This is a video Rusty showed last night at Refuge. I've watched it about 4 times since then. I had to take a second after almost every sentence and think about what he was saying. I took notes, actually. Can you tell I was home schooled? Anyway, here are some of the things that he talked about that really stuck out to me:
"Are we scared of the bigness of God?"
"There 8,000,000 people who could have been born instead of you."
"Are you going to be ungrateful?.. What are you gonna complain about?"
"Are you gonna sit around and mope because your life didn't go how you would have liked it to have gone? Because that person betrayed you? Because you betrayed that person?"
I can't skip past the last one. This one has hunted me down and not left me alone for a few weeks now. If there is one thing that I hate the most in my walk with Christ is being obedient. I hate it. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I have a serious problem with someone telling me what to do. I hate it when I know that I need to do something but it goes 100% against my human nature. Lately the Holy Spirit has been hammering into me the concept of forgiveness.
Let me just get side tracked here for a second. I grew up in a church that never defined the Holy Spirit, or really talked about it for that matter.I only just started getting a grasp of what the Holy Spirit was since I started being discipled by a woman at my new(ish) church. I think that the Holy Spirit is the Lord's advocate. It's the "pusher", if you will. The Holy Spirit is the thing that pesters you till no end and makes things as uncomfortable for you as possible. It does this to a certain extent, until you either decide to be obedient and do what God is telling you, or you push it aside and harden your heart.
I think that the church I went to mainly didn't talk about it because, through no fault of its own, the church consisted of mainly older people who don't necessarily have to live by the spirit anymore. My experience with older people when they saw younger people moving with the spirit was always, "Oh, why would they ever think God was 'calling' them to do that? God would never call them to do something radical like that." And to that I would ask, "Well what about Noah?" "That was in a different time period- when God actually spoke to people. That kind of thing doesn't really happen now-a-days" (BTW, I'm not at all referring solely to my old congregation)
WHAT?! So you're telling me that God doesn't call people to do radical things, but we stand and preach about how we need to make radical changes in our lives and culture? Big changes call for big actions, people.
Sorry, don't really know how I got there. Anyway, back to the Holy Spirit. As I said earlier, I have been struggling with forgiveness. The Holy Spirit has been pointing it out at every chance it gets. Every conversation, every tv show, every sermon, every discipleship meeting. Everywhere.
"Okay, okay, I get it! I need to forgive!"
But do I really get it? What are the steps I am going to take? Right now. What are the steps I need to take right now?
Okay, God. You win. Like always. Let's give this Forgiveness thing an honest try.
"I'm just going through my Terrible Twenties"
Thursday night at Refuge Jonathan started a series called Bookmark. This series focuses on our twenties and how influential a time period it is.The question that seems to be asked constantly in this series is, "If this huge chunk of time is so important, why has this generation been given a 'Get-out-of-jail-free Card' when it comes to spending our time doing careless, stupid things with it?" The twenties used to be a time period when teenagers became adults. It was a time to sink or swim and get out into the world.
Whenever I think of the stereotypical life of an early twenty year old I think of the Jersey Shore cast (who are actually well past their early twenties). You can laugh at how sad it is that I picture that when I think of the typical twenty year old's lifestyle. Most people are probably familiar with the show, but if you aren't I'll fill you in. The whole premise of this reality show is for a group of about 7 people to live in a house and spend every day of their Summer partying on the Jersey Shore. I am not going to lie to you, I have probably watched almost every single episode of it. This crazy lifestyle is glamorized. These 7 random people got their own reality show for simply going out and partying.
... And this is what I feel like most people expect out of our generation. Why is there a blind eye turned when it comes to your behavior in your twenties? Have we really lowered the expectations for this generation that much, that it is accepted for us to waste our lives away?
Here's the thing. I don't think we as a whole have lowered the standards. I think that it has been commercialized, therefore generalizing our age group. I think there are plenty of us who want to go out and have fun every night, but there are others still trying to figure out what this time period means for our lives. For those people, this series is right up your alley.
This series kind of breaks down the major decisions and choices that the average twenty-something year old has to make. Since this series is forcing me to look ahead on all of these decisions, I decided to look back on some of the big decisions that I have had to make leading up to my twenties. Maybe one day I'll even be able to come back to this blog and see how the following decisions are still continuing to affect me and how God has used them in my life.
-P.s, Future Me, if you are thirty years old and still play World of Warcraft this series obviously didn't teach you anything, and you should look back over some of the lessons.
Ok here we go:
1) College. Confession time. Yes, as I said in my first blog post I stayed in Memphis for college because it was the only financially smart thing to do; but it was also because of.... a boy. SHHH! I know, I know. "Holly what were you thinking, missing out on a college you wanted to go to because of a boy?" Well, honestly I didn't really feel like I missed out on anything. Besides, even though it didn't work out, where would I be if I hadn't gone to Memphis?
2) Moving out. This decision only happened in the past 6 months, but it was still a pretty large step. I always had a reasonable amount of independence as a teenager. My mom worked all the time, so after I got my first car I had a pretty substantial amount of freedom. I got my first job shortly after I got my car and started paying bills on it. Because of how much responsibility I had earlier on in my teenage years, moving out seemed like just another step I was supposed to take. The housing situation I came into just kind of fell into my lap, so when we first moved in I didn't know any of my roommates particularly well. Now they are my best friends. To say that God didn't have any part in everything I've experienced and learned here in this house would be delusional.
3) Dating. In this department I have made some really good decisions and some really bad ones. I dated one guy for 2.5 years, and a few before him. Before the two and a half year relationship, most of the guys I dated were looking for something. Mainly one thing specifically. Even though that long relationship didn't work out, I really learned a lot from it. I learned what it meant to tell someone you love them and how to outwardly show it. I kind of learned how I was supposed to show love my Christian family through it. Not in a holding hands, arm stroking kind of way, though. Just in an uplifting, accepting type of way. Don't get weird, guys.
So there you go. Just a few things that came to mind as I was writing this blog.
There will probably be more to come as the series goes on. There's also a podcast of the sermon from Thursday if you want to listen to it. It's good stuff and it's uploaded every week so, make one of those choices we've been talking about and go listen! Like that plug, Jonathan?
Good question. The short answer is that Jonathan wanted someone to do a blog and I have to do whatever he says or I'll get fired. I'll start from the beginning, though. My name is Holly Foster. I am the office intern at Soma and am in my second year here at the good ole University of Memphis.
On the afternoon of October 4th, Jonathan (the student center director and my boss), three other Soma people, and I were on our way back from lunch. It was Central BBQ. I love Central BBQ. That has no relevance to this story. On the course of our ride back Jonathan started talking about starting up a blog for Soma. "The purpose isn't to advertise for Soma, I just want a student to give a real life account of what happens in this ministry. What do you think?" he asked as he turned to me. "I think it could be good... I can do it I guess." So here I am, writing the Soma blog.
I'll give a little background of how I came into this ministry.
Honestly, I ended up at the University of Memphis as a last resort. In no way did I want to go to college in the same city I had lived in my whole life. Senior year I was accepted to Lipscomb University, where I had always dreamed of going. I had applied to Memphis as a back up in case I didn't get in, but even if I hadn't gotten in it still wasn't really an option. I got in to every school I applied to, but somehow I ended up staying at Memphis. It was the only school that was going to give me enough money to come here. Looking where I am now in this ministry, I know that was a God thing.
At the time when I had finally decided that I was staying in Memphis, I was going to Millington Church of Christ. One of my friends Melissa pulled me aside at church one day and told me that she wanted to take me to this place called "The Christian Student Center" or "Soma". She had spent most of her spare time there when she was in college, she said. She wanted to take me that Thursday to a thing called Refuge. Coincidently, I had that night off from work so I said I would go.
That Thursday we walked into Soma and I thought, "Ah man, this is awkward. There are only old people here!" Granted, the "old people" I was referring to were about my friend's age (mid twenties-ish). It was the summertime so most of the college students weren't attending at that time. The first person we met was Jonathan Woodall. The only thing that I remember about that conversation was that he started talking to my friend about his gaining weight. "I mean it's horrible, I stopped running and gained this [insert stomach pat]."
Maybe it was the awesome lesson we heard that night, or the singing, or maybe it was Jonathan's stomach pat; I don't know. All I know is that I never stopped coming and have loved this ministry ever since.