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September 28, 2017 | by Charis Saenz

Reese Maxwell with his mother
Reese Maxwell with his mother

A Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) student received the National Award of Merit for his second year in a row during the National Fine Arts festival in Anaheim, California, this past August. Senior Reese Maxwell received this award for the songwriting category in the festival’s college division, Kappa Tau .

“I am incredibly grateful,” Maxwell says. “In reality, it is God who gave me every gift, ability, and positive attribute I have.”

Maxwell performed an original song called “I Know.” The song is a reflection of his and his family’s response to the devastating news of his mother’s diagnosis of Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

“Through the journey of surgery, treatments, illness, and two months of her being in the hospital, my family had a supernatural peace,” he said. “Our world did not fall apart.”

The last lines of his winning song, “I Know,” reveal the spiritual truths Reese has clung to during a difficult journey: “I know, come mountain or valley, I am never alone, for you are with me. I know the setting will soon change, and yet I can be content with the company.”

Songwriting has been a part of Maxwell’s life for six years and he says that his music is inspired by life’s challenges, God’s goodness, and the questions that come with everyday life. His performance style is relaxed, marked by an acoustic guitar and raspy vocals.

He has participated in Fine Arts since eighth grade. Fine Arts is a program of the Assemblies of God National Youth Ministries that aims to equip students in the discovery and development of their gifts for ministry. On a district and national level, students compete in different talent divisions.

Originally, he competed in the “Short Sermon” category receiving a “Superior” rating five years in a row. He began showcasing his musical talents during the festival six years ago and has twice been commended a “Superior” rating in the “Songwriting” category.

He is currently completing his Intercultural Studies internship in Scotland through which he is able to minister through the gift of music by leading worship at Bridge Family Church .

He believes that SAGU has greatly contributed to his current musical development and ministry. During his time as a student, Maxwell was involved in a traveling worship group called, “ Ransomed .” Through his involvement on Ransomed, he learned the importance of organization, communication, excellent practice, and passionate performance.

“I think the best thing SAGU did for me musically was to put me in contact with musicians who were far more skillful and passionate than me,” says Maxwell. “Being able to glean from the knowledge and ability of my peers has done more to help me grow (musically) than anything!”

Reese will graduate this coming Spring with a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies and Associate degrees in Bible and Psychology. He says that given the necessary training in the craft of songwriting, he would love to write music as an occupation.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what paths God will take me on,” he says. “As long as he’s there, I know it will be great!”

To learn more about the Fine Arts program, click here .

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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