Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not Wasting My Time

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:12

So, yesterday I talked about how I gave God control of my times and how that applies to my dating life (or lack thereof).  Today, I want to talk about not wasting my time on just anyone, how that applies to honoring my future husband and how it relates back to yesterdays post.

Every time I move, my brothers and dad help me.  “Next time, you need to have a boyfriend to help you do this,” is what my dad says as he hugs me and heads home after a full day of helping me move.  I have been thinking about this statement a lot lately. 

I am confident that I could easily walk into any bar, restaurant, or Wal-Mart of that matter and say, “Alright boys, this girl needs a boyfriend.  First one to talk to me gets the job.”  Easy enough.  But, is that what I am looking for?  I am confident that I could strike up a conversation with a boy/man anywhere and get him to ask me out.  But, is that what I am looking for?

No!!!! I am looking for someone to marry.  I spent three and a half years with a boy who was completely wrong for me.  We were going in different directions, we had different goals for our lives, we were looking for unreasonable things in one another.  Then, I spent nearly three more years with someone who had completely different values than me.  I only kept him around because he told me I was pretty.  I don’t want to waste a single moment of my life with the wrong person.  I am searching for someone to marry. 

By no means do I think the next eligible man who steps into my life will be my husband.  I would love it if that were the case, but I am not so naive to think that will actually happen.  I do have a strategy already set for when I feel as if it is time for me to get myself out there.

To my unmarried crowd – Please don’t waste time on the wrong person.  If you are seeing someone; start asking the Christ-like people in your life whose opinion matters to you if the person you are seeing is perfect.  Take their opinion to heart.  Pray about what they have to say. If you aren’t seeing someone; wait for Him to tell you when to get out there. 

I wrote a post titled All the Single Ladies about Psalm 31:12 a few months ago.  Check that out, too.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My times are in Your Hands

My times are in Your hands...
Psalm 31:15

My times are in Your hands... I have stopped searching for Mr. Right.  I do not expect that Mr. Right will come knocking on my door one day.  I do expect that the Lord will put me where I need to be to meet Mr. Right. 
My times are in Your hands... I have stopped actively searching for a job that is spiritually, intellectually and emotionally fulfilling.  I love being a nanny.  I am certain that when my life is where it is suppose to be, He will reveal a job to me that is spiritually, intellectually and emotionally fulfilling.

Well, there are some people in my life who seem to think that letting God take care of my life is crazy.  I constantly hear, "God is busy, Keirstin,"  "Just get out there, Keirstin," "I just want you to be happy,"  "So, any boyfriends?  You interested in anyone?" 

My responses to these people is always the same.  "God isn't too busy for me,"  "I don't have time to get out there,"  "I am happy.  And, I surely don't need a man in my life to make me happy, " and "No and no!"

Well, last night my mom began evaluating how I spend my time.  She told me the things that I should cut out to make time for searching for Mr. Right.  This hurt.  Yeah, I am a busy girl.  I work a lot.  I am heavily involved in activities for Elevation during the week.  But, these are NOT things I am willing to sacrifice right now.

My times are in Your hands... I will not step down from my position at Elevation to spend time searching for a man.  I will not leave the eGroup I attend to spend time searching for a man.  I will not leave my middle school girls eGroup to spend time searching for a man.  And the most time consuming part of my life, work.  I will not quit my job to spend time searching for a man.  When my lie is where it needs to be to find a man, He will begin lightening my load. 

This is what the Lord says,
"In the time of My favor I will answer you,"
Isaiah 49:8

Please note that Isaiah 49:8 says NOTHING about our timing.  He will answer our prayers in the time of His favor.  

To all the single people reading this -
Who is questioning your motives on being single?
Who is questioning your motives about your approach to meeting someone?
Who is bringing you down?
Have you began sacrificing things that are important to you, to go out and search for a partner?

Guess what, the only One who has the authority to question how we are doing things is our heavenly Father!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Gonna Love You Through It

Martina McBride has a new song titled I'm Gonna Love You Through ItI heard this song for the first time the other day, and knew instantly that I would write a blog about it.  I instantly thought about our relationship with Christ. 

When you're weak, I'll be strong
When you let go, I'll hold on
Martina McBride - I'm Gonna Love You Through It

I think that we have this relationship with Christ.  When we are weak, He makes us strong.  When we let go, He holds on. 

Just take my hand, together we can do it
I'm gonna love you through it
Martina McBride - I'm Gonna Love You Through It

No matter what the situation, Jesus is going to love us through it.  We can walk away from Him.  He will still love us.  We can turn our back on Him.  He will still love us.  

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Ephesians 6:10

I am thankful that I serve a God who will not leave me.  I am forever grateful that I serve a God that I can't fail.  No matter what I do, He is going to love me through it.  By no means is this an excuse to act carelessly with our lives.  We are human, we will mess up, even when we try our hardest.  Thankfully, He knows that.  Thankfully, He will love us even when we mess up.

I know that this post is super short.  I hope that it just serves as a reminder.  He is going to love us through it. 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

You're Doing Better Than You Think You Are

I love my church.  I feel like I say this all the time, but I mean it with all of my heart every time.  I love my church!  Pastor Steven speaks with such boldness every weekend.  Every message is encouraging and challenging.  I leave inspired to change the world, change my behavior, change my outlook and be a better person.  Every sermon is better than the last.  I don't know how he does it, but he does.

This past weekends sermon was titled The Most Encouraging Message You Never Heard.  Wonder why you never heard it?  Because Jesus is talking behind your back.  Typically this is a bad thing, but when it comes to Jesus, it is all good!  He wants to affirm ourselves in Him, not in ourselves. 

Pastor's sermon had three points for anyone who needed to hear encouragement from Jesus.
1. You are doing better than you think you are.
2. Your life means more than you think it does.
3. It is less about you than you think it is.

Point number 1 was the most encouraging to me.  To think that up in heaven, Jesus is saying that about me, just changed my outlook on several current situations.  When I sit down and think about it from an outside perspective, I really am doing better than I think I am.  I get up every weekend and volunteer at Elevation.  I am doing better than I think I am, becuase at least I am volunteering.  There are so many people who don't.  I am giving 20% to my church.  I am doing better than I think I am, becuase the majority of the people at Elevation don't give 10%.  I am training for a 5k.  I am doing better than I think I am, becuase there are so many people who are just sitting on the couch watching TV.  I am doing better than I think I am.

How are you doing better than you think you are?  Are you unemployed and looking for a job?  You are doing better than you think you are, there are so many people who are taking unemployment and not trying to look for a job.  Are you single and saving yourself for marriage?  You are doing better than you think you are, you are doing it Gods way!  How are you doing better than you think you are?

Point number 3 was the reality check.  The line that stuck with me the most was, "It isn't about your participation, it is about being a part of the mission."  If I can be honest here, I was so caught up in seeking someone to appreciate me for what I was doing.  This reminded me that it isn't about what I am doing, it is about being a part of the big picture.  This was a reality check.

Where are you seeking approval that you shouldn't be?  Where have you found yourself caught up in your part, not the big picture?  It's less about you than you think it is.

I am so thankful to get to be a part of Elevation Church.  This sermon reminded me how priveledged I am.  I get to be a part of Elevation.  I am under the leadership of one of the greatest leaders in this country, Pastor Steven Furtick.  I am a part of one of the fastest growing churches in Amera.  And why is one of the fastest, because our mission is to see people far from God filled with life in Christ.  We will stop at nothing to see this mission fufilled.  And, we do it all with excellence.  I am so thankful to get to be a part of Elevation Church!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Busy Busy!

I apologize for my absence over the last few weeks.  I have been crazy busy!  So, let me take a minute to update you on the world of Keirstin.

Elevation - Rock Hill:  I am so honored to get to be a part of this move of God.  Every weekend, walking down the halls to see classrooms full of children, makes my heart melt. I can't believe that I get to be a part of this.  I can't believe that God called me to do this!  It is amazing.  I love First Experience (Elevation style Volunteer Orientation) weekends!  I love walking new volunteers around and getting them plugged into an area they are interested in!  It is great!!!

Rock Hill Middle School Girls eGroup:  I will be completely honest.  When I got Jamie's email asking me to lead the middle school girls eGroup in Rock Hill, I was a bit skeptical.  How would I relate to these girls?  Would my goal for the group be too advance?  Why me?  But, now?  Ah! I am so happy that I said yes.  They are the best group of middle school girls!  For the last two weeks we have been reading Bible verse after Bible verse about God's love; how He loved us, how commands He commands us to love, how to apply it to our lives, etc.  It is great.  We have one more week of reading about God's love and then we dive into the book When God Writes Your Love Story.  This book is going to shape the next 10 years of their live.  This book is going to shape their opinion of men.  This book has potential to start a revolution in their schools.  I can't wait!

Goals Check Up:  Blue is from my five month check up.  Orange is for my 10 month check up.

Career Goals:
1. Find a job that is spiritually, intellectually and emotionally fulfilling.
Not yet. Note previous posts about my job. I am making the best out of the situation I am in now. God isn't ready for me to move on job wise yet.
I currently have what I would consider the best job in the world.  I love the family that I nanny for.  I love getting to spend my days with the two cutest kids in the world.  I love getting to build a firm educational foundation for my favorite girl in the world.  I love the parents.  They are the best bosses that I could ever ask for.

Educational Goals:
1. Make all A's and B's in my last two semesters at CPCC
Grades are not in yet, but I should make almost all A's and B's.
I did not do so hot Summer semester.  I got an A and a not so hot great.  And then, God decided He had other plans for me.  So, there wasn't a fall semester.
2. Graduate from CPCC in December 2011
Still on track!!
As stated previously, God had a different plan for this goal.  I will not be graduating in December.  I will not be getting my degree in Early Childhood Education. 
3. Make a plan for furthering my education
Not even close to accomplishing this one yet. 
And, I believe God thought this was the most important of the goals.  I am currently looking into different schools and different programs. My options are limitless at this point. 

Financial Goals:
1. Build my savings account
Yes! I am putting 10% of each paycheck into savings EVERY PAYCHECK! Get it girl!
Starting in November, I will begin putting 20% of every paycheck into savings.  I am working on saving up for a new car.  So, this is the only way possible!
2. Start paying the bills my parents are paying for meYes! Mommy and Daddy are no longer paying any bills for Keirstin! I'm a big girl now!  Still complete on this goal!
Additional goal I set for myself - After posting this, God put it on my heart to increase my tithing. I am tithing 20% of each paycheck to Elevation Church. I love this! I am going above and beyond, and the sacrifices I have had to make have been well worth it! I love knowing that my money is doing something!
I am still tithing 20%.  :-)  Still worth it!!

Personal Goals:
1. Lose 30 pounds and keep it off!
Yikes! Nah. I was close then fell of the wagon.
Still off the wagon here, but back to working on it!!
2. Run my first 5k
I am currently training for my first 5k.  I am following the Couch to 5k plan!  I am registered to run in the Reindeer Romp in Rock Hill on December 3rd!!!!!
3. Stop eating fast food on a regular basis
Same thing. Had stopped, then fell of the wagon.
Have a job where I don't get a lunch break is helping with this!  Since we are going on a cruise for Christmas, I am working as hard as I can to be in good shape by then.  I am not eating fast food on a regular basis anymore.  I had fast good ONCE this week! :-D
4. Work out at least three times a week
Again. Same thing. Joined Gunn's Fitness. Was going three times a week and kicking butt, then fell of the wagon. Still have 7 months to change this one around!
I worked out three times this week, and plan on bumping that up to 5 or 6 days next week.

Relational Goals:
1. Get to know my brothers better
Working on it...
Yikes!  This one is not going so well.  I hate excuses, so I won't give you mine.
2. Gain an understanding on my parents resistance to church
Not doing so well on this one. 
3. Visit my grandparents at least four times
I have visited twice already! :-)
Well, this just breaks my heart.  I made it to see them four times before Philip passed.  The foruth being the day he passed. I miss him every day.
4. Visit Victoria at least four times
I have visited her twice already!!
Check!  We have seen each other four times!  Maybe more than that!  And, more visits are in the work. 

Spiritual Goals:
1. Gain a better understanding of the Old Testament
Not yet.
2. Learn from my New Testament class
Nothing more to add to this, being that the class is over.
3. Finish the 8 month Bible Reading Plan
4. Finish Sun Stand Still
Yes! Yes! Yes!!!
5. Have a more personal relationship with God
Working on it!
My relationship with God gets better daily.  It is amazing.  When you turn off the radio, turn off distractions, and actually take time to listen to God, YOU CAN HEAR FROM HIM! 
6. Learn to follow God's direction without hesitation
Daily struggle, but it is getting easier. God has asked me to stay at Chesterbook, and I am. I do not know why He wants me there. But I am there.
What a blessing.  I stayed at Chesterbrook until He gave me peace about leaving.  Then, He blessed me with an amazing job.  Also, about 9 months ago, I felt like He told me to lead a group in Rock Hill..  I thought He was crazy... and, I am doing it now!! 
7. Serve on at least three Outreach projects
Thank you Love Week! I served for Samaritan's Feet, made care baskets for first time moms, and served parents of children with Down Syndrome. I also donated to a project the eGroup was working on!
I have not served on any other Outreach projects, but the eGroup and I will be discussing plans for this next week.
8. Become a better eTeam leader for Host Services
I am unsure on if I should cross this off or not. This is an interesting, vague goal that I set for myself. I assume that someone thinks I have become a better leader because I was asked to become a Coordinator. I still have a lot of room to grow!
Still feel the same about this goal.  It was very vague.  But, I must have improved myself.  I stepped up as Host Services Coordinator.  Then, I was asked to be eKidz Coordinator at Rock Hill. 
9. Join an eGroup for the first semester of 2011
Thank you, Nicki Koziarz for letting me in! I seek so much truth from her, and gain so much truth from her. 
Check!  I joined an eGroup.  I learned so much from Nicki.
10. Lead an eGroup for the second semester of 2011
Can't wait!
Check!!  See what I wrote before the goal check up!

Q & A - I need you to comment or email with more questions!  I loved doing the Q & A posts. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Reflections of #NLC2011

First and foremost, I must thank Jessica Bealer for inviting me to NLC.  I have to thank Pastor Steven and Chunks Corbett for investing in my leadership by taking me to NLC.  I have to thank Frank and Jessica Bealer for taking a crew of Rock Hill elevators, and treating us to breakfast and dinner. 

It was truly an honor to be invited by Elevation Church two years in a row.  It was humbling to think that out of all of the leaders at Elevation Church, I was a part of the crew that they thought deserved to be invested in through a day of listening to seven of the countries greatest Pastors.

I need to thank Pastor Perry Noble for opening Newspring Church up to me and gathering seven amazing speakers to preach!  I need to thank Newspring Church volunteers for being amazing.  The day went so smoothly because of y'all.  Thank you!

Now, a conclusion of my reflections of the day.

The dynamic of the day was completely different than last year.  Three of the seven pastors lost their father since last year.  Each of the three men spoke about this loss.  Pastor Judah and Pastor Jud spoke about their losses more.  It was very moving to see these men cry on stage in front of hundreds of people.  It reminded me that it is okay to still be upset about the loss.

I don't remember who, but one of them talked about still picking up the phone to call their father.  I want to call Philip all the time.  I feel him everywhere.  Every time I see a black blazer, I wish it was him.  I consider planning a trip to Aiken, to see him... and remember he won't be there.  I am grateful for these three men, reminding me that it is okay to still be sad.

The most moving, memorable, touching message to me was Pastor Judah Smiths.  He changed my perspective on the loss of Philip.  I had begun to question God's judgement in letting Philip pass.  But, Pastor Judah reminded me that He is the promiser.  He is the one who took Philip home.  And home for Philip is much better than a quaint house in the woods of Montmorenci. 

It was an amazing day.  I hope you have been able to learn something through my notes.  I apologize for taking so long to get them up.

Pastor Judah Smith

Pastor Judah Smith is the Lead Pastor of The City Church in Seattle, WA.  Pastor Judah is a seventh generation pastor.  He is known for an anointed, fresh preaching style mixed with humor, authority, passion and strong faith. 

God's Promises: God's Fulfillment

What do you do when the promises of God are partially filled?

Hebrews 11:13, 2 Kings 4:8-37, 2 Corinthians 1:20

Everyone has been a recipient of a promise.   At least once the promise wasn't fulfilled.  Often, we make plans around the promise.  Example:  If someone tells you they are going to buy a house for you in a year.  You will begin to prepare to be ready for that.  Then, a month before they are suppose to buy you a house, they back out. 

I am not a healer.  I am a believer.

My theology shapes my experiences.

Hebrews 11:13 - We will live and die as believers.

God is a generational God.

Who will replace us?  This is an important leadership question.

Who is the promiser and who is the promisee?

I am not the promiser.

Unless Gods promises come to pass, we are just making noise.

2 Kings 4:8-37 The Old Testament has seven supernatural births.  Only the seventh birth is not named.  After five acts of prayer, he came back.  Five is a number of grace. 

It isn't about the boy, Joshua.  It's about their boy - God.

He is both the fulfiller and fulfillment.

Jesus will never be gone.

He is our source, our provider.

Pick up Jesus!!

We can't lose.  He won't let us.

This was such a powerful message.  I think my notes aren't so hot from this message because for the majority of it I was crying.

Pastor Judah lost his father this past year.  He started the message off with discussing how he could have felt God didn't fulfill His promise for Pastor Judah's father.  Pastor Judah continually prayed for his fathers recovery, but when he got the call about his fathers death, he could have been mad at God.  But, we have to look at it from God's point of view.  He fulfilled His promise, it just may not have been in the way that we thought it.

As soon as he thought about the loss of his father, and how the message was going to be about unfilled promises of God, I knew it was going to speak straight to me.  I haven't been mad at God, but I have been questioning His judgement about letting Philip die.  Philip was such an amazing man.  Why couldn't He heal him?  Why couldn't He make him better?  Why couldn't He let him live longer?  Does God not realize what this has done and will continue to do to my family?  Why did He do this? 

This message gave me a new perspective.  God fulfilled His promise.  Philip is in a better place now.  He is no longer suffering.  He is no longer in pain.