Philippians 2:3-5 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
Some people think that in order to be successful you need to push others to the bottom so that you are able to climb to the top. This is especially common in American culture. The thought is that if others are as successful as you are, then you are not successful; you are average. No one wants to be average. However, the reality is that if everyone was raising each other up, the world would be a much better place. God warns us of the dangers of trying to be successful for recognition or glory. He tells us that we are to value others more than we value ourselves; their needs are to be more important than ours.
Taking the time to care about others and putting them before ourselves seems hard. Everyone is busy with work, school, kids, and family, but it is important to remember that God wants us to love each other more than ourselves. Therefore, we ask the question: How can we value others?
Leah Whitson is a junior Human Social Services major at Wisconsin Lutheran College, and the Resident Support Intern here at New Beginnings. After college she plans to pursue a Master's in Social Work, and one day she hopes to use her experience at New Beginnings as a good foundation . During her free time Leah likes to travel, play with her dogs, and spend time with her fiancé.
It has been a busy few weeks at New Beginnings as the Resident Assistants (RAs) and residents have all started their spring semester classes. This is the residents' first semester of school since coming to New Beginnings, so it has been a major adjustment in their schedules- one that brings both challenges and opportunities.
To learn more about Carin Clark, click on the button below. It will take you directly to her website.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
A Former Resident Supervisor
At New Beginnings, we do our best as staff and Resident Assistants to provide a family and community feel for our residents. However, no matter how hard we try, the residents, staff members, or RAs may feel lonely at times, just as anyone can. Valentine’s Day is occasionally referred to in jokes as “Single People Awareness Day.” This is an unfortunate outcome from a holiday based on showing people love and affection. However, as Christians we must remember that we are never alone. God constantly reassures us in his word that we are not alone. God is always by our side, so no matter what hardships come our way, he is still there to strengthen our faith through word and prayer.
Naomi Brandt is a resident assistant from Salt Lake City, Utah. While her major at Wisconsin Lutheran College is in Business Administration, she hopes to go to law school after graduation, and work in either law, politics, or public relations. New Beginnings has been a great opportunity for Naomi to expand her work experience, grow in her faith, and have a home away from home.
Have you ever said anything that you regret? Perhaps you lost your temper and said some things better left unsaid, or maybe you were hurt and wanted to hurt someone else so you damaged their reputation by spreading gossip. How often have you gotten upset or angry about something that was done to you and went to complain or "vent" to a coworker or friend? Do these situations sound familiar?
We all have been guilty of letting our tongue and temper get the better of us. More often than not, the hurt and anger comes from misunderstanding or lack of communication; This is especially true among people with different backgrounds and cultures. I know this is a challenge among staff and residents here at New Beginnings. Individuals from different cultures and backgrounds are living and working under one roof and what might be acceptable and said in innocence in one culture, might be annoying or insulting to another culture. It is a challenge that we can all overcome with patience and understanding.
We should look to God when we have these issues. What does He say about our words? I know that in the Ten Commandments, God says "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." You might argue that it is all true! I am just exposing this person for what they really are! We must ask ourselves, what does this commandment really mean? In Luther's Small Catechism, it is explained like this: "We should fear and love God that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, or give him a bad name, but defend him, speak well of him, and take his words and actions in the kindest possible way."
This is difficult I realize. When we have been hurt or offended, the easiest thing to do is react instantly. We must control our words and think before we speak. Let us see what else God's Word has to say about it. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Amen!) – Psalm 19:14, ESV Here we are asking that our thoughts and words are pleasing to God. That must be a question that we ask ourselves before we react. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1, ESV We must be aware of others and their feelings. We should think of others first.
May He grant us patience and control over our words and actions that we may be witnesses for His love.
Christina Pritzlaff is married with two children. She has completed Early Childhood 1 & 2 classes, Infant Toddler classes, and completed the coursework for her Associates degree in Child Development. Christina splits her time between spending time with her family and working at NewBeginnings. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her children, camping, fishing, reading, and doing counted cross-stitch.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
When we think of Cain from the Bible, we think murderer. After all, he killed his own flesh and blood. He retorted to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” when God asked Cain where Abel was. Yet, when we think of Cain, we should really be thinking of how easily we relate to him. No, maybe we’re not jealous, cold-blooded killers, but we all justify our self-focused nature that leads us to care only for ourselves.
God doesn’t directly answer Cain’s counter, but throughout the Bible we see that God’s answer was clearly a yes – you are your brother’s keeper. We are commanded to love one another, serve one another, and go and make disciples. All those things require one thing: a relationship – a relationship with God and a relationship with others.
Yet this is impossible when we merely focus on our own wants and needs. Often times we use the excuse of being too busy to have time to worry about anyone but ourselves or our closest loved ones. We complain, Why me? Isn’t there someone else who can help? Doesn’t God know that I already have so much going on right now? I just need to focus on myself before I can help someone else. While setting a solid foundation in our own life is very important, it is critical to be a cornerstone in someone else’s. Who knows what God is doing through you?
New Beginnings is the perfect opportunity to show Christian love and service in two key aspects. First, as staff we support our residents individually to be the best version of themselves. Whether it’s finishing their education or excelling in the program, we want our moms to always know we are here for them! Second, all of our moms are completely unique, fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Although they come from different places in life, they are brought together to start a new chapter through our program. They never have to worry about going through this life-changing step alone because there is a mom right by their side going through it with them. With supportive residents and an encouraging staff, it’s an honor to be our brother’s keeper.
Cait Seastrand All the way from San Diego, California, she is a Junior Sports and Exercise Science major at Wisconsin Lutheran College. God-willing she will be a physical therapist for children, soldiers, or academy cadets for the police and fire departments. Until then, she is very thankful for the opportunity to have a family away from home here at New Beginnings.