Category Archives: Note-taking

For when the notes I take in church/classes/wherever word things better than I could.

Life-Moving Messages {Part Three}

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519 pro 4Over the course of the year, I’ve heard a few sets of messages that moved me deep in my core and spurred large-scale change in my heart and life. All were shared at my school, during the two-day conferences we had each semester. We would cancel all classes for those two days to invest in our spiritual growth, and it helped me not only stay sane during the school year, but transform my life indefinitely. I would definitely like to share my notes from those messages with you. They won’t be as well-organized or cohesive as the messages themselves, as they’re simply the things I wrote down as I listened and processed, but there are some incredible truths within these. I hope you hear something from them that you needed.

This set was shared by Pastor Steve Savelich at our winter/spring semester conference. His emphasis was lifestyle love and relationship with Jesus.

Message One

  • Believing and living are the same thing to Jesus. If you’re not living it, you don’t believe it.
  • Repent = accept transformation in your thinking; based on the nearness of His kingdom. Jesus thinks differently than we do.
  • Jesus did not simply come to die. He came to bring transformation. To demonstrate His love.
  • If the context is off, the meaning is off. And with God, love is the context.
  • You were not called to good performance.
  • He is not tolerating you, He wants you.
  • The only way unconditional love can be expressed is when conditions arise.
  • In view of God’s mercy“– start with love (the context), lead with mercy (the lens), then deal with the facts.
  • If you lead with sacrifice instead of mercy, you become bitter.

Message Two

  • John 3:11-12
  • About 90% of what Jesus said was about earth.
  • “Don’t worry, follow, and I will add it, “Jesus says.
  • In the presence of Jesus, everything lives.
  • John 4
  • Five essential questions: [continued in Message Four]
    • 1) Who are we?
      • Not an institution, organization, or religion– a family.
      • There is no father but our Father.
      • Never start with qualification; start with brother and sister.
      • Love your brother, love your neighbor, love your enemies. Love.
    • 2) What is the gospel?
      • A person. Jesus is the gospel. You weren’t saved by a plan, you were saved by a person.
      • The scriptures aren’t meant to reveal a plan, but to reveal Jesus.
      • Jesus never asked, “Do you want to go to heaven?”
      • John 5:19
      • Jesus is home. He makes heaven, heaven.

Message Three

  • Once you give everything, it doesn’t cost anymore.
  • The kingdom is not religious. Religion is what got Jesus in trouble.
  • Luke 6:26-31
  • We don’t live like God is merciful.
  • Religion wants you to perform; Jesus wants you to stay near.
  • The world wants you to do something in order to be someone. Not so with Jesus.
  • “You will be with me in paradise.” His presence is first; paradise comes with.
  • If you’re trying to get somewhere, you can get lost. But if you simply walk with Him, you can’t miss it.
  • Only one way to the Father– Jesus. And there are 7.2 billion ways to Jesus, because there are 7.2 billion of us.
  • He isn’t waiting for you to do something, He’s inviting you to join in His work.
  • The gospel is not information– it’s a person.

Message Four

  • The goal of all we do– to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
  • You know if you know someone.
  • Terror and amazement are the extremes someone who is close to Him lives in. Terror makes way for amazement.
  • John 6:6
  • You’re not helping God– you’re cooperating.
  • Look out/pray for non-emergency miracles.
  • If the Father isn’t doing it, Jesus doesn’t do it.
  • [Five essential questions, continued from Message Two]
    • 3) What is the purpose of a follower of Jesus?
      • Not evangelism, not good works– love, of God and of neighbor.
    • 4) What is the work to which we were called?
    • 5) Who is the most important person for me to reach?
      • Always me. The 2×4 in my own eye.
      • “I am the judge, and I don’t judge.”
      • Scripture alone won’t transform your mind. No one knew scripture better than the Pharisees.
      • Caterpillars become butterflies by being caterpillars.
      • No self-help; transformation. Jesus doesn’t want me to ask Him for self-help, He wants me to ask for help.
      • Romans 8:26-27
      • Bring light in and darkness leaves; you can’t just make darkness leave.

Life-Moving Messages {Part Two}

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born-again bday 2012! stuffOver the course of the year, I’ve heard a few sets of messages that moved me deep in my core and spurred large-scale change in my heart and life. All were shared at my school, during the two-day conferences we had each semester. We would cancel all classes for those two days to invest in our spiritual growth, and it helped me not only stay sane during the school year, but transform my life indefinitely. I would definitely like to share my notes from those messages with you. They won’t be as well-organized or cohesive as the messages themselves, as they’re simply the things I wrote down as I listened and processed, but there are some incredible truths within these. I hope you hear something from them that you needed.

This set was shared by Pastor Alex Michel on the second day of the fall semester conference. His emphasis was emotional health and spiritual healing. [You can read the first set from Pastor Alex here.]

Message Four

  • God forgives you so you can change, not so you can simply stop feeling guilty.
  • Experience your pain; stuffing it away is running from it.
  • Grief is not just for death. Let yourself feel loss.
  • Compassion = feeling another’s pain yourself. It helps us walk alongside them.
  • Romans 8:17
  • Good pain = dealing with reality; is redemptive. Bad pain = repeating old patterns and avoiding the suffering it would take to change them (wasted pain).
  • Grief is the toughest pain. You have to voluntarily enter it.
  • Ps. 34:18, Ro. 12:15, Job 30:25, Matthew 5:4
  • Grief is a choice to honesty face losses so that we can experience resurrection. To have new life, first you must die.
  • Our culture hates anything that makes us feel weak.
  • Feeling better does not equal becoming better. Don’t settle for false peace.
  • If you don’t grieve, you carry losses that are still living.
  • Creating ideals out of pain is dangerous, because you see that as the salvation.
  • Dealing with it does not equal swimming in it forever. See it through, but don’t set up camp.
  • The process of grief:
    • The loss itself
    • Protest, not wanting it to be true
    • Despair/depression, giving in
    • Sadness, loss, and grief proper; walking through it
    • Resolution and resurrection
  • Be real about it, not defined by it.
  • We need love, comfort, and support from people in our grief. We also need time and room and something structured.
  • Grief puts it on the hard drive instead of the ram. Minimizing it doesn’t help, either.

Message Five

  • Ministry is not greater than people.
  • There will be people in heaven, not ministries. Invest wisely.
  • Matthew 23:13-15, 23-24
  • What makes God upset is when you neglect people.
  • Putting ministry first leads to weariness. People are messy and hard, but they are what matter and therefore what fulfill.
  • “My people don’t need messages, they need a word from Me.”
  • Acts 1:8
  • Don’t ask for the gifts of the Spirit if you don’t intend to serve people.
  • Luke 22:42
  • “Be filled” is continuous. Continuous filling.

Life-Moving Messages {Part One}

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Over the course of the year, I’ve heard a few sets of messages that moved me deep in my core and spurred large-scale change in my heart and life. All were shared at my school, during the two-day conferences we had each semester. We would cancel all classes for those two days to invest in our spiritual growth, and it helped me not only stay sane during the school year, but transform my life indefinitely. I would definitely like to share my notes from those messages with you. They won’t be as well-organized or cohesive as the messages themselves, as they’re simply the things I wrote down as I listened and processed, but there are some incredible truths within these. I hope you hear something from them that you needed.

This first set was shared by Pastor Alex Michel on the first day of the fall semester conference. His emphasis was emotional health and spiritual healing.

Message One

  • Jesus came to deliver us from sin, not distract us from it.
  • John 16:12-15
  • The process is worth going through if freedom is at the end.
  • John 8:31-32, 2 Cor. 5:17 DSC07435
  • Jesus didn’t die for “mostly free.”
  • Eph. 4:22-24
  • You’re trying to change your behavior without renewing your mind.
  • Old mind = feels right; renewed mind = prioritizes what is right despite feelings.
  • To get a renewed mind:
    • scripture and prayer
    • dealing with harmful thought patterns
  • Hurt leads to “No way will this happen to me again,” leads to corrupted thought patterns, leads to corrupt actions.
  • Sometimes depression, anger, etc., are like a winter coat. But seasons change, and we often forget to take it off.
  • John 5:19
  • “I didn’t ask you to save the world; my Son already did.”
  • When it’s time to take off the winter coat:
    • Admit you’re wearing it.
    • Articulate why you put it on.
    • Accept responsibility for wearing it this long.
    • Advance into the new season.
  • When you live in reality, sometimes it’s depressing.
  • If there’s a vow in your life, something you swear you’ll never do, hurt probably exists under it.

Message Two

  • Emotional health is real and His idea. God has emotions.
  • Emotions = insides being released.
  • We’re not good at having good and bad at the same time. But it’s a continuum; Your heart is beautiful and it also hosts conflict. And that’s okay.
  • Exodus 20:5-6
  • You never know what He’s trying to protect you from.
  • Putting energy in faking it leaves no time for actually making it.
  • The body of Christ is a spiritual family. The family you grew up in does not have to discourage you.
  • You are born in it, you can’t choose to not get on. But you can get off.
  • New fruit only comes from new roots.
  • You can’t deal with something unless it comes to the surface.
  • Surgery is painful, but heals.
  • Do you drive looking your rearview mirror the whole time? No! But you do need a rearview mirror.
  • Phil. 3:13-14, 1 John 3:13-14

Message Three

  • Growth is the goal, not perfection.
  • We should celebrate growth, God does.
  • Equation: grace + truth, over time = growth
  • John 1:14, Luke 13:6-9
  • If it’s not producing fruit when it should, don’t cut it down; look at the roots and tend.
  • Grace = the foundation upon which all healing of the human spirit exists.
  • You can’t do anything until you acknowledge that there is a problem.
  • AA has it right– celebrate sobriety even if it’s only existed for one day. No condemnation. This is Jesus’ model.
  • Truth gives us direction, clearly defines what will help and what will hurt.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • Healing is a process, not a light switch.
  • Chains are broken in a moment; learning to live like a free person is a journey.
  • Phil.1:6
  • We are to model grace– to ourselves, too.
  • Anesthesia = grace, scalpel = truth. You need both. And recovery takes a little while. Be available to these things.
  • You need Him, and you can’t go alone.

Inescapable Lessons from Generation Unleashed 2015

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Wow, life is strange. I feel so much right now, and it seems like none of it should go together harmoniously, but it does. The Lord is writing music in my life; teaching me how to write my own again, maybe. I used to think that I’d been neglecting songwriting, but when I was talking with a dear friend last week and she asked me about it, I realized my daily poetry has rhythm most of the time. Music has been coming out of me still. We can’t ignore our design, friends. No matter how much it scares us to release.

He’s been teaching me that in so many ways, not just in that conversation with my friend. I took my sixth trip to Generation Unleashed this year. It was my last trip as a staff member for this youth group, so I tried to be open to every element of it that could become special and lasting. And there were so many beautiful little moments that I treasure closely in my heart; so many significant and simply sweet words were shared, both by the speakers and within our group.

taken Januray 28, 2014Judah Smith was the speaker the night I fully believed in God’s love for me at fifteen years old, so getting to hear him speak again felt very full-circle. This year he spoke of soul-homes. Just like our physical state needs a home, our soul needs that place of rest and comfort, too. He explained that God gave us His own breath (Gen. 2:7), and that when we bless Him with that breath, our soul goes home. In that home, we simply get to be with Him, to listen to Him. And going to that soul-home to be with Him is what matters. We have to let our souls go home every day; we have to praise Him with the breath He is letting us borrow in order to do that. The Lord and I have been talking about home for a few months now, and this message was a very clear one from Him that above all else, my home will always be with Him in our soul-connection. I have that home with Him. You do, too. Go there. That’s what matters in this life, friend.

Dylan Jones spoke of carrying burdens. He used the story of David fighting Goliath, particularly when Saul has David try on his armor and David removes it all, saying, “I am not used to it” (1 Samuel 17:31-40). He shared that David was not used to relying on his own strength to fight battles, and that often we carry weights we were never meant to because we hope they will help us. The key to endurance and to victory is laying down those things. Sometimes there isn’t something wrong with me; sometimes, I’m carrying something I’m not supposed to. It could be sin, which He is ready to take from me (1 John 1:9), but other things can be weights, too. I don’t need to pick up those deeds or duties, even if they are admirable. I just need to pick up the foundational things– unconditional love, faith, grace. Dear friend, we were never designed to carry weight of any kind. His burden is light, and He is offering to trade with us. Let go.

Dylan also spoke at one of the additional sessions I attended, and I’ll just share some notes that were important to me:

Jesus doesn’t start something He’s unwilling to finish.

Anxiety and insecurity are symptoms of following the wrong thing.

Your sole responsibility is to keep following Him, regardless of mistakes.

taken January 28, 2015Chris Durso was the next speaker, and he shared about the two crosses we can bear. He said that Jesus already bore our cross of sin, so when He tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him, that isn’t the cross He means. The cross He asks us to carry is one of purpose. He enables us to carry it and goes with us. We argue with Him about what we’ve been given, but if it’s there for us, we can accept it; we are able. So many of us are still carrying our sin crosses, when we should be carrying our purposes instead. The cross Jesus took for us is screaming life at us; “Live!” it says, because death was defeated on it. I am terrified of my purpose-cross. Absolutely terrified. But I have to carry it, and this message convinced me deeply of that.

Chris spoke at the next session I attended, too, on Numbers 13:26-33. He shared about “giants” in life and how to defeat them. I wait for backup so often, thinking I can’t act until something happens first, but the Lord is telling me that I am enough. And these giant obstacles are giant opportunities for God to work. To handle these obstacles, we have to talk to Him about them. If it is promised to me, it is coming my way; it is not dependent on me. When we jump ahead, we become terrified because we weren’t ready to see it yet. We also need to talk back to our obstacles, telling them about our God. We have the power of life and death in our tongues; we need to speak life over ourselves. Giants fail when faith steps in. God has never failed before– why would He start with me? The promised land is His to give, and friend, He is giving it to you and me. I felt this message deep in my stomach, with dread and conviction and awe. I’m facing some pretty big giants, and I am so scared to act in any way; I am scared they will beat me and leave me in sorrow and defeat. But the Lord promises me: This land is mine to give, and I am giving it to YOU. I can’t escape this message no matter how much I’d sometimes like to.

All of these messages are in the back of my mind every single day. They are inescapable, because the Lord is pursuing me and these are His words. I thank Him for that pursuit and for giving me purpose, even when it is terrifying and overwhelming. And I’d like to let you know:

He’s doing the same thing with you. Listen to Him. And trust Him.

The Middle (On Generation Unleashed 2014)

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[Listen]

When I went to Generation Unleashed as room leader for my youth group this year, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I’m kind of an introvert (although I hate saying that; I am me, and I think I’m between the extremes), but I cared so deeply about the girls I shared a hotel room with. I wanted to give them some kind of assurance that they were meant to be on this trip, that Jesus had made a way for them to come and be in an environment where life is more silent so that they could hear Him better. I’m not entirely sure what my girls ended up taking home with them (besides all the classic books we found at Barnes and Noble, haha!), but I loved that what they talked about at the end of the day wasn’t the amazing feelings they had; it wasn’t about the exciting worship or the shopping trips or even a life-changing moment. They spoke of truths that the speakers had shared and how those truths encouraged them or made them think. They could not have said anything to make me happier.

I intended to sit with them for the high school session. I truly did. But, when the age groups began to split off and the college students were dismissed, my heart sank into my stomach. I tried to shake this, telling myself it would be better to stay with the high school group. But my sunken heart almost had me doubled over in pain, and it was beating fast. “Lord, you want me to go, don’t you?” I said.

And I went.

This happened twice in the exact same way on this trip. He knew what He was doing.

Of every session I sat in on, the college sessions were the only ones that actually spoke into my life. The others had some truths and food for thought, but these college sessions? It was like the Lord, the speaker, and I were having a conversation. I want to share the notes I took from Pastor Rich Wilkerson, Jr.’s message, because I carry them inside me every day. He called his message “Faith for The Middle,” and that’s exactly where I happen to be. If you’re there, too, I want you to have these things. The message is based out of the story in Mark 4:35-41, of Jesus calming the storm. I’ll just put down exactly what I did back at GU, with a little commentary if necessary.

We pray for the middle to be shortened; maybe we should be praying for faith in the middle.

The meantime matters.

The fact that you’ve thought about quitting shows it matters.

The middle is scary because it’s unknown.

The wise man and the foolish man both had to face the storm. [Context: Matthew 7:24-17]

You can be around Jesus but not with Him. Who is in your boat? You need Him.

Jesus models REST, not “I have to fix this!”

Do you have more faith in your sin than in Jesus? [This was a slap in the face for me. When we doubt that Jesus will forgive us for something, we are actually saying, “I don’t think you are big or loving enough to forgive this.” Ouch. It still stings. Have faith in Him, not your sin; your sin doesn’t deserve it.]

Stay in the boat.

I feel like every area of my life is completely stationary. The nervous excitement of beginning the new things is gone, and the end results are no where to be found. I don’t quite want radical change everywhere; I think I just want to see that something is making some kind of positive difference somehow. Usually I can live my life day by day, but sometimes these feelings of defeat creep upon it. Yet. . . I know the middle is an okay place to be.

I need to stop trying to get out of it and start seeking Him in it.