Every single one of you has a story.
That story started from the day you were conceived up until this very moment. Although all of your stories are unique, they all somehow brought you to this irregular place in life, attending Maryland Bible College and Seminary.
Maybe you’ve just arrived, and you’re not even sure why you came; or maybe you’ve been here for a few years and you’re just trying to hold on until graduation.
Whatever the case may be, I thought it would be nice to let you in on a few secrets that I’ve learned over the past three years I’ve been enrolled.
Before I begin, here’s a little disclaimer: Your time here will be a struggle, and there’s no real “how-to” formula to keep you from leaving. So take these thoughts as coming from a student who is always struggling, always wrestling, and always wondering why he’s still here.
Step 1: Just show up.
I’m not sure if you realize it yet, but you’re an adult now. As an adult, you are in charge of prioritizing your time. It’s not up to Mom and Dad, it’s up to you.
If you just show up for class on the nights you scheduled it, you’ve already won half the battle. Believe me when I say that the devil will you give every reason not to show up. It’s the nights we least expect it that we hear something that changes our lives.
Step 2: Take notes that mean something to you.
Is this secular college? N, O, NO! But don’t let that fool you, even though we’re unaccredited, the classes you’re taking are filled with academic information. Please do not write all of it down.
You’re not just listening to the teacher up in front of the classroom, you’re listening to what the Spirit of God is saying to you as you listen. By all means take notes, but help yourself out and write notes that you’ll want to look over again one day.
1 John 2:20, 27
Step 3: Keep a personal walk with God.
Life is extremely busy.
I know what you’re thinking, there are classes, raps, student events, and church services, there’s dorm life, chill time, grocery shopping (or food bank), and SLEEP, aren’t the hours I spend in class just as good as personal time with God? I don’t know how else to say this to you, but no, nothing can replace one on one quiet time with God.
Classes aren’t going to get you through the struggles of day to day life, God will. Your friends can be there for you and bear your burdens, but God bears our biggest burden, our sin nature. Somehow He got you here, don’t leave Him behind in the process.
Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 6:33, 11:28-30
Step 4: Be a Berean.
Like I said earlier, you’re going to hear a ton of academic and spiritual information while you’re at Greater Grace and in Bible College. Unfortunately, not all of it will be correct.
The Bereans are a people who heard the word of God directly from Paul the Apostle’s mouth.
Do you know what they did with the man whom Jesus called personally after His death? They checked every single word he spoke to see if it lined up with the whole canon of Scripture!
Pastors are going to offend you. Sometime’s it’s your flesh, and other times it’s theirs.
Check to see if what is being preached and taught is accurate before you get offended. No one wants you to leave because you’re offended. On the contrary, God may be provoking you to find an answer for yourself. Dig deep!
Acts 17:10-11, Isaiah 28:10, Genesis 28: 18-24
Step 5: Learn to pray.
This is still a mystery to me. I’m probably one of the worst students of prayer at the school. I’ll find every excuse in the world not to, but as I write this paper, I can’t help but put it on the page as an essential survival tip. You don’t know how to pray? Be around people who do.
You’re not sure what the point of it is? Just look at the lives of the mighty men and women in front of you on a day to day basis and explain to me how they got there without prayer! I’m not saying you have to pray, otherwise I’d be condemning myself along with you.
What I am saying is that there’s something important about it, and if you’re open to it, God will make it work in your life.
Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thess. 5: 17, 24
Step 6: Don’t give up, don’t quit.
If there’s something I genuinely do appreciate about the man I never knew who started this ministry, it’s all the times I’ve ever heard him scream, “DON’T QUIT, DON’T QUIT, DON’T QUIT!!!” We all think about it from time to time, there’s no shame in admitting it. But Paul’s words come to mind in…
Philippians 3:13-14: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
No matter how far you think you’ve come, or how much you think you’ve gained, there’s always something more to be had.
1 Corinthians 8:2, Romans 12:3, Philippians 3:13-14
Step 7: Learn to rebound.
In basketball, the term rebound can literally mean “to clean up a missed shot.” Interestingly enough, one of the words for “sin” in the Greek literally means “to miss the mark (think of an arrow missing the bullseye).”
So the idea of rebounding in Christianity is as simple as cleaning up the stray arrows that missed the target. You simply can’t move forward in your walk until you stop looking back at your mistakes.
Do you forget them? No.
Do you learn from them? If you want.
Can you repent, put them behind you and know they are covered by the blood of Christ shed for you on the cross? Absolutely.
Proverbs 24:16, 1 John 1:9, Hebrews 9:14 & 10:22
Step 8: God.
In closing, I’ve already said it before, but I’ll say it again. Nothing and no one will get you through your day to day life better than God.
He is a rewarder to them that diligently seek Him. He is faithful and true, He is not a man that He should lie, and He does not change.
You want to make it through Bible College? Get to know who God is.
He is love, the way, the truth, the life, in Him is light and no variableness or shadow of turning;
He is the comforter, teacher, healer, I AM THAT I AM. He’s full of grace, mercy, loving kindness, forgiveness, faith, and so much more.
He is the alpha and omega, beginning and end, first and last.
You are because He is.
Get preoccupied with your Creator, and you won’t have time to contemplate the decision to give up or quit. I know God will bless your time here and remember, when we are faithless, He remains faithful, amen.
Too many verses to label