Monday, December 31, 2012

This is Why

Mission Statement (Do Not Delete)
A simple phrase with profound meaning that anyone who has been around Elevation Church for any length of time can repeat on command.  But, so that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ is so much more than a phrase that I can repeat on command.  It is the why behind so much of my life.

So that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ is why I get out of bed at 6:30 on a Sunday.  It is why I put so much on the line to bring people to church.  It is why I serve all day on Sunday.  It is why I drive 20 miles to Rock Hill every Thursday evening for fifteen middle schoolers. 

So that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ is the mission statement of Elevation Church.  It is the reason why eight families sold their houses, quit their jobs and moved to Charlotte.  There was no earthly promise to them in Charlotte, just a heavenly calling.

This Christmas, so that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ became real to me, again.  Too often we get caught up doing church.  This Christmas, God reminded me of the why.  Allow me to present to you two why's behind why I am sold out to seeing those far from God raised to life in Christ.

Case One - Molly, age 13, has been in my eGroup for over a year.  In January, she asked me as eGroup was coming to a close if we could speak in private.  We went into the hallway.  She asked what it meant to be saved and for more information on baptisms.  I did my best to share the gospel with her in a few short minutes.  She said she understood, but felt that the timing wasn't right.  I prayed for her salvation daily.  Over the next few months, we talked about it on a regular basis.  She just kept saying the time wasn't right.  This Christmas Eve Eve, I received a text from Molly saying that she stood!  She stood to accept Christ as her Savior.  She stood to publicly declare that she was no longer going to flirt with the dividing line.  Nearly a year of prayer and persistence and conversations, Molly asked Jesus into her heart.

Case Two - John, age 18, is the brother of a friend of mine.  Less than a month ago, she shared with me the story of John.  John was far from God.  Mixed up with the wrong crowd, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was arrested, facing up to one year in prison.  My friend, Nesha, made one last attempt to see John be raised to life in Christ.  She brought him to Elevation Church two weeks ago.  He liked it alright.  Three days before Christmas, Nesha and I had breakfast.  Facing resistance from the devil, she admitted that she was probably going to skip out on church.  The next day, Nesha brought her brother John to Timeless Christmas.  John stood to accept Christ.  The gospel was clearly presented to him, and he knew that the time was now.  He asked Jesus into his heart.  Now, whatever happens in court, he has Jesus in his life.  Jesus will be beside him in whatever trials are ahead.

Molly and John are only two of over two thousand who stood to accept Christ at Timeless Christmas at Elevation Church.  But the stories of Molly and John hit home to me.  I've been praying for Molly and John for longer than they know.  Molly and John's stories are the reason that I get out of bed on Sunday mornings.  Their stories are the reason that I do what I do with a smile on my face.

So that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 in Review [ Pt. 2]

Elevation Church Year in Review

2012 was truly an amazing year at Elevation Church.  For me, at Elevation, I started serving at Elevation's Uptown campus, continued to lead a wonderful eGroup of middle school girls and attend an eGroup of amazing college age students.  Elevation started the year with a twelve night revival, went to Israel for Easter, and Pastor Steven released his second book Greater.  It was a banner year, in deed.

Below are my favorite ten sermon's from 2012.

10.  Suspension of Disbelief (Living a Better Story)  The entire Living a Better Story series was hugely impactful to me this year.  During the second week of this series, Pastor Steven preached from Numbers 13-14.  Suspension of Disbelief is deciding to get lost in the story.  We must believe that what we read in the Bible actually happened.  We must nail or disbelief to the cross.  Another quote that I loved from this sermon was that our setting does not determine our story.

9. The Taurus & The Fox (Grey Matter)  The entire Grey Matter series helped me grow this year.  This series was about those questions that aren't black or white in the Bible.  The answer is grey.  The Taurus & The Fox was a sermon about how to follow God and the closeness that we gain from the journey.  If God gave us directions, we wouldn't get to know him better by following Him. 

8. He's Big Enough for Both - Dumb Dichotomies (Grey Matter) A dichotomy is a division into two mutually exclusive contradictory groups.  Pastor Steven explained some dumb dichotomies; life or death, one God or many God's, spirit or flesh.  We make some dumb dichotomies, too; make plans or trust God, be successful or stay humble... John 1:14 says, where we put an OR, God put an AND.  God can do both.  He is big enough for both.

7. Frustrations of a Fixer (Mother's Day) Pastor Steven preached on the frustrations of a fixer.  God completes us.  No one can complete us, and we can't complete anyone else.  People were not created to fill the needs that God is suppose to fill.  This sermon impactful, because I try so hard to allow other people to complete me. 

6. Timeless Christmas (Christmas 2012) Pastor Steven preached a bold message on the dividing line.  So often, we flirt with the line of salvation.  There are moments in our lives where we can distinctly mark what life was like before and after that moment.  That is the line of salvation.  We must stop flirting with it and cross over the after life after accepting Christ.  We don't have to do anything before coming to Christ.  He already did it on the cross.

5. Digging Ditches (Greater) This is the second sermon in the series Greater, based off of Pastor's second book.  The story of digging ditches from 2 Kings 3 is probably one of my favorite books in the Bible.  There had been a drought, Elisha told them to dig some ditches, and the rain came.  You never read about them actually digging the ditches, but the rain came. 

4. The Power of Multiplication (Banner Years) Pastor Robert Morris from Fort Worth, TX came to preach for two weekends during our Banner Years series.  This was the first of his two sermons.  He preached on the power of multiplication with money.  Pastor Robert shared some stories of his audacious faith in God financially.  His trust in something greater than earthly things was inspiring. 

3. Burn the Plows (Greater) Pastor Steven's second book is titled, Greater.  This is the first sermon from a four week sermon walking through some of the greatest part of his book.  Burning the plows is in reference to when Elisha burned his plows in order to take Elijah's place.  Burning his plows symbolized that he could no longer go back to who he was.  There is something holding each of us back, that we need to burn. 

2. If I Have to Wait, I'm Gonna Get to Work (Waiting Room)  Holly Furtick, Pastor Steven's wife took the pulpit to preach this powerful sermon of working while you wait.  Waiting rooms are one of the most dreaded places.  She preached from Acts 16:22-40.  Paul and Silas were in prison, they didn't complain.  They bypassed the urge to complain and filled the situation with praise.  We must preoccupy ourselves with fulfilling God's purpose instead of escaping our problems.  Finally, we need to embrace the face that our detours are often God's destination. 

1. Continuum of Forgiveness to Bitterness  (How to Hug a Vampire) This was without a doubt, hands down, my favorite sermon of the entire year.  Pastor Mark Driscoll came all the way from Seattle, WA to preach this powerful message on forgiveness.  Pastor Mark preached through Ephesians 4:22-32, what forgiveness is and what forgiveness is not.  This sermon changed the way I looked at forgiveness. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 in Review [ Pt. 1 ]

.Redeemed. Year in Review

10. Proud Momma - This post is about two of the amazing middle school girls that I lead.  One lives in an athiest home, but reads her Bible in the closet and desires to go to church.  The other, has been a constant positive role model to the first.  I just wanted the world to know how proud of them I was, and still am!  They are amazing! [ 54 Views and Posted in May 2012 ] 

9. Yesterday - This post is about the day after my baby brother tried to kill himself.  I was a wreck.  Being the oldest sister, I did everything I could to keep it together.  I had no idea what to expect when I was walking into the hopsital and all I knew was he'd tried to kill himself.  After a stream of tweets, I posted this so everyone knew what was going on!  [ 57 Views and Posted in June 2012] 

8. Nehemiah and Me - This post was written after a difficult week, where I couldn't see how I could follow God and have a relationship with my parents.  I was beginning to feel like if I did what God was calling me to do, I was going to loose my parents.  After reading about Nehemiah, I found out that we had a lot in common.  Through skimming the pages of Nehemiah, I realized that without God strengthening me, I can't accomplish anything. [ 67 Views and Posted in November 2012 ]

7. How to Deal with Bad Ending Friendships - This post was written by one of the amazing middle school girls I lead.  She is thirteen and wrote a powerful post about how to deal with friendships that don't end well.  She had to learn what she wrote the hard way.  We all have something to learn from her words. [ 80 Views and Posted in July 2012 ]

6. Proud Momma - This post is another post about another amazing middle school girl in my eGroup.  It's about the same girl who wrote How to Deal with Bad Ending Friendships and We Should Be.  She's going to change this world.  Her hunger for God's word is empowering.  I've had many intellectual conversations with her about what is going on in the Bible and what God is doing in her life.  I'm so proud of her! [ 81Views and Posted in July 2012 ]

5. Giveaway - This post was a giveaway for the book When God writes your love story  that I studied personally, had my world rocked, lead a book study on it with a group of middle school girls and saw their worlds rocked.  The book is too good not to share. [ 83 Views and Posted in April 2012 ]

4. Lifted Hands - This post is about those days when lifting your hands in worship is the hardest thing to do.  We all have those moments when we can't bring ourselves to worship God on that intimate of a level.  But, those are the moments that we need to surrender and lift our hands in worship the most.  [ 95 Views and Posted in August 2012 ]

3. God Still has a Plan - This post was written when I was alone in my car crying about how I was convienced that I had messed up.  God couldn't use me, I had destroyed His plan for my life.  Then, I had one of those moments when God smacked me in the face, telling me that He could still use me.  You can go off My path for you.  I will get you back to the right path.  I have great plans for you.  Just trust.  That's the smack in the face God gave me. [ 107 Views and Posted in April 2012 ]

2. Giving Up is Not an Option - This post was written after I was losing someone very close to me.  They were far from God, had been making the steps to get closer to God, but one day just fell off of the face of the earth.  I realized that giving up was not an option.  I truly cared about this person and I couldn't allow what they were struggling with to effect the influence I had in their life. [ 131 Views  and Posted in May 2012 ] 

1. Yoforia - This post is a little thanks to Yoforia for going above and beyond to provide quality customer service.  It isn't the tipical .Redeemed. post, but it got a rediculous amount of views this year. [ 252 Views and Posted in May 2012 ]

Monday, December 3, 2012


I'm twenty-three.  That is going to take some getting used to...

Twenty-two was really an amazing year.  I grew closer to the Lord than I've ever been in my life.  I was stretched in ways that I never thought I could be stretched.  I struggled more than I thought I could ever struggle.  I laughed til there were tears in my eyes and I couldn't breathe.  Twenty-two was a year that I'll never forget.

Instead of reliving the past, I'm looking forward to what twenty-three will hold.  I never want to get ahead of God.  But, I think creating attainable goals are important.  I want to have moments this year where I know it only happened because of God, but I also want to have moments where I know I worked my butt off to make it happen. 

Twenty-Three Things I Want to Do While I'm Twenty-Three (in no particular order)... 
I probably could have made a simpler title for that, but ya know...

1. Finish my last twelve classes at Liberty University Online with a bang

2. Start grad school or seminary

3. Make and maintain a budget

4. Run two 5k's

5. Live in the moment

6. Read the entire New Testament

7. De-stress

8. Visit a new state (I have 44 to choose from)

9. Learn to check my email and social media sites no more than three times a day

10. Lose and keep off twenty-three pounds

11. Read ten books for leisure

12. Take pictures regularly

13. Laugh until I cry

14. Spend the weekend in Aiken

15. Create opportunities for God to move mightily

16. Learn to white water kayak

17. Spend some QT with Victoria before she moves

18. Follow God's lead

19. Have enough faith to believe that God can make my Sun Stand Still prayer come true

20. Visit Charleston at least twice

21. Get my second tattoo

22. Find time for me once a week

23. Live a life that glorifies God at all moments

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Good Bye 22!

22 has come and gone.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share one last post for twenty-two.  It was an amazing year.  I learned some great things.  Here is the top ten moments of my life as a twenty-two year old.
10. I ran my first 5k this year.  Last year, I trained for my first 5k.  The week of the race, I fell down my stairs and fractured my ankle.  Finally being able to get out there and run my first 5k was a lot of fun!  The excitement surrounding races is exhilarating.  I was lucky enough to get to run the race with my whole family!
9. Code Orange Revival was twelve nights of my life that I will never forget.  My church boldly invites the Holy Spirit into our presence every weekend.  As a way to set the stage for 2012, we had a twelve night Revival where world renowned pastors, worship leaders and speakers came to speak God's word to the church.  I attended four of the twelve nights and watch the rest of the nights from home.  This picture is from eGroups night of Code Orange Revival.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to lead the way with my eStudents!
8.  One of my favorite parts of being twenty - two was being at Liberty University Online.  No, I don't actually attend classes.  Yes, I do everything from the convenience of my computer.  But, this year, because of Liberty University, I was able to find my love for theology.  I have a strong desire to know as much as possible about theology.  I'm excited to say that next year, I'll be getting my Master's in Practical Theology and specializing in Children's Ministry.  My two great loves!
7.  This year, I was able to celebrate my eGroups one year anniversary.  We've been meeting since September of 2011.  We've grown from three consistently coming to a steady 10 each week.  We've seen some come and go, but through the past year, God has blessed me with an amazing group of young ladies.  I learn as much, if not more from them than they learn from me.  They keep me young, by teaching me what WRUD means and what a selfie is.  I keep them grounded by reminding them that they don't need a boyfriend right now and God's word is more important than Gossip Girl.  I wouldn't trade my time with them for anything.  And, I'm looking forward to many many many many more years with them!
6.  I made the transition back into serving after a brief break this year. God led me to the Uptown campus. I'm so thankful that He did. I've made many friendships through being at this campus. I've seen God use me and stretch me in so many different areas of my life. I was able to realize, once again, that He is always faithful and He always provide and His plan will always come to fruition. And, sometimes things that aren't so great have to happen so that better things can happen. 
5. Student Takeover was legen - wait for it - dary!  We white water rafted, navigated a ropes course, heard God's word spoken over us, served our city and served our church together.  The time that I had with my eGroup Student Takeover weekend was a time that we will never forget.  I am grateful to have the privilege to go to a church that doesn't have a student ministry but is a student ministry.
4. Work. Yes, I love my job! I'm a nanny and it's not as easy as it looks. I do a lot more than just sit at home with a kid and watch TV.... which is what people seem to think I do. It's truly an honor to work for the family that I nanny. The kids are amazing and the parents are great. The treat me so well. This year, I took a moment to reflect on how unique our situation is and how I can see God's hand all over it. I am so thankful for their love and support in my life.
3. Celebrating New Year's in the middle of the ocean was absolutely fabulous!  I fell in love with cruises this year.  The relaxation that comes with not ever having to be anywhere.  The convience of not having to drive anywhere.  The excitement of being able to do everything that you can do on land on a boat.  Geeze!  This picture of me sums up the entire trip.  It was absolutely amazing!
2. Realizing God's plan for my life with these girls has been amazing.  Growing closer to and learning about God with an amazing group of young women was a pivotal part of being twenty-two.  We saw the good and the bad together.  We always have each others back and that's a bond that can't be broken.  I'm so thankful that I got to spend a year with these ladies.  Looking forward to many more!
1.  My favorite moment of being twenty-two was getting my first tattoo.  I wanted "Redeemed" tattooed on my wrist for three years.  Making it official this summer in Charleston was a moment I will never forget.  Better than that, was the moment that it healed, when it was no longer raised and for the first time the tattoo felt real.  It felt like it was a part of me.  I have been redeemed.  Nothing can take that away.
Overall, 22 brought me much joy and happiness.  I saw God's hand over and moving in my life on a regular basis.  I was able to take a step back and see how each moment of my life I am taking one step closer to fulfilling his greater calling for my life.  I don't want to ever get too far from Him to not realize what He is calling me to do.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Banner Years

Elevation Church has been celebrating all that God has done in the last six years that we've been in ministry and examining what has made each year a banner year in an effort to make the coming years banner years.  It's been a really fun and practical series. 

In the year 2008, Elevation did "cardboard testimonies".  Several people stood up on stage with their cardboard testimony.  Two weekends ago, we did this all over again.  I can't tell you what it was like in 2008, but I can tell you that it moved me to tears this time.
He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

Before I share my cardboard testimonies with you, take a look at this video

Pinned ImageI was me-first with my finances.  Now God's banner over me is financially stability through God-first with my finances.

I was sleeping with my boyfriend.  Now God's banner over me is restoration through salvation.

I was insecure.  Now God's banner over me is security and faith in Jesus.

I was consumed in the worlds view of me.  Now God's banner over me is an importance only in doing what He wants me to do.

What is God's banner over you?!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hey, It's Okay!

Whispering Writer has a series called "Hey, It's Okay". I loved it so much that I started doing it too

... to be so confused by everything that happened last week.

... to have to remove yourself from toxic relationships in an effort to grow and move forward with life.

... to be so thankful for my job, and the relationships that have stemmed from a little girl I met three years ago.

... to be missing my grandpa a lot lately.  He was the glue that was the holidays in our family.

... to not have any strength but the strength the Lord has given me.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nehemiah and Me

"Do I still follow God's plan, even if it means I lose my relationship with my parents?"
"Is getting my Master's degree worth losing my relationship with my parents?"
"Can I spend Thanksgiving with you, because my parents don't want to see me."

Those were just a few of the text messages that I sent Tuesday evening to close friends of mine.  I laid awake this past Tuesday debating on the worth of pursing God's call on my life. 
I did some research on Bible characters that refused to give up.  I came across Nehemiah.  He is quite a great man of God.  He was a cup-bearer for the king, (meaning he tested the drink before the king drank out of it), was a trusted man of the king and was a trusted advisor.  He fasted and prayed for help when hearing the news about Jerusalem.  He left his job to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.  Despite constant attacks by enemies, Nehemiah led the rebuilding of the walls in 52 days!
I skimmed the book of Nehemiah.  It's a long stretch, but I'm able to relate to Nehemiah in this moment of my life.  I've fasted and prayed for God to reveal a plan for my life.  He revealed it.  I've made arrangements to fulfill this plan.  And despite constant ridicule, hurtful words and attacks by those who are close to me, I will do what God has called me to do.
... But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands."
Nehemiah 6:9b
There is no way that I will be able to accomplish all that I plan to accomplish without God's strength inside of me. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fixing the Funk...

Quick Re-Cap: I haven't written much lately because I've been in a funk. Back story on the funk - I'm going to pursue going to seminary after graduating this summer. I asked my parents if I could live with them to save for grad school. They said I could pay them one dollar less than I pay in rent. Trying to fix our problems, I was explaining/defending/believing in a dream of mine to find out on twitter that I'd been passed up for the opportunity once again. Thus began the funk where I didn't pray or read my Bible for three weeks because I was mad at God for leading me down a dead end path.

One day, I realized that a few days of the funk had turned into a few weeks.  I hadn't prayed or read my Bible in three weeks.  I had let a few days of resentment toward God turn into a few weeks.  That was dangerous!  I was trying to keep a good Christian girl facade.  But, on the inside, everything was falling apart.  I didn't know who to turn to.  I couldn't tell anyone of what was going on because of this good Christian girl facade I had going on.  I cried in my car.  I cried in bed.  I cried when my roommate wasn't home.  I didn't want to do my homework, because being a Religion major means studying all there is to study about God.  Kind of hard to be a Religion major and be mad at God.

Pinned ImageAfter acknowledging that what I had slumped into was not okay, I began to cry out to God.  On my knees, calling out to him with tears streaming down my face.  I needed Him.  He hadn't left me though, I walked away from Him.  I couldn't go on another moment without acknowledging that I'd messed up and needed to get back to where He was.

I dove into my Bible.  I earnestly seek His Word every morning and pray continually.  I've been listening to old sermons at every moment.  I need to live and breathe His word.

So, in a funk?  You are spiritually choking.  Give yourself a good gut check.  Get back into the Bible.  Seek His counsel.  Acknowledge His goodness and kindness and accept His forgiveness.  I hope my openness this week has been able to guide you to a deeper love for our God.  We are human, and we make mistakes.  But, He loves us and He won't leave us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How Deep it Got

Quick Re-Cap: I haven't written much lately because I've been in a funk.  Back story on the funk - I'm going to pursue going to seminary after graduating this summer.  I asked my parents if I could live with them to save for grad school.  They said I could pay them one dollar less than I pay in rent.  Trying to fix our problems, I was explaining/defending/believing in a dream of mine to find out on twitter that I'd been passed up for the opportunity once again.  Thus began the funk...

It was unimaginably hard to read on twitter that I'd been passed up once again for an amazing opportunity that I dream of, not be able to tell my mom that I'd been passed up once again, and have to continue defending God's plan for my life.  God gave me a vision for my life three years ago, that I continue to pursue despite constant rejection. 

I just wanted to scream off of the rooftops - GOD!!??? What do you keep doing this to me?

Pinned ImageI could be alone on this.  I could be making a fool of myself by posting this on the internet.  But, I was mad at God.  I was hurt.  How could He keep leading me down dead end roads?  What did I do to deserve this?  I was a faithful servant.  I tithe over 20% to my church, I serve every weekend - rain or shine, holiday or not, I read my Bible daily, I pray continually.  Was I not doing everything right?!  How could He keep leading me down dead end roads?

I was a mess.  I didn't read my Bible for about three weeks.  I wasn't praying.  I was legitimately mad at God.  He hurt me.

Then one day, when I realized a few days had turned into a few weeks, I got a rude awakening.  I let the devil win.  I felt God lead me down a path, I was obedient but it turned out to be a dead end, and I got mad at God.  I didn't trust His plan.  I turned away in a rage.  I let the devil win.

Am I alone?  Have you ever let the devil win?  Have you ever felt the only way to fix a problem was to turn away from God? 

And, today, I'm linking up with Pour Your Heart Out with things I can't say... Because sometimes there are just somethings you can't say outloud but need to be said.

Thank you for stopping  by!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where it Began... Pt. 2

Quick Re-Cap -  I haven't written much lately because I've been in a funk.  Yesterday, I posted a back story on the funk by explaining that I'm going to pursue going to seminary after graduating this summer.

I don't ask for much.  I got a job at fifteen to help my parents.  I bought my own clothes, paid for my phone and helped them in whatever way possible.  I moved out of my parents house two months after turning nineteen to the big city of Charlotte into a one bedroom apartment.  I've struggled to support myself since I moved out almost four years ago.  I've never gone without, but I've lived a pretty lean life. 

Recently, my parents went under contract on a house.  The house was going to have four bedrooms for my parents and my youngest brother.  As I was figuring out the logistics of getting my Master's degree and the financial debt I'd be in, I began to stress a bit.  Being the overly independent woman that I am, asking for help is humiliating.  But, I've managed to live on my own for {nearly} four years and am still debt free.  Quite an accomplishment, right?  I'd have to "throw that away" to get my Master's.  For weeks, I debated asking my parents if I could move in with them when they moved into their house.

I'd joked around about the whole moving in with them thing.  I was having dinner with them one evening and wanted to make it more concrete.  With knots in my stomach, I struck up the courage to ask them.  The conversation went a little something like this... "So, I'm looking into getting my Master's degree after graduation.  It's going to cost a lot of money.  What do you think about me moving in when you move into your house?"  My mom, dead serious, asked me how much I paid in rent now.  I told her.  She said I could pay one dollar less.  For the next few hours, we argued about this. 

I went home irate.  My parents had to know how independent I am.  They had to know how much it took out of me to ask them if I could loose all of my independence and move back home after {nearly} four years of living under my own roof.  For them to tell me that they were unwilling to support this bold endeavour without a rent check from me hurt more than anything.

For a month, I didn't talk to them.  I didn't call.  I didn't text.  I ignored their calls.  I ignored their texts.  I was stepping out and making one of the boldest decisions in my life.  I wasn't asking them for money.  I was asking if they could allow me to have an extra bedroom in their grandiose house.  Four weeks into not talking to my parents, I began trying to figure out how we could move past this.  I woke up one Sunday to the most hurtful email from my mom, telling me how selfish I was to ask them and explaining how much they already do for me without appreciation from me.

Pinned ImageOne thing led to another, and we ended up "talking".  I yelled. I cried.  It could be said that we "fixed" everything.  While I am pouring my heart out to my mom, about a dream that I have for my life, a dream which she continually tells me will never happen, I was looking on twitter.  The dream that I had, the dream that I was defending, the dream that I was believing God to fulfill, had once again been shot down.  I couldn't tell my mom that once again I'd been passed up for this dream of mine.

Thus began the funk...  

Tomorrow, how deep the funk got...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Where it Began... Pt. 1

Pinned ImageWhen I was younger, getting my Master's degree was always one of those unachievable dreams that I had for myself.  As high school ended, I gave up the dreams of a four year university for reasons that I won't explain.  I graduated high school, went to a community college and began to settle with the reality of a two year associates degree being all that I'd obtain.  Three years into community college, I'd changed my major twice and was beginning to realize that God had greater plans for my life.  Two classes away from graduation, walking across the stage of a not so notable college with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, God put the breaks on my plans.  God was calling me to something greater.  I took a semester off of classes and soul searched.  I applied and was accepted to Liberty University.  I began pursuing my Bachelor's in Religion.  God's hand has been all over this situation, as all of my credits transferred and any unrelated classes are counted as electives!

Now, I am 15 classes (2 semesters) away from graduating with my Bachelor's in Religion from Liberty University.  My childhood dreams of getting my Master's degree is becoming an attainable reality.  I've been praying through what this looks like in my life.  What do I study?  Where do I go?  Is the cost worth it?

What do I study?  Ideally, I'd like to study Children's Ministry.  Researching schools, this program isn't as common as I would have thought.  I'm looking into Master's in Divinity or Theology or Christian Leadership.  I've got to figure out what you do with those degrees, but they all sound so exciting and pretty legit.  Where do I go?  I don't know yet.  There are a few local schools that I've looked into.  They don't have the Children's Ministry program, but they have one or more of the other three.  Is the cost worth it?  Yes. Yes. Yes! God is calling me to this. This is a part of God's greater plan for my life.  So, yes!  The cost is worth it because God is going to do something great in and through me with this. 

Tomorrow, will be part tw of "Where it Began..."  A little preview?  It began when I asked my parents if I could live with them to save some money.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Pinned ImageReaders, I've missed writing to you.  I haven't had much to say.  I've been feeling as if things weren't going my way and I was allowing that to get me in a funk.  I haven't had anything super encouraging or uplifting to right to you.  And, when I went public with this blog, I promised myself that it would always be one that encouraged people.  There is too much negativity in the world. 

I believe that if you earnestly seek God in your every day life and live as close to Him as possible, the devil will come after you.  You will struggle.  Life will have some difficult moments.  I'm not going to sugar coat that one bit. 

As I reflect on my lack of writing to you and accept that seeking God in every day moments will attract the devil, I realize that I can't not write to you through this funk that I'm in.  I need to share these moments with you.  They may be dark and grim to me, but they have the ability to encourage or help you.

So, this is just the introduction.  This week, I will share with you what led me to the funk I'm in, how deep my funk got, and what I'm doing to get back on the sunny side.  It'll be a week worth of posts that I hope will encourage you and get me remember why I love writing. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Faithful Blogging

There are always days when I struggle about what to write on .Redeemed. I always want to give you fresh, biblical content. But, sometimes my mind goes blank and I can't come up with anything. Today, I will be using a prompt from Faithful Bloggers. You can find my blog, and many other Christian blogs in their directory.

Faithful Blogging Prompt #67 -
Who has been the greatest influence in your spiritual life?
I had no trouble coming up with an answer for this question.  The answer comes to me so quickly.  Mrs. Lockridge has been the greatest influence in my spiritual life.  Mrs. Lockridge is my best friend's mom.  Victoria and I met at a playdate when I was six and she was four.  I never thought I'd still be friends with her!  Mrs. Lockridge took me in like a second daughter.  She has always introduced me to everyone as her "adopted" daughter.  I'm so thankful for all of the love she has given me over the years.
I spent a lot of time in Aiken, South Carolina with my grandparents as a child.  The Lockridge's were neighbors with my grandparents.  Whenever I was in town, Mrs. Lockridge made sure that I went to church with them.  I may have spent the night with them on Saturday, or she would swing by before church, either way, she always made sure I was with her.  If I didn't pack church clothes, she made sure I had something to wear!
See, no one in my family goes to church.  I've gone to church with my family three times in my entire life.  And, those three times happened in the last three years.
Mrs. Lockridge laid the spiritual foundation in my life.  I wouldn't be where I am in my walk with Christ without the lengths that Mrs. Lockridge went for me.  We prayed at every meal at their house.  I'll never forget what Sunday's with the Lockridge's were like.  We woke up and went to church, Sunday School, Kroger, Victoria and I would play and come down in time for a delicious Sunday dinner. 
Pinned ImageIt's much more than the fact that she made sure I went to church when I was in town.  She taught me the importance of praying at every meal, the importance of bringing others to church, reading my Bible and loving others as Christ has loved us.  Something about the fact that she considers me her "adopted" daughter just warms my heart.  She didn't have to love me or take me in, but she did.  That's the kind of love that we should show everyone in our lives. 
I've probably never told her this, but I am so thankful for her commitment to seeing me grow in Christ.  My walk with Chris would not be where it is without her influence in my life.
Who has been your greatest spiritual influence?  What steps are you taking to be someones greatest spiritual influence?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wrecked Pt. 2

Yesterday, I told you about an opportunity that God put into my hands, that I immediately walked away from.  Today, I'm going to tell you about what happened shortly after I walked away from this opportunity.

I went to church that Sunday on a mission to make sure everyone knew that I did not want to step into this position, I was only doing it because my servants heart.  But, my servants heart was only going to serve until someone else qualified came around.  I was successful in my mission.  When I left that Sunday, everyone knew that I was not interested in stepping away from my role in eKidz to serve in this Volunteer Boot Camp role.

I was rethinking my actions and realized how I resembled a thirteen year old spoiled brat.  I was walking around figuratively stomping my feet about this opportunity.  When in actuality, it was a high honor that I would be asked to take this position.  My associate campus pastor took time out of his Saturday to call me and ask me to take this position on.  He said that he was looking for someone to set the bar high, and I was that person.

This is about that time that God began to slap me across my face.

I realized that I was making a bigger deal about the fact that it was something that I wasn't interested in.  I wasn't at all acknowledging the fact that it isn't always going to be about me.  But, it will always be about God's greater good.  It will always be about growing the Kingdom of Heaven.  I've been offered a unique opportunity to have a hands on part of getting people plugged into the great movement of God that is Elevation Church.
As soon as I made this realization, I was wrecked.  I had made a fool of myself in front of several people who I look up to.  I had embarrassed myself.  The moment I had a fresh mindset, I began to get pumped about this role.  I can't wait to be a part of the launch of this new program at Elevation - Uptown.
What opportunity has God given you the unique opportunity to do something great in and through, and you walked away from?  How can you reevaluate this great opportunity?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wrecked Pt. 1

Has God ever brought an opportunity to you and you instantly rejected?  It was outside of your comfort zone or too inconvenient.  You probably didn't spend anytime in prayer seeking God's provision on this opportunity.  You just turned it down and walked away immediately.  We've all done it...  I've been doing it the last few weeks.

To give you a quick back story... To become a volunteer at Elevation Church, you go through an Elevation style volunteer orientation.  You learn about the history of Elevation, The Code, The One Day Principle, the various areas you can serve in and many other things.  This 'orientation' is going through a revamping.  It's been called a First Experience.  Now, we are rolling out Volunteer Boot Camp.  It's an exciting change, really enforces the importance of being a part of Elevation Church.

I've been involved in the First Experience process since September of last year.  As the First Experience changes to Volunteer Boot Camp, my role is changing a little bit.  I have been asked to step into a role at Volunteer Boot Camp that will result in me moving away from eKidz.

Last week, the Uptown Associate Campus Pastor called me to ask me to step into the role of eKidz Boot Camp Coordinator.  He was looking for someone to set the bar high for eKidz and knew that I was the person for the position.  I immediately told him that I would do it, but only because there wasn't anyone else.  I proceeded to tell him that I would be actively searching for someone because I wasn't interested in moving away from my roole in eKidz.

God brought an opportunity to me and I instantly rejected it.  It was outside of my comfort zone and a little inconvenient.  I didn't spend anytime in prayer seeking God's provision on this opportunity.  I turned it down and walked away immediately.  We've all done it... I've been doing it the last few weeks. 

On Thursday, I'll post about how God wrecked me. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Munching Monday

Updates Are Available
Elevation Church started a series this weekend titled "Ghost Stories, A Not-So-Spooky Series on the Holy Spirit".  Pastor Steven opened this series with a powerful word from God on what the update that is the Holy Spirit.  See, in Exodus 32, Moses brought the law.  In Acts 2, we were sent the Holy Spirit to take Jesus' place on Earth.  The law was updated to the Holy Spirit.
The most important skill is learning how to listen to the Holy Spirit in every day life.
The greatest moments are when I receive an impression from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit knows the ways of God.  The Spirit in me allows me to know the ways of the Lord.
Love what you just read? Want to hear more? The entire message can be found for free at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00 (AM & PM) here, or you can download the podcast for free!

What I am munching on...
First and foremost, I am so thankful that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be my liaison between me and my Heavenly Father.  Because of the Holy Spirit in me, I am able to feel the Lord in my life, and know when to act on something.  The Holy Spirit is my conscious, reminding me not to do things that are wrong.  When I feel the Holy Spirit move in my life, I move.

A few weeks ago, I was discussing burning plows with my eStudents.  One kept mentioning 'burning' Netflix from her life because it was keeping her stuck in the lesser loser life and from living a Greater life.  But, she was very hesitant to act on the call to action.  As I was walking out of the room, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to challenge her to give up Netflix for one month.  Next thing you know, I was giving up Netflix with her as an accountability partner.

The Holy Spirit lives in each of us.  Learning to feel the Holy Spirit is something every believer needs to do. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What are You Chasing?

Pinned ImageHave you ever found yourself chasing an opportunity?  Maybe a job that seems perfect, a boy that is cute, a girl that is gorgeous?  I think we've all chased something one time another.  More often than not, the thing that we are chasing are wrong things.
Those who chase fantasies have no sense.
I've spent time over the last few months re-evaluating things I had been doing, plans I had set for myself and what I was doing with my life.  I spent a lot of time in prayer, asking God to reveal to me what I needed to change about myself.
You're chasing opportunities, Keirstin.  You aren't seeking My best for you. 
Well, to say that hit with anything less than a ton of bricks would be a lie.  I was running after things that I put in my own plans, not after what God was writing for my story.  God has an amazing plan for my life, and I was selling myself short.  The moment I realized that I was chasing the wrong opportunities, I stopped and began to seek God's guidance on the opportunities I should be chasing. 
God has a greater plan for your life than you could ever imagine.  God wants to do something amazing in your life, but He can't if you are chasing after your own opportunities. 
What opportunities in your life do you need to stop chasing to give God room to work?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Forgiving Sins

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive our debts, as wer forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
Pinned ImageIf you have been in church for any length of time, you've probably said that prayer.  I can imagine that a majority of you recite it every weekend.  But, have you ever taken the time to break that line about forgiveness down?
And forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
You've probably said that line in church more times than you can count.  I grew up in a church where we said it every weekend.  The entire congregation stood up and recited the Lord's prayer every Sunday.  But, have you ever thought about that verse?  Forgive as we forgive...
What if God forgave us as we forgave others?  Has anyone ever come to you seeking forgiveness, but you didn't offer it easily, or... at all?  What if you came before God in full repentance asking for forgiveness, but He didn't give it to you?  Is there someone who isn't in your life yet, but you need to forgive?
I couldn't shake this urgency to forgive everyone who I have yet to forgive after reading the Lord's Prayer in my quiet time last week.  All I could picture was myself standing before God sooner than I had hoped and I hadn't forgiven as I'd expect God to forgive me.
Who do you need to forgive in your life today?  You aren't promised tomorrow and the Bible says forgive me as I forgive others?
PS.  I did a whole week on forgiveness a while back.  Check out those; (Sermon Sunday, Forgiveness Is... , Forgiveness Is Not..., and Ephesians 4.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Things I Can't Say

Today I am linking up with Things I Can't Say! But, if it were things she couldn't say, it would be blank. So, it's more like things she can't say out loud!

If you've been reading .Redeemed. for any amount of time, you know that I lead a middle school girls eGroup.  If you are new to .Redeemed. and that is new information to you, you should read those two posts.  Then, you'll be up to speed on my life as an eGroup leader to middle school girls.

Today, I am pouring my heart out with things that I can't say.  I consider myself highly blessed to be a part of the eStudents at Elevation Church.  The saying around Elevation is that we don't have a student ministry, we are a student ministry.  There are about 20 girls, with regular attendance at a little less than 15 each week in my eGroup.  They are fabulous girls, who desire to grow closer to God and learn as much as they can from our time together.  The weight that is on my shoulders is huge and I don't take it lightly!  I desire to grow as close to God, so I can lead them close to Him, I desire to be a strong Christian role model in their life who they respect and look up to, and I desire to be someone who they come to when they don't feel like they can go to their parents. 

But... every story has a but, right?  Lately, some of these middle school girls have really gotten into their middle school teenage selves.  And, it's not pretty.  They aren't the most polite young ladies, they say what is ever on their mind no matter how unkind it may be, and they have little respect for anyone in a position of authority.

I'll admit that I was a teenager once, and my mom will tell you those were not my finest years.  I would argue about every little thing to the ground, slam doors and back talk at every opportunity...

The problem is, I feel like I expect a lot more out of the girls. Their blatant disrespect for their parents, teachers and myself breaks my heart.  I know that they are greater than that, but I can't figure out how to pull that greater potential out of them.  I'll ask them to put their phones away, so they hide their phone behind a pillow, I'll ask them to not talk while someone else is talking, so they whisper behind their hands, I'll ask them to not be rude, so they say it's just the truth.

I've left eGroup frustrated beyond reason the last few weeks.  I feel like I'm failing as an eGroup leader.  I can't figure out how to get my old, beautiful, sweet and kind eGroup girls back.

Things I Can't Say... Out loud... For an hour and a half once a week, could you put being a teenager aside and show me a little respect?  For an hour and a half once a week, could you be sweet to your eGroup leader who lives in Uptown Charlotte, but comes to Rock Hill for you?  For an hour and a half once a week, could you respect and honor everyone who has come to eGroup? 

PS.  I do love them and the opportunity to be a part of their lives.  They are just testing me right now! 

Reader... Feel free to pitch in any advice on middle school girls for me!  Feel free to drop an encouraging comment.  Feel free to tell me that even though I feel like I'm not making a difference, I am making an eternal investment in your life.  Anything really!  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Still Munching

I Don't Just Go, I am the Church
To close out I Know He is, But What am I?, each Elevation Church location heard a message from someone different. Elevation-Blakeney heard from Lysa Terkurst, Elevation-Matthews heard from John Bishop, Elevation-Uptown heard from Joel Delph and Larry Hubatka, Elevation-Rock Hill heard from Frank Bealer and Tim Fara, Elevation-Providence heard from Wade Joye, and Elevation-University heard from Larry Brey. It was an amazing weekend at Elevation!!

I went to Elevation-Uptown for their 9:15 worship experience on Sunday morning to hear Joel Delph and Larry Hubatka preach. I, aslo, went to Elevation-Matthews for their 6:00 worship experience on Sunday night to hear John Bishop.
I couldn't miss out on hearing any of them preaching this weekend.  John Bishop moved to Canada on Monday to start the first Elevation Church in a different country!  His obedience to God is admirable.  He was my campus pastor for over two years, and baptized me!  I had to hear him preach for the last time at Matthews. 
Just because you go to church, doesn't mean you are the church.  Just because you go to the Bank of America Stadium, doesn't make you a Panther player.
When you just go to church you're an outsider looking in.  When you are The Church, you're an insider reaching out.
When you just go to church, it's another thing to do.  When you are The Church, it affects everything you are.
If you are a Christian, you can't not be a part of The Church.
When you just go to church, change is an inconvenience.  When you are The Church, change is an invitation.
Love what you just read? Want to hear more? The entire message can be found for free at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00 (AM & PM) here, or you can download the podcast for free!

What I am munching on... Pinned Image
There is so much more to church than just Sunday attendance.  Church is being involved, playing your part, and inviting people.  John Bishop said, "If you are a foot, you are a foot.  You can't become a hand."  Meaning, God gave you a part to play in The Church.  If you are a foot, be the foot in your church.  Church involves community.  Get together with people outside of Sunday's.  At Elevation Church, we call them eGroups.

Church involves inviting people.  When you are a part of something, you want the people around you to be a part, too!  When you are a Christian, you should want the people around you to be Christians, too.  Bring them to church with you.  Be a bringer!!

Reader, be a part of the post! 
What part of the Body of Christ are you playing?  What part do you need to step up and play?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Munching Monday

Conflict Resolution
To close out I Know He is, But What am I?, each Elevation Church location heard a message from someone different.  Elevation-Blakeney heard from Lysa Terkurst, Elevation-Matthews heard from John Bishop, Elevation-Uptown heard from Joel Delph and Larry Hubatka, Elevation-Rock Hill heard from Frank Bealer and Tim Fara, Elevation-Providence heard from Wade Joye, and Elevation-University heard from Larry Brey.  It was an amazing weekend at Elevation!! 
I went to Elevation-Blakeney for their 6:45 worship experience on Saturday night to hear Lysa Terkurst.  And, I do not regret doing that!  She is an amazing woman of God, who speaks and writes with such openness and honesty with a bit of humor mixed in.  

4 Reactions in Conflict

1. Exploder Who Blames Others
Proverbs 10:19 - Pause before reacting.
2. Exploder Who Shames Themselves
Proverbs 12:19 - Add perspective
3. Stuffer Who Builds Barriers
Proverbs 10:18,21 - Build boundaries instead of barriers
4. Stuffer Who Collects Retaliation Rocks
Proverbs 10:14 - Am I trying to prove I'm right or improve the relationship because I can't do both?

Love what you just read? Want to hear more? The entire message can be found for free at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00 (AM & PM) here, or you can download the podcast for free!

What I am munching on...
Pinned ImageWithout a doubt, I am a stuffer.  My roommate and I went to see this sermon together, and she looked at me when Lysa began talking about stuffers.  Lysa said that stuffers favorite four letter word is F-I-N-E.  Oh, how true!! My roommate looked at me, and said, "I can tell when you are not fine."
Lysa went on to say that stuffers are peacemakers.  It may be a bad quality, but the good that comes out of it is peace making.  It is so true!  All I want to do is have peace in relationships.  I resist conflict.
I need to learn to build boundaries instead of boundaries and ask myself what I am trying to do in the relationship.  I don't want to ruin relationships because of my stuffing.  What happens is I stuff and then I explode.  Those are not good conflict resolution skills techniques.

Reader, get involved! What is your conflict resolution technique?  How do you relate to this sermon?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Figuring it Out Pt. 2

Yesterday, I wrote about making plans for myself and then God coming along and changing everything I ever wanted for myself.

Many are the plans in a person's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails

Where I am trying to go with this is that we should never get too settled in our own plans. When God comes along to uproot them and rearrange things, being set in your own plans makes you less willing to respond to what the Lord is saying.

Pinned ImageGod's plan for our lives is far greater than we could ever imagine.  I grew up thinking that I was going to be a teacher.  That is great and all.  But, God has huge plans for me to use my degree in Children's Ministry.

I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3 as I thinking about God and His always perfect timing.  Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for everything.  Having complete faith in God includes having complete faith in His timing.

I must constantly remind myself that the words in the Bible are true.  He is the light unto my path.  When it is time for me to make my next step, I will know where to go... if I allow Him to have complete control over where I am going.

I don't want to go where He isn't leading me.  I will take faith in His timing!  I will do what He has called me to do.  I will be patient while I wait for my next step.

Hey, you're reading this post!  Get involved in the conversation.
Have you ever had to have complete faith in the Lord's timing?  Was it hard?  What was the pay out in the end for waiting for the Lord instead of induldging in your own plans?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Figuring it Out Pt. 1

Have you ever thought that you had it all figured out?  You knew what college you were going to attend?  You knew how old you were going to be when you got married and how many children you had?  You knew what you'd be when you grew up?

All of my childhood I was certain that I was going to grow up to be a teacher.  I forced my best friend to sit with a row full of stuffed animals and dolls and play school for hours on end.  I'm so thankful she stuck around through that!  My first job was a camp counselor at the Boys and Girls Club at the age of 15.  I worked there for over three years.  I took college level early childhood classes in high school.  I quit the Boys and Girls Club to work at a preschool.  Nothing has brought me more joy in the last 7 years than seeing children grasp the concepts I taught them.  I love teaching, I love seeing children learn new things, I love hearing children laugh... I was born to be a teacher, right?

About three years ago, God planted a little bug in my ear that He has greater plans for me.  I pushed that little bug far away because it didn't follow my life plan.  I was going to be a teacher.  Last year, God did everything in His power to remove me from my last two classes to complete my Early Childhood Degree.  God was audibly telling me that He had bigger plans.  Left with no other options, I took a semester off of school and soul searched.

Pinned ImageI am now a student at Liberty University Online, pursing a Bachelors degree in Religion with plans to continue on for a Masters in Children's Ministry.  For the first time since last year, I was feeling like everything was falling into place...

...Until I realized I had no idea how I was going to use this degree.  I have one plan for myself.  I have no back up plan. I don't know how willing to compromise I am.  I tried pursing the one plan I had for myself and felt like it was pointless.  I left feeling defeated and like I'd hit another roadblock.

Have you ever had it all figured out until something changed your life plans?

If you come back on Thursday, I'll tell you where I'm going with this post... 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Munching Monday

I Know He is, But What am I?
Student Takeover Edition
Sixteen & Pregnant
Elevation Church does not have a Student Minsitry.  We are a student ministry.  Once a year, we like to get our eStudents front and center.  In the past, they've gone to the Forward Conference and Crossroads.  This year, they took over Charlotte and Elevation Church.  They went to the U.S. National White Water Center on Friday, served their city and partied on Saturday and took over the worship experiences Sunday.  It was an increadible weekend.

This is a bit from Pastor Steven's sermon this weekend...

1. It may not go as I'm expecting. But I am obsessed with who I am becoming.

2. It may feel lonely to stand for Christ. But I am never alone as I walk with Him.

4. It may be costly to do God's will. But I am confident in His reward.

You'll have to listen to the entire sermon to see how It may... But I am relates to the passage where the virgin Mary finds out she is pregnant, and why the sermon is titled Sixteen and Pregnant.  The entire message can be found for free at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00 (AM & PM) here, or you can download the podcast for free!

PS. You aren't reading that wrong.  There is no point three.  Pastor Steven rarely gets through all of his points.  He shared number four instead of number three.

What I am munching on...

Have you ever felt drained?  Have you ever felt like your body was running on empty and there was no where else for you to go?  I was feeling that way this weekend.  The enemy knows I have potential to do great things in my eStudents lives.  The enemy was doing everything in its power to make sure that I didn't do those great things during Student Takeover.  My body was tired from lack of sleep, but my heart was also tired from people running me down.

I sat in the 9:30 worship experience.  Pastor Steven's fourth point, It may be costly to do God's will, but I am confident in His reward rocked my world.  I needed those words.  Preparing for Student Takeover weekend as well as the weekend itself was not only financially costly, but physically and mentally costly.  That point, made me realize that it may be costly, but the reward is worth it.

I am being obedient to what God has called me to do, so that is totally worth it! God has uniquely positioned ME to impact their lives.  I am making an eternal investment in my eStudent's lives.  I have the opportunity to minister to them each week, pour into them and speak straight to their hearts!  God has given me permission to change their lives.  All costs aside, being a part of the eStudents at Elevation Church is always worth it!

Reader... What about those points stands out to you?  What is your "It may... But I am..."?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Respect Pt. 2

I ended Tuesdays post by asking you if you thought I was crazy and if I was alone in thinking that we need to be held to a higher level of respect these days...

I don't think I'm alone. I just came across this article of a restaurant in LA that will give you a discount if you leave your phone at the hostess station while eating! They are encouraging visitors to spend more time with the people they came with than their phones.

Maybe some biblical references will drive my point home...

Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law of the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

I know that it ticks me off when I am sitting down to dinner with a friend and they are constantly checking their phone.  I know that it drives me bonkers when one of the girls in my eGroup pulls out their phone during eGroup.  This is why I hold myself to a higher standard and refuse to sit on my phone while I am with other people.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.

One way that I can devote myself in honor is through respecting them enough to get off of my phone.  One way that you can devote yourself in honor is by giving preference to the people you are with over your iPhone, iPad, iTouch, iPod, or whatever techy device you have. 

Render to all what is due to them: tax to who tax is due; custom to who custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

I believe that honor is due to the people that I spend time with.  You should believe that honor and respect are due to the people you spend your time with.  You can give them that level of respect that you believe is owed to them by giving them your undivided attention when you're together.

Was this not enough for you?  Feel free to look up respect, honor or any other synonym to respect in the Bible.  You'll find plenty of biblical references to back up my point.  They may not have had Apple products or smart phones when the Bible was written.  Thankfully, the Bible is a timeless book that will always be relevant.

So, Reader... What are your thoughts?