Blog: Encouragement for the Online Student

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Victoria Mininger

Blogger/Writer

"I am a wife to Brian & Mom to our four girls...living in a very loud house.  Imperfect & flawed but saved by God's grace. This space is dedicated to encouraging you, our online students, as you pursue your education here at Liberty University. I look forward to connecting with you here."


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Blog: Encouragement for the Online Student

Monday, October 27, 2014

Living Locally, Serving Globally

Mark 16:15 - "And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

Last week, on the encouragement blog, we talked about how we encourage those within our personal community - friends, family and co-workers. 

"We all have those people in our lives.  People we love and are connected too that need someone to come beside them, support them and lift them up in prayer."

This week we want to talk about stepping out a little further, beyond our personal communities, onto a global stage.  For many of us, stepping out beyond our own community may push us past our comfort zone.  It may raise a lot of questions in us and fears of the unknown, and yet God, while He calls us to live locally, also asks us to think globally. 

We all know that there is a hurting and dying world out there.  All we have to do is turn on the TV and watch the news to know the truth of that statement.   And because of that hurting and dying, God is calling each of us to reach out and share His love through the gifts and talents he has given each of us.  For some, that may be teaching, preaching, building, or leading.  For all of us that means serving and loving. 

So how do we know where God would have us serve? Here are three key places to start:

1. Prayer - Pray and ask God to give you His heart in reaching the larger global community.  Ask Him specifically how you fit into that plan.

2.  Open Your Eyes - Ask God to help open your eyes to the possibilities all around you.  Is it participating in an upcoming cross-culture trip, serving with a global sending agency or is it supporting a missionary through a financial blessing?  

3.  Serve - Once God shows you a direction, start serving.  Sometimes we wait until we think everything is in order, when often God simply calls us to take first steps and just serve.  Taking action is the key here. 

So now, it's your turn to share - How is God calling you to serve globally? How do you step past your comfort zone and take action to serve? 

~Victoria  

Photo Credit - David Listor

Posted at 8:32 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Encouragement of a Friend

At last week's convocation, following a time of worship, David Nasser (Liberty's Senior Vice President for Spiritual Development) encouraged the student body to take a few moments to lift up another person in prayer.  Maybe it was a friend going through a tough time, a parent, grandparent, pastor or co-worker.  

We all have those people in our lives.  People we love and are connected too that need someone to come beside them, support them and lift them up in prayer.  But so often we forget.  I know I do. I can get so easily distracted by the busyness of life that I often miss opportunities to bless another person.  

I wonder how many times I have sat next to a co-worker that could have used a kind word.  I wonder how many friends would find encouragement in a simple phone call; a phone call that says “I care” and “you matter” to me.

As many of you step into another term and you buckle down to more books, papers and discussion boards, I want to encourage you to remember to look up often from the computer screen.  

To look up and not forget the people around you.  To be intentional. 

To ask God to show you who needs a word of encouragement, a prayer or a friendly voice to remind them that they matter.  

You were created for those moments.  Let's not let them pass us by. 

~Victoria 

How have you encouraged someone this week?  How has someone encouraged you?

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

 

Photo Credits - Ty Hester & Les Schofer

Posted at 8:23 AM | Comments (1) | Permalink

Monday, October 13, 2014

Resting in the In-Between

Walking around campus today you can practically hear the crickets chirp.  It is so quiet.  Noticeably absent is the hum of student voices and the busy that comes with daily college life.  It's fall break here on campus.

For many of our online students you are also wrapping up final papers and working out final test.  From reading the comments and the Facebook post, I know it has been a tough term for many of you.  There have been emergencies and family responsibilities calling your attention.  There have been long nights of study and research, and even longer days of pounding out 10 page papers on the computer.  Many of you will have only one week off before launching full throttle into a new term. 

And it is this week “in-between” that I want to encourage you to find some rest.  Close the computer, shut the books and go spend some time with your family.  Take some walks, revel in the last of the warm days and simply breathe.  It won't be easy.  While you have been studying and pursuing your degree, there have been tasks and projects that have accumulated and responsibilities that have had to take a backseat for a time.  Trust me, it would be really easy (and tempting) to spend all your time this week trying to play "catch up."  

There is nothing wrong with catching up, but in the catching up with “stuff” don't forget that it is important and vital, to find rest in the “in-between.”  There is wisdom in pausing and taking a moment to physically rest and to mentally and spiritually rest.  This kind of rest allows you to be rejuvenated physically and also re-focus your heart and mind mentally and spiritually as well.

So whatever that rest looks like for you, I encourage you to embrace it and come back ready to charge into this next term.  As an online community we are waiting and ready to cheer you on in your journey.  So here’s to the “in-between” moments.  What are you going to do with yours?

What are some ways you are planning to “rest” in the in-between?  Leave your thoughts below.

~Victoria 

Photo Credits - Joel Coleman & Kevin Manguiob

 

Posted at 2:24 PM | Comments (2) | Permalink

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fostering Intentional Community

com·mu·ni·ty  

"A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals."  (Source Credit)

If you are anything like me, there is nothing better than sitting down with a hot cup of coffee (or in my case - tea) and spending a few hours visiting with a friend.  

There is something about connecting one on one with another person that truly does the heart good.  Sometimes it’s catching up on life, and at other times, sharing the deeper things in life with a friend who cares.  Community with others is important to the fiber of who we are.  

God created us for relationship; relationship with Him and relationship with others. 

One of the unique challenges I found as an online student though was finding time to be in community with others.  So much of my time was spent reading endless pages, responding to discussion boards, and trying to keep ahead of paper deadlines and looming test.  Who has time to fit in community?  

And yet, some of the most encouraging times during my course of study, was when I took time to be in community with others.  Sometimes the encouragement came from other students, but often it came from my neighbors, church family or folks at the local charity I volunteered at.  

By taking time to set the books down and close the computer, I had to work at making room for genuine community; Community that encouraged me in my studies, especially on days when it felt like I would never be finished.  When I did finally graduate, it was my community that came around to celebrate with me.  

So I encourage you, take intentional time to foster community wherever you are at.  It’s worth the effort.

~Victoria

For those of you that are local to Lynchburg, the Online Communities department has started a new live community connection option for our Online Students called “Coffee & Encouragement.”  Look below for details and visit our Coffee & Encouragement web page for further information.

Coffee & Encouragement

Where: Hancock Welcome Center (Lower Level) – Liberty University Campus

October 14 – 7:00pm - 8:00pm

November 11 – 7:00pm - 8:00pm

For further information, directions and evening schedule visit the “Coffee & Encouragement” Page

(Photo Credits - Ty Hester)

Posted at 9:37 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Monday, September 29, 2014

When You Feel Like Quitting

What do you do when you feel like quitting?

No matter who you are, the fact of the matter is, you will feel like quitting at some point in your life.  

If you are an online college student, the urge to "throw in the towel" will hit you several times throughout your college career.  I remember well the excitement of a new semester, but somewhere around the third week of class the excitement fades into a dull realization that this college thing might be a little tough.  Then week 6 rolls around and you just pray you can make it to the end of the semester.  That's when "quit" starts looking more appealing. 

Juggling class, along with a million family responsibilities and work demands, makes it tough to be a college student. 

I remember years ago, sitting in convocation and hearing Dr. Falwell Sr. quote Winston Churchill: "Never, Never, Never Give Up." Dr. Falwell would encourage us to "never quit" and remind us that Christ is the one who gives us strength to persevere through the tough times in life.  

And that is how I want to encourage you.  Just when you think you cannot read another bazillion pages or type one more discussion board, recall the words of Paul "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)  And as you re-focus, think on these words. "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace." (Acts 20:24)

You are not walking this road alone. There is a whole community here at Liberty that prays for you daily.  And we are cheering you on. I firmly believe that it is no mistake that you are here.  So take a deep breath and dive back in.  

Ok. Now it's your turn.  What helps you when you feel like quitting? 

~Victoria 

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37 

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

 

Posted at 8:02 AM | Comments (3) | Permalink


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