the combination of a student retreat and a rap song.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of going with Agone Student Ministry, from First Baptist Church of Bowie, to Camp Copass for their Spring retreat. The theme was “Back to Basics” and we studied these verses:

“I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.” Hebrews 5:11-14 [The Message]

Lately, I’ve been struggling with having a daily quiet time. My friend, Alexz, and I have been working through Beth Moore’s study called “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” together and have been able to meet every week to discuss the daily readings and hold each other accountable. The problem is, we’ve both been finding it difficult to actually do the readings every day.

We kept focusing on setting goals like, “If I do at least two of these daily entries every week…I’ll be okay” or “I did two last week…so I’ll do three this week.” The problem is, that’s not the point of doing a bible study.

God wants us to find time for Him every single day. Whether it’s 30 minutes or 10, He deserves it. If we have to wake up earlier or stay up later, He’s worth it. At the retreat, we talked about how if we give God 1/100 of each day, that’s roughly 10 minutes.

Revelation 3:15-16 says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Wow. Spit us out of His mouth. I’ve read those verses before over the years, but I’ve never been so caught off guard by those words. God doesn’t want us to sometimes focus on Him. He’d rather us either choose Him every day or not at all. In Lecrae’s song “New Reality”, he says,

“Well cold water we drink, hot water we cook
But lukewarm does nothing it just sits and it looks
And that’s you imagine these as the words of Christ.”

Cold water has a use. Hot water has a use. But lukewarm water? It sits there and has no purpose; it doesn’t help anyone. The majority of Christians out there are in this stage of life. We talk the talk, but ignore the whole walking part.

Instead of focusing on completing a certain number of daily bible readings a week, focus on spending at least 10 minutes every day working through the studies. Start your day with God. Dedicate the day to come to Him. God’s really been using multiple things to get my attention in this area. Music, the retreat, a speaker at DNow in Van Alstyne, everything around me seems to be illuminating the importance of spending time in His word every day.

You can’t fight a war without training, experience or knowledge, after all.

We don’t deserve God’s constant love or His omnipresence, yet He’s there for us. He deserves our everything, every moment of every day, yet how much are you giving Him?

-Caitlyn

Listening to: “New Reality” by Lecrae ft. Chinua Hawk

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a song about Myspace.

I have a tendency to think certain songs were written for me. Literally written for me. I met Britt Nicole a few years ago and had a really good conversation with her. Then, all of a sudden, she wrote the song “Hanging On”. To this day, I think that song is about me and the chat we had. There’s another song I can strangely relate to:

“MySpace Girl” by The Afters

Now, I have met The Afters, as well. But, that was after the release of this song, so I don’t have any claim to it. Why can I relate to this song? Because it explains my walk with God.

Go with me on this one.

If you haven’t heard it before, click on this link in order to get acquainted with the song, first. And if you already know the song and you haven’t ever seen the music video, click it. It’s pretty entertaining.

Are you ready for this? Here we go.

“You asked me what I wanted…/I replied, ‘I’ll have some fries’/So mesmerized, my heart was over driving through.” When I was younger, I would pray for various things, such as help on a test or help with a friend. God wants to give us so many things, such as his love and grace, but sometimes all we ask for are little things here and there. We hyperfocus on whatever it is we’re asking for and when he delivers, we move on to something else.

“I searched within 500 miles to find/Any clue just as to who I’ve fallen for/’Cause you’ve got me and I’ve got time.” When I went to church camp for the first time, I felt God’s deep and perfect love scoop me up. I wanted to know the source of that love and everything about Him that I could. If He had a Myspace, I would have friend requested Him. Then after a while, the high went down and I forced God to wait until I was ready to really follow Him.

“I saw your picture on Myspace/Maybe someday we can turn it into our space, baby/I don’t care how long it takes/I’m saving space in my top 8 for you.” I got to a point in my life where I was ready to follow God and truly pursue Him, but wasn’t sure where to start, so I saved Him a seat in my heart. I caught a glimpse of what my life could be like fully circling around Him,  but thought I had to be an adult so I could make choices like “should I go to church this morning” and God would love me more. I kept looking for the future so that I could really let God in and be a part of my life. I fed myself the lie that because I was young, I couldn’t make a change or really connect with God, but the Bible says in 1 Timonty 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Don’t let anybody, especially yourself, feed you the lie that you aren’t good enough or old enough to really pursue God.

“The second time you were so nice/I loved the way you told me to enjoy my day/But I know what you meant to say instead/Was really that you wanted us to run away.” When I came to the realization that God had a purpose for my life (Jer. 29:11), I ran back to His ever-open arms. God doesn’t greet us with a “where the heck have you been” or a “it’s about time” when we come crawling back, but rather He welcomes us with love and forgiveness. God doesn’t want us to repeat these situations, though. He doesn’t want us to have a life where we pursue our own interests, then come back to Him, then repeat. He’s not a shampoo bottle. He wants us to fall completely in love with Him; to live a life with Him forever.

“I said ‘Let’s go, I’ll pack my clothes/Just promise me you’ll wear that purple dress you have”/You look so cute when you’re confused/You backed away and asked me how I knew about that.” Remember in this situation, God is the “I”. This is the stage I’m at in my life. I’m ready to really fall in love with God and I’m actively pursuing Him. I’m in the lusty stage of a relationship with Him, which I feel like is a sin…because it’s lust. It’s like I have a super huge crush on God. Stop laughing. It’s the only way I can think of describing it. God’s gung-ho about our love and has spoken to me through many avenues lately. Through Beth Moore’s bible study called “David: Seeking a Heart Like His“, God’s been speaking to me daily. I’m amazed at how what I’ve been studying has weaseled it’s way into my daily life and I’m shocked at how God knows more about my heart than I do.

“I know you’re scared/I know our love is crazy/And I’m so crazy/You make me crazy for you.” This summarizes my weaknesses. “Crazy” is a good word to describe His love, because that’s exactly what it is. And yes, I’m scared of the magnitude of that love. God’s love is beyond words. John 3:16 tells more about His love than anything else I can think of and it says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” For all you parents out there, think about sacrificing your only child. Can you imagine loving anything else enough that you would sacrifice your child to protect it? God loves us so much that He was willing to do that. He wants us to spend an eternity with Him instead of an eternity in the hands of the greatest fun-sucker of all time.

This entire post hit me while my IPod was on shuffle last night. Part of pursuing God is that you find His beauty in everything, even a song about Myspace.

And The Afters, if you’re reading this…I know this blog is stretching the entire premise of the song into the stratosphere, but I hope it made you chuckle…even just a little bit.

Are there any songs you guys can manipulate to be about God, even when you know they weren’t written for that purpose?

-Caitlyn

Listening to: Obviously I’m listening to “Myspace Girl” by The Afters.

DNow and Madi’s Mission.

I never know whether or not to capitalize all the letters in DNOW or if you only capitalize the “D” and the “N”…since they represent separate words. Disciple Now. DNow. DNOW. I’m going to go with DNow.

For those of you that are wondering what the heck I’m even talking about and could care less what letters are bigger than the others, Disciple Now weekend is a whole lot of awesome packed into about 36 hours. From Friday night to Sunday morning, students separate into small groups to learn about the Savior. Cool, right? What’s even cooler is that families in the community host these students. Yeah. An average of 8 students in your home for a weekend? Let’s just stop and reflect on the magnitude of that sacrifice.

Did you shiver a little? Yeah. Me, too. Some churches have different names for these retreat weekends. Some call it “Revolution Weekend”..that’s actually the only other name I know. (Hey, Shane Norton!) But I’m sure there are others.

These small groups of students are lead by college students or young adults. Another wow. This last weekend was 2911 Students’ DNow weekend and I had the honor to go back home and co-lead a group of eighth grade girls. Griff, our youth minister, shared that we had 20 leaders, 15 of which had graduated from Van Alstyne High School. I was blown away by that. That’s a lot of alumni. (Holla class of ’09!)

This was my fifth time to lead at a DNow weekend, and it seems like they get better every time. This group of girls is particularly close to my heart and they really inspired me.

Last summer, I led these girls at Summit camp, the week-long summer camp my church goes to every year. Two of my girls accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, which was an amazing thing to be a part of. However, 3 months later, one of these girls went to meet the One who had saved her in a tragic car accident that shook up my town.

Madison Williams was 14-years-old. She was getting ready to start her eighth grade year at school and she would have been one of my mom’s students. She was an incredible person. Honestly, I didn’t really know her before our week together at Summit, but I saw her life change. She was filled with so much joy and life that you couldn’t help but smile when you were around her.

The girls in my group were still hurting, and so was I. I kept thinking that I could have done more while I was with her. I could have talked with her one-on-one more. So many things. And these girls were struggling with the same thing.

Saturday night…actually, it was technically Sunday morning seeing as it was 2 o’clock in the morning…Madi’s best friend, Kaitlyn, came and spoke to my co-leader/best friend, Alexz, and I. She told us she had regrets; regrets about things said to Madi and also to God. The genuine sadness she felt was overwhelming for me. Yeah..I cried. It was a special moment.

Alexz and I prayed for her and prayed that when she woke up in the morning, she would feel the forgiveness of both God and Madi. In the morning, she went to Alexz and told her these three simple, but special, words:

“I felt it.”

That moment was the reason I was there all weekend. I know that in my heart. To see the relief on her face and her smile was worth the lack of sleep.

What an incredible weekend. I’m still in awe of how God moved and is continuing to shape the lives of these precious girls and I pray for them every day.

Be sure to check out Madison’s Mission to see how you can help, and don’t forget to write “Hope” on your hand in honor of Madi’s birthday on April 13, 2011. Take a picture and send it to Griff at griff@fbcva.com.

Special shoutout to Griff Servati and Dennis Smith. They’re always doing something. Without these two men of God, the 2911 students wouldn’t be the same; I wouldn’t be the same. I’m so blessed to know them.

Did you know Madi? If so, what are some of your special memories?

-Caitlyn

Listening to: “Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham.

I’m kind of obsessed with him right now.