March 26, 2008

Stay Strong

When I was home last week, I got to watch my brother play 3 soccer games. I love watching Michael play. He's fast, he's strong and he's skilled. He's a great player and a good leader. And considering he's a head taller than me and a thousand times stronger, I always consider him to have very little to be afraid of. However, a year ago, he ruptured his spleen during a game. Another kid knocked his legs out from under him, and he just hit the ground so hard that it ruptured. He spent a week in the hospital and it healed itself, and now he plays every game with a chest protector thing (that, in all honesty, wouldn't do a darn thing if his body was put in the same situation).
I always expected this to change his playing style. The truth is that if my mom hadn't taken him to the hospital when she did, he wouldn't be alive today. So it's no surprise that when he finally got back into the game, the possibility of that same experience would keep him from giving it everything he has. Even knowing all of that, it frustrates me so badly to see him holding back. He plays scared. He plays nervous. Watching his games are pretty interesting experiences for me. Half the time, I'm mad at him for turning his back to a ball or shying away. The other half, I'm doing everything I can to encourage him to keep pushing through it.

My point is that I know he's strong, and I know he's one of the best players on his team. He has strength and leadership ability and plenty of other good qualities, but when he spends his time playing scared, he's not living up to his potential. I want him to understand that he has a ridiculous amount of potential and promise in him (obviously this transfers outside of soccer as well) and he needs to use it.
So how many times in life do I shy away from what I'm capable of because I'm unsure? How often do I play scared? How is God encouraging me to stay strong and live up to my potential? What injury in my past has caused me to doubt my skills and ability that God has clearly placed in me for a reason?

March 24, 2008

to God be the glory

Oh my word, God is good!!!
Yesterday was such a monumental day. Almost 5000 people in 6 worship services and over 500 people chose to give their lives up to Christ and live for Him!!
God is so good and most certainly alive. I'm so thankful to be a part of this movement.

Yesterday was one of the best worship experiences I've ever had and definitely THE best I've had at Butler. The energy was just insane. We prayed together beforehand (which I'm finding out makes a huge difference. When we forget to pray or when every band member is not included in it, the energy is different). The song choices for the morning were phenomenal. The transition from We Are Alive to the bridge of Jesus Paid it All to SHOUT UNTO GOD (such an amazing, powerful, compelling, passionate song) was great. It took everything in me to not jump up and down on stage and dance around in circles. Ben Richter (not a clue who he is or where he's from, by the way) added a lot to it. The fact that the materials used for the grinders routine took up a lot of the stage pushed us in and made it a more interactive experience. I can't even explain in words how powerful the worship experience was yesterday. Oh my goodness, I'm already excited to get back on stage.

My God is so good.

March 21, 2008

Our Hearts Respond to Greatness

In the past couple days I've been overcome and overwhelmed by the sensation that I am on the edge of great things. I have no idea where this is coming from, but I'm embracing it. The past few months have been a struggle. I've been discouraged and underwhelmed by my own progress. So many things have been moving around and changing in my life (and the lives of those closest to me) lately, that everything has been left in a very unstable state. But I honestly think that God has been setting all of us up for something huge. I couldn't tell you if anyone else feels the same way, but I'm excited. I'm excited to be posting a blog that's not semi-depressing or speaking only of struggles and weakness. I'm excited just to be excited about something.

I love Elevation's song "Sing Your Praises Out." I think part of telling about the great things God has done is expecting and knowing that He will continue to do more great things. It never stops. If He has been faithful so far, He will continue to be. My favorite line is that our hearts respond to greatness. We move when God shows us greatness. He has most definitely shown us greatness, and I'm excited to see what the next step is towards Him.

March 20, 2008

Perfect Timing

One of my favorite things about looking at my past and things that have happened in my life is witnessing how God's timing is always good and perfect. Even when I can't figure it out at the time, looking back assures me that God is incredibly smart and will never be wrong.

The example I'm thinking of right now is in books. Through the past 4 or 5 books that I've read, I can look back and see how each one came at the perfect time. Whatever each book had to teach me taught it when I was perfectly positioned to receive the information.
The first two books I'm thinking of dealt with dating. They came about 3 months into a period in which I decided not to date. They came right about the time when I was falling back into that lonely, woe-is-me-I-am-not-loved period. They reassured me that I wasn't ready to date anyone anyways. They tore down my incorrect visions of dating and helped me fix my views on dating so that the next time I got there, I could be prepared to do it right.
The third book was "The Last Word and the Word After That." This is the book that helped me understand that my beliefs can not be what everyone else has told me to believe. It helped me work through things that I only believed because I was told to, and it helped me understand things I had never given thought to. I still find myself applying and working through the concepts in the book almost every day.
The next book was "Visioneering." I think if you read my blog at all, you've been able to see me work through this one. In all honesty, this book tore me up. I went into reading it with somewhat of an idea of God's vision for my life. I finished the book completely thrown off and screwed up about what God wants for the rest of my life. Not a clue. And I think that God used that book to show me that I was wrong. I think He used that book to tear down some walls. Walls that I thought I had been building correctly. I was wrong.
Right now I'm headed into "Captivating," and I already think it's phenomenal. I feel like this book is going to help me get ready for the next step God has planned for me to take. I feel like this will help me rebuild those walls so that they are correct. I think God has me on the edge of great things, and I'm so excited to have the resources to help me through.

It's amazing for me to look back and see how God put each of those books in my life at a perfect time. He knows exactly what I need and when I need it.
(Thanks Rob and Phillip for giving me those books).

March 19, 2008

7 Things

YAY! I've been tagged by the wonderful Ferris. The deal is to write 7 random facts about yourself and tag 7 people (which I guarantee I won't be able to do, since most of the girls I would tag have already been tagged and I highly doubt any men are about to waste blog space doing something like this. But hey, feel free to do it even if I don't bother tagging you).

1. I have this weird thing where I almost feel like I have to be reading something while I'm eating. I don't care if it's the nutritional information on a cereal box or the little advertisement things in restaurants; I almost always read while I'm eating.

2. I am ridiculously sentimental. My memories are attached to smells, sounds, pictures, songs, people, names, etc. I hold on to memories for a long time, and I love re-experiencing (is that a word?) those memories. Even vague things. For example, today I walked outside to get something out of my car. It was warm, it had been raining, and the smell of the rain on pavement reminds me of running around the neighborhood when I was little in the summers. I loved it.

3. I'm learning how much I love to laugh. Now I'm to the point where I don't care so much if I'm obnoxiously loud while doing it. I think I've laughed more in this past year than I have ever before. It's phenomenal.

4. I drink way too much soda. My favorite is mountain dew/code red. I'm pretty sure I'm addicted now. I can't remember the last day I've gone without having at least one can or bottle of soda.

5. I watch way too many trashy "reality" tv shows, and I've managed to hook Jennica on them, as well. Rock of Love, Flavor of Love, etc. You know, basically any show that presents the exact opposite image of what Jesus had in mind when He spoke about Love. It's a guilty pleasure. I'm only mildly ashamed.

6. I'm a really huge fan of being friends with adults. When I was younger, I got along better with adults than I did with kids my age. I remember my parents having several Christmas or New Years parties where I spent the majority of the time with them. I like when they respect me enough to have a real conversation with me.

7. I have a different view of myself on the inside. You know, there's the usual outer Kelly that everyone sees and talks to and knows, but then I have an inner Kelly. And inner Kelly dances and runs around a lot. She's a lot like Savannah Grace, I think. She rarely wears shoes, she laughs at everything, she sings at the top of her lungs, and she pretends that she can fly. In other words, I'm weird. I don't know where this came from or why I do this, but I've done it probably as long as I've been a Christian. I think my imagination is a little more active than I'd admit.

Okay let's see:
1. Jennica
2. Heather
3. Lindsey
[And I wouldn't be surprised if you guys didn't do it, but:]
4. Nick
5. Rob
Hmm. That's all I got.

March 18, 2008

Letting Go Gives a Better Grip

Luke 18:9-14 tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, in which the Pharisee is in the temple and he stands up and prays and thanks God that he's just so awesome and that God hasn't let him become like everyone else. And the tax collector can't even bring himself to lift his head, but he simply repents.
The first thing I notice and like is that Jesus specifically tells this story to "some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else." I love that it's one of the instances where the Bible actually tells us why He told the story and who He told it to. There are always specific purposes for His parables, but sometimes the reasons fly right over our heads.

One of the reasons I like my bible is because of the sidenotes and extra things it has in it. In this section, there are a couple paragraphs that follow the verse "[the tax collector] would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'" My bible says that even trying to seem spiritual and "holy" on the outside can produce the opposite effect. It defeats the purpose if you're so proud of yourself for being Godly that you feel superior. Jesus says that the way to God is simple, and this is my favorite part that really hit me:
Trust God like a little child, admit wrong, let go.
Admitting wrong has become fairly easy. I suck at life. That's about it.
Trusting God is something that gets a little easier every time I face an issue that demands blind trust and faith. It grows and gets stronger the more I admit that I do suck at life. If I can open my eyes and admit I've done wrong, I have to trust that God will cover me and make up for my failings.
Letting go is, hands down, the hardest thing for me to do. When I make a mistake, I let it rest on my shoulders for days or weeks (or more) afterwards. I trust that God will cover me but not enough to let go.
What I love is that all 3 of these work together. All I can do is be like the tax collector who does not feel worthy enough to even lift his head. All I can do is trust Hi, admit wrong and let go.

March 17, 2008

Bring Back That Loving Feeling

At our worship ministry dinner a couple weeks ago, one band member brought up an interesting concept. On Sunday mornings, the band (not so much the background vocalists, from my experience) can easily get bogged down with what needs to get done. I imagine it gets stressful. People get sick. People are tired. People get stressed. A lot needs to happen very early on a Sunday morning. After all of that, it's not always easy to have a heart for worship. Even with me, sometimes whatever has been going on during the week gets to me on Sundays. Sometimes we just don't feel like worshiping. So, from what I remember, this guy was saying that even on the mornings that he just doesn't feel like worshiping, if he makes himself go through the motions that he would normally do, his heart eventually falls into that place of worship for God.

So my problem is that I continually pray for God to put that feeling back in my heart. It's frustrating to walk around with this emptiness every other day. But what I realized is that I've been backwards. I've been praying for a feeling so that I would be inspired to get back into reading my Bible and really, truly praying about things and being intentional with my relationship with God. It has to be the other way around. I need to put in the effort first. I need to force myself to go through those motions that I would normally do, so that my heart will fall into that place of worship for God. And soon it won't be forcing myself; it'll be second nature.
I feel like I'm off to a good start considering the very first thing I did this morning was pick up my Bible and dive into Luke. I'm sure I'll blog later about what I've read if I can unpack it and figure it out.

March 14, 2008

This Week

It's been a good, long week.

-Monday: babysat the McCart girls for a little bit on Monday. Watched some Care Bears movie; always an amazing experience.
-Tuesday: kicked off my first high school small group. I think it went well. We have a literal small group of 5 or 6 girls, but I think we'll be getting very close. There's one girl who's very similar to me and 4 who are pretty quiet. They're all laid back, and I like them a lot. I feel bad that we already have to take a break this coming week while I'm in Greenville on spring break.
-Wednesday: had our own college small group. We've added 3 new girls recently, including Bradelyn, and I'm really enjoying that. It's really nice to have a group of girls who consistently show up (at least in the past 2 weeks). As well as going through Pastor's sermons, we've started reading through Ephesians together, and I think that's going to add a lot to our group. I think it already has. And we're getting more intentional about keeping each other accountable, so I'm excited about that, too. It's also nice to have your roommate be the leader of your small group. There's not much I do or say that Jennica doesn't know about.
-Thursday: UNLEASH!! Loading up 150 volunteers and leaders and heading down to Newspring was phenomenal. I got a lot out of the student breakout session and the 2 main sessions (plus Roseangela's (spelling?) voice KILLS me. That girl is ridiculous). Overall the conference, was great. We had the largest, most ridiculously loud, teal group there. Good times.

Today spring break has officially started, and we're kicking it off by spending some quality McCart time. Tomorrow is the possibility of an Irish Festival, Sunday I'll be back on stage and Sunday night means going home to Greenville!!
I can't wait.

March 12, 2008

A House Divided

In Luke 11:17, Jesus said "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall."

A family that is divided will fall. When I'm away from home, my friends are my family. My entourage is my family. And when we are divided, we suffer.
I would say that the last month or so has been a ridiculously busy and hectic time in our lives. Between church, school and our personal lives, my friendships with those around me have been pushed through a lot. Through all of it, I'm learning every day that we are a family. We are brothers and sisters who watch and help each other grow in Christ. We try and protect each other and take care of each other, and sometimes we don't do a good job. We get selfish and we get tired and we forget that we are not number one. We forget that our relationships with our family and our friends need to honor God, and by being honest with each other and lifting each other up, we'll honor Him.
It's something I would rather have out in the open. It's something that can be fixed. God has put us in each other's lives for a reason. God has given us a support system of believers to surround us and put us on bricks (as Jennica would say). And if we become a house divided, we all suffer. I'm so thankful for the family God has placed me in, and I'm determined to remain undivided.

March 10, 2008

I have a River

I'll admit I've been distracted for the past couple weeks and have unintentionally taken a break from Visioneering. But I picked it up again today, and I'm back to enjoying it.

Christ didn't commission us to become authorities so we could tell people how they ought to live. He called us to be influences by the way we live, so people would want what we have.

Knowing that the way you live can affect the way someone else wants to live is a huge responsibility, and it's one that I think I unknowingly carry everyday. I know there are plenty of things I do (or don't do) that don't necessarily reflect the way I want to live for God. I have an ideal image in my head of who I'd like to be. There's this ridiculously (emotionally) strong, Godly girl/woman with high standards, always responding with love and encouragement, backing arguments and discussions with scripture, asking the right questions, giving answers that are well thought out, learning from and fixing mistakes rather than repeating them. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near superChristianchick.

But I believe I am who I am for a reason. I believe in God for a reason. I struggle with the things that I struggle with for a reason. And Christ has called me to be an influence in the way that I live. This is about to become so much more important as I take on a high school small group. Because I want to be a good influence on my girls, and I want them to want what I have. I want my friendships and relationships with people around me to reflect how I want to serve God. I want my role at Elevation to reflect that same thing. I want them to see me working hard to make every aspect of my life about my beautiful Savior so that they could not help but want to do the same.
I'm lazy. I'm a slacker. I'm flat out stupid sometimes. I can't wait to break that. I think I'm ready to break that. Ready to grow up. It's about time.

[Spirit of God, my source of power
I'll never need what this world offers
so I will rejoice for You have made me glad
I want this world to want what I have

I have a river of life, flowing inside of me, and it never runs dry
I have a treasure, a glorious prize:
the Spirit of God in me in abundant supply]

March 8, 2008

Working for the weekend?

Who knew paperwork could be so fun?

I work in the church office every Thursday for Joel, who's pretty freaking awesome. Basically I do paperwork for an hour or so. I separate, staple, and file check stubs and invoices. I know, terribly exciting. But the thing is, it really is exciting to me. I love doing it every week. Because at this point in my experiences at Elevation Church, I'm well aware that every single thing that happens during the week at the office adds up to make Sunday possible.

Early on in Visioneering, Andy Stanley talked about how simple, mundane things can seem way more interesting when attached to a bigger vision. At Elevation, the vision happens on Sunday [more specifically, since I'm sure anyone reading this hasn't heard it 1,000 times, it's: so that people far from God will be filled with life in Christ] and everything done during the week adds to the vision. When you care about the bigger picture, it makes the little elements of it that much more exciting. If I had the time and money for gas, I would go do busywork at Elevation every day. It's an amazing feeling to know that the little things everyone accomplishes during the week add up to the huge work of God that comes together on Sunday.

No, really. Change it.

So I realized that I'm terrible with change in some areas (such as seat switching in class, or people moving away), but in other things (such as the arrangement of my room or the look of my blog), I constantly want change.
At home in Greenville, I change the view of my room every couple of months. I move furniture around. I have this one wall in my room that's painted solid blue/teal while the rest are sponge painted, and on that wall I go back and add lyrics and Bible verses and whatever with yellow paint. Last year, I really loved my room in Margaret Nance, and I had the opportunity to stay in it for another year. I couldn't make myself. I couldn't stand staying in the same place for another year. And if I didn't think it would bug everyone, I would change my blog like every other day. But that would bug me, too.

So my point was just to say that I welcome and need change in some areas of my life but refuse to believe it is necessary in others.

March 6, 2008

Change it up

I'm not great with change. Not a huge fan. I'd like to think I've gotten better at it in the past couple years, but I'm still aware that I resist it.
I was reminded of this when I walked into my religion class on tuesday to find another girl sitting in MY seat. Now keep in mind that we are no longer in elementary school and we don't have assigned seats, but come on. After about a week or two of classes everyone tends to fall into a pattern, and they generally stay in the same seats. (I've actually accidentally taken this to the extreme: I have 3 classes that are all in the same room, and at this point I've ended up sitting in the exact same seat in every one of them). Anyways, walking into class and trying to head to my usual seat only to find it taken seriously threw me off.
I fall into so many patterns and rituals in my life. I really enjoy that consistency. But that means that when something changes (something so small as someone sitting in my seat (that's not even MINE!)), I get easily thrown off balance. I'll admit that I even thought I was in the wrong classroom for a minute.

In my amazing awesome journal that I've been looking back through lately, I can see specific times when I was praying for God to throw me off. To change it up. To give me anything because I could feel myself getting so comfortable with life. I get so hooked on my habits sometimes that I need Him to put something in my way, to stop me from sitting in the same seat over and over again and missing out on another view.

March 5, 2008

Ready to go

Tonight we had a worship ministry dinner get-together shindig thing. I'm not really sure what you'd call it, but I loved it. I'm all for vision casting at Elevation.
Wade opened with psalm 100, we watched a video of one song in a Hillsong event, and discussed how that compared to our own ministry and shared thoughts on our own ministry.

I keep finding that with every conference and meeting I attend (Orange Tour, Amplify, tonight, etc.), I leave feeling pumped up and ready to see what great things God has for us in the next step of whatever ministry it is. I am SO excited for what is about to happen with our worship ministry in year three. I'm especially excited because tonight the guys helped me realize that the background singers have a lot more to offer than I previously thought we did. I wish I could be more specific about this, but I have a thousand thoughts running through my head. I spent my time driving to small group praying about all the amazing things that God is going to do this year in the worship ministry and in Elevation, as a whole.
Oh my word.
I'm excited.

March 4, 2008

If you believe...

I think sometimes it takes someone challenging what you believe in for you to realize that you actually believe it. Over the past couple years, I know there have been times where I wasn't completely sure why I believed what I believed. Sometimes I feel like I'll never be able to back up my beliefs (but that's what I like about faith). Early on, I'd been a little apprehensive about taking a lot of religion courses in college; funny, because now it's my major. A lot of people told me in high school that you better know what you believe going into it because the classes you take will have the potential to break you. If anything, though, my religion courses have done the exact opposite. I love my intro and world religions classes. The more I read and learn about other religions and other "gods," the more I am able to defend what I believe. And the more I am thankful that I follow the Eternal One who is limitless and infinite. The God who loves me enough to put up with my doubts and struggles and disobedience. I would never choose another.

P.S. I think the movie "The Last Temptation of Christ" is terrible. We're watching it in my intro to religion class, and I think it's pointless. but whatever.

March 3, 2008

Small Group!

Last night was grouplink!
As far as I could see, it was a success. There were a ton of people there, and a swarm of kids in the cafeteria for high school groups. There was a literal stampede of high schoolers at one point (and unfortunately only 2 leaders actually in the room at the time). I'm really excited to say that 6 girls signed up for my group (including RONNA!!!), and I think that's a really good size for me, as someone who's never done this before.
My group starts on Tuesday the 11th, and I'm excited to spend time until then praying for my girls and getting in contact with them about next week. I can't wait.