Hello World. We are back with another Set Apart Feature. Sarah is one of my dear friends whom I met a few years ago when we did Bethel Worship School together in Redding, California. She is one of the most encouraging and sweetest people you will ever meet. So, let’s jump in and get started.
What does the phrase set apart mean to you?
When I hear the phrase, “set apart”, I think of making a difference. The verse Romans 12:2 comes to mind: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” It’s standing out and not being like “the rest”. Set apart is being unique and that there’s something special about you that others notice that aren’t particularly in most people they meet. Then when people ask why is it that I’m so different, or so nice, or etc. I tell them it’s because of Jesus! 🙂 (cheesy I know, but true! lol)
How would you say you try to live a life that is set apart?
They say the Christian life isn’t easy, and it ain’t. There are tough times and challenges along with obstacles that come your way, especially spiritually. I have major accountability with a select number of friends who I can trust everything and anything about me. I confide in women of God who hold me accountable in my spiritual walk with God. I allow them to pray over me, ask me any question, discern me, etc. So I would say accountability is key in helping me live a life that is set apart.
Another thing I LOVE doing is worship. I taught myself how to play the guitar a few years ago on youtube when I moved out on my own. I think any musician would agree that if you know at least 4 chords (which is all I literally know-C G E D), then you can play pretty much any Christian worship song. I can play and sing like 20+ Christian worship songs with those 4 chords! lol. I truly believe God has blessed me with a voice that yearns to sing and praise Him almost all the time. I constantly listen to worship music daily on my hour long commute to work in the mornings too.
I sometimes will pray aloud as well (although I really should be doing this daily) in the morning. There’s something about praying aloud that makes your prayer feel so affirmative. There is so much power and authority in it! But don’t take my word for it, try it out yourself!!! 😉 I never really prayed aloud on my own daily until I started this discipleship program called OSL (Operation Solid Lives). I do have to give a lot of credit to OSL because it has literally changed my spiritual life for the BETTER. TRUST. It sounded like a cult to me, but honestly, it’s so demanding yet good in every boot camp type of Christian way! If it weren’t for my teacher friend who persisted in asking me to take OSL literally everyday, then I’m pretty sure my life would be stagnant especially in my walk with God. You can check them out online; it’s all free and really intense. You’re limited to like 2 hours of social media every week. The program goes form 4-6 weeks long. You have to listen to 3 sermons and take notes every week, be a part of ministry, etc. Just to give you an idea of what it all entails.
READING the Word. It’s easier said than done. I had a friend who asked me to keep her accountable in our daily reading by posting the verses we found resonating within us everyday. We used FB messenger which is great because you don’t have to waste photos and such. So we would both read for the day, highlight/take notes in our Bibles, take a picture of it when done and send it to each other to keep each other accountable. I want to say we kept it up for a year! I’m a day behind in my daily reading at the moment, but definitely never want to make it longer than that!!
Going to church weekly, being active in ministry. We are called to serve and not just be bench warmers. We’ve all heard it before!! I look forward to coming to my home church now every Sunday! I’m a part of the worship and hospitality team and love being in it!! (Disclaimer: I grew up as a pastor’s kid so being in ministry is innate in me!) Colossians 3:23. I never try to skip church because “I’m not feeling it” or “I’m tired”. I make the effort to come!!! I also attend our mid week MC’s (missional communities) where a group of us from church will meet at a house, share a meal, and talk about the Word, or share a person’s testimony. It’s awesome and I absolutely love it. It took me about a year or so to find my HOME church after leaving a church I was a part of for 13 years!!! It’s not just a church though, it’s a body of believers who LOVE God and are the most genuine and sincere people I may have ever met. Growing up in the church, I was used to it being so corporate, almost like a job where you check in, get your worship on, listen to a quick pep talk on the Word and then bounce, going back to your daily life. It’s so much MORE than that to me now!! It’s a community of people who love God just as much as you do and want to spread it all around, especially to those who don’t know about Him! You’re doing LIFE with these people now. You start to hangout with them OUTside of church. So if you’re in that weird stage of finding a home church, PRAY and have FAITH. Because that’s exactly what I did, and God brought me where I needed to be. 🙂
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am single and about to turn 30 next month!! haha I am a kindergarten teacher and have been teaching for 7 years now. Glory to God! I love to worship!!! (Singing and playing the guitar) I LOVE just hanging out with people and spending time with them. As you get older, you start to realize it’s not what you’re doing, it’s who you’re with!! I could be doing simple errands like going to Target with my closest friends and I am perfectly happy with it. 🙂 I LOVE dogs and recently cats too. I love everything about the beach, but I also have the same love for the mountains too! I have been to 4/7 continents. So I love to travel. I love tacos, ramen, sushi, coffee and acaia bowls, but not at the same time. lol. I have skydived. I used to play tennis, but would love to play it more often; just can’t find anyone who can play! lol. I feel like I’m running out of things to say…:p
You live in sunny Southern California, what are some of your favorite places to go that you would bring anyone visiting for the first time?
Sunset Beach. bonfires. DTLA (SO much to do here!) little Tokyo. LACMA. MOCA. Santee Alley. Urtth Cafe. The Nest-cute breakfast joint. Bakers & Barista-hip coffee place w/yummy treats. Portos and Tropicana-cuban goodies!! Downtown Disney/Disneyland/CA Adventures. Universal City Walk.
What is your favorite thing to do on your free time?
Honestly? SLEEP!!!! I feel like I never get enough of it!! haha I love spending time with friends too and just hanging out. Love to worship on my own too on my free time! 😉
You are a teacher, what is your favorite part about teaching?
My favorite part about teaching is seeing the kids’ faces light up when they finally figured something out!! I love how the little ones (K-2) are so eager to learn and keep telling you how much they LOVE school! They’re very easy to please and so fun to be around. They make me feel young again!! I think it’s an absolute honor to be entrusted with 22-25 little ones each year. It’s a true privilege! I make an effort to pray over them too aloud from time to time, praying God would use me as a vessel and that I can hopefully put a little bit of Jesus in them! 😉
If you could have a life bible verse what would it be and why?
My life Bible verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks,”. It’s so simple and a daily reminder for me to ALWAYS be full of joy, ALWAYS be in prayer, and ALWAYS giving THANKS. I try my best to smile at everyone I see, actually pray for friends right then and there (whether in person, via text or call) when they ask for prayer, and thanking God for what He’s blessed me with so far. I try to constantly look at the glass half full and count my blessings!!!
If there is one thing you could tell your teenage self what would it be?
Start on your passions/dreams NOW. (ie. dance, playing the guitar, etc.)
When did God become real for you?
God became real for me when I felt the Holy Spirit at age 13! I was at a youth retreat/camp and I remember I felt that I was speaking in tongues. (I grew up Assemblies of God, so my parents did this daily.) I was also baptized at this same youth camp and felt like I truly understood what I did and why I did it. I knew at 13 that I made a choice to be set apart. I also had some amazing HS youth leaders growing up who challenged us to make a difference on our campuses everyday. We were all challenged to change at least ONE person’s life in our high school lifetime (the 4 years from 9th-12th grade) before we graduated. I can proudly say that because of Jesus I was able to do this!! I was SO on fire for God during my HS days and I just simply invited one of my best friends to my church. He wasn’t a Christian and was more of a non-practiced catholic. He came to our winter retreat and God totally did the rest! My friend gave his life to the Lord at that youth convention. To this day we still call each other best friends and He still loves God with all of his heart.
What has God been teaching you lately?
I feel like God has been teaching me patience and diligence. Patience in waiting to get married, having kids, etc. Patience with my hour plus long commutes to work and back home. Patience in dealing with some difficult people in public, etc. Diligence in not giving up my faith. Diligence in having endurance, perseverance and motivation. Also self-control in temptations!!
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be and why?
Wow. What a question! If I could change one thing in the world, I would change our people. I feel like people these days are so selfish and concerned about their own well-being. If we all changed and had a selfLESS attitude in serving for OTHERS, our world would be a completely different place. We would have people loving each other and we know that love wins over anything! Love wins over political leadership/issues, violence, evil, etc.
I couldn’t not ask this because we met at Bethel worship school in Redding, CA, if you had to choose what are your top 3 favorite bethel worship songs?
haha Now or back then??? I would say right now it would be:
- Pieces-Steffany Gretzinger 2. Come to Me-Jenn Johnson 3. Ever Be-Kalley Heiligenthal
I know when you went to Bethel you had gotten that picture that was prophetically painted, do you mind sharing that story?
Oh man! That’s quite the story! Every time I look at that painting I am reminded of it!! I think of the song Dance With Me by Jesus Culture. There were many sessions that were offered during BSW (Bethel School of Worship). I can’t even remember the title of the class I took but I know it was some sort of dance class. I was really intrigued by it! So I took this dance class and the instructor tried to pair us up with boy/girl. So of course, I am paired up with this cute guy (so I can’t even concentrate/focus since I’m so nervous!) It was definitely the coolest and most memorable experiences ever though. She asked the guys to portray they were Jesus as us girls were told to sit and close our eyes, being moved by the worship music playing and literally the Holy Spirit (sounds hippie/new agey, I know! lol). She would verbally tell the guys what to do step by step. First my partner (the cute guy) would walk slowly around me then start to hold my hands and pick me up from the ground; we would then be swaying/dancing to the music being played as the guys would lead. The dance instructor kept saying to be moved by the Holy Spirit! It was definitely weird, new, uncomfortable, strange, yet beautiful and wonderful all at the same time! Seriously, I felt like I WAS dancing with Jesus. That in that very moment, I was a little girl/His princess, dancing around the room (my eyes are still closed) with my Dad (aka Jesus). I felt beautiful, graceful and loved during this time. I probably sound crazy but I know what I felt!!! It was incredible and amazing. I thanked my partner at the end and that was it! I tried to email him after BSW, but no such luck! haha It was a passing moment in my life but one that I’ll never forget thanks to the “cute guy”. The very NEXT day during chapel, there were prophetic painters at the stage along with dancers during worship. This one painting caught my eye and I KNEW I just had to have it! It was a painting with the sunset in the background and a black silhouette of a man twirling a girl around-they were DANCING! When I saw that painting, I immediately knew that girl represented me, and the man represented Jesus!!! So of course, I had to buy that painting and it’s now hanging on my bedroom wall. 🙂
So, I know you love to worship, sing and play guitar, what advice would you give to someone that was just starting out and had a heart to be a worship leader?
I would tell that person to NEVER GIVE UP. When I taught myself how to play guitar off of youtube, I was DETERMINED. I had a voice, but now I wanted the instrument to play with and go along with!!! I made sure to set aside time daily in learning how to play the guitar. I picked two worship songs I was familiar with and LOVED singing: How He Loves and One Thing Remains. I would continue to practice playing these two songs everyday until I could play it with my eyes closed and sing it! After I was able to master those two songs, I started to play around and pick other worship songs that I knew by heart! Then it just went on from there.
Another thing I would say is HUMILITY. Once again Colossians 3:23 pulls up! I wanted SO badly to be the worship leader at my last church and never got it. Why? Because I was concerned about having that mini “stardom” of being onstage. I knew I had an okay voice but I wanted to do more with it! I wanted to lead on my own terms, singing with they keys/capo that I could sing to, using a band, etc. I cared too much about what others thought other than what really God thought. Worship isn’t to an audience of 20+ people, it’s an audience to ONE, and that ONE is Jesus!!!! I am not the worship leader at my new church either. Do I get opportunities here and there? Yes! I have the “I’ll take what I can get” mindset and be grateful for what the good Lord has blessed me with. Yes, I would love to travel the world one day as a worship leader with my future spouse, but for now? I will worship alone in my little apartment for ALWAYS to an audience of ONE-Jesus.
Is there any last thoughts or words of encouragement you can give our readers ?
Don’t think about what God can do for you or why He hasn’t answered your prayers. Think about what can YOU do for Him? Our life is so fleeting and so short (Matthew 6:25-34). I’ve heard a preacher say that worry=sin. It’s so true! It clicked for me that day I heard it! If I’m worrying, I’m doubting what God can do. That to me is sin, because you are no longer believing what God can do and WHO He is. I know God will always have my back and He never leaves us just hanging. God doesn’t create junk! He created YOU for a purpose. Dig in to that purpose and ask Him to reveal what His will is for you. Don’t be concerned about getting married, or being successful, etc. How about being concerned with the person next to you, the driver who cut you off, the rude people you encounter with. Ask yourself how you can love on the most difficult people and go out of YOUR way to give them your above and beyond. Be selfless and sacrificial. Be loving and compassionate. Be like the IMAGE OF GOD.
Isn’t Sarah amazing? Thank you so much for sharing with us, Sarah.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more blogs soon.