“The Roundup” is an exciting digital collective of uplifting content that we’ll be sharing with you each Monday, to inspire you for the week ahead. We might share a cool extract from a book or a poem we’ve been reading, or reveal a song of the week that has inspired us, or just offer some tips to encourage balance and wellbeing that really work.
The idea of this digital series is to provide your Monday’s with inspiring tips, thoughts and resources to see you through the weeks ahead. From fitness and wellbeing to inspirational verses and quotes, music, foodie tips and more, we hope that there is something that will help to brighten up your week during uncertain times.
Let’s go! Here’s Alastair Agbaje with episode 1:
In episode 2, Alastair’s focal point is on the One Vision Project; a community initiative launched in response to COVID-19 and shares how you can get involved. You’ll also hear an excerpt from the book of Ephesians the talks about being grounded in love, a book recommendation on how we can hold ourselves accountable to help us boost our wellness and prevent burn out, and… learn about the power of the humble smoothie to keep late-night munchies at bay.
If ‘Ekklesia’ doesn’t ring a bell, then prepare for some vintage (sorry, chaps!) gold. This week, Alastair shares a glimpse into his past and gives us the opportunity to hear a special little number that he warmed his vocals chords up for. We also look at a verse from Revelation that centres around the second coming, a health tip that looks at the quantity you eat, a fitness challenge you can execute in lockdown, and a book on emotional intelligence.
Hydration, hydration, hydration. This week’s episode kicks off with an all-important liquids reminder we could all benefit from, an elevation on the fitness challenges we seem to be getting on a weekly basis now (thanks, Alastair!), a book on the theme of Diversity along with an insight on this in the book of Galatians, and a track you can add to your Spotify playlist. Boom.
Welcome to your 2020 autumn Semester. Yes, we’re digital – but we’re committed to delivering an education with heart, distance aside.
This is your Roundup – and each Monday we’ll be sharing content to inspire you for the week ahead. From top foodie tips to offering advice on ways to help you study virtually, ideas on how to embrace your natural surroundings, or simply sharing a song that will leave a lasting impression on you.
Check out Alastair’s recommendations for this week, and hold out for an important announcement at the end…
So, Induction Week has come and gone and you find yourself delving into a realm of books, assignments and online classes. It’s a lot, we know – and for some, this is a brand new way of studying. You’re doing brilliantly, and we’re here to support you in more ways than one.
If you are new to the Roundup, welcome! This is a digital series with the sole aim to offer lifestyle tips to inspire you for the week ahead. Although you’re studying virtually, we believe that it’s important to step away from your computer and shift your mindset to help encourage a balanced life.
This week, our Acting Chaplain, Danilo Puskas shares some personal recommendations to help you do just that. Enjoy, and let us know how you get on!
We’ve just passed the halfway point in September – where did that go?
This week, we look at the notion of “togetherness”. If you’re feeling alone, perhaps overwhelmed, or even just looking for an opportunity to connect with your peers and others around the world, then this is the Roundup for you.
In this episode, 3 is the magic number. Danilo shares an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary girl, a song that expresses God’s love for us, and a TED Talk that’ll have you saying goodnight a little earlier. As the autumn weather is starting to set in, why not start your week the right way – with a nice cup of tea to accompany your inspirational tips for the week ahead and beyond.
Episode 9 and Danilo highlights the simple joy found in taking the bike out for a spin, we discover the fascinating relationship between Scripture and neuroscience, and smooth things out with some light jazz.
Let’s be honest with each other – the mornings are getting a little harder aren’t they? You wake and it’s still dark outside, and the idea of getting out of your warm cosy bed is not so appealing. We get that.
Whether you’re an early bird or a late riser, a hot water-and-lemon or a coffee drinker, a cereal or egg connoisseur, Danilo offers his thoughts on the all-important morning routine based on his 3 main principles: inspiration, energy and reflection.
Danilo recently found himself thinking about the notion of ‘giving’, asking himself “am I truly happy when I need to give?”.
In episode 11, we’ll be looking at the theme of giving. A season of thanksgiving, gratitude and change, this simple action can not only transform the life of others, but yours as well. We hope that these recommendations inspire you to do something(s) for others.
In this week’s episode, Danilo shares a couple of recommendations that inspire him when it comes to the story of Jesus – but not before reflecting on a sunny day at the seaside where he found the illustrated bible of his dreams which made for the perfect summer read!
2020 is still hard. Some days are better than others, but this year isn’t over yet and sometimes it’s hard to see the woods for the trees. Maybe now is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the gospel story and the promise of hope that comes with it.
Whether you’re a fanatic binge-watcher or a devoted bedtime reader, there’s something for you here. Give them a go, and take it easy.
This week, Danilo looks at ‘doubt’. When you take a moment to reflect events that have taken place in your life, or perhaps seen things that have been or are happening around the world, or even just thinking about good old 2020, it can be easy to consider doubt.
A mental period that many of us have gone through it is so important, now more than ever, to have a support system around you than offers you an open and safe space to ask the questions niggling at the back of your mind. This episode, 13, offers a couple of resources to help you on your way.
Let’s talk relationships. Perhaps you’re at the start of a blossoming new relationship with someone you really, really like. Maybe you’re struggling with a friendship that means a lot to you but find that your personalities just seem to…clash, naturally? Or you might simply be looking for ways to enhance your communication with those you care about.
Either way, we hope that one of the recommendations this week will inspire you as you embark or continue on the beautifully complex road that is relationships!
When Danilo’s niece, Mariana, was a toddler, her mother worked part-time meaning that granny would come by and look after her. As time went by, Mariana came to connect granny’s arrival with her mother’s leaving for work – and she would cry and cry! And this pattern would develop outside of this situation, once at a family wedding when granny went over to greet Mariana, alarm bells would ring and she assumed that her mummy would be leaving again!
What does Danilo love about this story? Well, a couple of things. 1) the perceptions that individuals can interpret in certain situations personally, in the world, and of God. 2) growth – eventually Mariana came to realise that this perception she had wasn’t accurate – granny didn’t represent sadness!
The late American writer, civil rights activist and academic Maya Angelou once said: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style.”
We’ve heard it all before, and we’ll probably hear it again – 2020 has been a year like no other. Humanity has been tested and we have all experienced circumstances that we could never before have even imagined. It is important to remind ourselves that it is ok not to be ok, and that for many of us we are simply only able to survive through this. But maybe there’s another way we can look at the year we’ve been handed.
This week, Danilo shares content to encourage us to look at things with a different angle. Through this fog, we can thrive as individuals and as a global society.
It’s been a toughie, but the end is in sight. You’ve done it – you have come up against the challenges of 2020 time and time again, and yet you’re here. You’ve done it! We are so proud of you.
On to the final mission of your academic year: examination season. It isn’t the easiest, and we understand that exams and assignments can feel overwhelming, busy, stressful. But we’re here for you – you’re in our thoughts, our prayers. We feel lucky to make up a part of your support system.
We have a few pointers for you too. Let’s take a closer look at the do’s and the don’ts…
And finally, as they say in the world of performing arts: “break a leg!”*
*but please, please don’t…
We’ve made it to the last episode of series 1 of The Roundup, thank you so much for tuning in every Monday to get your fix of weekly inspiration. This was designed with you in mind.
We’re all well aware of what 2020 has introduced – not only a pandemic we’ll never forget, but lifestyle challenges, extraordinary impacts on our personal, working and circumstantial lives, terms forever etched in our memory like quarantine, lockdown, social distancing and the rest. We have seen, heard and felt sorrow like never before and it can be difficult to spot the good.
But as this is the season of goodwill, and the last episode of the year, we’re putting all of this to one side for just a moment, and trying to look at things another way…
Welcome to The Roundup: season 2! We hope that the winter break gave you peace and rest after a long year.
A New Year means a new semester, and we’re glad to be able to continue sharing content that will hopefully uplift and inspire you through it.
Before we get started with this week’s tips, we wanted to let you know about the various upcoming programmes available to you in Campus Ministries. We asked, you fed back – Campus Ministries will be going more on-demand this semester. We understand that now remotely studying there’s a lot more to juggle, and that screen time is something you might want to limit between classes, so we hope that through The Roundup, Uplift, and our new programme Inspiration4Ministry, that you will be able to take us with you and tune in when it suits you – on your daily walk, in the background over lunchtime – whenever, wherever you like!
“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” – Nelson Mandela.
Whilst there are many things you can take away from this powerful quote, the one element Danilo would like to emphasise on this week is resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from the difficult experiences and maintain physical and emotional wellbeing. Resilience, especially emotional resilience, is not a personality trait that you are simply born with, it is something that we all need to develop to a greater or lesser degree.
If there is one thing that Danilo has found useful when it comes to emotional resilience, it is setting short term goals. When considering the semester ahead in it’s entirety, it’s easier to take when you break it down to the short-term tasks. Setting daily goals for example, can really help. It helps to prevent the overwhelm. Rather than focus on everything that there is to do, perhaps focus on one thing that is important to finish each day so that the broader goal can be accomplished.
This week on The Roundup, we look at something that can affect all of us in our own individual ways: concentration.
Concentration, or focus is reportedly one of the most common issues that students can face while studying. It’s even harder when you’re remotely studying in the comforts of your own home – the fridge is in sight, YouTube is hooked up to the television, your friends want another zoom call. Tough!
But rather than tell you ‘it’s important to stay focused’ which is something we both know – Danilo has a super helpful resource that might be useful for you, and other uplifting content to get you from Monday to Friday – and beyond!
This week on The Roundup, Danilo recalls the first time he sinned after his spiritual rebirth. It was a confusing moment for him as he felt he was reaching his spiritual peak and then this happened. It made him ask the question “how is this even possible?”.
With hindsight, Danilo came to realise that because he was just starting out on his spiritual journey, he wasn’t prepared for the ups and downs – all the dynamics that come with the journey.
Some of you may read this and think you can completely relate to this, some of you may not, but either way we hope that this week’s resources provide you with inspiration on your individual path.
‘Every man dies, but not every man really lives.’ If you’ve seen the classic blockbuster “Braveheart” then you may recognise this powerful quote. Living, meaning. These are two words we might not consider in our day-to-day life as we plough through our studies, work, or any other element of life. There is so much more to life that sheer ‘survival’, but how much do we consider that?
Here at Newbold, we have a wonderful learning community and we believe that part of the educational process, is personal discovery of one’s calling, meaning, and purpose in life. Those that may have found their purpose might feel that they have been reborn. However, there are many of us still searching for the answer, and it can be an unsettling time – and sometimes, it can take a while to get there.
There aren’t any shortcuts to get to this point, because even though it’s clear from the Bible that God has a plan for us, the discovery of our personal purpose is for us to find ourselves.
Don’t panic though, there are plenty of great resources that can help along the way, in many forms.
“The impatient generation” is what many consider the young adults of today to be, you may have heard it before, you may feel you can relate to that – or perhaps not!
Either way, this week Danilo shares a key principle to help put things into perspective: ‘delayed gratification’. We live in a world of shortcuts – in fact, it spins on this pursuit of instant gratification, but is that the right way to approach things? You’ll find explorations of this principle in the Bible, the writings of Ellen G. White, in popular psychology – and, well, hopefully in the advice of wise people around you!
Danilo invites you to discover the concept of delayed gratification because it truly helps in taking a perspective that might help you in many areas of your life.
You may live outside of the UK, you may have been sleeping under a rock for the last year – if you haven’t heard the name “Captain Tom”, we’ll try really, very hard not to judge you. Kidding! The late Captain at 99 years old wanted to initially raise £1,000 for the National Healthcare Service (NHS) by walking in 100 lengths his garden, aided with a walking frame.
His initiative picked up momentum – to the point where he raised over £32 million and received a knighthood for his outstanding contribution. Captain Tom was, without doubt, a beacon of light and positivity in what has for many felt like a near-impossible year. After testing positive for COVID-19, Captain Tom sadly passed away on 2 February 2021, but we can all agree that he has left one of the most inspirational legacies that will stay with us forever.
Thinking about Captain Tom has made Danilo contemplate the human experience as we move through the pandemic – some have focused on the vaccine (the promise of it and the apprehension of taking it), others have been struggling with the lack of freedom and not being able to travel – many were stocking up on toilet roll and pasta like never before. Parents can add many, many new things to their CV’s: teacher, master chef, doctor, entertainer (juggler being a key emphasis) and to their skills section they can enhance the ‘time management’ and ‘organisational skills’ bits.
It’s made Danilo wonder – who am I in this pandemic? Am I a light of ray to someone during this time of chaos? Or have I just pressed the pause button with the world?
It’s not too late to be the good for the people around you – though we have a roadmap, this pandemic is still here, and we are still in lockdown. This week, perhaps we can all challenge ourselves to bring some positivity to the small world around us – and sometimes it’s the kindness in the little things that stand out.
Loneliness. A word that so many of us can relate to, particularly throughout this last year. Did you know that last year statistics were released to reveal that in the UK alone almost 50% of us felt lonely over 2020, and probably still do?
We as a Newbold community, a wider community need to address this – in a way it’s almost like we need to say “we are separated” out loud in order to remind ourselves, snap out of this digital world and into reality. We are not together on our campus, a campus that is full of support and vibrancy. We are apart.
But. We are only physically distanced. Together, we can combat loneliness – we should combat loneliness. we know firsthand what zoom fatigue feels like – this new way of living can feel exhausting sometimes. But a message, a call, an email can make all the difference to someone who is going through a difficult time.
We invite you to check in with others this week and remind them that you’re there for them through this global time of adversity.
“Ignorance is bliss” – it’s a saying we all know and in many ways it feels true!
When someone might say something behind your back, ignorance is bliss because finding out what it is they do say will affect you. Or, let’s say you have a moment of thinking “let’s go experimental” and decide mix Coco-Cola with a yoghurt to see what it might taste like, well, ignorance is definitely bliss in this case because it may affect you in a whole variety of ways you probably won’t enjoy…
However. Jesus said ‘you will know the truth and the truth will set you free’ – so actually whilst ignorance can be bliss, often it only serves as one purpose which is to maintain an illusion that we might have about ourselves and the wider world around us.
A life skill that Danilo finds particularly helpful with this is “reflective practice” – which simply means to think and reflect on the things he does. Reflection doesn’t mean that the focus has to be entirely negative – it means that you can look at something from all angles to assess what went well, but also what could be improved. Ignorance may seem like bliss, but actually the truth does set us free when we’re ready to face it and act upon it.
Danilo loves the quote: ‘catch the reflection of the smile of God, and reflect it to others.’ (medical ministry, 45). Anyone who knows Danilo knows that he smiles – a lot. There’s no superpower that enables him to do it, it just happens! He loves imagining God smiling more than anyone else that we might know. It’s nice to consider that every time we smile, we could be reflecting Him to the world around us.
But at times, smiling doesn’t come naturally. Throughout the Bible we read about individuals who were sad, angry or confused – we come across so many emotions in scripture. However, time and time again we are challenged to rejoice and have a joyful heart. We’re reminded that the crushed spirit dries up the bones.
So today – Danilo reminds you that through the seasons, through the semester, as and when difficulties arise, as the virus continues to stand in the way of ‘normal’ life – it may be good to take a break from the difficult thoughts and capture the smile of God.
Press the pause button, look at things from a different angle.
Danilo recalls a time at school when a friend asked him why his faith was so special and how it differs from other Christian denominations. After a short time, he prepared a little “short course” on Revelation 13 and 14. His friend had never heard anything like this before and didn’t ask about it again.
Shortly after graduating from secondary school, Danilo bumped into a guy from school at a concert on a beach and conversation turned to prayer. It almost seemed like a lightbulb moment for this friend, and he starting asking Danilo questions about prayer and he asked his girlfriend to join them as they talked the night away about God and prayer.
These two experiences got Danilo to thinking, that for him the best message that can be shared with individuals about God, is actually to experience how irresistible He is. God’s beauty can be felt in a person’s heart in conversation – if that doesn’t happen, the prophetic message to some can seem like a story that sounds interesting, but serves as an interpretation of a sci-fi version of the world we live in.
The last few days has seen Christians around the world remembering the key event in the history of salvation – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, Danilo’s message for you today is simple: because of what Christ has done, this world is a different place and your life can be a different life – if you experience the beauty of God that was revealed at the beautiful and terrible cross.
This may be new news to some or old news to others – but Campus Ministries fairly recently launched a new programme entitled “Inspiration4Ministry” in podcast and video format, that sees Danilo virtually sitting down with inspiring individuals within ministry who tell their story. If you’d like to catch up on previous episodes, please visit the page here.
Why is Danilo mentioning this programme this week? Well, firstly, it has been an incredible experience for him personally to hear the joys, frustrations, ideas and stories of these individuals in raw form – how each person’s journey has been shaped by sharing the love of God in very unique ways and circumstances.
But as time has passed he’s come to realise that there is one absolute connection between each and every conversation, and that is the notion of ideals.
When someone feels a calling to do something, they answer because they can’t resist it, and they pursue it in the best way that they can – it could be a calling to study theology, history, psychology, it could be in volunteer work, in fixing things, in building things. A lot of people choose to do something throughout their lives because of certain ideals.
So, for pastors, there can be a challenge – what do you do when you’re faced with a different reality? A reality that doesn’t match the ideals that you have in your mind and heart? Do you change these ideals or do something else? It’s an interesting concept and relevant to anyone, not just pastors! If this intrigues you then please do check out our Inspiration4Ministry programme!
This week Danilo highlights one of our podcast guests, Pastor Marcos Torres with his ‘podinars’ and his books – see below for more details!
Episode 1: Patrick Johnson
Welcome to the first episode of Inspiration4Ministry! Whether you’re undertaking ministerial training, considering a pastoral career or even if you’re sitting on the fence and looking at your options but want to learn more, this new programme is for you! Episode 1 sees Danilo Puskas in conversation with Patrick Johnson, Ministerial Association Secretary and Discipleship Director at the Trans-European Division. From an adrenaline-charged career in healthcare as a nurse, to an equally fulfilling profession in ministry, Patrick is no stranger to roles with impact. Together, we delve into his professional journey that includes sharing insights into the composition of his noteworthy thesis on disabilities – and along the way, we find ourselves reassured that it’s never too late to realise and accomplish our calling.
Episode 2: Lidija Djordjevic Runic
Welcome to Inspiration4Ministry! Whether you’re undertaking ministerial training, considering a pastoral career or even if you’re sitting on the fence and looking at your options but want to learn more, this is the programme for you!
This week, Danilo takes a virtual seat with Lidija Djordjevic Runic, Pastor of the Central Belgrade church and Lecturer at the Belgrade Theological Seminary. The first senior female Pastor in Serbia, Lidija shares her journey in ministry from walking with people through the ups and the downs, to the importance mentors throughout your career path. Lidija also offers insight into two small groups that she is a part of, that have been a great blessing in her life.
One big take away from this week’s episode: when times are challenging or you’re facing adversity – remember the miracles you have experienced or currently have in your life.
Episode 3: Max Mckenzie-Cook
This week, Danilo catches up with Newboldian Max Mckenzie-Cook (Director of Community, Diversity and Prison Ministries, South England Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church). From law to pastoral ministry (and with an MBA on the way), Max shares his story about how the shift from one career path to another stems from his personal desire to feel a sense of belonging.
We look at his pastoral training journey, the key tools Newbold provided him with when studying Theology, and Max reminds us that we don’t need a Damascus Road experience for a calling – that still, small voice or the quiet pull can absolutely be your firm confirmation that ministry is your calling.
Episode 4: Anne-May Müller
Danilo speaks with Anne-May Müller, Pastor at the Cafe Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Copenhagen, and Family Ministries Director at the Danish Union.
Anne-May offers insight into her spiritual journey fuelled by God’s calling since the mere age of 18, the ways in which her church remains relevant today, the response to the pandemic and the realities of being a female in the world of ministry.
Episode 5: Jacques Venter
Danilo speaks with Anne-May Müller, Pastor at the Cafe Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Copenhagen, and Family Ministries Director at the Danish Union.
Danilo sits down with Jacques Venter, Associate Executive Secretary at the British Union Conference.
Jacques shares his key advice and personal learnings in his ministerial career spanning 20 years, starting from an intern position in South Africa.
We hear about really feeling the calling from God to entering ministry, to learning about the realities of cycles in pastoral ministry – the mistakes, the relationships, the things that bring the most joy, the guidance.
In this powerful episode, we’ll also discover what Jacques believes is the most important aspect of ministry.
Episode 6: Marcos Torres
We are so excited to share that this week’s Inspiration4Ministry guest is none other than Pastor Marcos Torres.
A US Army veteran and Theology graduate from Southern, we dive into Marcos’s story that starts in New Jersey and lands in Australia where he now resides – changing lives as a devoted Pastor.
Expect real talk on ministry, discover what inspired him to launch his current project – planting a Church, take inspiration from his thoughts on the benefits of becoming a pastor, explore his biggest lessons so far.
A pastor, an author, and a podcaster speaking his truth – this episode is a corker.
Episode 7: Lászlo Szabó
A pastor, a lecturer, a mission worker (and that’s only a start), Lászlo Szabó has experienced ministry across a vast spectrum both locally and internationally.
The Associate Professor of Mission and Intercultural Studies at Friedensau Adventist University, and Director at the Arthur Daniells Institute of Mission Studies, Lászlo emphasises the importance of theological studies as a firm foundation into the world of ministry, the significance of training and how COVID-19 has made it more accessible and the magnitude of being led by God through this life journey and profession.
Episode 8: Wayne Erasmus
Danilo engages in a profound conversation with Wayne Erasmus, Church Growth and Adventist Mission Coordinator in the South England Conference.
From sharing insight into his current DMin focus on the dynamics of diversity within a changing UK context to the losses and gains impacted by COVID-19, Wayne delves deeply into personal and spiritual working experiences since working as a pastor in 1997.
We hear his thoughts on what pastoral ministry means, his advice for those that face challenge along the way, how learning from others presents new perspective, and how the Damascus road calling isn’t something everyone experiences – and that’s just fine.
Episode 9: Paul King Brown
Many of us will recognise the name and the voice of pastor, author, keynote speaker and divorce coach, Paul King-Brown, now immersed in a new project: The Hub in Watford.
In this week’s episode, we learn about Paul’s empowering published book “Picking up the Pieces: from Brokenness to Breakthrough”, we also hear how his Church has risen to the challenges that COVID-19 has presented and actually thrived – becoming more intertwined as a community and support collective.
Paul guides us through his experience and philosophy on ministry and what makes it rewarding for him through a vast range of extraordinary life stories and testimonials. He also shares the tough side – spiritual warfare that can create obstacles in front of objectives.
“There is light in the tunnel depending on where you look, and light at the end of the tunnel. The beautiful thing about ministry is that despite the fight, God won’t let it die.”
You don’t want to miss this! Tune in now.