a call to man up. [this one’s for the boys]

I’m kind of addicted to this song right now. And I love the music video. These men of God are some of the most powerful voices of our generation. They’re not some hood rat rappers. They’re not spinning noise. These are some powerful, Bible-driven words of power.

Obviously I’m not a boy. Or a man-boy. Or a man-child, what have you. But girls saving their hearts and boys manning-up is a two-way street. Can you imagine how incredible a Christ-centered relationship could be if girls waited and boys became men? Just thinking about how much that would honor God gives me chills.

I also really enjoy all the movie references in this song…that has nothing to do with anything…it’s just how my thought process works.

[Let me take you back to the tree in Eden, if you read it you’ll see that Eve was deceived but Adam is the one who let it in.] If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll known how much I love the story of Adam and Eve. I have a few posts about it that I’ll link here. And here. I’ve always wondered why Adam didn’t man up and slap that apple right out of Eve’s hand and slingshot the serpent right out of that garden. I’m adding that to the list of questions I’ll be asking when I get to Heaven.

One of my favorite lines in this song is [Get up out of the treehouse leave the cookies alone it’s/Time to eat meat now]. Not only does it make me laugh a little bit, but that’s so scriptural!

Hebrews 5:12 says, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” Man-up means taking up your cross and teaching others: encouraging your brothers in Christ and also the women of noble character that He puts in your life. A man of God moves on from the basics of the Word and digs deeper. A man of God isn’t satisfied with picture books, but seeks scriptural evidence and guidance.

116 is so passionate about young people (both boys and girls) stepping up and being unashamed of the Gospel, which is the whole idea behind 116.

Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Boom. What about you? Are you unashamed? Would you consider yourself to be a part of this movement? Or are you standing in the crowd, just clapping and nodding along?

[we’re the last of a dying breed/it’s time that we man up]

I would also encourage you to read the comments on this video’s YouTube page. Some of them are encouraging. Some of them are heartbreaking.

-Caitlyn

Listening to: “Man Up” album by 116


a sappy goodbye.

I’ve arrived at the end of my journey as a youth intern. It’s pretty bittersweet. I can’t imagine spending my summer with a better group of students. We’ve laughed and cried together, shared stories and played really intense rounds of Catchphrase. I could say something about every student I talked to this summer, but instead…I wanted to focus on types of students. I have a few specific students in mind for each of these categories, but it’s still fairly general. So here we go!

The Quiet Junior High Girls

I loved getting to know you because I was you a lifetime ago. You put those headphones in whenever you can and drift  into your own world. I tried to make you laugh so that you would come out of your shell, and when you smile you have the capability of lighting up the room. I know you’ve been through a lot, and my heart breaks for you. There are some strong students in this group that want nothing more than to encourage you and lift you up. Let them. Just because you’re the youngest in the group doesn’t mean anything. God uses us even when we feel insignificant. Get involved. Find your niche, find your fit. Join a ministry team so that when you’re in high school, you can take up the baton of being leaders. Look at Desiree, for example. She’s singing her heart out on that stage when two months ago, I could barely get her to hold a microphone. God gives us gifts and they’re always awesome!

The Annoying Junior High Boys

Yeah. You drive me nuts. But it’s okay, because I know how you’ll turn out in the end as long as you make the right choices. Be looking to Jake, Austin and Anthony for advice. They know where you’ve been and I can’t think of any better guys for you to look up to. Even I look up to them and they’re younger than me. They’re going to blaze a trail. You should jump on that train. If God is going to be #1 in your lives, make Him #1. I promise you, there’s nothing in this world that’s more important than drawing closer to Him. Don’t let anybody tell you any differently, because it’s a lie of the world.

The Freshmen

You’re so scared about high school, I can see it in your eyes. We’ve gone on lunch dates to talk about how mean people can be and cried at Summit camp over how people have treated us. People will tell you who you need to be, what to say and what to wear. Don’t listen. Especially don’t listen when Jerry points you in the wrong direction in the hallway. Ask Tori or Sheridan, they’ll tell you the truth. We spent a lot of time this summer talking about dating. You were one of our main concerns in that area. High school is full of lies about worth. Who you are has nothing to do with how many guys you date. They say your status in the social world relies on what people say about you…but all you should be concerned with his what God says about you. He says you’re special, beautiful and worth it.

My Girls

Oh, how I love this group of high school girls. You have an incredible passion that helped fuel my walk with God, especially the senior girls. Desiree, I’m pretty sure you and I were separated at birth. I’m going to talk to my parents about that. Bailey, you are one in a million. You’re a mother to the girls in the youth group and I see how much they look up to you. Dear all high school girls, I get you. All of you. I’ve been there. It’s awful sometimes, but God is right there with you. Remember that where you go, you take the Holy Spirit with you. My mom always told me that, and she still does. “Don’t go anywhere you don’t want to take the Holy Spirit.” Or your grandmother. That one works, too.

My Favorite People in the World

Last, but absolutely not least. I have a lot of favorite people, so don’t get too excited. But you senior guys are on a special branch of the list of favorites. You want to be leaders, you crave it. Not for attention, but to serve. You have the most genuine hearts I’ve ever seen. I’ve never known students that are so willing to do whatever it takes to see God move, and to bring others to Him. Don’t lose that hunger. Allow God to fill you up so that you may pour out into others, especially those younger than you. My prayers will include your names for a long time. This next year is going to be really tough, but I know you’ll pull out on top. Focus on God. Focus on God. Focus on God. One more time: Focus on God. You’re like brothers to me and I love the stuffing out of you. I’d do anything for you, and I hope you know that. I’m always here. I’m not dying, or anything. Ha. Come visit me next year. For real.

My Morrison Family

Oh, man. You two are something else. You’ve only been married for 2 years, and you let me invade your home for a summer. That takes some guts. I guess “guts” is the right word. Bravery, maybe? I don’t know. You guys are my best friends. For real.  We fight and I give Miles dirty looks (which he follows with the classic “don’t look at me like that”) but nothing changes. You’re still some of the best people I know and you will forever have a special place in my heart. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing you could do to me that would change how much I love you two, and I hope that’s mutual. 🙂 I owe you so much. Not just in money (Haha) but in the time that you took to spend on me.

All the Agone Students

The best advice I can give you is this: love Miles and Emily. They’ve collectively changed my life…multiple times, if that’s possible. God sent them to you for a reason, they’re not in Bowie by chance. They’ve been students before, so they can encourage you and help you in more ways than you give them credit for.  They do so much for you and you don’t even realize it. Don’t take them for granted.

There’s a huge part of me that just straight up doesn’t want to leave, but on the other hand, I’m excited to see how God will use what all you’ve taught me. I can’t wait to see God use you in this next school year, and don’t worry…I’ll come visit. Ha. Try not to miss me too much. 😉 If you want to cry…Jerry will cry with you.

Students, comment with some of your favorite memories from the summer!

-Caitlyn

Listening to: “We Need Each Other” by Sanctus Real

Watch this video:

https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150326002726383

God is able.

The theme this summer at Summit Camps is “Poured Out” and it’s based on this verse: “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38). I guess that whole week I focused on reflecting Christ, that I never really stared at this verse and wondered what it was trying to tell me. In the weeks that we’ve been back from camp, God’s revealed to me that the whole purpose He called me to Bowie for the summer as a youth intern is in that verse.

My last two years of college, I’ve poured everything I have into other people: trying to be a good example, trying to get friends to come to church with me and encouraging my friends with their walks with God. But in all that time, who’s been pouring into me? I have some great friends, don’t get me wrong. It’s hard, though, when we all live in different places. Sometimes you just want to sit down and have a conversation, but it’s not the same over chat or Skype. The friends I’ve made at school are awesome, but it seems like something’s missing. We all have different aims and goals. I’m at the point where I feel like my gas tank is running low and there’s not a gas station in sight. We get so focused on figuring out what’s wrong with us that we’ve taken all control from God and thrown it on our backs. I’m definitely starting to feel the weight.

So here I am in a town I never thought I’d move to and I feel my walk with God getting stronger every day. These students are pouring into me more than I ever imagined. And I’ve gotten some amazing encouragement from Miles & Emily Morrison, the youth pastor and his wife that I’ve been friends with for years. Then all of a sudden – BAM. Curveball. And I was just starting to get comfortable.

All of my plans for next year have crumbled at my feet. My apartment and roommate plan…everything. I didn’t even bother to have a backup plan. That’s so unlike me. After a few different events, I found myself in the church office crying and saying, “I have nothing. I have no one. I don’t have anywhere to live next year.” After God let me have a good cry, He calmed my spirit and spoke through a dear friend.

God hasn’t gone anywhere. He has a plan for me. He has a place for me to live. He has friends for me that I haven’t met yet. I’m a control freak. It’s time for me to relinquish control and continue giving Him everything – even a plan I thought I had already made.

Something big is coming. Oh, yes, friend. God is moving and it’s going to be fantastic. Are you ready?

//I wrote this post last week and kept thinking something was missing – it wasn’t ready to be posted. Well, that’s because this hadn’t happened yet: This last weekend I went home and posted something on Facebook about needing furniture to fill an apartment I didn’t have, yet. That day, I received a leather recliner, a table and chairs, a coffee table, two side tables and my Nanny’s old couch. Praise God, my provider and shelter! Yesterday, I received a call that an apartment I applied for a few months ago and didn’t think I would get has freed up and they offered me a home! Praise God, my provider and shelter! The roommate search continues, but if God wants me to live alone and focus on Him and my school work, then so be it. As long as He is glorified, it’s fine with me!

-Caitlyn

Reading: “A Lineage of Grace” by (one of my favorite authors of all time) Francine Rivers

“The Jersey Shore” episode in my life.

Lately, God’s been teaching me about selfishness. I decided to stop praying for patience for a while since God has really been delivering in that department (meaning He’s given me a lot of chances to be patient.)

Aren’t we all selfish? I mean…cards on the table. Everyone knows what they want out of life and would do anything to get it. Sometimes we step over people to get there, but it’s all in the name of reaching goals, right?

What about this: have you ever stepped over a friend in order to get something you want? Yes. Yes, you have. Ok, I shouldn’t assume…but really. Most people can say that they have. I have. I pushed aside my best friend in order to gain the friendship of another girl who turned out to be a horrible friend. Long story. Maybe another time. Maybe not.

Lately, I’ve been talking to a friend who’s been caught in the middle of a selfish triangle. My involvement might have turned it into a selfish square, which is much catchier. No, I’m not making jokes about selfishness..ok…yes, I am.

Two guys like her. They’re best friends. She has mega chemistry with one, but not with the other. What’s a girl to do? Let me tell you what’s happened:

A big selfish mess. Seriously. It’s dramatic and ungodly. And I’m emotionally caught up in it, too. God never intended us to push our friends aside to seek our own selfish gains. Christ wouldn’t say, “Alright. He’ll get over it.” The Father doesn’t want that kind of life for us. He wants us to face every trial with our Jesus Glasses on. Oh, you don’t know what Jesus Glasses are? I’m sure they’re on EBay.

I’ve chosen sides, of course. I want my friend to win out in this situation. I want her to get the guy and ride off into the sunset. And bring me back a souvenir. Now that my friend has decided to remove herself from the situation, and I’m latched on like a spider monkey, that means I’m standing on the outside as well. This has really brought the darkness into the light.

1. One guy was selfish by not recognizing how this relationship could ruin his friendship and really hurt his friend.

2. The other guy was selfish by not putting aside his own feelings and seeing a relationship that could be really amazing and centered on Christ.

3. The girl was selfish by not stopping everything before it began in an attempt to save a friendship she was about to walk right into the middle of.

4. I was selfish by not adivising my friend in the best interest of her faith and relationship with God.

Right? One big selfish mess. The jealousy, vengeance, hurt and manipulation isn’t of God. It comes from the one who would see God’s people scattering in all directions in order to see their own wills be done. All parties are guilty.

So what are we all supposed to do? My friend has decided to remove herself from the situation, like I said. The friendship between these two guys can still be repaired, if it’s God’s will. It seems the rivets in their relationship go much deeper than the fight over my friend. They’re trying to solve the issue with her before repairing the foundation and that’s backwards.

Everyone has been trying so hard to figure out what’s right, that we’re not giving God a chance to speak. He has to be given control of the situation. Even if they don’t feel it in their hearts right now, they need to be praying, “God, help me to have the desire for You to control this situation.” Eventually, He’ll change their hearts.

And a Come-to-Jesus meeting needs to happen. Living in darkness isn’t God’s way. He wants us to be in the light, as He is. (1 John 1:6-7 ) Secrets and whispers are not fruitful for anyone. Unless you’re a Nazi. Then you’re good. But I’m pretty sure none of those involved in this issue, including me, are Nazis.

So what are we supposed to do when we have to choose between what we want and what’s right in the eyes of God?

1. Pray. I’m a huge fan of prayer, as you probably already know.

2. Try to view the matter from the outside. Take away your own attachment and try to see it through  your Jesus Glasses.

3. Make sure you’re not abusing God. Are you saying things like “Well, God wants us to…” or “I think that God…”? (GUILTY!) Bust out the ol’ Bible and check and make sure you’re right, or if you’re just using God as an excuse to justify a choice.

Maybe these will help:

-Check out 1 Samuel 18. It’s about the friendship between David and Jonathan. Super powerful.

-Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

-Proverbs 16:28: “Troublemakers start fights; gossips break up friendships.” [The Message]

-Psalm 25:9: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”

-Psalm 31:3: “For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.”

-Proverbs 2:6-9: “For the Lord gives wisdom;  from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.”

-Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

-Philippians 3:7-9: “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ  and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith. ”

What advice would you give to these people? Or me? Have you ever been in a situation like this?

-Caitlyn

Listening to: “Brave” by Nichole Nordeman