How Did Your College Education Shape You?

I have a Bachelors in Biblical Studies, a Bachelors in Music Performance, and a Masters in Leadership from Lancaster Bible College & Capital Bible Seminary. I now work at The Factory Ministries in Paradise, PA as the Youth Center Director—working mostly with teenagers in poverty to introduce them to Christ and help equip them to lead healthy lives. 

In some ways, my time and major at LBC did not “prepare” me for my responsibilities as a Youth Center Director. My studies did not teach me how to budget for events, or how to respond to suicidal students, or how to recruit committed volunteers. Fortunately, my education experience at LBC was so much more than information, content, and job prep. 

My time at LBC instilled in me a love for learning, showed me the value of introspection, and cultivated my love for knowing God.  My time at LBC inspired a love for ministry, molded my work-ethic, and gave me the opportunity to be invested in by amazing, godly men & women. My time at LBC rooted my faith in understanding and discipline, and sparked a desire and confidence to share the good news of the Gospel with anyone who will listen! These passions, values, and skills have been imperative to my work at the Youth Center. 

My ministry at the Factory Youth Center is so wonderfully centered on building relationships. I have the privilege of investing in relationships with the teens that come to the Youth Center, with my team of volunteers, with teachers and administration in our school district, as well as with local church and business leaders. We believe that all significant life change happens through significant relationships, and that the gospel travels best over bridges of relationships. I see that very truth modeled in my own life through my experience at Lancaster Bible College. My moments of significant life change didn’t occur during programs or events. The lessons I cling closest to today aren’t because of their astounding content. When I really reflect on who I am today, and how I do ministry–it’s greatly because of the people, the relationships I formed during my years at Lancaster Bible College. 

I am the woman, and therefore the ministry leader I am today because of Dr. Teague’s humility, Dr. Bigley’s kindness, Dr. Soden’s brilliance, Dr.Sidebothum’s tenderness, Amy’s friendship, Emerld’s prayers, Josh’s passion, Kim’s accountability, Mandi’s encouragement, Timmy’s example, Kristen’s steadfastness, Jess’s patience, Carrissa’s thoughtfulness, and Judy’s support-just to name a few. My time at Lancaster Bible College-through education and relationships-shaped who I am, how I think, and what I value. I am beyond thankful to be the Youth Center Director at The Factory Ministries, and beyond thankful that God used my time at Lancaster Bible College to prepare me to do the work He has for me there.

grad

How Do You Stay So Positive?

happiness

It was a question via Facebook messenger, completely out of the blue from a high school girl from our Youth Center. She simply asked,

“How do you stay so positive?”

I wanted to hug her.

It’s such a simple, little question packed with SO much.

I remember what it is like to be a teenage girl. It’s overwhelming. It’s difficult. It’s lonely. It’s confusing. I love that this young lady feels all the feels and wants to fight negativity. Fight lies. Fight cynicism. Fight apathy. And have positivity.

Here’s how I responded to her that night (it was late, and a little jumbled :)):

“I know it’s a little cliche-but honestly, it’s my faith. Faith and age 😊 I wasn’t always like this-when I was your age, I was on depression medication, Zoloft, and definitely had breakdowns and felt despair. I’ve even had those in the last couple of years (though the older I get, the less and less frequent that happens). My faith keeps me positive for 2 main reasons: one, I believe that absolutely everything that happens, God can use for good-to grow me into a better woman. He is doing a million different things in my life all at once, for me- for my good, and I only can see a few of them. I believe He is good and patient and kind-so that helps a lot. And secondly, I believe that no matter what happens in this life–it’ll pass. I know it will. And eventually this life will be over and the best life will begin! And that helps me maintain a positive perspective too.

It doesn’t come naturally always. A lot of times i have to “walk myself to truth” and journal out what I know to be true, and what lies I may be believing that are causing my heartache. It doesn’t just happen overnight; it is a journey. But I can say for fact, that choosing joy and fighting for positivity now, is sooooooooo much easier today. So wherever you’re at-keep fighting for joy. Figure out truth and preach it to yourself and have others speak truth to you too! God really is the great Comforter and believing in him-his power & goodness & control- is the only way I’ve found to really BE positive!”

Questions About Satan

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I love it when the Youth Center teens ask me random questions. 🙂 Here’s one I got the other day:

“Why does Satan punish sinners? Wouldn’t he be happy you “turned your back on god” and like went to the dark side? Alternatively if Satan punishes sinners why isn’t he considered good?”

Such a fantastic question, right?!

It all boils down to the nature of who Satan is. Is he anti-God, or anti-people? It he a just punisher or an embodiment of total evil?

I was falling asleep last night thinking of this question, and this analogy came to mind:

Imagine I take you on a vacation to the most amazing resort in the world. I pay for the plane ticket, book the rooms, and spend the whole 10 days trying to get to know you and spend time with you and love ya well with a vacation. It’s not perfect-you get sunburn, some bug-bites, etc. but even so, it’s an amazing, incredible trip. 

When the vaca is over, I say to you, “Alright (insert your name). It’s time to go home. Pack your bags and lets go!” I grab my duffle, knowing how much time, money, and energy I’ve spent on this resort-I was HAPPY to do it, because I FREAKING LOVE YOU, but I’m ready for us to go home. I’m at the door with my keys out, and I look behind me and see you lying on the bed playing with your phone. “______, ” I say, “it’s time to go. What are you doing?” 

What you tell me next, is a shot through the heart. You tell me that you don’t want to go home with me. That you’re thankful for the nice room, and the delicious food, and the scuba-diving lessons, but you are pissed about the bugbites, and don’t really enjoy my company. You tell me that you find me boring-or really just not all that important and that you’d much rather just be by yourself than with me. Beside, while I’m there you can’t do the things you REALLY wanna do here in Florida. You tell me I’m a killjoy. Me, the one who took you parasailing and snorkeling and to the best Indian Restaurant you’ve ever experienced -think I’m a killjoy?

I implore you-please come. Don’t stay here-it’s not safe here without me. This is an amazing resort, but the owner is absolutely insane. Without me here to keep you safe–

but you cut me off. “No, Betty. I don’t want to be with you. I don’t want to get to know you. I don’t care if you did all these “amazing things” for me. I don’t care. I just want to be here. Without you. Doing whatever the heck I want. So back off and just go home. And I don’t even believe that @#$% about the owner being a sociopath. He’s probably not all that bad. He’ll probably understand why I didn’t want to go with you.”

We argue for hours. You’re being ridiculous and hurtful. But, you’re an adult. You can make your own decisions. You clearly don’t really know me. You rejected me. So I leave. 

What you won’t believe is that the owner of the resort not only hates me-but he also hates you. He hates everyone. He is a sociopath. If you would’ve loved me-he would have been furious. You hating me makes him a little less mad-but he still hates you. When you choose to stay at the resort-he doesn’t pat you on the back and welcome you to the family of “Betty Haters”–he, evil to the core–begins tormenting you because that is who he is and what he loves to do. 

Do you understand this whole little story? God has given us time here on earth (the vacation)-HE made the earth perfectly habitable, HE gave you gifts and passions and joys, and relationships (snorkeling, etc.) and yes-there is such awful stuff here too, but Satan (the owner of the resort) is the ruler of this present world (2 Cor. 4:4) and brought evil into it. When it’s time for you to die (go home from the vacation) and you choose to NOT go with God, the only alternative is to stay with him. And he is awful. Absolutely awful.

So, Satan doesn’t “punish sinners”-he hates EVERY human. Attacks the righteous ones on earth especially, and then in the afterlife, continues hating all people, whether they were really good or really bad, as long as they rejected Christ-they are with him, and he will do what he loves to do. You “going to the dark side” only brings him joy because that’s one more person to torment, one less person worshipping God is complete fullness of joy in heaven.

Satan is a little bit of a joke in our current culture. And I think he prefers it that way. Laugh about him. Don’t take him seriously. Think he’s harmless. But that is not true my friends. He is real. He is awful. He is heartless.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

 

Some call him Mr. Bob. His mom, usually scolding/teasing him, calls him Bobby Lee. The kids at camp (and his best friend :)) call him “Beautiful Bob”. During Christmastime he’s known around Hagerstown as “Santa Bob”. But to me, I’m the lucky one-because I get to call him Dad.

Through adoption, Dad rescued me from so much evil-an abusing earthly father, an abusing half-brother, and a world of neglect. Dad showed me so much attention and love and care. He punished me in love, for my betterment, he taught me how to cook and he taught me how to clean.  He took me on dates and was always my valentine (though Mom’s presents were always the biggest!). He found what I loved (music) and took me out coffee houses & record stores, he spent time with me at the grocery store or at counseling, or by taking me to practices, or accompanying me on my first missions trip. He was at every concert.

He makes me laugh and is SO proud of me. He makes me little gifts to encourage me-and he always believes in me. He always PROTECTS me, and reminds me constantly of the wondrousness of our God. He apologizes quickly anytime he is wrong, and I know he wants the absolute best for me.  He serves his church faithfully, and loves mom so steadfastly. He knows my weaknesses, and addresses my sins, but he constantly reminds me of how thankful he is to God for giving me to him as his daughter.

Now, just as a disclaimer-he is NOT perfect! He does get grouchy sometimes, and can exaggerate how long he’s been waiting in the car for you after practice sometimes too-but for the most part-he’s pretty close to perfect 😉 I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without him.

Having him as my dad is one of God’s greatest gifts in my life.

Happy Birthday, Dad 🙂