When I was first asked if I would like to write this post, I was uncertain, but something in my heart pushed me to accept. As I read through the passage in Matthew 15: 1-16, at first it was difficult to identify the hope in this message. But God, our ...

Upcoming Events & Announcements

It Takes Courage to Believe in Hope

When I was first asked if I would like to write this post, I was uncertain, but something in my heart pushed me to accept.  As I read through the passage in Matthew 15: 1-16, at first it was difficult to identify the hope in this message.  But God, our Father, moves in mysterious ways: He is our hope, and as such He can infuse hope into our very beings to lead us to the hope that can be found in the Gospels.  

The passage begins with the Pharisees questioning Jesus about why His disciples “break from the tradition of the elders.”  Jesus replies asking “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?  For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’” As I thought about this passage, it dawned on me: honoring your father and mother extends to honoring God our Heavenly Father.  He commands us to listen and pursue the direction he lays on our hearts.  He asks us to follow Him with courage and trust even if it requires breaking away from the lives we already know and the path we believe we are to follow.  He requests that we place our hope in Him to lead us to a life filled with joy and grace—even if the path He calls us to pursue seems daunting or uncertain.  

In Matthew 15: 8, it is written “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  This is a powerful statement…one that can be difficult to accept as we consider how we are living our lives.  God knows our hearts: in the heart lies truth.  Our hearts show our true intentions and motivations.  We must give up living in fear and give our hearts to our Father to be filled with hope and love.  Who could teach us to love and to hope better than the one who is love.  I believe Heaven is being with God…and the first step to communion with our Father is willingly surrendering our hearts and our hope to Him.  There is no better steward.  God guides us.  He does not want to see us fail.  It takes courage to believe in a hope so big and full of love that it is incomprehensible to our human minds.

Further into Matthew 15, in verses 10-11 Jesus says, “I listen and understand.  What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.”  The Lord listens to our concerns.  He offers perspective and hope when it seems none can be found.  He reminds us that we must think before we speak, that we need to listen and pray before we respond.  “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’…”  God reminds us that it is not what we take in that defines our experience, but what we, ourselves, give out to the world.  We must trust in our loving, faithful Father to provide us with the hope we need to survive and flourish in this world.  We can be surrounded by darkness, but be assured that He has not forsaken us.  God calls us to be good disciples and to follow his word.  He leads us to hope, one of our greatest blessings, we just have to be brave enough and trust God enough to reach out and take it.  

Katie Thomas
UNI Senior

 Have a great Thanksgiving


What's Happening?

  • HOPE // Tomorrow, Thurs, November 15 at 8pm // Lang Hall //  'Q' Ochoa will be in the house sharing about hope! Grab a friend and join us!!
  • BASIC EVAL // BASIC is a student-led and staff supported ministry. This means that YOUR input is incredibly important. We want to hear about how Jesus was at work in your life this semester, as well as what BASIC can do to continue to support and love you!! Click the graphic below to go the link for the evaluation.
  • SUNDAY #FREEFOOD // Donuts and coffee and good conversations will be available THIS Sunday after the 9:00am service at Nazareth Lutheran Church! 
  • SWAG SWAG SWAG // Wanna cool chance to talk about Jesus wherever you go? Purchase a BASIC tshirt and/or sweatshirt today! See graphic below for pictures and info on how to order.
  • SPRING BREAK // Mission trips to Des Moines, Haiti, or Jamaica are offered through BASIC. See contact information on graphic below to learn more!
  • VOLUNTEER OR DONATE // Want to help a family have a wonderful Christmas? Donate toys or volunteer your time at Christmas At Walnut! More information on graphic below.

 (Click on any of the graphics below for more details!)

hope series Enrique Ochoa


Sundays with Student Ministry


College Age Spring Break 2018

Christmas in Walnut TOYS


From Lament to Hope

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a future.”  - Jeremiah 29:11

Hope. It’s such a broad word. One that can lead you in so many different directions through life, all depending upon where you place your hope. It’s safe to say we all hold something dear to our hearts and that’s where we put our hope. Whether that's money, sports, grades, friends or even family, there is always something that we, as sinning Christians, occasionally hold to a higher value than God.

At the beginning of my freshman year in college I had never felt more hopeful. I found that hope in a sport. It had been my dream for so long and had taken me to this place. My hope was in the impact it was going to make in that coming year and throughout my future. My heart felt full. But as the year went on my hope began to vanish and along with the only thing that I put my trust and my hope in, basketball. I became injured and after visiting my doctor I was told that it was going to be the last year I would be able to play competitive basketball. I was forced to give it up.

Denial hit hard. Why would God take something away from me if he knew how much it meant to me? But he had a plan that I could not see, because my eyes were never set on him. At the time I couldn’t see anything happening for the good, but I can assure you now that God was not only aware, he was at work. As my final moments of playing the sport I grew up loving came to a close, hopelessness consumed my mind and filled my heart. I couldn't picture my life going in any other direction other than playing basketball in college, but that path no longer existed.

Lost. Broken. Hopeless. These were what now defined me. Why, God, Why? Why do you take everything from me; everything “we” worked for. I repeated these words over and over for months.

Finally one day I couldn’t take it anymore. I took the pain and feelings of failure and brokenness and turned them over to God. Falling on my knees I asked God for nothing other than Hope. Hope for my present situation, for my future, and Hope for only his perfect plan for me. I repeated these words daily to remind myself, “God has my best interest even when I’m blinded by the world and my own path.”

A couple months ago, I never thought I would be in the place I am today. I’m at a school I never saw in my future, involved in a ministry that has helped me grow my relationship with God, and with a heart that has never felt more full and on fire for Christ. All because I put my hope in the one thing that will never leave or fail us. Hope that I found in Jesus Christ only. For only Jesus Christ can fill your heart truly full.

In the midst of my hopelessness, God found me and filled me.

Friends, God sees your struggles and pains and he never leaves your side through any of them. If your “perfect plan” for your life was a ‘no’ from him, don’t lose your faith. Keep trusting because he's just redirecting your path to focus your eyes on him, on something greater. It is never too late to find and put your hope in Jesus. Find that Hope in Christ, let him fill your heart, and slowly watch him transform your life.

I would have loved to know the beauty God was creating in my life during my brokenness. I would have dropped my plans right then if I knew where he was taking me, but I guess that's the beauty of it. It’s letting God in, when you don’t want to. It’s letting God control your path when you have never felt more unsure.  I have no doubt that  Abraham felt unsure when he was told by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac. But he trusted and had hope that God would provide, and he did. That hope, that faith of letting God in during your brokenness is beautiful. That hope is transforming. Without knowing how it will, I pray you let it in. I pray you let that hope in God transform your life.

Lord, Help me to put my faith and hope in You and not the situations of life.  Transform my life according to your plan.  The plan that you promise will give me a hope and a future.   Amen.

Sarri Happel
UNI Sophomore



What's Happening?

  • NEW SERIES // Tomorrow, Thurs, November 2 at 8pm // Lang Hall //  After a series about lament, Jeff Mickey is going to share about the HOPE that is found in the book of Matthew.
  • BASIC IN WAVERLY // This Sunday, November 5 at 8pm // Vineyard Community Church, 319 W. Bremer, Waverly // Not only is there going to be free pizza at 7:00pm, but Olivia Pederson will be sharing her story and Jeff Mickey will be bringing home the message! Come one, come all!
  • FREE LUNCH // Next Sunday, November 12 after 10:45 service // Orchard Hill Church // Cheers to an early Thanksgiving Feast. ALL ARE WELCOME.
  • SPRING BREAK // Mission trips to Des Moines, Haiti, or Jamaica are offered through BASIC. See contact information on graphic below to learn more!

 (Click on any of the graphics below for more details!)

hope series Jeff Mickey

BASIC in Waverly

Free College Age Lunch Thanksgiving

College Age Spring Break 2018


An "Accidental" Sanctuary

My family’s home is two hours away from where I go to school. Some people dread long car rides like that, especially when alone. I on the other hand, don’t mind so much. I usually create the perfect “road trip” Spotify playlist so I can jam out to tunes the whole way. I download a few podcasts or an audiobook in case I get tired of music. It has also basically become a tradition for me to fill up with gas and get a Starbucks doubleshot before I hit the road. I have long car rides down to a science. I think that’s why I view those long, lonely car rides as a sanctuary of sorts, because I accidentally created the perfect space where I can be my most vulnerable, with myself and with God.

You see, I’m not really good at admitting when something is bothering me. I like to think of myself as a “go with the flow” type of person, and I like that about myself don’t get me wrong. But there are definitely times when I go with the flow too much, to the point where I don’t admit to the people around me when I’m sad, angry, or just having a bad day. I usually try to sweep it under the rug with “Oh it's not a big deal!” or “It’s whatever.” When in reality, it actually is a bigger deal than I want it to be. So, on those long car rides, where I have nowhere to go, and it’s just me and my thoughts -- I pretty much let it rip. I blast music through my speakers and just let my thoughts go.

Sometimes I talk to God, other times I yell to God. Sometimes I sing so loud my voice cracks, and I don’t even care because it’s just me and the Lord. Other times I just listen and let the song and it’s truth wash over me, taking away any anxiety or worry I’m feeling away, even if it is only for those 3 precious minutes. Other times there is no music or sound at all, and I just listen.

It’s funny because you think just sitting in a car for two hours wouldn’t be that tiring, but there are sometimes where I leave my car feeling more tired than when I entered it. And that's because it’s where I feel free to wrestle and lament with God. But I also often leave my car feeling more peaceful than when I entered because, thankfully, God's Love always wins.

Now, I’m not trying to say that you should let your troubles and emotions bottle up inside you until you get alone time so you can work them all out then. That’s something I’m actively trying to be better at not doing. What I am trying to say is, if you don’t have that place where you can be open and honest about your feelings with God, find one. Because to me a sanctuary isn’t supposed to be the place where all my problems are solved and my worries suddenly disappear, in fact, for me it’s usually where I face my problems and worries head on. A sanctuary to me is a place I can just “be”:

Be real
Be sad
Be scared
Be confused
Be angry
Be joyful
Be peaceful

And I am thankful that I have more than one “sanctuary”. Sometimes it’s my car, or it’s the far right pew section of Orchard Hill Church on Sunday mornings, or it’s in Lang Hall on a Thursday night, or the one song I needed to hear come through my headphones while I’m walking to class, or it’s a little Bible camp by the South Skunk River. I have more than one sanctuary because, to me, a sanctuary isn’t just a physical place, it’s anywhere that God meets me where I am.

I pray that you can find that place where you let God see you as you are, and you can just be at peace in his presence.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you. My whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." 
Psalm 63:1-3

Andee Brekke
UNI Junior

andee pic


What's Happening?

  • SANCTUARY // T O M O R R O W, Thurs, October 19 at 8pm // Lang Hall // After midterm week and a series about lamenting, come to space that is created for you to be, listen, respond, dance, sing, cry, shriek, pray, and do whatever you need to do.
  • BACKYARD BASIC // T H I S  Friday, October 20 from 6-10pm. // 330 Oregon Rd. // You guys. Let's enjoy this fall weather together with a bonfire, yard games, free food, and musical worship! ALL are welcome.
  • MEXICAN FIESTA // Sunday, October 23 after 10:45 service // Orchard Hill Church // Free food. Free friends. Come join us!
  • FALL BASH // N E X T, Thurs, October 26 from 8-10pm // Lutheran Student Center, on the corner of University and College // A night of laughter, food, fun, costume contests, a bonfire, and more! Please bring a food donation of canned veggies, canned meat, peanut butter, or Dole fruit cups. **Do not go to Lang Hall next Thursday!
  • STRANGER THINGS 2 WATCH PARTY // Friday, October 27 from 9pm - 2am // Orchard Hill Church // This. Is. Going. To. Be. Epic. Bring a friend and join us for this spooky evening premiere!!
  • *NEW* SUNDAYS WITH STUDENT MINISTRY // Sunday, October 30 (the last Sunday of every month!)  // Come hangout with Sara Rockow and Kristina McBurney on Sundays between the 9am and 10:45am services outside the Larsen Chapel at Nazareth Lutheran Church. And yes, coffee and donuts will be provided.
  • SPRING BREAK // Want an incredible opportunity to serve, learn about Jesus, and travel? Consider a Spring Break mission trip to Des Moines, Haiti, or Jamaica. See contact information on graphic below to learn more!

 (Click on any of the graphics below for more details!)

Sanctuary 2017 slide

Backyard BASIC

Free College Age Lunch Mexican Fiesta

fall bash 01

Stranger Things promo 1

Sundays with Student Ministry

College Age Spring Break 2018


I joined a small group

"Welcome to {insert college ministry here}! We want you to get plugged into a community somewhere and what better way than by joining a small group! Small groups are a great way to meet people who are the same age as you. Want to sign up?"

I have heard that spoken in some way shape or form so many times over the past 6 six years. From theRiver, to BASIC, to Chi Alpha and Salt Co., every single college ministry night I attended during my undergrad and graduate years at UNI had an opportunity to get involved in a small group to build community.

I only ever tried it once though. My freshmen year, for one year, I met with a group of guys in the community room at Prairie Lakes Church and talked about life. One of the guys was my roommate, another the first real friend I made at UNI.  It was a great experience that I was sure to tell anybody about when they asked why they should join a small group.

Yet here I am, now a 24 year old college guy who has been a part of different ministries for a while now, and I just joined my second small group- ever.

Several weeks back, a friend was visiting family in Minnesota so I made the drive over to Northfield to spend the weekend with her and her family. On Sunday, we had the opportunity to check out one of the campuses of a new church I had wanted to go to in Mankato, Canvas Church, and wow, it was incredible. we really enjoyed the message and I could tell that they put in a lot of effort into making new and old attendees feel welcome. My first weekend attending in Mankato, I met a young couple who invited me out to an afternoon on a local lake. We grilled out, took the boat out, got stuck in the middle of the lake for a solid 30 minutes, and throughout it all, nothing felt weird.

Everything felt like normal, like home. It was the first time since moving to Mankato that I felt like I was building community.

A week later, I found myself sitting in their home, surrounded by a dozen or so other people whose names I was still uncertain of. Sitting there on the couch, making small talk with the strangers around me- it felt like freshman year again.

I was taken back to my earliest of memories of my time at UNI, when everything was new but I was surrounded by a group of people all excited for the same thing- community. That night, while sitting in my car outside of the couples home, I called the friend who went with me to Canvas in Northfield to tell her about it.

That is why I am writing this today- for those of you who maybe haven't taken the step to jump into a small group yet. Maybe you've been too afraid to. Maybe you've convinced yourself that small groups aren't for you. Or maybe, you've been telling yourself that you are just too busy for a small group- that it would be worth the minimal amounts of time you don't have. For the last five years, that's where I have found myself. I convinced myself that I didn't need a small group, that I was too busy for it. But in hindsight, I'm beginning to realize that I was probably just too afraid of jumping into a new situation and being vulnerable with people I didn't know. If joining a small group is something you haven't done, have never considered, or have actively avoided- I encourage you to reconsider.

I'm glad I did.

Dan Vorwerk



What's Happening?

  • LAMENTATIONS // TOMORROW (Thurs, Sept 21) at 8pm // Lang Hall // It's been a hard week for our country and maybe even for you personally. Come sit and listen as Alice Shirey continues our series focused on brokenness and what it looks like to lament.
  • HOT DOGS ON THE HILL // TOMORROW, after BASIC // College Hill // Join us outside of Copyworks as BLESS our community with hotdogs and conversations. #eat #serve
  • INTERVARSITY FALL CONFERENCE // THIS weekend! // Email Tate at offenburgert1@gmail.com if you would like the chance to step away from college this weekend to learn more about God and who He says that we are.
  • SUPERHEROS // Lampost Theatre // Enjoy a musical comedy with your friends! See graphic below.
  • SANCTUARY // Thurs, Oct 19 at 8pm // Lang Hall // A place of refuge for YOU to be, listen, and respond.
  • WE NEED YOU // Check out the graphic below for the numerous ways that you can use YOUR gifts to bless the BASIC community and beyond!
  • SEE YOU ON SUNDAY // You are welcome to Nazareth Lutheran Church or Orchard Hill Church for worship on Sundays. More details below. Email basic@uni.edu if you need a ride!

 (Click on any of the graphics below for more details!)

Lamentations alice

 HOT DOGS ON THE HILL Hotdogs on the Hill 2017

Intervarsity Fall Conference2017


Sanctuary 2017 slide

BASIC Teams2017



We've All Got Em'

Stories. We’ve all got em’. Some of us think our story is too boring, too painful, too shameful or just plain too hard to be told. Sound like you? The truth is your story, no matter what you think of it, is incredibly important. It’s important because it’s a part of God’s amazing story, our past is history, HIStory. As we begin to talk about our stories, we make famous the story of God and His gracious love, sending His only son to die on a cross to keep us a part of His story forever. No matter how boring, painful, shameful or hard we think it has been so far, while we were still sinners Christ died for us and adopted us as children of God.

What separates Christianity from other world religion is that we serve a God who wants to be in relationship with us and it’s not about what we can do, rather what He has done. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.'” Boast about our weakness. Now there is a concept that goes against our nature and something I do not do well. I hear Paul screaming here, LET JESUS BE JESUS. Let Jesus be Jesus…

There’s a hinge point in the narrative of the ministry of Jesus where He asks Peter “Who do you say I am?” The Bible does not describe this moment further, but I picture all eyes of those around on Peter and each second in-between the question and response seeming like an eternity. Peter replies, “You are the Messiah.” Up to this point Jesus had not revealed this to anyone on earth. Through those closest to Him, the disciples, it is confirmed. Jesus, is Jesus, The Messiah.

This week as we take a look at the last S in the B.L.E.S.S model, Story, ask yourself who is Jesus to me? Then, maybe for the first time, let Jesus be Jesus. Our highest calling may just be to let Jesus' love for us fill us up and overflow. To decide that Jesus, can be Jesus, in our story.

Matt Henson

(Keep scrolling for more announcements!)

whats your story

What's Happening?

  • YOUR STORY IS IMPORTANT // TOMORROW (Thurs, Sept 21) at 8pm // Lang Hall // Come listen as Carter Moore shares about how we can see the ways that God moves and leads our stories. Mercedes Steffensen will also be sharing how God has been evident in her story!
  • LIP SYNC BATTLE #LETSGO // TOMORROW (Thurs, Sept 21) at afterBASIC // Lutheran Student Center (on the corner of College and University) // Walk on down to the LSC with us after BASIC for a night of fun! Sign up there to perform a solo, duet, or team lip sync. OR just come to eat smoothies #bogo and watch and laugh and clap!
  • FREE BWW // Sunday, October 1st after the 10:45am service at Nazareth // Yes, you read that correctly. Join us at Naz and then eat a free Buffalo Wild Wings! #blessed
  • INTERVARSITY FALL CONFERENCE // October 6-8 at Sunstream Retreat Center // An awesome opportunity to learn about the Image of God and how this impacts our personal story. Check out this website or email Tate at offenburgert1@gmail.com for more info!
  • THERE IS STILL TIME to join a Life Group or a Team! Click on the graphics below to learn more and sign up!
  • SUNDAY MORNINGS // Come experience musical worship, a teaching, community, and more on Sunday mornings at Nazareth Lutheran Church or Orchard Hill Church. More details below. Email basic@uni.edu if you need a ride!

 (Click on any of the graphics below for more details!)

Bless Slide STORY

afterBASIC Lip Sync Battle2017

free meal oct 1 BWW

Intervarsity Fall Conference2017

Life Group

BASIC Teams2017



More Recent Articles

Click here to safely unsubscribe from "BASIC Blog: Weekly encouragement from your BASIC Leaders."
Click here to view mailing archives, here to change your preferences, or here to subscribePrivacy