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Encouragement for the Christian college student...

The time has arrived for many students either first time or returning to head to their colleges, take up residence, and begin this journey of the next page of their life.  I thought it would be wise to share some advice to those beginning this next step, especially for those that bear the name of Jesus Christ in their lives.  Some of this I am sure that you heard from your parents, but some of this is meant to be transparent to encourage you in realizing that the college experience of today is much different than the college experience of 15-20 years ago.

So let's begin...
1. Even if you fall asleep, go to class.  My freshman year, I had an 8 o'clock English class, I know for some of your out there the first thing you want to do in the morning is talk about Beowulf.  I attempted to go to that class as much as I could.  It was difficult especially while being involved in fraternity life.  However, teachers notice those that come and those that do not.  There was a statistic out there that said that those that attended on a regular basis to their classes had at least one letter grade higher than those that were absent.  So get there, even if it is in your pj's.

2. Feed on God's Word as much as possible.  This is one of those that the youth pastor has been drilling in you for the last four years, but it truly makes a difference.  You are going to have encounters with more people that do not share the same ideas or values as you.  You are going to find people that have their faith in name only but not in practice.  So knowing where your foundation is found makes a huge difference.  Those that have a strong foundation in God's Word are the ones that will be able to discern through lectures that seek to refute the inerrancy of God's Word.  Know it and grow in it.  I have said before, may your freshman 15 be determined more by how much you are in God's Word than how much weight you put on.  Feed upon it.

3. Attend church.  Even though you may be far enough away from your parents home church, find a church and get connected.  When I was in college I lost two fraternity brothers by car accidents. Even though I didn't live that far away from my parents, I still went to the church I was connected to in that moment to help receive guidance.  There were sometimes I went to church with my fraternity brothers, there were also times I went alone.  Whenever it was, I sought to stay connected.  It makes a difference though.  If you are able to stay connected to your home church and grow there, then by all means do so.  You will see how the church will invest in your walk and you will experience a deeper fellowship.

4. Guard your freedom and purity.  You are going to make choices now where your parents are not waiting for you to come home or to know where you have been.  You have this freedom that is a gift.  Freedom as well though should be guarded with responsibility.  This is not meant to be a buzzkill.  Instead, know that this can be some of the greatest moments you experience in your walk with Christ as you see the blessing of living in freedom with Him.  It can also be a time of great regrets as that freedom is abused.

5. Own your faith.  This connects to the prior point as well.  The faith that you have is not to be your parents faith.  In fact, I would say that based upon God's Word if you think you can get to heaven because of a decision your parents made, then you are lost and in need of a personal relationship with Christ.  Once that is clear, then realize how you are called to own your faith.  Make it personal, make it not based on religious activities, but on becoming more like Christ.  Seek holiness and serve!

6. Other fun things: Enjoy your time in school.  Build friendships.  If you join a fraternity or sorority, then show them Christ.  Know that you are a child of God.  Find your purpose and do it!
I remember in college as a Pep Orientation leader one of the things that we got to do was to play capture the flag in the quad of our school (UT Martin).  Now if I was to go back there today and try to play, everyone would think it is totally weird.  But because I was in college, it was fine.  We weren't doing anything illegal, but what other opportunity would I have had to do that.

That is why I pray that you have not just a great college life, but truly an abundant college life with Christ!

God bless!

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