the social media blurb.

I’m a terrible blogger. I weave in and out of writing, get busy, forget, remember, get excited, write, post, then forget again. Sometimes I have this revelation and think, “Ah..I’d like to write that down somewhere.” That’s when I’m come cyber running back here. Hey, friends. It’s been a while.

I experienced another Disciple Now this last weekend. I’ll be honest…I was very nervous about this one. I can’t explain why…I just felt like I didn’t have anything to offer up to the girls in my group.

Saturday morning, my co-leader and I felt like we’d hit a wall with our students. We read aloud what we thought was a pretty simple verse, but the girls just didn’t quite understand what was being said. We struggled and scratched for them to take the text deeper, but we just kept rearranging the words and finding synonyms in the hopes that we’d just move on.

I’m sure the girls could feel how frustrated we were. We so desperately didn’t want them to leave without feeling the gravity of the gospel that we made it about us.

We just wanted to be good teachers. We wanted to be good leaders. I’m sure somewhere deep down I wanted one of my students to stand up in front of all the other students and talk about how great of a leader I was and how much she learned from me.

What is that??

The moment we become so selfish as to beat the gospel into people for our own sakes is the moment we lose everything Christ lived and died for.

After sharing my frustrations with other leaders, I realized what I was saying. The more times I verbalized my feelings, the more I understood how selfish I was being. Since when is sharing the gospel about me?

The gospel speaks for itself, first of all. We read through some of Romans 8 to try and help the girls to understand the gravity of the lesson and all of a sudden it all clicked. I didn’t serenade the girls with my fantastic reading skills. I’m a master reader…my professor told me so. God’s word shone through the darkness of our confusion and clarified and enlightened.

Why do we do that? Why do we try so hard to get the world to see us as a “good Christian”? I don’t even know what that means? What on earth is a “good Christian”? None of us are good. We’re depraved and sinful, but the love of God changes us and it’s by His grace and mercy that we are able to serve Him and His people.

I started realizing how we use social media to up our Christian status. I scrolled through my Facebook news feed and found statuses directed to God. Those prayers aren’t kept private, between ourselves and God. What’s the point of posting them? So people will “like” them? What does that do? Does it get to God’s ears faster?

I post song lyrics, yes. I post Bible verses, yeah. What’s the purpose? Am I doing it so people will “like” it and see that I’m an active Christian? Or am I doing it because it’s something God put on my heart to share in the hopes that someone that needs that encouragement will see it?

There’s probably not even anyone that reads these posts, but I write them in the hopes that someone is on the same page as me. Or that someone can find encouragement that they aren’t the only one.

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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

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.

an organization of my thoughts.

It’s been a while since my last post. I know. I’ve really been struggling with something lately, and as silly as it may sound…just go with me, here. How do I fully serve God with my career without a degree from a Christian university?

I’ll be honest…my dream school was Dallas Baptist University. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love UT Arlington and I believe it’s where God wants me to be. But I’ve wanted to go to DBU for years. Sure, I went through an Aggie phase, but I came out of it once I realized I didn’t want to be a veterinarian. For some reason, scholarship money was all hallelujah focused at UTA, so here I am. And I really do love it. (Insert UTA commercial.)

I keep thinking, though, wouldn’t my degree and, ultimately, my life serve God better with a “Christian” or “seminary” title on that piece of paper after four years? I know that my life and my career are meant to serve God and to serve His purpose, but how can I do that with a secular degree?

How obsessed have we become with labels? Whether it’s the clothes we wear, or the car we drive or even the titles we stick on one another, we are a labeling world. So, a few verses came to mind when I was thinking about this.

One of them was, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” (Ephesians 6:7). An employer that sees my degree and says, “Oh. So you didn’t go to a religious university…hmmm” is questionable. At that moment, I’d probably turn around and walk out the door. Partly, because it sounds like I wouldn’t get hired. But also to make a point…of course. I want an employer that can see my passion and my heart for God, not a label on my degree. That’s what everyone wants in life, isn’t it? Separation. Even the church has set up boundaries and stereotypes that ward away those that don’t fit a certain image. (Not every church…by the way.) Many people hear “Christian” and immediately shut down, stop listening. Maybe that’s something my degree will give me an edge over.

People will ask me, “What school did you go to?”, and I’ll say, “The University of Texas at Arlington”. (proudly) I may get a “why” or “what is your degree in” and there you have it, folks: a chance. My moment to share that God opened doors and I walked through them. I fought Him a little…okay…a lot, but I stuck it out and was blessed by it. I can say that I want to pursue a career in Christian based events, such as The Passion Conference or The Rock and Worship Roadshow, so that I can be around people with a passion for God and His grace, and want to share it with the world, just like I do.

What God has shown me in the last couple of weeks is that He DOES have a plan for me. And that plan involves honoring Him and His purpose, and I can do it with my career. He’s showing me that I have options to serve Him with the four years I’m here and beyond. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 says, “For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts”. God knows where I wanted to go to school; He knows I wanted to serve Him in that way, but His plan was different…and better.

One thing that confirmed this for me is that God’s really been calling me to give Him one last summer before I go off and find internships and jobs that will help my future career. I lead at Disciple Now weekend at First Baptist Church of Bowie a couple of months ago, and I felt like I was where I was supposed to be. Their youth minister, who I’ve known for years, as well as the students and adults are amazing and I know God has great things in store for them, and me. So this summer, I’ll be devoting my time and energy to those students and to seeing God move in them. I can’t wait. I’ve never been more excited for a summer before. So, if you could be praying for me, that’d be awesome. 🙂

-Caitlyn

Watching: “One Night With the King”