Online Student Life - Blog

Friday, November 9, 2018

Porch Mission: Operation Grilled Cheese

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matt 28:18-20)

Every follower of Jesus Christ is familiar with this foundational passage of scripture, what a beautiful and clear mandate to spread the incredible good news of the Gospel!  And what a true picture of the servant heart of Christ are those who answer the missionary call to fulfill this.  I have a special place in my heart for missionaries - what a sacrifice, what a true commitment to our precious Savior and beloved God.  I happily support missions wholeheartedly with my prayers, resources, whatever I can – not everyone can do what they do, I know I couldn’t.  Or could I?

Consider this:

When a well-intentioned couple took a couple of the local kids under their wing while on vacation to a tropical destination it was a sweet and beautiful thing.  Pizza, snorkeling, new flip-flops, etc., and sorely needed attention and love for these neglected, scruffy and hungry little kiddos – yes it was a sweet sight indeed!  When the couple’s departure day came, they promised the kids they would keep in touch, they would help them, send them “care packages” etc.  The neighbor next door agreed to receive the packages and make sure they were delivered to them.  

A few packages came, but then they became fewer and farther between and eventually stopped, they usually do.  The kids would drop by the neighbor’s place with hopeful and expectant faces and ask if anything had come.  Hopeful faces turned to sad and dejected ones and this troubled the neighbor.  It broke her heart, so she offered to make a grilled cheese sandwich for them, and invited them to sit with her on her porch.  They were hungry – and not just for food.

The neighbor was a believing Christian but had never “witnessed” before, or really even shared the Gospel, but she knew that these kids had a Cross-shaped hole in their heart in addition to having an empty belly.  So she just fed them and tried her best to show the love of Christ to them through her actions and encouraging words.  Days turned into weeks which seasoned into months, and the kids kept coming.  For food, to get help with their homework, get a boo-boo bandaged up, whatever was needed – it varied.  They would bring a friend occasionally, then another, and another, pretty soon there was about 15 of them.  

The neighbor was a little overwhelmed, but every day she would put on a pot of fresh hearty soup and made sure there was plenty of milk in the fridge and the makings for grilled cheese sandwiches.  Her prayers and dialogues with God were a mixed bag, they went something like this: “Lord, how can I help these kids?  I can’t save them, I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

She felt the answer she received was, “It’s not your job to save them, that’s MY job.  Just meet their need, just feed them and show them the love My Son showed you.  Relax, just trust Me, and I’ll do the heavy lifting.  Your job is to just love them, feed them and tell them about Me.  And get busy learning my Word, the instructions are all there – and while you’re there, check out Matthew 25:35-40, that’s your springboard:

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'"

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

 So she did. LOTS of grilled cheese sandwiches. And she dug deep into her study of Scripture and became more comfortable sharing the gospel – which she did with them every chance she got after that.  This “porch mission” that started about seven years ago still continues to this day – and that neighbor became an online Liberty University student, still is.

If we apply these ideas and ideals to our personal view of what a “mission” is, could we possibly make more of an impact on a lost and fallen world?  Could we be the catalyst (or cook) that is the embodiment of the Great Commission – right from our own front porch?  

Ponder that if you’re so led, meanwhile, I have a pot of chicken stew and grilled cheese sammies to tend to, and a DB to finish, and a quiz to study for, and, well, let’s face it, that bibliography ain’t gunna write itself….

~Bless, Nancy

Nancy Nida is originally from Oklahoma and has lived on a small island off the coast of Belize since 2008 when God brought her to a new and unexpected chapter at the mid-century mark of her life.  She opened and operated a restaurant there for five years until breast cancer sidelined her for a year.  Stepping back during that time, she realized that God had something even more unexpected planned for her!  She is currently an LU online student working towards degrees in Religion: Biblical and Theological Studies, and Political Science: Strategic Intelligence.

Posted at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Monday, November 5, 2018


We are very apt to regard the apostolic saints as if they were “saints” in a more special manner than the other children of God. All are “saints” whom God has called by His grace and sanctified by His Spirit; but we are apt to look upon the apostles as extraordinary beings, scarcely subject to the same weakness and temptations as ourselves. Yet in doing so, we forget the truth, that the nearer a man lives to God, the more intensely he has to mourn over his own evil heart; and the more his Master honors him in His service, the more the evil of the flesh vexes and teases him day by day. The fact is, if we had seen the apostle Paul, we would have thought him remarkably like the rest of the chosen family: And if we had talked with him, we would have said, “We find that his experience and ours are much the same. He is more faithful, more holy, and more deeply taught than we are, but he has the selfsame trials to endure. Actually, in some respects, he is more solely tried than ourselves.” Do not then, look upon the ancient saints as being exempt either from infirmities or sins; and do not regard them with that mystic reverence that will almost make us idolaters. Their holiness is attainable even by us. We are “called to be saints” by that same voice that constrained them to their high vocation. It is a Christian’s duty to force his way into the inner circle of saintship will soon be apparent. 


Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening. Revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Used with permission, Crossway.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

My Liberty University Experience

Cannon Cargile spend over 30 years in the United States Marine Corps and retired. He currently works for the Marine Corps. He began his bachelor’s degree at the age of 53 and completed it at the age of 56. According to Cannon “you can teach an old dog new tricks.”

I just wanted to share my great experience with someone. Three and a half years ago I took my first class at Liberty. As a 54-year-old retired Marine who barely graduated high school, I was extremely nervous and even a little scared.

Over thirty years ago I graduated high school, second from last with a GPA of 1.5. This low GPA almost prevented me from enrolling at Liberty University. And this frustrated me because I did not think something I had done over thirty years ago should be a factor in what I wanted to accomplish in the present. Especially when you consider that I had just retired from a very successful 30-year career in the Marine Corps.  I almost stop trying and turned away from Liberty. However, I was told that I could enroll in two classes and have my application reviewed and if I did well enough I would be granted access as a full-time student. I took the challenge and passed both classes with an “A”. Long story short, over the next three and a half years I not only passed all my classes I end up with a GPA of 3.90 graduating Summa Cum Laude. My only regret is that I did not do this 35 year ago. I would not trade a single minute for all the gold in the world. Well, there were a few days during algebra that I thought my mind would burst. But overall it was the most awesome experience I have had in a very long time.  One of the best things about Liberty is the fact that every class revolves around a biblical worldview. This requires daily Bible study which helps students stay in His word throughout their studies. Thank you Liberty University and thank you to all my awesome and extremely helpful professors and teachers.

God bless and Semper Fidelis


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Thursday, October 18, 2018

If I Can Do It, So Can You.

Austin Walsh currently works for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Government: Public Administration. He is a volunteer at Christian Outreach in Action, a non-profit agency in Long Beach, CA that engages with those who are in need of food and clothing. He is married with three children, and will be starting his graduate program in the near future.

In a few days, I will be finished with my degree: a Bachelor of Science in Government. I want to let all of you know, that if I can do it, so can you.

Never forget why you are here. Some of us are at Liberty to improve the likeliness of securing a new position. Some feel the calling to pursue a new meaning in life. Some will go on to advance their education. And some, unfortunately, will drop out. It is the latter that I wish to address in hopes that if I can reach out to just one student—just one—then this post will not be made in vain.

When I started Liberty Online two years ago, I felt, at times, that finishing felt insurmountable. There were uncontrollable situations that put an impediment on my time, my life, and my studying. About one month at Liberty, I received a phone call from the Department of Children and Family Services. My ex-wife had a domestic incident. The children were to be placed fully in my care. For a year, DCFS was in my life. Literally. I was working 100-120 hours in a two-week period. Some shifts were 17-hour shifts. I was exhausted. Tired. But, I continued on. I didn't give up. 

About one semester through Liberty, I got a phone call that my grandfather was killed in a motorcycle accident. He lived in Arizona. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. He was a Marine and the most influential person in my life. According to my Grandmother, he didn’t die instantly either. He was in and out of consciousness until he was pronounced dead at the hospital. I wish he was alive today. If there was anyone who I wish I could bring back, it would be him. But God has him now. 

Six months into Liberty, I reported rampant fraud, waste, and abuse within the federal government. Rather than reporting to the Inspector General, which would have led to arrests and prosecution, I chose to keep it at the lowest level possible. This has resulted in a year and a half of retaliation and subtle retribution by people who do not share my commitment to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It has been quite an experience. I am a whistleblower. But you won’t hear about it in the news. It isn’t fit to print. But the retaliation gave me fuel. Fuel to succeed. 

A year into LU, I struggled with the reality of not having a child with my wife (I am remarried). The doctors told us that we had a 5% chance of having a child. My wife went through severe depression. At the age of 38, she felt her time was running out. It was hard to watch. Someone who is continuously at your side, just fall. Figuratively, not literally. Despite the 5% chance, on July 12th, Raymond Walsh was born into the world. He is a gift from God. I thank Him every day. 

These four incidents, involving government intervention into my private life, the death of a cherished loved one, the retaliation for standing against corruption, and watching my wife battle with depression has given me grey hair, but it has not stopped me from finishing my degree. It hasn’t made me throw in the towel, it has made me stronger. 

For those of you who feel that you are up against an insurmountable mountain in life, remember that what challenges lay ahead can only make you stronger. Don't quit. Everything comes to an end, whether good or bad, nothing lasts forever. Your time will come. Believe me. Mine has.

I wish all of you the best for the duration of your time at LU and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. 


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Friday, October 5, 2018

You Are Not Alone

Shericka Cullin is currently working towards a degree in 

Psychology. She is a wife, mother of three, working full-time and in school full-time. She loves encouraging others, speaking life into what some may consider lifeless.

You are not alone.

I am a wife, mom of three and I work full-time (about 45 - 50 hours per week). My work load has recently increased at my job as we lost someone on our team (and we were already short one). Last week I questioned my ability to be able to handle it all. Like REALLY this is NUTS... I am only one person - this is impossible - up late, getting up early, no sleep, reading 50 chapters a week (that's very exaggerated, though it feels accurate) balancing homework, and ALL else that's on my plate - Jesus I can't.

BUT thank God!! My weeping endured for a night (well a few nights lol!) and then my joy came. For a mere second (though it was longer than a second) I forgot who my Heavenly Father is. I am reminded of Moses in Exodus chapter 4 when God called him to return to Egypt (because it was time…. God’s timing) it says in verse 10:

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Exodus 4:10

Moses had all these excuses as to why he wasn’t equipped to do what God had called him to do, such as I was feeling recently. But God reminded him in verse 11 and 12:

“Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LordNow therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

God’s timing is impeccable! And though I may have felt differently, I am reminded that I am to GO (not stop) because He is with me. God didn’t allow Moses to talk himself out of going to Egypt because he (Moses) didn’t feel secure, instead God provided him with the necessities to go. He will give me (and you!) the grace, the help, the strength (and the whatever else is needed) to get through it all. It’s not about our ability but rather His ability that works wonders through us (when we allow it). We’re being stretched.

Be encouraged my fellow classmates! GO… God is with you (us)!!


Posted at 8:51 AM | Comments (5) | Permalink

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Encouragement for Your Journey - Brad Burgess

Mr. Burgess was born and raised in Southern Ohio and has worked in numerous capacities with Liberty University since 2004. He is married to Heather Burgess who also teaches at Liberty University. He has one son, Reagan.

I don’t know where you are on your own educational journey; you may be reading this today, and you’re close to finishing your degree. You may be half-way through, you may be just starting, but regardless, you’ve assessed your situation, and you’ve decided to do an honorable thing, which is to achieve a degree. And you’re doing it in a unique format as you continue your studies online.

Today I want to encourage you on this journey and talk a little bit about the book of Nehemiah and how that can relate even today as you pursue an online education. I just want to think about and talk about this idea of accomplishing your goal, and based on the book of Nehemiah, you see all throughout this idea of the walls being torn down in Jerusalem and being burned, and Jerusalem had lost their protection. Nehemiah comes in and assesses the situation, and of course, if you’re familiar with the story, challenges everyone to rebuild those walls and restore Jerusalem to a situation where they could be protected from their enemies. Nehemiah speaking, he says, “I inspected the wall of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire” (Nehemiah 2:13).

He looked at the situation, saw that the gates had been torn down and destroyed by fire and he rallies people together to rebuild the walls. It’s quite a goal, a huge accomplishment, just as you work on your education through the online format or trying to accomplish a goal of earning a degree. But I just want to remind you that the goal goes beyond just earning a degree; the goal becomes equipping yourself for ministry, possibly, or setting yourself up to expand your professional opportunities or maybe just on a personal level or earning the degree so that you could be more knowledgeable about a specific subject matter; whatever it is, the goal isn’t just to get the degree; the goal is what the degree will offer you ultimately, and so I want to think in terms of that briefly as we think about what it takes to be successful.

The first thing I want to talk about is “Keeping the vision in front of you.” This vision of what you’re doing because it gets hard, it gets difficult when you’re up early or when you stay up early or when you’re giving up a weekend or when people are doing things that you’d like to be a part of and you’re sacrificing so that you can earn a degree. He (Nehemiah) says, “Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision” (Nehemiah 2:17).

But this goal wasn’t just to rebuild the walls; it was for protection. Remember vision brings clarity when you know what your ultimate vision it, what your goal is and achieving this degree. Several years ago, I had to get glasses. I couldn’t see that well or read, I couldn’t see at night, and it was amazing how getting these glasses and all the sudden having the proper vision brought clarity to everything around me. You need to keep them in front of you as you pursue such a difficult task so that you can have the clarity to know what the vision is because there will be times when you get discouraged. There will be times when it will be hard; there will be times when it feels overwhelming when things are not going the way you hoped. Keep that vision in front of you.

The second the stay organized, we with Nehemiah that he divided the walls up into segments and several people rebuilt those walls. He made it attainable, and by staying organized, he was able to rebuild the walls and segments. Organization makes the ultimate goal manageable. If you are new and you have many hours ahead of you to earn your degree, it can feel pretty daunting as you look at what’s required of you and look at the degree completion plan and all the classes that need to be taken and what needs to take place. It can be just very challenging, but if you stay organized and stay the course and figure out just small segments of completion and working through an 8-week term, and maybe a 16-week class, and as you’re moving forward from terms to terms to semesters to semesters to year to year, stay organized so you don’t feel the sense of overwhelming this just overtakes you and you can work through that process.

Finally, Nehemiah says in Nehemiah 4:6, “So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.” Not only do you need to keep the vision in front of you, not only do you need to stay organized, but you need to work hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it, but you have embarked upon, which is achieving a degree is not easy. It’s difficult; it’s very difficult at times. It’s very frustrating at times, but just commit yourself that you’re going to work hard, pay the price, write those papers, study for those tests, and you’re going to find a way to achieve this degree so that you can achieve your ultimate goal both professionally and personally.


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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Time Management - Elissa Rogers

Time Management

Elissa Rogers is current in pursuit of her Doctorate of Business Administration at Liberty University.  She is also a Student Ambassador with McGraw-Hill Higher Education. 

Moving to college requires many changes. One of the biggest changes faced involves deciding how to manage your time. In high school someone may make sure that you wake up for school on time, teachers often remind students of upcoming work, and your family reminds you of any chores that still need to be completed.

College is a whole new world. Homework is assigned, often in the class syllabus, and may not be mentioned again until the date that it is due. 

Today’s blogpost will focus on how to ensure that all your assignments are completed in a reasonable manner. I personally have found that a bit of planning ahead can be very helpful. If utilized fully this time management tool can help you decide if you have time to go hang out, or if you should stay in and study!

  • Beginning of course: Review all available documents for the course (syllabus, schedule, instructions on future assignments, etc.). I typically print these pages out, and use my highlighter to mark pertinent aspects of the course. The goal with this review is to get a general idea of what will be expected from you throughout the upcoming semester.
  • Beginning each week: I make up a 3 x 5 card with all of my weekly work listed. You may need more than one card, if you are taking multiple classes. (I am in one Doctoral level class right now, so one card works for me!)
  • List out various assigned readings (I listed by author’s last name, and chapter number).
  • Include all assignments on your card, along with their due dates.
  • Once I have all of my weekly work listed for myself, I try to plan a rough schedule of what I want to accomplish each day.
  • I like to plan to have my assignments done at least one day ahead of time, so if I fall behind I have some wiggle room to catch up.
  • If the class has some bigger project (research papers, etc.), then adding them to earlier week’s cards can help cut down on overload. Take the project in small pieces (find topic, locate resources, read/highlight sources, outline, rough draft, and final draft) with one or two pieces on your weekly cards. This can save you the last-minute stress of trying to work on a big project in one week.
  • As reading and assignments are completed cross them off on your list (awesome feeling).


Posted at 2:18 PM | Comments (3) | Permalink

Thursday, August 16, 2018

I Press On - Kandy Crosby-Hastings

Other than being a full-time mom, Kandy is a graduate of Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Religion, a Bachelor of Science in Education, Master of Arts in History, and a Master of Arts in Human Services: Christian Ministries. She is currently working on her Masters of Arts in Professional Writing. She enjoyes writing and has been published in Liberty's Academic Catelog.

Stacks of books litter the desk, the tables, the floor – anywhere there was previously empty space. I’ve checked, read, and re-read aloud the final copy at least five times. My voice is hoarse. My throat is scratchy. I take a sip of water from the bottle next to me.

I click the “submit” button. A burst of adrenaline bungee jumping could never rival courses through my body. I exhale the breath I’ve been holding. I should read it once more to feel what my professor will feel when (s)he opens it. Well, perhaps I should wait until morning. View it with fresh eyes – if they, in their bloodshot glory, can be considered fresh. I can’t sleep anyway. I’ll read it once more now and then again in the morning, too. 

After almost five degrees, I should be past the worrying, the wondering, the constant re-reading; but I never seem to reach that magical point of believing I am enough, I did enough, I worked hard enough. In many ways, college fulfills my need for perfectionism – that deep-seated emotion I have struggled with, conquered, and overcome only to experience again. Just when I think I have moved that mountain, I see a small hill in the distance. When I feel I have finally exorcised the giant, a wisp of doubt slips in through the cracks.

With every doubt, with every self-criticism, I admonish myself that God says I am enough. Psalm 139 reminds me God created me according to His plan. He knows my far-off thoughts, my self-doubt, my psychological self-scourging; yet He encourages me to remember full well I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Philippians 1:6 promises me He who has begun a good work in me will see it through to completion. He will see it through. I can only do my human best. His grace, after all, is sufficient. I recall II Corinthians 12:9. It is not my strength I need. It is okay that my strength is not perfect. His is. I smile as I think about the fact that David and Paul, the writers of these verses of Scripture – God’s chosen – must have struggled with the same types of uncertainty I experience.

I close my eyes. Sleep can come not just to tired eyes, but to a weary mind. God’s promises and compassion bring rest and refreshment. I’ll make it through. He will see to it. I can press on.  


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Friday, August 10, 2018

He wastes NOTHING - Chloe Jeanne

Chloe, a single mom of two teen boys chose to return to college in August to pursue a cause that God put on her heart to counsel women in crisis situations. Below is why she chose Liberty and an inspiring quote that she wanted to share with online students.

I chose Liberty Online so I can be present for my sons in addition to continuing my education in Liberty’s Crisis counseling program. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve attended college, but I’m facing my fears faithfully head on this time!

“The beast of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people.” – Isaiah 43:20

“Whether your wilderness is a career, family, relationship, fitness, health, parenting or (insert your own), the Lord’s faithfulness, care and love are unwavering. Also remember this: He wastes NOTHING. What you are going through is under God’s sovereign care. As the Israelites came out of the desert and experienced the Promised Land, so you too will arrive at the place He has prepared for you. I say this to myself in my current situation as much as I say it to you in your situation. The wilderness can deplete your strength if you spend it on the wrong things like panic, doubt, bitterness, and fear. So instead, you are invited to seek the Lord with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. When you do that, He promises you will find Him.” -Jason Barnaby with Revelation Wellness

Posted at 1:37 PM | Comments (3) | Permalink

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