Category Archives: Campus Ministries

4 Tips To Strengthen Your Relationship With God

One of Pastor Kent Rufo’s goals for PUC is to find ways to strengthen spiritual life on campus and encourage students to become closer to God. 

We asked Pastor Rufo to share some suggestions on ways students can build a stronger relationship with God. Here they are! 

Start A Bible Reading Group

This doesn’t need to be a big group. It can just be two people that find time to read the Bible together. The reading doesn’t need to take long either. You can read ten minutes before a class, after a class, or just a couple of minutes during the day. 

Have A Prayer Group

Start by praying with your friends, then invite more friends to see if they want to join. There is power in prayer. The more people, the better. Some people may not be comfortable, but reaching out shows that you care. Check out Prayer In Numbers for a great example! 

Have Bible Studies 

Some of the best Bible studies are student-led. If you want to start one, reach out to your friends, and see if they would be interested. If you don’t know how to start a Bible study, talk to the student chaplains or Pastor Rufo. 

Serve 

“Serve in some kind of mission, whether local or international,” says Pastor Rufo. PUC offers mission trips, outreach programs, and volunteer services for students. There are opportunities on campus to bring you out into the world and serve. You don’t need to go far to help others. There are people in our neighborhood who need a lot of help and support. 

Pastor Rufo loves hearing from students. If you have ideas you want to share with Pastor Rufo about spiritual life, don’t hesitate to talk to him. He is always open to new ideas and speaking with students. You can reach out to him via email at krufo@puc.eduFor more information about the Missions & and Chaplains team, visit their webpage

“If faculty, staff, and students are spiritually whole, then we’re working together.” -Pastor Rufo

 

Keep The Faith 

By Ally Romanes 

It’s no secret that we have been going through a strange time. Everyone has been dealing with this situation differently and for myself, it has been quite difficult. From school and work transitioning online, being home and unable to see many loved ones, and being able to travel, it’s been a rough transition. What I try to remember is there are better days ahead and I just need to keep the faith. 

Sometimes it’s hard to have faith and believe there are better days ahead. We are going through a tough time, but it is during these times we must stay close to God and have faith in Him. As we are living through the craziness of the world right now, we must not doubt God has better days prepared for us. 

It may seem like a long time before life feels “normal” again, but without God our days won’t be brighter. With Him, all things are possible. Hebrews 12:2 tells us He is the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Keep looking to Him for strength and remember to place your faith in Him. 

 

Stay Still and Trust 

By: David Arriaza

When I was still in high school, I had a history teacher who taught me a very important lesson. We were getting ready to take a midterm exam the whole class had been dreading for weeks, and we were all quite stressed and unhappy. Before administering the exam, the teacher stood in front of the class and said, “don’t worry, in the great ocean that is your life this test is just a small drop of water”. This statement changed my perspective and I’ve been able to rely on it ever since. 

Even though current times might be confusing or hard to get used to, it’s important to remember God is on our side and when you put things in perspective, problems start to look a lot smaller. Sometimes, stressing and worrying is only detrimental to your health and well-being, and only leads to more anxiety. This might be a good time to remember and take to heart the words God said to the Israelites when He said, “you need only to be still”.  

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:13-14 

 

A Day In The Life of A Remote-Learner: Drew Biswas 

Hey friends! My name is Drew Biswas. I am an exercise science major with a minor in business and I wanted to share my “routine” for life taking online classes!

So I say “routine”, however, I definitely listen to my body a lot more nowadays. These are really crazy times so if my body says we need an extra hour of sleep then I oblige. Regardless, this is generally how it goes.

7:00 a.m. – Wake-up time. I usually don’t eat breakfast as soon as I wake up but I’ll make some tea just so I’m in a habit of putting something in my digestive system. During this time I take a shower, study my bible, pray, and do some chores around the house.

8:00 a.m. – Prepping for classes. If the weather is good I like to take my desk set up outside so I can soak up that good vitamin D while I get prepared for my classes ahead and hang out with my dog Barry (Named after Barry Allen, the DC superhero The Flash, ironically because he looks really goofy when he runs)!

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9:00 a.m. – Classes start. From now until about 3 p.m. I have most of my classes. I usually eat lunch at noon, my family is half Indian so we have a ton of good Indian food at home.

3:00 p.m. –  So speaking of living in an Indian house, we have to have tea time at three, so everyone in the house stops what we’re doing so we can relax for a quick 15 and enjoy my mom’s chai (who is the nurse the mug refers to)!

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3:30 p.m. – I live in the Bay area so there are a lot of great hiking spots to social distance at! Barry loves coming with me so he can run and stretch his legs for a little bit, and there are always great views!

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5:00 p.m. – Family dinner is a must for the Biswas house. My mom, grandma, dad, and I all sit and chat about work and school with each other while eating my mom and dad’s amazing cooking (thanks parents!)

6:00 p.m. – This is usually the time for finishing any additional homework, studying for tests and quizzes, or reminding Barry that he’s handsome! (he has some self-confidence issues).

9:00 p.m. – Since it’s starting to get pretty warm here I usually try to do my runs in the late evening. After this, it’s time to hit the showers and hit the hay!

And that’s my day! Routine is totally important but my tip is, don’t push yourself too hard to achieve the impossible! I’d like to encourage all of you to go at your own pace. Life is super crazy right now, but every day makes me more and more excited to see you all again very soon PUC family!

 

Take God’s Direction 

By: Dylan Gray

What’s up, everyone! I’d like to share a couple of verses with you that I came across this week while doing some of my devotions. In Philippians 4:11, Paul says, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Growing up I was always looking forward to the future and college where life would be perceivably better. When I got to college, I looked at my life in the future again. I couldn’t wait to be independent and work after I graduated. It seemed so nice in my imaginary future and I couldn’t wait to get there. 

There was a common theme that surrounded my outlook in both of those periods of my life; that was the discontentment that I was feeling about my present state. I was missing a purpose. I looked to the future where I thought I would find it, but all it did was make me even more unsatisfied with my current state. I wasn’t taking my situation and working it for God’s glory. I was stuck on myself and my insecurities. I was thinking, “I don’t like where I am so I’ll just make a plan to leave.” I would think about how much I disliked where I was and I refused to change my perspective on life. 

That’s not how the Bible conveys the life of somebody who has Christ in their hearts. In Philippians 4:12, Paul says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to have an abundance. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need.” That sounds like a man who lives as if there is no tomorrow. He takes every moment and every situation, whether he likes it or not, and is not phased by what is happening around him. It doesn’t matter what’s happening around you. What matters is what is happening inside you. Paul latched on to that secret and he kept it inside him.

That secret is in Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Paul had a relationship with Jesus so strong that no matter what happened he would not move from the rock that he planted himself on. He tells us about this faith and assurance  he has in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, (39) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I don’t know about you, but I would sure like to have that type of relationship. God is with us no matter where we are and right now things are hard. We are stuck at home. We can’t go and experience things the way we used to, but we can still be content. As I was comparing our situations to Paul’s, I realized he did most of his ministry while he was in prison or on house arrest. Under quarantine, if you will. This made me realize even though we are all spread apart we still have three things: a community that we are a part of (PUC Students, Faculty and Staff), Jesus by our side every step that we take in the new challenge we are facing, and the plan that God has for us even if we can’t see it. We just have to have the mindset that lets God lead us and provides that contentment that is available to everyone. 

As we continue, I want to challenge all of us to let God take us where we need to be, not just where we want to be. Along that journey, hold on to the promise that you can do all things with Christ who gives you strength. As you go don’t worry because “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

 

Glow and Grow With God 

PUC is committed to helping and encouraging students to become closer to Christ and build their relationship with him. A great thing about PUC is there are many ways students can worship, allowing them the opportunity to grow in an environment they feel safe in. 

Every Friday night after vespers, students head to the Campus Center to relax at Afterglow. Afterglow is simply an opportunity to continue the blessing provided at vespers in a more casual setting.

Afterglow acts as a place where people can relax, let go, and let God. Students are encouraged to gather and talk, worship, and support each other without the stressors of school and work, or anything else weighing heavy on their minds. 

Dylan Gray, a sophomore marketing communication and emergency management major, is in charge of Afterglow. He appreciates how much planning and work is put into providing an experience for the students and really enjoys seeing students have such a passion for worshiping God in their hearts. Being able to worship with friends is what inspires him to continue working hard week after week. 

Dylan is dedicated to furthering Afterglow’s goal of creating a place of worship where students can go knowing they’ll find love and support in their time of need. He knows how important it is for every student to understand while they may be struggling, someone else is also and while their struggles might be different, they can still support each other. 

If you haven’t been to Afterglow yet, come! If you’re interested in getting involved, the door is always open. “I came from a public school and didn’t have a space to worship or support each other,” says Dylan. “I appreciate that there is space for that and am thankful for it. I appreciate worshiping with my friends and peers. It is not just a knock off vespers, it’s an organic place of worship and friendship. I just want to worship with people. ”

Editor’s Note: This blog was written prior to the Covid crisis and PUC switching to temporary online education. If you’re interested in learning more about Afterglow, other PUC ministries, or ways to stay connected while we’re apart, reach out to our Campus Ministries team at campusministries@puc.edu or on Instagram @campusministries.puc. 

Healing in Hope

This week’s devotional thought comes to us from PUC’s SA RVP, Noah Ofisa.

“And let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to a household of faith” -Galatians 6:9,10 

Today, we are facing one of the most stressful times. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there were already diseases and deaths sweeping across our nation and the world. Now there is panic running rampant across the world. According to the news, there have been thousands of deaths in Italy, Spain, China, and the U.S. since the beginning of the spread of this “CoronaVirus” so far. So how does this affect us as Christians today? How should we respond when dealing with things such as social distancing in this time? 

Jesus says He is the light of the world (John 8:12). But He also calls us the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). As God’s beloved chosen people, we have one of the greatest opportunities to share the everlasting hope of Jesus Christ (John 3:16). We must continue to speak life and hope to those around us. We must encourage people that there is an eternal home beyond this perishing world where death, disease, and sadness are pervasive. His word declares He “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Moreover, Paul encourages God’s beloved to not grow weary in well doing because we shall reap if we faint not. This is our call to continue to bring comfort and healing especially to those in our homes and even through social media. One powerful thing that is happening now is that God’s people across the world are uniting in prayer for healing and His kingdom. May God’s love continue to be shared in this crucial time and may His peace and promises comfort you today.

Here is my prayer today: 

Father, thank you for your infinite love and mercy upon us. Thank you for your eternal promises that lift our eyes above the storms we face here on Earth. Thank you for your presence with those across the world that are in need of your healing hands. We ask for an outpouring of your Holy Spirit. Help us Lord to continue to bring healing and comfort to our families and loved ones. Help us to continue to share your message of hope wherever we are. Lead us, God, in your love for the kingdom. We love you, Jesus!

In Jesus Name, Amen. 

 

Rejoice In The Lord Always

Stephen Staff graduated from PUC with a degree in communication in 2010. He went on to receive his masters in student life and development in 2018 and is now the boy’s dean and athletics director at Dakota Adventist Academy. Stephen loves PUC and was happy to share a devotional thought with all of his fellow Pioneers.

These are troubling times. We have people getting sick at alarming rates. Countries are closing borders, people are being asked not to leave their homes, and schools are closing. You might be feeling anxious or worried about this. You may know a person that has been directly affected by this, or you might be affected in some way. So what should we do? Do we worry and give in to fear and make sure we have enough toilet paper to last through the apocalypse? In times like this, we need a firm foundation to stand on.

In the book of Daniel Chapter six, we find Daniel in an interesting situation. He has been taken as a captive when Babylon conquered Jerusalem. He served under two different kings, and both saw the power of God through Daniel. Then the Medes and Persians conquered the Babylonians, and Daniel was serving under a new king. This king liked Daniel, but the other officials did not. So they conspired against Daniel. They had the king sign a declaration if anyone made a petition or prayed to anyone other than the king they should be thrown into the lions den. Daniel heard about this declaration, and continued to pray to God just as he had before the declaration. The other officials brought this before the king, and the king was distraught. He followed through with the law and before he sealed it shut he told Daniel he hoped God would protect him from the lions. The king spent a restless night anxiously waiting to find out what had happened to Daniel. When they checked on him in the morning, Daniel was unharmed.

No matter what challenge we are facing, we can have faith that God is always going to be there with us. He is always faithful. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Just like Daniel in the lions den, we have faith we can trust this to God and know  He will deliver us.

God Is In Control

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalms 62:5-8

A few kayaking excursions on the East Coast taught me something important. The days were sunny and pleasant and the scenery was awesome. There was no hint that things would suddenly change to foreboding skies and fierce winds. I fought hard to paddle myself back to shore wondering if I would make it before being engulfed by the waters. I cried out to the heavens for help, remembering the boat story (Luke 8:22-25) when Jesus calmed the storm and even the winds and the water obeyed him. I did make it safely to shore by persevering and by God’s grace. It was a reminder to me that in the midst of the storms and uncertainties of life, we can be at peace, knowing God is in control. Let’s trust God and make him our rock in our everyday lives, allowing him to perform wonders on our behalf.

Crista Peterson,

Executive Assistant for Student Life
International Student Advisor

One Place, One Purpose, One Project

By: Ally Romanes

This past February, six students from the World Missions and Campus Ministries team at PUC flew to Boulder Adventist Church in Colorado for the One Project. The One Project is a two-day program where Adventist colleges and universities gather to fully connect on the belief of Jesus. Everyone came together from multiple places, representing various entities, to arrive at common ground. Although everyone comes from different backgrounds, they were united being children of God, wanting to worship our Father and learning from the examples of Jesus. 

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Worship was the most important part of the One Project. People were able to hear sermons from various pastors from several states and countries. In between the sermons, they also had praise worship. “You can truly feel the Holy Spirit when the room is filled with an abundance of praise,” says Marci Amurao, one of the students who attended.

For the PUC student’s representing our school, this was an opportunity to worship in another way, while also a chance to meet people from other colleges and universities. Being able to worship together, share a meal together, fostered the community. Connecting with other students who share that common love for Christ not only built new friendships, but it also grew their relationships with Jesus. 

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“The One Project left with me with a stronger relationship with Jesus. It helped direct my focus to Christ and reassured me that what I believe is Jesus and our community is supposed to be a place of nurture and acceptance. The sermons were remarkable and groundbreaking, but what left an impression on me was the fellowship between the students.” –Marci Amurao 

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