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Are You King Saul or King David?

A person’s personality and actions say more about them than their physical attributes. The first two Old Testament Kings can exemplify this statement. Saul, the very first king of Israel, was everything the Israelites wanted in a leader. He had a very strong physical build and was a great military strategist, but he was not the king God had in mind. Saul was the Israelites’  ideal king and God gave them what they desperately wanted. He seemed perfect, yet he was not. David, on the other hand, was a young boy when God told Samuel that David would be king. He was a shepherd boy and the youngest son of Jesse. David had no military training, yet he killed Goliath with one smooth stone and a slingshot. Saul was part of the tribe of Benjamin. His lineage would not have been the promised line of kingship because Jacob named Judah the leader of the twelve tribes. David was part of the tribe of Judah, but that is not the only reason David’s genealogy was the chosen royal line.

Who are the real King Saul and King David?

King Saul

God set Saul to be king, but had plans that would cause his kingship to be terminated. Saul was the epitome of a true earthly king. He was strong and charismatic; his tragic flaw was that he did not turn to God when things were hard. During a battle, King Saul was to wait for Samuel, the priest. Samuel was going to offer a sacrifice to God. However, Saul became impatient and prideful; he decided to take matters into his own hands. When he saw that his men were suffering and discouraged, he offered a sacrifice to God himself. This was very bad because only priests were allowed to make sacrifices. Saul made a mistake in letting his pride and fear take over his actions. He did not wait for God’s provisions, but provided for himself. King Saul did not repent for his mistakes, but instead he decided it would be permissible to rely on his own strength.

King David

King David was a wonderful king and he prospered because of his faithfulness to God. He trusted in God and this gave him a smooth reign. He was a God-fearing king, but he was not perfect either. The biggest sins that David committed were adultery and murder. He did not try to cover up his mistakes by hiding them from God, but he repented. When King David got the message from the prophet about his mistake, he tore his clothes and wept. He begged for mercy. He turned straight to God. He did not choose to take matters into his own hands when things got tough. God answered David’s prayers because he was wholeheartedly sorry.  David was not like Saul because David did the right thing. He was blameless in God’s eyes because he repented for his wrongdoing.

Who are you?

When you realize that you are sinning against God, what do you do? Do you take matters into your own hands and handle the situation, or do you turn to God for forgiveness? Not many Christians can say they are like King David. Many Christians tend to turn to their friends or  manage their issues with their own knowledge and strength. God wants us all to turn to Him when we sin. Often, pride can cause us to try to cover our mistakes. We hide from God when we sin and think He will not notice. As Christians, we are supposed to trust in God and repent. We are supposed to be like King David, but sadly we are usually like King Saul. So who are you? Do you turn to God for help, or do you try to manage your own issues? Are you King Saul or are you King David?

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Welcome to Our World- Getting to Know Our MKs

Toccoa Falls College is infused with vibrant cultures of various states, nations, and countries. TFC houses missionary kids from locations far and near. Exotic, peculiar, shady and passionate are a few of the adjectives TFC students have used to describe their fellow MK (missionary kids) friends. The way they dress, eat, or squat may scream strange. After all, it is not easy to wrap one’s mind around the cultures many MKs have identified themselves with.

With the different places MKs have been exposed to, the seemingly nonchalant question, ‘So where’s home for you?’ may not come with a simple answer. Max Miner, former Malaysian MK and current Bosnian MK who attended Black Forest Academy in Germany, states, “Toccoa is my hometown, but Germany and Bosnia are my overseas home.” Joshua Jordan, a junior at TFC and an MK from Papua, introduces the idea of a tension that may explain why MKs may have a hard time pinpointing where home is. Having spent the majority of his life abroad, Josh has grown to love the culture and the people of Papua and Papua will always be home. By citizenship, his home is America. However, the three years spent here does not make him feel ready to call America home.

With “home” being several oceans and time zones away, homesickness hit hard. MKs undergo culture shock to American culture, which can seem as foreign to some MKs as their culture seem to Americans. After spending eighteen years in a country where the sun shines all year long, Josh states that winter ranks high among the hardships of his transition to America. Other struggles include familiarizing oneself with celebrities, sport stars, and other famous people currently occupying the limelight. Juseon Park, a freshman at TFC and an MK to Afghanistan, admits that today’s slang is a struggle she often deals with. They are used to a different way of life. “The way I do things is very  German [time conscientious and rule oriented],” Max explained.

The ministry their family is involved with and the culture encapsulates what many MKs miss. One MK misses the freedom of zooming around on her motorbike and eating traditional food such as dog meat. Others complain that America is too littered with rules, stifling their inner carefree spirit. Others miss the beaches and rainforests. Carolyn Berry, an MK from Laos, shares a New Years tradition in Laos where people run around dumping each other with buckets of water, “It is a form of New Years blessing done in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and other places. This tradition started out with scented water in a silver bowl and flowers but has evolved to a [full-blown] water fight throughout the country.”

When homesickness hits, a strong support group is good for the soul. One place where TFC MKs convenes is Paradise Mountain Ministry. Bonfire nights and cooking traditional food (if one is ever lucky enough to find these exotic ingredients at the local Wal-Mart) are some ways to ease homesickness. Other times, talking in a different language helps. “I get tired of listening to English,” Josh admits. Other MKs attend Spanish and Korean churches as a way of satisfying the longing for “home.” TFC freshman, Juhyung Kim, whose parents work as NGO workers in The Gambia, Africa, admits that transitioning to America is hard without family to help out in certain situations, such as with getting insurances, finding jobs, or providing a place to go for the breaks, “Basically lack of connections and feeling like you’re by yourself in a foreign country.”

MKs are proud of where they come from and share a mutual understanding of being different. “[Being an MK] is part of who I am and I’m not gonna apologize for that,” Max affirms. Juseon states, “Really, we’re not too different, it’s just my parents work in a different country.” Josh adds, “MKs are different, but we are not more different than someone from Michigan who also has a way of life that sometimes seem strange to those from the South.”

Max’s advice for MKs in America is to learn to appreciate the people and the culture, “The States is not your home country, but it’s your new home.” Juhyung comments that lack of exposure to American culture should fuel curiosity to go out of comfort zones to get to know the American culture. While it is not healthy for MKs to remain in an MK bubble, it is healthy for non-MKs and MKs to get to know each other. An attitude of curiosity – “What’s your story?” –  is a great approach to take when getting to know one another. Juhyung adds, “Don’t judge a book by its cover. Just because we grew up in the wild doesn’t mean we’re savages and being MKs doesn’t make us holier.” One way to bridge the gap is by being more understanding of each others’ backgrounds, acknowledging that one won’t “fully understand until you go there and see the culture, way of life, and environment,” concludes Juhyung. Rather than letting differences pull people apart, allow these varieties to open one’s eyes wider to the world and the different ways of life. These diversities can attract TFC students together as they continue to learn from each other.


* The MKs interviewed for this article represent a small part of the TFC MK population and therefore, statements should not be taken as conclusive.

* picture credit:  q=missionary+kids&safe=active&biw=1539&bih=698&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=brBDVdSlGYyqgwSM5oBI&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAw#imgrc=PQbAzx_rg4hgqM%253A%3BJnBt_kglafZrXM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.christianweek.org%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2014%252F07%252FMK-Re-entry-Retreats-1.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.christianweek.org%252Fmissionary-kids-band-together-overcome-reintegration-challenges%252F%3B1000%3B667

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The Future of TFC


Toccoa Falls College is proud to present the Student Government Association President and Vice President for the 2015-2016 school year! President, Joshua Lillie, and Vice President, Rachel Johnson, seek to implement their visions to create a valuable foundation at TFC. Their work and dedication encourage the student body to seek student leadership and establish a meaningful community.

Joshua and Rachel’s decision to run for office was seen as a need and desire to further leadership opportunities. Both wish to reflect these aspects of leadership and relationships at Toccoa Falls. Joshua states, “a lack of student involvement is a felt need among college campuses across the country…. I am proud to serve a student body that values the TFC community and actively seeks to participate in and contribute to it.” This is an important quality that Rachel and Joshua both wish to carry it out.

Recently, they had the opportunity to travel to a conference in Florida dedicated toward developing strong principles for student leaders at schools across the country. Joshua and Rachel are committed to establishing a strong foundation for TFC spiritually and academically. They look forward to sharing their experience at the conference by explaining the importance of contributing to the community and investing in one another on campus.

Many of their goals for TFC involve growing student events and organizations. It is important to have a student body that is proud to represent the college and willing to commit themselves to establishing relationships. Also, they wish to select student representatives in order to better accomplish needs around campus. Rachel will be meeting with the clubs and reminding them that the SGA supports them 100%. It is important to know that the clubs have a leader overseeing their work and encouraging their effort. Rachel lastly says, “Just remember, that SGA is here to serve the students. We are not only on your side, but we are your side.

Accomplishing the vision of Toccoa Falls College would consist of establishing effective communication. Listening to the student body is a high priority for Joshua and Rachel. They intend to listen to those who have questions, concerns, and ideas. Because Joshua and Rachel understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, they are able to effectively lead, communicate and work together toward the future vision of TFC.

So, what can the student body do to help? Joshua and Rachel suggest community, communication, and consistency in order to gain success.

Toccoa Falls College is not only a place to learn, it is a ministry that is dedicated toward developing Christ-centered leaders. Joshua also points out that the students must learn “long-term mindedness” instead of “instant gratification”. With this attitude, there will be less frustration and a time to reflect on the Lord’s will.
Furthermore, the student body can help keep the legacy of TFC alive. Participating in clubs and forming relationships are just a few opportunities to demonstrate the goal of TFC, “where character is developed with intellect”. Most importantly, the student body has the opportunity to share the gospel with others. Francis of Assisi cleverly states, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” TFC has become a reminder that the gospel is best displayed by actions.

In order to maintain a solid foundation, SGA plans on assisting other student leaders who plan events, clubs, and organizations. Joshua plans on meeting with “The Senate” twice a week in order to work with others to keep on furthering events and organizations while listening to voices of the students. Joshua and Rachel value being intentional and truly caring about the message the school brings. Growing in Christ is a mission that the leaders wish to accomplish by providing events and activities to represent a meaningful outlook of Toccoa Falls College.

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Why We Love Coffee By The Pound


Coffee by the Pound has been a haven of leisure, community, and good coffee on the campus of Toccoa Falls College. Its friendly staff, comfortable environment, and yummy beverages have won the hearts of many students. It is an accustomed part of campus life. It has hosted live music, partnered with The Justice Campaign, and participated in events such as Campus Preview Weekend. After several years of faithfully serving the TFC community, Coffee by the Pound is closing. This Friday, May 8th, will be its final day open. CBTP will be hosting one final Open Mic Night starting at 7:30pm.

Jon Pound, a former TFC student, desired to serve coffee to students on campus. He partnered with TFC’s Student Government Association to open a cafe named Frosty Joe’s. When it moved to its current location, it was called the Coffee Shop. Jon was battling with cancer, and in 2011 he lost that battle. Members of the TFC community renamed the Coffee Shop, Coffee by the Pound, in Jon’s honor. To this day, Coffee by the Pound’s goal is to, “stay true to what Jon envisioned for the coffee shop.” They strive to “keep the prices low, the quality of the coffee great, and the atmosphere welcoming.”

CBTP purchases its coffee from Broad River Roasters, which was started by Seth Stevens. He is an alumnus of TFC. The company does fundraising to support their coffee farmers.

Coffee by the Pound Manager, Ashley Lightfoot shared why she loves CBTP, “I love the opportunity that it has given me and this campus to experience a genuine example of a church community. Also, the opportunity it has given me to develop and learn skills of leadership, especially since my dream is to open a coffee shop. It has given me a glimpse of what that will look like sometime in the future. I love that it has allowed me to serve my friends. I love seeing people come in and bond over coffee and just have a nice time. Coffee by the Pound is more than just a place, it is an experience.”

Why do you love Coffee by the Pound?

It is hard not to love a place that provides excellent, legal stimulants for cheap. (Dr. Steve Woodworth)

The community it fosters. It’s able to create an environment where people can express themselves. (Dwayne Miller)

College life can be filled with both success and failure by means of academics, athletics, employment, and relationships. Coffee by the Pound has served as an excellent avenue for students and faculty alike to mourn during the hard times and rejoice during the good. (Brandan Ritchey)

As long as I’ve been here, Coffee by the Pound has been at the center of the TFC community. It’s a place where friendships are built, laughs are had and great coffee is consumed. (Rachel Johnson)

I love Coffee by the Pound, not only because it offers me coffee, but because it offers me community. It is a place to relax, do homework and sometimes procrastinate. It’s not only a coffee shop, but it’s the heart and soul of TFC. (Charlie Herrera)

Coffee by the Pound is a perfect example of how culture, relationships, and the workplace can be redeemed for the Kingdom. 95% of ministry should happen outside of church walls, and CBTP is how that’s lived out at TFC. (Carlos Ramirez)

I love that CBTP invites communion, not just communication or even community in the “gathering” sense of the word. It is a tangible, thriving, sustainable legacy of students who have linked arms and hearts over years to create a business that values a success beyond its financial stability. I love that it made TFC a better Bride for having loved Him here. (Lou Worsley)

Toccoa Falls College is thankful for Coffee By The Pound and what it has meant to this campus. Everyone is invited to attend the Open Mic Night on Friday to enjoy and celebrate this cherished part of TFC.


Watch a video about Coffee by the Pound by Carlos Ramirez, Ross Jewell, and Seth VanHorn at: https://vimeo.com/114124379


*The Talon thanks Coffee by the Pound and all those who participated in this article.

**Picture provided by Coffee by the Pound

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Generosity: Where Moth Doth Corrupt Pt. 2

The smell of the smoke was sweet. Scents in earthy tones glazed over the hanging fabrics, and the tied scarves, and the wooden beams. Fire swallowed the bags and coated the porcelain teacups. Cassidy watched the tongues crawl up slowly, frozen, trying to suppress the feeling of her stomach crawling into her chest.

“How did this happen?” I breathed. Aria stepped backward. William started to beat out the flames with his jacket.

“I’m cursed,” Cassidy whispered as if the answer were obvious.

“You are not!” I looked at Cassidy’s pile of gifts.

“Whatever it was detonated from inside the bag.” I quickly turned. Aria was gnawing in the tips of her fingers and William was shooing away small flames. I choked. “Which one of you did this?”

William paused. Aria peeked over her fingers.

“Is that what your plan was?” Aria’s face was flushing. “To bring us over here and to blame us for destroying Cassidy’s stuff?”

I shrugged. “I didn’t have a better idea.”

“This was your wild attempt to throw us under the bus while you terrorize Cassidy?”

I spun. “You think I did this to her?”

“It’s a clever enough plan.” Aria agreed.

I choked. “I mean. It is genius.” William glared at me. “I mean, it would have been genius if I had done it–but I didn’t.”

“I’m cursed.” Cassidy whispered again. She found a chair and bent her head, her eyes darting across the boards and her mind distant from the quarrel, accepting defeat.”

I slid my palms down my face. “This is insane.”

“Maybe she’s right.” William murmured.

“Are you serious?” I growled.

“We were all inside when the fire stared. None of us started this.” He swung his jacket around.

“Yes… one of you did!” I kicked over the large bag Aria had cradled earlier, which was now a scorched disk. “Whatever exploded was inside your bag.”

“Why would I want to do this?” Aria paced off to a corner.

“You felt threatened by Cassidy.” I reasoned.

Aria open her mouth to show a straight, stark-white line of teeth and laughed from cup of her throat. “Threatened.” She repeated to herself. “Do you think I thought she’d take my boyfriend?”

“The truth comes out.” I whispered.

“You are losing your mind, Abigail.” She marched toward me. “I am not “threatened” by anyone. Why don’t you just admit what you did?”

“Why don’t you just admit what you did?”

“Ok…” William stepped in the middle, pushing us away. “That…that won’t do. This is not what Cassidy needs.” He sighed, then lifted a blackened, metal object between us. “This is what I found.”

Cassidy sat in the corner, biting her nails.

“What is it?” I crossed my arms.

“It’s a piece of one of Cassidy’s a candle-lit lamps that was sitting on the beams. It must have fell over in our rush.”

“You seriously expect me to believe that little candle lit that entire pile on fire in two minutes?” I whispered skeptically.

“It could have if it hit the spray bottles–”

“You brought her spray bottles? Why”

“Edible metallic paint.” Aria answered.

I looked at her, cringing my nose.

“I thought it was cool. I thought Cassidy would like it; William agreed with me. Didn’t you? You thought it was a cool idea.”

“The point is,” William interrupted, “this was just an accident. We can just give Cassidy new stuff.”

“Except that I’m cursed.” Cassidy whispered.

“She has a point.” Aria quipped.

“I can’t believe you guys are all going along with this.” I groaned.

“It’s the only thing left that makes sense.” William agreed.

“Will some one please–” I clenched my fist. “–tell me, in what society, a curse makes sense!”

“It would explain her missing things and her stolen money.” William said wearily. “It would explain Cassidy’s broken watch and these bags.”

Cassidy removed the nails from her mouth and choked. “I’m not cursed,” she whispered.

“Thank you,” I sighed.

“William,” Cassidy stood up. She dug in her front pocket and pulled out her desert watch by its long chain. “I have something for you.” She tossed it toward him.

“Oh.” He caught it and swirled it between his fingers. “I thought you said it wasn’t done.”

“It won’t be good to keep you waiting. Christmas is tomorrow, and you won’t have anything to give Aria.”

“This is for me!” Aria took it from his fingers. “Cassidy! William! It’s beautiful.”

“It’ll match the necklace he gave you perfectly.” Cassidy murmured.

“Oh, this.” Aria pulled a silver necklace out from under shirt– a dragonfly charm dangling at the end. She twirled the pocket watch in her palm again. “I don’t think it matches exactly, but it is intricate. I love it.”

William opened his mouth as if to say something, then didn’t.

“I thought the necklace looked just like the pocket watch.” I noticed.

Aria looked up. “What do you mean?”

“I thought Cassidy made William a necklace to give to you.”

Aria held her dragonfly charm. “Cassidy made this?”

“No… but she did make something…” I turned to William.

Cassidy sat back down and bit her fingers again.

“How much did that necklace cost?” I choked.

“Oh. I don’t really care. I don’t care about money. I just care about the thought.” Aria pipped.

I snatched the watch from her and held it up in front of William. “It cost less than this, didn’t it?”

William seemed to calculate in his head, twisting his neck around and rolling his eyes. “Well, as you said, if you add up the price of the handmade artwork, the original design, and the price of sentimentality–” He took the watch from my grasp.

“William!” I shrieked. He was quick, jumped over the beam, and touched down in the back of his parked truck.

“What’s going on?” Aria followed him to the edge of the deck.

“How much did that necklace sell for?” I interrogated.

He shrugged, pacing around his truck. “Three hundred. Your work is really exquisite, Cassidy. My buyers just swallowed it up. A pocket watch of similar design should go for at least twice as much.”

“You invented a curse to trick Cassidy into giving you her artwork for free?”

“No.” William tossed the watch into the air. “She invented the curse. I just worked with it because it produced a good result.”

Cassidy chewed her nails.

“She was just so generous.” William smiled. “I helped her really. She would have been sure not to end up like her mother.”

Anger powered me. I jumped over the beam.

“No. That won’t work,” was William’s comment as he dodged me, diving through the back window of his truck into the passenger seat. He closed it in front of me as I clawed at the latch.

“Aria, are you coming with me,” he called out the side window.

“Give that to me!” I demanded.

“It’s mine.” he called. “It was a gift from Cassidy.”

“When I get my hands on you…”

“Are you coming, Aria?” he called.

She swallowed, nervously. “Just give Abigail the watch, William.”

I sighed, exasperated.

William bit the chain of the watch in between his teeth, contemplating. “Why should I?”

“William, please. It was supposed to be mine.”

He continued to chew at the chain while I smacked my palm against the back window in a steady beat, waiting to see which part of this conversation worked out.

“I suppose, I can’t sell it now that you guys know about it.” He twisted the ignition, the truck sputtered to life beneath me.

“Wait!” I called in a panicked screech.

“Here.” In a glint of light, the round metal object was tossed up, its bronze chain spiraling around its body. Aria palmed the object as it came down.

“Are you coming, Aria?” he called, putting the truck in drive.

“Wait,” I screeched again.

“William, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

He shrugged, gripping the wheel. “OKeee.”

The truck lurched forward and I flew backward, gasping as my back hit the deck of the truck.

Aria yelped, startled. Cassidy still bit her finger nails.

“See you guys in the Spring.” Williams voice was normal and cordial.

I sprung quickly to my feet, scrambling off of the back of the truck as it took off. Aria steadied me as flew down toward the deck. William’s truck made a causal ascent up the cracked drive way.

There were moments of silence. Everyone was tempted to bite their nails.

Aria finally approached Cassidy. “This is your watch. You can sell it for something now.”

Cassidy peaked up over her knuckles with her large eyes. “It’s yours.” She stood up and headed toward her back door.

“I can’t do anything with this.” Aria squeaked. “It’s yours. William stole it from you.”

“I made it for you. So it’s yours.”


“And I meant it.” she went inside.

Aria and I watched her. We couldn’t think of anything to do to stop her, fix this, or do anything. We simply let the girl who had nothing give everything.

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The End of September: Part 5

October 1

My fears have become a reality. I awoke this morning, hours after I intended to have been gone, to the sound of sirens and shouting. I believe that they are surrounding the place at this very moment, and I think that I am tired of running. Whoever said that it is all about the journey was partially right, as my journey has been absolutely marvelous. I have felt alive these past two weeks, but I must admit that I am ready to arrive at my destination, even though it is not the destination I originally planned for. Or maybe it is, I cannot really tell.

The feeling that I had last night is back in full force this morning. I keep seeing their faces everywhere, hanging in the pictures on the wall, sewn into the rug on the floor, even floating in my glass of whiskey. I just wonder why this is troubling me so much now. I have never been affected by it before. My thoughts keep going back to the last thing the man said to me, “God have mercy.” Without the courage brought about from the whiskey and in the light of the rising sun, my claim at having more strength than God seems to be somewhat irrational. But, I must remind myself that such a thing doesn’t exist in the first place.

I can tell they are getting closer. I look over one last time at my host. He hasn’t moved an inch since I last saw him, and his face still holds the same expression of terror. Even though, now that I take the time to actually examine him, it almost appears as if his face has a peaceful quality to it. For the first time, I begin to wonder who this man is. Does he have a family, a job, or friends? I find myself staring into the emptiness of his eyes. You know, in the end it doesn’t matter. I needed something that he had, he refused to give it to me, and I was the stronger man. That’s all this life is about, I am sure of it. Once again, I remember the last thing he said.

“God have mercy.” The shouts are beginning to get louder. I find myself unable to move, unable to do anything other than think about those three words. In my mind, I hear them being said over and over again. I drain my glass of whiskey from last night and stand up, the room spinning around me.

I make my way to where I left this journal. My thoughts are racing.

God have mercy. I only have one shot left. God have mercy. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life as a prisoner. God have mercy. What if the man wasn’t talking about himself? What if he was talking about me? If he was asking God to have mercy on me?

I quickly push the thought from my mind. No one could possibly think that way. There is no such thing as God, no such thing as an afterlife, no such thing as mercy. Or is there?


I guess I will know soon enough.

.       .        .


Sheriff Morris closed the book and slid it across the table. Neither man spoke for a long time after that, both staring into the distance and lost in their own thoughts.

Lieutenant Rodgers finally broke the silence, “How can someone think like that? I don’t understand how you can do the stuff he did and live with yourself, much less be happy about it.”

“Well, in the end, I don’t think he could,” Morris replied. “Go home Rodgers. You deserve to spend some time with your family. Lord knows we both need it. I’ll call you if anything comes up.”

Lieutenant Rodgers nodded and got up to leave. He paused at the doorway and glanced back, looking at the journal one more time, before leaving the room, pulling the door shut behind him.

Morris stood up and stretched, futilely trying to rub away the headache he was beginning to suffer from. He walked over to the window, staring out at the sun as it sank behind the trees. The sheriff couldn’t get the last entry of the journal out of his mind, as it seemed that in the man’s final moments, he seemed to feel remorse.

Morris shook his head. “Why should it make a difference?” he said to himself. “Nothing can change what he did.”

Yet, as he turned off his lights and went to leave, he couldn’t help but look back at the book lying on the table, illuminated by the dying sunlight. Where he once felt anger and disgust towards the man who wrote it, now there was only pity. As he turned around and shut the door, he found himself whispering one last thing:


“God have mercy.”


Photo Credit: http://www.writerscafe.org/uploads/stories/7d0b49eda88278f9522ddac2a42260b6.jpg

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The Discipline and Delight of Memorization

This semester, the students in Dr. Juncker’s General Epistles class have to memorize 48 verses of Scripture. Those in his Gospel of John class have 42. Some students see this as an opportunity for easy, free points, but others view the prospect with a blend of anxiety and hopelessness. How does a student find time to commit so many verses to memory amidst a chaotic, busy schedule? It takes a regularity and discipline that is hard to develop if the context is “just a class assignment.”

Perhaps this is the wrong perspective. And perhaps that is too kind a way to put it. It is an understandable perspective, to be sure – memorizing takes work.

However, God never intended memorizing Scripture to be a burden for his people.

It is commanded by God that believers to read, meditate, dwell on, and derive joy from His Word. This is a command to the Christian’s benefit! Psalm 19:7-9 summarizes how focusing on Scripture can be refreshing: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous” (NIV). Reading and knowing Scripture revives the soul, imparting wisdom, joy, and the light of life.

Psalm 119 is further evidence of the enjoyment Christians should find in God’s Word; it is the longest chapter in the Bible. The focus of this impressive poem? Delighting in the Word of God as all-sufficient. The Bible has similar things to say about its own priority and benefits in the spiritual walk of a person in Psalm 1:1-3 and Joshua 1:8.

Knowing large portions of the Bible is also useful in fulfilling the Great Commission. How can a person be taught to obey the commands of God if they do not know the commands in the first place? Memorizing Scripture can be useful in evangelism because it can help a person clearly present the gospel by way of the Romans Road or other relevant verses.

Dr. Juncker was kind enough to offer his input on the subject. “If Martin Luther were teaching my Romans class, he wouldn’t just make students memorize the “Romans Road,” a paltry 8 or 10 verses, he’d make them memorize the whole Book of Romans!” He went on to explain how ancient Jews, including Jesus, memorized huge portions of the Bible. What an example to follow.

Memorizing a biblical book in its entirety is a fantastic discipline and has the advantage of allowing the reader to better understand the letter’s flow of argument and not take isolated verses out of context. For those interested in making the commitment to memorize one of the New Testament epistles, the article An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture by Dr. Andrew Davis is an excellent resource: http://www.fbcdurham.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Scripture-Memory-Booklet-for-Publication-Website-Layout.pdf

Scripture is the defense of a Christian against the negative influence of the world. All three times Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus responded with Scripture He had committed to memory. In the words of Dr. Juncker, “the Bible isn’t just a talisman or good luck charm. It is the living and active Word of God that is more important to our spirits than food is to our bodies.” What if, when suffering, angry, or troubled, the words that came out of Christians’ mouths were the words of God?

The beautiful thing about Scripture memory is that the more it is done, the easier it gets. It may seem a small thing and would only take five minutes a day. Jesus taught his disciples that “he who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10, NASB).

A Christian is to be faithful in pursuing, seeking, studying, meditating on, and hiding the Word of God in his or her heart. Who can say in what ways God will bless this person?

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The Roarin’ 2015!

Last Saturday, about 250 students from Toccoa Falls College paired off with their significant other or a friend and stepped back in time for the annual Junior/Senior Banquet. The destination of their time travel? The 1920s at the Robson Event Center in Gainesville, Georgia.

For both the young men and women, the experience was complete with 1920s attire, students who more typically might wear jeans, shorts, t-shirts, or blouses at college. Everywhere one looked, familiar faces and figures were newly graced with stylized and fancy dress. The women – or “dolls”, to speak the lingo of the time – prepared themselves with anticipation of a fun evening. Extra attention was given to makeup, hair curling or updos, and the perfect dress decorated by a string of pearls. Their male counterparts selected suspenders, suits and ties, and perhaps a newsboy hat to complete their 20s era appearance.

The event began at 6:30pm with everyone entering the Robson Center through a side door by giving a password as though it were a 1920s speakeasy. Once inside, smooth jazz music welcomed the students, accompanying them as they took their seats or mingled with each other to compliment outfits and take photos. Tables were decorated with strings of pearls, glass vases, and large feathers. Many even had a deck of cards laid out to complete the effect of being in a different era.

Dinner was buffet-style: a comfortable menu of dinner rolls, macaroni and cheese, green beans, potatoes, and a choice of roast beef or stuffed chicken…or both as the case may be! Later in the evening, an ice-cream bar was opened, complete with a choice of candy toppings, sauces, nuts, and brownies. Needless to say, it sure is hard to go wrong with that.

It was not until after dinner that the dancing began in earnest. The music had been playing throughout the event with a few brave couples enjoying the freedom of the dance floor together. It was not long before TFC’s very own Micah Brewer and his girlfriend took possession of the microphone and began to instruct the crowd in swing dancing! The dance floor quickly became a focal point of the event. Those attending the Junior/Senior banquet found themselves time traveling again, at least musically. Of course, the DJ would not fail to bring the TFC students some familiar, modern, popular tunes to which they could dance. The first was Blank Space by Taylor Swift!

Another highlight of the evening was senior superlatives. An email had gone out from SGA earlier that week, allowing seniors to take part in the tradition of voting their fellow graduates into certain categories. The winners were proudly announced and received their award of a large gold-colored star amidst loud applause and cheers. The categories and winners are as follows:

Best Dressed Male – Jared Gordon

Best Dressed Female – Mary Lauren Duff

Best Smile Male – Josh Mangum

Best Bromance – John Zendrosky & Sam Haywood

Greatest Girlfriends - Brittany Eitutis & Rachel Morris

Most Hipster – Jake Tuttle

Most Likely to Be A Professional Athlete – Clessie Kendrick

Most Likely to Be A Professional Athlete – Dustin Martin

Most Likely to Come Back and Teach at TFC – Katie Myers

Most Likely to be a Farmer – Eliza Beal

Most Likely to be a Nomad – Caroline Miller

Most likely to be Martyred - Kao Lee Yang

Most likely to be Raptured First – Sarah Casey

Most likely to have their own TV Show – Caroline Wilson

The Junior/Senior banquet drew to an official close a little past 9:00pm. However, students were having so much fun that many stayed  until 10:00pm. From there, many went on to enjoy fellowship with each other at other venues, such as a local arcade.

It was an evening of laughter, elegant outfits, companionship, music, dance, and fun. What better way to celebrate the upperclassmen of TFC? Congratulations to the graduating seniors, and good luck to the juniors stepping up to fill their shoes!


*Photo Credit: Caroline Wilson*