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?

Wednesday, August 22, 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 #66 -
If you had to recommend only one book of the Bible for a person to read, which book would you recommend and why?

If I could only recommend one book of the Bible to a new believer, I would suggest the Book of Acts.  I am almost done reading the Book of Acts and have learned so much about what it means to be a Christian.  The sense of urgency that the apostles have in every situation, their undying devotion to spread the Gospel and boldness when sharing the Gospel are skills that I believe every Christian should have.  I regret not taking the time to read about the early church before now. 

If I could only recommend one book of the bible to a seasoned Christian, I would suggest the Book of Romans.  I can't ever read this book of the Bible enough.  I find this to be one of the most encouraging books of the Bible.  I mean, have you read Romans 8?  You can't not get reeved up after reading that we are more than conquerors, we are co-heirs with Christ!

The Book of Proverbs and the Book of Psalms are always good books to open up to anytime you are struggling with finding something to read in the Bible. 
Dear Reader... yeah, You...
What is your favorite book of the Bible?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Respect Pt. 1

Respect: (noun), an act of giving particular attention

Respect: (noun), a high or special regard

Respect: (noun), esteem for a sense of worth or excellence of a person

I feel like I've been talking about this issue for a while now.  Or at least, I've been thinking about it a lot.  Respect is very important to me.  I find myself wanting to lecture parents at the park on their phone, kids on their electronic device at the table and friends texting when they are with friends. 

What has today come to?  When we are with people we like, why don't we respect them enough to put our electronic devices away and actually spend time with them?  Texting, sending emails, and playing games while around people you are supposed to be spending time with shows a huge lack of respect for them.  I know I would never buy my children (that I don't have) a meal if they sat on their phone, iPod, or DS at a restaurant. 

My ultimate irritation when it comes to respect and our electronic devices is during church related activities.  I can't stand it when I see people on their phone at church.  Yes, maybe you are taking notes but it is distracting and overall rude.  It drives me crazy when the middle school girls in my eGroup pull out their phones.  I've caught several playing Temple Run and texting during eGroup.  I feel like my head explodes when I see this.

I was raised to treat others with a higher level of respect.  When I'm at the table with family or friends, I'm not checking facebook or my email.  When I am at eGroup, the one I lead and the one I am in, I am not on my phone.  For those few hours that I am with people, my phone is put away.  I have enough respect for them, to devote my time to them and not be distracted with my phone.

Dear Reader... 
Am I alone here?  Does this bother you, too? 

Come back on Thursday for another post unpacking some biblical references to this topic.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Muching Monday

I know He is, What am I? Week Two

I noticed a persistent and consistent gap between who God says I am and will do and what I feel and do.

1. Correction - Jesus is not who we say he is, he is who the Lord says he is.

2. Protection - Nothing can stop the work of the Lord. Not even the gates of hell.

3. Connection - The keys represent access

We obsess over our assessment of other peoples assessments of ourselves.  Don't stare at other peoples assesments.

When what God says isn't matching up, the promise I need to access is in the cloud. (Exodus 24:15-18 and iCloud analogy)

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
This sermon was absolutely perfect.  They always are.  God's heart is centered in the Lord, so every word out of his mouth comes straight from what God tells him!
I have been relying on other people to tell me who I am for far too long.  I need to protect who I am in the Lord.  I need to only allow only God's words to come into my ears and resonate into my mind.  Pastor Steven said, "We will never discover what God has in store for us if we spend our lives listening and believing others assessments."
I do not want to miss out on what God has called me to do in my life.  I do not want to miss out on anything that the Lord has called me to do.  I need to allow God to close the gap between who I am and who He is, because they should be the same.
Reader, get involved! Have you been believing lies from the people around you?  What are you acknowledging is not true and believing that God has said?

Friday, August 17, 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.

Pinned ImageIn June, my eStudents took a week off to go on a Father-Daughter Date.  I didn't want to show any bias towards our wonderful mothers.  So, my eStudents took yesterday off to go on a Mother-Daughter Date.

I have tweeted about it a lot about parent-child relationships this week.  Children these days are going through far more than we went through as children.  They need their parents in their lives to bring them back to reality.  I think a strong parent-bond is always important, but I don't know a more important time than through middle school and high school.  Middle schoolers are tempted to have sex, do drugs and change who they are to be popular.  High schoolers are selling themselves out to be in, going too far, and making choices that they will regret later in life.

Students need to know that their parents are around to help them through these hard times.  Students need to be able to come to their parents when they are thinking about making or have already made a bad choice.

Disclaimer - I am not a parent.  I do not know what it is like to be a parent.  I do not know what you are going through, that may determine the way you parent now.  I am someones child and I did go to my parents when I was thinking about making or had already made a poor decision.  I can't imagine what I would be doing now if I hadn't had my parents to go to.  Please do not judge this post and tell me that I don't know what I am talking about.  I think this is an important topic that God has made me passionate about.  I wouldn't be writing about it if God hadn't given me the words.

Wednesday, August 15, 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 #64 -
What are you favorite Christian blogs to visit?

.Redeemed.'s Top Five Christian Blogs to Visit...
1. Perry Noble's Blog - He is the lead pastor at Newspring Chruch in South Carolina.  His blog is right up my alley because it is biblical truth that is straight to the point typically organized in a list!

2. Joel Onyshuk's Blog - He is a youth pastor that I 'met' via twitter. His posts are geared toward youth. His posts contain bold biblical truth on social media and relationships.

3. Holly Furtick's Blog - She is the first lady of Elevation Church.  Her blog has everything from marriage advice, to style advice, to advice about raising kids.

4. Pastor Steven Furtick's Blog - He is the lead pastor at Elevation Church.  His blog has clips of old sermons and a inspirational post to go along with that clip!

5. Love and Respect Now's Blog - The posts come from Joy Eggerichs, daughter of Emerson Eggerichs.  She is a single adult who writes about what relationships should be like.  She is hits the nail on the head EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Dear Reader... yeah, You...
What are your favorite blogs to read?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lifted Hands

Pinned ImageHave you ever been going through something, and it's hard to raise your hands in worship to the Lord, "find" time to read your Bible, or pray to the Lord?  Maybe you are in transition between two jobs, or you just lost someone close to you.  Have you ever felt like God has walked away from you and you find yourself aimlessly searching for Him?

I kind of feel like that right now.  I know what the Bible says is true.  I know that He is near, and I know that He hasn't turned away from me.  I know that He loves me.  I know that He has a plan for me.

But, I just feel like He isn't answering my prayers, I feel like He isn't listening to what I have to say and I feel like He has walked away for a while.

I was at church the other night.  Pastor Steven was talking about those times when it is hard to lift your hands in worship.  When you are just too tired, too burned out, or too distracted by all that you have to do.  Those times when you don't want to raise your hands in worship to the Lord, those are the times that you need to do everything within you to lift your hands.

Pinned ImageLifting your hands in worship, when it's hard, is a great way to stomp all over the devil.  You have to let the devil know that he has no control over you.  When you let the devil allow you to believe that you can't worship your God in this time, the devil is winning.

So, are you struggling with something today?  Is it making it hard for you to raise your hands in worship, read your Bible or pray to your God?  Do it anyway!

Hey reader... I'd love to pray for you through whatever you are dealing with.  Send me an email... redeemedblog [at] yahoo [dot] com.  God wanted me to share this with you today.  I want to help you through this rough patch!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Munching

I know He is, What am I? Week One

Who God Is...

In Exodus 3, Moses asks who is sending Him.  God says to Him, "I am who I am. Tell them I AM has sent you."  Well, if that isn't powerful, I don't know what is!

Pastor Steven unpacked a list of 15 things that God is.  It was a powerful way to walk through what the Bible says to be true about who God is and a perfect reminder of who He is.

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 am I munching on...
Pinned ImageHave you ever found yourself in a rut?  You know who God is, but at the same time you have forgotten who He is.  You know He can do great things, but you've forgotten that He is and will do great things?  I've found myself in that place over the last few weeks.

I am praying for something HUGE, but I feel like God is not hearing or answering my prayers.  I needed Pastor Steven's reminder that my God is omniscient and omnipotent.  I've found myself believing that He is far away, that God has distanced His self from me for some reason.  I needed Pastor Steven's reminder that God is immanent and omnipresent.

Reader, get involved in the post... Who do you need to be reminded that God is today?  Because He is everything that you could need Him to be.

Friday, August 10, 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 is one random fact about yourself?

Discussion Highlights - This week, we talked about qualities we think Christian women should have.  We discussed how we can strive to have those qualities and holding one another accountable for them.  They have greatness inside of each of them, and I want them to believe they are capable to do amazing things!

A few of the qualities we see as important are: love, patience, kindness, acceptance, trustworthiness and respectful.

Closing - I wrapped the evening up by talking about the turn of events from a few weeks ago.  We spent the weekend together as an eGroup from Thursday to Saturday.  The behavior shown that weekend was nothing like I had ever seen before.  I reminded them of their potential to be great, and be Christ through their actions.

This Week - Tomorrow, we have an event for Rock Hill County Schools.  We will be putting school supplies in backpacks for children who wouldn't have adequate school supplies otherwise.  Thursday, we will not have eGroup so that the girls can go on Mother-Daughter Dates.  Sunday, we will be having a Back to School Pot Luck. 

Personal Reflection - My discussion points for the evening were derailed, but that is okay!  I think the evening went well!

Personal Highlight - Four new eStudents!  This month, we've had five new eStudents join our eGroup.  The momentum is something only God could make happen and it's so incredible!

Friday, August 3, 2012

In with the New

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.

I took a social media fast in July to hear from God about how He wanted me to use the platforms He had given me to present the Gospel.  The week away from Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram was great!  I was able to audibly hear from God.

.Redeemed. always has been a way for me to write about what God is laying on my heart and share what He is doing in my life.  That will not be changing, nor will it ever.

Monday Munching - I will post a few notes from the weekends sermon at Elevation Church and what I am still munching on from the sermon.  This was previously, Sermon Sunday.  Except I always struggled with getting it out on Sunday.

Talk to Me Tuesday - If we can get the Q and A section of .Redeemed. off the ground, this will go into effect.  You can email me your questions or topics you want me to like me to talk about at redeemedblog [at] yahoo [dot] com.  Or... You can comment here.  I want to hear from you and become more interactive.

Wordy Wednesdays - On Wednesday, I will post about something that God is teaching me, that I am reading in my Bible or that God has laid on my heart for you.

Reflection Friday - This will not be going anywhere, changing names or format.  I will post a reflection of what we did at eGroup on Thursday.  I hope to build this "column" as a resource for small group leaders.

I am excited about this transition happening at .Redeemed.  I hope that you are happy to see some change and more frequent posts.  I hope that you are sharing .Redeemed. with your friends and family.  Please follow me on twitter tweet about posts that you like, or email me so we can connect.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why .Redeemed.?

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.

God gave me a passion to write.  I have loved writing as long as I can remember.  My best friend and I used to have a "band" called Neon Girls, we wrote songs.  I had a longing desire to be a published author from an early age.  I have a large box full of all of the short stories and poems I have written over my life.  As blogging became more popular, I realized that I could do that.  I could write my thoughts.  I never envisioned that it would be what it is now.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sigh, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

This is my life verse.  The description of our God as a redeemer always makes me smile.  This is the reason behind naming this blog .Redeemed. and my Redeemed tattoo.  I have been redeemed by Jesus Christ. 

Pinned ImageMy hope through .Redeemed. is to share the word of the Lord, always.  I want my words to be pleasing to the Lord.  One day, I will be held accountable for every word I spoke and wrote.  I will never take for granted the blogging platform that the Lord gave me to share His word.

The format of .Redeemed. has changed over the past few years and I am excited to announce later this week that the format will be changing once again. Change is good!