Devotionals

The Date Filter

This is the one that everyone is looking for…so if you’re late to the party and hopping on the train late you NEED to go read parts 1-5 of this devotional series. The reality is that all of the content leading up to this relates to what we are about to talk about…the dating game.

Except it’s not a game at all. First and foremost, if we think about it like a game then we are thinking about it in the wrong way. Second, it’s not just confined to dating…what we are going to be talking about relates to friendships too.

 

If dating is a game…(or friendship is a game…)

  1. We aren’t valuing the person on the other side.
  2. We aren’t valuing ourselves.

 

But maybe dating isn’t a game for you. Maybe you really want to find your person but you are running in circles of confusion and pressure.

Or maybe you really want to have meaningful friendships and good influences who you spend the majority of your time with but you feel torn.

I don’t blame you. I know, I feel it.

 

There’s the confusion of everyone’s opinion playing in your ear. The the confusion of all our own emotions, the husband/wife that you’ve prayed for or desire but that seems impossible to find. The the noise of everyone else asking if you’re dating anyone, or why won’t you date so-and-so, and then when you end up dating someone it feels like you’re settling.

Maybe it doesn’t feel like it in the moment, but then a few steps in you realize that you are…

only hanging out with someone for excitement

or to not feel lonely anymore

or to be relieved of the pressure of finding your future or having friends.

You may realize this isn’t going to give you what you want or what God wants for you.

 

Who you date is way more powerful than you think.

 

You could even say it this way if you aren’t dating right now, but maybe you are feeling similar pressures related to who you hang out with. The reality is that those we spend time with influence our lives.

 

Who you hang around is way more powerful than you think.

 

King Soloman was the wisest of the wise. He was gifted from God and also had a thing or two to say about love. In the book of Proverbs he writes this…

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

Dating is powerful because walking with someone and doing life with them influences you, whether it’s for better or for worse, it influences you.

Even when you aren’t dating someone, but just hanging out with a friend.

Who you hang out with influences who you will become.

 

Ultimately, our filter for dating (and friendships) needs to be about what’s best. If we know God always has our best interest in mind then this principle will still apply.

 

If they do not bring out the best in you, they are not the best for you.

 

The best of you comes in two parts. It comes in how you view yourself, and how you view others. Even if you aren’t dating right now, or don’t feel the pressure to date right now, how you view yourself, how you view others, and how you view dating and friendships is going to impact your life.

 

When we think about OTHERS…

Are we seeing them for WHO they are and who God created them to be?

Or do we see them for what they are or what they can offer us?

If something is more appealing to you than that person’s love for God, their love for people, or how they make you a better version of yourself then you should probably think twice about why you are with them in the first place.

Reverse this for yourself too! They should be seeing YOU the exact same way.

 

Are we intentionally guarding THEIR heart as well as our own?

Dating someone doesn’t mean we are marrying someone. Yet we want to date with him or her in mind. Date with the mind and the heart that someone is going to be your future someone. It may or may not be the person you are dating now, or that you will date next. Until there’s a ring on it and wedding bells chime HONOR THEM like they are someone’s future someone.

Whether they are yours or not.

 

When we think about OURSELVES…

Am I being wise about who I date or hang out with?

Be wise, be strategic, be intentional and be considerate of who takes up the space in your heart while you’re dating them because they will impact you. You will rub off on each other. Is the person you’re dating, or considering dating, someone who is going to be able to run with you? Can they run WITH you after God’s heart and after what you want out of life?

 

Are you asking others that know you?

ASK YOURSELF, and ASK OTHERS…do they bring out the best in me?

do they encourage me? Do they breathe life into me, make me go further faster?

do they challenge me? If I am about to go off the path do they bring me back on?

do I get closer or further to Jesus the more time I spend with this person?

 

Am I thinking about him or her?

Are you guarding it? Are you protecting yourself and guarding yourself for that person that God has designed and crafted for you? Are you thinking about them when you are thinking about dating? Even if you can’t identify them yet, keep them in find. Protect them and your future relationship because it is sacred and special. Date with THEM in mind.

Dating can be confusing…it can be hard to navigate, but having a filter can help.

 

Why would you take this lightly? Why wouldn’t you want someone who brings out the absolute best in you?

If you have the filter that if they don’t bring out the best in you, then they aren’t the best for you…it will be easier to see God’s best for your life. He has a specific story for you…and a special person that will get to watch God do His best work in the depths of your human heart.

Be wise about who you date, about who you let have an influence on you.

Also- be encouraged. If you’re lonely right now or feel like you keep striking out, remember that God has your best interest in mind.

 

He is fighting for you, and He will give you your best life.

In His perfect timing…

 

The “Date” Filter Application

Prayer: Pray for your future spouse, pray that God with give you eyes for them. Also pray that God would give you the filter that if someone doesn’t bring out the best in you then they aren’t the best for you.

Scripture: Proverbs 13:20

Say It To Yourself: If they don’t bring out the best in me, they are not the best for me.

Journal: Journal about what you believe God’s best is for you. This doesn’t have to be a long list. What do qualities do you think are the most important to bring out the best in you and bring the most glory to God?

Devotionals

The Father Filter

Have you ever played that game?

The one where someone says a word and you have to say the first thing that pops into your head?

School- Meh

Ultimate Frisbee- Fun

Donuts – Sprinkles

Stranger Things 2- YES!

But when this game gets a little more serious it’s no longer a game.

It’s real life with our

real experiences and our

real thoughts.

What you think about when you think about something, or someone, is really important.

We are seeing, thinking, feeling through a filter.

So, let me ask you a question…what do you think about when you think about God?

Maybe you would say He’s the referee. Or if referee doesn’t feel extreme enough, you would say He’s the cop.

He’s the one calling the shots, handing out yellow cards and ticketing you when you’ve messed up.

Maybe you see Him like Santa. He’s the one that gives you stuff. That if you pray the right prayers and do well then He will #bless you.

Maybe you think He is an older man with a rad beard.

Maybe you think He is like a cloud because you can’t quite describe Him and He feels far off and distant. When you try to grasp Him the air passes through your fingers faster than you can feel it.

Maybe you see Him as your homeboy, your ride or die.

Maybe you don’t feel like you fit into any of those categories, maybe you feel like you know where I am headed with this and you feel like the lens in which you view God is pretty accurate.

Or maybe you don’t feel like you fit into any of those categories because you are sitting there staring at this screen with insane doubts debating on if you think God is even real or cares about you at all.

 

Now, if that’s you. I’m just asking you to hang on. Give me to the end of this and then reconsider.

Regardless of where you are at or how you are currently viewing God, it is important to realize that your GOD filter is going to reflect the relationship that you have with Him.

And if we do not see God as FATHER, if we do not think of Him as FATHER when we think about Him, then we need to re-adjust our filter in order to have a healthier and more accurate view of God Himself.

The first instance where we hear God addressed as Father is when Jesus is teaching how to pray…

This, then, is how you should pray; “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9

 Later on, God is addressed as “Abba” which translates to “Daddy”. That’s like a whole other level. There’s a deepened level of relationship when you rid of formalities.

When this sinks in, and I mean like really takes roots, it almost feels as if it can’t be true.

It will absolutely destroy you in the best way possible when you can see yourself the way God sees you, when you see Him as Someone fighting, orchestrating and sacrificing for your good.

He is out for your good, and He will do it for His glory.

When we believe that we actually have an identity as children of God, addressing Him as “Father…”, brings something new in us. It unveils a level of comfort, care and adoration that is incomparable. Regardless of what we’ve experienced.

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6

If you are questioning or need a reminder that you are a cherished child of God, here’s what you need to remember…

 1. God LOVES you…He literally gave EVERYTHING for you so that you could be in a relationship with Him forever more.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

 2. God’s WITH you…He may not be tangible in the sense of physically seeing and feeling but He is there, and He is present, and He equips you with all that you need.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 3. God’s FOR you…He fights on your behalf and is writing a beautiful story for your good and for His glory.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

 

So think about this…think about what you think about when you think about God. And let it wash over you revealing more of who He is. Let Him continue to reveal to you that God is FATHER.

 

The FATHER Filter Application

Prayer: Ask God to enhance your filter for Him, ask Him to give you a heart and a posture that sees Him and speaks to Him as Father.

Scripture: Memorize Matthew 6:9

Say It To Yourself: What do you think about when you think about God? Jesus reveals God as a Father.

Journal: Write about what view you feel like you have of God, if it’s changed or stayed the same, and how it influences the way you interact with Him and others.

Devotionals

The Wise Filter

I don’t know about you, but I always feel pressure to make the right decision.

Do I want this donut or that donut? Do I want all the donuts?
Do I want to watch a movie or read a book?
Do I want my coffee iced or hot?
Do I want to watch Netflix or get outside?

When I am pressed for time and have to make a decision? An IMPORTANT decision?
You might as well take your thumb and squash me under it because that’s how it feels.

We all have to make decisions every day whether that’s as…

minute as deciding what to have for breakfast,
impactful as deciding where to go to college,
tempting as going for it with that hottie you got your eyes on,
or as important as who you choose to surround yourself with, what you do with your time, and how you view yourself, the world, and God.

All of these decisions we make are made through a filter.

Do you see different things as

Important
Meaningless
Harmful
Fun
Cultural
Everyone else is doing it…?

Those are all filters. Somewhere there is something affecting all of our decisions. But the filter that is the most important is also the most complex part of our bodies, and that’s our minds.

If our mind, our filter, isn’t clear it’s like trying to purify impure water through a dirty filter…it doesn’t work the way it should when it’s been taken care of and replaced. When we try to make decisions, especially when they are pressure cooked, and we haven’t spent time renewing, rejuvenating, and refreshing our minds we may look back and wish that we had done things differently.

We may wish that we were looking at the bigger picture, at what God wants for our lives.

We may wish that we weren’t so selfish or so caught up in temptation.

We may wish that we had waited or taken that opportunity.

We may wish that we hadn’t said the things we didn’t mean or said the things that we felt.

We wish we had done things differently, but we tend to neglect the most influential filter of all, especially if we consider ourselves someone who loves and follows Jesus…

Paul was someone who knew a lot about making decisions, both good and bad…you could even say right or wrong. But when Paul (previously Saul) had a drastic shift in his life, and he came to know God and be one of the most evangelical people in history, he knew from experience that his filter had to be through Jesus Himself. If it wasn’t, Paul wasn’t going to make wise decisions and he could possibly even make a decision that would veer him off track, get him hurt, or even possibly get him killed. He knew that following Jesus was risky and that his life was on the line…but Paul wanted to live his BEST life.

He wanted to give Jesus and his people his best life, but he knew that he would need a filter of wisdom, of Jesus, to make that happen.

Paul wanted to give us the same advice…

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17

Paul knew that if we would ask the question…based on where I’ve been, and where I am going, what is the wise decision?…then it could potentially shift how we lived our day to day life.

Not only for ourselves, but for the kingdom of God.

He knew that we may have to make decisions that don’t make sense to other people simply because we want to live our best life. Not sub par or merely satisfactory. We want to live the lives that are God’s best for us because we believe that is the most loving and adventurous life we could ever live.

Today…I don’t know where you’re at. I don’t know if you’ve been making decisions thinking of God’s best for your life or not. I don’t know if you have some really big decisions to make that could change everything. I don’t know if you want to achieve making better everyday decisions or if you feel like you are standing there now.

But what I do know, our minds are important because they filter anything and everything that we do. If we want to be like Jesus, then we have to live and love like Jesus filtering everything through the question…is this God’s best?

Based on WHERE I’ve been, and where I am GOING, what is the WISE decision?

So, today, take a few moments and ask God these two questions…

  • God, what is your best for me?
  • God, how do I have the filter of wisdom, of Jesus?

 

The Jesus Filter Application

Prayer: Ask God what His best is for you and to give you the wisdom to make decisions that honor and glorify Him.

Scripture: Read Ephesians 5:15-17 and Proverbs 9:10

Say It To Yourself: Based on where I’ve been, and where I am going, what is the wise thing to do?

Journal: List out all the decisions that you have to make today, this week or this month, big or small. Go through each one and journal about what you think God’s best is for you.

Devotionals

The Fight Filter

Youth Ministry Devotions

The Fight Filter”

I’m the least content.

And when I finally am able to reach contentment it lasts for minutes, maybe hours, before I feel the weight of discontentment again.

Spiraling me into trying to produce or accomplish something else.

The glory and lifted weight is short lived.

What a dangerous cycle.

It’s the downfall of living in a generation that thrives off of instant gratification.

We want Amazon to deliver the day of, because Prime 2-Day shipping isn’t enough.

(…did you hear they are developing a drone system so that can actually be a thing?)

We buy new shoes but then we see someone else’s on Instagram and we immediately want those too.

What we just purchased, new and pristine enough to still return, is no longer satisfying.

That guy or girl texts you but then they don’t say exactly what you want them to say or how you want them to say it.

It tugs at you and makes you antsy so you take longer to reply, use shorter responses, less emojis.

“Are you ok?”

“I’m fine.”

No, no you’re not…

 

Discontentment.

 

Recently I’ve realized how my worth and my identity have been placed in what I do and what I produce instead of who I actually am.

Most importantly, who I am in the eyes of my ever present Heavenly Father.

And it’s left me feeling frustrated that I’ve become so short sighted…

I want to do, and produce, what is easy so that I can get more instant gratification, more affirmation, and the constant security of locking down my value and my worth in the netting of who I am to the world, instead of who I am to the King.

For a split second I believe the lie that it won’t wash away if I can manage to keep up.

I can trace it back now, this endless cycle and constant frustration, like the maze you get with the kids menu at a restaurant

But listen, we are constantly in an arena.

Round after round, thing after thing, we are fighting, fighting, fighting.

Fighting to keep up with culture.

Fighting to make money.

Fighting to be with him or her.

Fighting to get into the right school.

Fighting our parents.

Fighting for our future.

 

What’s happened is this unspoken cultural expectation that anything slow, hard, boring, difficult, risky or really anything that takes effort, has become BAD.

We’ve bought and held onto the opposing forces lie that if there’s not a guarantee that we can win we shouldn’t even bother.

We go for the low hanging fruit that is probably on the verge of rotting or has been eaten by squirrels rather than the fruit at the top of the tree…untouched, unscathed and more fulfilling.

It’s harder to work for and harder to get.

God knew. He knew that patience and time would be virtuous to us in a world where if we fight hard enough, we can have all that we think we could ever need at our very fingertips.

But we are missing HIM.

He was sure that the fights would be bigger and more intimidating than us because

Peter and John weren’t spiritual scholars who were still ministering to the masses.

David had to face Goliath.

Moses had to lead an entire people out of Egypt and had shaky knees about it.

Abigail apologetically took on and pleaded for forgiveness for her husband’s actions that potentially could have gotten people killed, she physically put herself in the gap.

If you can, for a minute, place yourself in their dirty shoes (or lack thereof) that wouldn’t be Instagram worthy today…can you feel your heart begin to palpitate and your hands begin to sweat?

It’s all risk, courage, and bravery for a greater story.

There are countless stories for us to see how God allowed hard and difficult to pass through, but what came out of it was way more glorifying to God Himself than if He had just handed people the answers and the gritless routes.

Imagine…the Great Adventure Book, our Great Written Guide and the Word of God wouldn’t be all that interesting if God didn’t bring process into the product.

But, we need to shift our perspective a little bit…we don’t need to fight in the sense of works or worthiness or keeping up. We need to fight the GOOD fight.

And Paul gives us some very clear direction as to how to do that.

 

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:14-17

 

But there’s only one problem, with the armour we take off the shelf,

our backs are still uncovered.

Because that’s where God intended for us to…

FIGHT together

FIGHT FOR each other

FIGHT back to back and back each other up.

Not pretend like we are, but actually do it.

Actually fight with the intentions of glorifying God and sincerely covering each other with love and protection like we care if our people get hit or not.

For ourselves, let’s be gritty and build resilience.

For others, let’s love well, protect, and not abandon ship.

For God, let’s give Him the glory.

The best things require a fight.

 

The “FIGHT” Filter Application

Prayer: Pray that God would give you the qualities of the armor of God…truth, righteousness, peace, faith and salvation along with His Word and our Helper. Pray also that God would give you the will and the desire to fight back to back with your people, protecting them…fighting for them.

Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-17

Say It To Yourself: The best things in life require a fight.

Journal: Journal about the things in your life that seem hard right now. Ask God for perseverance and make sure that when you see relief or resolution to those things that you thank God for carrying you through something difficult for His glory.

 

Devotionals

The “Us” Filter

Youth Ministry Devotions

‘The Fight Filter”

Why do you think you choose who you choose?

That may be a question that you don’t get very often so you may not know how to answer that just yet. Another way to put it is… 

Why do you think you choose (or don’t choose) your friends?

 Why do you look at people and think, “I want to be them!” or “I don’t want to be them…”?

Part of our selection process can be defined as natural…only because of what’s become cultural. We’ve learned to gravitate towards what is cool, what is trendy, what popular, and what we feel like we need in order to fit in.

The other part of our selection process can be detrimental to our lives as we press on to become more like the perfect Role Model who came to walk our walk, feel our pain, and give us guidance and direction. He was literally and figuratively on our level.

Flesh to flesh, eye to eye.

When we put on the “THEM” filter it will stray us from becoming more like Christ because we will do the exact opposite of what Jesus has asked us to do.

If we are busy picking and choosing then we may…

-write others off
-make fun of people
-devalue someone
-show hatred
-gossip about other people
-label people as less than what crowns Christ would place on them
-cause deep cut wounds of hurt

Even if none of our picking and choosing is explicitly verbal, the “THEM” filter is ultimately saying…

-You are not enough
-You are not worth it
-You are not good
-You are not valued
-You are not loved

Jesus gives us the perfect example of what our “US” filter could and should look like.

Jesus was passing through Samaria, tired and weary as He sat by a well when a woman walked up and began to get water.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) John 4:7-9 ESV

Here’s why this is important…Jews and Samaritans didn’t interact.

Samaritans were considered less than, not on the same level.

But Jesus was known for breaking the mold and challenging the status quo…because He didn’t want there to be distinction between US and THEM.

He wanted there to only be an US.

He wants you to see people the way that He sees people. Not defined by skin color, race, ethnicity, background, or how hip and cool they can be…but defined by who He claims them as. He claims them as His and He claims them as worth it.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4: 13-14

As this chapter of a greater story ends…if JESUS hadn’t been willing to acknowledge someone who didn’t even believe, herself, that she was valuable then this Samaritan woman wouldn’t have believed in who Jesus was and what He could offer her, eternity. But He did acknowledge her and she did believe! It was because of her story, her encounter, that many other Samaritans (who also see themselves as less than) believed in Him too.

God wants to change the way you see other people because there is no THEM in Jesus, there is only an US.

Right now, this may be the thing that thumps you hard in chest or is pestering you like a fly buzzing in your ear. That’s because this is so important. Especially today.

In a world where our social media feeds and TV screens are constantly plastered with differences in opinion, hatred and even hatred resulting in violence, this is the time to actually work on changing our perspective.

What if every person we laid eyes on came through our filter as someone who was the handiwork of the most brilliant Creator?

Remember, every single person you know is known.

What if we saw THEM through HIM?

 

The US Filter Application

Prayer: Pray that God would give you the desire to have the filter for seeing people the way that He sees them.

Scripture: John 4: 7-14

Say It To Yourself: What if I saw THEM through HIM?

Journal: Journal about how you think God sees you and how you think that is different from the way that the world sees you. Also journal about how you want God to help you see other people through His eyes.

Internship

Time of Your Life

If you were around me for more than five minutes, you would quickly learn that I like life to have structure. I like organization and well thought out plans. I enjoy knowing what every second of every day looks like and risks do not exist to me unless they are the precisely calculated kind. The kind where you really don’t have that much room to fail. Coming into this internship, I was the girl that researched the detailed schedule of what an intern does daily online and I was the girl that wanted to ask a million questions, so she could precisely plan for every moment that would come her way. However, this internship radically changed the way I saw living life with Jesus. I learned that every moment does not have to be planned when you are being fully present where The Lord has you. I discovered some of the sweetest community comes from being invested in the people around you and not worrying as much about the tasks at hand. I learned you can have the time of your life when your work becomes play because living life with Jesus truly is joyful.

I will be the first to tell you the days are long and the work is hard, but when you are interning for a camp that inspires students to live life with Jesus, you cannot help but have the time of your life! All summer long you get to be a part of a high energy and exciting atmosphere that engages students to learn more about who Jesus is and what a relationship with Him looks like. From singing at the top of your lungs to playing games on the beach with campers to dancing like nobody is watching, interns truly get to be a living example of how joyful and fun life can be when you are working for His glory.

This internship did provide many fun moments, but I can definitely say those moments were made a lot more fun because of the community I was surrounded by. I had the opportunity to do life alongside fifteen other interns this summer and they were such a big part of the summer of a lifetime. They taught me exactly what true community is and they added a few laughs to the summer too. They turned checking customers out in the store into interviews with campers complete with water bottle microphones. Camper corral suddenly became a contest to see who could chant the loudest. Stage-managing turned into elaborate ideas of who could do the silliest things on stage. Security transformed into a game of “the floor is lava” when curfew hit. Work was never just work with this team. They were living examples of how joyful and purposeful work can be when you know every single task will impact a camp that will change students’ lives for eternity.

I can confidently say I view work differently after experiencing the BigStuf internship. I learned what surrendering each moment to Him looks like and I learned how full life is with Him. Now my tasks almost always include music in the background and the occasional dance party. Monotonous tasks like cleaning or doing chores are turned into silly games that make tasks more fun and daily jobs are suddenly more enjoyable when I remember it is a privilege because that job allows me another opportunity to bring glory to His name. My summer at BigStuf changed my life for the better. I was supposed to be showing students how to live life with Jesus, but truly I think the BigStuf internship taught me that you can have the time of your life living life with Him.

Devotionals

The Jesus Filter

Youth Ministry Devotions

‘The Jesus Filter”

We all know that we miss it.

Our suitcases may still be filled with sand because we are still reminiscing and refuse to let the summer go.

Our memories captured and stored the adrenaline from pinata parties, the sentiment of late night talks, and the eternal effects of life changing moments.

We long for rec time, amazing worship, but maybe not the long bus rides to and from.

But the biggest takeaway from BigStuf 2017 wasn’t our favorite t-shirt or any memory…

We learned that we ALL have a filter. And it’s more than Instagram, VSCO, or Snap Chat.

We each have a fierce mind, a filter, that influences our decisions, actions, and how we carry out our emotions.

We learned that what controls our mind controls our life.

Will it be FUN or not?

How EFFICIENT will this be?  

Will I SUCCEED or FAIL?  

Is EVERYONE else doing it?

Will THEY think I am cool?

 

We learned that our filter can change, it can be influenced, it can be shifted to adjust how we see ourselves, others, God and the world.

We learned that the filter of JESUS is the filter we need to put on with our new life in Him.

Yet, if we aren’t careful, it can become tainted and full of dirt and grime that can cloud out Jesus. We can only see as far as what is inches in front of us rather than seeing the hope and the promise of what Jesus wants us to see in our future with Him.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

So now that we are back in routine, back to dwelling in the places God has purposefully placed us, we have to figure out how to take care of our minds, quite possibly the most important filter of our day to day lives.

Acknowledging the love and sacrifice of what Jesus did for us on the cross, all that He gave to fend for our hearts, and accepting it as truth…it changes your life, because Jesus changes your life.

He changes you to your inner most being, bringing you back to where you belong, back to Himself…but He doesn’t change your mind.

There is still work that we must do in partnership, companionship, and relationship with the Holy of holies, the Lord of lords, the King of kings, the Name above all names.

How assuring that He doesn’t leave us to do it on your own.

 

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

Over the next few weeks, we are going to expand on the filter of Jesus, apply practical steps towards renewing our filter, our minds, for the sake of our views, thoughts and actions to sustain and build upon what we heard at camp this summer. Let’s journey together…

 

The Jesus Filter Application

Prayer: Pray that God would give you the desire to have the filter of Jesus.

Scripture: Romans 12:2, John 14:26

Say It To Yourself: The way you see determines who you are going to be.

Journal: Journal about what excuses you make to justify wrong behavior and ask for Jesus’s eyes on your decisions, actions, words, thoughts and views. Ask for His eyes on yourself, other people and the world.

Internship

GROW

People change all the time but where does this change come from?  I always wanted to truly seek Jesus and go to Him with all obstacles in my life. However, prior to the internship I would question, “Am I really turning over the biggest things in my life to God?  How can I possibly get to this point in my faith?” I was hungry for growth and that couldn’t have been made any more evident than it was this summer when I interned with BigStuf.

The growth I experienced did not come easily, actually very far from it. The same struggles and doubts I’ve experienced, followed me down to camp. I had to fight daily through these battles in my head, even when it wasn’t comfortable for me to do so. Yet, Jesus continued to pursue all of my heart, not just portions of it. I felt growth slowly starting to take root, even though the enemy was strategic in trying to tear away all of the good that was beginning to develop. This is where the internship molded me in confirming that the true growth I hungered for could only be transformed and made capable by Jesus.

My team was made up of 16 people designed with a constant hunger to know more and live more like Jesus.  Being intentional with others and Jesus was emphasized from the beginning. This encouraged deep relationships to form, which is critical to the foundation of growth.  I did not begin my summer as a Bible scholar and I was a new Christian, but getting real with people began to stir a fire for Jesus that is beyond anything I could have predicted. We were also challenged to always be intentional with Jesus every morning when we started our day. Choosing this as a daily priority was the game changer. Spending my mornings with Jesus helped make working long days and nights so much sweeter and well worth it. It began the solid foundation I needed to see the growth that was coming to flourish.

Whether it was long walks on the beach or late nights sitting, the conversations, or the accountability my teammates fought for, it all provided a constant reminder that if we kept persevering and seeking Jesus every second of every day we would be rewarded.  Many days I wanted to give up being intentional and honestly it would have been the easy way out. I could have gone through the motions and just enjoyed my time on the beach or at camp but the community fostered at BigStuf was always right there to give that push I needed to continue.

I began to seek Him every day and look for guidance in every step and conversation. I would call on him in every situation and talk to him like we were the best of friends.  I learned the growth won’t always be evident, yet, if I chose mornings on the balcony alone with Him and fight to use every moment of my day to transform my heart, the joy I will find is only in Jesus. I needed to intentionally search for the only One to satisfy our hearts, the One who makes us full.

This hunger didn’t stop at camp. What was ignited and nurtured at BigStuf came back to my hometown, my community and my college campus. The same could be said for the rest of my team. Much to our surprise, these are the places where our growth became most evident, not only to us, but to those around us. We began to grow by making small changes, by setting Jesus as our first and main priority.  Our perspective had taken a dramatic shirt. We began to see each person we encountered as a soul that could be won over for Jesus.  We wanted to serve in ways that may not have been priorities in our hearts before.  We now want to find lost people in every classroom and cafeteria.  We want to live in community with other Christians and help them see the importance of being real and growing together. We want to be on fire for Jesus.  We have tasted and seen just how sweet Jesus is and long for Him to continually teach us more.

Slowly but surely, an intentional life for Jesus ALWAYS brings out the best in us.  We may not see the impact regularly, but by having daily dedication to have a greater relationship with Him, you will start to see lives transformed more and more for His glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed in the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Know growth is a process of many small steps and we may struggle to see it. However as long as we are moving towards Jesus with all of our hearts and our minds, it is still growth.

Brock

 

Internship

It became who we are

It’s honestly quite funny, the reactions that some people can give when they ask about the details of my summer as an intern with BigStuf.  The fact that a college student would “give up” an entire summer to fundraise and volunteer to work at a camp, is seemingly impossible for many to begin to understand.  I strategically placed “give up” within quotations due to the fact that any and all of what some might see as giving, I can whole hearted say that I received more than my wildest of daydreams.  

At the beginning of the summer, sweet sweet Jesus began to teach me about seeking out what it looked like to live in the freedom we have access to, in Christ.  As I began to wrestle with how this would play out and be applicable in everyday life, He was kind enough to lead me to a verse that shaped much of how I would look at serving during the summer.  In Galatians 5:13, Paul states that,

For you are called to freedom, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, BUT SERVE one another through love.  

Just as my summer serving with BigStuf might seem contradictory to the “norm” for many, typically, the thoughts that follow freedom are nowhere near being a servant.  Yet, while this thought of servanthood working hand-in-hand with freedom is a countercultural mindset, it is certainly what we are called to embrace.  One of the main factors that drew me to working as an intern at BigStuf was the element of service, which is so heavily saturated in the culture created within the BigStuf family. 

As an Intern, I was launched into the summer with a plethora of opportunities to serve within the many job areas we were able to work in.  Whether it was a production job (cameras, speaker notes, worship lyrics, backstage) or interaction with students and leaders during our rec-time jobs (refereeing volleyball and basketball, in the game room, making sure the campers stayed hydrated while on water duty, and getting those rad daily video clips), we were given the opportunity to constantly serve.  However, even outside of our jobs, I am honored to say that I was on a team of some of the spunkiest go-getters and with the biggest hearts, who were always looking for ways to embrace one of my favorite BigStuf values – to go beyond.  As a crew, we began to embrace a mantra, shared with us by a fearless leader that I believe began a radical shift in our mindset, in so much of how we looked at serving: “Make sure to serve with your heart and not just your hands.”  Serving became more than just what we did – it became what and who we are. 

I once heard a speaker share that “Your walk talks, and your talk talks, BUT your walk talks louder than your talk talks”.   I am grateful to say that I have had the opportunity to do life all summer alongside people whose walks quite literally screams, the love of King Jesus, with every ounce of their being.  As believers, we are to live lives that are heavily marked and saturated with humble service, not asking to elevate our names, but in our actions being rooted in love, simply seeking out, to make the name of Jesus famous.  Jesus lived a life that was fully saturated in the humility of servanthood, as a blueprint for how the lives we, as believers, should earnestly strive for the desire to embrace servanthood.  

A summer spent serving as a BigStuf Intern is one that is extremely difficult to do justice by putting it into mere words.  For anyone even considering submitting an application for a summer that will turn your world upside down, in the best way possible, I have one piece of advice for you – APPLY!!!  As we learned this summer, God has and will continue to gather the most beautifully-broken people, to make a team that will have a part in changing so many lives and inspiriting student to live lives radically transformed by the Gospel.  The 2017 interns are nowhere near perfect, but we were used by our Perfect Father during our summer working with BigStuf.  So, want to have a rocking summer serving with the best people, for the greatest purpose?  Or see just how a diversity of strengths and abilities are crucial when serving in the Body of Christ?  Apply for the internship today!  You won’t regret it! 

With love,
Katelyn 

Camp

2017 Set List

One of the questions we get the most on social media is about the songs we sing at BigStuf! We know you’re probably wondering what songs we’ll be singing this summer…we have great news for you! We have released our set list for BigStuf 2017 so you can be ready to sing at the top of your lungs, together with over 1,500 other students at camp! SO, just for you, here is the Set List for BigStuf 2017…

  1. Real Love – Hillsong Young and Free
  2. Every Beat  –  North Point InsideOut
  3. Good Good Father – Passion
  4. Love Come Down – North Point InsideOut
  5. We Are Royals – North Point InsideOut
  6. Trust It All – North Point InsideOut
  7. Alive – Hillsong Young and Free
  8. When the Fight Calls – Hillsong Young and Free
  9. I Fall – Seth Condrey / North Point InsideOut
  10. What a Beautiful Name – Hillsong Worship
  11. This is Living – Hillsong Young and Free
  12. Christ is Enough – Hillsong
  13. Enough For Me – North Point InsideOut
  14. Death Was Arrested – North Point InsideOut
  15. No Longer Slaves – Jonathan David
  16. Sons and Daughters – North Point InsideOut
  17. Oceans – Hillsong

Even better, we’ve also created a Spotify Playlist for you to listen to before and after camp! Click here to listen to the “2017 BigStuf Worship Set List”: http://spoti.fi/2sk0nYP.

We can’t wait to sing with you this summer!