Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rachel's CIY Move Wrap Up

This year was the first year I got to go to CIY MOVE with the church and I'm glad I did. I grew a lot in my faith in just the 5 days we were there. At every session I felt like I was the only one in the room and they made the sermons just for me because they all connected to my life and what I’m going through. 

The one main thing I took away form last week was “If you feel like you’ll let down Jesus, you can’t! Jesus is holding you up and he will never let you down!” That was one of the thing I went in to CIY feeling like “I wonder if I have let Jesus down?” I know now that I can’t let him now, even if I mess up really bad. When people don’t believe God is the light of the world and he is always there, he sees them and asks himself “How can you live like that, not trusting and not letting me hold you up. I am always there just trust and you will see.”
Also another big thing that goes along with letting Jesus down is fall short of what Jesus wants us to be and how we should act. We all fall short because we’re all human!! No one is perfect and no one will ever be perfect. Jesus knows that but we should try to be as close to perfect as we can and there will be times when you mess up or fall short. So don’t beat yourself up about it Jesus will love you no matter what you do!

The Aaron Pelsue Band, the worship band for the week, was awesome. But the first night Aaron Pelsue told all 1400 students that they don’t want to be treated like celebrities but at normal people and everything they do, they do it for the Messiah. The band was so much fun to worship with and they performed some great songs. My favorite song was Beautiful Things. The song says that even though we are not perfect but God will make us Beautiful.  
Rachel Menzel

Friday, August 3, 2012

Across Five Augusts

It was nearly five years ago today that I found myself in nervous anticipation as our wedding guests arrive. I was in a little storage room near the front of the church waiting for the wedding to begin. My dad opened the door and asked me how I was doing. What he said next was one of the things I remember the most from that morning. He said "Matt, you put that girl on a pedestal and do everything you can for her. If I hear that you ever take her off of that pedestal, then you need to be ready to deal with me." No sooner had he finished his sentence, and he had left. The minister and I exchanged glances, surprised by my dad's words.

I had thought that he had come in to give me kind words of wisdom, to encourage me to stay calm, or to let me know what a great decision I was making. After he left I felt like the mob had just told me not to do anything to mess this up.  Looking back on it, my dad was giving me some incredible words of wisdom. God was blessing me with the most incredible woman on the planet. He was giving me a ministry of the utmost importance (Loving my wife).  My duty was to love, serve, and sacrifice everything for her. What a privilege.

Tomorrow is Alicia and my 5th wedding anniversary. We started dating way back in 2001. Its been an amazing decade of time getting to know her, and the past 5 years have been such a wonderful adventure. In that time we have bought a house, invested  five wonderful years at our church, had our first child, have another one on the way, and each day we sail the uncharted waters of our marriage.

As I think back to our first five years of marriage, I am struck by a few truths and things that I think are just as valuable as my dad's wedding day advice:
- No matter how much you know about your spouse there is always more to learn. I think that is so exciting to know!
- God has placed you in the life of your spouse and wants you to sacrifice everything for him/her just like Jesus loved the church. It will always be worth it too. To think otherwise is not just dangerous, it's flat out crazy.
- God will find the most amazing ways to speak to you and love you throu your spouse. It's an incredibly humbling and wonderful experience.
- Marriage is such a great adventure that will take all your talents, time and energy, but just like any great adventure,  there is treasure to be found.

My wife has made so many sacrifices for me. She is constantly a blessing to me. I hope I have held true to my father's words and have kept her on that pedestal. I hope I continue to as well.

Just yesterday she told me that she loves her job in labor and delivery at the hospital. Before she took that job we prayed and sought advice because we knew it would be a huge challenge for both of us for her to transition to a new role at the hospital. It was a dream of hers to work on labor and delivery.  So after much prayer and preparation we went for it. I learned to balance my schedule more so that I could spend more time at home with Zeke, and take on added responsibilities at the house. She learned to change her sleep schedule, get even more done in less time, and how to get ahead on things like grocery shopping. We both learned how to communicate better, how to take advantage of every moment we had as a family, and how to fight to make time to continue to grow our relationship with each other.  Our journey is far from over, but through our pursuit of one of my wife's dreams, we found some of God's treasure in our adventure.

Thanks Alicia for going on life's great adventure with me!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Guest Post: CIY MOVE

CIY is a wonderful conference that challenges you by taking you out of your comfort zone. When our group first got there we stuck together and stayed in a group. As the week went on, though, I started to branch out and meet different people. From playing Frisbee with some guys from Texas to volleyball with some people from Jacksonville, Florida, the diversity of people there is astounding.
            The worship is another amazing aspect of CIY. The sight of a few thousand kids worshiping together is a sight to behold. The songs sung hit home because of their relation to the message that the adult leaders had been teaching about all day. They also did a really cool thing during worship where one group of people said a prayer that was projected on the screen while another group read a passage from the bible and the last group sang with the band, then they switched the groups.
            The lessons that were taught each day were well thought out and asked us to look inside of ourselves and see were we were at fault and showed us ways we could fix those things and make ourselves better people.
            The best part out of the whole thing was the guest speakers. Each one of them talked about the lessons of the day and while their styles were different they were all monumental. There was a part of Wednesday where you could choose one of several speakers to listen to and while most were videos several were live seminars. I went to see Jeff Walling and his talk titled “Love Your Enemies, What!” His talk was an incredible mix of seriousness and comedy that caught me off guard and made me think of how I treat others that I don’t like. All the speakers talked about serious topics that made you look deep down and see who you really were.
            On Thursday we had extended rec. time and our group went white water rafting. The experience was exhilarating. The day before we went, there were thunderstorms so the water was fast and high and the rapids were huge. There were a lot of class 3 and 4 rapids which are on the high end of the scale. I went out of the raft six times, four times on purpose and two times unintentionally. By the end of the trip I was thoroughly soaked and a little sore from when I had hit a shallow rock.
            On the last day, Matt, our group leader passed out small envelopes and told us that they were a challenge to each of us to be a kingdom worker. The envelope had a small card that had a challenge that, if we opened it, we had to complete it. I was a little intimidated by it because I was uncertain if I could complete what was on the card. Because of several things that my friends had said to me, I opened the envelope. The challenge on the card made me laugh because it was something I had wanted to do all year. My challenge was to pray three times a day. It was such a relief that I chuckled.
            Overall, the trip was a great “Mountaintop” experience and I can’t wait until next year to go back again. I recommend going to CIY whether you are confident or struggling in your faith. Meeting new friends, playing games and getting closer to God are things that are hard to put together but CIY does it perfectly.

-Coy Fletcher