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Engage with Grand Canyon University's (GCU) vibrant Spiritual Life community and take a deeper look at the various ministries that are happening around the world, in your backyard and on our campus. From weekly devotionals to Chapel highlights and features that reflect God's work in the hearts of our students, staff and faculty, each article is presented by GCU's Spiritual Life team and our special guests. We hope that God will challenge and encourage you through His words and the stories about His people that inspire us all.
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Category: Spiritual Formation
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By Sheila Jones
Program Manager, Strategic Educational Alliances

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

I recently lost my dad to cancer. Like so many stories we hear almost daily, it was a heart-wrenching journey to watch someone I love wither away to cancer.

Cancer may have taken my dad, but it gave me more than I could have ever imagined. 

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By Tacy Ashby
Senior Vice President, Strategic Educational Alliances

“We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your life will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will GROW as you learn to know God better and better.” (Colossians 1:9-10)

March, April and May bring about several birthday celebrations in my family, from the very young to the old. My birthday happens to be amongst those birthdays, and I always enjoy observing how we all respond to the passing of one year to the next, each with our different perspectives of the passing of seasons and time, living and life.

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By Lorin Marchese
Coordinator, Strategic Educational Alliances

I am so blessed because I have a family that I know loves me no matter what – and I believe that I show them how much I love them too.

This is wonderful and frankly easy when everyone is being kind to each other and being the best person they can be. But what happens to a family when that isn’t happening?

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By Jared Ulrich
Worship Manager, Department of Spiritual Life

What worship songs are we singing ?

This is, by far, the most frequently asked question I get as a worship leader. And the minute people don’t approve of the song list for any given time of worship, I typically hear about it right away:

I don’t really like that song. I just don’t connect with it.

I just can’t worship to that song.

“That song has bad theology.

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By Jared Ulrich
Worship Manager, Spiritual Life Department

When you hear the word “worship” what do you think of? Do you think of singing songs to Jesus? Do you think of a church service? Christian music maybe?

Have you ever stopped and thought about what worship really is?

Think about that for a second. Everyone worships something.

You don’t have to be religious or spiritual to worship.

Everyone worships.

The question isn’t whether or not you worship. The real question is WHAT do you worship?

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By Quin Jackson
Local Outreach Student Leader

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)

On April 20, 2016 Kayla Castro, a freshman at GCU, suffered a severe hiking accident where she fell 60 to 100 feet off Camelback Mountain. She was immediately admitted to Honor Health Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center and stayed there for the next 10 days, unconscious and undergoing many surgeries, surrounded by friends and family.

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By Dina Lundblom
Coordinator, GCU Strategic Educational Alliances 

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

Do you ever feel like you are treading water? Or, for every item you scratch off your to do list, it seems like two more are added? Or, maybe you just feel genuinely worn out?

I know it happens to me. I think life is just simply busy, no matter what season of life you are in. We want to be the best we can be in our classes, at work and with our families. We think of the future, and we worry about today and what’s happening this week or even this year.

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By Kara Sutton
Bachelor of Arts in English, Honors College

“Nobody can tell you what you can and cannot do.”

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.” (1 Timothy 4:12)

As college students, we are often fueled by thoughts like these. Whenever we feel down, the world tells us the remedy is to build up our ego. However, I believe the world is infiltrating the church and the Christian community with such thoughts as well. The go-to is always self-confidence, and this is even attempted to be backed up biblically as you can see in the above statements.

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By Chris Cunningham
Local Outreach Coordinator

If I can be totally honest, I’ve lost all interest in conversations about the merits of Christmas.

My day isn’t darkened in the slightest when my barista wishes me, “Happy holidays.” Personally, I don’t even know if I’m convinced that Christ wants to be kept in Christmas. I frequently wonder if we’ve turned the holiday season into a green and red prison for Jesus, wrapped with a neat bow, pristinely placed under a well-trimmed tree.

“Stay here, Jesus; it’s safer that way.”

When giant, inflatable Santa Clauses and plastic nativities pop up around the neighborhood, I instinctively research the symptoms of seasonal depression.

Before you label me a <insert your favorite Christmas time villain>, I’ll have you know, this year is different.

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By Chris Cunningham
Local Outreach Coordinator 

A few weeks ago, a group of my friends and I were joking about spirit animals. We went around the room deciding which animal fit each of our personalities the best.

When my turn came up, one of our friends blurted out, “Chris’ spirit animal is the cynical lone wolf!”

Looking back, I’m wondering if he set the spirit animal game up because he seemed like he had been waiting to let that one out.

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By Paige Ferrari
Global Outreach Student Leader

Where does the Bible give thanks?

Between cooking the turkey and baking the pies, take a moment to be filled with the spirit and reflect on what it truly means to give thanks.

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By Josh Sugata
Faculty Training and Development Specialist, General Editor

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

The following story, the Children’s Sermon, always makes me smile:

“A pastor was giving the children’s message during church. For this part of the service, he would gather all the children around him and give a brief lesson before dismissing them for children’s church.

On this particular Sunday, he was using squirrels for an object lesson on industry and preparation. He started out by saying, ‘I’m going to describe something, and I want you to raise your hand when you know what it is.’ The children nodded eagerly.

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