Third Day at TFC

On Nov. 1, Toccoa Falls College hosted a Third Day concert sponsored by Carriage Automotive. Tickets sold out relatively quickly for this popular Christian band. Students and the community have been looking forward to this event for weeks. To add to the anticipation, Carriage Automotive was giving away a new 2015 automobile. One of the ticket holders would go home with a new car for a year. People started lining up well before 5:30 p.m. to get a quality seat when the doors opened at 6 p.m. Commotion and chatter started when the hoard of people began moving closer to the door. Seats were quickly filled with excited Third Day fans of young and old.

TFC students volunteered in multiple positions with servant-like attitudes. It was quite cold outside but Meredith Ringwalt and Emily Kresman went up and down the line making sure everyone standing in the cold had a ticket and were where they needed to be for VIP. Kayla Cappo was one of the students who helped at the ticketing table outside Grace Chapel. Hope Windsor and Ana Willis were decked out in Third Day shirts as they worked at the merchandise table. Carlos Ramirez was handing out information to those who were interested in attending TFC.  Rachel Johnson helped on the production team, working to make sure Third Day had all the help they needed. Each TFC student who volunteered, named and unnamed, made sure the event took place without complications, and for that we are thankful.

For the chance to win the car everyone in the audience filled out an information card and that were collected and put into a container.  Half way through the concert, Dr. Bob picked out ten audience members’ names from the container to participate in the contest. Each of the audience members were to stand in front of a key fob on the floor. One of the ten fobs would start the Kia Soul that was on stage. The tension was high as each of the key fobs left us in suspense. Finally, the sixth fob brought life to the car. Kent Thomason, a community member, won the coveted prize. However, none of the contestants left empty handed. Each of the audience members brought up on stage went home with a guitar autographed by the members of Third Day.

Third Day played an assortment of songs from multiple albums. “Revelation” and “Miracle” were among their most popular songs on the set list. They played “God of Wonders” and almost every hand was lifted in praise. During “Tunnel” phone flashlights lit up Grace Chapel.  Their encore song was “Agnus Dei” and the chapel reverberated with the sounds of voices joining as one in worship. Toccoa Falls was the first show of their new Miracle tour.

Third Day ended their concert with a reminder of who the focus should have been on, Christ. Before their encore, they ended with “Creed”, describing what they believe as Christians and a Christian group.  During their encore, they walked off stage and let the crowd sing the chorus a Capella until the some audience members began clapping. The atmosphere was truly one of reflection and worship of the worthy Lamb. It was a beautiful concert and an enjoyable experience.

We are our friends

Friends are important, more important than we realize.

There is social theory called “homophily”. The theory states that we like the people who are like us₁. We like those with similar interests, music tastes, clothing styles, and worldviews. This is especially evident in high school and college social circles. It is important to have “cool” friends and to have the latest trends in order to fit in with everyone else. It is important to have to have people around us that agree with our points of view.

Homophily may lead to dangerous peer pressure. This peer pressure can cause problems in our relationships, health, attitudes and self-concept. There is that famous saying “you are what you eat”, and the same goes for our friendships. We are what we invest into and what we ingest from others.

In 1 Corinthians 15:33 it says, “do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.” It is clearly important what we put in our lives with the kind of friendships we make. It is time to use homophily to our advantage. So if we are who we choose to invest our time in, then what should our friendships be? How do we make homophily a positive thing? Here are five tips for better friends and a better you.

1. Find Friends that You Want to Look Like

This is not meant in physical ways. Although, if you like someone’s fashion choices, there is never harm is asking for tips and building a connection. However, this is meant more for character traits. If you desire to be a leader, become friends with someone who shows strong leadership qualities. If you desire to lose weight, find someone who will lose weight with you and encourage you along the way. When you spend time with someone, you become more like them. Make sure that this someone makes you a better person.

2. Do not Befriend a “Project”

A “project” is a person that is viewed as a person that is below you. They are viewed as someone who has potential but needs some “fixing-up”. The point of a friendship with a “project” is to fix them and to make you look better. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS HABIT. Remember to view your friends as people that have something to offer the world. A friendship is supposed to be an equal and mutual exchange. This is not to be perceived as not befriending someone who is not in your social class or other definitions of inferiority. This is a reminder to view potential friends as equal humans with emotions and pasts and futures. Falling into a “project” mentality will soon diminish your self-concept and your perceptions of others.

3. Embrace Diversity

Embrace all kinds of diversity. Find friends that have a different cultural background; they will open your eyes to the beauty of the world. Find friends that are in different stages of life; they can give you wisdom for the upcoming years or help you keep your youth. Create friendships with both genders; you never realize how different males and females are until you create intimate friendships with both. Do not be afraid to create friendships with those who have differing world-views. Different world-views can challenge your own worldview and help you see the value in acknowledging other’s thoughts and opinions.

4. Live in Peace

In 2 Corinthians 13:11 and Hebrews 12:14, there are mentions of living in peace with one another. This does not mean that we will never have problems with our Christian friends or our non-Christian friends. This simply means that we should try to resolve the problem as best as we can. Sometimes that means just “get over it” in the case of a very trivial matter or setting up an actual conflict-resolution action plan. This does not equate to being a push-over or people-pleaser. This means to serve and love those around us despite the circumstances and negative temporary emotions. Living with this kind of attitude will change your perspective on your relationships and the perspectives of others. Find others with this attitude.

5. Take Risks

Taking risks may sound like the opposite of living in peace, but believe that these concepts can exist in harmony. Take a risk to befriend that lonely person you. However, do not impose on an introverted person, introverted can often be mistaken for lonely. Take a risk to try to new things that a friend or new acquaintance suggests. You may be surprised to create a new connection, new friend, or new favorite. Befriend those that encourage you to take risks. It does not have to be the risks that will land the both of you in prison, but the kind of risks that encourages you to live outside your usual comfort zone.

Our friends tell a lot about us. They show the kind of people we are, the people we want to be, and the people we get along with. We have to make sure that the people we surround ourselves with are the people who bring out the best in us.

 

1. Homophily is from communication textbook, The Nonverbal Self: Communication for a Lifetime written by Diana K. Ivy and Shawn T. Wahl. Copyright 2009

Damaged Goods

I am not simply “Damaged Goods”

“I’ve had sex, I’m dirty now”

“I’ve attempted to commit suicide, even I hate myself”

“I am too messed up, no one can fix this”

“I am too far gone to ever turn back”

“I’ve done the worst thing you can think of, how in the world is it possible that God still loves me and would give me another chance?” 

Maybe these phrases have not crossed our minds, but four words can completely revolution our worlds.

God still loves me…

The Creator of the universe, who saved humanity, sustains my soul despite all I have done against Him. Despite all that I have done against Him, He continues to relentlessly, unconditionally, divinely and wholeheartedly love me.

Sometimes the Christian community labels the owners of these statements as “damaged goods”.  Damaged goods are people defined as objects that are thought to be undesirable once an action has been done. It is assumed that we are not worth anything once earning this label.

These labels are given because of the belief that Christians do not ever make mistakes, but Christians do… all the time.

The truth of the matter is that every human on this planet is a “damaged good.” We have all fallen short of the perfect standard that has been set before us. At the same time we have the potential to be more than just good.

It does not matter if we have broken the law, or have gone against the ideals of society in the smallest detail, we are considered damaged.  We are not just damaged; we are completely broken, burnt to ashes, and utterly beyond repair.

Now here is the good part…

The Creator of the universe, who saved humanity, sustains my soul despite all I have done against Him. Despite all that I have done against Him, He continues to relentlessly, unconditionally, divinely and wholeheartedly love me.

He loves us too much to leave us in our broken, “damaged good” condition. He sees our potential to be more than just good.  He sees the broken pieces, anxiety, bruises, tears, ashes, and rubble. He knows the pieces that have been taken by others; furthermore, the places where we have tried to put ourselves back together.  The miraculous part of our story is that ruins and new construction often look the same.

After a disaster has hit a building there are pieces scattered all around, it is dirty and it is dangerous territory. Construction sites are also dirty and a dangerous territory because the building is not completed yet. Ruins are the ending, and construction is the beginning. Our lives are constantly being ruined and constructed simultaneously. This means that God may be tearing down one section of our lives in order to completely rebuild another.

Our brokenness is a good thing. Our defeat is a good thing. Our utter rock bottom is a good thing. The dirty, hated, far-gone, messed up and the worst is the start of the clean, loved, close, healed and the best.  It is the dirty, hated, far-gone, messed up and the worst that realize that they are broken and in need of a savior. Recognizing that need can lead us towards repentance and a life with Christ. We do not stay damaged.  One day we will be completely restored, rebuilt and once again whole. We will not have a dent, scratch or imperfection on us.  No matter how far we have gone, how much we hate ourselves, how much we have strayed or how much we think we cannot have another chance… Jesus is right where we left, right where we have been and right where we are. The healing process hurts and it will be long but it is absolutely necessary and it is worth it.

I am not simply “Damaged Goods”. Jesus refuses to leave because he loves unconditionally. 

Katy Perry’s Prism: an album review

Prism: often thought as an object that takes one ray of white light and shatters it into all the colors of the spectrum.

A prism is what Katy Perry wanted to reflect in her new album, according to Ryan Seacrest’s website. She wanted to show different sides of herself.  The party girl from “Last Friday Night” is still evident, but Perry’s vulnerable quality bursts forth in her new songs. Prism showcases the full range of Perry’s character, from the party girl persona to the lover and the fighter.

The Party Girl

Katy Perry is known for her songs that have a partying lifestyle as the focus of their lyrics. Earlier songs that fit this category are “Last Friday Night”, “Teenage Dream”, “California Girls” and others.  These songs have fast beats, catchy lyrics, and a feeling of escape from reality.  If this is the style of Katy Perry’s music that you love, listen to her new songs “This is How We Do”, “Dark Horse”, “Legendary Lovers”, “Birthday”, “Walking on Air”, and “International  Smile”. These new songs are the dance and sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-while-you-clean-your-room type of songs. The feelings that these songs suggest influence from songs of the eighties. Electronica and techno genres are present, while also using rock sounds.

The Lover

Katy Perry’s love life has constantly been in the media, especially her romance and then divorce to actor Russell Brand.  Despite being heartbroken, this album shows that she can, and is, still able to love herself and others.  Her third single off the album, “Unconditional”, is a beautiful song that talks about acceptance and love, even with insecurities and “dirty laundry”. If the listener did not realize that Katy Perry was the artist, then they might assume that “Unconditional Love” was a “Christian” song because of the lyrics, maybe written by Britt Nicole or Hillsong. “Love Me”  shows the battle of loving yourself; and so, dealing with the insecurities of loving yourself and believing that others love you too.  Both of these songs are gentle but powerful, it goes to show the contradictions of love and what it can do to the soul.

The Fighter

Katy Perry has been one of the artists in the pop culture world who use her fame to inspire and encourage her fans. She uses her personal stories to create songs that listeners will be able to relate to. Prism explores more of this vulnerability than her previous albums. Although the songs show vulnerability, they also show the part of being a survivor and learning from situations that hurt one’s heart.  These new songs are similar to her older song “Pearl”.  These songs have a positive feel and the tempos rise and fall according to the content of the song. “By the Grace of God” starts out slower and evokes deep emotion but at the songs’ chorus it builds to go along with the lyrics of victory. Her first single of this album, “Roar”, is all about overcoming. It has strong beats and Katy unleashes her powerful voice to show that this is not about backing down.

This is just highlight of ten songs of her sixteen song track list. Katy Perry has certainly grown as an artist and as a person from her first album. She still has an eccentric party self  that her fans have come to know and love. Now she is showing us that there is more to Katy Perry than that, she is a lover and a fighter.  She is showing listeners the facets and the true colors of who she has become. This album is her Prism.

Choosing Classes:The Hunger Games of College

It is that time of year again (or the first time for freshman students)….

It is the dreaded time to choose next semester’s classes.

Did I just instill a small bit of panic into your already tired-of-school soul? I am deeply sorry, I am here to help you figure out how to lessen the burden of planning out the sixteen weeks of your life after Christmas break.  So here you go: five tips on how to make choosing classes a tad bit easier.

1. BE INFORMED.

Take the initiative to find out what is going on in the academic world of college. Pay attention to your catalog and your requirements. Do not leave this responsibility to your advisor or expect that they will do the work for you, they advise.  Ask for your catalog and read descriptions of classes. You can usually get a copy of your catalog in the Admissions department. Also, ask your professors what classes they will be teaching, you could be getting inside information. Take responsibility for your higher education; after all you are the one paying tuition.

2. BALANCE YOUR LOAD

Right now is the time to face the fact that there are other important responsibilities besides our school work.  School and outside activities need to offset one another.  Do not overwork yourself by taking six senior level courses that require hours-upon-hours of seclusion in your dorm room; not seeing the light until spring break.  Be reasonable, do not think that you can be the exception and take on eighteen credits, ten weekly activities, a social life and a healthy dose of sleep.

3. FOLLOW YOUR INTERESTS

We all have those classes that we are not looking forward to and we just have to make the best of it. However, we do have those classes where we get a little bit of freedom and choice. Take for example: a history requirement. We offer Asia History, History of Greece and Rome, Western Civilization and plenty more; so even if history is not your cup of iced mocha latte, you might be able to find a class that you can at least stay awake in and partially enjoy.   This is your time; do not waste it by being unnecessarily miserable.

4. TRY SOMETHING NEW

WE ARE IN COLLEGE! This is the time where we get to figure out our lives by investing in things we are already passionate about and finding new things to be passionate about. You have 21 open credit hours? GREAT! You can use this time to try new things. Have you always wanted to learn a new language?  Learn one! Get out there and try things, and if you do not like something at least you know for future reference.

5. ASK AROUND

Friends make everything better, including that dreaded 8 am lecture without your coffee. So ask your friends. There are classes that can count for a variety of requirements across the majors. So find your best friend forever and sign up for a class together! It makes it easier come class time. You have an automatic person to look awkwardly across the room at for group assignments and a study buddy.

So, if you find yourself messing up or that the class you wanted is full, remember this one last tip: BREATHE.  This is only for sixteen weeks; this is not the rest of your life.  It may be stressful and may seem like the most important thing right now, but remember to breathe and put this time into perspective.

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