Monday, July 30, 2012

Who am I?

The reader family of .Redeemed. has exploded over the last few months.  It is amazing.  Each post is getting between 20 and 30 views.  For you seasoned bloggers, that may not seem exciting, but it is exciting to me.  My words are being read across the world.

I wanted to take some time over the next few days to formally introduce myself to all the new readers, tell you why I write and introduce the new format of .Redeemed.

My name is Keirstin.  I live in Charlotte, North Carolina but call Aiken, South Carolina home.  I am the oldest of three.  I love my parents.  I have been in the child care field since I was 15.  I am currently a nanny to two beautiful children.  I consider it a blessing to get to be a part of their lives.  I attend, give and serve at Elevation Church. 

I first attended Elevation in March of 2009 and was uneasy about the experience.  The VIP volunteer who called me that week asking me about my experience is the reason that I am still at Elevation.  In September of 2009, Pastor Steven preached a message titled Student Takeover.  The words that God gave him to preach, changed my life.  I accepted Christ that day.  In February of 2010, I began volunteering in eKidz.  Easter of 2010, I was baptized.  I was a part of the launch team of the Rock Hill campus in September of 2011.  I am now the eKidz Coordinator at Elevation - Uptown.

I have one of those ordinary stories before Christ.  I attended a Methodist with my best friend my entire life.  I wasn't addicted to drugs or alcohol or anything.  I was a pretty good kid growing up.  I did everything I did to fulfill my own needs; fulfillment through boys, fulfillment through food, and fulfillment through shopping.  The moment I realized that I couldn't be completely fulfilled in life without Christ, my whole life changed.  Although my story is ordinary, it is still a story of life change, not insignificant in the eyes of God and is totally worth sharing to the world.

Other important things to know about me - My favorite colors are pink and orange.  I have a tattoo, it's new and it's very exciting to be able to say I have one!  I love living in the south.  I am a beach bum who wears Rainbows year round.  Anything below 75 is cold to me.  I lead the most amazing middle school girls eGroup.  Death terrifies me, you can go ahead and give me some lecture on how if I am a Christian I have nothing to fear.  I'll give you the lecture back that everyone who I have ever seen die has suffered a slow miserable death.  Afterlife doesn't scare me.  I am majoring in Religion at Liberty University Online with plans to graduate in Summer 2013.

Join the Conversation - Tell me a little bit about yourself.  Do we have anything in common?

Monday, July 23, 2012

#overduevaca Review

Two weeks ago, I went on a long overdue vacation.  If you follow me on twitter, you probably saw a series of tweets with the hashtag #overduevaca.  That's what I deemed this vacation.  I know you are dying for full details of my #overduevaca.

Sunday - I went to Elevation Church in the morning and it was amazing!  We had a First Experience, which is Elevation style volunteer orientation.  I got four people signed up for eKidz.  That never gets old!  I left straight from church and headed to Charleston, South Carolina.  It is my second favorite place in the world to be.  I went to one of my best friend's, Emily's house.  She lives near downtown Charleston.  We drove to Folly Beach and were going to have a drink on the beach at Blu.  She ran into someone that she knows.  He bought us some yummy pina coladas.  I had been in Charleston for less than an hour and had a free drink in my hand on the beach.  We left there to have dinner with her parents.  Her mom made shrimp and grits - probably my favorite meal.  We went from there to her house.  Her roommate wasn't feeling well, and we spent the rest of the evening in the ER with her roommate.

Monday - We thought Emily was going to have to work.  As I was getting ready to head our different ways, her boss called to say that she didn't have to work.  How fabulous?  We went to North Charleston and picked up my best friend.  From there, we headed to Isle of Palms, ate at Coconut Joe's and relaxed on the beach for hours.  Emily and I took Victoria home and headed back to Charleston.  We had dinner at Taco Boy, I had the best quesadilla I have ever had before!  Emily and I went for a walk on the harbor and enjoyed some Starbucks.

Tuesday - Emily and I went to Folly Beach for a few hours.  We met her parents at Lost Dog for lunch and headed home to shower.  On my way down to Charleston on Sunday, I told Emily that she was going to take me to get my first tattoo.  My time with Emily was coming to a close, so we made a call to where she got her third tattoo done.  They had no availability.  We called Holy City.  I got my first tattoo!!!  I can't put into words my excitement about finally having this, I've wanted it for nearly three years!  Emily and I walked around downtown for a while and went back to her house to get ready for dinner.  We went to Osteria for dinner.  Emily knows the owner of this lovely Italian restaurant, and he brought us a glass of champagne on the house.  We ended the evening with dessert at the restaurant she works at, Halls Chophouse.  I met Mrs. Hall and had some of the most amazing chocolate cake that I've ever had before.

Wednesday - Emily had a dentist appointment in the morning.  I headed to North Charleston to spend some time with Victoria.  We've been best friends since we met sixteen years ago!  We went to the Charleston Outlets, had lunch at Buffloa Wild Wings, went to see Snow White and spent some QT together.  Sadly, I have no pictures from this day!  We had a great time though.

Thursday - Victoria had to head home to get to her guitar lessons, Emily had to work, and I had to get home to lead my amazing eGroup!  Before leaving, Victoria and I snapped this great picture of us!  I headed home for a little nap and went to Rock Hill to lead my eGroup.  At eGroup, we talked about how we do and how we should present ourselves on social media sites.  It wasn't as tough of a discussion as I thought it was going to be. 

Friday - I spent the day doing homework.  My roommate, Kati has been trying to get me to go out with her the entire year that we have lived together.  She normally goes out on Saturday nights, and I can say that I can't go out because I have to get up for church the next morning.  She invited me to go out, and I had no excuse.  So, I went out with her.  We met some of her friends at the Selwyn Pub for dinner and drinks.  After dinner, we went to Andrew Blair's.  My only thought on the evening is that it wasn't really my scene.  I got home around 1:30am and was completely overwhelmed from being outside of my comfort zone.

Saturday - I woke up at 11:00 and was sitting at Panera eating lunch and doing homework by 1:00.  I went to Elevation - Blakeney with one of the girls from my eGroup.  Pastor Steven was back with the first sermon in the series Room 101.  It was a powerful sermon on facing our fears.

Sunday - I wrapped up my #overduevaca at Elevation - Uptown.  I got three people committed to serving in eKidz, all in areas that need help.  I love plugging people into the current of God and seeing them grow in their sweet spots.

I apologize for the long 'summary' of my vacation.  I truly had an amazing week off.  But, it was great to be back at work last week.  It is a huge blessing to have a job that I miss when I'm off and look forward to going back to.  My entire life is a huge blessing.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Social Media Fast Reflection

Last week, my middle school eGroup took some time to look at what the Bible says about social media and gossip.  It took some digging, but I felt some great Bible verses to relate to the topic of social media.  From what we read in Matthew 12:36, Proverbs 17:28 and 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, the Bible doesn't take the subject of how we present ourselves on social media lightly.

I challenged each of the girls to take a week to fast from social media.  We pledged together to take seven days to fast from all social media platforms in order to seek God's wisdom on how we could use social media to advance the Kingdom of God.  When craving time on any social media site, we pledged to turn to the Bible or to the Lord in prayer and seek His guidance on how we could present the Gospel through social media. 

Their first reaction to the challenge was what you would expect from a group of 10 to 14 year olds - panic.  They didn't know what they were going to do without their time on the social media sites.  Through conversations during the week, they seemed to be handling it better than they thought. 

My Reflection from the Week: If you follow me on twitter, you know that I am a bit addicted.  And, by a bit, I mean, I have a serious problem.  I do not post on facebook often.  I keep facebook around to keep track of my middle school girls and stay in touch with people who aren't on twitter.  I love Pinterest.  Obviously, I am in love with my blog.  I do not have a cool techie smart phone, so I am not on Instagram.

I had a terribly hard time being away from twitter.  Every situation that I was in, I wanted to tweet about it, mention people and hash tag it something catchy.  I hated not being in the loop on what was going on in the social media world.

Taking the time away was great for me!  I was able to realize that I can use the social media platforms that God has given me to present the Gospel in a new and fresh way.  When I am reading the Bible, I can tweet a link to what I am reading and share a personal reflection.  On facebook, I can steer myself away from petty drama by continuing to scroll instead of pitching into a debate.  I am excited to continue to present the gospel through my blog.

Have you ever taken a fast from social media and come back with a new perspective?  Do you need to take a fast from social media but are afraid of being away?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We Should Be...

Today's post comes to you from a girl in my eGroup. Her name is Katelyn. She is thirteen years old, volunteers in eKidz and attends Elevation - Rock Hill. Katelyn makes time for God each day. She passionate about telling others about Christ's love. After many conversations with Katelyn through "Followers of God: Hunger Games", I fell in love with everything that came out of her mouth. She is wise beyond her years, and I couldn't miss out on sharing her words with you! 

We Should Be... 

One of the things that bothers me the most in life is how people take advantage of so many things that God has given them.  God sent His one and only Son down to die for us so we could be with Him.  Most people take advantage of that and don’t even think about it or thank God for it.

Pinned ImageMost people don’t think about it, but we should be thankful to have money, shelter, food, and a country where we are religiously free and safe.  In others countries they don’t have anything and they have to follow one religion or they are killed.

God made us to shine a light in this world and to show people about him, but most people get caught up in all of their worldly desires that they don’t reflect the light of God.  God should be our biggest desire.  It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor as long as you believe in God.

If Jesus were to come back today He wouldn’t take only the people with the most money to heaven. Yes, I know money is important but it shouldn’t be the center of our life, God should.  We should praise God and thank him everyday for the things that people think are little to us, but they could change another persons life.  We should be living our lives with God in the center of our life.  We should be tithing at our church and we should be praying and thanking God for everything that we have each day.  We should be in His Word and be thankful to have His Word.  We need to be giving more than we are receiving.

You could donate to help feed kids in Africa or to a hospital for the families that don’t have enough money to cure their child.  If you live without taking advantage of what God has given you that He could take away any second then he will glorify you.


If you aren't inspired by this thirteen-year-olds awareness to what the Bible says, then I don't know what can inspire you.  Everything she has written is biblically sound information.  These are all things that we should be doing, but get lost in the motions of life.  Obedience to God's Word should always come first in our life.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How to Deal with Bad Ending Friendships

Today's post comes to you from a girl in my eGroup.  Her name is Katelyn.  She is thirteen years old, volunteers in eKidz and attends Elevation - Rock Hill.  Katelyn makes time for God each day.  She passionate about telling others about Christ's love.  After many conversations with Katelyn through "Followers of God: Hunger Games", I fell in love with everything that came out of her mouth.  She is wise beyond her years, and I couldn't miss out on sharing her words with you! 

How to Deal with Bad Ending Friendships

Most childhood friendships come and go but sometimes they end very badly.  I used to be really close to this girl, but then she changed a lot and so did I.  I’m not blaming it all on her because we both changed.  I started hanging out with other friends and so did she.  Let’s just say the end of the relationship was bad because it ended over something really stupid and then it led to her doing more bad things to me and my other friends.  After that I had a hard time deciding what kind of friend she could be. I didn’t know if I could ever get really close to her again.

Then during the week Mark Driscoll preached in the How to Hug a Vampire series at Elevation Church, he talked about forgiveness.  There was a wake- up call.  I don’t have to be mad at her forever.  I can forgive her even though our future would never look like our past did.  It made me more confident to confront her sense I knew how to approach the situation.

We are going to be in the same class for the next few years and we can't avoid each other forever so I felt like I needed to forgive her. A couple weeks later I forgave her and it felt like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. It feels so great now to not have a grudge between us. Even though our future friendship will not look like our past friendship, it feels great to forgive her.

Then at eGroup we talked about how we should respect other people and how God loves the sinner but hates the sin. That helped me a lot and made me think about her a lot. Even though our friendship will never be the same I still need to respect her. I need to do as God does. I will love the sinner, but hate the sins that she did against me and to me.

Pinned ImageLuke 6:31 says “Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them”. I don’t want her to never forgive me or never respect me so that’s why I still need to be nice to her and respect her.


I am so proud of Katelyn.  She is thirteen and realizes the need to forgive someone, even if they will never be friends again.  Katelyn was able to do something that most adults do not do.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Proud Momma

I have to brag on my eGroup girls for a moment. I am so proud of each and every one of them. They are asking God to script their love story, inviting friends to church, volunteering in their sweet spot, and seeking time with God on a daily basis despite basketball, cheerleading and homework.
Once a month, I like to brag on one girl who is going above and beyond in eGroup. I pick out someone who comes to eGroup prepared, seeks out opportunities to spread God's word, and is making time for God even though they have a busy schedule. This monthly series is titled Proud Momma.

Katelyn has gone above and beyond week after in every avenue of her life. She plays volleyball, swims, and volunteers in eKidz. Katelyn joined our eGroup in February. We were already several chapters into when God writes your love story but that didn't stop her. She made time to catch up to where we were. She always comes to eGroup prepared.

Pinned Image Recently, the eGroup went through "Followers of God: Hunger Games". Hunger as in hungry for God's word. A little play on words for the Hunger Games fanatics in my eGroup. It was a 21 day Bible reading plan that I got from Newspring Church. Katelyn, as well as two other girls, didn't miss a day! They read each chapter, answered all of the questions and reached out to me every day to let me know their thoughts on the reading.

The discussions Katelyn and I had each day are why I had to write about her in this edition of Proud Momma. Her thoughts were always deep. Often, she thought of things that I didn't think of. Talking to her about the Bible was so inspiring.

Katelyn is thirteen and gets it. She understands the importance of making time for God and responding to His Word. I know many adults who may understand these things, but don't follow it up with action. Katelyn follows her understanding and beliefs up with action.

I can't put into words how proud I am of Katelyn. She is going to do great things for God's Kingdom and I am blessed to have a front row seat to her life. Katelyn, keep up the amazing work and never lose the passion you have for doing God's work. You are an amazing young lady!

Monday, July 9, 2012


This week, I am enjoying the beautiful, wonderful, amazing Charleston, South Carolina.  I have a week off of work and I am taking advantage of that time.  One of my best friends lives in Charleston, so I knew I was going to spend some time with her on my time off.  Turns out, my other best friend will be in Charleston at her parent's beach house for the week!  How perfect!!? 

I am beyond excited to have a week to relax.  I got into Charleston last night and am enjoying all things hot and beachy as you read this.  I am writing this July 5th. 

Pinned ImageWhile I am away, you will have the Proud Momma post of the month, and two posts from that amazing gal.  Please show her lots of love by leaving comments on her posts that go up Wednesday and Friday.

Charleston is my favorite place to vacation.  I am not a fan of Myrtle Beach in any way.  I love the history and culture of Charleston.  I am a beach gal all the way.  The planner in me takes a vacation when I take a vacation.  I am satisfied chilling on the beach the entire vacation.  I hope that's what I do this week. 

Where is your favorite place to vacation?  Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?  Do you prefer an itinerary or just go with the flow?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Reflection Friday

Sometimes, you just need to take off from the structured small group settings and have an evening of just hanging out.  My eGroup did that yesterday.  My students and I went to Tony's Ice Cream.  Tony's is in Gastonia, North Carolina.  One of the girls in the eGroup suggested that we go there one night.  So, we did!
The evening was filled with laughter, catching up and just good clean fun.
Last week, we had a swimming night.  I missed eGroup because of everything that day.  I hated not seeing my girls, but knew that taking the night off was the right thing. It was great to see them this week!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sermon Sunday

Soul Detox Week Two

Toxic Words 

This weekend, we had Pastor Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.TV. He recently wrote a book titled Soul Detox.  Last week, Pastor Craig preached on toxic thoughts.  This weekend, he preached a powerful message on toxic words.  Words are so powerful.  We can forgive them but never forget them.
3 Words of Wisdom
  1. Guard your heart against toxic words - You are not who others say you are!
  2. Speak life giving words to others every chance you get - Everytime you think something positive, speak it!
  3. Speak life giving words to yourself and circumstances - Don't talk about your mountain, talk to your mountain!
What are 100 good things about yourself?  Remind yourself of how great you are!!

Don't believe the enemies trash, believe God's truth!
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!

Pinned ImagePersonal Reflection:  This message was overly powerful for me.  I haven't had many people speak life into tme.  I've heard a lot of you're not good enough, you're not smart enough, you'll never do much...
Never in my life have I had people speak into my life like they do at Elevation Church.  The people there are so positive.  They will tell you positive things about yourself into you believe them.  God's word tells me that I am perfect, that He has made me as good as I need to be and as smart as I need to be for anything I face.  God's word tells me that He has a great plan for me and I will do more than I can imagine with my life.  God's word is true.

You can't allow people to speak negative words into your life.  You also can't let yourself speak negative words into your life.  Believe that you are amazing! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sermon Sunday

Soul Detox Week One

Toxic Thoughts

This weekend, we had Pastor Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.TV.  He recently wrote a book titled Soul Detox.
Believing a lie radically limits our ability to work for God.
Toxic: Anything containing poisonous material capable of causing sickness or death.
Identify and reject toxic thoughts
Maximize your life for Christ with your time.
Replace toxic thoughts with God's truth
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!

Pinned ImagePersonal Reflection:  More often than I would like to admit, I give into toxic thoughts in my life.  I let my mind take control of my thoughts and that is a messy road.  I let my mind tell me that I will never amount to anything, that I am not smart enough to graduate or that I am not as good as others tell me.  These are all thoughts that the devil wants us to believe.  They aren't true and we shouldn't give the devil that control in our lives.

Replacing toxic thoughts with God's truth won't be an easy road.  Overcoming the devil is never easy.  But, it is a long road worth taking.