Saturday, March 31, 2012

Reflection Friday

If you are new to .Redeemed., I lead a middle school girls eGroup. Thursday evenings with the girls is one of my favorite parts of the week. They are an amazing group of girls and they teach me as much as I teach them.

Last night, I had three of the girls from the eGroup spend the night with me.  I hope you can forgive me for not posting Reflection Friday last night. 

Icebreaker: What is an awkward situation you have been in recently?

Pinned ImageDiscussion Highlights:  This week, I took a night off from discussing when God writes your love story.  We have been having eGroup for seven months.  In the last three months, we have grown from a steady five girls attending to an average of ten girls.  This is fabulous.  I felt this was a great time to take a week from the book and discuss some expectations of the eGroup.

- A lack of preparation for eGroup shows a lack of respect to God, the other eGroup members and myself. 
- God wants to do something big in your life.  Allow Him to by opening your heart to Him.
- We can show respect for each other during discussion time by making sure that everything we say is biblical, beneficial and brief.

Closing:  I reminded them that I love them more than they know!  Gathering on Thursday evenings for eGroup is one of my favorite things to do.  Everything I said came from a place of love.

During the Week: We have/had two volunteer opportunities.  Today, there was a 5k that needed volunteers to help set up and tear down. The 5k was to raise money and awareness about how to get clean water to Africa.  Water is Basic is the organization who held the 5k today.  Tomorrow, after the 6:00pm worship experience, there will be an opportunity for students to put candy in Easter eggs for Elevation's outreach partners.  We went to see the Hunger Games together.

Next Week:  We will be having a special Easter eGroup meeting.  We will worship together, discuss Easter and take communion together. 

Personal Reflection: I was certain that the girls were going to hate me after I had this conversation with them.  I had been dreading it, but at the same time, I had complete peace about it.  I knew that it needed to be said.  You can look back at the last few Reflection Friday posts, I have been a bit frustrated after each eGroup.  They took the discussion very well. They listened and afterwards said that they appreciated me saying it.  I was worried about it being awkward.  Obviously, it was only awkward for me.

Personal Highlight: This week, we had one new girl!  That is three weeks in a row that we have had new girls!  I love that my girls are bringers - to eGroup and to church!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I am taking an evangelism class this semester at Liberty University Online.  My latest assignment was to write out my testimony in a page.  The reason for having to condense it to one page, was most of the time we only have a few minutes to capture someone with our testimony.  We need to be able to effectively communicate the main points of our testimony.  But, I am very wordy and love to write.  I figured here was a great place to share my testimony.  As a self-proclaimed Christian blogger, sharing my testimony is something I should have done right when I started.

I was 19, living on my own, working full-time, going to school full-time, and trying to figure out who I was.  I was attending Elevation Church, spending many nights with my boyfriend and addicted to shopping.  When I say addicted, I don't mean that I enjoyed shopping.  I mean, I would go to the mall on my lunch break every day and spend over $100 in an hour.  I had spent the majority of the money in my $2,000 savings account that I started out with when I moved out. 

Labor Day weekend, I went to Myrtle Beach with a friend.  I checked my bank account before we left, and I was sure that I had plenty of money to enjoy some Labor Day weekend shopping.  We shopped until we dropped three days in a row.  We hit every store possible in Myrtle Beach at least once.  We came back every day with our arms full of bags.

I came home Monday evening, and checked my bank account again.  Over -$400How could that have happened?  What could I have done?  How was I going to recover from this?  I had cleaned out my savings account and was still over $400 in the negative.  Because of all of the times I swiped my card, the fees were going to be more than I was in the negative!!! Who was I going to call?  I had too much pride to tell anyone what I had done.  Finally, I called my mom.  I was shaking, tears rolling down my face, terrified of what she would have to say, I told her what had happened.  She had just enough money in her bank account to cover the fees AND the negative.  She came right over, and cleaned out her bank account to help me out.

This was a huge wake up call.  I was a hot mess.  My boyfriend and I had just broken up for the last time.  I was trying to fill the void that he left in my heart.  I was trying to make myself happy through having new clothes.  WAKE UP CALL!!  The void was not being filled.

On September 20th, 2009, I went to church like any other Sunday.  The one week series was titled Student Takeover.  Everything that Pastor Steven said hit home.  He asked four questions in the sermon that made so much sense to me. 

What is that in your hand?  A question of calling.
Am I trying to win the approval of men or of God?  A question of acceptance.
How can a young man keep his way pure?  A question of integrity.
Who do you say that I am?  A question of eternity.

I think the second point hit home the most.  Am I trying to win the approval of men or God?  I was living for the approval of men.  Pastor Steven helped me realize that this was not the way to live.  I prayed to accept Christ into my heart that night.  I asked Christ to forgive me for my sins and take away my need to fill any void with shopping.

To this day, I have no interest in shopping.  Only God could have taken that addiction from me.  He took the addiction and filled that place in my life with a love for God, serving the Lord and living a life for Christ.

I still struggle with living like Christ did.  I still struggle with devoting all of my life to Christ.  I still struggle with doing the right thing at all times.  Every Christian does.  Accepting Christ as your Savior does not take all of your pain and struggles away.  What it does do is gives you hope that God is on your side.  You have a reason to keep trying.   You have a reason to keep living a life of integrity.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sermon Sunday

Whoops!  I did not post last weekend's Sermon Sunday.  Below is last weekend's sermon notes, because this weekend is a highlight reel Code Orange Revival Remix.

Grey Matter Week Four
Constant Courage, Unchangeable Situations and an Unchanging God

Constant Courage - God won't give you courage in if you don't build up courage before.  (vs. 10)

Unchanging Situation - An an unchanging situation is no match for an unchanging God.

God always has a back up plan.

You can visit the Elevation Church website to watch the entire sermon for free.

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Personal Reflection:  This was a fabulous sermon.  To be honest, I had never heard a preaching on Daniel in the Lions Den.  I love how God always come through.  We just have to have faith in God before, during and after our trials.  This statement seems so simple, but there are few Christians who follow through.
I enjoyed this sermon, because it was a great reminder that I need to build up my faith in the Lord before I go through something, so that when I am in the struggle it is no big deal.  I will be confident in who the Lord is because I have a firm ground to stand upon.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Reflection Friday

If you are new to .Redeemed., I lead a middle school girls eGroup. Thursday evenings with the girls is one of my favorite parts of the week. They are an amazing group of girls and they teach me as much as I teach them.
If you've been reading .Redeemed. for a while, you probably thought I disappeared.  Sorry for not blogging this week.  I have had a lot on my mind that I'm trying to process before writing.  I'm sorry!

Icebreaker: Full Name...  Several of the girls in the eGroup are new.  I thought it would be fun for us to all share our full names.  We had a lot of laughs!

Discussion: This week we discussed chapter nine in when God writes your love story by Eric and Leslie Ludy. Chapter nine is titled, Can the Sweeter Song be a Solo? 

Discussion Highlights:
- What should your mindset be while you are single?
- How can your behavior while you are single honor your husband?
- 1 Corinthians 7

Closing: We wrapped up covering some housekeeping items.  We have a busy next few weeks.  I shared some exciting things coming up in the Summer!

During the Week: The girls will be reading chapter ten in the book.  On Saturday, we will be going to an assisted living facility and hosting BINGO for the residents.

Next Week: We will discuss chapter ten together.

Personal Reflection:  The bigger our eGroup gets, the less we stay focused.  I strongly believe that the message that God has given me to teach these girls can redirect their lives from what culture says is appropriate to what the Bible says is appropriate.  But, if we spend the entire eGroup having side conversations and discussing the latest drama, I can't help them get to a place in their life that will glorify God.  I think I let my frustration show a bit too much.  I am seeking advice and praying through a way to handle this with mentors and God. 
Personal Highlight: The two new girls from last week came back!  They came together with two more friends!  Isn't this amazing?!  I love seeing the group grow, and the girls excited to bring friends. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Reflection Friday

If you are new to .Redeemed., I lead a middle school girls eGroup. Thursday evenings with the girls is one of my favorite parts of the week. They are an amazing group of girls and they teach me as much as I teach them.

Icebreaker: What if... I have a bag of over twenty 'What if" questions.  This is their favorite icebreaker.  I don't do it often because we can spend over thirty minutes on this icebreaker depending on the amount of girls.
Discussion: This week we got back to when God writes your love story by Eric and Leslie Ludy.  We discussed chapter eight, titled Romantic Heroism. This chapter is all about how romance can and should be heroic.

Discussion Highlights:
- What can we learn from Penelope's story of waiting for her husband to return?
- What has God done to show us that He is the Inventor of Love and Author of Romance?
- Why should God be at the center of our relationships?

Closing: We wrapped up our discussion by sharing personal prayer requests.

During the Week: The girls will be reading chapter nine in the book.  We have an outing together on Saturday and an outreach project on Sunday!  On Saturday, we will be meeting at the park to enjoy lunch, do our nails together and just having a good time!  On Sunday, we will be hosting the Children's Attention Home at Elevation - Rock Hill! 

Next Week: We will discuss chapter nine together.

Personal Reflection:  The girls were all over the place last night.  We meet for an hour and a half.  The first fifteen minutes, give or take a few, are for the girls to talk, catch up on their weeks, and wait for everyone to arrive.  The next fifteen minutes, give or take a few, are for prayer and the icebreaker.  The following forty-five minutes are for discussion.  The last fifteen minutes are for closing prayer, housekeeping and snack.  I feel like there is plenty of time for the girls to converse about unrelated topic.  I want them to enjoy coming, but at the same time, I struggle with keeping them focused during those forty-five minutes.  A topic will start appropriate and end somewhere completely different! 

Personal Highlight: We had two new girls tonight!  One of them signed up at the eGroup Push a few months ago.  She had not been able to attend yet.  She brought a friend with her.  They both enjoyed it and can't wait to come back!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Timing is Everything

Yesterday, I wrote about my one relationship and the things that I can't say out loud about it.  Today, I will write about something I can say out loud and believe.  It is a follow up to yesterday's post. 

God is perfect.  God's timing is perfect.  God's plan is perfect.

Pinned ImageThere was a period of time that I wished I would have fought more and that my ex-boyfriend wasn't my ex anymore.  But, if he was not my ex, I would not have grown as much as I have in the last two and a half years.

The most important things that God has taught me about dating in the last two and a half years are that I should not waste my time on some random guy, it is okay to be single and I need to begin doing my husband good before I am his wife!

I can't be upset that God didn't keep my ex-boyfriend in my life longer.  I would have missed out on every amazing moment that I have been a part of over the last two and a half years.  I am actually thankful that God allowed what happened to happen so that I could do everything I've done in the last two and a half years.

Wednesday, March 14, 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!

I have wanted to write about this topic for months.  Before people actually read my blog, I would have had no problem putting this out there.  Now that people actually read my blog, there are some things that I just don't want to write about.

But, I am about to burst.  I need to get this off of my chest.  What is the point of having a blog if you can't write about the things that you can't say out loud?

Once upon a time, I guy friend of mine introduced me to a friend of his.  Now, by introduced I mean, he gave me his AIM screen name and we IMed each other!  We got to know each other through AIM.  Out first date was a double date with one of my friends and one of his friends.  It was a blind date of sorts.  We went to the movies at Concord Mills Mall.

Our first picture together. Cute, huh?
On January 29th, 2006, He asked me to be his girlfriend.  The first year we dated was filled with laughter, good memories and lots of loved.  The second year we dated was filled with lounging on his grandparents couch, silly arguments and not as much love.  The third year we dated was filled with a lot of arguments, a lot of pretending we were happy and little love.  The last six months that we were together was spent trying to figure out what happened, if it was salvageable.  Finally, we both gave up.

One of our last pictures together.

It took two and a half years for me to stop hating myself for not trying hard enough, stop wishing that we were still together, stop hating myself for not being a better girlfriend, stop reviewing each argument, stop missing every happy memory and stop imagining us reuniting and living happily ever after.

I haven't figured out how to stop thinking about him, wishing that he was doing well, and hoping that God is moving in his life.  I pray for him daily.  I may not want us to be a couple again, but I do still care about him and hope that he is doing well! 

We only talk when I facebook message him.  I don't do this often.  About every six months or so.  I imagine that he doesn't want to hear from me, so I don't bother him unless I really feel God beating me down to send him a little message.  I do want him to know that someone is praying for him, though. 

My favorite picture of us.
The things I can't say out loud?  I miss having him as a friend!  I miss being able to tell someone everything.  I miss our friendship.  I hate that we ruined a perfectly good friendship.  I wish I could just call him up and talk to him whenever I wanted.  I wish I didn't think that he hates me now.

I have a post scheduled for tomorrow about something that I can say out loud, and that I strongly believe as a follow up to this rather sad post.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Yesterday, I posted my sermon notes from this weekend at Elevation Church.  I wrote that I had too many personal reflections to put in a paragraph.

I have been reflecting on how much I tithe recently.  H&R Block seem to think that the amount that I give to charity is unreasonable and impossible.  That is basically what the program told my mom when she put in the amount that I tithed and gave to charity in 2011.  Well, that was breeding ground for the devil.

I keep thinking that maybe I should tithe less and give more to charity, but still have it equal to 20%.  I didn't do it.  It was just a thought that I couldn't get out of my head.  I mean, I don't want to start causing trouble with my taxes because I give too much. 

Don't go anywhere!  I have another example for how the sermon hit home!

Pinned ImageWhen Pastor said, we can make plans and trust God, my mind was blown.  I have been trying so hard to find a balance between being the planner that I naturally am and trusting God.  I couldn't find a comfortable balance between the two, because it isn't either-or.  It is both-and!

I can plan for my future and trust in God!  He is directing my steps!!

This comforts be because, my plan can be off, but the Lord of the Earth is directing my steps.  No matter what, I will end up where I am suppose to be!

Week Three of Grey Matter made me realize that if God can do both, I can do both, too! I can continue to tithe 20% AND give to charity.  I can make plans AND trust in God!  When you put an or where God put an and you become a hypocrite!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sermon Sunday

Grey Matter Week Three
He is Big Enough for Both - Dumb Dichotomies

Dichotomy - A division into two mutually exclusive contradictory groups.

Divine Dichotomies -
Choose Life / Choose Death - Deuteronomy 30:19
One God / Many gods - 1 Kings 18:21
Worship God / Worship Money - Matthew 6:24
Spirit / Flesh - Galatians 5:16-17

Where people want to put OR, God put AND - John 1:14

Dumb Dichotomies -
Make Plans OR AND Trust God - Proverbs 16:9
Be Successful OR AND Stay Humble - James 4:10
Give Money Away OR AND Enjoy His Blessings - Proverbs 3:9

When you put an OR where God puts an AND you become a hypocrite.

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Visit Elevation Network at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00 AM and PM to get the entire message!

Personal Reflection:  This sermon was perfect for me!  I have too much to reflect on to fit here!  There is a post scheduled for tomorrow with a more in depth personal reflection.  The sermon seems like a DUH! kind of message, but it was absolutely perfect for me.  God is big enough for both!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Reflection Friday

If you are new to .Redeemed., I lead a middle school girls eGroup. Thursday evenings with the girls is one of my favorite parts of the week. They are an amazing group of girls and they teach me as much as I teach them. 

Icebreaker: How do you deal with conflict?

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Discussion: Typically our eGroup's focus is when God writes your love story by Eric and Leslie LudyLast week, we finished part one of the book.  We paused the book for a week to talk about conflict.  How to deal with conflict in a biblical way was the discussion title! 

Discussion Highlights:
- What does Matthew 18:15-17 say about dealing with conflict?
- When is a good time to be silent in an argument?  Psalm 4:4
- How can we deal with a disagreement and still do what is right in God's eyes?  Deuteronomy 6:18

Closing: I created a Word document with a few practical and biblical ways to deal with conflict for each of the girls to take home.  We closed in prayer and had some funfetti cake cookies! 

During the Week: The girls will be reading chapter eight in the book.

Next Week:  We will discuss chapter eight together.  Chapter eight is titled Romantic Heroism.

Pinned ImagePersonal Reflection:  The Lord put last nights topic on my heart over two weeks ago.  I was hearing about and seeing too many facebook posts about fights the girls were having.  I read through countless websites, countless Bible verses, countless small group outlines and combined everything I loved to our hour discussion.

Personal Highlight: God's timing is amazing!  Wednesday evening three of the girls in the eGroup got in an argument.  One of them came to eGroup and was able to learn about how to deal with conflict in a Christ-like way.  I am praying that she took what she learned back to her conflict with her two friends and was able to shed a positive light on Christ. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Insignificant Things About Me

Since, I will not be writing about the things that God is teaching me right now, I thought I could spend some time letting you have the opportunity of getting to know me! I got the idea from Holly Furtick.  She wrote ten "insignificant things" about herself on her blog last week.  (Holly Furtick is the amazing women behind my pastor, Pastor Steven Furtick.)

1. I will not get into my bed to go to bed unless the bed is made!
2. I hate reading but love buying books!
3. I could eat Ramen, made on the stove, every day of my life.  (Side note - My roommate cooks her Ramen in the microwave and I think that is weird.  She thinks it is weird that I cook Ramen on the stove.)
4. Six months ago, I hated the gym and running.  I am addicted now!
5. My best friend and I have known each other since I was 6 and she was 4.  (We are 22 and 20 now!)
6. I prefer Twitter over Facebook.  140 characters is plenty of room to say what needs to be said!
7. I am my own worst critique.  I strive to do nothing less than my best and beat myself up for days if I feel like I didn't give my best.
8. I had a turkey and swiss cheese sandwich with pickles and dijon mustard today.  Totally random that I actually wanted that because I hate turkey and swiss cheese...
9. I got an email today to save the date for Camp Horizon.  This is a 4 day over night Down Syndrome camp that I volunteer at every year.  This year will be my fifth year!
10. I need a vacation.

Tell me at least one random fact about yourself.  Do we have anything in common?  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sermon Sunday

Grey Matter Week Two
Go Back to the Black and White
Pastor Steven Furtick came out with a powerful mini-pre-sermon during the worship! 
- Nothing is over when God is on our side.
- Something is happening even when it seems like nothing is happening.
Isn't that good?  I mean it was less than five minutes, but he was preaching good!  He was introducing a new song that the worship team wrote.  The worship team sang the song and then Pastor got up there and preached week two of Grey Matter!
Just because it is hard doesn't mean that He didn't lead you there.
When the devil brings up a situation that isn't clear bring up Biblical truth that is clear. (Matthew 4:4)
When you are lost in what is grey, go back to what is black and white. 
Jesus was able to stand firm in what He knew to be true because He had just experienced something so amazing.  (Matthew 3:13-17)
You may not know what is about to happen but you can look back at His affirmations.
Visit Elevation Network at 12:00, 4:00 and 8:00 AM and PM to get the entire message!

Pinned ImagePersonal Reflection:  First and foremost, I realize every weekend how blessed I am to be a part of Elevation Church.  I am blessed beyond measure to be led in worship by a top notch worship team.  I am blessed beyond measure to sit under the teaching of Pastor Steven.  He only preaches what the Lord puts on His heart.  I love hearing his passion in each sermon!
The biggest take away from this sermon for me was, When you are lost in what God is saying, go back to what He has said.
I may not be facing a struggle in my life right now.  I am pleased to say my life has a beautiful balance; no struggles, no disagreements, nothing to worry about.  But, I am rapidly writing down everything Pastor says because I am not so foolish as to think that I will not ever go through another struggle or challenge in my life.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


You may have noticed that I was a bit silent on the blog this week, besides my Reflection Friday post.  I have truly missed blogging, writing to you, updating you on my life, getting my thoughts out of my head and into the blogesphere.  But, the silence has been and will continue to be necessary for a while. 

I bet you are wondering why.  I hope you are wondering why!

I started New Thru 30.  Wow!  Making myself be in the Word everyday is powerful!  I talk to God constantly, but through the last week or so of New Thru 30, I have heard from God so much!  Not really about what I am reading, how I can apply what I am reading or anything like that.  More about things that I have been struggling with, I am finally beginning to hear His answers!

Pinned ImageThe typical Keirstin would call up a few friends the moment that she hears God tell her something.  She would begin asking their take on the revelation.  This would instantly cloud her judgement and begin to put more of a focus on what her mentors and peers have to say than what God has to say.

I am beginning to learn that this is not the best way to better understand what God is saying to me.

In the past two weeks, God has revealed two major things to me.  One of the things that He revealed to me, I have been asking Him for truth about for over a year.  The other stems from the first.  He blew my mind when I finally heard Him speak to me about this.

Anyway, I have taken a vow of silence for now about the situation.  I still have a few questions.  I haven't talked to anyone but God about any of this.  I am waiting to have a clear answer from Him until I begin blabbing my big mouth about what God has said to me.

Don't you worry!  There will still be a Reflection Friday and Sermon Sunday.  Probably even a Hey, It's Okay or two.  But, between work, New Thru 30 and tuning into God in every way possible, I am a bit occupied right now.

Please don't stop reading though!  Tune into my Twitter for updates on new blog posts, if you want to stop checking in regularly.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Reflection Friday

If you are new to .Redeemed., I lead a middle school girls eGroup. Thursday evenings with the girls is one of my favorite parts of the week. They are an amazing group of girls and they teach me as much as I teach them. 

This is week two of the new style for the Reflection Friday post! I would love to transform this into a way for the girls in my eGroup to look to this as summary of what we did if they missed eGroup and make this a guide for small group leaders!

Icebreaker: Woah!  The icebreaker took nearly 30 minutes!  I asked everyone to share what their first experience at Elevation Church was like.  To my surprise, every one's reaction was basically the same - they loved it!  This made me happy!!

Discussion: Our eGroup's focus is when God writes your love story by Eric and Leslie Ludy.  We finished our discussion on chapter six and discussed chapter seven.  The chapters all blend together, so most of our conversations start with the same questions, but turn into something different through the conversations 

Discussion Highlights:
- What do your friendships with boys look like now?
- How could you change those friendships to guard your heart more?
- What can you do now to be a one-man women?

Closing: I closed our meeting by asking the girls to spend some time this week writing what kind of wife they want to be.  One of the girls closed us in prayer.

During the Week: The girls are going to begin thinking of the kind of wife they want to be.  Each girl went home with five verses that they are going to look up through the week and begin to think of how they can relate it to conflict.

Next Week:  God put it on my heart for us to discuss conflict next week.  The girls each have four verses that they are going to teach to the group next week and explain how it relates to conflict.

Pinned ImagePersonal Reflection:  As the eGroup grows, I am having to grow as a leader.  I realized tonight that I need to learn how to get those who talk too much to talk less, and those who talk too little to talk more, without shutting anyone up or making anyone feel uncomfortable.  Oh the joys of being a leader.  eGroup was a bit crazy last night.  We had a hard time staying on topic.  There is a fine line between having appropriate conversation and inappropriate conversations.  The girls only see each other once a week, so I want them to have time to talk to each other about their weeks.  But, I want us to be able to discuss our book, as well.  This week, I read something that said, Small group discussions should stay in the three B's - Brief, Biblical, and Beneficial.  That is how our conversations need to be!

Personal Highlight:  For the first time ever, we actually got ALL THE WAY THROUGH my outline for the night.  We stopped and had a round of applause!!