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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 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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By Chris Cunningham
Local Outreach Coordinator 

When it first started, I was in my residence hall, about five years ago, looking out the window at a group of trees that had just been planted. Looking turned to staring, and then, all of the sudden, I wasn’t staring as much as I was just trying to keep from moving.

My whole body felt this dull nausea, like that moment when you know you’ve gotten the flu and you wish you would have listened to everyone who said to take Airborne or Emergen-C. But, you trusted your immune system and you didn’t have the money or the time to go to the store to buy some. Plus, Emergen-C is, like, $10 for a small package, and who wants to spend $10 on fizzy Kool-Aid?

It wasn’t the flu though, and I wish Walgreens sold something I could mix with water to get rid of it.

So, I did what I normally did at that time and called my dad.

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By Chris Cunningham
Local Outreach Coordinator

Fear is a good thing. Our ancestors relied on fear to inform them of oncoming danger. They used it to interpret the presence of a nearby predator or to sense the signs of an oncoming natural disaster. Fear is an integral part of the human experience. What then, is fear? Fear is the biological warning that some danger is soon to befall us. This fear, handed down to us from our ancestors, is useful but often irrational. We no longer have to live in fear of being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger (not most of us anyway), but there are potential disasters that could be far more terrifying…

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By Paige Ferrari
Global Outreach Student Leader

I know, I know. The last thing that you want to do on top of reading all of your notes, lectures and discussion questions for class is read more books.

But, it’s important to shut your mind down for a moment – and I don’t mean mindlessly watching Netflix and eating popcorn at 1 am.

There is something so refreshing and therapeutic about reading something that is going to fill your soul. So here is my list of soul-filling, refreshing, challenging and just beautiful good reads for this next chapter of life.

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