Monday, June 27, 2016

Motown Madness: Live on Purpose

Lenny and Larry's Baked Nutrition

This is another thing that I was extra excited for because it was my last time. But it wasn't exciting that I would never get to do it again, but excited that we were ready to make the most of it. I went to my first Motown Madness in 8th grade, and have been to most of them, at least for one night, the past few years. First we stayed at Abby Hick's house, then Bella Mills's, then Cassie Meek's, last year at Patty's, and this year she hosted us seniors one last time. 
The first night of Motown is always the main food event, even though it's around 10:00 before we get started. After the first service, the churches break off and each group goes to their host home for a month-awaited-and-planned-out smorgous board. Our idea was grilled chicken salad, tons of fruit, green beans, sweet potatoes, corn, salsas, and some other trimmings. 

Friday night, session one message highlights:
Speaker:  John Nix - fun fact:  He is the pastor at Toby Mac's camps and Camp Electric, which happens to be in Nashville, TN.
Worship band:  The Neverclaim

Church isn't a museum to put on a display but a hospital for broken sinners.
No matter how good your acting skills, it does not impress God.
God's grace and mercy is not because we are deserving but because He is loving.
Passage:  Acts 17-Paul discussing Christ's suffering and dying with the men in the synagogue-Why?  Because we sin.  What's sin-"Not only bad things committed but also good things ommitted" (James 4:17 "If anyone then knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.")  And sin is bad not only becuase of what we do, but also who we do it to; all sins hurt God.
Songs that came to my mind relating to this:  "Scandal of grace, You died in my place so my soul will live" and
"What can wash away my sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus"
Sin is sin, and sin deserves death, but we can find redempion in Christ, and Him alone."You were dead in your transgressions and sins...but becuase of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ--it is by grace you have been saved."  Ephesians 2:1, 4-5

Saturday morning is in a tie with the awaiting and planning for great meals. Of course Motown Madness is about growing in the Lord with people from your community, but next it is also about the food. Honestly. Just ask anyone who has been involved. It's like a tradition. 
I had been in one of those energy ruts where it seems like nothing I do can recharge me. I was so exhausted. In that case, I was really looking forward to this weekend of rest and recharging for my body and spirit!
Patty was ready to fix me right up with some espresso. And some advocate spark for the afternoon. I was dead, but the artificial energy got me through!

Pancakes and pajamas are the perfect picture of comfort. I was dubbed pancake chef.
Patty was hard at work, too, up much earlier than we, making sausage, bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, and getting out the fruit and drinks. And her kitchen decorations are punny.
Breakfast is one of he best times to fellowship!
Acts 2:42, 46-47 The Fellowship of Believers  "They devoted themselves to the apostle's teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor.."


My pancake of choice was apple cinnamon with pumpkin spice chips, and of course fresh fruit. The other pancakes some had were chocolate chip or blueberry banana-a variety, just like our personalities and backgrounds.

Session 2, Saturday morning
Passage:  More of Acts 17 where they are having more of an understanding talk of the scriptures with the Bereans
Church is not an organization but an organism.  (We need each other working the way we should so that church can function!)
God's word is also living; as we read it, it also reads us.  ("For the Word of God is living and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12)
Christ is not an addition to our lives, but He is our lives.  ("For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."  Philippians 1:21)
Catching a theme for this service?  There is more to living than just life.  Life is found in following Christ.
Thanks to David Noe, one of our college-age leaders here in Morristown, Motown Madness got a Snapchat filter!  We felt special for a couple days.
It's also always an adventure to find something to do during Saturday afternoon's free time after the morning service. On weekends like this where the weather is nice, parks are packed and recreational sports are taken to the next level. Sometimes people go bowling, make crafts, visit nursing homes, go to Starbucks, have a scavenger hunt, go to the mall, etc, but this year we did it big.
 We went out of state. 
Yep. Right after that morning service we packed up the coolers and a couple ads and drove to North Carolina to picnic at Max Patch.
I had never been here before, but now it's on my list of places to go back!  Not too far into the smoky mountains is this little road with stops along the way to view nature, park, camp, picnic, whatever, and we found us a nice little spot and set up camp alongside the river!
We couldn't miss this opportunity to get some great pictures of our senior squad either.
We took literally all the leftovers we had and spread out a buffet for our picnic lunch. Fresh food, fresh air, fantastic fellowship=best picnic.

This is my gospel gang, and we're here to proclaim The Name.  #GospelGang #NoShame

"I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you.  I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles, my joy knows no bounds."  2 Corinthians 7:4
When I can't express my feelings, God knows.
After eating we hit the road, but still not headed home!  There is more to see of Max Patch than this!  Up and up and round and round, you finally get to an opening at this here sign. Now for the hike. It's not that long, but it sure is steep!  But like all difficult things in life, the view from the top is worth it.
Though it was cloudy, it was still beautiful. It even snowed on us a little bit!  You could see forever from up there. It was amazing to see Gods work in a weekend full of Him to begin with.

Morgan, Roxanna, me, Julia, and Patty with the background views
Sunday school squad for life. 
Also thanks to Jack Tyler for letting me borrow his hoodie and blanket; without it, I would've died. My feet were numb and I was shivering even with all that.


I peeked in the perfect photobomb
This time next year, we will be all spread out at our respective colleges, but we've already been thinking about plans of how to meet up at times. Through high school, I have come to know and appreciate these girls so much. We are so different, but that's how we love each other and are able to keep each other accountable and pray for each other for any and everything.
And what are we to do with all that we have learned through life? --- "Go into all the world and make disciples..."  Matthew 28:19
"You will recieve power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jersalem [Morristown], Judea and Samaria [TN and America], and to the ends of the earth."  Acts 1:8
Session 3, Saturday night
It's not worship, preaching, then leave church into the rest of life; it's all worship.
We must be careful to worship the Creator, not creation.  ("They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised."  Romans 1:25)
You know how we get so pumped sometimes at the end of something that we chant for an encore?  (concerts, my team joking at speed workouts, "one more! one more!", etc)  Well, what if we were so pumped when we were reading the Bible that we chanted "One more verse!"  That's what John's kids started doing.  Funny, but what a great thought!
***One of those crazy things that God works out also happened during this message!  Something John said reminded me of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and then in the prayer that was a few minutes later, he reference the same scripture.  God never ceases to amaze me.
Another thing to think on:  we like to make certain things known about us, our association with certain brands or people or activities.  What brand do you make the most known?  When people see you, what do they think of?  (Questioning myself here, as well.)

  Saturday night is the last session, and after a funny chain of events including a road being closed and a detour in the opposite direction, we barely made it back in time!  But we did, and that's what counts. We had a blast!
The Starnes family also has two dogs, Jake and Sam, and as you can see, they are quite friendly.  Good thing I'm used to it from my own pets at home.  The banana pajamas were just too much, though!

To end, I'll share one last thought that is really challenging, even to those who may seem to have it all together.
 We can have all the right answeres without being right with God.
Yep.  Like the first message, putting on a display in the museum.
Life can look all prim and proper on the outside, like you love life and serving and are honestly living for the Lord.  Sometimes it's even easy to fool people, even fool ourselves.  (Ever heard the saying, "fake it til ya feel it"?)  We can read the Bible, go to church, fellowship with other believers, know just the right things to say and ways to act, but if our heart isn't right, God sees right through all that even when others don't.
It doesn't matter if we look like we're on track with God if we aren't on the inside.  God knows.  God is the One who saves.  If your heart is hard or you're set on your own ways of living, don't fool yourself or others.
Don't just live the religion, be real-real love, real life.
Live on purpose.