Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why Worry? Guest Blog from @KarissaLiebe!


I have had so many blog post ideas streaming through my mind lately but have failed to stop and write them. Soon, I promise! In the meantime, I am excited to have Karissa Liebe share with you! Karissa is from Appleton, Wisconsin, is a freshman at Lee University and volunteers in our Student Ministry & Girls Ministry. She is such a joy to be around and I have loved getting to know her! I am confident you will relate, be challenged and be encouraged through her words below...I was! - Suzanne

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I have a tendency to worry. I worry about my family, my friends, and school, but more then anything I worry about my future. I have huge dreams to do big things for God, and I can hardly wait to see those dreams come to be. In the meantime I have acquired a horrible habit of worrying.
“What if I’m not qualified?”
“She could do this so much better then me.”
“Am I missing opportunities?”
The list goes on and on.
I know that God has my best interest in mind. I have memorized verses about waiting on God and not worrying, but I still do it. My worrying makes me sick inside, because I know God is so much bigger and definitely has a better plan than me.
Lately I have been really struggling with this battle. Over the past few months I have been working to rid myself from the things that hold me back. The last thing I have been dealing with is this issue of worrying. I’ve become frustrated because I want to be better. I want to have peace. I want to completely trust God with my life. I have been coming to the end of the rope.
Just as I was becoming desperate I ran across a verse that pierced my heart:
As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. Jeremiah 26:14
I think God purposely waits until we are at the end of our ropes to speak these truths to us. I was just broken enough for these simple words to grip my whole being. Never be afraid to embrace the broken because it is often in these moments that God speaks the loudest.
Don’t worry, breathe, rest in his promises, and wait on the Lord he will never forsake the broken.

You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
Acts 2:28
-Karissa



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A GUY Guest Blogger: Chris Dotson! "Suffering Leads to Joy?? Whaaat?!"

Hello Girls! 
I always love having our interns guest blog from time to time and especially love having our guys write. What girl doesn't like to hear from a guys perspective from time to time? Chris Dotson joined our intern team this semester and has been a ball of energy from day one! Chris is from Tampa, FL and is in his sophomore year at Lee University. He is never at a loss for words, but lucky for us, some of those words bring some great ideas to our team and Student Ministry. If you haven't gotten a chance to meet Chris, be sure to on a Wednesday Night! Enjoy reading below one of the life lessons Chris has learned along the way! - Ms. Suzanne          


             Have you ever had those times when everything is just not going your way? I’m talking about nothing, nada, zilch. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to catch a break. In those times, it’s so hard to see the Lord. I remember a time last year where nothing was going right for me. You see, I’m currently a sophomore at Lee University. I came to Lee as a freshman with a scholarship to run cross country and track. It was not much, but it was helping me get through school. Well, as far as running goes, nothing went right. I was injured repeatedly. First it was a stress fracture, next a pulled muscle, next a torn ligament. “God, why are you doing this to me? I thought you brought me here to run?” that was my question over and over when I prayed. I did not understand why this kept happening to me. To make it even worse, I started to experience rejection from my friends who were on the team. Because I was constantly hurt my teammates, without meaning to, began to exclude me. I felt alone.

 It was at this time of aloneness, that I had one of the most spiritual experiences in my life. Now no, I’m not saying the Lord appeared to me and spoke audibly to me, but He did something I will never forget. During this season of my life, I was not consistently in the Word. There were days at a time where I did not say one thing to the Lord. One particular night though, I felt like I needed to read Romans 5…don’t ask me why; trust me it was a God thing. I opened my bible and read these 2 verses that changed my life forever:
 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing suffering produces endurance, and endurance character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5: 3-5 ESV).
It finally hit me. I had missed it so bad; so, so, so bad. You see, my whole life I had built up my happiness in other things; running, school, popularity, acceptance, girls, companionship, etc. The thing is, we serve a jealous God who will not allow us to find complete joy and happiness in the things of this world. Our happiness should be found solely in the Lord. When I finally grasped this, I understood why all these “bad” things were happening to me. God was trying to teach me something. He was showing me that I was placing my happiness in the wrong things. Like the verse says, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance character, and character produces hope” I was only going to gain hope in Jesus by going through these trials; and it took Jesus allowing me to suffer, to teach me this.
So now, I look at life differently. There is a reason everything happens (sounds cliché, I know). But it’s true! God has you in your circumstance, at your school, at your job, on your sports team, for a reason. Though there may be trials that cause you to suffer, remember this: instead of asking God “why, why, why?” ask Him, “How? How can you use me to glorify and grow in you in the circumstance I’m in?” I promise you that if you do this, you will always find hope in the dark times of your life.

- Chris Dotson 




Monday, October 8, 2012

FOR THE STRONG AND THE WEAK

Thursdays are my favorite. It's my earliest start day which makes it my hardest morning, but the reward is so worth it! I get to help with a coaches Bible study at 6:45 am, greet students on their way in as I leave, and then hit up a local coffee shop to prep and study for other upcoming Bible studies, team devotions, and discipleship groups I have the privilege of leading each week! Last week I had some sweet time studying in Romans 15 and thought I would share with you...as iron sharpens iron, right! 
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Romans 15:1-7 (ESV)
Let's take this verse by verse and unpack its richness!


vs. 1 à Some of us are in seasons where we are strong and some of us are weak. There is always someone stronger than you and always someone weaker than you. It's your duty to come along side those that are weak and not just look out for yourself. 
vs. 2 à Focus on the other person and their needs. Learn their love language instead of loving them just how you receive love. This will build them up the most. 
vs. 3 à Christ did the most good for us, more than we could have ever imagined. He took on our sin - what could have been more selfless? He who knew no sin took on our sin, endured our sin and the conquered that ugly mess through His resurrection! 
vs. 4 à We weren't left alone to pursue this! We have the Scriptures to guide and direct, to encourage and testify and to give hope! But you can't have these without reading Scripture and knowing it. 
vs. 5 à With God we can have harmony. We can be "on pitch" and pleasing to one another and to God. We aren't alone, but many parts working together as planned in Christ. 
vs. 6 à Our objective always: to glorify God! Keyword though is "together". You have a part and you need other parts. Which means bearing one another's burdens and encouraging one another for greatness. 
vs. 7 à We were once (and still are) weak and Christ welcomed us for His glory. In response to His grace and mercy we too welcome and build up others so as a result He is glorified in us! May He be more and more glorified in us!!

For each of us, we will always go through seasons where our spiritual life is stronger or weaker at times. However, as we grow in our relationship with Christ the extremity of those spikes and pitfalls should decline greatly. The good news is there is always someone stronger than us that we can allow to pour into our lives, to encourage us exactly as we need encouraging, to speak truth (even when it hurts), and to challenge us to go deeper with Christ. At the same time, there is always someone weaker in our lives. Someone for us to encourage...and to encourage as they need it, now how we need it, to challenge, to speak truth to, and to be there for. When we allow strong people in our life and we seek out opportunities to pour into other, HARMONY takes place and God is GLORIFIED!


Who are you allowing to pour into you? Who are you pouring into? 



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jesus is Calling You to More!


You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
I will never forget the “ah-ha!” moment when I realized what it means to glorify God, and to love Him. It really meant knowing Him. It meant understanding the magnitude of what happened on the cross and the depth of who He really is…a knowledge that only comes from spending time with Him and being in His word. This happened by going beyond just learning from what people were teaching me and instead truly delving into God’s word myself. It meant going beyond one or two verses and actually understanding a section in context, looking for parallels, promises vs commands, and yes, going to the dictionary and looking up words I didn't know. This was life-changing for me. For the first time I understood the obedience and discipline that was behind knowing God and also experienced a deeper love for Him than ever before (and continue to). This affected what it meant to glorify Him with my words and deeds (Colossians 3:17) because I was in the process of knowing God and thus how He received honor and glory from me.

This “ah-ha” moment is also what grew my desire for ministry. I wanted to help lead other women and girls to this same pursuit of knowing God and glorifying Him. That’s discipleship, right?!

So here’s where I have been challenged. As I am meeting with new girls, assessing where they are and where I can come along side them to encourage their spiritual growth, I am facing the phenomenon of the “2-minute feeding schedule”. When asked what their daily quiet times consist of, more times than not they respond with “Oh, I read Jesus Calling everyday.” And that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Jesus Calling readings and I applaud them on their consistency. These readings have on many occasions been exactly what I needed to hear that day and a reminder of the precious promises God has for my life. 

But it’s just not enough. So here's my challenge:

One or two verses randomly placed in your day is not a substantial meal. You need more. You have “tasted that the Lord is good” so move beyond the milk that babies feed on and chew on some meat (1 Peter 2)! Desire to know context…to know what the author is saying and ask how you can apply it to your life. This doesn’t mean you must have an hour Bible study every day, but it does mean having a plan and working through Scripture over time.

I really believe that Jesus is calling us to more. He’s calling our students to more. He’s calling you to more.
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. (Proverbs 8:17)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

From a Guys Perspective... (Guest Blogger, Hunter Greene!)

Even though this is a GIRLS blog, it's good to hear from a guys perspective every once and awhile. We can get so caught up in what we think they think that we can find ourselves far from the truth. I am excited to have our summer intern, Hunter Greene as our Guest Blogger this week. He had freedom to write whatever he wanted and I am excited for you to read how guys really think...(or well what the type of guy you should care about thinks) ;)


Hey, I'm Hunter Greene and I have been one of the guy interns this summer at First Baptist Church. Like most people, summer is my favorite season of the year. It is also a season in which more people have time to pursue a relationship. Relationships to me should be taken more seriously than they generally are. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that “...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (ESV) This accounts for relationships as well. For girls, a relationship with a guy should always have the goal of glorifying God. For a Christian girl this means that the guy should also be a believer and also have an intimate relationship with Christ. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (ESV) Paul is writing this saying that believers should be with and fellowship with other believers. This being said, as Christians, others should be able to identify us by our actions and the way we present ourselves.

I think I speak for all guys when I say that we are tempted into unhealthy thoughts by what girls wear. It is important for a girl that seeks a Godly man to dress modestly. When a girl wears questionable clothing around mixed company, she is doing two things. She is attracting the less desirable non-believer and possibly causing the believer to stumble. In Romans 14:21 it says, “It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” (ESV) This can be applied to how a girl presents herself. When I look for a girl, I want a girl that dresses nice but modestly. This tells me that she cares about how she looks, but also cares about how she is presenting herself to others and trying to attract the right guys. I know that any guy that loves God would not want to be with a girl that is constantly lusted over by other guys because she dresses inappropriately. So I write this to say, separate yourself from the crowd and stand out. Being modest is not something to be ashamed of. Being modest brings the right guy to you, and together you can give all the glory to Him.


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Monday, August 13, 2012

2012 FALL GIRLS MINISTRY CALENDAR

Printed copies available at the Student Info Table at First Baptist Church of Cleveland! Feel free to contact our Student Ministry Office if you have any questions about any of these Girls Ministry opportunities! There are info cards available prior to each event that detail location, time, what to bring, etc. See you there!

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Completely Obsessed with Christ


A word from Devon Vaughn....

This summer I had the opportunity to lead an awesome group of middle and high school girls through a new six-week Bible study by HayleyDiMarco called Obsessed. This Bible study was all about moving our obsessions off of the things of this world and becoming completely obsessed with Christ. If you couldn’t be with us on Thursday nights this summer, here’s a little recap of some important things we talked about so you can learn from what we’ve been studying!

The first week was entitled “The Anatomy of the Obsessed,” and Hayley gives us a description of what our obsessions look like. She says to be obsessed is to be, “relentless in your attention to or pursuit of something.” The girls shared some things they could define as obsessions in their life: sports, dance, school, friends. And we talked about that while those are all good and positive things in our life, when they become our obsessions, we make idols out of them and place them in front of Christ. We talked about ways we could work to move our obsessions off of things of this world, whether good or bad, and move them onto Christ. One great scripture that was included for this week was Matthew 13:44, the parable of the man who found treasure in a field, reburied it, and went and sold everything he had to buy the field with the treasure. The treasure in this parable represents Jesus, and we are called to give everything we have to serve him: time, money, future plans...everything. Hayley says that, “obsession requires commitment and devotion.” And these are two main factors required to grow in our relationship with Christ. We must be committed and devoted to reading our Bible, having prayer time, and following out the Lord’s commands in our everyday life.

The rest of the weeks followed the pattern of talking about some major obsessions we all have in our life and how we can turn those to Christ. One week we talked about being obsessed with loss. The girls talked about how fear and worry can become a sin in their life because it means they have not placed their full faith and trust in the Lord. We also talked about being obsessed with gain. Being obsessed with gain can manifest itself in many ways in our life, but some of the ways we talked about were being coveting other people’s belongings or being too indulgent. We also talked about what it meant to be obsessed with relief or comfort, and how sometimes the Lord brings us to hard or uncomfortable situations in our lives in order to bring himself glory or teach us something new.

The last week of study was about how we can take all of these obsessions – loss, gain, relief, or anything else – and turn them into an obsession with God. Man’s primary purpose in life is to glorify God, and that should be our main goal in everyday life.  Glorifying God means to acknowledge Him, adore Him, love Him, and serve Him. One important concept we talked about is that when we become fully obsessed with God, we become less important. John 3:30 says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  Being obsessed with God means that we give everything to Him and for Him. We focus daily on bringing Him glory in every situation we’re faced with, and let all of our other desires, worries, or activities pale in comparison to our love and desire to serve Christ.

I so enjoyed getting to lead this Bible study this summer and spend some time with our sweet girls! I encourage you guys to grab a girl that was in this Bible study and ask them what they learned or got out of it. Also, this would be a great personal Bible study for anyone to do!

- Devon



Thanks, Devon! What a great recap of this summer and charge to seek Christ with the commitment and devotion of obsession. I cannot believe that Devon and Payton will be finishing up their last days as summer interns this week. What joy they have been to me personally and I know to our Girls Ministry this summer throughout all the great opportunities we've had! A couple of Sundays ago I got to sit in on a Sunday School class that they were teaching and I couldn't help but smile the entire time. I have been with these girls since they were sophomores in High School and to now had the extended time of the summer to pour into them, disciple them, serve along side them and be encouraged myself by them...it's truly been a honor and a blessing. These are rare jewels making headway for the Kingdom and I couldn't be more excited for what's to come! I hope all of you will take time this week to show your appreciation and as well as commit to pray for them as they begin their sophomore year in college in just a couple of weeks! 

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