Tag Archives: spiritual life

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 

 

Making Mental Health A Priority  

By Ally Romanes

We are living in strange times. As we are sheltering at home, some find it difficult not to be able to be outside moving around and others really miss interacting with people. It’s not only important to check on your friends and family, but it’s also important to check on yourself as well. Here are some ways to prioritize your mental health during this time. 

Set A Routine 

You’ve heard this over and over already but its good advice so I’ll say it again! Making a daily routine for yourself will keep you on top of things and help you stay motivated. It can be as simple as making your bed every morning or setting a time to eat lunch. Making a routine will keep you productive and remind you of what you need to accomplish.

Stay Connected With Friends 

It’s important to stay in touch with your friends. through FaceTime, phone calls, and texting. While we may not know what will happen next, we need to be there for one another to help ease the stress we may be going through. 

Get Fresh Air 

Just because we are being asked to stay home doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. Go out and get some fresh air and clear your mind. 

Do Activities You Enjoy

It’s important to keep doing the things you enjoy. Whether that be watching your favorite show or exercising, keep doing the activities you enjoy every day.  

At-Home Exercises 

Even without access to a gym, you can still workout at home. Go for a run, take or walk, or go on a bike ride. If you need some at-home exercise inspiration, ask your friends or look-up workouts on Pinterest or Youtube. It’s important to stay active for your physical and mental health. 

Sleep

Make sure you get enough sleep each night to restore your energy. Getting enough hours of sleep will help you think clearly and feel better during the day. 

Look-Up Pictures Of Animals 

Who doesn’t like seeing cute photos of animals? Follow a few on Instagram or YouTube some cat videos. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a sea otter cam that allows you to watch the sea otters during the day. You don’t want to miss out on the cuteness! 

Focus On Things You Can Control 

With the uncertainty we are living in, it’s important to focus on things we can control. Don’t overthink or obsess about the things you don’t have power over, but instead focus on the things you can control.

Read A Devotional

One of the best things we can do for our own mental health is turn to God. Open your Bible or sign up to get a Bible verse of the day. You can also join us here on the blog every Friday for a devotional thought from one of our own Pioneers.

With the challenges and changes we are dealing with, don’t forget to take care of yourself, and know, your PUC family is here for you!

 

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)

 

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. 

 

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. 

IMG_6855

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. 

IMG_6849

“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 

IMG_6850

A Message Just For Me

Yesterday, I sat down to read my Bible. Before I opened it, I prayed God would bless my time and give me peace during the craziness happening around me. I opened my Bible and there it was, God’s blessing for the day. It felt like a blessing just for me but I would like to share it with all of you!

My Bible opened to John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled … believe in God.”

That really struck a chord with me. And then verse 27 popped out, “… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Wow, I hadn’t been looking for that message, but God planned it for me, for just this moment. In this time of upset, with so much changing around us, it is so reassuring to be reminded that God does not change. He is always the same. He is, always has, and always will remain constant. He is safe to trust! I find much comfort and confidence in knowing and believing this.

Jaime Herman, administrative assistant for student life

 

 

 

 

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,”.