How To Pray

Being a full-time student at Impact University can overwhelm your mind with theological knowledge, but there is by far one thing that stands out to me above all and that is how to pray. Growing up, I was always told to pray but I don’t remember being taught how to pray! One of the first classes I took at ImpactU was Ministry of Prayer which taught that there were seven different types of prayer. Not only that, but there were appropriate times to use each kind of prayer. The professor also taught on when you have the authority to pray for what. Now don’t worry if you don’t know much about prayer, the bottom line definition of prayer is fellowship with God. Just sitting and talking to Him. I’ve learned to sit for an hour or more to just talk to Him. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but learning the different types of prayer made me so excited and changed my life so much. I now look forward to prayer in any setting either with others or by myself because I know that God answers prayer. One Scripture that really set me free this semester was John 15:7-8. “..ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this, my Father is glorified..” God is glorified when He answers our prayers so why wouldn’t He hear our prayers?!

Learning about prayer has drastically changed my attitude and perception for the better and I still learn more about prayer almost every day in class. It has created passion in me for teaching others about prayer. Not only prayer, but truly discipling people to further the kingdom of God, instead of creating more passive Christians who just attend church on Sunday mornings. Whatever I do when I graduate, it will involve discipling people and teaching them valuable principles such as how to pray. I don’t want to imagine where I would be today without the power of prayer and I don’t want others to have to struggle when such awesome spiritual tools are available.

Blog by: Deanna Pearson

Having A Thankful Heart

It always seems when the temperature becomes cooler we see all the signs of “being thankful”, especially in all the stores. I know that change in the weather can dictate a change in the season but this year, for some reason, this illuminated within me: “thankfulness is not a season, it’s a lifestyle”. Let me tell you why.

At work, we had an older gentleman that resigned to take care of family needs. He had been in his position longer than the average employee and had a stellar reputation. As he prepared to leave, loads of friends wanted to be sure they wished him well and convey how much he’d be missed. He was so overcome with emotion that he broke down and literally cried. He said “I didn’t know I was so loved here”.

People cherished knowing him because he was truly thankful for being able to work where he worked and thankful for who he worked with. He showed it in his attitude and how he spoke.  In our final discussion on his last day, he shared with me that he was recently able to buy a house and was overwhelmed with thankfulness because the realtor had “thrown in” lots of extras. He was blessed with the fulfillment of his desires and blessed with friendships (I believe) because he was thankful. Every day he showed it and spoke it.

I believe that the Word of God teaches us this principle. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP “in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. Proverbs 27:9(b) in the Message translation says “a sweet friendship refreshes the soul”. My coworker taught many people this principle without even knowing it.  

As an evening student with Impact, I am extremely thankful to have the opportunity to attend on Tuesday nights. I love it and cannot imagine not being a part of Impact University. The friendships and educational experiences are priceless.

Let me challenge all of us with the following:

What if we woke up today with only the relationships and things we were thankful for yesterday, would it change how we lived today?

Blog by: Debra Jordan

Questions? God's Got Your Answer!

Are you on a journey of self-discovery? Do you ask yourself, who am I? What am I good at? Why am I here? What is my purpose? What do I want to do with the rest of my life? Could I ever be a worship leader? Is God disappointed in me? Or maybe you have a lot of questions because of conflicting views. For example, if I'm in love, why do I have to wait until I’m married to have sex? Or, I’ve already been married and divorced, so what’s the big deal? Does prayer change things? Is it really that important to forgive others who have hurt me so bad? And if it is, how do I? I’ve done a lot of people wrong in my life, how could I ever be called to preach? I always hear how I’m supposed to walk in love, but how do I do that when my spouse is cheating?

My friend, if you have any of these questions, Impact University is for you. Impact University is a quality university that not only offers degrees, but it's a place to learn who God is on a personal level; who you are in Christ. You are more than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can do! Once you tap into that knowledge, I promise you your life will never be the same.

The best decision I ever made in life other than getting saved is to become a student at Impact University. The professors here are not just here teaching, but they pour themselves into our lives. They have blessed me beyond measure. I came into this not knowing what I was called to do, or even what I wanted to do. I just knew every time I heard about Impact University something on the inside of me (Holy Spirit), would nudge me.

Impact has taught me how to live life. I know that sounds strange but it’s true. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. I was a dysfunctional adult, and a drug addict so my emotional growth was very small. My self-confidence was at about zero, and because of sexual abuse I thought that was my only worth. Even though I got saved and delivered from drugs I still didn’t know who I was in Christ or my worth. I knew the Word, I just didn't always know how to apply the word. But, that all changed when I came to Impact University.

I had no idea of all the gifts I had on the inside of me until one by one the Professors and the Holy Spirit began pulling them out of me. I remember taking a class Discovering Your Purpose, taught by Pastor Julian Gaither. We had to read and answer questions honestly. When I started reading the questions I cried uncontrollably because I didn’t have a clue what I was good at, what my desires and dreams were, or even what I was passionate about. At the age of fifty I had to accept the fact that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It was then when I realized why God had me in the day classes with students who were eighteen to early twenties; I needed to grow. I have not only grown spiritually and emotionally, but I've grown in the knowledge and understanding of God’s grace. I’ve also grown into knowledge of knowing that my purpose, hopes, and dreams are not defined by my past, but by my ability to hear God and trust Him to empower and equip me to do all He has called me to do.

I’ve learned leadership skills that will take me anywhere I want to go, and how to work alongside others in fulfilling a single vision. I now have the confidence to try new things and to allow God to stretch me and change me because growth without change is impossible. I am so thankful for Pastor Whitfield for being obedient to God and starting Impact University, for it has changed my life and the lives of countless others.

Blog by: Marlena Jo Benkowski Knight

The More Questions, The Better

 

I would be willing to bet that 99 percent of you reading this blog have asked yourself this question, “What has God called me to do?” or this question “ What is my purpose?” You may have had this thought cross your mind at least once or twice “I know I have a call on my life, but I’m not exactly sure what it might be or what it looks like.” If you are reading this, hoping that I have an incredible, divine answer to these questions, I’m sorry to tell you, but I don’t. The answer to your questions is only answered by God. But, here’s what I do know: having these thoughts, and asking these questions are perfectly normal. Why are they normal? Think about it this way, God desires for you to know your purpose in His Kingdom. There is an old saying “Knowledge is Power”, well I believe this saying is based on scriptural insight. How are we to be “good and faithful servants” if we don’t know what God is asking of us? If we don’t seek, we won’t find. If we don’t knock, the door will never open. It’s okay to ask hard questions, it’s even okay to be afraid of what you might find out. Fear of the unknown is normal. The moment it stops being normal is when you let that fear hinder you or stop you from doing what God is leading you to do. Maybe what God is telling you isn’t what you thought you were called to do. Or God has shown you that He's called you for more than what you thought you could handle. I think the real danger zone is when you assume you know what God has for you and you stop asking questions, you stop seeking and you stop evaluating yourself to see if you are still in God’s perfect will for your life. Being able to properly evaluate yourself takes real maturity. To effectively evaluate you must remember this: evaluation is simply asking questions. It is not to render judgment, inflict shame or add guilt. Evaluation is meant to be a learning process, not a condemnation party. No one is perfect, no matter how hard you try to be. There might be times when you take a leap of faith and you find out later that your leap was a little misdirected. That’s the perfect opportunity for you to ask questions. Asking questions will help you get to the root of what caused the misdirection. Evaluation isn‘t always easy, but it is necessary in order for you to grow. An important thing to remember is: don’t let that mistake keep you from taking more leaps of faith. You’ve probably heard this before, faith isn’t just a noun, it’s a verb. To live by faith, you must act. Is every action of faith going to be right? Odds are, probably not! So don’t beat yourself up over it. Evaluate, learn, and leap with a better aim each time.

 

Blog by: Nicole Barnes

3 Tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

You hear of people joining the gym around the beginning of the new year. “New Year- New me.” But, another big time people join the gym is around student graduation. I guess it’s time to get rid of that freshman 15...or 30. For myself, people always predicted that I would gain a bunch of weight when I started college, got married, and when my wife got pregnant. But what people have to understand is when you walk with Jesus every day for 20 some years, you stay pretty fit! I am very proud to say that I am a graduate of Impact University. Over the past four years, I’ve learned three valuable lessons. 1, you’ve got to exercise; 2, you’ve got to eat right: 3, always go for the gold. You’ve got to Exercise - It’s one thing to go to a Bible school where you learn to recite Bible scriptures and win theological debates with to the facts you know. It's another when you leave knowing how to walk and live the Christ Life. At many universities you discover the answer to “what,” but at Impact University you discover the “how.” So many places can give you information but it is so much more important for us to learn how to fish on our own instead of someone giving us the fish. This is what I learned at Impact, and once I did, I soon found out that it takes exercising what I've learned. Living this Christ Life is not like riding a bike, it is something that you must practice every day. You have to renew your mind, practice the fruits of the Spirit, use the spiritual Gifts, and more, daily. You need to exercise those faith muscles because they only get stronger.

 

You’ve got to Eat Right - When I moved out of mom and dad’s home and moved in with a roommate, I realized going grocery shopping with them was a bigger challenge than people think. You soon find out how much those boxes of cookies your mom always gets really are. You have to start making decisions on what it is you want to eat, as you bypass the whole fresh produce section to get your junk food, making sure there are no judgy looks on your new roommate’s face, and then after all that you grab one more bag of chips...for later. After it's all said and done, you have a mini-flashback of your mom telling you to finish your veggies on your plate when you were a kid but ignore it. Now you feel like trash because you ate a lot of trash. Let's face it, we’ve been there, and when we eat trash we feel like trash. That’s why Impact teaches you to feed on the Word of God daily. It is very easy when no one is holding you accountable to skip reading the Word or prayer time, but when you get in the habit of skipping, your soul becomes fat. Well maybe not fat, but you can tell a difference spiritually.

 

Always go for the Gold - Another vital lesson I left Impact with is always go for the Gold. Reach for the unreachable, believe for the unbelievable, dream big, and trust God. Too many times we have aborted our hopes and dreams because we did not give it time to grow into what God wanted it to be. When we plant seeds we know that it will take time, but if we water it and give it what it needs it will grow into something beautiful. Too many times we dig up that dream. We don’t want to wait for the “right time” so we settle for the “right now” and that’s not always how God works. I am living that testimony of waiting, praying, and trusting God right now. I gave the plan He placed on the inside of me the attention it needed, and it is bigger and better than anything I could ever imagine. I love the quote “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among stars.” I encourage you to go after God, and along with that journey you’ll come across things better than you could ever imagine. So keep exercising, eating right, and going after the gold.

Blog by: Dallas Banks