Operation: Andrew

Operation Andrew FlyerThis week was Operation Andrew, where the goal was to get as many people to come to youth as possible. We were trying to be “Andrews.” In the Bible, the disciple Andrew was known as the bringer, he was always bringing people to Jesus and that is what we want to be and what we want our students to be.

We had been hyping it up a lot, but Josh and I were not confident that it was going to work. There was a lot riding on this week and so we really wanted to give it our all. As we were gearing up for it, we had a meeting that Saturday before (1/24/15) to discuss a couple of things. Basically the mission we took on as a leadership team was to “Exhaust every resource.” We were going to use every avenue we had to get students there, text, tweet, FB, instagram, call, talk, EVERYTHING.

As we were talking, Josh gave us a number to shoot for. The number was 18. At the time, it seemed to just be a number pulled out of a hat, but looking back, I can see God working so powerfully the whole time.

As tonight came, a bunch of students came, we had pizza and cookie cake. It was fun and a great time. When it came time for service, as the students sat down, we counted it up and, including leaders, we had exactly 17 when the sermon started. This was very discouraging because we had been praying so hard and doing everything we could to hit 18.

We knew God would still work and that He was still sovereign, but it was like,” really God? 17? Why?” As if answering our doubts, ten minutes into Josh’s sermon, another student walked in. And he didn’t just walk in normally, he came in the wrong entrance, through the Sunday School room and across the stage, thoroughly disturbing youth.

It was as if God was flaunting that He really can do whatever He wants, He is in total and complete control. He sent another student to just come walking across the stage, so show us that He is in control and that He is going to do something huge in the student ministry.

Almost as if further confirmation that God is doing something here, while I was on my way home, something insane happened. I literally almost died. I was driving and suddenly a car swerved into my lane and was heading directly for me. Not swerving or anything, just in my lane doing at least 60 miles per hour. Had I not swerved off the road, we would have collided head on and I would have been severely injured, if not dead.

I am fully confident that this was the work of the enemy. It was a spiritual attack. Satan is terrified of what amazing things God is doing in Wakulla United Methodist and He will do whatever it takes to stop it. God came through once again and protected me. This has inspired me all the more to keep working for what God is doing in our county. GOD IS SO GOOD.

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A River In the Desert

Isaiah 43:19A few days ago, I was reading during my quiet time and I read over one of my favorite verses in the Bible. I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but when I know one of my favorite verses is coming up, I get a tiny bit excited and get high on anticipation for what God is going to teach me this time through this verse on this occasion. Isaiah 43:19 is one of these verses for me.

Isaiah 43:19 states:

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

This verse literally blows my mind. This verse on more than one occasion has lifted me up from very low points. I love the last part there, “I will make a way in the wilderness.” When you are lost and cannot find your way. When you do not know where to turn and feel as lost as you may in the middle of the woods, God will make a way. He is present and He will guide you down the path He has for you.

I have more than once felt completely lost. Before choosing a college, before joining the youth ministry at WUMC, before getting a job at FSU, before moving out of my parents house and into Crawfordville, and countless other times. God has brought this verse out again and again to show me that He is going to make a way. Even when I cannot see anything, let alone the path, He will guide me.

And then the verse goes on to say, “and rivers in the desert.” Well, that is just crazy. Deserts, by definition are dry and arid places. Rivers in the desert, that is something God has to do. And more than once, when I am dry and washed out, when I am so tired that I feel as if I cannot take another step, God provides a river in my metaphorical desert.

This verse has spoken to me in more ways than I can even count and reading over it again this time, it spoke directly to me again. Our youth ministry has been a bit dry and seemingly lost recently. We have a sort-of campaign going on called “Operation Andrew” where basically we are being Andrews in our county. In the Bible, Andrew was the “the bringer,” he was always bringing people to Jesus and that is what we want our kids (and us) to do for youth this week. For a while I was sort of skeptical about how it was ACTUAL going to work, but at a meeting we had a few days ago, God really poured out His Spirit on me and on our leadership team.

God is yet again, providing a way in the wilderness and a river in the desert, for me and for our leadership team and I could not be more excited to be a part of what God is doing through our youth ministry.

LC

Image originally from: http://www.thinglink.com/scene/492768214464331777

If you’re wondering if I want you to, I want you to. So make a move, ‘cos I ain’t got all night. The rest of the summer was the best we ever had. We watched Titanic, and it didn’t make us sad.

Hi hey hello,

I hope you all have had a good week so far!

Last night we had Bible Study out at Wakulla and we talked about something interesting. Instead of having a regular lesson and discussion type deal like normal, Josh just opened up the floor for questions… and when none came in, he began asking questions. One he asked was, “What is a spiritual life?” It is a valid question, especially for these middle schoolers. The general answer had things to do with what WE do. Read your Bible, don’t cuss, go to church. It was all around ME, what I do to get to God. Josh corrected them and really drove home the point that it isn’t US, it’s God. It’s a relationship with God. It’s an intimate relationship with our Father and out of that flows those other things.

I love that. It’s so simple. I feel like I need to be brought back to the simple way too often. I get so focused on the crazy problems and little minuscule things that really aren’t that important and forget that I am talking to my Father, not some genie or problem solver. It’s a relationship, and though it’s give and take, God does most of the giving. If I focus on my relationship with my Father over what my issues are, those issues will work themselves out. Ah wonderful simplicity, how I love thee.

What little things do you get caught up on?

Title Lyrics: (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To – Weezer

-LC

Your love and mercy build and shape us. Break us and recreate us now. Lord have mercy.

Hi hey hello,

I hope you all had a good weekend! Mine was alright, nothing too spectacular, except getting to go to WUMC. I seriously look forward to it all week. It’s great. Anyway..

So, last night at WUMC Youth, Nick Reed taught instead of Josh Hawkins. Nick is an absolutely fantastic guy and he is an amazing teacher. He talked about God breathing life into you. He talked about how, without God, people are like zombies. It was really cool. One of my favorite things he said was an analogy that really stuck with me. He said, we tell God we are going to give Him everything, but we hold back one thing. It’s like we throw our keys to God, and tell Him to take the wheel and be the driver, but we keep the car key. We hold back what we need to give God so that He can really take control and work. It was such an amazing message.

Fo realz though, if you get an opportunity to see him speak, go. God is just working so powerfully in his life.

What do you think of that analogy?

Title Lyrics: We Will Run – Gungor 

-LC

And I love the way the way you say you love me so and how you won’t let go.

Hi hey hello,

So, as I mentioned yesterday, Josh gave an amazing sermon Sunday night. So, due to that, I got a bunch of inspiration for the blog! Yay Josh!

So, another thing he talked about was how we are so dependent on God, not just in the, “we need to give it all to God and be dependent on Him,” but in the literal, like we are dependent on God for EVERYTHING. Like, He lets us breathe. He lets us sing to Him. He lets us wake up in the morning. He LETS us do all of this. He is the one that lets us praise Him. It is crazy! Just think about that.

That is really all I have for today, that right there just blew my mind to think about.

Title Lyrics: Tidal Waves and Hurricanes – The Icarus Account

-LC

Five years of your mistakes, and this is where it leads. Some broken promises, and love you did not mean.

Hi hey hello,

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Mine was absolutely fantastic. Guys, Saturday night was awesome. We had so much fun, all the bands were AMAZING, the people at the show were lovely, and dinner beforehand was stinkin’ sweet. This weekend overall has been awesome. Yay. And to top it all off, Josh gave a spectacular sermon last night. (a rare thing, I know… just kidding)

So, he seriously gave me enough ideas to talk about for right around a week, so you may or may not be getting a straight week of posts based off sermons a la Josh Hawkins.

He talked about the Sermon on the Mount, again, and this time, the topic was the Lord’s Prayer, if you grew up anywhere around a church, even if you were only in earshot of a church, you have probably at some point heard this prayer, but if you somehow have never read/heard it, here it is.

Matthew 6:9-13 

“Pray, then, in this way:

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

So, my favorite part, or perhaps the part that hit me the most was the part about forgiveness. If you read it carefully, which you should go do …. NOW. Did you read it? I hope you did. It says, forgive us… AS… we forgive people. So, we are asking God to forgive us as much as we forgive other people. So, if we hold a grudge and don’t forgive someone for something, we are telling God to do the same to us. How much would that SUCK?! I know I have a habit of getting mad at someone because they hurt me and never forgiving them for it, just holding onto it, brooding over it, but in doing that, I am saying that I want God to do the same to me. If I sit here and think about all the ways I have sinned today and think about all the people who I haven’t forgiven, I am pretty much screwed.

I like to think that I forgive people, but I know that isn’t true. I think I get over stuff, but then something happens and God is like, “Yeah, that… you never dealt with that… let’s deal with that.” And I’m like, “Dang it, I suck.” I know that my lack of forgiving people has definitely driven stakes in many of my friendships, and it sucks. One thing I want to be is more forgiving. Everyone is in the same boat, we all sin and we all suck, so I have absolutely no right to judge anyone else for messing up. If my hope and faith was in Christ, as it should be, and not in my friends and family, I wouldn’t have nearly as much to get mad over, because I would come to know that people are going to fail me and I can turn to God.

Who do you need to forgiven? (Rhetorical question, but if you want to respond or talk it out, I am totally open to that!)

Title Lyrics: Anything and Everything  – The Icarus Account 

-LC

Here in my head I have all these ideas, of things I shoud say. Oh and how I should say them, but when she’s around me, I can barely speak and sometimes it’s easier to dream.

Hi hey hello,

I hope you all have had a great week so far! In all honestly, yesterday was really long. Not because I had anything crazy to do, but because I have had a lot on my mind. Anyway, so if you didn’t know, people bringing up my blog or mentioning that they read my blog when I see them is basically the best thing ever.

So, last night at Bible Study we talked about something that I really needed to be reminded of. We talked about how big God is, and then how crazy it is that this huge God loves us. We read part of Revelation 4, which is talking about the throne of God. Basically, the throne is infinitely more amazing than we could ever possibly imagine and the God seated upon it is even more amazing than that! I love getting to share my passion for this with my girls. I was able to just pour into my girls and try in some small way show them just how much God loves them and how people will always fail us, God NEVER WILL. I need that reminder every day. I put my faith in people way more often than I should, and they fail me, and I get hurt.

God will never fail us. He loves us unconditionally. He is the perfect love.

Title Lyrics: Jasmine – The Icarus Account 

-LC

I don’t want to ride on somebody else’s passion. I don’t want to find that I’m just dry bones. I want to burn with unquenchable fire. Deep down inside see it coming alive.

Hi hey hello,

I hope you all had a beautiful Wednesday. Seriously, the weather in Tallahassee is SO AWESOME right now. It feels great all day and it isn’t unbearably hot. Loving it! Not quite scarf and tights weather yet, but I can definitely deal with this weather.

Anyway, yesterday was so productive. It is so funny, late at night is like my most productive time. I mean, I am productive throughout the day, but I get so much more done and seem to have so many more ideas at 1 am than earlier, more respectable hours. The only problem, my brain moves much faster than my fingers at that hour. It is rather funny.

So, last night at youth we talked about some really great stuff. This was the first week Josh has led Bible Study in quite a while, so it was a welcome return, not that the others weren’t great, well, Brett and Cameron’s were great, mine not so much.Anyway… We talked about something that is near and dear to my heart. We talked about Acts 9, which talks about the conversion of Saul. I love this passage of scripture because it shows just how awesome God is. Saul was one of those people who we think are beyond the love of God, who are just too bad. Yet, all this time, God has been holding out His hand for Saul!

God’s love is SO GREAT. That is something that I want my Wakulla girls to understand so badly. I remember back in middle school, if I had grasped just how unfathomable God’s love is for me, that would have changed my world. I was so self-conscious and thought myself to be horrible. If I had understood that my entire world would have been rocked, I wouldn’t have been so focused on boys, relationships, social pressures, and what people thought. Now, that is not to say that now I have it all figured out and that I have gotten all of those things under control and that they no longer affect me. That is not true, but understanding the hugeness and expanse of God’s love for us definitely puts those things into perspective. Because of that, I just want my girls to know that God loves them more infinitely than any boy or friend or parent or sibling ever could. There is so much hurt that would have not been had I not put all my faith and hope in guys and my friends, I don’t want my girls to have to go through all that, because, to be frank, it sucks. I know I came out a better person, but I would rather my girls learn from my mistakes than to have to experience them for themselves.

So, I just want to tell you this, in case you haven’t heard it today. God loves you, so very much. So much more than you could ever imagine. He will never forsake you because you’re stupid one day. He won’t ignore you because you ignored Him. He won’t hate you because you mess up. He forgives and He LOVES you still! His love NEVER CHANGES! No matter how many times you mess up and do silly things, He loves you!

That is just a reminder I need every now and then.

Title Lyrics: No Better Time – United Pursuit Band 

-LC

Don’t want your picture on my cell phone. I want you here with me. Don’t want your memory in my head now. I want you here with me.

Hi hey hello!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Mine was pretty good. I got to see two of my best friends from high school!! We went and saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower and then had some Chick-fila. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I kinda want to read the book now. Chick-fila is always wonderful. We discussed how happy my friends are that they have Chick-fila where they are going to college. I honestly don’t know what I would do without Chick-fila, I eat it at least once a week. SO FREAKING GOOD!

Anyway, last night we had youth, and Roshad Thomas spoke. It was a great message, definitely what I needed. I love going to youth, because though I know it is directed at the students, I always get something out of it! It’s great. Roshad talked about Revelation 3:15-16, which say:

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

He talked about what it means to be lukewarm. A middle schooler once told him, it’s like being room temperature. That simply means that you are like the temperature of the room, if you’re with people who curse and drink, you’ll curse and drink, if you’re at church, you’ll raise your hands and sing worship songs. He talked about how important it is to be on fire, and how simple it is to be that.

To be on fire you simply must be different in ways that matter. Be different in your love, not just your looks. And when people ask why you’re different, be courageous. Don’t give them a lame answer, tell them it’s because of Jesus, because you follow Jesus. I am so guilty of just saying it’s because “Oh, that’s just not me.” I honestly told someone that just the other day. That convicted me so much. I want to show other people Christ’s love.

What do you think about that?

Title Lyrics: Here With Me – The Killers 

-LC

How long till your surrender? Ohhhhhhh How long till your surrender? It’s a long way. For heart break. Let your heart wait and bleed.

Hi hey hello,

I hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was pretty good, didn’t do much of anything, laid around the house, went to church,  took a long nap on Sunday afternoon, and went to Wakulla. The usual weekend stuff.

On Sunday morning, I went to Calvary. I am on a streak, which is really sad to say, but I have gone for 3 weeks straight. I love going, but I’ve been having a hard time getting up and going on Sundays, I am going to get out of that habit though. Anyway, Pastor Kent talked about the final part of his series on the basics of the church. This week was specifically on the people within the church. He talked about John 13: 31- 35 which says,

“Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus *said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ Anew commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

He talked about what each of those words love mean. They all are the word agape in the Greek, and that is the type of love God loves us with, the unconditional type of love. He talked about how we know that God loves us with that kinds of love, and SOMETIMES we can love Him with that sort of love, at least we can see that we could, but loving each other with that kind of love? That seems impossible. We know what people are like. People have issues. People have baggage. They have addictions and problems. We just cannot see how that is feasible.

He pointed out something that when we think of other, many time we forget about ourselves. The common denominator between all human beings is sin. It’s our issues that make us all the same. We have our issues, and God loves us, so we should definitely be able to love others, despite their issues. God loves them, so we must love them.

What’s getting in your way of loving people?

Title Lyrics: Your Surrender – Neon Trees 

-LC