A Touch of Heaven

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I heard this new song, A Touch of Heaven by Hillsong Worship on Sunday and wanted to share it with you. Throughout the past few weeks at LifeNet we have been talking about our dependance on God and the concept of surrendering our lives to Him. I kept thinking to myself, how can I do that in my day to day life? As I was listening to this song, the first verse stood out to me. It says:

How I live for the moments
Where I’m still in Your presence
All the noise dies down
Lord, speak to me now
You have all my attention
I will linger and listen
Lord, I know my heart wants more of You
My heart wants something new
So I surrender all

After hearing this song, I felt in my heart that this song turned more into a personal prayer. The message that spoke to my heart is that God simply wants us to be with him. I know that is probably cliche but it is so true and often something we put on the shelf due to our busy schedules. As the song says, when we desire to experience God in a new way and “are desperate for a touch of heaven,” God is ready to speak to us. The question is: are we ready to be still and seek his face in prayer, worship, reading the Bible, etc? As we slow down and “live for the moments where we are still in His presence,” I am sure God is going to shake our worlds. He will reveal to us the mysteries and his plans for our lives, new visions, and a deeper understanding of who he is. How exciting is that?!

As a Christian community, we are then able to join together during small groups or at church and share with one another what God is doing within our own lives as a source of encouragement and to build each other up. Hebrews 10:23 says “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now the the day of his truth is drawing near.” 

Enjoy the song. I hope it blesses you.

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UB Transformed By Jesus

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One of the things I dislike the most about winter is having to walk through icky brown slush. If snow could stay white and compact, it wouldn’t bother me as much because it is beautiful in its original form. Do you agree? As I walk around UB’s snowy campus, I have been reminded of the Bible verse Isaiah 1:18,

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”

If I dislike the icky brown slush so much because it’s messy and not in its ‘original form,’ how much more does God despise sin? Students in Campus Ambassadors are grasping this concept. As we dig into scripture and talk about our daily life struggles, we are all noticing that we can not change the icky slush in our own lives to pure white snow on our own. Thank you God for your Grace: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Overall, we all need Jesus.

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Campus Ambassadors has been engaging students at the University At Buffalo through a number of different events. It is exciting to see how God uses these events to help students ask questions about Christianity, engage Christians in conversations, and gives them the opportunity to learn more about who Jesus Christ.

Spring Semester is flying by and God is not wasting any time: 1 student baptized. 1 student accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Praise God!

What’s going on at UB?

The Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?51ddccfe-1430-413b-b85d-1e1bd37c4223

Campus Ambassadors joined with several other campus ministries in hosting The Veritas Forum. Dr. Michael Licona, New Testament Historian, discussed the historicity and the reliability of the resurrection. There were about 100 students in attendance. Please pray for the students who attended. Pray for their hearts to be open to the truth.

Winter Retreat

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UB Campus Ambassadors just came back from a refreshing weekend away at Pioneer Camp and Retreat Center with Monroe Community College and SUNY Brockport’s Campus Ambassadors. Throughout the weekend, students were challenged to dig deep in the Bible and reflect on their own spiritual walk with the Lord. On the retreat, we went through Francis Chan’s Basic Series which covered the following topics.

Part 1: Fear God
Part 2: Follow Jesus
Part 3: Holy Spirit
Part 4: Fellowship
Part 5: Teaching
Part 6: Prayer
Part 7: Communion

At the end of the retreat students were given the opportunity to share what God has taught them throughout the weekend. Many students shared different ways that God has restored their faith, opened their eyes to areas in their life that they need to work on, and how God gave them a deeper understanding of who He is. I am so thankful to witness Jesus transforming the lives of college students before my eyes.

I am humbled that God has chosen me to be His hands and feet on the college campus. Thank you for your continued support and prayers.

Fall Retreat Update

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The Fruit of the Spirit

What does a life filled with the Holy Spirit look like?

About 200 Campus Ambassadors students and staff spent the weekend of Oct 24-26, 2014, learning about the Fruit of the Spirit, while building relationships, being challenged by the Word, and bringing glory to our God. It was a wonderful time being able to connect with college students from other universities from New York and Massachusetts. Being in God’s presence, away from distractions, is refreshing!

Throughout the weekend, we spent time studying Galatians 5:22. We were able to dive into the Fruit of the Spirit and talk about how we can personally grow and produce these fruits in our own lives: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. It is always a great reminder to know that as Christians, we have ALL of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. The question is, what are we going to do about it? How are we going to live a life that allows this fruit to grow and mature.

Here are a few points we covered:

  • Good soil – is time well spent in God’s presence (prayer, Bible study, deep conversations about the things of God, etc.)
  • Good Sun / Son – is specifically time spent in the Bible. It is more than just reading it for knowledge but it’s time spent looking deep in the Word to know who God truly is.
  • Good Water – making choices (big and small) everyday that have us obeying God’s Word and conform us to be more like Christ.

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We started the retreat with a Luau party. This provided students with the opportunity to dress creatively and meet students from other campuses!

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The University at Buffalo and SUNY Brockport joined together to lead worship on Saturday night. This was a great opportunity for the students on the worship team to meet other worship leaders from different schools. I loved the community aspect and how God brought everyone together to worship Him this weekend.

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We held dinner a little differently. All of the Campus Ambassadors Staff dressed up and served our college students dinner. It was a blast! It was a simple act but showed the students how much we love and appreciate them.

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“Campus Ambassadors has helped me come to understand my faith. During college, I was really lost for 2 years. Campus Ambassadors brought me back to God and helped me grow in my relationship with Jesus. I wanted God to guide my steps in when I should be baptized. When He told me, ‘Fall Retreat’ I listened to Him even though I questioned Him. Joining Campus Ambassadors and getting baptized at the Fall Retreat was the best choice I made.”

Morgan (Senior, Video/Film Major)

“I had a fantastic weekend at Fall Retreat. It was really great for me to get away from studying and campus and just focus on praising God all weekend. I had an awesome worship experience with Sally and other CA students, and I was reminded particularly to medicate on Jesus as the thread connecting the entire Bible – even in the Old Testament – which I struggled with before.”

Derek (Junior, Pre-Medicine)

If you would like to know more about Sally’s ministry with Campus Ambassadors, feel free to contact her at SallyOnCampus@gmail.com. You can also click here for more information 

Who’s Your Starfish?

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“A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean. “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks. “Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.” “But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.” The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. Then, smiling at the young man, he said, “I made a difference for that one.“‘ (author unknown)

I would like you to take a moment, pause, and think to yourself… are you the young or old man in this story?

In our busy lives, it is easy for us to block out others needs and focus on ourselves. At times, we might feel inadequate or too small to make a difference in this large, broken world. Through the young man’s perspective, he felt like the old man was wasting his time tackling such a large project. As the young man looked out at the beach, he just saw the big picture – the great need – and did not take the time to notice all of the unique, individual starfish. On the other hand, the old man had a goal in mind and was intentional with his actions. The thousands of starfish that needed help did not distract him. Instead, he decided to make a difference and started saving them, one-by-one. Who is your starfish? How can you make a difference in the lives of those around you, right where you are?

Personally, my heart breaks when I see others hurting emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I often want to take matters into my own hands and make things better. As I attempted to do just that, I realized that without Jesus Christ, I would lose hope and give up. On my own, I am not capable of fixing all of the problems in our world: poverty, homelessness, starvation, diseases, etc. Instead, I find comfort in sharing my concerns and the hurts of others with Christ. I know and believe that Christ, who suffered on a cross and overcame death, is capable of healing the broken hearted, the sick, and comforting His people.

As scripture says in Psalm 55:22a:

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.”

As we share our troubled hearts with our Lord, He will comfort us and give us strength and wisdom with ways we can make a difference in the lives of those around us.

We are all born into this world with a purpose and calling on our life. Whether your job is caring for an infant, being a physician, or stocking cans in a local grocery store, God uses all of us to reach those in our path, every day. I encourage you to take a moment, look at the “starfish” around you and see how you can make a difference. Every little small task goes a long way. You just never know how it can change or save someone’s life. Take life one-step at a time. When we do our part, God will take care of the rest.

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For This I Was Born

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Have you ever mentally fast-forwarded through your life, trying to see where you would be in 10 years? I have. I have thought a lot about what my purpose in life is. What are my passions and how can I use them?

Time is ticking. Each of us will walk the planet for a certain number of days; we all have specific number of breaths and heartbeats to expend. The question is: what will you do with the years, months, weeks, days, and minutes God has given you? – Brian Houston

A few months ago, I went to Hillsong Church, NYC where I was introduced to the book “For This I Was Born” by Brian Houston. Brian writes about how we should live with a vision alined to God’s calling on our life, God’s cause.

  • How will you be remembered?
  • What legacy will we leave for your family and the generations to come?

“Visions generate excitement and enthusiasm but what is the cause for your vision?” What is keeping you motivated to reach your goal?

“When you surrender your vision and future into God’s hands and align them with His will, your life is a miracle waiting to happen. The cause of Christ will take your personal vision, your passions, dreams, and goals to levels you could never have imagined.” Brian Houston

This statement has so much truth. It is an amazing feeling to know we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. God has picked you and me to be the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth for a reason. When we fully accepted that God has chosen us to be a part of His plan, our mindset will change. I guarantee it!

“There is no mistake about who you are and who you are destined to be. When you get a revelation of this fact, no matter what comes against you in life, it will not be able to through you off course. Knowing that you were born for a cause will keep you moving forward and release you into the plans and purpose of God.” Brian Houston

For example, right now I am in the process of raising support for my ministry with Campus Ambassadors. If it wasn’t for my cause – to reach college students for Jesus and share the gospel to nonbelievers – I know I wouldn’t be as motivated to raise 100% of my support. Raising support is certainly not a stroll in the park, but I am empowered by Jesus to persevere through the hard times. As Steven Furtick once said, “I am anointed by God to accomplish my assignment.”

“When the purpose of your vision is not so much about you but is for the sake of something much bigger, you discover the power of the cause. This involves living a life well beyond yourself.” Brian Houston

I want to encourage you to take a step back and reevaluate your life. Take a look at your passions and goals. Are they aligned with God? If you are not sure how to do that, I recommend you read the Bible. The Bible is the best way to gain understanding, wisdom, and direction. It will guide you to knowing Jesus personally and teach you how to hear from Him. From there, you will have a better sense of what God’s purpose is for you. Remember, God wants us to ask Him for help. God will give you the strength to accomplish your assignment. 

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College Life

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Imagine coming upon a conversation between an Agnostic, a Mormon, a self-described Athiest, and a Christian. They are in a deep discussion about Jesus Christ, and not only are they not yelling at each other, but there isn’t negative tension in the discussion. Here is the cool thing – this is something that is happening every day at the University at Buffalo, because of a group of Christ-minded people, who are on fire for bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to the college campus.

College is an important season in a young person’s life, where gaining independence and making choices is a serious endeavor. Students are choosing majors and questioning their purpose in life. God has given me a passion for reaching out to those who need guidance, love, and support. As a campus minister, I am determined, through God’s wisdom and strength, to steer these students in the right direction.

When I started attending the University at Buffalo, between adjusting to college life and looking for a church, my years in college have tested my faith. I knew that I needed to connect with other believers who can encourage me and hold me accountable in my walk with God. So, I joined Campus Ambassadors Christian Fellowship, known as CA.

CA gave me the opportunity to grow in my personal relationship with the God and serve others through the worship team, leading Bible studies, mission trips, and starting a women’s ministry house.

From a young age, I participated in several mission trips inside the US and abroad to China and Ethiopia. Traveling on these mission trips has confirmed my call to being a missionary. For the longest time, I thought being a missionary meant that you had to go to a different country to tell others about Jesus Christ. However, that is not true. It is about reaching whomever is in your community, wherever it may be. Whether it’s across the ocean, or across the room… God can use you anywhere.

I invite you to partner with me as I reach college students for Jesus! I can not do this alone and really need your help!

Campus Ambassadors does not have a central fund to financially support their missionaries. I can’t start my ministry until I raise enough funds. If you would like to invest in this ministry, you can do so online by clicking here or email me at SallyHenien@CampusAmbassadors.com

Just know that your gift will help make a difference in the life of a college student.  

Thank you! God bless,

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The World Next Door

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“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.” Matthew 25:35

“Can you imagine living in poverty, being addicted or afflicted with AIDS? Chances are you would be glad for a helping hand and some relief if that was you. For 25 years, The Relief Bus has operated as a mobile resource venter serving the homeless, substance abusers, unemployed, and anyone in need in the New York City metro area. The Relief Bus exists to respond to God’s heart for the poor and broken by going to the streets to offer food, compassion, and connections to resources that lead to life transformation.

Relief Bus:
1) Interacting, praying with, and counseling people in need
2) Distributing literature or scripture materials
3) Serving food through the Relief Bus Kitchen

I had the opportunity to serve with ‘The Relief Bus’ this weekend; what a life changing experience. It was very moving to see how the people in the community look forward to ‘The Relief Bus’ every week. It is evident that the bus gives the people a sense of peace and hope for the future. While meeting their basic needs, The Relief Bus volunteers develop personal relationships with those of the community. While I was in Harlem, NY, I had the opportunity of speaking with many people and hearing their life story.  Many of them are dealing with illnesses such as AIDS and Cancer while others are suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Hearing their stories broke my heart and made my heart cry to God for His healing hand and mercy on His people.

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We live in a broken world, full of broken people. As you go through life, everyone around you is dealing with something you are not aware of. Do you take time to acknowledge those around you? Or, do you just walk by, as if others are invisible?

Before we started serving, one of the leaders made a comment I will never forget. He said, “As you go on the streets tonight, make sure you do everything with excellence. Be intentional with everything you do and say. You are serving the King of the universe tonight.

You are serving the King of the universe tonight. That statement just rang in my ears and mind the entire night. We are called to love and serve others. If Jesus, who is fully God and fully human, came to this earth to serve broken people and walked on this broken world, who are we to say we are too good to reach out to others.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” John 1:3:17-18

All of us have a specific calling on our life. You and God know what your passions and desires are. Although some people have the ability to travel around the world and serve others oversees, you don’t have to do that. You can be a missionary in your own backyard: your world next door.  Embrace the season you are currently in and don’t waste any opportunity you have to bless those around you. In the end, whatever you do, you are serving the King of the universe.  

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I remember being on the college campus and hearing labels all the time. Our society is often focused on labels. When someone looks around a room, they usually have some sort of opinion about the people they observe, prior to talking to them. It is natural. Some labels can be positive and some are negative. It all comes down to what you choose to believe about yourself. Who do you say you are and what defines you?

As I was reading Debra Felita’s book, True Love Dates, it really struck me how labels can really damage a person’s confidence.  “Each people, from the outside looking in, comes up with a label to slap onto us without our permission. Some labels are kind and some are truthful, but many of them are lies. And sometimes we leave the negative labels on so long that we believe what they say; we allow those labels to define us.”  I find so much truth to that statement. It is so important for us to think beyond the labels people place on us. Instead of holding so much value to what people say, we need to read the Bible and see who we are through God’s eyes. His opinion of us should be the most important, right?

The Bible is full of true, encouraging words of life. Instead of dwelling on the negative comments we hear and stereotypes society holds us to, we should fill our minds with scripture. God tells us that we are His children whom He loves so much. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are made perfect in His image. We are redeemed. We are taken care of.

When  our identity is found in Christ, nothing said to you will change that. “God came to rip off all the false labels and to teach us the truth about who He made us to be”  (Fileta, 41). Taking time to really believe and understand who you are is life changing. It is so important to have a solid foundation in Christ. Take the time to get to know yourself and God better and on a deeper level. In the end, it is completely worth it. Your relationship with Christ will help you in every aspect of your life.

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Rip off those false labels

The Perfect Relationship

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I love meeting new people. I enjoy the company of others and taking time to get to know them.  As I spend time with someone, I begin to pick up on their character, personality, likes and dislikes. It helps me connect with the individual, eventually turning from acquaintances to friends. Looking back at my freshmen year in college, I remember everyone was looking for a friend, someone to connect with, a community to belong to. Since I love keeping busy, I quickly became involved in different organizations and programs the university offered, one being Campus Ambassadors Christian Fellowship.

Growing up in a Christian household, I was very familiar with God, Jesus, and everything that goes with Christianity. Although I had the head knowledge and the desire to obey God, I didn’t really understand how to have a personal relationship with God. I often heard people share their testimonies of God speaking to them through a dream or as they read through the Bible. I thought to myself, “Why has that never happened to me?”

Being away in college, I started looking for a church to be a part of. During this process, I attended several different churches. After a few weeks, I began to noticed that the all of the pastors I’ve recently listened to spoke about a similar topic: having a personal relationship with Jesus. It was even a topic in large group in Campus Ambassadors. At first I thought it was a coincidence. However, for the next few Sunday’s, I realized that the topic kept coming up in discussions, sermons, and in music I listened to. I couldn’t avoid it. I started to think to myself, “How can I have a personal relationship with Jesus?” “How can I know God is speaking to me?”

Joyce Meyer states, “God wants to be involved in everything we do. He wants us to fellowship with Him, which means communicating with Him throughout our day just like we do with someone who’s our close friend or family member.”

As I began to pray and ask God to show me where to begin, I had a dream. Through this dream, God revealed to me that I have to start reading the Bible. I believe that the Bible is God’s living word. God wrote the Bible as a personal love letter me and you. As I read the Bible, God speaks to truth, wisdom, and guidance into my life. Reading the Bible was a perfect starting point for my relationship with God. The more I read it, the more I became familiar with God’s character, personality, likes and dislikes. This step in my faith-journey also helped me start a healthy prayer life with God. When I pray to God, I think of myself talking to my best friend, sharing my day. Don’t let prayer intimidate you. Like Joyce Meyer said, “God wants to be involved in everything we do.” As we communicate with God and get used to hearing His voice, our relationship with God will develop and grow deeper.

Take a moment and listen to the song below, “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker. Meditate on the lyrics. God knows everything about you. He knows your every thought and sees each tear that falls. Do you know God? Do you know Him personally? He is your Savior and will change your life. What is stopping you from moving forward? Identify that fear, that hurdle, and get to know God. He is waiting.

The Drowning Man

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shutterstock_100995136_350-2“A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

Why does it take us so long to recognize God’s helping hand, guidance, and protection in our life? How long must God wait for us to acknowledge Him knocking at our door? After reading The Drowning Man, I’ve noticed times in my life where I have acted the same. I am sitting and waiting for a that HUGE moment where God appears directly in-front of me, answering my prayer. I am not saying that God is not capable of doing that…He certainly is! However,  we often put God is a box and wait for Him to answer us the way we want it to happen. At times, we might oversee God’s obvious answers to our prayers and blame Him for not being present.

In the story, the drowning man is persistent in his prayers and has faith that God will rescue him.  Although his faith and trust in the Lord are strong, he clearly has a hard time hearing God’s voice in the midst of the storm. When you are going through a hard situation in your life, do you have faith that the God who brought you to the storm will get you through the storm? Do you turn to God and carefully listen for His advice and guidance? How can we hear God’s voice clearly and be certain it is Him? God speaks to everyone differently and is intentional with His methods.  Matthew 7:7-8 states, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” God is ready to help us and lead us through life. Our job is to ask God and trust that He is able to help.