In the Valley- Chrissy Kertscher
I have been going through an incredibly rough time recently. Everywhere I turn, Satan is trying to mess things up for me. Right now, I am in the deepest valley of my life. I have felt hopeless, lost, and like there is no way out. Every time I have been about to get out, I fall right back in it, flat on my face. A lot of times, people can get to a place where they doubt God, where they stop praising God, or start asking Him why He’s doing this.
Why I wrote It?
I wrote “In the Valley,” as my response to God as I face some of the hardest trials in my life. Our first reaction to hurt, pain, trials, and struggles should be praise. Just like Job did at the beginning. Even after losing everything, his response was worship. I know that God is helping me. He is fighting this battle for me.
A song that has been my go to song when I am on my knees before God, is a song called, “This is How I fight my Battles” by The Upper Room. I added this at the end of my song because it is so simple yet it means so much. It says, “It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you.” Those words alone overwhelm me.
I hope and pray that this song means as much to you as it did for me while I was writing it. I know, that even in the valley, God is before me and behind me. God placed me on the mountain… I worshiped Him. Then, I was placed in the valley… and I continued to worship Him.
I’ve been walking for a really long time in the valley, You hear my cry.
It’s been painful but you see me here and You’re fighting all my fears.
Even in this hurt, and when I can’t sing, I’ll praise you. I will Praise you.
I’ve been on the mountain before. I worshiped You then and I will worship You now.
And now as I’m in the valley give me strength and test my faith.
I’ve been on the mountain before. I praised You then and I’m not going to stop, now.
And now as I’m in the valley, lift up my head to where I only see you. Be my joy when I don’t have hope.
As I go through this trial I’ll wait, wait upon You Lord.
As I fight this battle, You are helping me and I am down on my knees.
I would have never chosen this for me You know what I need better than me
Bridge 2 (This is How I fight my battles/Surrounded- Upper Room)
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
It may look like I’m surrounded
But I’m surrounded by You
I hope you guys like the lyrics. Check out the video here if the one on this post doesn’t work! Let me know what you think!
One Thing Remains by Jesus Culture
This is definitly an older song and is still a very popular song in many churches. This song is a great reminder that no matter what, His love will never fail us. In a world full of disappointment and hurt, one thing remains… and that is His love.
Here are the lyrics:
Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains,
Yes, one thing remains
Your love never fails,
It never gives up
It never runs out on me
Because on and on, and on, and on it goes
Before it overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
So, this one thing remains
In death, in life I’m confident and covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid.
There’s nothing that can separate my heart from Your great love
The verses of this song because of how much they magnify His love. In the pain, hurt, and trials we go through, His love remains. His love is stronger than the grave! That is a great reminder that He loved us enough to send His only son to die a horrible death that you and I deserved. BUT He didn’t stay dead… HE ROSE AGAIN!
This week, we are going to be focusing a little bit more on the time you spend with God. So, if you are listening to the instructions, I continually tell you that you need to be spending time with Jesus in order to actually have a relationship with Jesus. Praying and studying the Bible are important in your walk with God. You can’t have a relationship with someone you don’t talk to. You can’t worship someone you know nothing about. That is why it is so crutial that you read your bible and pray as much as you possibly can on a daily basis.
Whenever I went a few weeks without reading the Bible, I was a brat. I had an attitude and really, I was just overall mean. Some of my friends can testify to that. Reading the Bible and spending time with God helps you grow your fruit of the spirit. If you apply the things to your life, you will continue to get more joy, kindness, etc.
week 5 of the like Jesus challenge will be about spending time with God. You read for it?
Week 5: Each day this week, after spending time with God, send your notes to 3 friends and remind them to spend time with Jesus as well.
If you do not take notes, I highly encourage you to. If I didn’t have my notes, I wouldn’t remember anything. When I take notes, I can actually go back and reread them if I needed to. For me, I have to take notes. My accountability partner and I send each other our notes every day so we can make sure we’re spending time with God and even learn about what they are reading or see a certain passage from a different perspective.
If you don’t have an accountability partner, you should really pray about getting one. They can help you to stay encouraged, remind you to spend time with God, and be a helping hand to you in your walk. You aren’t supposed to do this alone. Don’t. So when spending time with God each day this week, make sure you send an accountability partner your notes and remind them.
Remember, stay smiling! Memorize more bible verses! Keep doing all of the past challenges and let God change your heart. I hope you all have a blessed week
When sharing your heart with your youth band backfires and how to prevent it.
On at least one occasion, that I can remember, Zack and I had a run in with an unhappy youth parent because of word twisting. It is very easy for something like that to occur in a youth band because you are leading a group of students and you have to take charge sometimes. Which can sometimes lead to angering a youth. It doesn’t matter what the talk is about, if it is serious, most likely, words will get twisted.
Sometimes youth can feel like they are getting in trouble and take it the wrong way, even when your heart meant for constructive criticism or simply telling them something with only love in your voice. Words can get taken the wrong way, especially if someone is frustrated with you. If you are going to have a serious conversation with them, there are a few things you need to do in order for it to not backfire and explode in your face.
1. Do not do it over text
I know. In this day and age, everything is easier to do through text. Do not do this. Through text, they cannot hear your tone of voice and it is likely that it will get read wrong. I urge you not to have a serious conversation over text, really, with anyone. This is actually beneficial for friendships and relationships as well. Just say you’re welcome.
2. Have a sit down
This one sort of goes with the first point. There are two ways to go about this. Get the whole band together and share your heart as a whole, not pointing anyone out. This will allow the issue to not specify anyone out so no one feels attacked. Or you could go to someone in private if it’s more of a one on one issue with a specific youth. Make sure that you use your words wisely if you do the one on one talk.
If you think the student may find a way to twist the words or take something the wrong way, I’d even think about recording it just to be able to show someone if a problem were to occur. But most of the time it doesn’t get to this point. Just giving suggestions here. If you have a sit down with the youth, I’d see if another adult could be present or maybe even the youth pastor. You can never be too safe. Usually, youth don’t go crazy when you have a serious conversation. Like I said, I can only think of one time where that has happened to me but now I know how to prevent it.
3. Have scripture to back it if possible
If the issue is them being lazy about learning songs, there are scriptures about being lazy or not using your whole heart when doing things. If you are addressing some arguing that goes on between a couple of the musicians, there are bible verses about that. Use scripture, if possible, but make sure to use it in the correct context. Now if you are addressing something like “Don’t go to the bathroom during practice if possible,” then you probably don’t need to spend 4 hours looking for a proper scripture for that exact situation but if you want to, hey, scripture is awesome!
4. Ask them
I wouldn’t want any youth to think they can’t talk to me about something. At the end of the discussion, I’d take a few minutes just to ask them if they have any thoughts on the issue or anything to say, just so they don’t feel like you completely attacked them.
Those are a few things that you can do when sharing your heart with youth to make sure it doesn’t backfire on you. I wish you luck in all of your serious conversations to come! I pray you handle the situations with kindness and calmness, with little frustration. It’s easy to get frustrated, especially if you don’t address the problem, because then they don’t know they are doing something wrong so they keep doing it and it annoys you a little more every time they do it. They may not know they are doing it. Just let them know. Address it wisely and prayerfully.
Welcome to Week 4: Self-Confidence!
The challenge I am about to ask you to do this week might be especially hard for some people. I know I struggled with this for a long time and still do on occasion. This whole week, you need to do this one simple task to help with your self-confidence. It won’t take any longer than a couple minutes of your day.
All of week 4, I want you to look in the mirror at some point through out the day and tell yourself 5 things that you like about yourself. You can say it in your head or even out loud but if you’re in public, some people may think you’re crazy. Hey, who cares! As Christians, we are supposed to stand out. So if you want to talk about all the things you like about yourself out loud, DO IT.
You are beautiful.
Personally, if someone told me to do this every day for a week about a year ago, I can positively tell you, I wouldn’t be able to find one feature that I liked about myself. This is something I really struggled with. Every girl that would cross my path, I would instantly point out to myself how pretty they were and it would make me compare myself to them. I’m so glad that God worked on that with me because I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the self confidence that I have now while I’m going through what I’m going through.
If I’m being honest with you all, I have been going through a pretty rough breakup. I’ve had to watch him bring girls to church and watch him flirting with them and laughing with them. God has been working in me so I don’t get jealous but it takes me quite a bit of self confidence to not start looking at all my flaws when he’s bringing all these beautiful women to the church. I still find myself comparing myself to them sometimes but I am going to continue working on it. You should too!
You are so beautiful in the eyes of God. He made you look just the way He wanted you to look. He looks at you and sees no faults. God doesn’t look at all your flaws; He looks at all the beautiful. You look exactly how God wants you to look.
So everyday, look in the mirror. Tell yourself you like your hair. Say that you love the clothes you wear. Share about how beautiful the color of your eyes are! There are so many things that you could say each day. God did not make junk when He made you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). You’re shaped the way you are for a reason. You have the voice you have for a reason. The facial features you have, God designed perfectly the way he wanted. Quit looking in the mirror and thinking bad things about yourself. Ultimately, what you are saying is, “God, I know you made me the way you wanted but I don’t think you did good enough.”
Don’t let the world define beauty
Stop letting the world decide wether you are beautiful or not! The world does not know the true definition of beauty, they have a twisted, unrealistic version of beauty. So if you are a Christian, go to Gods word. See what He has to say about how beautiful. I promise, you will not be disappointed. God thinks highly of you; He doesn’t want you looking in a mirror bashing yourself or comparing yourself to other people. There is only one blueprint for you, as my pastor would say. You are one of a kind. You’re a snowflake.
You can’t change who you really are; you can’t change the way you look. So stop trying to fit in when you were made to stand out. If you can’t change how you look, why get upset about it, you have to deal with it anyways.
I wish I could change my voice
This is something I used to wish every day. Then I realized that I was telling God He didn’t do a good enough job. If God called me to lead worship, then why don’t I have a voice like Lauren Diagle or Steffany Gretzinger? God spoke to me and removed these thoughts from my head. An old pastor of mine once said, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” I could compare my voice to other singers and say how much better they are then me, but where does that get me? No where. Because in the end, my voice is still the same, but now I am just thinking my voice isn’t very good.
I’d much rather remember that God has placed a calling on my life to lead worship for a reason. What if me having a better voice would have made me get big headed and proud? What if that made me prideful? There is a reason for everything. God hears my voice. He hears me singing to Him, whether I am singing like Kari Jobe or like someone who can’t even stay in key. I have learned to love the voice God has given me and that has allowed me to go way further than I ever thought I could.
Never in my life would I have thought I would go from turning my piano all the way down so no one could hear me in a worship band, to being a worship leader, playing guitar (an instrument that isn’t even my main instrument) and singing. God can take, even the things you think aren’t good enough, and use them in a huge way. So as you go through week 4, try your hardest to boost your self-confidence.
Self-confidence is attractive
I don’t know if you know this or not, ladies, self-confidence is so attractive. Now hear me out, don’t go all crazy boasting about how beautiful and awesome you are. Don’t be prideful about it. Just being able to take compliments and walk confidentially makes you a thousand times more beautiful. You don’t need to go fishing for compliments when the Bible has plenty of those for you from someone far greater than anyone walking this earth. Know what God says about the way you look. Don’t look in the mirror and bash a beautiful thing God has made.
So, for all of week 4, say 5 things about yourself that you like. Don’t do this half-heartedly. Seriously try to be more confident in who you are, you aren’t changing that. So accept it and realize how beautiful you are! Self-confidence is waiting… your move.
Just like I say at the end of most of these challenges, make sure you continue doing the past weeks. Keep smiling and remembering bible verses. You want to continue doing these things as much as you can until it becomes more natural to do them. Your heart and attitude will change. But only if you are in the word of God daily and spending one on one time with Him because ultimitely, we need to be growing deeper and deeper into our relationship with Jesus. Good Luck!
Memorizing scripture definitely does not lack effort. I used to try to memorize a new scripture. I learned it and could say it for a few days but then I completely forgot them. Zack and I learned a bunch of scriptures. The first one we learned was Proverbs 3:5-6 and the second one we learned was 1 Corinthians 10:13. Those are literally the only two I remember fully without hesitation. Now that I am even more in the word than I was at that time, I put more time into memorizing scripture for many reasons, which I will gladly share with you.
Reasons why you should be memorizing scripture…
1. It helps you
On many occasions, I have used the verses I memorized just to simply encourage me and help me remember what God says about what I’m going through. For example, when I am going through a trial, I can be quick to say James 1:2-3 in my head. Knowing that verse, I can quickly remind myself that there is a reason I am going through what I am; when my faith is tested, it produces perseverance and steadfastness.
I also love having a constant reminder of how deep God’s love is for me, that God keeps His promises, that I need to go to God in prayer in every situation and be thankful for it, rather than being anxious, etc. See there are so many bible verses that could just change my overall attitude throughout my day and help me in my walk with God. Let bible verses and passages be in your heart and in your mind.
It really helps me to “do what Jesus would do” in every situation. As Christians, we are called to strive to be like Jesus.I don’t think the bible meant eat the pages when it said to have the word inside you. 1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way he walked.” Notice it says walk in the same manner. We are never going to be anything like Jesus. Although we try to walk the same way He walked, we aren’t perfect like Him so we can’t but we need to be doing everything to try to. We need to try to be humble like He was, loving like He was, patient like He was, etc. (Take the “Like Jesus Challenge” with me!)
2. It helps others
Having the word in your heart and your mind could really help others if you let it. If you see a brother struggling or in need, you could quote a scripture or give him the scripture to look up for themselves to encourage them or even point them in the godly direction. I remember, my freshman year of high school, I had a girl that wasn’t a Christian in my gym class that I hung out with every day because I didn’t know many people (I was a weird, ugly freshman, scared to even speak to people). Every day, she would find a way to discourage me by being rude or mean to me. I’m not sure if she meant to do it but every day, after P.E., I would be in a horrible mood.
Not knowing what to do…
I went up to one of my favorite Christian friends that I highly looked up to as a newer Christian, K.C., and was just complaining about the situation to her in the lunch line. I remember her writing a scripture on my hand. It was Matthew 5:38-44. She basically just explained not to let anyone discourage me; I needed to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile for those who try to bring me down, and love and pray for the people that persecute me. I could never thank K.C. enough for giving me that scripture that day, I’d helped in a way she could never imagine. It stays with me and I use the lesson she taught me often.
If that simple scripture did what it did for me, imagine what you could do for others using scripture. Even though you may not think much of it or think it is that big of a deal, it is. It was a big enough deal to me that I am writing about it in a blog post almost 6 years later. Be an encouragement to others through the word. God gave it to us for a reason.
3. You may need it and not have it
I know this generation is filled with technology that can serve as a way to read the bible without having a bible with you. Sometimes, you won’t have that. You can’t always have a bible with you or have your phone out. What if you needed a scripture at work, while you’re with your friends, at a dinner, or a meeting? For me personally, sometimes God tells me to say a bible verse during worship. I can’t have a bible in my hand, searching for the scripture, while playing guitar. That would definitely be hard.
Rather than having to stop playing and getting out a bible, I could quote the scripture that I already have memorized. At my church, we have these small groups after service, and I am quick to quote scripture while talking about the service and what I learned. Sometime’s you need scripture but don’t have it with you or aren’t in a place where you can get to it.
How do you memorize scripture?
Well, everyone’s different. There are many ways to effectively memorize scripture. My best friend and I started learning scripture together; we learn a verse or two every week. I send her any new scriptures that I learn and she does the same for me. She constantly sends me a reference from the list and then I quote it back to her without looking. Like I did with Zack, we learned them good for a few days but I never went back to those verses so I forgot them after a week. If you are going back to these scriptures, it helps you to keep them in your heart and mind. The bible verses I am now learning with my best friend are verses I can say without hesitation or questioning if I said it right because I am always saying them.
When I memorize a verse, I write it in the back of my prayer journal with the reference and verse so that I can look at them after praying. Then, on another page, I just put the references so I can quiz myself.
Here are a few ways you can learn scripture better:
- Set the verse as your lock screen and read it every time you open your phone.
- Write the verse somewhere you’ll see it every day (On your mirror or in your locker).
- Quote the scripture to a close friend every time you see them.
- Write it on your hand
- Read it 5 times, say it 5 times, then write it.
See, there are many ways to memorize. Those are just a few, I would love to hear what you do to memorize scripture. If you don’t memorize scripture regularly, I highly encourage you to. If you need any help, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jesus, Reset my ________.
Wow, this week has been absolutley crazy. At my church, we had this small event (Pulse Week 2017) that made a huge difference in a bunch of peoples lives. Youth gave their lives to Jesus and allowed Jesus to reset something that has been getting in the way of their walk with Jesus or reset something they put on the throne before God. I was completly in awe of the amazing things Jesus was doing within our youth. Leading worship for this event was very stressful at first.
With the limited time we prepped, it caused a lot of chaos each day before service. I had the attitude of ‘this is about to be horrible’ at the beginning of the week. By the last day, I had a complete heart change and reset. I just focused on worshipping rather than if people were playing the right chords. Worship was going to be just fine regardless. Worship is not a show, which is something I already knew, but it needed to be reimplanted into my brain. It is not a conerct. Sometimes, I just enjoy stopping all instruments and just have all the voices in the room to sing as loud as they can. God really moved through worship. I felt Him in the room and He was all over the place.
I loved leading worship this week. Simply because, regardless of the preparation, God still used us in a mighty way. I loved watching as of the students worship with all of their heart. I could see true, authentic worship. It was beautiful. Breathtaking. All through the services, I was smiling from ear to ear because of what Jesus was doing in my own heart.
For a while, I have been trying my hardest to “reset” my attitude and my heart (That is what the Like Jesus challenge is all about) for the longest time. I can honestly say I have been doing really good. Not because of anything I was doing but what Jesus was doing in me and inside my heart. The theme of Pulse Week was “Jesus, reset my_____.” I was so energetic and extatic because in this week and I really got to acknowledge all that Jesus has been doing in my heart.
My attitude has been different and my overall heart. I am so overjoyed with everything that I have been seeing Jesus do in my life and in my friends life. During worship, I loved doing the fast songs. I used to just raise my hands and worship during those fast songs, which is fine, but it is so much fun to jump around and act a fool praising Jesus. I got the honor of watching a bunch of teenagers jump all over the place, unashamed, praising God. Going crazy with them was so fun. Jesus didn’t make us to fit in and just clap to the beat. Let loose. Get crazy.
Fill in the blank.
Say, “Jesus, reset my _____.” Fill in the blank. What did you put in that space? Jesus reset my heart (mind, thoughts, relationship, voice, etc) What did you fill in there? Say it out loud. Ask Jesus to reset it. Give it to Him. Let Him reset something you need fixed in your life. Often times, we put other things on the throne that God is supposed to be on.
Can you think of something you are putting on that high place in your life. Sometimes you don’t want to admit it. In fact, sometimes you don’t even realize you put something else on the throne. Or maybe we ask God to scoot over so He can share the throne of your life with _______. (Your partner, your job, your family, church, etc.) Jesus doesn’t want to share the throne! He wants to be over your entire life; He wants to be your entire life.
How can you put only Jesus on the throne right now? How are you going to let Jesus reset _______? The way I am letting Jesus reset my heart is by reading the bible as much as I can, spending more time talking to God than I spend talking to anyone else, and by memorizing scripture.
So what are you going to do? Find a way to focus on God and keep Him on the throne. Keep your eyes on Him. His eyes were on you when He died on the cross for you. He can fix your heart, your mind, your relationship, and your voice. You have to let Him. You have to devote yourself to actually doing something about it.
Spend some time in prayer and talk to God about some things you could do to reset whatever you filled in that blank. Get into the bible and see what God has to say about what you are resetting. Give this to God, He will gladly take it. Nothing is too big for God. Give it to Him. Looking back, I laugh. I was at a place where I felt hopeless in my bitterness and in my thoughts. I never thought I could get away from it. Now that I let Jesus reset it, I’ve have never been so happy and energetic. Not today Satan!
It may feel hopeless right now but you need to remember who has you in the palm of His hands. Rather than falling backwards, fall forwards into the hands of God. He has your back. Don’t think you can’t do it. If you can’t, He can and He will gladly take your _______ from you and reset it. Give Him the chance to do it. Soon, you too will look back and smile. You will be able to say, “Jesus, thank you for being on the throne and for resetting my _____.”
Start the process of letting Jesus reset it.
Random Acts of Sharing the Good News
4 lies I believed as a new Christian
Being a new Christian can be overwhelming. You get to watch your entire life do a 180. Sometimes it can be scary because it’s something you’ve never done before.More often times than not, a new believer can get caught up in the wrong mindset. Maybe we think these things because of watching other ‘christians’ or maybe it’s just something we think. Let me tell you a few things that I believed as a new Christian just in case you are in the same boat as I was.