Monday, August 29


Spent the weekend at the beach with Harrison. =)

We didn't really do anything special, but it was my favorite weekend in SOO long. There's just nothing that compares to warm hugs and sweet words and laughs with someone you really care about. Its so hard to live so far away from a guy thats so important to me, but it was wonderful to se how happy he is. Distance really stinks, but it makes you really appreciate time and little things so much more. I love getting to know odd little things that make someone different from everyone else. I love anticipating the next time we get to see each other, and I love how great it is to FINALLY see someone after waiting for a long time. It may not always be the ideal situation, but I'm so thankful for such a great person to spend time with... even if it isn't every day!

Ok, I'm done being mushy now. So, what did you do this weekend?

Tuesday, August 23


Some great things have been happening over the last few days...

1. Everything is squared away with school! YAAY! I start classes tomorrow!

2. elevation RH got approved for Northwestern high school. PTL!

3. I've met tons of new people volunteering on the Elevation RH launch team! They are AWESOME!

4. I got my student loan refund. It put me in really good shape on my bills. Its nice to not feel pressured for a change.

5. I got an iPhone today. Its incredible. I LOVE it. If you wanna text me, same number.

6. I have worked a TON of days in a row, and finally I will have a three day weekend this week! Can't WAIT for Friday!

7. This weekend I get to go to the beach and see Harrison! I've been super lonely since he moved away, so I am thrilled to go and see him FINALLY! I cannot wait to spend the weekend with my favorite guy! PLUS I haven't been to the beach all summer!! I am beyond excited!

Friday, August 19


Anyone who knows me well can tell you this... I NEED to write things down. If I don't make a list, a calendar, a page of notes, well then its going in one ear and right out the other. Learning this about myself is one of the reasons that I tend to make good grades in school. I know that I can't read the text and listen to the prof lecture and pass a test. It just isn't going to happen. I've GOT to outline the chapter as I read. I have to highlight and take notes in my book. When the professor speaks I have to write things down. Even if I think I know what he/she said, it just make me feel much more secure if I can go back and look at where I documented all the important information that was provided.

This is also one of the reasons that I keep a blog. I'm always learning things about God, life, love, myself. I blog them so that I will be able to remember them later on when I need a reminder of how far I've come. I also keep a journal. Thats a little more random than the stuff that I write on my blog. Often times, several days/weeks worth of journal pages are synthesized into one of my blog posts actually. I usually write prayers in my journal. Its just sort of letters to God. Sometimes its serious stuff like sin I'm struggling with, things that I'm worried over, or something that a friend asked me to pray about, and other times its just my way of being thankful for small pleasures in life. I also keep track of sermon notes in the same journal. Pastor Steven is GREAT at giving points that are easy to record and remember and using phrases that will come back to mind throughout the week. Often times I find myself in a situation where I need guidance and I think back to a sermon I heard at Elevation and go back and hunt the notes in my journal.

Anyway, why am I saying all this? The one thing that I find it hard to record is my own personal Bible reading time. I have just never been able to find a format that really helped me capture what I was learning as well as I wanted it to. I wanted to be able to go back and recall the things that I learned from any given passage of scripture that I'd read, but writing big long paragraphs just didn't seem like the most effective way to do that. Anyway, I stumbled across this format on the internet (which isn't ALL bad haha) and its been working really well for me so far, so I thought I'd share.

Personal Bible study suggested format:


1. What has God spoken to me about today through the reading of this section?
a. Concerning Himself?
b. Concerning my life?

2. What am I going to do about it (Ephesians 4:22-24)?
a. Ungodly habit of thinking or behavior to "put off"
b. Godly habit of thinking or behavior to "put on"

3. When do I plan to do it? (Psalm 1:1-3; James 1:23-25)... If ______ happens, then I plan (with God's help) to _______________.

4. What verse am I going to take with me today? (Look for opportunities to share this verse with someone today)

5. What can I pray back to God from this section (as a worshipful expression of praise and/or resolve)?

6. follow up for the next day: Did I follow my plan?_____If so, thank the Lord! If not, consider what happened, if necessary, seek God's forgiveness (James 4:17), determine what you need to do differently, asking God for wisdom (James 1:5).

I know that intellectual endeavors work a lot better for me when I can look at a plan and go step by step. As such, I decided to stop rummaging around God's word randomly hoping for insight and revelation and instead treat Bible study with as much respect as I treat studying for school. I'd NEVER start a paper without an outline, or read a chapter of text without a highlighter and pen on hand, so why should I be any more nonchalant about my approach to Bible study? God wants to speak to us through his word, but if we don't take the time to study it properly, then we won't learn anything.

Wednesday, August 17


I got told today that I'm a worry wart. This, I suppose, is true. In spite of my best intentions I worry like crazy. My current worry is over some paperwork for my student loans that just is taking a lot more time and effort than it seems like it should.

I am seriously, legitimately struggling to eat and sleep at this point. People keep saying chill out, everything will be fine. THAT drives me insane and it only makes me worry even more. I HATE it when people act like what I'm worried about isn't important... the fact of the matter is that going to grad school is the single most important thing in my life right now, and I feel totally entitled to care about how things are going in that area.


"Worry is the sin of distrusting the promise and providence of God, and yet it is a sin that Christians commit perhaps more frequently than any other."- John MacArthur

FACT... That one hit me HARD.

I've been reminded several times over the last few weeks that worry is a sin. We sugar coat it; even make it sound good. It like the better or more important your life is, the more entitled you are to worry about things. That's just not true. Worry focuses on the negative, and if you're a Christian, 1 Corinthians says you have 'the mind of Christ' ... and I'm pretty sure he didn't worry!

I couldn't sleep today (preoccupied with this school nonsense) so instead of sitting and worried, I decided to be productive (and there was nothing to clean). To be honest, the more I think about it, the more I worry about stupid stuff. I worry that I wrote down my work schedule wrong and I won't show up on a day I'm supposed to work. (It should be noted that my schedule never changes.) I worry that I'll forget someone's birthday/anniversary etc and cause them some undue sadness on a special day. I worry that I'll suddenly forget some inconsequential piece of psychological information (Piaget's stages of development? what the letters DSM stand for? Difference between id and ego?) and totally screw up a client. None of this even makes sense. Over the span of my lifetime, worrying accounts for hours and hours of time that I'll never get back. So, I have decided that I'd like to stop wasting my time (especially sleep time!).

If you're not convinced yet to give up your worrying, here are four biblical reasons not to worry.

Worrying Accomplishes Nothing.

Worry is a waste of time. As Pastor Steven put it recently... 'Work don't worry... cause worry dont work.' (poor grammar...good theology he said.) Have a problem? Work as hard as you can to fix it (like me doing all this WU paperwork and running all over campus) and then let God handle the rest. Worrying is just treating the problem like its too big for him... and that simply is not true!

Matthew 6:27-29 "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are."

Worrying is Not Good for You.

Worrying is destructive to us in many ways. It becomes a mental burden that can even cause us to grow physically sick. Goodness knows I don't need any help with that!!

Proverbs 12:25 "Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up."

Worrying is the Opposite of Trusting God.

The energy that we spend worrying can be put to much better use in prayer. Max Lucado once said no one can pray and worry at the same time.

Matthew 6:30 "And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?"

Philippians 4:6-7 "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

Worrying Puts Your Focus in the Wrong Direction.

When we keep our eyes focused on God, we remember his love for us and we realize we truly have nothing to worry about. God has a wonderful plan for our lives, and part of that plan includes taking care of us. Even in the difficult times, when it seems like God doesn't care, we can put our trust in the Lord and focus on his kingdom. God will take care of our every need. Josh McDowell says is this way; "Knowing that God is faithful, it really helps me to not be captivated by worry. But knowing that He will do what He has said, He will cause it to happen, whatever He has promised, and then it causes me to be less involved in worrying about a situation."

Matthew 6:25 "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing?"

Matthew 6:31-33 "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

1 Peter 5:7 "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you."

Hope this finds you all well. If you're worrying, then I'm praying for you... and pray for me about this too. Its by far my biggest struggle.

Tuesday, August 16


Its been a bit since I've posted any lyrics. I've been listening to Kutless's latest worship album lately.... these lyrics are my favorite lately. Check out the video to hear the song. =)

Taken By Love
Songwriters: Lubben, Dave; Sumrall, Jon Micah;

The world will fade away as I lift my hands
The King is worthy of praise, is the great I am
The joy You've given rings out as I lift my voice
I'm captivated by Your ways, so I will worship You

You've taken me by love
You've taken me by grace
You've taken me away, I can't resist
Because You've taken my heart

All creation will bow to the risen King
All of heaven will shout and the earth will sing
The joy You've given rings out as I lift my voice
I'm captivated my Your ways so I will worship You

You've taken me by love
You've taken me by grace
[- From: -]
You've taken me away, I can't resist
Because You've taken my heart

You've taken me by love
You've taken me by grace
You've taken me away, I can't resist
Because You've taken my heart

You've taken my heart
My heart, my heart

You've taken me by love
You've taken me by grace
You've taken me away, I can't resist
Because You've taken my heart

You've taken me by love
You've taken me by grace
You've taken me away, I can't resist
Because You've taken my heart

You've taken my heart
You've taken my heart
You've taken my heart
You've taken my heart

Friday, August 12


I've had a larger than normal number of views on my blog this week.... perhaps connected to the fact that I've posted? haha. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for reading. I struggle through life just like everyone else, and its nice to have a place to post my triumphs, tribulations, and everything in between. I'd like to think that my small (but loyal) audience is praying with me when things get hard, and thanking God along with me when he does amazing things. Just thought I'd take a little time to show some appreciation. Oh, and if you're writing and sharing your life on a blog, thanks for that too. Its encouraging to see other people's ups and downs.

Closing this short post with whats been encouraging me over the last several day. Happy Friday everyone. =)

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Wednesday, August 10


This will be a short little update, as I have to be at work shortly, and I'm aiming to get my dishwasher emptied before I leave.... we'll see how that goes.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a little something that was a BIG deal to me today. If you read my last post, you know that I had a big experience at Elevation last weekend. God is really moving in that church and consequently in my personal life. Anyway, the same post that I made I also emailed to what the church refers to as the 'amen corner.' Its just a way to share your story with the staff at Elevation. They sometimes read a story during a sermon or other event.

Tonight I was at an Elevation Rock Hill launch team meeting. As our campus pastor was speaking, he mentioned that he loves to read the stories people email in. I didn't think much of the comment at the time. After the meeting, I introduced myself to Pastor Frank and discussed some outreach opportunities at Winthrop. At the end of the conversation he asked me my last name. I told him, and he immediately said 'didn't you send in an email this week?'

In a church that had 10,000 plus people attend last Sunday, Pastor Frank remembered my name and story specifically. I've never felt so honored by someone that I didn't really know. People say that a 'mega church' can't work. But I'm here to say that's not true. If we each take the time to honor the people that we come into contact with personally then we can create a tight knit group no matter how big the church family is. So, I'm making it my mission to invest personally into whoever God puts into my path... I'd love to know that I had a hand in someone feeling as important as I felt this evening.

Monday, August 8


Here's what's been going on at Elevation. After the video, read below for my experience with FOLLOW.

Follow from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

I've been thinking about sharing my story for some time, and I know for sure now that its time. For a long time I would have said that my walk with Christ began as a child, but now I know that this is not true. I was taken to church as a child, and around age 7 or 8 I got baptized. It was clear that this was what my parents wanted, so I complied. (Bless them for caring about my soul.)

Through out middle and high school I was incredibly involved in church. I was constantly bombarded with lists, rules, regulations, commandments that I had to keep. I was an expert at putting on the Christian act. I kept these rules because my friends did, but I now know that my heart was never in it. I attended a Christian college where I pursued a degree and met people who I most definitely did not expect to find in that environment. Before I knew it, the girl who grew up as an expert at keeping the rules was drinking, partying, in a relationship that did't honor God, and pretty much anything else you could think of. I graduated, got a job, and only found more time and means to live a sinful life. Looking back, it seems like I blinked and my life was out of control. I wasn't an addict, I wasn't pregnant, I wasn't in jail, but I wasn't a Christian either. I was SCARED.

None of the things I were doing made me happy. I knew that I had to figure out this God thing for myself. I realized that I've believed in Jesus for most of my life, but I've never really followed him. There is a big difference I've come to see. I'd been To Elevation a few times, but in early 2011 I decided to commit to regular attendance. The first Sunday I attended Pastor Steven began a series called "Get Back" all about how to recover your spiritual life coupled with a Beatles theme. As the most avid Beatles fan you'd ever find in a 25 year old, I felt like God was saying 'not only do I know what you need to hear, I know EVERYTHING about you.' I knew it was God's way of telling me that this was the beginning of the right journey for me. Over the last several months I've struggled a LOT. I joined an eGroup. I got involved, but I was still wrestling with what it meant to follow Jesus instead of just believing in him. I was still struggling with leaving my old ways in the past. I've been praying for a long time about my next step in following Jesus.

Last Saturday night I attended Blakeney alone. I was sitting close to the front and crying my eyes out as Pastor Steven spoke about following. I knew that the 'dying daily' and the 'carrying my cross' were what I had been missing. At one point he looked directly at my section of the crowd and said "I must follow Jesus for myself." As he continued to speak, those words played over and over in my mind. I couldn't WAIT for him to count to three and send people outside to be baptized. I knew that this was the next step of faith that I had been looking for. I knew I was ready to FOLLOW. I cried as I changed clothes. I cried as I waited in line at the baptismal tank. I'm crying as I think about it now. I've felt anxious for months and months now, but when Pastor Chunks lifted me out of the water I felt at peace like I have never felt before. I know that following instead of believing won't be easy, but I know that it will be worth the sacrifice.

I start grad school classes at Winthrop in a few weeks... right about the time Elevation Rock Hill opens. I can feel God leading me (for the first time in forever) to reach my campus for him. I'm SO excited about the next steps of following Jesus, and I'm proud to say that Elevation was a huge part of my changed life.


I read this article online and was really moved. I just wanted to share it with those of you who might like it. Understand that the rest of this post wasn't written by me... =)

We all long for a radical calling, but monotony can be its own mission.

I was sure God was telling me to quit my landscaping job. I was bound for something more important. The horizon beckoned. So I turned in my notice and embraced unemployment as a divine calling. I spent my hours reading Scripture and praying over maps, nobly trusting God for my provisions. I had a fever of 360 degrees—I wanted to travel the globe. All of it. Four months later I told my girlfriend that the next time I saw her I would ask her to marry me, then I pulled myself out of her arms and boarded a plane. I had some funds, but only for 180 degrees of my round-the-world trip. God would provide.

Six weeks later I was stranded in Southeast Asia with a depleted money belt and the gnawing suspicion that I had missed God somewhere along the way.

Radical is in my resume. Radical is part of our calling. But radical can be dangerous. With seven years of working with college students (and with a personal penchant for the extreme), I offer a couple warnings to complement the needed exhortation to be radical.

Romanticized Discipleship
“What are you doing this summer after classes?” a college student asks his friend late in the spring semester.

“Well, I’m working with an electrician.”

“Oh, OK.”

“What about you? What are your summer plans?”

“I’m actually gonna be living in an orphanage in Africa, loving on those kids and doing some community development stuff.”

“Oh ...”

In conversations like this, it is likely that the 20-year-old working with the electrician will feel spiritually inferior to the 20-year-old who has plane tickets in hand for Kenya. There is also the tendency for the guy with the ticket to feel as though he is a bit more sincere in his devotion to Jesus.

Believe me, I do not wish to discourage young people from boarding flights to Africa. But I also do not wish to disparage electrical work as spiritually insignificant.

Scripture calls us into radical service—but that does not allow others to eviscerate tedious, less “spiritually” glamorous tasks of their meaning in God’s Kingdom. Scripture also calls us to embrace the mundane and ordinary as holy and beautiful: “... aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11).

Many of us want to do something awesome, something epic. We tend to think that the more normal, the less “spiritual.” So it is quite possible that our aspirations to be radical stem from dangerous ambitions to perform biography-worthy feats of global glory.

But radical discipleship is not adventure tourism.

Following Jesus is not to be romanticized through impressive Facebook status updates or photos of exotic places on our blog. Discipleship is often ugly, messy and painful. Faithful service will regularly lead us into dull labors and bewildering struggles that would make unexciting press. To romanticize social justice or cross-cultural evangelism is to promote an idealism that will be inevitably vaporized on the field, inadvertently leading to burnout and cynicism.

The first person to be filled with the Holy Spirit for a task in the Bible was not commissioned to lead a battle or to prophesy over Israel. Bezalel (ever heard of him?) was filled with the Spirit to build stuff. To make art. To carve, mold and weave. He was the guy God commissioned to build the tabernacle and its accoutrements (Exodus 31.1-5).

Spirit-anointing does not always propel us into radical action. Instead we may find ourselves entrusted with tedious, meticulous handiwork that feels ... well, boring.

Spiritualized Escapism
I was 20 years old and wracked with angst. I was on my knees with a heart burning so fiercely with passion to serve Christ overseas that I felt I could not go another day without a global assignment, without a divinely issued itinerary in hand.

This was my prayer that day. And I meant every word: “Lord, just whisper a country, and I will walk to it I don’t care how far it is. I don’t care what it costs. Just whisper a place and I will go.”

Had the country been overseas, I would have secretly boarded a cargo ship as a stowaway. I just knew there were more urgent tasks out there than doing my statistics homework.

But I think I was much more interested in a radical leaving than a radical going. The heart behind the prayer was not so much, “Let me serve you, Lord” but, “Lord, get me out of here.”

I wanted to escape the unexciting “local” for the exotic “global.” I wanted freedom from the tedious tasks of the daily grind for the thrilling speed of travel and for the gratifying buzz of experiencing something new. I did not want to do statistics homework—I wanted to fulfill the great commission. I did not want to dig another ditch as a landscaper in the summer heat—I wanted to preach the Word on a distant city street.

As a former college student and a current college pastor, I know it is so difficult for a young person to see how doing their accounting project will glorify God. It is hard to see how finishing the research paper on 18th century art forms can contribute to God’s Kingdom work. Staring at spread sheets, calming grumpy customers or chasing a toddler down all day don't seem like tasks that will make any kind of eternal impact. Aren’t people dying out there from lack of clean water? Aren’t the lost dying without the Gospel?

Yes, but an untested 20-something without the work ethic required for completing the annoying accounting project or the boring research paper will likely be of little help in dire situations overseas. Those assignments can actually be effective training for the arduous labors of missional service. “What ever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). Remember how Jesus calls us to faithfulness in the small things (Matthew 25:14-30).

Aching for yonder shores and longingly scanning the distant horizon may well be God’s call on our lives. But it also may be our impatience with the monotonous minutiae of the daily grind. Escapism is not fulfilling the great commission.

Regardless of our location, abroad or at home, all ministry is inescapably local. Every worker in a global context must embrace the monotonous minutiae of a new daily grind after the plane lands—figuring out the postal service, dealing with the cell phone company, conjugating verbs in the slow and tedious study of the language. If we cannot be faithful to do our statistics homework or collaborate with our coworkers, then we may lack the strength of character required for dealing with the meticulous annoyances of a more radical life beyond the romanticized horizon.

Andrew Byers [who wrote this article] leads University Christian Fellowship and is the author of Faith Without Illusions: Following Jesus as a Cynic-Saint (Likewise Books / IVP). He blogs at Hopeful Realism.