This is Why I Worship

 

 

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Abrianna (in nike headband) with her Spring Break Team

For the most part I grew up in a Christian home and always attended church, but something I really struggled with was securing my identity. My parents were on full time staff at a church and I found myself trying to break the stereotypes that “a pastors kid” fell into. I became very confused on how I was supposed to act verse how I wanted to act, and began searching for an identity in guys and in unhealthy behaviors. I was really hoping that college was going to be a fresh start in finding who I was, but unfortunately it wasn’t. I had an extremely hard time finding a community and secluded myself to either a classroom or my dorm. One day I was sitting in my room and Ben Foddrill kept texting me and nagging me to go to the Well and I was so skeptical. I came and sat by myself and listened to Ben Post talk about how sometimes we need to change how we perceive things and change how we enter a new environment in order to fully engage ourselves and grow. Change is a foreign concept to me and I have always struggled with adjusting routine. But I couldn’t shake this sermon and re-listened to it a handful of times over the week. I impulsively decided to sign up for spring break and oh my heart, God is good. I opened up myself to these 16 beautiful human beings and now have a community. Since getting involved in CM, I have fully secured my identity in Christ who loves me unconditionally and in people who promote my faith journey and encourage me to love just as Christ did. And this is why I worship!

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This is Why I Worship

Drew Robbins – CM Alumni 2017

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How were you involved with Campus Ministry @ GVSU or one way that God used CM@GVSU to impact your life while you were in college?

Immediately upon coming to GVSU as a freshman, I recognized that I would need to find a solid, Christ-centered, encouraging community of faith-driven peers to surround myself with! The circumstances in which I ended up finding myself at the Well one Sunday night is a story for a different day, but when I stumbled into the doors of Cook DeWitt that first time, I knew I had found a home away from home.

Within a month of regularly attending the Well, the worship leader made an announcement after the service, saying that there was the need for a male vocalist on their worship team. I had always had a huge passion for vocal music – even considering a career in it at one point or another. During high school, I had fallen in love with worship and using my gifts in a ministry capacity after having the opportunity to help serve and lead worship at my home church. Upon coming to GVSU though, I told myself I was going to table vocal music in order to focus on my academics and business career; it was a prime example of the Lord’s humor to call me back to worship immediately upon providing me with the Christian community I had asked him for.

I was able to participate in the worship arts team at Campus Ministry throughout all four years of my college career. In doing so, I grew SO MUCH, both in terms of my gifts and my faith. I met friends who would later be my roommates and best friends even beyond leaving GVSU, and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel, lead, and serve throughout the country on numerous spring break mission trips. Of all the best memories I have from college, they can all be traced back – in some shape or form – to Campus Ministry and the community I found there.

What are you doing now?

The summer after graduating, I finished up an HR internship at a local financial consulting firm. Beyond that, I didn’t have the slightest idea of where the Lord would end up taking me, and it was a very stressful season of life! For all I knew, it felt like I was pretty much waiting for the Lord to call me to do remote missions work half-way across the globe at any point in time. However, in His utmost perfect timing (which is yet ANOTHER story for a different day), He dropped the job opportunity of my dreams right into my lap.

I now work on the human resources team at the Windquest Group in downtown Grand Rapids and have been (so undeservedly) afforded the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of some of the best and brightest professionals in the country. I found a new church home in Crossroads Bible Church, and have also gotten plugged back into the worship leading scene with Ada Bible Church which has been a ton of fun!

I want to leave you with this thought: the Lord’s plan seldom makes sense from our limited Earthly perspective, and you’ve probably heard that many times. The best thing about that, though, is knowing that even while you’re in a season of not knowing what’s next, the Lord is clearing the path ahead of you, even when you can’t see it or recognize it. One day, you’ll look back to see all the intricate ways in which He was preparing a way (and yourself!), even when you felt like you were just floating along.

“The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. He protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 116:5-9

Tim’s Story

His Plans For Me Are Good

Tim Milarch

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Tim (top row far left) pictured with his Houston mission trip team

I grew up active in my home church, which felt like a second home to me. The people truly felt like my family, and I always felt comfortable there. I had been in leadership groups, on mission trips, and taught Sunday school. For this reason, it was hard for me to get involved in a new environment like Campus Ministry. I was in a life group last year with mostly seniors, but never made it to the Well because of my schedule. After going through a break up heading into second semester, and taking twenty credits, I found myself in the loneliest period of my life.

I spent the weekends doing homework and going to life group here and there, but never made it to the Well and spent most of my time by myself. I did not put in enough effort in the first semester to meet other Christians, and eventually turned to my high school basketball friends for fellowship. I had never drank or gone to parties in high school, but decided to try and fill myself using these things. I quickly found that these things would leave me feeling empty, and just as lonely. After deciding that only God could bring me fulfillment and joy, I spent the rest of the semester and the summer working and getting classes/observations done. I still wanted a community of believers to surround myself with.

Coming back in the fall, instead of searching for a new community, I turned back to my old friends, and partied a little bit to start the year. I soon found again how awful this left me feeling, and decided it was time to look for something new. I decided to join a life group again, and started going to the Well by myself. I prayed every week that God would put me where he wanted me. I asked if He would bring other Christians into my life. After a couple of weeks of going alone, I began to meet some new friends.

God has overwhelmingly blessed me this year with Christians in my life as well as opportunities to serve him. As soon as I heard about the Houston spring break trip, I knew that I wanted to go. I signed up without knowing anyone on the trip. The entire group basically went in blind, so we had some awkward encounters at first. Throughout the trip, God showed me community, purpose, and love. We went from a group of strangers, to feeling like a family. This was another huge way God has put Christians into my life this year. He showed purpose to me through the way He used every person on the trip. We had all types of personalities and skillsets. God was able to use everyone in His perfect ways both at the worksites, and in our discussions. This also showed me that my only purpose is to glorify Him, and serve Him by serving others, which takes all the pressure that I feel in life off me. His plans for me are good, and He will put me where he wants me.

A scripture that was on my heart this week was 1 Corinthians 13. It amazed me when Paul said that even if he had all faith, as to move mountains, without love he is nothing. It was clear to me that we were able to impact the people in Houston because we were a group filled with God’s love and His spirit. I saw the characteristics that Paul lists about love in 1 Corinthians 13 in all the different people serving in Houston. This was also confirmed to me with the awesome CPR we had the Monday after spring break. I have been continually overwhelmed with the presence of God and His love this semester. He loves us so much that we can recklessly love others. Seeing this in action has truly been a God-sighting, and I thank Him so much for the encouragement it has brought to my life. God loves me even when I try to do things my own way and He still uses me to do His work, and that is why I worship!

Katie’s Story

Katie Martinez

This is Why I Worship

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(Katie playing the drums with the CM worship team)

I grew up in a Christian family, and my dad became a pastor when I was around seven. I also grew up in a full of musicians (my mom’s side), and have had a passion for music since I was really little. I remember my mom telling me that when I was in her belly, I would annoy her by moving like crazy during worship at church. But she also told me that even then, she had a feeling I would be a musician. When I was about the age of five,  I would line up all the pots and pans in the kitchen and start banging on them with spoons. This eventually lead me to teaching myself how to play the drums. It came so naturally but I didn’t really think of it as anything special, and I kind of took it for granted.  As I got better, my dad assigned me to play drums at church, and I did this almost every Sunday since I was about 12, until my last year at home. Eventually it became exhausting, and was not something I looked forward to anymore.  Around my last year of being home with my parents (senior year), I felt like I was only playing to please my parents. I wasn’t using this gift to strengthen my relationship with God, and I felt so shameful.

Jumping ahead, coming to GVSU, I was super nervous, but yet excited because I was going be able to experience a whole new level of freedom. However, I completely lost sight of my faith, and thought that going to church every Sunday was “just enough”.  I found myself surrounded by people who kept dragging me down, and who put their faith last. I wasn’t very involved on Campus, so I stuck with the same small group all year. At the end of freshman year, I ended up having the worst roommate experience, and my best friend ended up turning her back on me. Because of this I questioned God, I thought He was throwing all these problems at me as a punishment for what I had done in the past.  I didn’t understand why He put people in my life to become close with, and then have them hurt me more than anyone has.

BUT, we all know that God is always up to something, and something we can’t even imagine, because he is just so frickin cool.  I’ll admit, I was frustrated with God at the time of losing my friend, because I didn’t have that person I could jam out with all the time, or call on when I needed some advice. However, all I can say is that this whole situation was part of God’s plan for me. As I look back on it now, my passion for music was not really there anymore when I came to GV. I had pushed it to the side due to the fact that when I was in high school, my band teacher never gave me the chance to play on the drumline/percussion. I would constantly ask her if she could give me a chance, and she never did. This hurt me a ton, to the point where I almost gave up doing what I love for God, so having that friend direct me back to this is an example of how God brings people into your life for a reason.

At the start of sophomore year, I told myself that I needed to become a lot more involved around campus, and surround myself with positive, God-loving people. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone in any way possible. I wanted to start fresh and leave all the negativity behind. So, at the start of this year I joined Delight, which is a women’s ministry on campus. I also signed myself up for everything that Campus ministry offered: life group, Passion conference, and spring break mission trip. And let me tell you God is SO GOOD. Through delight, He gave me the opportunity to explore different instruments that I never thought I would EVER be able to learn (I learned how to play piano over this past summer), and opened many more opportunities involving CM worship team. I know this may not seem significant to some people, but I had intentionally prayed to God about how I missed playing the drums and being part of a team. This was a day before I received an email about the audition, and if that doesn’t sum up God’s love and faithfulness, then I don’t know what else does. At this point, all I can say is that through all the hardships that I’ve gone through in the last year, even my high school years, and the doubt that I have received from many people, God has made me stronger than I have ever been.

“My heart will ALWAYS sing His praise”. Psalm 30:12

THIS IS WHY I WORSHIP!

This is Why I Worship

Joshua Marianos

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Pictured (top row, 2nd left) with some CMGVSU friends!

I was raised in a Christian household. Nothing was special about my family, we just were there essentially. We weren’t involved in the church as anything more than just being attendees. We didn’t resist the culture or anything that it brings. It was an easy life, a life of ease and luxury. It was a life without purpose or meaning. Of constant boredom and distractions from that boredom. At some point, probably around 11 years old, I was bored of my videogames and started searching through the internet. Unsurprisingly, I found pornography.

From 11 until 19, last Fall really, I found one excuse or another to watch porn. I always said to myself, “oh, everyone does it”, or found one article or another, justifying the use of pornography and masturbation. “Oh, we were made to masturbate, and pornography is normal.” I told myself. So why did I feel such terrible shame?

Those years of my life, I always was hiding my addiction to pornography. I acted like I was different from everyone. I was the “nice guy” that everyone knew. Someone you could expect a wave from in passing but nobody really knew that well. I would pass in and out of people’s lives without leaving a mark, just wanting to hide what was inside. I had no passions, no dreams, no goals. I’m sure you all know someone like that. I still have to fight the urge to be that guy. It is so EASY to be like that. It’s also so lonely to be that guy. I was hurting on the inside, thinking I was all alone in the world. You think your suffering proves that your life isn’t easy. I deluded myself into thinking that it wasn’t my fault, that I couldn’t do anything about it.

I would fall each day, and each day I would pray for the temptation to be taken away from me, because even with the justifications I gave myself, I knew that what I was doing was wrong. I could feel it in the depths of my heart… And then I couldn’t feel it anymore. I couldn’t tell right from wrong. I had allowed myself to become so corrupted, so blinded, I didn’t even feel shame anymore. That scared me more than anything else had ever before. I thought maybe I was unredeemable at that point. Maybe I had done too much. After a while of this continuing, because I didn’t make up my mind immediately, I decided to stop masturbating and using pornography. This was my senior year of high school. I still didn’t want people to know that I struggled with pornography so I tried going it alone. I actually made some progress, making it a week or two at a time but it didn’t matter, I would always fall again.

I finally decided enough was enough at the beginning of last semester. I was going to do whatever I had to to get free. I signed up for a couple online courses and site blockers, freedom fight and covenant eyes. I told someone about my struggle. I even joined a group here, Finding Freedom. Even with everything, I felt hollow, empty. I had no purpose, no vision, no dream. I wanted to escape but to what? I have struggled with this question for a long time.

I still don’t know what God wants me to do exactly but I’m at peace now. I have discovered that life isn’t about knowing and controlling where you go. It’s about relying on God alone for comfort, healing, and grace. He teaches through our pain, we just have to keep our eyes open. I have been free from porn for four months, something I thought might be impossible at one point. I have a vision, a future in God. I have been many things in my life, a coward, a sinner, a liar and worse. Now I am becoming something else, someone else. I am a friend, a brother, a son. I am loved and cherished by God, my family and friends. I am no longer a slave to sin. I have been born again, and this is why I worship!

A note from Campus Ministry: If you are struggling with any kind of sexual addictions such as pornography, CM@GVSU offers support for both guys and girls. Check out Finding Freedom for guys – they meet Tuesdays at 9pm in Kirkhof 1142. You can email findingfreedomgvsu@gmail.com for more info! Check out Renewed for girls – they meet Mondays at 9pm in Kirkhof 2227 (except for CPR weeks). You can email renewedgvsu@gmail.com for more info!

Kate’s Story

Kate Koning

This is Why I Worship

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Hi, I’m Kate Koning, this is my story.

I have my mom, Jackie, my dad, Scott, and my sister, Rachel, who is 7 and a half years older than me.

Like many people, I grew up in a Christian home. Church twice on Sundays and Wednesday nights. We prayed before every meal, and every night before bed.

My dad worked two jobs for a majority of my young life–his main job was being a corrections officer with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s department. While it was cool to be able to say “Yeah, my dad’s a cop,” the job took a toll on him–he was stressed. My dad is interesting because he might not be mad, but somehow he usually still sounds mad when he talks. There were times I didn’t want to talk to him about things because even if he wasn’t yelling at me, it still sounded like he was. But he also wasn’t getting a lot of sleep. He left home in the morning before I woke up, probably around 5 or 6am, and he came home for maybe an hour after I was home from school, and then he went to his other job, returning home after I was already asleep around 11pm. His second job was at Costco, so my mom and I would visit him there a lot (I once ate their food court pizza three days in a row and I’ve eaten their pizza enough over the years to be able to confidently say that you can get one slice of pepperoni pizza and a drink for only $2.73 after tax, and a frozen yogurt dessert for only $1.43 after tax). Costco grew to be almost a second home. It also ended up being my dad’s only job when I was in Junior high.

My dad left his job at the Sheriff’s department after about 14 years there. God was calling for a change. We didn’t know what would happen with our finances, whether bills could be paid, whether we would be able to stay in our home. Ultimately, God provided. We stayed in our house, there weren’t really any drastic steps that needed to be taken. My dad is happier now. He is well rested. He’s easier to talk to. He’s one of the greatest men I have ever known.

My mom has been one of my biggest supporters my whole life. There was a time that if something went wrong, usually if I did something wrong, whether it just happened, or it happened even two years before, I didn’t feel okay until I told my mom. I woke her up at midnight a few times to confess things and talk about them. It got to the point where she told me that whatever I’ve done, she forgives me. I don’t have to tell her what I’ve done before. If I was right with God, and asked for His forgiveness then that’s all that mattered.

My sister and I didn’t really like each other growing up. I was annoying, and she was moody. Or at least, I thought that’s all it was. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that I learned that there was more to her story. My dad came into our living room one day as I was sitting on the couch. There was something he had to tell me, and it seemed pretty serious because he looked almost in tears. If you can imagine my dad, a 6’2 cop for a good portion of his life, he wasn’t one for crying, unless it was from laughing too hard at one of my hilarious jokes. My dad told me, “You won’t be able to see your sister for about a week.” Part of what I learned that day is that my sister wasn’t just moody, she had Major Depressive Disorder. My sister wasn’t just anxious sometimes, she dealt with parts of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. On this day, my dad said I wouldn’t be able to see her because she was admitted to Pine Rest, because she almost committed suicide. I was 14, and she was not yet 21. But, God was faithful yet again.

My freshman year of college was a bit rocky. Both of my dream colleges had rejected me, so that was disappointing. My walk with God was not the best first semester. While I was finding out reasons why I believed what I did, I wasn’t living the way I should have. I had a lukewarm faith. I experienced my first ever breakup with my first ever boyfriend–who eventually would tell me that he stopped caring about me. He was someone I thought I’d always have as a friend, and now I usually avoid eye contact with him. This breakup hit me really hard. I had times that I went to bed crying, woke up and cried in the morning. I didn’t have an appetite the first few days after. I would cry in the middle of hanging out with some of my best friends. I cried a lot, to say the least. I eventually found Campus Ministry, with the help of a coworker and good friend, David Bowman. I found some of the greatest friends I could ask for. I joined a life group, I became very involved, and I was getting some of my priorities straight.

God helped my family during financial worries, God gave me a great support system for a family, God healed my broken heart, and God saved my sister–now, my sister has become one of my best friends, something that wouldn’t have happened unless my sister had listened to the Holy Spirit encouraging her to continue living.

This is why I worship.