Tag Archives: campus ministries

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. 

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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Love One Another

Hi PUC!

My name is Lindsey Gullett, née Orellana. I’m a PUC alum from the class of 2015, and I am so excited you’re reading this! One thing I think we can all use a refresher course in, especially during these times of uncertainty, is loving others, no matter what comes our way!

It’s crazy to think  Jesus summed it up in one phrase, “love God and love people” (My paraphrase). In other words, the greatest commandment according to Jesus is all about love (John 14:15). If we love God first and foremost, then out of that love we should love others. Even when all the toilet paper is gone at the store! It sounds simple enough until we start attempting to put it into play. When we begin to look at the reality of how we should love God and people versus how it plays out day-to-day, we’ll probably feel a little guilty of all the times we fall short, I know I do!

 Thankfully, Jesus knows we’re not capable of overcoming our natural selfishness on our own, so He sent us a guide; The Holy Spirit. When we come to know God through Jesus, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Think of the way a friend, counselor, or even a nurse supports, encourages, and walks with you through a tough season. The Holy Spirit does the same thing by helping us follow God’s word.

 What does the Holy Spirit do, exactly? The Holy Spirit begins to transform us from the inside out, helping us reflect the spirit and character of Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit that transforms our perspective from “ought to” to “want to” when it comes to listening to God’s Word–and that makes all the difference in how we live out God’s love.

 As we navigate this time of global crisis, ask God for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit to help you love others well. This might mean showing extra patience towards your spouse or kids who are stuck at home, offering to pick up groceries for your elderly neighbors, or perhaps it’s praying for global leaders making decisions and medical workers who are on the front lines caring for the sick.

 Hoping these few words have given you a little break from all the craziness out there and that it serves as a gentle reminder as to how we can be a positive light to others through love and kindness!

 

Call On Jesus

PUC alum, Brad Gienger, graduated in 2010 with a religion degree and clearly put that to good use as he is now serving as the pastor of the Champaign Seventh-day Adventist Church in Illinois. Brad was kind enough to share with us a little Friday worship thought!

“Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”, these are some of the most biting words in Scripture. This question is especially hard-hitting in light of the context, a storm. As Jesus and his disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee a storm takes them with such ferocity that hardened fishermen find themselves fearing for their very lives, “Save us, Lord: we are perishing.” As I read that cry I immediately experience empathy, we all should, who has not been caught in a storm? Often it has been a great comfort to me to know that in the storms of life, literally and figuratively, I can cry out to Jesus. When I read the response of Jesus to that plea I must admit to finding it troubling. Why would Jesus rebuke the cry of his follower in the midst of a storm? Would Jesus do that to me?

In the course of serving the Lord storms arise, in fact, if your life of service is stormless it is time to do some soul searching. What do we make of this interaction Jesus has with his disciples? Is it wrong to cry out to God during the storms of life? No, in fact, we are urged to ask Jesus anything many times in Scripture, called to know God as our Rock and Shield. So how then do we understand this story? The disciples unwittingly reveal the answer as they comprehend the capability of Jesus to calm the storm, “What sort of man is this?”. The rebuke of Jesus has nothing to do with the storm and everything to do with the relationship. The issue is not that the disciples are afraid due to the situation they are in, but rather that they are afraid in the company they are in. Jesus wants us to call out to him in the storm, but to call out to him in the knowledge he is with us “even to the end of the age,”.

Our King Is Always With Us

“I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

It’s been a wave of emotions in the last few weeks. Routine has been stripped from right under our feet and we’re having to adjust to new platforms of existing. As we face this time of struggle, I find the need to be reminded of God’s plan and who He has called me to be despite the current situations. 

I’m reminded of the story of three young men who were taken captives and asked to do things outside of who they knew God had called them to be. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced a king who wanted to instill fear and power over his people in order that he might reign superior. These young men knew who their true King was and stood up against the peer pressure to serve otherwise.

As many of our counties are asked to ‘shelter in place’, we can be consumed by fear. To name a few: the fears of sickness, the fear of missing out, the fears of not experiencing life as we thought we would in the season we thought we would be, you name it. The fear is there and when there is no one else to speak power and life over you, our thoughts consume us. 

I want to gently provoke a desire and need in us during these next few weeks to take the time to pray, meditate and worship our King of Kings because ‘He who began a good work in us will bring it about to completion’. We have hope beyond that of the social media and news stations, we are the generation the Lord has called to bring light and direction to others. 

As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego expressed to king Nebuchadnezzar they would not bow down to his standards, expectations, or gods, he was filled with rage. The king turned up the fire seven times more so they would truly burn. He tied them up and threw these three young men into the fire. The story then continues, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25).

What we do in times of trials determines who can join us. We have the opportunity to welcome the presence of God into our homes, our lives, and our hearts. I imagine these young men not just walking around but praising God at this moment. Though everything was blazing around them, their God was not only protecting them but with them in the fire. 

“There’s a grace when the heart is under fire

Another way when the walls are closing in

And when I look at the space between

Where I used to be and this reckoning

I know I will never be alone

There was another in the fire

Standing next to me

There was another in the waters

Holding back the seas

And should I ever need reminding

Of how I’ve been set free

There is a cross that bears the burden

Where another died for me

There is another in the fire”

 

 

Our King is always with us and unlike king nebuchadnezzar, he does not need to instill fear to show his power, he stands with us in the fire that we would not be burned (Isaiah 43:2). Our King speaks life into existence, the storm to be still and today he is knocking at the doors of our hearts and homes that we would welcome him so that he can be with us in this season. 

– Mayte Jimenez, visit coordinator

Meet Your Student Chaplain

Lorenzo Pena is one of PUC’s student chaplains this year and he’s more than happy to help you in any way you need whether it’s praying for you when you’re in need of extra help, chatting with you about your spiritual journey, or just a smiling face around campus. Lorenzo is passionate about God’s love and serving others. Here’s your chance to get to know a little about Lorenzo and next time you see him around campus, say hi! 

What made you want to be a student chaplain? 

My family has always instilled in me the value of serving God and to share my gifts to be a blessing to those around me. One of the most important things in life is to serve others. I wanted to be able to share the blessings God has given me with PUC in order to bring others closer to God or to walk with them on their own journeys. 

What are you responsible for as a student chaplain? 

 As a student chaplain, my most important task is to be a huge supporter of the spiritual life on campus. This means not only to help plan the big spiritual events on campus, but to also help students in their own ministry whether it be helping students start a bible study or small group, doing devotions with people, or just being a listening ear for someone going through any kind of situation. 

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain? 

My biggest challenge as a student chaplain is I am not always able to reach people on this campus in a way that fits in with their spiritual walk, but that is perfectly fine. A person’s journey with God is unique and the ways people like to worship are different, but this is why it is important for me to be a supporter for those who are trying to fill a need or gap that they see in the spiritual life on campus. It is my job to help everyone to be able to find or access whatever it may be that enables them to grow with Christ. 

What would you like to do to strengthen spiritual life on campus? 

I would like to strengthen the spiritual community here on campus not only with the students but also with the faculty and staff. I want to have PUC be known as a safe place where anyone can feel completely comfortable sharing their life experiences and testimonies with others. Everyone deserves to have a safe place to be able to open up to others and be met with open arms. 

What advice do you have for someone that is struggling with their spiritual life? 

I have had many struggles in my spiritual life and I still have struggles in my life now, but the best thing I have found is I cannot do anything alone. It is important to know God is always with me, but even more than that, He surrounds me with so many wonderful people, including my friends, family, teachers, and a church family that are there to support me and care greatly about me. I used to think I could do everything on my own and that is just not the case. I need to be able to lean on those around me whenever I am feeling lost or alone and I need to be there for someone else to lean on whenever they need it. God puts people in our lives for a reason. 

What do you love about PUC? 

I love that PUC has so many wonderful students that are so passionate about loving God and serving others. I see this not only in the faculty, staff, and student leaders, but in all the students I see finding ways to get involved in ministry, hanging out with their friends, helping other students with studies, and so many other things. We have great people here at PUC and I am proud to be one of them. 

Where is your favorite place to eat in the Napa Valley? 

My favorite place to eat in the Napa Valley is Giugnis Deli. 

What shows are you watching right now? 

The shows I am watching right now are 911, Hawaii 5-0, and Chicago Fire/Med/PD. 

What is your favorite class that you have taken at PUC? 

My favorite class I have taken at PUC was History of Western Art. 

What is your favorite weekend activity? 

My favorite weekend activity is taking a trip down to Napa and go to Target, Home Depot, and Taco Bell.

 

Meet Your Student Chaplain: Taylor Bothwell

By Ally Romanes

Did you know PUC has student chaplains? Taylor Bothwell is one of two student chaplains this year and she’s more than happy to help you in any way you need whether it’s praying for you when you’re in need of extra help, chatting with you about your spiritual journey, or just a smiling face around campus. Get to know a little about Taylor so next time you see her around campus you can say hi! 

What made you want to be a student chaplain? 

I wanted to be a student chaplain because having a strong spiritual life on campus is very important to me. Being a student chaplain gives me the opportunity to continue to improve and bring about change in that area. It also gives me a chance to interact with a lot of people.

What are you responsible for as a student chaplain?

Since the campus ministries team is all-new this year and we are building from scratch, we are still in the process of fleshing out responsibilities. In general terms though, as a student chaplain, I am here for the students of this school. Whether that be sitting and listening, helping start a new ministry, or running a Bible study, I want to be there for students in whatever capacity they need me for.  

What are the challenges you have as a student chaplain? 

So far, my biggest challenge relates to the new-ness of the job. I am still trying to figure out where I am needed the most and the best places for me to pour out my energy.     

What advice do you have for someone that is struggling with their spiritual life? 

Don’t stop struggling with it. By that, I don’t mean to say that someone shouldn’t reach a place of spiritual peace and fulfillment. I mean that someone shouldn’t give up.  Keep asking the hard questions, keep pursuing answers. Don’t stop struggling just because it is hard or the people around you can’t answer the questions that you have. God can handle all of the emotions and baggage you have. Be willing to share it all with him and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others.

What about being a student chaplain has prepared you for your career and other aspects of your future?

I have no idea what I am going to do for a career. That’s a very scary thing to admit to myself, but at this point, I’m simply saying yes to the opportunities I feel God has placed in front of me. That being said, I believe being a student chaplain has given me the skills of working with a team, dealing with sensitive subjects, and being able to articulate my faith and what I believe. Regardless of where I end up working, those skills will benefit me for the rest of my life.

Where is your favorite place to eat in the Napa Valley?

Ooh! That’s a hard one! I’ve lived in the Napa Valley for practically my entire life, so I have lots of memories at the different restaurants here. If I had to pick though, I would say Gott’s. Of course, the burgers are always good and they have lots of fun seasonal options too. (Did you know it used to be called Taylor’s Refresher? Can you guess why it’s my favorite?)

What shows are you watching right now?  

I’m waiting for the final season of Madame Secretary to be released on Netflix. And while I’m waiting, I’m watching The Great British Baking Show.  

What is your favorite weekend activity?

I love driving out to the beach and hanging out with friends. Since I don’t always have time to do that, I’m always down for a game night in the dorm lobby (Taboo, Uno, Codenames, etc.).

What is a favorite class that you have taken at PUC?

Can I pick one class per department? I’ve taken so many I really like I don’t think I could choose just one! Cancer Biology, History of Western Art II, Elementary Differential Equations, and Business Law I are some of my favorites.  

 

Kristen’s Advice – Get Involved!

Hi! I’m Kristen Beall and I have a few thoughts I wanted to share with you.

Kristen Beall

I am just about to wrap up my Pacific Union College career in just a few short weeks. I could not be more excited to start this next step in life but that means leaving behind my beloved school. Over the past four years I have fallen in love with not only our beautiful campus but the beautiful people as well. When I say “beautiful” I am not talking about outward appearances, but inward. PUC has attracted some of the most genuine and loving people I have ever met. As one of the student chaplains on campus I have come into contact with multiple students/faculty from all different
backgrounds and I have learned something from each one of them. PUC has provided me with a lot of opportunities to get involved such as being a student chaplain, student ambassador, desk worker, tutor at the TLC tutor, and as a Life Group leader. All of these “jobs” have been such a blessing to me. I was able to help students with their homework, life problems, and even their decision on coming to PUC.

If you are reading this then you must be either planning on joining the PUC family or
at least interested in what this school has to offer; I hope I can help reassure you
that PUC is where you need to be. You see I was not planning on coming to PUC. In
fact, I was enrolled at a community college for five weeks before deciding 5 days
before school started to make PUC my home. It took some adjusting, as any
relocation would, but after settling in I fell in love with the school. There are so
many opportunities to get involved and if you take advantage of these then I
guarantee your experience will be just as amazing as mine was. If you like sports
you can join a collegiate team or intramurals for some friendly competition. If sports
are not your cup of tea we have multiple music opportunities such as wind
ensemble, orchestra, gospel choir, and many other groups to join including a jazz
band! PUC also has many clubs on campus such as the Mabuhay Club, Math Club,
Chess Club, and more.

There are so many opportunities PUC has to offer but the last one I’d like to focus on
is campus ministries. Getting involved with the campus ministries team was the
best decision I have made at PUC. The group that I have worked with is an amazing
group and I couldn’t be more proud of the spiritual leaders they have become.
Whatever your passion is, whatever you enjoy doing, we will help you make it into a
ministry. Yes, there are specific jobs that need to be filled but more importantly we
want to accommodate to you and the needs of the campus. There are multiple
chaplains around campus that are always willing to talk and help in any way they
can. There are no prerequisites, just stop in the office and we’ll get you plugged in!

If you would like more information about campus ministries and other ways you can get involved at PUC, take a look at the Campus Culture page on our Admissions site. You can also check out the Student Association Facebook page for upcoming events such as banquets, vespers speakers, and more.