Tuesday, June 16, 2020

My Sermon!! (Well, kind of)

Another month has gone!! This is a month of mixed emotions. May was my tenth and FINAL month as a FOCUS apprentice!! I cannot believe the time flew by so quickly. It feels like a week ago that I was sitting at my orientation on August 1st, with no idea of what God was going to do in my life in this opportunity. I gave a sermon for our FOCUS staff for our final assignment. The prompt was to reflect on our three biggest takeaways from the apprenticeship. It's hard to pick three from a full 10 months of growth, but I felt God laying three aspects on my heart that I thought would be good to summarize for you. (Hence why I said it was KIND OF my  sermon... I'm sparing lots of details!)

1. Importance of knowing God through knowing His Word
This was a big one for me. I grew up in a Christian home with my parents both involved in church leadership, and they really instilled Christian values in my siblings and me. With that came stories from Scripture, and a basic understanding of the gospel. I had all the tools given to me but chose not to invest the time in learning how to use them. I coasted with what was given to me and didn't really pursue getting to know God through His Word on my own. The apprenticeship offered theology classes where we studied the Old/New Testament and other topics that are foundational in understanding God's character and what being a disciple of Jesus really looks like. I feel like I really got to know God for the first time in studying Scripture in such depth, as well as reading commentaries and listening to seminary lectures. I am so thankful that such an emphasis is placed on this in the apprenticeship and for the patience of all of our teachers (Brandon, Mandy, Sarah G, Danielle, Sirak, Laurence, Peter, Brad, Ronnie.. THANK YOU) in teaching us more about their experience with these topics. After seeing how much transformation came from just 10 months of studying Scripture more in-depth, I am more motivated to make this more of a priority in my daily life!

A picture from my first week of the apprenticeship, reading Old Testament... little did I know how much I would come to know God through studying it :) 

2. Learning to love life in the light

Being in the dark is scary, but sometimes it feels scarier to let people into that darkness and sin in our hearts. This is something that the apprenticeship really helped me with. God surrounded me with people who not only invited me to shed light on the darkest parts of me but offered to walk alongside, and help clean out those parts of me. Life in the light, though sometimes painful, shameful, or embarrassing, is actually liberating, warm, and a lot safer than darkness. I thank God for His grace and mercy, and for His people who show me the same. 

3. Making more people, "my people"

We use this phrase a lot. "Oh, that group of friends? They are my people." Sometimes I can be extremely selective in who I include as, "my people." I don't think this is always bad, but the root of it for me is a protection mechanism: the fewer people I let in, the less I can be hurt. This year, God placed so many people in my life that I not only could live in the light with like I talked about above but also who made me feel safe in my own skin. Even though I open myself up to be hurt, I also open myself to a lot of joy and fullness in allowing more people in. 
Here are some photos below of people who have been instrumental in helping me live in the light, and have allowed me to experience the sweetest joy this year! 
Zoe <3
My co-leader for small group (who also happens to be my roomie and one of my best friends!), Emily :)
Erika is a very dear friend. One of the best! 
Apprentices 2019-2020

Our UTD staff this year. One of our first pictures! 

The apprenticeship is over, but don't worry! I've committed to three more years of being a full-time campus pastor at UTD. If you have any interest in hearing more about how YOU can partner with me in my ministry, please email me at kylie@anyfocus.org, or shoot me a message!! I'd love to tell you more about it.

Until next month!