A Look At WinterJam 2015

In addition to sporting events, coffee shops, and naps, Christian concerts are my favorite place to be. I love being in a high energy atmosphere that is entirely centered on our Creator and in an atmosphere where I am surrounded by people of all ages who are having the time of their life worshipping and enjoying the presence of our Lord. Plus, I LOVE music! So for me, there is not a better way to spend my free time.

This past weekend I was in my element. I had the opportunity to attend Winter Jam 2015, and I can’t begin to describe the amount of joy I experienced at this event. Traveling with close friends to experience the Lord with thousands of brothers and sisters in Christ was unforgettable! As a pastor’s kid who grew up in the youth group, I have been to many, many WinterJams and each year they continue to blow my mind. Each artist and band work hard to share their love of music and God with every person in the audience. No one should leave the stadium without feeling the hand of God at work in the arena.

Unlike most concerts, WinterJam brings ten artists to the stage to share their story with the audience. Artists such as for King and Country, Jeremy Camp, Family Force 5, and Newsong shared their music with thousands. Though each artist had an incredible message, two of them really hit home with me this weekend, and I hope they will encourage you as well.

Francesca Battistelli performed her new song “Write Your Story” reminding me that we are all an open book for God, and He writes our story. As a college student, I am in the midst of confusion and chaos surrounding my future. I do not know what I will do after graduation, how I want to use my major, who I will marry, where I will live, or what I want to do with the rest of my life. These decisions and many more are constantly swarming through my head. Though some would say I still have time to decide, that time is quickly slipping away. Because of this, I am often stressed about the future and apprehensive about the present, but Francesca reminded me that He knows my name, and He has written a story for me, far better than I could imagine.

I’m an empty page

I’m an open book

Write Your story on my heart

Come on and make Your Mark

Author of my hope

Maker of the stars

Let me be Your work of art

Won’t you write Your story on my heart

-Francesca Battistelli’s Write Your Story

The last band to take the stage was Skillet, a Christian Rock band that often travels with secular groups. John Cooper, the lead singer of Skillet, shared his love for God and his desire to spread the gospel in everything he does. Cooper shared with us that managers and band members of secular groups often tell him that Skillet could be one of the most successful rock bands if he would stop talking about God. Cooper’s faith and love for God is more important than material possessions. God has called him to live out his faith and share God’s love above all else. John Cooper often quotes Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” This hit home for me. I want to live my faith in such a way that people tell me to stop talking about God. I want others to know through my actions and words that I am a Christian, and I love the Lord with all of my heart.

I’m at war with the world cause I

Ain’t never gonna sell my soul

I’ve already made up my mind

No matter what I can’t be bought or sold

When my faith is getting weak

And I feel like giving in

You breathe into me again.

-Skillet’s Awake and Alive

 

As you can tell, my time at WinterJam 2015 was amazing, and I am thankful for the opportunity to experience the love of God with so many others. I hope you have or will know the energy and excitement of thousands of Christians gathering together for one purpose – to know and worship the one true God.

– Jenna Potts

Just Around the Corner: Thoughts as we begin 2015

Just Around the Corner: Thoughts as we begin 2015
Wow. That is my first thought when I realize that we are into a new year. Just wow. 2014 was full of so much and flew by so quickly. On a global level we saw Anti-Russian Protests in the Ukraine and subsequent action, as well as a missing airline flight. On the national scale we had a successful midterm election for the Republicans. Locally we saw a new police chief sworn in for Mount Vernon. Personally, my year held many memories and events including having the lead role in a stage show and I started dating a wonderful girl. These are of course just drops in the comprehensive ocean of events from 2014. You have your own events too- some happy and some, well, some that you wish hadn’t happened. The fact is, you and I have reached the end of another year.

So what does that mean for us?

First off, it means we’d best start dusting off those weights and adding vegetables to the shopping list because it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions.
Secondly, it means that we are being given a new white sheet of paper to draw out our adventures on- a fresh horizon full of possibilities, both good and bad. At 21 years old I am still relatively young, but I’ve gone through enough- especially in this past year- to know that life doesn’t slow down. 2015 is full of possibilities, but let’s be real, there are going to be just as many bad things as there were riots, celebrity suicides, and CIA torture scandals in 2014. It can be easy to get into the mindset of “New Year? It looks just like the old one.” And it very well might.

But it doesn’t have to.

Sometimes things are defined not by what they are, but how we perceive them. That is to say, perspective is critically important. We can look at 2015 and expect more natural disasters, political unrest, crimes, injustices, and personal tragedies and loss, and say to ourselves, “This world is a rough and terrible place. This year is going to be the same.” OR… we can remember Isaiah 45:6-7- “So that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” That’s power. We focus so much on God’s love and grace, which is most definitely very important and wonderful, but I think we miss out on just how might and powerful He is. He can’t be restrained. The verse says he forms light- this is the God who spoke the vast cosmos into creation and who controls spiraling galaxies and interstellar constructions. He is constant and He is still guiding our world.
So yes, 2015 is here and will be full of many untold events- both wonderful and terrible. But despite facing the unknown year ahead you can smile with confidence as you count down with the ball drop and sing Auld Lang Syne because you know that you are entering a year already known by the great and mighty creator of the universe.
Here’s to a wonderful 2015! Happy New Year!​

Remembering the Best Christmas Gift of All

It is officially Christmas time! Everywhere I look I am reminded of the holiday season. The stores are covered in Christmas everything. Radio stations play all the best Christmas music, and ABC Family is running their “25 Days of Christmas.” There are fires in the fireplaces, and the snow has fallen! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

One of my favorite parts about the Christmas season is listening to Christmas music. Though I am not someone who listens to Christmas music year round, I definitely overdo it during the holidays. Right now my favorite Christmas song is “Baby Boy.” (Not just because for King and Country sings it, either.) For me, “Baby Boy” is a reminder about the true meaning of Christmas.

A few days ago I was out shopping with some friends and there was no denying the Christmas season. Everywhere I looked there were Christmas decorations, cookies, wrapping paper, ribbons, gift ideas, toy Santa Clauses, Christmas cards, reindeer, lights, sales, and everything else that comes with the holiday season. Walking through the store, I began to think about our society and how we view Christmas. I realized that we have become so wrapped up in the material side of Christmas that we have forgotten the first Christmas.

After leaving the store, I turned on the radio, and “Baby Boy” was playing. I could not help but smile and praise God. For King and County captured the true meaning of Christmas. Their lyrics paint the picture of the first Christmas, the night a small child was born to save the world. God did not send his son through a great show of power and fanfare. Instead, Jesus was born in a stable. This humble birth brought our King and Savior into the world.

Referring to “Baby Boy” Joel of for King and Country, said, “I think sometimes we forget that a little bit. We forget who He really was. We see the mangers and all that and forget how He came. He came as a little boy in the most humble and simple way, and the most extraordinary way, all at the same time. Nobody who is a King comes so humbly. That’s incredible. We need to remember Him well, and remember who He was and who He is and not just what makes us feel good or what society or the media tells us about Christmas.”

“Baby Boy” is a reminder that God did not send His only son to live in a palace surrounded by comfort and riches. Instead, He came into this world just like you and me. He was born, and he grew up. He experienced the realities of life. He saw good days and bad days; He had family and friends. He walked the earth with sinners and yet, He was sinless. Fully human and completely God, this baby boy is our hope and our joy. Jesus is the Savior of the world and the reason for the Christmas season.

I encourage you to remind others of God’s love and the true meaning of Christmas. This year we all have our own struggles and obstacles to overcome. But, as Christians we have the advantage of “a baby boy who won the war” on our side. This perfect baby boy came to our imperfect world to bring us joy, hope, and eternal life through God. So Rejoice! We have already been given the ultimate gift.

Lyrics:

If you told me all about your sorrows
I’d tell you ’bout a cure
If you told me you can’t fight the battle
There’s a baby boy who won the war
The war was won by a baby boy

(Chorus)

Alleluia
We can sing it
Alleluia
Heaven’s ringing
Alleluia
Endless hope, relentless joy
Started with a baby boy

Oh before that silent night
No savior and no Jesus Christ
The world cried out so desperately
And a baby boy was the reply
Yes, heaven’s reply was a baby boy

(Chorus)

See the King is coming down
And He’s here without a crown
The baby boy without a bed
Giving life back to the dead

Hear the angels shout it out
As the people come and bow
Unexpected majesty
Alleluia, what a king

(Chorus) x2

Jenna Potts

Co-host of the Morning Thing

Worrying About Tomorrow

Worrying About Tomorrow

If there was ever a time that we realized we were all control freaks, it’s surely in the midst of those rites of passage in which we don’t know what comes next. Becoming a teenager, learning to drive, graduating from high school, falling in love, graduating from college—just a few of the rites of passage many of us experience. And when those moments come, the future is a fog of uncertainty. What’s the next step? Where do I go from here? What is the best choice? We like to have everything planned out and we like to know exactly where our next step will lead us, but the fact of the matter is, we often don’t know the answers to these questions—and that makes us anxious.

I’ve gone through many of these rites of passage myself. The one currently heading toward me at one hundred miles per hour is college graduation, which will happen this coming May. Before then, in January, I will be traveling to Los Angeles with my girlfriend, Rachel Held, and my apartment mate, Zach Ford, both of whom are also connected to WNZR in some way. We will be participating in the Best Semester program through the Los Angeles Film Studies Center to complete our Film Studies minors. As crazy as it is to think about going from small-town country life in Ohio to the big city bustle of Los Angeles, California (talk about stepping outside my comfort zone), it doesn’t compare in the slightest on the anxiety meter to the thought of graduating from college when I return to Ohio in May.

You see, with the Los Angeles trip, everything is planned out and accounted for. Sure, I’ll have to find an internship to attend three days a week and prepare my own food for an entire semester, but everything is part of a pre-determined plan. It’s all on the roadmap. When I walk across that stage in May with my cap and gown to receive my college degree, the roadmap begins to fade rapidly. The possibilities are endless, and so many doors will be wide open, all leading to different outcomes. Is there only one right choice for me? Are there any wrong choices? Will I regret choosing one path over another? Even now these questions flood my mind.

But the Lord does not foster anxiety—he dispels it. He does not leave us to curl up and hide away in our uncertainty—he meets us where we are and comforts us if we allow Him to do so. In the book of James, we see our worries about the future addressed: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16

But how can we know the will of the Lord? What if we haven’t matured enough in our faith to know what is God’s voice and what is not? Part of the answer is simple: “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3


In all that you and I do, we must commit our work to God if we are to see success and experience fulfillment in the truest sense. It doesn’t have to be directly ministry-related, per se. Many of us are not called to ministry in the traditional sense. As long as you are living, doing, creating, and working for the glory of God, you should not fear. Instead, you will be comforted in your time of need.

Andrew Yoder
Co-Host on The Morning Thing

 

 

 

An Attitude of Thanksgiving

An Attitude of Thanksgiving

There are hundreds of holidays throughout the year, some nationally celebrated and others unknown to the majority of the American population. From January to December our calendar encourages us to celebrate a different aspect of our society each day. For example, June 22nd is Take Your Dog to Work Day, April 23rd represents Talk Like Shakespeare Day, February 11th is Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, and, my personal favorite, Star Wars Day on May 4th (May the 4th be with you). This week Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving, a holiday focused on being thankful for what we have. But do we really do that?

Thanksgiving originated in 1621, which was the Pilgrims’ second year in America. During a devastating winter with little to no food and shelter, God provided. Weak, sick and dying the Pilgrims desperately cried out for help. God answered and cared for His people through an Indian tribe. They were taught to grow crops, hunt, and use the land around them. The Pilgrims were so thankful for these new skills that they celebrated for three days through prayer and feasting. This historical event was not just a way to say thanks to the Indians but also to God.

For a lot of people, Thanksgiving has become a time to eat and watch football but they forget about the most important part, thanking God for his many blessings and continued guidance.

This year we have a choice. There will always be disappointments in life, situations to complain about, and people who irritate us but there is also happiness and joy in God. From food and shelter to friends and family, God has provided for our every need. We need to be like the Pilgrims and thank God for the blessings He has graciously given us. However, this attitude of thanksgiving should reach beyond one day of the year.

Thanking God should be done everywhere and every day and should not be limited to one day. God provides for us 365 days of the year! He protects us, encourages us, guides us, and loves without ceasing so why should we stop thanking Him? As thanksgiving approaches take a few minutes to consider your blessings and continually thank God for them with the same sincere attitude the Pilgrims did.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

WNZR is thankful for your prayers and support this holiday season! I hope that you enjoy your time with family and friends and I encourage you to spread an attitude of thanksgiving throughout the week.

Jenna Potts
Co-Host of The Morning Thing

Forgive yourself

Forgiveness. This can be an extremely difficult thing to do. When people wrong us we want the situation righted. We want justice for ourselves. We want them to get what is coming to them. Looking at someone who has done something terrible, saying we forgive them, and genuinely meaning it from the bottom of our hearts takes an incredible amount of love and compassion. However, it is not unheard of and indeed we hear it preached to us from multiple pulpits that we need to forgive others. But there is someone who we find it even harder to forgive who is never mentioned to us: Ourselves.

We live in a culture that tells us everything is all about us. With that in mind you think it would always be easy to brush off our own mistakes and simply not care when we’ve done something wrong. Sometimes this is the case. Then there are those times that we know we’ve messed up. Royally messed up. Those times we hurt the ones we cared about most, those times we fell backwards and did the things we swore that we had given up and would never do again, those times we became exactly what we said we would never be. While we live in a culture that tells us everything is about us, it also tells us to set high standards and expectations for ourselves. When we listen to the world and set expectations of ourselves, even if they are commendable ones like being a perfect parent or succeeding at a job, forgiving ourselves when we fail to meet these expectations is downright close to impossible. We’ve set ourselves to live by the rules and standards of the world, and the nature of the world is to be unforgiving.

Ultimately, the reason why it can be so much harder to forgive ourselves than someone else is because we know ourselves better than any other human being does. I can personally say that there are things about me that only I know. In fact, even with the things I’ve confessed to the ones I’m close to only I know all of the details. The fact is, to the people around us we can seem like pretty nice people, but then, they can’t see the inner demons that we struggle with. We fail to realize that the existence of faults and failed expectations does not prevent us from still being good people. We carry around these burdens, even if others have forgiven us, because we fail to forgive ourselves. We look at what we have done and say, “I don’t deserve grace.”

I’ve got great news for you: You’re right, you don’t.

“Whoa there, Wesley, how is confirming that I am so terrible that I don’t deserve grace a good thing?” Let’s face it, if deserving grace were criteria for receiving it, you and I and everyone else in the world would be in a whole lot of trouble. That’s the whole point. We beat ourselves up for not deserving something that by very definition is undeserved! We all know Romans 3:23, “The wages of sin is death.” Wages are something that are earned and are deserved. Paul does not write that the wages of sin are grace and forgiveness. Why is it then that we have a problem with not deserving grace? Nobody does!

Still though, even when we realize that it’s okay to not deserve grace we still have trouble accepting it. Allow me to go back to something I said earlier: the reason why it can be so much harder to forgive ourselves than someone else is because we know ourselves better than any other human being does. I’ve got more news for you. While it is true that we know ourselves better than any other human being does, God is not a human being. He sees us as better than even we can see ourselves. Yes, He sees the faults and the mess-ups and the failed expectations and the hurt that we’ve caused. Yet He offers grace regardless. He knows we don’t deserve it, and He certainly understands everything we’ve done wrong better than we do. If the Supreme Creator of the Universe is okay with offering us forgiveness we have no reason to not accept it and forgive ourselves in the process. We are not perfect by any means, but we are not defined by our imperfections.

​There’s a great line in MercyMe’s song “Greater” that I really like: “There’ll be days I lose the battle, Grace says that it doesn’t matter cause the cross already won the war.” Don’t forget that despite our failures and shortcomings that we beat ourselves up over all the time, the victory is already won. Remember this week that God has offered grace for you and me and we can both take it to give to ourselves.

Wesley Boston

Underwriting Coordinator
Co-Host of The Morning Thing
WNZR Radio

Finding value on the soccer field

By Faith Orecchio
Student Co-Host of The Morning Thing

While playing soccer at Mount Vernon Nazarene University I learn a lot about my faith. I have amazing coaches that know who we play for and treat our team as a ministry. Their persistent encouragement and uplifting attitudes help shape me into the the player and person that I want to be.

Even with the positive atmosphere it’s hard not to find my value in soccer. Sometimes when I don’t play well or get as much playing time as I would like, I get angry. I feel like I must not be good enough. Instead of looking for the positives, I focus on every negative I can find. I focus on all the “bad” things that aren’t going my way and weighing my worth through them. I become frustrated and that affects my attitude for games and practices. Sometimes I forget why I play because all my focus is on why I don’t. Instead I should focus on the blessing God gave me. He gave me athletic ability to play soccer and not only do I play; I have the opportunity to play in college, where very little athletes get to participate. I get to be a part of a team and play soccer every day. There is no reason for complaining.

Success and a happy life should not be measured by money, cars, or how well I play in a soccer game. Our purpose is to live a life for God. So we should find our value in Him, because we are made perfect in His image and are His children. We will have a great, happy, and successful life when we give it all to God. He doesn’t love us because we have a great job or we are the best player on the team. He also doesn’t stop loving us when we lose a job or get a bad grade on a test. He sees us for who we are – the good and the bad, and He wants all of it. He wants to love us unconditionally and we have to remember that.

Nothing we do or not do is going to change the way God loves us. He loves so much that He sent His one and only son to die on the cross for our sins. We have to find our identity in Jesus because in this life where everything changes and there is sorrow and hatred He is everlasting and full of love.

Faith Orecchio is a sophomore at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She plays the position of center midfielder on the MVNU Women’s Soccer Team. The Lady Cougars finished the season with 13 wins, 5 losses and 1 tie. The Cougars finished 6-3 in the Crossroads League.


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