Surrounded for Supremacy – Galatians 2:1-2

“Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.” –Galatians 2:1-2

College was a time where I grew in every area of my life. I was learning every day. My job was teaching me to have a work ethic. Classes were keeping me punctual. Spiritually I was growing every day through chapel. Being in such a concentrated environment was nourishing for my growth as a budding adult.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from college was to be surrounded by people in every area of my life. I learned that to be an effective leader, I needed to mentor people, have peers, and be mentored as well. It was while I was at college that I really understood how important this was to my personal growth. My senior year, I would meet with certain professors once a week for mentorship, I would have friends I could confide in, and I was an example of leadership to those in the student body and my hall – I was Student Body VP and a Resident Assistant.

Though I don’t think this was Paul’s emphasis in Galatians 2, I think it should be noted that he has all types of people mentioned in the first few verses. He has the pillars in Jerusalem with whom he was checking his gospel. There was also God who gave him his gospel. There was Barnabas who was seen as an equal to Paul. And Paul mentions bringing Titus along. Paul mentored Titus, and Barnabas possibly mentored him as well. Not to mention that Paul’s whole mission is to share the gospel with the Gentiles. That is a lot of people whom Paul is influencing.

It might not be the foremost focus here, but Paul is trying to stress his independence while showing those who are in unity with him. There are those in places of authority who agree with Paul. There are also those who are willing to stand along side Paul and preach this gospel – even another noteworthy Jewish Christian, Barnabas. There are also those who are willing to follow Paul to learn from him.

Do you have people who surround you along your journey? It is easy to lose your direction in life if you don’t have focus. Having people in front of you that you can look up to reminds you that there are those who have succeeded. They give you credibility. Those who are with you help you and challenge you. Iron sharpens iron as you fail and succeed together. They truly know where you are, because they are there too. Having people with whom you can influence reminds you of your purpose. When you want to give up, they are a constantly telling you that what you are doing is worthy.

This is true for teachers, preachers, coaches, dentists, and doctors.

Make sure you are surrounded. Use those around you as a support system. Use them to learn. Use them to grow.

“A” Effort and Advice for After High School

I spent the first year of my college career asking my sister advice on everything. I would borrow her books, and take any wise words she would throw in my direction. It took me awhile to realize that a lot of the college experience is learned along the way.

BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE.

I’m not a genius, and all of these things might sound like common sense, but trust me, there are many students out there who haven’t considered these five things:

1) Prioritize:

This might sound like something easy, until you have to do it to every area of your life. What is more important, work or school? It depends. What classes matter to you? Are they part of your degree? Make sure you are working more on your major than on Gen Ed’s or classes for your minor.

Are you ready for this??? Not every class deserves “A” effort. If you are a student working two jobs and taking a full class load and doing who knows what else, not every class is going to get worked on the same. You have to factor your life and class load together. And don’t forget about social life!

My advice would be to get a planner. My sophomore year, I decided to write all of my assignments in a calendar on my computer and print them out at the start of every semester. Not only did I know all of my assignments for all my classes, but also I got to see them side-by-side. I was able to see when a busy week was coming up, and I would work on assignments early, and prioritize what assignments were more important than others.

2) Get Help:

This isn’t like a “college is going to drive you insane” word of advice, but most students who do not do well in school don’t seek help for any of their assignments.

Do you know your professor’s office hours? Have you ever e-mailed them regarding an assignment (just kidding, no one responds to e-mails)? Have you gone to the tutors in your library or learning center? Do you know someone in your class you can study with?

Most college students also don’t know that there are counselors available FOR FREE to all students who are enrolled at the school. I used to think that counselors were only for people who couldn’t handle their own problems. I started seeing our counselors at my school my junior year. It really helped me just to process my schedule, and they helped me to deal with the stress that comes with class loads of assignments.

3) Say “Yes” To Things:

College is the perfect time to start trying new things. There is a brand new slate. Whatever defined you in high school no longer defines you now. You have to opportunity to be whoever you want… except Batman (I had to).

Join a club or a group of something that intrigues you. Chess isn’t just for geeks anymore. Anyone can be a “Fat Amy.” Philosophy can be fun!

Don’t be afraid to meet new people. When I got to college, the only people I knew were my sister and her friends. Most people who came with me knew less people than that. If you’re a freshman, almost any other freshman will be your bestie. Freshmen are just weird like that.

4) Say “No” To Things:

You can be great at prioritizing, but even that won’t help you if you have too much on your plate. Trust me, I’m an expert. This was me my second semester of junior year:

Resident Assistant
Student Government VP
Philosophy Club President
Full-Time Student (17 credit hours, one a foreign language)
Worked 20 hours/week
Played worship weekly at church
Worked out five times a week

The mental breakdown happened a short time after midterms. No matter how good I was at prioritizing, I couldn’t keep up with everything. It was just too much! I would go nonstop from 5 a.m. until I went to bed between 10:30-11:00 p.m. I even had a romantic interest for part of this time! It’s no wonder things didn’t work out! Eventually I quit my job, lost a girlfriend, and things balanced out.

5) Enjoy the Now!

Oftentimes, college students see the time they’re in as a transitional period between adolescence and adulthood. And while college is a time where many students learn the skills they’ll need to have a successful career, college is a vital part of one’s life.

Remember to take time to enjoy the stage of life you’re in. College is the best time to figure out what to do with your life. You can change your career path with little effort. Though you are an adult, the world doesn’t judge you for living at home or having your mom do your laundry. Take advantage of it. Go out and have a social life!

This isn’t a “Bobby says I can go out and drink and go HAM!” kind of statement, but you are at a stage where certain mistakes won’t completely destroy your life. You can transfer schools and not have to worry about dragging a family with you. You can change your major and not have to worry about how it will affect your family, because you don’t have one yet.

Don’t just go to school while you’re at college. Make it a time where you can learn and adventure. Make it a priority to have fun!

Becoming The Abstract: The Start of a Beautiful Journey.

Recently I moved to Greenwich, CT from Springfield, MO to start a College-Age Ministry at Harvest Time Church. The past few weeks have been crazy. I traveled across country, then halfway around the world with my boss, then I moved into an apartment, all while writing and developing stuff for this ministry I am creating ex nihilo. This is my reveal. It isn’t official. This isn’t like a junior high Facebook official romance. This is my heart and my passion for those in transition. It is to reach a demographic that has been overlooked for too long. Introducing: The Abstract.

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The Abstract College-Age Ministry:
John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’”

The Purpose:

Too often the world tries to put God in a box. “The Abstract” is about coloring outside the lines. It is about taking a journey in discovering what “truth” really is. It is about teaching rather than telling, listening rather than talking, and experiencing rather than spectating. “The Abstract” is about finding the Constant in an ever-changing world.

The Process:

The mission is three-fold yet inter-connected.
1) Be Abstract: This is the process of pursuing the Truth, that is, Jesus Christ.
2) Live Abstract: This is the process of allowing God to transform your inner character.
3) Act Abstract: This is the process of allowing God to transform the expressions and actions in your every day life.

The Point:

Amidst the impressionist era there was an artist named Georges Seurat. His art was unlike any of his contemporaries. All of his paintings were done completely with dots. This type of art is called “pointillism.” If one stared at his paintings up close, it would appear to only be polka dots. But it isn’t until one takes a step back that they see the full canvas, and the full beauty of the painting is seen.

Many times in life it seems like the world is crashing down around us. It isn’t until later when we take a step back and see the big picture that we understand the purpose of all the events of the past. The Abstract is meant to help college students at their spot in life to take a step back and see the big picture of Salvation History and their place within the story.

Join the Journey and follow us on Twitter: @TheAbstractMin

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