students

 
 

A Letter To My BCM College Students, Both Past and Present

Dear College Students,

My first day of college is fast-approaching and the dreams of being a college student I had as a little girl are about to become a reality. It is truly unbelievable. To say that you have been an important part of my life is an understatement. You mean the world to me. I don’t know that I will get the opportunity to speak with each of you and tell you how much I love you. I might not get to share my memories of that time when I hit you with pool noodles and then brought you ice water to make up for it. Or the time when I sat in on your small group and talked about what God was doing in my life through a message. Or those impromptu jam sessions in the Big Room where I got to stay up extra late because my Daddy knew just how much I loved making music with you. Needless to say, I have wonderful stories to tell about all of you. I remember how we met. I remember when you told me your favorite color and that you liked red skittles the best. I remember watching you grow spiritually in college and thinking “I want that to be me one day”. I promise I can never forget you. It’s safe to say I still vividly remember close to 14 years of students. If you ever believe you went unnoticed, let me prove you wrong. I did my best to see all of you. Not just physically acknowledging your presence, but trying to understand who you were and how God could use me to encourage you.

I wanted to thank you for always being there and listening. I wanted to thank you for showing me what real friendship looks like and what real transparency means. I want to emphasize that you challenged me spiritually with both positive and negative things. It wasn’t your “perfection” and maturity as a Christian that grew my own faith- it was the recognition that you were all imperfect people saved by grace. It was the realization that God was present in every circumstance, strong enough to save, and powerful enough work bad things for our good and his glory.

I am writing you this letter to say goodbye to all of you- at least for now. I know I will see many of you again, but there may be a few people that I might not get to see. I wanted all of you to know that you have made a difference in my life and for that I am forever grateful. I will treasure all of the memories I have made with each of you. You hold a special place in my heart. I am on the verge of finally experiencing BCM as a true college student, a thought that is both exciting and saddening. I will no longer be the one to watch carefully as you grow from timid freshmen to confident seniors. I will no longer get to experience the joy of watching you share your testimony at Impact as a sophomore when you were too scared to speak in front of anyone as a freshman. I will not get to see you grow into incredible men and women of God like I have been accustomed to in the past. Instead, I will be the one growing. I hope to have younger students looking up to me, watching as I mature in Christ. That reality is frightening and wonderful at the same time. I am trying to look joyfully toward the future, live presently where I am, and hold the past close to my heart all at once.

Please know that you have been the best group of students ever. I wouldn’t have asked to be a part of any other campus ministries than the ones at Midwestern and Valdosta State Universities. I am going to miss you all terribly. Keep me and the BCM at UNG in your prayers. If BCMs prayed for each other, just imagine what God could do at college campuses all across the state of Georgia- all across the nation! Prayer is so powerful. Never take it for granted. In fact, I want to say a pray over all of you now.

 

Dear God,

I pray that their faith will continue to grow. That they will trust You with both the big and small things.

I pray that they will love each other and not let insignificant quarrels divide them.

I pray that the Devil will not have a foothold in their ministry.

I pray that they will humbly submit themselves to a life of prayer and fight hard against the enemy with Your strength and not their own.

I pray that they will believe with all they are that You are good even when circumstances are not.

I pray that each of them will know Your presence and know that they are never alone.

I pray that they will put You above all else and that they would allow You to have control of every part of their life.

I pray that when life gets chaotic, they will run to You first.

I pray that they will trust You and know that Your plans for them are good.

I pray that they would refuse to settle for what is good and instead chase after what is best.

I pray that they would surrender all their relationships to You and allow You to work in them as You want.

I pray that You would clearly show them the people they need to hold accountable, the people they need to keep in constant prayer, the people they need to be intentional with, and the people they need to witness to.

I pray that they will be obedient to You. No matter what it may cost them. No matter where You may lead them.

I pray they would submit themselves to Your plan.

I pray that when your Holy Spirit moves them to do something, that they would do it without question. Forsaking their own pride, casting their fear aside, and allowing themselves to be completely obedient.

I pray that they would trust You for the right words, and not their own eloquence or lack thereof.

I pray that they would be faithful and stop being afraid.

I pray that they would choose honesty over their own pride.

I pray that they would be transparent with one another and that they would never pretend that they are perfect people who have their lives together, because that is a lie.

But I also pray that they would share their faults appropriately and tactfully, with the intention of letting in the people who would keep them accountable and challenge them to go even deeper in their walk with You.

I pray that they would share You with their campus like they never have before.

I pray that their hearts would be broken for the lost.

I pray that they would be guarded against self-righteousness and pride.

I pray that they would build one another up in love and that their love for one another would reveal the truth that they are Your children.

I pray that they would never get caught up in merely doing good things and being a nice person for You.

I pray that they balance their actions with words so that people will know they are followers of You because of what they do and because they’ve shared with others what You have done in their life.

I pray that they would have a unquenchable passion for Your Word, and they would hunger to know You more and more each passing day.

I pray that they would love You more today than they did yesterday.

I pray that they would continually put on the full armor of God so that they may stand against the Devil’s schemes.

I pray that they might know that they are in college for more than to get an education; they are there to be lights for You.

I pray that they would remember that obedience to You and a willingness to follow You is a powerful thing.

I pray You will do something they couldn’t possibly imagine- even if is not what they thought it would be.

I pray You would do a mighty work in their lives.

I pray that at the end of this school year the only thing they can say is “to GOD be the glory, great things HE has done.”

I pray that they will experience both Your power and presence like never before.

I ask these things in Jesus name,

Amen.

 

I love all of you so very much,

Mackenzie

Categories: Change, encouragement, prayer, relationships, School, students | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

20 Things To Be Thankful For

In light of how blessed I truly am, 20 isn’t many things to list. Yet, it can seem so hard to think of things. That, my friends, is pitiful. I once heard someone say: “What if the things you didn’t thank God for today, were gone tomorrow?” If it were me, unless it was the day after thanksgiving, I wouldn’t have much of anything. We take so many things for granted. And so, without further ado, I present a mere 20 things I’m deeply thankful for:

1. Jesus- For dying on the cross to save me, for overcoming sin and death, for his forgiveness and everlasting love that he gives even when I don’t deserve it, for guiding me through the things I don’t understand, and….well, for everything else that comes after this, because it wouldn’t exist without him.

2. Family- For raising me in a Godly home and having parents who love and provide for me, and  little sister (who can be annoying at times) but encourages me and inspires me with her love for Jesus and her incredible talents.

3. Friends- for making my days brighter, for making me laugh, for always being there for me, though my good days and my bad ones, and for keeping my faith in Christ strong through encouragement and accountability or because of opposition.

4. Teachers- For blessing me with their knowledge and pouring information about the world into my life. They’ve shown me how little I know, and how much I can learn. They have allowed God to increase my knowledge of things incomprehensible to human nature though things I can comprehend.

5. Words- For giving us ways to express emotion, and create surges of emotion in one another. They’ve given life and caused death, but set us free with the truth daily. They can bring hope and peace about, and help people find common ground.

6. Voices- For ways to sing, and ways to show others how much we care. Because they demand a response or leave us speechless when accompanying words and give the words a bodily form that allows us not only to hear, but receive and believe what they tell of.  I love that they can inspire, guide and lead, be comforting, passionate, or mournful, all at the same time.

7. Clothes- For an entire closet full of clothes. With different outfits to actually choose from, and for an abundance of them- given to me, so that I can give them to others when they are in need.

8. Music- For a way to express myself and become excellent at making something beautiful out of an array of shapes and sounds. For a way to share the gospel that makes people listen and a way to simplify the gospel so people can understand. For moving me to my knees in worship and into action afterwards. For giving me a way to tell my creator- the most talented musician of all, how much I love him and appreciate everything he has done for me.

9. Books- For drawing you into a new world of endless possibilities, and for teaching you things you never dreamed of knowing before.

10. Memory- For never letting you forget things that others do. For capturing sweet memories of the past, for making life seem so much more beautiful, for nostalgic thoughts that reminds you of how good things were and how good things still are today, and for allowing endless storage of knowledge.

11. Time- For time to ” be born and to die, to plant and to uproot, to kill and to heal, to tear down and to build, to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance, to scatter stones and to gather them, to embrace and to refrain from embracing, to search and to give up, to keep and to throw away, to tear and to mend, to be silent and to speak, to love and to hate, and a time for war and for peace.” [Ecclesiastes 3:2-8]

12. True Love-  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16]                 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” [1 Corinthians 13: 4-8]                   [Psalms 136].

13. Bible- For giving me direction, for reminding me that God is in control, for stories that show me how me how to live my life, for something to base Apologetics on, for it’s detailed historical records, for true stories about Jesus that make me love him even more.

14. Food- As Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-a, once said: “Food is essential to life, therefore; make it good.” And boy, do I love me some good food. Especially on Thanksgiving.

15. Letters- the ones you write to your pen-pals, because they encourage you and give you a reason to send things via snail-mail and wait for a long time to receive a piece of what’s going on in their lives.

16.  Hands- For allowing me to touch and feel and to create words, pictures, art, food, music, and so many other other things.

17. Eyesight- For letting me see all the beauty in the world and noticing the little things in life. For allowing me to see the vibrant colors splashed over everything and worship God because of it. It leaves me in awe daily. For letting me see to play my instruments and write things. For allowing me to draw (even though I’m atrocious at it) and paint (bad at that too), and read my Bible and other books.

18. Coffee- I had to include this somewhere. With a coffee snob as a father (he roasts, grinds, and brews fresh international coffee every morning) I love my coffee; it’s required.

19. Technology- For air conditioning in South Georgia (can I get an amen to that), for computers that allowed me to create this blog. For spreading news faster and making life easier, for keeping people safer and more comfortable. For allowing the gospel and the Bible to be translated into many different languages so everyone can hear about Jesus and everything he has done.

20. And last but not least, My BCM College Students- For encouraging me in my faith, for helping me grow spiritually, for making me laugh, for being people I can confide in and trust. Thanks for playing games (such as hit the college student with a pool noodle) with an eight year old who was new around here, to singing songs in harmony with a 15 year old who could have never made it though the move without ya’ll. Thanks for being reliable and making our family’s job easier (especially my dad’s…some of the time). I couldn’t be more happy serving anyone one else. You have changed my life in ways I can’t describe, and a simple “thank you” doesn’t do enough justice. I love every one of you and am looking forward to how God is going to use you in the future- because he will- and he’ll rock this world with his power and his love in the things he does through you. Keep growing in Christ and inspiring more people like you’ve inspired me. Love you guys!

Categories: God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, students, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

The Following: Leading Well (Part 2)

Proverbs 14:28 (MSG)

28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.

**********************************************

This is the second lesson that God is teaching me regarding leadership. The verse really speaks for itself, you are not a good leader if you have no followers. It makes a lot of sense, you don’t to talk to people you don’t want to hear speak. You don’t hang out with people you don’t like. You don’t follow people who don’t lead well. Because this next year, everything will be new to me, I will see how many people follow me.

I will post things about Youth camp later this summer, but I wanted to shine a light on the commitment that I made to my youth group while I was there. Each night, we would have a worship session and then the speaker would stand up and give the message. That night, the message centered on this question, will you be able to walk across a graduation and have people say about you, I can follow her because he/she follows Christ. He/She constantly seeks after what God desires of him/her and I know that he/she is going to be on the right track, I know I can follow him/her because of their relationship and closeness with Christ.

My youth pastor posed this question, and what I heard was a call for leaders to rise up in the youth group. I stood. It is a big responsibility to have an entire youth group looking up to you and watching your actions to see if Christ is evident in your life, but for a while I could hear God calling me to do something more with my youth ministry. The teens in the youth group were being poured into, but it was hard to tell if they were pouring anything out. It was time to start a revolution, beginning with me, because I was willing to let God use me to change the church attitude both in myself and in others. I asked for accountability, because if I’m leading, not only do I need people following but people alongside me to point out things in my life and bluntly tell me; Mackenzie, if you carry this on any longer, you are going to be leading people into sin.

I’ve been gone for most of the summer, and I haven’t had a chance to notice if my commitment had produced any followers. I may not ever see the people who seek after Christ because my relationship with him changed them. I hope I will be able to look back across the graduation stage and look back at people who have followed me as I followed Christ and know that even as I step out into the real world, I will continue after what he asks of me with all I am, no matter the cost.

I want to be able to lead the people at my school this next year and the people in my youth group this summer and for the rest of my high school years, and if I notice that I have no followers, I know it’s time to back off and let someone else do the leading, while I follow.  With Christ at the center of everything I do, I want to lead people to walk in his ways, and get up people out of the pew and onto the road. If you always live your spiritual life in one place with no risks, you’ve never really lived at all. And besides, I need some followers. You can’t lead if no one is following.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, learning, life, people, purpose, School, students, summer, teens, Trust, Uncategorized, words, youth group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The past few weeks have been a challenge and I was tempted to write a blog post about it. But finding out where to begin was hard, and I feel like I’ve posted enough posts about the sadness in my life. Optimistic and cheerful are two words describing me in the dictionary and I want to keep up the image. This blog is to encourage others in their faith, not to tell them my life story. So while I was worrying about what to do, a song came on my iPod.

“Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life, we have some trouble
When you worry, you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy……”

I love this song. If you’re having a bad day, this song is perfect. Spiritually this song has great value as well… but not as much as this verse:

Philippians 4:6-7(MSG)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

I hope today has been blessed, and don’t worry…don’t do it. Be Happy 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Categories: Bible, christianity, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, happiness, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, love, Moving, people, prayer, reality, speech, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, words, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing

To be honest, earwax isn’t the most pleasant thing. Unfortunately, I have gotten to know that really well. A few weeks ago, my ear was clogged up… and wouldn’t unclog. We went to the doctor and, what do you know, a big hunk of earwax was stopping me from hearing things correctly. During that time, I really stopped to think about my spiritual life. Is there anything clogging my spiritual ears from hearing God’s voice? What is the earwax that keeps me from doing what God has planned for me? For any of you who know, it can be kind of cool to hear your own voice after your ear gets stopped up, but eventually it just gets annoying. You try to remove with a Q-tip… nothing. You try all these different things because by now; it’s beyond annoying, it’s maddening.

I went to Disciple Now “D-Now”, a youth retreat at my church, last week. During the icebreaker, my fun fact was that I blogged. Since I said that, I was forced to blog about D-Now. But that’s not the only reason that I brought it up. It really was an awesome weekend that dealt with finding your identity. And as a teen, that can be difficult. You try to find it in so many different things other than God, and soon you’re entangled in a false identity, not at all what God wanted you to be. I will blog along those lines later. What I really struggled with this weekend, wasn’t finding my identity. I knew what my identity was, it was Christ, what I struggled with, was surrendering a few things.

I devoted the weekend to seeking after God’s plan for my life and not my own. I realized that sometimes, living fully for Christ could mean giving up things that you’ve held onto for a long time. Things like your biggest dreams, your firmest hopes, and your obsessions. I can name at least one that this theology struck really hard. I felt like it nearly killed me to give up control of it. I found out something though, once you make God the desire of your heart, things began to change… fast. So fast, it’s like you’re caught up in an amazing whirlwind of his love, his holiness, and his grace. I am completely and utterly in awe of him.

After the youth retreat, I got to talking with my youth pastor and he offered to let me teach a small-group of 6th grade girls this summer. To let you know, no youth lead the small groups, it’s all college students. Teach at church; become an even bolder person in the faith? No way, my life had been planned so drastically different. Last Sunday, my Sunday school teacher offered to have a student teach the class, I was dying to, but before I could say anything, my class members unanimously elected me via the “stare vote”. So I’m teaching now.

I believe it all came from one prayer. I advise you to use these words carefully as they always bring about change as soon as God knows you’re willing. I had been warned, but I honestly thought I could imagine up what God wanted me to do. Take me seriously on this, unless you really want something to happen in your life, which includes all of your dreams falling to pieces in light of God’s supreme plan, don’t pray this prayer.

The prayer: use me, bless me, do whatever you want with my life. I give you all my hopes, all my dreams; I want you to be my heart’s desire. I want to fall in love with you. Take all my plans, and turn them into whatever brings you glory. Here I am, send me.

I finally got the earwax cleaned out of my spiritual ears; and once I did, I heard God loud and clear. What are you waiting for? God wants to do amazing things in and through your life if you’ll just listen. Chances are; you have spiritual earwax. Clean the earwax out of your ears, and give him all your attention. He’s worth every second. And that earwax… toss it in the trash.

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, Church, comparision, D-Now, earwax, Faith, finding your identity, God, hearing, identity, life, prayer, purpose, small groups, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, youth retreats | Tags: | 7 Comments

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