Sunday, July 29, 2012

Testimonies at Bethany

This first devotion is a reflection on chapel at Bethany, written by Brianna Franco. Brianna just completed her first year of the Biblical Studies Program.

“After being at Bethany for a year, I look back at my time here and realize that God has changed me in such a dramatic way. God has used a number of ways to change me, including work duties, living in the dorm, study hours, classes and most of chapel. I can sincerely say that chapel has changed my life.

Growing up, I attended a private Christian high school and I quickly learned that chapel is nothing without God showing up. Any group of people can get together and sing a few songs, but if their hearts aren’t open and receptive and God isn’t invited, then that entire meeting will be nothing more than just a meeting. After attending several Youth Week and Challenge conferences, I always desired to find a place to truly cultivate the worship that I was so passionate about. I came to Bethany as a student fully prepared to dive into all that God had for me. I wanted to take advantage of every possible minute to seek and get closer to God. And chapel is where it all began.

I’m not one to hold back in fear of dancing or singing, but this year God pushed me to the limits of what I thought I could do in a corporate meeting. Once I directed my focus off of “what I can get out of chapel” to “how God wants to use me to give”, then my prayer life also began to change. I truly believe that worship is the door to the heart of God and chapel time was a gateway to enter into God’s heart.

Worship is often a word that we misuse. Worship is not a time of day, but a lifestyle. Through worshiping in chapels, I learned what it was like to worship God in everything that I do. Whether that was engaging in a conversation or a relationship, or working on a specific task during my work duty or setting aside an allotted time during my day for personal devotion, all I desired to do was worship God.

I have gained so much from my times in chapel alone. I have never felt the spirit of God move the way He had during certain chapels this year. Chapels have given me a sense of hope that God is still faithful to move and to encounter us in special ways that people no longer believe Him for. Chapels have been a time of declaring who God is and who we are in Him, for not standing on anything but His word. Chapel, in the beginning of the year, also enabled me to prepare myself for the warrior that I was becoming and ultimately became. Chapel was a place of peace and refuge when the stress of being a student and entering into the stage of adulthood was overwhelming.

One of the things I have learned that has impacted me the most is that God goes where He is welcomed and stays where He is wanted. Through chapels this year, a hunger was cultivated to make a house of devotion in me where God would want to stay so that I can experience Him everyday the way that I can experience Him in a chapel service. I know that God is no where near being done with working in me and I only hope to continue growing in all that God has for me in the future. I thank God for where He has brought me and for the things that He revealed to me. I am beyond blessed and appreciative to be a part of a school such as this where we have the opportunity to worship God and let Him be free to do as He wishes.”

Kaela Norman has attended Youth Week, Bethany’s annual summer youth conference, for the past few years. Kaela will be attending Bethany as a student for the first time this year.

“The first time I ever came to Bethany was when I was fifteen, attending my first Youth Week. I already had a pretty good relationship with the Lord, but had never experienced an encounter with the Lord the way I did there. Walking around Bethany I heavily felt God’s presence, like it was His home. I knew that wherever God was, I wanted to be. That is why I decided that I want to attend Bethany for college. I know that Bethany is a place where God’s Spirit dwells and therefore is the perfect place to get close to Him. I feel as though the Lord wants some time with me, undistracted, so that He can show me His plans before I venture out into the world.”


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