I’m Not Perfect - Can I Change?
Over these past several weeks, I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff. Not just the average stress of school/work. No. Much more than that.
I know that I’m not perfect and chances are that I never will be. We as God’s children will never be perfect. Though sometimes we strive to be perfect.
Do I really expect myself to be perfect? No. But I know I can do better.
I openly admit that I sometimes take my anger out on loved ones. We’ve all done it at least once in our lives. It really seems too easy to take out our frustrations on family/friends when we’re going through/dealing with all this stuff that’s going on. If I’ve ever done that to you, I apologize. And I know that it’s not healthy to keep these things bottled up, but sometimes you just gotta let it all out. I may not always do it in the best way, but I’m learning not to do that anymore.
A little over a years ago, I was in a situation (that I’m not fully going into right now) where I lost a lot of my friends with in a matter of days. For a while, I really didn’t have a social life. I didn’t go to the movies or hang out with anyone for months in trying to get over this. Some of those people were just plain rude. Every time I see one of them in public, they just ignore me like I don’t even exist. Not even a “hello” was exchanged. Every time that I’m reminded of this, my feelings of anger and betrayal build up and that’s where it comes from. I have gone through counsel on this. Even though sometimes the anger builds up and slips out, I learn from my mistakes and continue to learn to deal with this. I’ve been taught that the past is the past. There’s nothing that you can do to change it, so just let it go.
Though if I had never gone through that situation, (for those of you who know me now) I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. To be honest, I have no clue what I would be doing today if that had never happened. I know that God did that for a reason. I think it was for the greater good.
Can I change in the blink of an eye? No. Change takes time.
Change is something that cannot happen over night. It’s a process. For some it may take 6 weeks to make the change and for others it might take 6 years. I’m reminded of Craig Groeschel’s book, “The Christian Atheist.” In chapter 7, it states that people can change. They just have to make the choice to want to change. The book says that the first step to change is acknowledging that particular problem. I mean we all have our problems in life. Nothing can change that. We’re only human. We can, however, try our best to change for the better. I believe that even the most drug addict, alcoholic can change. I really do undeniably believe that. They just have to want it in order for it to happen. Sometimes I have trouble with bottling things and releasing anger on my loved ones, I know I’ve been a jerk to people in the past. But the past is the past. Nothing can change it. All I can do is just let it go and forget about it.
Right now, my church is going through a series called “Change Your Story.” And it’s based around, you guessed it, people who are and are wanting to change their story for the better. I’m like a lot of people, I don’t always like what I’ve done in the past and sometimes I’m ashamed of it. But that’s okay. You may not be able to re-write your story of the past, but you can definitely write your story of the future.
I’ve felt lead to share this for a while. And again, I do apologize for anyone whom I may have hurt over the years.
Much love to all! :)
Misinterpretation & Misuse
One of my professors brought up the interesting topic of communication and how people can interpret and misuse it through many different means of communication. I thought I would just share my thoughts on this. And I apologized in advance if I happen to offend anyone.
Communication. We do it every day. Even when we’re not thinking about it or not doing anything, we are still communicating. Maybe not with our mouths, but the way we dress, our facial expressions, etc. People interpret our moods and interests through our voice, appearance, facial expressions, etc. In today’s world, communication has definitely changed a lot without a doubt. From about 20 years ago, people had just the regular land line telephones for non-face to face, long distance communication. Now today we have Facebook, Twitter, smart phones, etc. We as humans have advanced in communication over the past few decades. I’m going to share a couple of points about how communication can be misinterpreted and or misused.
Misinterpretation - Texting is, in my opinion, the best way to misinterpret things that are said. Obviously, when you’re texting someone, you’re not communicating with that person face to face. So depending on how you word your texts is a way that someone can misinterpret what you are actually trying to say. For instance, say if a person is just joking around, they would normally put, “Haha”, “:)”, “;)”, “;D”, “:D”. Though some people forget to insert the “Haha” and someone might take the joke seriously. Personally, I’m not a fan of the “Haha”. The only time I would ever use it if I found something to be actually funny. I’m sorry, that’s just how I am. Just be careful how you word a text. Another way that people can misinterpret something is by the use of hashtags on Twitter. I’m not talking about the one word hashtags. No, I’m talking about the ones that are incredibly long that people put on Twitter. Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about: #exteremelylongandannoyinghashtags. I know that some of you can distinguish what that is saying, but there are some people that can’t. That’s why when ever I use hashtags, I always make the first letter of each word in the hashtag capitalized. #ExteremelyLongAndAnnoyingHashtags. Would you agree that it’s a bit more easy to read it that way?
Misuse - LOL, BRB, OMG, SMH, these are all acronyms. Trying to shorten a text by just using acronyms is such a huge part of every day life yet sometimes we don’t even realize it. For instance, the classic “LOL”, which means Laugh Out Loud. Now I’m not a fan of this one at all. Reason being is because people nowadays don’t use it correctly. Most of the time when I get the text “LOL” from someone, I usually assume that they are misusing it. The correct way to use it is if the person found something to be very funny and or laughed about what you said to them and they would reply “LOL.” Nowadays “LOL” is just a reply (usually 9 times out of 10) to just about any text that use send. It’s a short way to reply and to acknowledge that the person you were texting got your last message. To be honest, I don’t really believe in the use of the “LOL” unless someone is actually making me literally “laugh out loud.” Again, I don’t mean to offend anyone. This is just how I take it. If you personally know me, think about it, when was the last time I texted LOL to you as a reply to something that you said to me.
It was quite an interesting discussion between my professor and I, but she did make some good points. I could have had more examples, but I only had so much time in between classes to even write this. We could’ve gone on and on and on about this all day. Once again, I’m not trying to offend anyone. This is just how I feel about this.
My First Impressions
First Baptist Church Hattiesburg. A church for the unchurched. I would consider it my home away from home. I would also consider it my current place of employment. Every time I get in my car, go to class, for an hour, then I get to come to work at (in my own definition) my home away from home. I never imagined that I would one day be working at First. On my bucket list (that I made a few years ago) I had put “Serve on a church staff” on it, but I never imagined even attending the church, period, about over 3 years ago.
A few years ago, I was in high school. A freshmen without a care in the world with hopes one day graduating high school and never looking back. I noticed that a building on Lincoln Road that was being constructed. I didn’t know what it was going to be or what it was for. After many long months of watching the construction get close and closer to being finished, I referred to it as “the church with the blue roof.”
2 years past since then. I had heard rumors about “the church with the blue roof” and how it was nothing more than a concert led by seven guitars and a smoke machine. And me being naturally curious, I decided to go see this concert for myself. Now let’s get one thing straight. I grew up in the small rural baptist church in Alabama and then when my family moved to Mississippi, we found a church that was just like the one in Alabama, only bigger. So on Sunday October 10, 2010, I went to the “the church with the blue roof” (At the time, I didn’t know it was called First).
I parked my car at the edge of the parking lot, I saw many people walking towards the church, I walked slowly toward the building passing guys directing traffic toward the double doors where there were 4 people with smiles on their faces just waiting to open the door and greet me as I walked in. When I made it to the door, a woman said, “Hello. Welcome to First.” I said thank you for opening the doors for me and I continued to walk through what appeared to be the children’s building. It looked like a giant tree house because of all the tree decorations everywhere. The kids were running up the stairs on the left and the parents were taking the toddlers to the preschool area on the right, next to what I assumed to be the church office desk. I walked up to the desk, where a woman was sitting and typing on the computer, I assumed that she was checking the preschoolers in. As I approached her, she asked, “How can I help you?” I politely asked her which way was it to the “sanctuary” or whatever it was called. She smiled and pointed me in the right direction.
I walked though a second set of double doors which led to a long, lobby type area (The Atrium). Walked past a fire place and couch seating area on the left, then noticed a another help desk on the right. There were several people behind the desk showing people which way to go. As I continued walking, I noticed several cardboard cut outs of movie characters everywhere and posters that said, “At The Movies.” It was all very strange. I continued walking past dozens and dozens of people until I reached a coffee bar. I got in line and when it was my turn to order something, I noticed that they were popping popcorn for some reason next to the coffee bar. Then a tall man came up to me and smiled and asked me what I wanted. I got a bottle of Coke and a bag of popcorn. I handed the man two dollars and walked toward the “sanctuary” doors. There were 2 people standing outside the doors ready to open them. I walked closer to the doors and they both smiled and opened the doors and I slowly walked in.
As I walked in, noticed to my right was their sound booth and to the left was a camera station and there were over 1000 seats to chose from. I’ll never forget where I sat that day. The section in front of the booth in the second row, 4th seat from the aisle. To be honest, from everything that I saw so far, I didn’t know what to expect, other than the guitar led worship. As I looked around, I was puzzled by the setting of this “Sanctuary.” The stage didn’t look too big for so many people to fit on it. The was a giant screen in the center of the stage. There was a side screen on each side of the stage that were scrolling through announcement slides. They had a baptistry, to the right of the stage. But it looked like a balcony that you’d normally find in an opera house. Suddenly, a countdown began on the screens and I assumed that meant that the service was about to begin.
When the countdown ended, the house lights dimmed and the band came out on stage and began to play. At the end of the first song, the worship leader (Jessica Campbell) cordially welcomed everybody and told everyone to meet and greet someone they never met before. So we did. I only knew a hand full of people who attended this church, so I basically knew not one soul, at least at this service. Then we went though 2 more songs after the meet and greet. I sang along for the most part, but remember, I grew up in the small, rural baptist church, so I was getting used to this. Though the songs were quite moving, I’ll admit. Then when the band was done, the worship leader seated everybody and the band walked off stage. Then everything went dark and a video popped up on the screens. It explained everything about what this sermon series was about. Then on the center screen popped up Disney and Pixar’s “UP.” For a moment, I was in shock. I thought to myself, how could a church do such a thing like this? The movie continued, then a man popped on the screen (Jeff Clark), he started talking about the movie and explained the biblical truths behind the movie that I had never even thought about. At the time, I didn’t even know who Jeff Clark was until a month after I started coming to First.
The movie continued on for about 45 minutes, with a lot of scenes cut out, I thought just to save time. At the end of the movie, a tall guy walked up on stage and began to welcome everybody to “First Hattiesburg.” Ah, so that’s what they called it. His name, Jeff Powell and job title “Director of Worship Programming” popped up on the side screens as a lower third as his face was also on the screens. He told everyone what the movie was about and then he asked the ushers to take up the offering. After that, he came back out, told everyone about next week’s movie, “Walk The Line” and invited everyone to come back and dismissed everyone.
When I got home that Sunday, I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. MIND BLOWN!!!!!!!! I told my parents what I saw, and they didn’t believe it either. I returned the next week and as I walked in the “auditorium,” I ran into someone I knew. It was my librarian from middle school. She said hello and welcomed me to First. She told me that she served on their production crew. Back Story: I used to be apart of my former church’s youth and children’s media teams, so I knew where she was coming from. She invited me to sit in the booth with her while the service happened. She was calling all the shots for the entire crew through a headset. When the service was over, I met First’s (Former) Production Director, Graig Clinton (One of the coolest guys I know) and we talked for a bit and he said that I could get involved with their production team if I wanted to.
After attending First twice, I really grew to love the environment that it gave off. The kind people, the music wasn’t bad at all, and the friendly atmosphere just won me over. I came back a couple more times and decided then, this is my new church home. I immediately got involved with the church and really grew to love it to this day.
God sometimes puts things in our path for the better. I think he knew I would one day grow to love First and I always have and always will. I figured out that First isn’t just a concert. It’s a movement. A movement of bringing those who are unchurched closer to God.
At The Movies 2012
Be here for “At The Movies.” I strongly encourage everybody to attend. It’s a month that you really don’t want to miss out on.
Where: First Baptist Church Hattiesburg (4142 Lincoln Road, Hattiesburg, MS 39402)
When: Saturdays @ 7:00pm and Sundays @ 9:30 & 11:00am through out July
Who: Everyone is invited!!!
What: Every week, we will be exploring biblical truths some of your favorite movies.
Which: (In order listed below)
DO NOT MISS THIS!!!!!!
At The Movies is back!
Guess what?? At The Movies is back at First! During this series will be exploring biblical truths through some of your favorite and popular movies through out the month of July. We have 5 different movies that will be shown every weekend. Pastor Jeff Clark announced this past weekend that the first movie that will be shown is “The Help” and it’s gonna be amazing.
This is something that you DO NOT want to miss!!!
Come join us at First Hattiesburg on June 30 @ 7:00pm or July 1 @ 9:30 or 11:00am and listen to what God has to say through The Help. Hope to see ya there!
S.N.O.W. (Student Night of Worship) was a complete success. 4 of people were baptized, 11 people gave their lives to Christ, and we raised over $5000 for “Nets for Haiti.” I absolutely loved being apart of this night. After weeks of nothing but hard work and dedication, Student Night of Worship came to be.
My view of the service from front of house (Edited by Instagram)
Order of Service:
- Pre-Service - Music/Scripture on Screens
- Welcome - Byron
- Nets for Haiti Video
- Nets for Haiti Video Explanation - Seth
- Light Bumper Video
- Scripture Reading Video - Genesis 1:2-5
Worship Set 1
- Beautiful Day - Lead by Daniel H. - U2 Arrangement
- Rise and Sing - Lead by Daniel H. - Steve Fee (“Hope Rising”) Arrangement
- We Are The Free - Lead by Kelsey - Matt Redman Arrangement
- Scripture Reading Video - John 1:1-5
- Scripture Reading Video - John 3:16-21
- Response Time - Byron
Worship Set 2
- Our God Is Love - Lead by Josh - Hillsong Arrangement
- Beautiful Things - Lead by Kelsey & Daniel H. - Gungor Arrangement
- The Highest - Lead by Josh - Elevation Worship Arrangement
- Scripture Reading Video - Matthew 5:14-16
- Closing - Seth
- We Are - Lead by Kelsey - Kari Jobe Arrangement
Here are some of the people that were apart of S.N.O.W.
Host: Byron Malone
Youth Minister: Seth Conerly
Cello: Lindsey Lewis
Drums: Paul Tynes
Lead Electric Guitar: Ethan Manning
Rhythm Electric Guitar: Daniel Williamson
Worship Leader/Acoustic Guitar: Daniel Herrington
Worship Leader/Bass Guitar: Josh Rosonet
Worship Leader/Keys: Kelsey Walsh
F.O.H. (Audio): Jared Watkins
Graphics 1: Beth Scharwath
Graphics 2: Laila Younes
Lighting: Pate Thaggard
Monitor World: Luke McCoy
Producer: Graig Clinton
Production Room Audio: Justin Nunez
Rover Camera: Matthew Gaddy
Stage Manager: Dwight Kendall
Stationary Camera: Isaiah Williams
Stationary Camera: Nikki Jackson
Stationary Camera: Terrod Jackson
Video Director: Chuck McRaney
Night of Worship
Night of Worship is almost here! Be here this Wednesday night at 6:30 pm for an incredible time of worship - invite your friends to be here too!
We will have free food beginning at 5:30 pm in the cafe.
We will also be taking up an offering for Nets for Haiti during the Night of Worship.
Student Night of Worship
On Wednesday, March 21, we will be having our Student Night of Worship for ALL youth and college students at First Hattiesburg. It will be a night of worship, baptism, of course, God’s Word. We expect over 400 youth and college students will be in attendance at this night of worship, and we want you to be apart of that 400 and maybe even more than that. Worship will be led by THE Encounter Band, plus a few extra musicians. Plus we will be baptizing some folks on this night as well during the service. We will be serving food (Hot dogs, pizza, etc.) at 5:30pm in our student building cafe. At 6:30pm, we will be opening the doors to our main auditorium, where it will be held. So come, hang out in the cafe, and bring a friend or two. You ABSOLUTELY DON’T want to miss it!!!
Don’t Be Stupid
The graphic pretty much sums up this blog post. This past Wednesday, our new youth minister, the amazing Seth Conerly, spoke to both our youth college ministries in one night. Both our youth and college ministries have been going through this sermon series called “Light.” This past week, Seth talked about “Carrying the Light.” He discussed the choices the that we make in life can ultimately affect our everyday life. Byron (Our Family Minister) talked about choices the other week, but when Seth described it, it really hit me up side the head. Seth was mainly talking about certain choices. More along the lines of “giving in to peer pressure” choices. He emphasized the phrase, “Don’t Be Stupid.”
Don’t be stupid. Words to live by in my opinion. Say for instance, you’re at a party and a very good friend of yours offers an alcoholic beverage. What do you do? Don’t be stupid! Another example, your at a restaurant and a friend has been drinking and wants to leave and he or she was supposed to be your ride home. What do you do? Don’t be stupid!! You could basically imagine the rest.
It’s true, we make choices every day. From what we eat for breakfast every morning, to whether we decide to do our homework at the end of the day. Those major choices are the ones that have the biggest affect on our lives.
Seth also talked about how we can abuse the things that God has given to us that we are supposed to use for His glory. For instance, the ability of speech. We have stretched our words and turned them into lies. Another one is that God gave us life, and we end innocent lives through murder. Even though we are born with this curse called “sin,” we still need to be followers of Christ.
Of course, we strived to be more like Christ. Obviously, we are just human. We are nothing but sin. But we are still God’s children, and we are to follow in His example.