon as the words “I’m not happy” left my lips, I felt free. I felt liberated in being able to identify my pain but at the same time I felt this shame, guilt, and basically ungratefulness. It was a crazy emotion. I felt free, because it was what I felt. I was never committed or plugged into a church, rather just attending and I didn’t have community. I felt ungrateful, because God was there and He provided for me. He had shown his faithfulness towards me in every instance, but I wasn’t happy. The counselor suggested that I move back to Florida. I felt this passion came alive in me. I was awakened to the fact that I could leave. I was excited to leave Hawaii and go back to my friends and family. I left his office, rushing home to fix up my résumé and apply for jobs in Florida and I did apply, but I never prayed about it. adaptmag.com
I started pulling myself away from my friends’ ministries and trying to reconnect more to the church that I was already attending. I still desired some sort of community during this transition. I decided to move to another apartment where the rent was cheaper and it would help me save up money so I could leave. I quickly had this mindset of “You live only once” mixed with “I am not of this world; heaven is my citizenship.” There was so much freedom in that moment. However, I began to wonder whether or not I was being obedient to God. I started to pray about whether or not I should move back to Florida or move away from Hawaii in general. In my quiet time one day, I received the words “faith,” “hope,” and “sacrifice.” When it came to faith, I’ve always felt like I ‘kept the faith,’ even while going through those trials. There were times when I could have turned from the faith but I didn’t. When it came to hope, it was something that I constantly wrestled with because of a time I wasn’t able to go on a mission trip to West Africa. It was hard to have hope when nothing was happening, which made me admire Noah from the Bible and question how he could have hope when nothing was happening. Then there was the word ‘sacrifice.’ I wasn’t sure what God meant by it and what it meant for me. After praying and wrestling with these terms for a while, I had a conversation with one of my dear friends in Florida. He was thrilled that I was contemplating returning to Florida but at the same time he was conflicted with the fact that there were opportunities here in Hawaii for me and he wouldn’t want me to miss it. So there it was: the choice between choosing my family and friends versus a blessing. That was the sacrifice. He encouraged me to have hope in the Lord. I left the conversation, shocked and desiring to hear more from God. I wanted to be obedient to whatever God told me to do. Then the following day at church, the pastor was sharing a sermon from the Book of James and he started with this: “James 1:2-3. Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness…” At first, my reaction was, yes, “C.I.A.J (Count It All Joy).” I was thrilled because it was a scripture that resonated within me. It was also a scripture that my spiritual family in Florida had coined and embedded in their lives. Then the pastor asked, “Are you quitting before your blessing?” In that moment, I started to cry. All the emotions and experiences from 2014 came back to me in an instance. As I was reflecting, it was hard to see it as a “joyful experience,” but I learned to see God’s faithfulness towards me in it. After sitting and listening to God, I realized how much I did not want to base my decision to move off of my emotions. Rather, I wanted to hear from God as I did before. I am called to be an obedient servant in every season and
I had to walk with God through this, constantly surrendering to Him...I was positioned to rely solely on God.
I have to say that Iâ€™m trusting my Carpenter and His plans for my life. Heâ€™s writing my story, and I just need to trust him with the ending. He is the Author and perfecter of my faith. I need to have hope in the Lord that if He leads me to it, He will definitely lead me through it. adaptmag.com
Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness…James 1:2-3
I need to stay in Hawaii until the Lord says, “Go” as he did with Florida.
As I look back, this move to Hawaii was like a call to discipleship. It put me in a place where it was just God and I.
He hasn’t said “go” or given me that peace like He did before; instead, He has shown me how much this move to a cheaper location is a blessing.
I had to walk with God through this, constantly surrendering to Him, and I was positioned to rely solely on God.
My roommates will be Christian females, which is an answer to my prayer request to be surrounded by [and in fellowship] with Christian women (this is something that has taken almost three years). I will be closer to the church that I was faithfully attending and now I have the opportunity to serve. Serving is something that I’ve yearned for and, oh, how my talents were on the bench for the past few years despite dipping into other people’s ministries. In addition, I will be able to save money, and this will position me to “leave.” If God tells me to move, then I will be able to move back to Florida or wherever the Lord takes me next. Since 2012, it has been quite a journey. At times it’s still difficult to embrace the idea that I am sacrificing to the Lord by choosing to stay in Hawaii, but there is peace.
I have to remember His character in every trial I face and consider it joy that He thinks of me. I have to say that I’m trusting my Carpenter and His plans for my life. He’s writing my story, and I just need to trust him with the ending. He is the Author and perfecter of my faith. I need to have hope in the Lord that if He leads me to it, he will definitely lead me through it. I have to trust in His promises for me and that He is a Good Shepherd. In those seasons of pain, in those seasons of darkness, and in those seasons of quietness, His rod and staff are there to comfort me. That’s why it’s a calling to move and only a few answer it. It is challenging and it requires great sacrifice and obedience, but God is there. Are you willing to answer the call? 33
CAREER & MONEY
SOCIAL SPEAK-EASY Paula Kerr, Assistant Editor
If someone had approached you say, 20 years ago and asked, “Do you want to be my BFF?” How would you have responded?
And it might even shock you to know that I occasionally use acronyms when texting at times, especially if I’m in a certain place -- or during a certain time frame -- where it’s not convenient to write a lengthy message.
If you were paying attention, you probably would’ve asked, “What does BFF mean?” I think that’s a fair and simple question. Don’t you?
But in light of all this, it seems that with the use of acronymspeak we are consistently altering the way we communicate and rapidly crossing over boundaries to a one-size-fits-all communicative style.
Well, only if we lived in an age of acronyms back then, and you knew that ‘BFF’ meant Best Friends Forever.
One would ask whether this is linguistic evolution, or just plain laziness. To take it a step further, are we using acronymspeak because we no longer understand the boundaries of formal and informal English? Is it the ‘understanding’, or have we simply just stopped paying attention? Let’s hope not.
Fast-forward to the 21st Century…..
LINGUISTIC EVOLUTION Acronyms are formed from the first letters of other words and, faster than we can power up our Smartphone, textspeak has now become commonplace substitutes to whole sentences.
Instead, let us strive to…
DO THE WRITE THING
For example, BFF Best = Friends Forever, TTYL = Talk To You Later and LOL = Laughing (Laugh) Out Loud.
Summer is almost over and you’ll soon return to the classroom where you’ll be given assignments that will require you to use good writing skills.
It is evident how social media has evolved over the years, in that the popular use of acronyms is speeding up activities by reducing phrases to just letters, minimizing the need to write longer or normal sentences.
We’ve all heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” Just like the phrase, “You are what you eat”, one could also argue that a good writing style can reflect on how you present yourself on paper – especially when writing a term paper or even a resume.
Consider the myriads of brevity in the way we write, saying much with fewer keystrokes like: “OMG” (Oh my Gosh), “BTW” (By the way), and “BRB” (Be right back), clearly, these shortened bits of language aren’t just used when sending brief text messages to friends. Acronyms have crept upon us and have taken over our everyday language.
Did I mention that, a well-written resume could land you the job of your dreams? And, that takes good writing skills. Now, I’m not saying we have to be kings and queens of the English language; what I am trying to drive home is the importance, as students -- and communicators to practice using proper grammar and spelling in your writing. Start right where you are – in the classroom.
LINGUISTIC EPIDEMIC Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, if you think about it, the after-effects of what we eat can either cause us to look or behave differently. Truth is, most people nowadays watch what they eat, some more carefully than others.
What you do well today will help you reap good rewards later in life. One sure way to help build essential vocabulary skills is to read often. This activity generally produces the best writers. Whether you’re writing a college paper or writing on a social network page, the two styles must be kept separate. The more you practice good writing, the more comfortable and proficient you’ll become, ultimately mastering the art of writing to communicate your ideas.
So, why do social network users pay such little attention to what -- and how -- they communicate? Today, the use of acronyms have become so widespread that you only need open a text message, or email and find that you are bombarded with acronymic bites of language like “L8R” (Later), “u” (you), or “LMA” (Leave me alone). And, to top that off, we have open access to Chat Acronyms & Text Shorthand or Text Messaging and Online Chat Abbreviations in addition to a host of other resources.
Remember, acronyms have their place. Work on keeping your writing skills sharp for when you return to school, and thereafter.
Whether we believe it or not, “acronymy” is here to stay. I believe that the use of acronyms in social communication has its rightful place. 37
Photo: Reach Records
MY TOP 5 ANTICIPATED FALL ALBUM RELEASES Marc Seide, Staff Writer
Album artwork for Andy Mineo’s latest album project, “Unconformable,” set to releases this September adaptmag.com
Album artwork for upcoming album releases.
e are a little more than halfway through 2015, and there are mountains of music left to be heard. Let’s face it, this year has seen its share of surprise releases, from Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ and Drake’s ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,’ to impressive debut records from Courtney Barnett (Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit), Leon Bridges (Coming Home) and Jamie xx (In Colour). Veterans such as Florence + the Machine and Four Year Strong have released their long-awaited albums this summer, the former coming with their Ceremonials-follow up, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, and the latter with their self-titled album. With these astounding records came a change in the global release date. Americans no longer have to wait until Tuesday to buy their new favorite record as it and the rest of the world have changed its release date to a Friday. This change makes it easy for everyone around the world to get his or her hands on new music on the same day. It also affects albums coming out towards the end of the year. With 157 days remaining, there’s plenty of music to check out and here are the five anticipated albums for the fall,
1. THE WEEKND - BEAUTY BEHIND THE MADNESS In 2013, Abel Tesfaye,
known as the Weekend, saw success with the release of his critically acclaimed debut record, Kiss Land. The album spawned the single, “Live For,” featuring Drake where it thrust his name into urban stations. With a couple appearances on a few soundtracks including the smash single “Earned It” from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, the singer from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada is ready to release his second album, Beauty Behind the Madness. The record is to include collaborations from Ed Sheeran and Kanye West and has spawned three singles including the summer hit, “Can’t Feel My Face.” It’s set to release on Aug. 28.
2. ANDY MINEO - UNCOMFORTABLE After the success of debut
album, ‘Heroes for Sale,’ and the ‘Neverland’ EP, Andy Mineo revealed on Twitter the title of his second album, ‘Uncomfortable.’ The cover art features a scan of the New York emcee’s face.
He also has announced a 25-city tour to support the album, which comes out on September 18, beginning in St. Peters, Mississippi, October 1.
3. DISCLOSURE - CARACAL Back in June, Disclosure was hosting their inaugural Wild Life Festival in Brighton, England.
The brotherly electronic duo of Howard and Guy Lawrence used that time to announce their follow-up to their 2013 groundbreaking Settle called Caracal, releasing a trailer for it on YouTube. The UK duo behind the smash single, “Latch” featuring Sam Smith, which also spawned his career, are collaborating with Lion Babe, Nao and Kwabs as well as Smith on the new record. So far, they have released “Holding On,” which features Gregory Porter, as the lead single and “Omen” featuring Smith as part of a Ryan Hope directed video series for tracks off the record that features a rebel named Mariella through a dystopian sci-fi landscape. The album will be released on Sept. 28.
4. CHVRCHES Every Eye Open - The trio from Glasgow, Scotland are ready to share their follow-up to their 2013 critically acclaimed debut album, The Bones of What We Believe In. It’s called Every Eye Open, and the band have shared their lead single, “Leave A Trace,” that has received universal praises for its in-your-face R&B imbued textures. The record will be in competition with its UK counterpart, Disclosure as they battle for sales when it comes out on Sept. 28. Chvrches has announced their North American tour in support of the album that begins in August.
5. GARY CLARK JR. - THE STORY OF SONNY BOY SLIM Gary Clark Jr., the lifelong Austin-ite blues guitarist, is back in the studio working on a new record called The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, his follow up to the Grammy-nominated LP, Blak and Blu.
According to a feature in the Rolling Stone, Clark returned to his hometown to record the album and told the publication it will be looser, bluesier and focused than his debut record. The new record is set to release September 11.
FLORIDA TOUR DATES JACKSONVILLE - 9/3/15 ORLANDO - 9/4/15 MIAMI - 9/5/15
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT KINGDOMPROMO.NET
Published on Aug 23, 2015
Back to School Issue: What if God asked you to leave everything you knew and move to another state or country for school where you knew no o...