Walking Worthy

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5 Lessons for Leaders of the New Senior Class

It’s that time again in college ministry. High school students walk across the platform and become college students. I had flash backs recently as I spoke with a friend graduating a group of girls into college ministry. Just two years ago I was in her shoes and I’m sharing 5 lessons for the leaders of the New Senior Class (aka things I wish someone told me).

1. Don’t Allow Group Opposition
This one I learned the hard way. As a student ministry leader my small group girls didn’t get along with the other group of girls in their grade. I unknowingly bred disconnect and dislike between the two groups. It didn’t occur to me they would become one group when they graduated. As a result our college ministry suffered. Student leaders…please don’t allow and participate in the clashing of small groups. Please look forward. When we allow opposition to grow we hurt the future of their participation in the body of Jesus. There are no sides in the body of Christ, we are all on the same team. Let’s act like it.

2. Help them Connect to the College Ministry
Do your students know their college minister? Do you know your college minister? Have you ever stepped foot into your college ministry? Help your students connect with the college ministry in your church. Take them to your college ministry’s weekly service, introduce them to the college minister, invite the college ministry to participate in Senior activities. Do whatever you can as a leader to help them connect NOW before it’s too late. I know, you have so little time with them and you want it all for yourself. (I GET THAT) But invite your college ministry leaders into the lives of your students and help your students connect with them.

3. Speak Well of Your College Ministry
It amazes me how much students pick up on our words and attitude. Do you set your college ministry up for failure because of what you say, act or treat the college ministry? Are you critical? Or do you speak praise and encouragement? Remember, your words will fall flat if your attitude is wrong. Students know how you really feel about a person or a ministry.  Be intentional to speak well of your college ministry (and MEAN IT).

4. Promote Early
This is SO BIG. If you promote in August, you leave one or two weeks for the college ministry to invest in your students before they leave for school. By promoting early in the summer (by June 1st) you enable your students to plug in early while the senior class is still together. You create opportunities for the college ministry to connect with them. You may not be the person who makes the decision for when your students promote, but you can speak on their behalf and help create change in this area. Promote your students as soon as they graduate….it makes a HUGE difference.

5. We Care about Your Students Too
I know how much you care about your kids. I cried my last Sunday with my small group (knowing I would see them the next week in college ministry).  Know that we love your kids too. We want to grow with them and walk with them as they pursue Jesus. I know how hard it is to let go. I still squeal every time one of my small group girls walks in the door (because they never stop being yours).  We are here and ready to invest in your students, so trust us knowing we truly care for them and cannot wait to know them better.

Photo Credit: Jessle Johnson
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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Costume Jewelry Corsage

This Sunday will be my mom’s first Mother’s Day without her mom. I wanted to do something special to honor my Mom and my Grandmother. As a little girl, every Mother's Day Dad and I bought my Mom a corsage to wear to church (anyone else do this? Or is that just a small town thing?). My Costume Jewelry Corsage is a nod to a tradition in our family and a way to honor my Grandmother this Mother's Day.
In January when our family gathered for my grandmother’s memorial we went through all of my grandmother’s jewelry. After everyone had been through the jewelry and picked out what they really wanted I quietly gathered some clip on earrings into a bag knowing I wanted to do something special for my mom.

At first I thought I wanted to create an art piece for her using the earrings, but then I had this idea to create a Mother’s Day Corsage. Like all crafty people I thought my idea was totally new and I would create something no one else had ever seen (that was short lived with one Pinterest search).

I pinned several ideas, bought supplies and got to work.

Supplies:


I wired each earring with floral wire being careful to leave a long tail (4-6 inches).

I took all my items and began playing with different ideas. But I didn’t like it. It wasn’t what I wanted. It was flat and one dimensional (and not very good looking).

After 30 minutes of playing and not liking what I was seeing I asking my friend Michelle if she would help me. (Never be afraid to call in a creative friend) Michelle helped me get past my crafting block and press on. We took all the pieces apart and grouped and wrapped them together.
We started with the burlap leaves and single fabric flower (I bought these in the wedding section of Hobby Lobby. They were already on wire.) Then we began pulling in the earrings. I loved where it was heading, but wanted to incorporate more.

I attached another fabric piece (which I bought in the sale section of Hobby Lobby) using my trusty glue gun and then wrapped in more of the earrings.
When I knew I was finished I wrapped the stem up as tight as I could (still making it look corsage like) and used some pliers to push down any ends of wire. I wrapped the stem with lace ribbon to give it a finished look and attached a pin back to the back on the corsage.
I packed my corsage in a corsage box, with a burlap cut out and more lace ribbon and sent the corsage off to my mom for Mother’s Day.

Mom- I love you!! Thank you for being such a great example to me, for loving me, pushing me, and showing me how to serve God and serve people!  

I've Linked up with Skip to My Lou  and Tatertots and Jello on this post. 
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Don't Follow Your Heart

I could feel a major light bulb moment brewing. I could see their minds buzzing with new truth. Finally someone broke through the silence and asked “So does that mean we can’t even trust who we love?” I shook my head no and told her, “No we cannot rely on our hearts or emotion to tell us what is true” 

The Lie We Buy
“Follow your heart, go with your gut, do whatever makes your heart happy, do what feels right.” These are all lies. Every last one of them. 

When we listen to these lies we fail to recognize we are actually saying “your heart is good and true and pure. You can believe everything it tells you because it is worthy of trust. Let your heart be the honing beacon for everything” Are you paying attention here??? Do you see how insanely absurd these lies are? We are buying into a lie when we rely on our self and our own heart tell us what is true and what to believe.

Our Hearts Cannot be Trusted
The problem with the lie we buy is that our hearts are anything but good. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”  Proverbs 16:25 tells us “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death”

There is nothing good or true about our heart. In fact our heart is actually wicked and deceitful. Our heart will lie to us. Our heart cannot discern what is true and will lead us down a path of destruction.

The Foolish Prayer
Lord don’t let me feel ______ if it’s not your will.

Most likely everyone of us have prayed this prayer at some point. Why is this a foolish prayer? Isn't is a good think to pray? It is a foolish prayer because it focuses on emotion more than it focuses on Jesus and His will. Remember that your heart is a liar?? So why would you use it as a honing beacon for God’s will? When you pray this prayer then you are relying on your deceptive heart to be worthy of all trust. You are trusting in a heart that is untrustworthy. 

The Better Prayer
Lord I feel _______, help me know what to make of this, show me what your will is.

Instead of relying on our heart, we must take our heart to the Lord and ask Him what His will is. Proverbs 3:5 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” We must put aside what feels right in our gut and center everything around the will of God. We entrust our heart to Him and don’t lean on what we believe to be true.

God and His Word are true.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Since God and His Word are true we must ask the Lord to help us make sense of what we are feeling and surrender everything at His feet. Even when our own heart cannot be trusted, we must rest in God and His Word. God and His Word are holy and true and more than trust worthy. Truth is the very character of God.

The heart is deceptive, your gut can't be trusted, emotions will change with the wind. So please don't follow your heart, follow the One who knows all and is in all and holds everything in His hand. He is worthy of our following.

Photo Credit: Camdiluv
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

DIY Book Page Wall Art

Today I am sharing my Book Page Wall Art with you. Last Christmas I had coffee with a friend at a local coffee shop. The moment I walked in I fell in love with the d├ęcor. The coffee shop had two large art pieces hanging on the walls I knew I wanted to incorporate somewhere in my life. This spring my husband and I are renovating our college room. As we began planning I knew I wanted to incorporate a DIY version of that art piece somewhere.

I began to search for a tutorial where all good DIYers search: Pinterest. I searched for hours, but couldn’t find a project that was exactly what I wanted. I found some more inspiration, but not an exact replica of what I was looking for.

Tutorials and Inspiration:

I found canvas pieces, but they were too small and completely glued down. I wanted my piece to have movement and texture (I DIDN’T want my book page art to look like I cemented book pages down on a piece of board). I liked the table runners I found, they had the look I was going for.

My DIY Book Page Art Piece Wall Art cost me less than $20 because I had most of the supplies on hand. I only purchased the precut plywood and the hanging kit.

Supplies You Need:
Old Book
Hot Glue Gun
Extra glue sticks
Extension cord (if needed)
Staple gun

Carefully rip out pages from the old book. If you love books this will go against every fiber of your being. Trust me the result is worth it.  Tear out small sections at a time so the edges are somewhat uniform.
Find a large space to work close to an outlet and lay your plywood down. Plug in the hot glue gun using the extension cord if necessary. Lay out one row of book pages allowing the edges to cover the edges of the ply wood. To keep the pages from looking perfect layer and stagger the height of each page until. After the first row is in position begin raising the top of the pages and glue the back of the page to the plywood by putting a row of glue half an inch to one inch from the top of each page. Gluing the page down at the top allows for a loose flow of the pages. Press the page down onto the plywood until it’s secure (It won’t take very long) and then continue with the next page.

Glue down the entire row, then lay out the next row. Each time change the pattern the book pages as they are laid out so your finished art piece appears random. Continue  laying out rows and gluing them a row at a time until you reach the top of the board. At the top of the board make sure the pages cover all the edges.
Once the entire board is covered and glued down look for opportunities to randomize the piece. Find places to insert a page here and there to give the art piece depth and not look too put together.
Allow the hot glue to dry and turn the entire piece over to attach the hanging kit. The kit has two d-ring hangers, a piece of wire and screws. Unravel the wire and determine the length needed to hang the art piece.  Lay down the D-ring hangers to be secured. The placement will be determined by the length of the wire and the width of the art piece.  Once the right spot for each hanger is determined, use the staple gun to secure it in position (No judgment here okay?! I choose was ¼” thick plywood so the art piece wouldn’t be too heavy. I needed to improvise. If your plywood piece is thicker, feel free to use the screws to secure the hangers). Once you have stapled each hanger, use the gorilla glue to cement each hanger in place. Give the gorilla glue several hours to dry.
Once the glue is dry, thread the wire through the D-rings and hang the art piece on the wall.
I'm linking up this post to Tip Junkie and  Skip to My Lou's Link Party
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Standing Firm When You are Limping

Some days you limp along. You know days when your friends’ son is in the hospital and you aren’t getting much sleep and then you go into worship and ugly cry through every song. Those days when everyone needs something from you and you have nothing left. When you look around  and people are self-destructing as the enemy attacks and you just want to yell at them to get it together because at this point your filter is completely gone and your mercy is nonexistent. No one seems to notice there isn’t any more room in your arms to carry one more burden because your arms are FULL. You are SPENT.
I keep asking the Lord to carry me. When I have nothing left I know I can stand firm in what God has already done for me. Ephesians 6:10 says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” I hear the Lord quietly whisper, hold on tight, stand firm in me because I am strong and I am Mighty. 
And I am just so grateful.
I’m grateful for the reminder that I can’t do anything apart from Jesus
I want to think that I can. I want to believe that I am stronger than I think and that I can handle so much. I just can't pretend anymore like I can hold things together. And it’s foolish for me to pretend like I can do it anyway. So in those days of limping along my Great Defender and Strong Tower reminds me to sit so close to Him. To hide myself within Him. To stand firm in what He has already done for me and continues to do within in me.
I’m grateful for how BIG my God is
I am grateful that because of what He has already done for me on the cross, because I am in Christ and with Christ I have access to His Strength and His Might. He is greater and bigger than anything that comes my way. He is in charge of all things. You know He spoke things into being. He created this world out of NOTHING. Nothing is too big for Him to handle.
I’m grateful His armor is better than mine
My fleshly body is so weak which is exactly why I need the Lord’s armor made up of His character. As I seek Him with everything I slip into His armor. As I dive down deep into the Word and focus on His Truth I buckle that belt of Truth around me. When I recognize how despicable my sin is and I need Him to cover my sinful self I pull on that breast plate of Righteousness. As I remember that I am nothing apart from Christ but have all things in Him then my feet are planted with the shoes of the gospel of peace. When I put my trust in Christ and His character (not in myself and what I can do) I stand behind the shield of faith that can extinguish all the fiery arrows of the enemy. I pull on the helmet of salvation when I remember I possess salvation in Christ and the enemy does not own me. When the Spirit exposes my sin and woos me back to Jesus I stand with the Sword in my hand.
You see the armor isn’t about being on the offense. The armor is about Christ fighting for you. It’s that He ALREADY HAS FOUGHT FOR YOU. That in Christ our debt is paid in FULL. We don’t owe anything, and don’t have to strive to be anything. We BELONG to Jesus and He cultivates His character in us. We must run hard after Jesus, sit with Him, soak up His Word, rest at His feet, hide ourselves in Him, and allow Him to carry us instead of trying to limp along on our own.

Photo by Duncan
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reaching Away Students: Student of the Week

Our college ministry is constantly looking for ways to reach students away at school. My husband and I tossed around ideas, but never had time to formulate a plan to reach our away students. Kayla, one of our student leaders, approached us with an idea.

Kayla’s idea was to create Student of the Week. Kayla says “ I realized how important community was and that leaving that community is a big leap of faith and can be super intimidating. I wanted our students away at school to know their church community was still loving them and praying for them. That people were waiting for them to come home, but also encouraging them to find community there.”
Remember how exciting it felt getting real mail as a college student? Ultimately Student of the Week puts real mail in the mailboxes of our students away at college. Each week we feature two students and write notes to them.  We share on white boards each student's name, the name of their college, and ways to pray for them. We pin an empty envelope next to each name, lay out note cards, pens, and markers and ask students fill up the envelopes with personal notes. Each envelope stays on the board for one week allowing everyone an opportunity to write each person. At the end of the week we take the envelopes and mail them along with a general letter that Kayla wrote. 

Kayla spent many months planning and praying over Student of the Week. Student of the Week now has it’s own space in our college ministry area. If you want to start your own student of the week area here is how you can get started:
Where do I Begin? 
Collect information from your college students. We created a simple card to have on hand. Over Thanksgiving and Christmas we intentionally sought out information on students who were away at college. We even told them if they filled out the card they would receive something in the mail. 

Purchase and Gather Supplies:
  • White board that is half cork board (similar product)
  • Push pins (our dry erase board/cork board came with them)
  • Dry erase markers (similar product)
  • Regular markers
  • A box of pens
  • A stack of notecards
  • a box of envelopes
  • a general letter to include with personal notes
  • Printed calendar or planner
  • Folder for calendar and envelopes

Calendar students for an entire semester. 
Our goal was to reach every away student we gathered information on in one semester. To make that work for us, Kayla calendared two students each week. Calendaring students for the entire semester makes the entire process easier (trust me this step is worth it). 

Write a general letter to be included with personal notes. 
The purpose of the general letter is to tell your away college students who the personal cards are coming from (your college ministry). The point of the letter is to say our college ministry cares for you and we can’t wait to see you again! 

Introduce the idea to your college students and get to writing!!! 
Share each student’s name, school, and ways to pray for them on whiteboards. Pin an empty envelope on the cork board next to each name, lay out note cards, pens, and markers and ask students fill up the envelopes. We encourage students to write encouraging notes, ways they are praying, or a favorite verse. At the end of the week take the envelopes and mail them along with your general letter. 


Here are some free printable note cards you can download and print on your own:
Jones Design Company  
The Pretty Blog
Lauren McKinsey

I keep wondering how it took us so long to figure out something so easy, but sometimes it takes someone else, who has a heart and a passion for something to come up with an idea that you could have never thought of. (Plug: that’s what we love about our student leadership team. They bring ideas, passions, and talents to our ministry we just don’t have. We are super grateful for the way they lead and serve in our ministry)
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kindness Fueled by Christ: Guest Post for Transform Student Ministries

Occasionally I have the honor of writing for the Transform Student blog. This month the theme is kindness. Read a taste of my latest post for them and follow the link below to read the entire post.

I hung my head as I watched another debate go down on Facebook. You have seen them right? They spring up over theological issues. People standing up for the “name of Christ” and “His Word.” Yet I wonder how their desire to be right with a lack of kindness shows anything about Christ.... 

Keep Reading at Transform Student

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