Feeling YOUTH-full!

It’s almost that time of year…..

Back to School!

As a student I looooooved my summers. But there was something always scary/exciting/fun about going back to school. A new year. Fresh start. 

Now “back to school” since I’m “out of school” has a new meaning to me and one that I am very found of! Because for me “back to school” means, “back upstairs in the INFUSE youth room!” One of my favorite places on earth. 

I’m getting that same feeling as I did as a student today as I’m writing this sitting in the sound booth in the Youth Room during the praise bands first practice since ending school in the spring. 

We don’t use our youth room during the summer on a weekly basis due to our insanely awesome summer program INTRAMURALS. So for myself I miss this room and love when it’s almost time to be back upstairs weekly!

For our students, I pray that in these last days of summer they find themselves feeling this same way and excited to start fresh and be back on their own mission fields, their schools.

I pray our new 6th graders have peace about starting in a new place and feel so much at home when they join us upstairs on Wednesday’s and Sunday’s for LifeGroups. 

17 days and counting and I’m working on my “to-do” list now before all 100 of our students come back and fill these walls with smiles, laughter and craziness! 

I. Can’t. Wait. :) 

INFUSE STUDENT MINISTRIES 

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Keeping Quiet

As women we have a very hard time keeping quiet. I most certainly know how difficult this can be. You always want to tell stories of things you’ve experienced or something funny you heard.

But sometimes we think we need to speak up about things and then when we do, it bites us in the butt.

It’s late at night…or early this morning and I am finding my mind on a marathon. I’m sleeping under the stars in a tent and I can not fall asleep.

Sometimes we want to say something and then we talk about it to another person (see always talking) but that person helps you see the reasoning behind not making this thing into anything major. Rather it would do more good to not bring it up and mess with a friendship.

Please don’t take this too much to thought as “what is she talking about?” Or “what is she hiding?” Nothing major. And honestly, probably silly to be thinking too much into things. But that’s what I do. I wish I didn’t sometimes, but I always think too much into things.

Just know if you think you need to talk to a friend about something then you should! But if it’s going to take you being the stronger person by being quiet….here’s to trying that out!

It also doesn’t hurt having a great friend who can give you great advice if you’re insure what to or not to do.

Sometimes it’s just hard.

Little late night tent thinking from me to you.

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Summer. Starbucks. Hammocks. Fall.

This weekend I think I’ve actually taken the time to really enjoy and find a slow moment during Summer. And to say it is the beginning of August….maybe I’ve not done such a great job at finding this peace fast enough!

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year (Fall is defiantly first, but Summer is pretty far up there). I think what I love most is the time of year when the Summer heat evenings start to exchange for a more cool temp. Like it has been this past week. I LOVE the transition from Summer to Fall! Tonight I was reminded of the simple things and to take the time to make memories last.

Maybe it took taking Katie & Cooper to Starbucks after rushing to the church for a fun quick time taking a big family photo of Pastor and DeeAnn’s family reunion for us to realize we need to take time to just smile and embrace the simple things in life. Katie was so shocked and excited to get a Starbucks lemon aid with her name spelt correctly! And then again when Cooper and I got the hammock out….the weather is perfect and he asked me to leave him out here and asked if it was ok if he fell asleep out here :) I said, “Of course.”, of course!

So I hope before the summer is completely over you have a chance to stop, and press pause on life. Because you need to be making memories and having fun during these busy and stressful times of our lives.

Just like these two kiddos and myself did tonight!

Cooper enjoying the summer evening air!

Cooper enjoying the summer evening air!

Katie girl loving her Starbucks Lemon Aid!

Katie girl loving her Starbucks Lemon Aid!

 

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The Simple Truth

By the title of this blog I’m sure you’re expecting to hear something surprising or some juicy news from me!

Well…I do have something to say, about The Simple Truth; for those of you who don’t know, this is actually the title of what took the place of the “One Minute Bible” Simply Youth Ministry sold for years. I got one when I was a senior here with INFUSE Student Ministries. Still have that book to this day. 

There’s a point to this…I’ve been working on our CRAVE (summer camp) Devotional Book for this year. We asked our Youth Pastor’s to submit some devotionals to add to the book. After adding their’s we then filled the rest of the pages with some more material. So yesterday I typed up/read over 20 devotionals. I used this book The Simple Truth and it reminded me of a lot. 

You see this book is designed for students…an easy and yet to the point devotional book to help us remember what is important most. It was brought to my attention that we really take our day’s in this life for granted sometimes. We NEED to be spending daily, hourly time with God. From the pages of this book just within readying a small fraction of it yesterday I feel condemn to have my God time daily and also how prayer is more than just asking for God to fix things, rather it should be us communicating to Him as though we are talking with our best friend. Just tell Him things, laugh with Him…tell Him how you really feel about things. 

Love Him. By spending time with God. Because for crying out loud…He’s the reason we’re here. He gives us these hours in each day.

How will you spend the rest of your days? What will you do with your 24 hours today?

This is just a little simple truth I know :)

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I’d Rather Have A Bumpy Ride To Heaven Than A Smooth Ride To Hell

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I have to say right off the bat…I found this image on Instagram. 
So I did not come up with this saying, or say it myself. But… it really made me think. I found myself asking questions about what I’m doing in my life and how I handle situations that arise. 

You see we don’t think about it very often…let’s be honest, we hardly ask ourselves these questions:

       How am I thriving?

       Do people see Jesus in what I say or do? 

       Am I taking the easy way through life?

       Do I allow God to work molding me into the masterpiece He’s designed?

       Am I working at living a made up perfect life?

Too often do I get into this routine of doing what Kelsea wants to do…or coming up with my own way of “handling” or “taking care” of situations. I forget that sometimes we just need to stop trying to handle these things or trying to know what the next step is. Instead we need to turn towards God. Why is this so hard to make apart of a daily routine? Why do we get so busy in our life with work, family, and personal needs instead of accepting the fact that we can not do it by ourself? Or that our way is not always the right way? 

This whole statement about rather living a bumpy ride to heaven then a smooth ride to hell…I mean come on. Who would disagree with that?? But even then, it’s so much easier to say this statement rather then live it out.  So when life brings the rain pours, the giant mountains we have to climb, an unexpected turn in the wrong direction, take it with a smile on your face because God is working in your life. He is either going to work on making you stronger because of the things you are dealing with or He can be teaching us a lesson we might have to learn the hard way. 

Either way life is going to get messy. We live in a sad world with hurt and pain. Life also will be amazing and leave you speechless at times. We’re all going to end up somewhere and I am going to work at taking these bumpy moments in life and work at getting to that other side because God is with me. He won’t let me get pulled down. I won’t take the smooth ride. No, I’m going at this life God’s put before me to work harder then I’ve ever worked at getting His name famous and working at living a life of pleasing Him. 

So what about you? Are you going to live a bumpy ride or are you going to give up and take the smooth way? 

 

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GoodBYE 2013…HELLLLLLLO 2014!

2014…I am ready for you. Come at me bro.

I can say that as I am {getting older} with each year that passes, it’s become clear to me just how much one person can learn and experience in such a small amount of time. The past year and a half have been life changing for me. I’ve talked plenty about that in previous posts. But I don’t want to focus on those as main thoughts as I bring in this New Year. Instead I am looking to the present and the future. I for once can say that this coming year is the first year where I can not tell you what’s going to happen. In years before it was always that next year in school…the start of adult life right out of college….new places and a new job.

This year I’m entering it in my beautiful state of Texas working with the youth group that started my ministry. I have great students who still teach me things, I have wonderful people God’s placed in my life who are just as family to me as my own.

But this year I can’t say what big things will happen. Will I learn more then ever about the life God has designed for me? Will I meet the man of my dreams? Will this be a tough year in ministry? Will I get to go out of the country again? Will God open my eyes to a new and exciting opportunities? I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I do know that for the first time I’ve never been so ready to start FRESH! Give me this New Year because I want to take it on differently then I’ve ever done before. No more always worrying about keeping EVERYONE happy. No more stressing about all the TO-DO LISTS. I will be focusing on what matters most, and forgetting the rest. This is going to be a simple, yet amazing year. Less is more. We can not be perfect…so why do we try so hard at it if it will only do more harm? {not to say we can not thrive at things} Grace, NOT Perfection. God is going to do great things in our life and He has given us another start to a New Year. He hasn’t returned on earth yet. So don’t stop living and searching for Him. Keep moving forward and building His Kingdom one experience, life, possibility and relationship at a time.

This is our year. So, ready or not 2014, WELCOME.

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Grace….Not Perfection

I won’t lie when I say that I am having so much fun with my new position at FCN. I also won’t lie when I say, we have to make it to Christmas….just two weeks to go! I knew coming in to the job there was going to be a ton to do. Now it’s right on the battle field and working hard at accomplishing things. As a church we have been extremely blessed with the love shown in our members and the funds available for us to get our new “concert” ( I know using that world with a much older crowd can draw some eyebrows…but for the younger ages it makes perfect sense) lights installed in the sanctuary as well as two new side screens and not one computer in the back…but FOUR computers. And I’m in charge of making sure they are doing what they are meant to. Talk about a TON OF RESPONSIBILITY. Also talk about the timing here….we have been able to pull it off taking on this huge task even when the original plans we weren’t going to get to this point until after the first of the year. So now we are working tough days to prepare for our big “Beautiful Things” Christmas service this coming week! It is going to be phenomenal! With this new equipment my job is a ProPresenter junkies dream! I won’t get into the nerdy details even though I am so excited! But think of this; video playing in the middle screens (or all three!!!) Two different motion backgrounds that fit together playing at the same time from three screens!

And then there are LIGHTS.  

Yes, lights…which we have to program before each service. Cool things…yet challenging. THEN TO TOP THIS ALL OFF, we have our INFUSE Cozy Christmas Party (one of my favorite events to plan for the group!!!) in one week from TOMORROW.

SHOOT DANG.

All I can say when people aks how I am or what’s going on….is BUSY BUSY BUSY. Yet, at the same time I am working at keeping myself from going nuts! I have found a tiny balance (still working on it) of getting work done, laughing and having too much fun with my best friends a.k.a. the crazy guy’s I have to work with each day and working at making disciples with our youth and the people I interact with each day :) So keeping one at a pace of GRACE and not PERFECTION can really help in day’s like these. Yes I strive to always get the job done better then it needs to be….but it is also important for me to learn from such tasks and to take it one thing at a time (during my multi-tasking”ness”) and making memories instead of wondering where the time went. 

Feelings from a busy girl living in an exciting world. 

#shespeakstruth  <<< this is my new favorite hashtag. 

OK. Thanks. Bye :)

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How I’m Going To Thrive With This New Ministry

It’s been 8 days at the new job.

This is my second time working at a church full-time; even though I’ve worked with this church before…my roles with the youth side of things have stayed the same (and excite me the most). But I now have a much larger job description and a whole lot more experiences to thrive through.

As the Communications Director, I’m in a sense doing what I love and that is combining media with ministry. So all at once there is so much on my plate. I won’t lie. There is a TON! It will be stressful. It will be tough. It will be lots of research and working with others and ALL getting on the same page.

BUT…it is going to be fun. You know how I know? Because this job is what God has called me, sent me and challenged me to do for Him. I am ready for the challenge. I’m excited and I’m in the know that it won’t be a slice of cake. Or a cupcake at that.

But for crying out loud….I was born for this! God wouldn’t put me some where to only have me get discouraged…I’ve been there…I’ve gone through some tough times and days where I had to give up my OWN plan to live by HIS PLAN. SO, why would I be concerned right now with this new challenge He’s put right before me?

I always think of Switchfoot’s latest album and the saying, “I wanna THRIVE. Not just survive”

I want to thrive! Not just survive!

WOW.

Honestly, how often do we just get through each day surviving it and only looking to the very next day as the same as the one before?? Don’t do that! We are a people designed by God and He did not design anything to only just SURVIVE. His plan for each and everyone of us, as different as they all are…is to THRIVE in everything, everything you do on a daily basis!

Might be on a power mode tonight, but honestly that’s the kind of day we had in the office today :)

There is a lot to work through and get all together as a team and then put that plan into action. So during these unknowing and challenging days in the office with some of my closest friends, I’m going to take each day one at a time but I won’t just be surviving through the work days…no. I will be thriving. Because if we all had this attitude, I completely believe that our work would get done not only faster, but better then expected and you would actually ENJOY going to work! (like I do!)

I love my job. I love my church. I love my God and I love the people God’s placed in my life during this exciting time working in ministry!

Get you some of that!

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Don’t Take A Second For Granite

As I’m writing this and bringing my thoughts together, I am sitting in the Common building at Southern Nazarene University. Here for a youth summit, but every time I come here I feel like I am reminded of all the wonderful people and places God has placed me in/with.

For example I always get to see my Infuse students who are now attending SNU and some West Texas students as well. Even though I didn’t attend this school my college days, it always brings back such wonderful memories I had while at my beautiful campus, Olivet Nazarene University. These few days that I am walking the campus in Bethany, OK I’ve also been able to see my wonderful Nashville student, Hannah who attends Trevecca Nazarene University. Small world….na, God planned that!

So this trip is a transition time for me; and I’m sitting blessed knowing how God has worked in my life this past year.

After my sad, not wanting to go departure from Nashville, I moved to Dodge City, Kansas and was for the first time a full time staff member at a church. It was a good experience for me to see how other churches do things and how having more of a responsibility is different from just being a youth intern…..who gets the fun jobs :) My time in Kansas was short…but I have learned a lot this year.
God has taught me what He can truly do to and with our lives when WE GIVE HIM OUR LIFE, WHEN WE WAIT ON HIM and not planning everything out in OUR time.

If it was all in my timeing and my planning…I wouldn’t have left Nashville….I would still be there, even if I was working at Starbucks for the time being. I love my family church there and that would have been the reason behind me wanting to stay.

But I didn’t do that. I listened and prayed to God to show me; tell me and help me know where He was sending me and if I was going to leave Tennessee. I did what He was showing me….and that was move to Kansas.

If you didn’t know, my year I took off before starting college was spent in Lubbock, Texas as youth intern for FCN.

This was how my ministry started. My heart grew for youth ministry from this experience and the years to come. This place and experience is what got me going and the reason why I’m still pursing youth ministry. No matter where I live or what church I’m attending. That’s the beauty of ministry…IT DOESN’T AND SHOULDN’T HAVE TO BE IN JUST ONE PLACE KEPT TO ITSELF.

I can truly say that in this past year, with the roller coster of a life I’ve been flying on, by truly waiting and listening to God, He has given me the opportunity I’ve only dreamed of and honestly I’ve always thought this would happen one day (I’m a BIG dreamer and never say “never” ;) But also not truly knowing if this would happen, or if so…when? But it has happened and I am beyond blessed to say that as of this Thursday, I will be on full time staff at the church that starting my ministry…working with some of my best friends, mentors, and pastors in Lubbock, Texas at FCN.

God. Is. So. Good!

Never give up. Always wait….the out come is so much greater when it is His timing and not Ours.
If you truly want something….aim for it….but make sure you are doing so with God with you constantly and in knowing that even in your dark days…He will always break through the clouds and shine bright! Then your journey…as tough as it might seem…will be a tiny part of your big ministry/adventure in life!!!!

Airplane Birthday Success!

So after several HOURS of “pinning” this and that onto Pinterest to my “Parties” board, I was finally able to put some of these super adorable idea’s together!  As a true Pinner….I feel very accomplished!

My little brother, Abraham turned 7 years old this past Saturday :)

So big sister(s) got to put this little shin dig together….I will say this, It turned out to be a great party, it was a lot of fun but it was  a LOT of planning and work before the day of the party! I love this kind of stuff though! I have so many different types of jobs I love doing and event coordinator/party planner is defiantly one of the top favorites!

I love that my biggest passion is Youth Ministry and if you spend a lot of time in that department….you must know that in one way or another, it always helps to have someone who can throw a good party together! Even if it’s on a short notice & a limited budget….party planning is one of my favorites for YM :)

Back to the airplanes….these are some pictures of the finished project!

Cotton Candy look just like a cloud! So easy and very creative.

Cotton Candy look just like a cloud! So easy and very creative.

Part of the goodie bags....made hershey's kisses with cute cut outs on the bottom and orange was a major color of the party so orange tic tacks added that extra color to this personalized message!

Part of the goodie bags….made hershey’s kisses with cute cut outs on the bottom and orange was a major color of the party so orange tic tacks added that extra color to this personalized message!

Add a little something special with a message from the Birthday Boy!

Add a little something special with a message from the Birthday Boy!

Found these on Pinterest and fell in love!

Found these on Pinterest and fell in love!

Set out a vintage suit case filled with the goodie bags!

Set out a vintage suit case filled with the goodie bags!

Adding guests names to their bags make everyone feel a little more special!

Adding guests names to their bags make everyone feel a little more special!

The main scene...

Sugar cookies for the 7 year old! His choice of clouds and the number 7 and of course....an airplane!

Sugar cookies for the 7 year old! His choice of clouds and the number 7 and of course….an airplane!

Jet Fuel to keep going!

Marshmallows are a huge hit for any child. Add a little chocolate and a stick and they are more fun to eat!

Marshmallows are a huge hit for any child. Add a little chocolate and a stick and they are more fun to eat!

Loved these vintage Disney Planes posters!

Loved these vintage Disney Planes posters!

Pin the Propeller on Dusty! Paper Airplane Station

Can't have a party with out a good Photo Booth!!!

Can’t have a party with out a good Photo Booth!!!

Birthday Boy! Pilots for the day! Success.

When all said and done...this boy had a great time and we won't forget this Birthday Party!

When all said and done…this boy had a great time and we won’t forget this Birthday Party!

taylormurray

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