Jars of wonderful.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God & not to us.” {2 Corinthians 4:7}

Archive for the category “Exciting!”

Gospel Summit

Last Thursday and Friday (yes, in the middle of final exams…our church is just way more fun than school), Bradley and I attended The Gospel Summit.

Our church put on a conference for church leaders about how to let the Gospel permeate every ministry, every heart, and the church as a whole.

It was warm outside.

PTL for AC.

I learned a lot about college ministry, being a wife, church planting, church organization, and the weighty role of a pastor.

I came away from the conference edified, blessed, and challenged–about my future and about my present.

Here are some of my notes from the talks I went to:

THURSDAY

Our pastor opened the conference:

“Marks of a Gospel-Centered Church”

  • The mission of the church–> (Acts 1:8) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
  • We are witnesses.
  • When people stand in awe of God’s grace to them, this is what happens:
    • Evangelistic Effectives AND Doctrinal Depth
    • The Presence of God
    • Fervent, Faith-filled [believing] Prayer
    • Empowered Members
    • Extravagant Generosity–“Generosity is the best apologetic for the veracity of the Gospel.”

First Breakout Session:

“College Ministry: Turning Atheists into Church Planters”

  •  Pursue them on their turf–then they see that Christianity is not something you turn on & turn off.
  • Community of believers is one of your most powerful evangelistic tools.
  • Once a Christian, bring them along in ministry immediately.
  • Disciple them.

Extremely convicting and motivating for me as a college student.  Am I seeking lost people?

Tony Merida, Pastor of Imago Dei Church

“Christ-Centered Preaching”


  • Make the hero of the Bible (Jesus) the hero of your message.
  • Satan is not concerned with moralism, he just doesn’t want us to preach Jesus.
  • [Your preaching must be] Wider; deeper; more responsible.
  • People may say that hearing about the Cross every week will get old–I say, does hearing your wife say she loves you ever get old?
  • Proclaim the facts: Jesus rose; He is alive; the tomb is empty; the throne is occupied.
  • Preach Christ until you die, and then worship Him forever.

FRIDAY

Second Breakout Session:

Veronica Greear & Jen Thompson

“For Pastor’s Wives: Balancing Family & Ministry”

These cute signs were one every table 🙂

  • When you say ‘yes’ to something, you are saying ‘no’ to something else.
  • There should be white space in your calendar–you need margin.
  • Have wise, godly council to talk about your marriage.
  • You will never regret honoring and choosing your husband.
  • Until your children are saved, you have pagans living in your home. Your primary ministry is in your home.
  • Figure out what your husband wants, and do it well.
  • Make ministry fun for your family.

Third Breakout Session:

Tony Merida & Nathan Akin

“The Nuts & Bolts of How to Plant a Gospel-Centered Church”

  • Plant with a team
  • Invest in the core team
  • Set clear expectations for potential members
  • Plant the church you’ve always wanted to go to
  • Don’t give leadership away too quickly
  • Start small groups soon and invest in small group leaders
  • Teach your people to be missionaries
  • Expect support from unlikely partners
  • Lead from the pulpit
  • Be sensitive to the unchurched
  • Don’t be surprised when people leave

JD Greear

“Creating a Sending Culture in Your Church”

  •  God builds the church.
  • The Great Commission is not a calling for some but a mandate for all.
  • The church is not an audience but an army.
  • The best pastors are those who build up other leaders.
  • Be courageous on God’s grace.
  • Once a Christian is soaked from the blood of Jesus & the stench of Hell is in his nostrils, you don’t need to preach evangelism.
  • Rest on God’s great compassion for His church. It is bigger than you, it didn’t start with you, and it will not end with you.
  • Focus more on what Jesus has done for you and less on what you are to do for Him.

Needless to say, I walked away more worshipful of Jesus and more charged to make Him known.

After the conclusion of the conference Bradley and I hung out with a couple we hope to emulate.  What a blessing to spend time with older, wiser council to help us see how we can see Jesus as bigger and thus surrender more and more of us for His mission.

I am anxious to see how God will love, challenge, test, and use us this summer, throughout the duration of our time as college students, and for the rest of our lives.

Jesus, You are on the throne.  All the universe pants for You.  You allow me to join in Your deserved praise.

You are worth it all.  You are better.

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Wonderful Wednesday.

I GET TO GO HOME TODAY!!!!!

After my last class today that dismisses at 2:45, Bradley and I are headed home for Easter!  I miss my family so much.  It feels like we’re going on a vacation every time we pack up the car and head down I-40 East.

More on the wonderful-ness of this week, posted on Wednesday!

Wonderful Song:
Ben Rector, “Loving You is Easy”
Such a cute song, and then someone from the audience gave him the subject of “cats” on which to improv for the third verse.  Just watch.
Wonderful Scripture: 
Revelation 21:1-8

Wonderful Friend: 
I have a new roommate, Rebekah! We are both very thankful she is now living with me : ) I found this sweet note on my desk on Tuesday, the afternoon of the day she moved in:

Wonderful Picture:
I found honeysuckles on campus last Thursday and enjoyed a snack:

Wonderful Pin:

but for real…I would not stop talking.

Wonderful Food:
Monday afternoon I walked to Cup-a-Jo to work and enjoyed black coffee, hummus on a wheat bagel (why hasn’t this been a part of my life until now?), and silly conversation with the stranger that sat at the table with me.

Bradley/City Project

READ THIS.
This is my sweet boyfriend. He is indeed sweet, but he is also fervently passionate, wonderfully patient (especially with me), and absolutely sinful–but the best thing about him is that Jesus gave up His righteousness for Bradley.  All Brad did was become aware of it and desire it.
The Lord has, in the past 9 months, taken Brad’s life, plans, and mindset, and turned it on its head (and is doing the same thing in me currently).  Watching God move in him has been one of the most humbling things I’ve experienced, and has made me worship Jesus vastly more than I did before this happened.  How the Lord will use Brad’s career is unknown.  Thankfully, he is an example to me of how to relinquish control in this area of life–read: I love to control my life.  
Brad, while he has much to grow in and learn and refine, has been given passions and skills that align with pastoral ministry.  He is seeking counsel and discipleship from older and wiser pastors and laymen that speak truth and wisdom into his life.  He did not experience an epiphany-like “calling” from the Lord to enter ministry, but instead his heart has been, and is, rejoicing at his own salvation and breaking for those who do not know the One for whom they were created.  Jesus is constantly tearing at Brad’s and my notions of what ministry is and how that will play out in our lives.  Brad is zealous for the hearts and lives of college students and loves big cities–where a lot of young people congregate.  He is taking steps to prepare to be a part of a church plant/plant a church and be a college pastor/pastor.
I first ask that you be praying for him–that Jesus would continually become bigger to him so that his humility would increase and his sin would become more and more distasteful.  Pray that the extent of his trust in Jesus and his hatred of sin would increase in light of the grace lavished on him by the Gospel.
Secondly, he is going to be spending his summer participating in a discipleship program for college students, The City Project, through our church, The Summit. He will ministering to Muslims (mostly) in Queens, NY, living in downtown Durham, NC, being discipled by pastors, ministering to Durham locals, doing two internships (one in the church, one with a nonprofit organization–both currently unknown), taking a seminary class, and carrying the message and mission of Jesus to Taiwan.
Participating in any one of these opportunities would be wonderful, but to be able to get a taste of multiple types of ministry in one summer, especially for a man who is seeking full-time ministry, is a phenomenal blessing.
In order to participate in The City Project, Brad needs to raise $4,500 by the end of May.  That is a lot of money.  But 5 dollars, 25 dollars, 100 dollars goes a long way, even just emotionally.  If you would like to financially support him, simply write a check, addressed to The Summit Church, and send it to the church office:
The Summit Church
2335-114 Presidential Dr.
Durham, NC 27703
Also make sure you write in the subject line:  City Project: Brad Johnson
He would also love to talk to you more about it.  If you’re interested, you can email him at: bdjohns6@ncsu.edu
Or you and I can chat! Email me at: kjwilliford@gmail.com
Prayer is most powerful tool we possess.  I am believing God on behalf of Brad’s support-raising process.

Sunshine Blog Award!

NanaDoll nominated me for the Sunshine Award!  I don’t know anything about blog awards, but here are the rules:

      • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog
      • Answer 10 questions about yourself
      • Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers
      • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated
      • Share the love and link the person who nominated you!
I am extremely flattered that she nominated me–thank you so much!  Check out her precious blog: http://momtoldmetowriteabook.wordpress.com/ 
So let’s get to it:
  1. The more godly I become, the more I realize how wickedly sinful I am.
  2. Next year I am going to live with the three sweetest girls I know: Laura, Morgan and Haley (the twins!).
  3. This past summer, through The City Project, a discipleship summer program through The Summit Church, I had not other choice but to was awakened to the magnitude and intimacy of the Gospel–and how that changes the way I live, serve, and think about Jesus.
  4. Last summer I learned the vitality of being willing to “go” missionally, and now I am learning the vitality of being willing to give missionally.
  5. I decided last semester that I want to serve Jesus with a career as a biblical counselor.
  6. Bradley and I met freshman year of high school, started dating December 19th of our junior year of until this past August, we broke up, and he started courting me for marriage on November 11th–redemption is a recurring theme in our hearts, lives, and relationship.
  7. Bradley and I, once we are married, want to plant a church, go to seminary, and adopt.
  8. Coffee dates do wonders for relationships.
  9. I love healthy food–I just eat a lot of it.
  10. I am a horrendous singer, yet both of my parents have beautiful voices.
Fabulous bloggers you should know:

Fun Friday!

Yesterday was so fun!! It was MUCH prettier outside than it is right now…

Morgan, Haley, 3mma (not a misspelling), Christian (Bradley’s roommate), and I all went to a farm that’s down the street from M & H’s house!  The farm is owned by NC State and it’s open to the public once a year.

Driving up to the farm, we immediately saw cows!
Walking up to the farm…we are the only people here who are neither under the age of ten nor parents.
The girls.
We (the girls) LOVED this bright red barn door. Perfect for pictures…Thanks Christian.
First thing I saw when we entered: a turkey.
Then we headed straight for the baby chicks!
3mma holding it! There’s a (sort of) picture of Christian!
It was so tiny!
Probably my favorite picture of the day…just look at that poor chick with its feet in the air. I was dying.
There was a gorgeous, friendly horse.
And cute little girls trying to reach him.

Beef Cattle.
No, I’m serious.  Good thing I don’t eat red meat.
There were some cows off in the distance…
And this Chick-fil-a cow was staring them down hard.
Then he turned around and said hey to the kids.

The pigs were so awkward.
And they’re names weren’t a joke.
Actually, this might be my favorite picture–because of the ridiculous child leash, of course.
There was a one-month-old goat. Cutest thing ever.
Bradley’s favorite animal is a goat, and the baby goat tried to kiss me on the cheek…watch out.
Sweet Morg & me.
NC State produces their own Howling Cow ice cream. They were handing it out for FREE.
Silliness in the back seat.
Sad to leave 😦 …and we can thank the disgusting pollen everywhere for the dirty windshield and funny-looking picture.
After the farm, I went to lunch with a friend–a three-hour lunch. Those are the best.
This is what I found on my desk:
I have the sweetest friends.
The twins and I went to Whole Foods for dinner, yay!
I always get way too much food. This is what I took home:
Did you do something fun yesterday?

Sweet Surprises :)

Happy Chocolate Covered Raisins Day (yesterday)!

Here ya go, Mommie!

I mailed these items to my mom a few days ago in hopes that she would receive her chocolate covered raisins in time to celebrate this momumental holiday!

She did : ) And she sent me this picture:

Is she not the cutest?!

That woman loves chocolate covered raisins. I love that woman.

Dorm Life

Living in a dorm, as we all know, has its drawbacks, but it really can be a wonderful place to temporarily reside.  Case in point: NC State University.

Sitting on trash cans with the twins…

this re-enactment is WAY cuter than the original.

Discovering sweet, surprising notes from precious suitemates : )

After M borrowed my hair dryer

Discovering sweet, surprising notes from precious Bradley : )

And oatmeal, no less…he’s good.

Eating Oatmeal.

Heaven on earth.

Eating Junior Mints from my Educational Psychology professor for perfect attendance.

Oh happy day.

…I promise I do more than eat.

Being reminded…

I made this for Bradley for Christmas!

Returning to school after Christmas break to find Lean Pockets literally frozen over…

Oh, Laura.

Playing Mario Cart in Bradley and Christian’s room.

Reading good books.

Figuring out how to use cheap vacuums (speaking of cheap vacuums…)

Studying/struggling to apply Jesus’ Word.

Finishing journals.

Discovering just how disgusting the water is…

Lord knows what those black things are…PTL for my Brita.

Losing toenails…

Still looking for that thing, Laura.

Making/receiving Valentines!

all 36!

When did conversation hearts become so hip, self-centered, and aggressive?

Early morning runs.

emphasis on the "run"--not on the "early".

Intense studying.

except when the font on our self-made study guides is too small to read...

Not pictured:  So. Much. Laughter. It’s great. Small group meetings (by far my favorite thing about my dorm room), March Madness, movie nights, letting my artistic suitemates do whatever they want with my hair (& loving it), actually studying, dancing (& lots of it), delirium, sleepovers, light-hearted conversations, deep discussions, agreements and disagreements, encouragement, tears, hurt, forgiveness and grace.

Grateful for the place God has me. He is in all and through all—I pray I continually let Him into all corners.

I am excited about NOT living in a dorm next year, however, to live with these three wonderfully fun, humbly gifted, absolutely beautiful girls who love Jesus:

taken yesterday : )

Spring Break Photo Recap!

Here’s a photo recap of my Spring Break:

I went home this week for a wonderful time at home.

Organizing my parents’ mail, and found my dad’s copy of the Carolina Alumni Review…sporting his favorite phrase 🙂

I drove Bradley to Whiteville to meet a friend and his dad to drive him to Durham, where he spent Thursday – Sunday doing inner-city ministry and learning from incredibly wise people. I can’t wait to read his notes!

He didn’t want to leave Gertie, his dog/first love.

She didn’t want him to leave either…

Unrestricted, unhurried time with Jesus.

One of my favorite things about coming home. Good food.

I also took Allie on a walk everyday. I called it Project: Make the Dog Not Fat.

Not pictured: Coffee dates and car rides with girlfriends.  It is so cool to see how Christ is using each of our situations to draw us further into Himself and to grow our heart for His Gospel and His mission. I am so thankful for our church in RDU, and the implications of being told again and again of our need for Jesus.

Mostly not pictured: Lots of time with my parents, grandparents, Trey and Ashley. The difficulty of loving when it is hard. (When is it easy?) And my humbled heart.

Peeing on the Playground.

Being a NC Teaching Fellow, fulfilling my requirements includes having ten hours (it is always, and should be, more) of field experience every semester.  Field experience can be observing/volunteering in a classroom, tutoring, or working with outside-of-school academic programs.  I much prefer time in a classroom–it has shown me, in an unique manner, the realities of school, teachers’ responsibilities, administrators, teaching strategies, students’ struggles, and adults’ efforts to alleviate issues.

On Monday and Tuesday I visited a Kindergarten classroom at a local school.

In this particular classroom, there was a student that had entered Kindergarten just the week prior–he was an Honduras native and an ESL student. *William had moved to America with his mother several ago.

Fortunately I have had awesome Spanish teachers in elementary school through high school, and so I was able to communicate with William-read: I know some vocab words and know how to loosely form simple sentences/phrases.  Fortunately, between me working closely with him and the luxury of having an ESL classmate who is bilingual in Spanish and English, William was able to complete most of his work.

Like any six-year-old, he loves running around on a playground. So going to “el parque” was the most exciting part of the day for William.  On Monday, as the students were walking in a single-file line (I was walking with him and holding his hand…I’m a sucker), as soon as he saw the playground, he began pointing and yelling to me that he was going to go “…en el parque! En el parque, mizz Kayla!”  

I could have died. His sweet face lit up as he squeezed my hand tighter.

The next day, as we were walking to the playground again, as soon as the slides and swings were in sight, he started shouting about “el parque” again.  But this time he let go of my hand and bolted ahead toward the rock wall–yes, rock wall. Since when do public school playgrounds get rock walls? I was gypped.

As soon as I thanked the Door Holder for holding the gate door for me, the teacher’s assistant rushed over to me to “stop William!” Apparently, before he could reach the rock wall, William’s bladder failed him and he relieved himself…not in his pants.

Fortunately, by the time he was in my sight he was fastening his belt.  I explained to him as best I could that “el parque no es el baño”, and that if he ever has to use the bathroom, he must go “en la escuela.” I then asked the bilingual student to make sure William knew that he could never use the bathroom outside, but must always use the restroom in the classroom.   When William understood, I was asked to take him back to the classroom to tell his teacher what had happened.

On our long walk back to the classroom, I asked William again if he understood why we had to leave the playground.  He did, and he replied “lo siento, mizz Kayla.”  My heart broke as I assured him it would be okay and that no one was angry with him

His teacher handled the situation and showed William where the bathroom was…she will be working with him on closing the door when he uses “el bano.”

I couldn’t help but think about this in a spiritual context. I like analogies, I’m sorry.

How many times does this happen in the church? In Christian homes? Where a child or a new believer is so excited about their salvation and Jesus’ work…the “basic” aspects of Christianity, and we shoot them down by telling them (or thinking) they are young and naive.  We see them as spiritually inferior.

They get so thrilled they pee in their pants and we embarrass them and tell them to stop, when they simply naturally responded to how awesome Jesus is.

I want my kids to pee in their pants when I tell them the Gospel story.

I hope I never stifle my children’s joy over what Jesus has done for them. I pray I am humbled by their love for the Lord.  May God grow a child-like love for Him in my heart.

Little Ones: HJ & Norah

I get to spend my Sunday evenings with, hands down, the cutest 2-year-old little girls on the planet.

These girls love [my] purses, scarves, and sunglasses, they will laugh forever, & they love their mommies. We have a lot in common 🙂

Hattie Jo and Norah are the daughters of two of the families that are moving to Greensboro, NC to plant Mercy Hill Church.

Mercy Hill has a team of singles, couples, and families who have tasted and seen the necessity and sufficiency of Jesus’ work in their own lives, and desire it for other people. So in response to this Gospel and by the Spirit’s leading, the Mercy Hill team will be moving to Greensboro this spring. Yay/Boo.

Bradley and I have been blessed by Jeremy and Julianne Dager.

Jeremy disciples Bradley, Bradley and I get free wisdom and meals, and I get to enjoy their precious little girl. This is not a give-and-take relationship.

Andrew Hopper will be the lead pastor at Mercy Hill, and will be serving alongside his wife Anna and their two little ones, Hattie Jo and AP (he hangs out with Mommy on Sunday nights…two 2-year-olds can be plenty).

I can’t believe I get paid money to hang out with these two sets of chubby cheeks every week.

These girls are smart, apologetic, tender-hearted, and are by far the best huggers I’ve ever seen. My prayer for them is that the Lord would be faithful to them through their parents and church to preach the sufficiency of Jesus and the work He has prepared for us–that it would seep into the deepest corners of their hearts and lives. Pray with me for the Mercy Hill team–that they are in awe of and a part of the spread of the Gospel among the city of Greensboro, and their worship and adoration of our Risen King would be multiplied.

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