About Impact

Friday, February 27, 2009

Plans Change

I was so excited to head over to Penn High School tonight to see one of our GSM students in the school's production of State Fair. However, a wonderful case of food poisoning changed that plan. I'm not really sure what caused it, but it has not been fun.

Tonight as I've been laying on the couch frustrated I couldn't make the show, and I got to thinking. I was reminded once again that my hatred for the unexpected and unknown is all about control. Yup back to the topic. Two posts in a row about control.

Daily surrender. One step at a time. Checking your focus. Time in the Word. Prayer. It all helps take me to the place of relinquishing control to God and allowing him to lead.

It's a process. It's part of the journey. I'm thankful for that.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

From the Inside Out

This has been one crazy week. Ups and downs all over the place. As I look back at it I'm completely humbled by all that God has done. I'm sensing it might be time to take another huge leap of faith in my journey. You know, one of those steps where you pick up your foot not really knowing what the ground will look like where you put it down.

I can't help but feel like God is about to do something that is going to shake up my world. That makes me very nervous. The darn unexpected. Some days I hate how nervous it makes me. After all if it is a step God is calling me to make, I'm sure he has everything covered. Why do I get so nervous about trusting him? He has NEVER let me down. That darn unknown and my love of control. It gets me every time!

We did one of my favorite songs at GSM tonight, From the Inside Out. It has been my prayer since the first time I heard it. This week is no different. All I want is for my life to be this amazing gift of praise that brings glory to God. I long for him to consume all of me. Even my fear of the unknown, my stubborn independence and need to have control.

I've failed WAY more than a thousand times and I still don't have the whole journey figured out. But I do know that with each step I'm finding less of myself in me and more of Christ. That is all God's grace.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Answer First

We have some amazing students at GSM! Whether it is about school, future plans, relationships, Scripture or whatever I love sitting and listening to them share about their journeys. The last few weeks have included several conversations with a few girls about dating and relationships.

It has always amazed me how quickly girls fall for a guy without even getting to know him. A few weeks later her heart is broken because low and behold he wasn't who she thought he was. Duh! You never even stopped to find out who he was. And I'm not just talking about students, girls my age do this.

I'm not going to pretend like I'm an expert in this area. We all know that isn't true but I thought I would share the questions I always encourage girls to answer when they "like a boy." I'm guessing they could be just as helpful for guys. But who I am to know?

  1. What is it you like about him/her?
  2. How does he/she treat you?
  3. How do you see Jesus in him/her?
  4. Does he/she point you towards Christ?

We Need Each Other

Sometimes I wonder if God looks at me, shakes his head and just laughs a little. I try so hard to be Miss Independent. I like to think I can handle anything on my own. Past experience has proved me wrong, but that lie hid itself in the corners of my mind long ago. Occasionally it finds it way out of those corners and hits me out of no where.

A couple weeks ago I asked a mentor for some advice on how to handle a huge challenge I was facing. It was in that conversation I realized, once again, how stubborn I can be. So with the encouragement of this mentor I swallowed my pride and admitted I can't do everything on my own. I'm so glad I did.

There is something amazing that happens when you allow the supernatural power of God's love to collide with the limits of your humanity. There is so much grace in those moments of vulnerability. The risk of letting go and being real with a few close friends doesn't seem as scary anymore.

God's intention was for us to walk the journey together. Slowly, day by day, I'm learning what that looks like.

Romans 12:5b - And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Family Road Trip Photos!

Even though we faced several challenges today, we ended up having a wonderful hanging out with family. We arrived safely in Missouri and I finally got to meet my niece, Cora. She loves me!!! I got to take her on her first trip to Sonic. I was honored. Here are some pictures from the trip so far.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Take That!

Last night Ryan was giving Anna a hard time about something silly. Anna decided to take matters into her own hands and busted out her dart gun. However, that plan completely failed after the gun broke. I told her we were going to go get new dart guns to protect ourselves against the crazy boys in our family.

After church we took off to Wal-Mart to take care of business. We successfully found some pretty sweet Nerf guns that have entertained us all afternoon. Let's just say Matthew and Ryan are jealous they don't have their own to play with.

Ryan as already requested I come back this summer with my gun so we can have a little battle. I would be all about that if it weren't for the fact he has hit me in the forehead twice and the eye once. What he doesn't know is that Anna and I will be divising all sorts of greatness before then.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Today's Highlights

I asked everyone to tell me their highlight of the day. These are their answers.

Anna told us about Ryan's friend Kevin who is from the ghetto. One day Ryan called someone else a tool. Kevin's response: "A tool? You calling him a hammer? We don't use dat white folk talk in da ghetto. What's dat mean?" The was the funniest thing I've heard all day.

I don't have a highlight. Oh, everyone laughing at my jokes.
Ryan: They weren't funny.
Matthew: What jokes?

Sarah wouldn't shut up and kept singing while playing scumbucket...which should be called TOOLBUCKET. And I love my made in China vibrating back massaging thing.

I really don't know but it would definitely not be the Counting Crows song Sarah made me listen too.

Dad: My highlight was getting to drive my van.
Matthew: You didn't drive your van all day.
Dad: I know but when I did, it was the highlight.

There were so many hiliarious moments today. Several times I found myself laughing so hard I was crying. Now its time for bedtime stories with BIGJIM, AKA Ryan.

The "T" Word - Trust

Trust (verb)- to believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something; place confidence in

Over the last year I've been learning a lot about trust. It has been an incredible study and journey. I even had the opportunity to teach on trust this last fall. I've asked several people about their thoughts on trust. One of those conversations happened to be with our Director of Student Ministry, DC Curry. He said something that will always stick with me. This won't be an exact quote but it is pretty close!
"I don't use the word trust very often because I take it very seriously. If I'm going to tell someone I trust them, I've got to honestly believe for myself first. I don't know about you, Sarah, but when someone says they trust me, it does something inside me, inside my heart."
He went on to say even more about that but that phrase "it does something inside me" hit me like a slap in the face. He has said it a good number of times. Trust is a very huge thing in my world. When someone says they trust me it hits a deeper part of me.

This week I've had some conversations with my students about trust. Since the beginning of the year I've been reading and studying the Psalms. It just hit me the other day that I had forgotten how often the psalmists talk about trust. It seems to be a popular word in this stage of my life.

Really I have no clue where I'm going with this post. Consider it more of a thinking out loud post. I know there are times I need to learn to trust more. I know there are times I need to check where I'm placing my trust, in me or in God.

I would love to hear some thoughts from the few readers that are left after that last post.
When you hear the word trust does it stir up something in you too?
What have you learned about trust?

Pure Randomness

Spooky Week - If you are into superstitions, you know this week had the potential to be down right horrible. There was a full moon earlier in the week and today was Friday the 13th. The full moon seemed to have the opposite affect on my students this week. (Thank you Jesus!) And my younger students proved everything true about Friday the 13th. They were a hot mess today.

Middle School Dances - I am the worst middle school dance chaperone there is because all I can do is laugh. I almost fell off the bleachers today as I was chaperoning. That is pure entertainment my friends.

Valentine's Day - Much like St. Patrick's day, I often forget this holiday exists. But I did receive some wonderful valentines from some students and staff members, including a "cheese cake." I'll be spending the day with my parents and brother on a little road trip to see my little sisters.

Cats - I'm sure I'll lose readers due to this comment but I hate cats! 'Nuff said.

Memphis - This is where I wish I was this weekend. Some of our GSM students and leaders hopped on a bus this morning to head south for the Student Life Conference. Kristian Stanfill is leading worship and Francis Chan is teaching. The good news is I was able to catch tonight's session online. Francis Chan was incredible!!!! I wish all of you could have heard it. Did I mention the bus has WiFi?

Packing - I hate it too. I'm waiting until the last minute and packing tomorrow morning. I'll probably regret it but I'm over it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hard Day

Every once in a while you have days that just seem more hurtful than others. Overall things went very well at school. My advanced bands have been ripping it up in rehearsals. I am very proud of them. I had a great workout at the gym and a wonderful visit with Allison as we studied some magic numbers. Scattered throughout all that fun have been a couple of very hurtful situations.

As I look back at today I can't help but think that God is up to something. I don't know what it will look like or how He'll work it out. I'm confident he will and it will be far greater than I would have imagined. I absolutely love how he does that! In the moments until then I'll lean in and listen carefully to his voice.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
-- Psalm 24:7-11 --

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dear God Series - Why do you feel so distant?

We wrapped up our Dear God series at GSM this week. We kicked off the evening with an incredible arts package using media, song specials, and drama. It was so much fun!!! I've loved continuing the conversation with students at school. I was going to say more about it but DC and Jeffrey have already done a great job. Check our their sites for a great summary of the evening and all the arts elements.

I will include one of the songs we did though. Many of you know I am a John Mayer fan. Gravity is an incredible song and I loved playing it with the band.

GSM "Gravity" from Jeffrey Myers on Vimeo.

Sandwich Party!

Imagine having a table full of everything you could possibly need for a sandwich, great snacks to go with it, an endless amount of laughter AND amazing friends. It is a great picture, isn't it?! Well that is exactly what took place Friday night at my apartment. We added even more excitement by going old school and did a little puff paint decorating.

Why would we do such crazy things. Well because I LOVE sandwiches and have always thought it would be the greatest thing ever. So I grabbed some friends and we gave it a shot. It was a absolutely amazing. See for yourself!

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's Official!!!!!

Today my brother, Matthew, and sister-in-law, Nicole, went to court for the last time and officially adopted my nieces Aggie and Gwen. Their names are legally changed and we are all so thankful!!! These girls are so beautiful and incredibly hilarious. I understand there was lots of picture taking and even cookies and milk! The girls were even given the gavel used to close the case.

Gwen's response to today's court date: "Good. We don't have to come back here again." Aggie took control of the court room, climbing on the judge's lap and wearing his robe. Taylor and Logan were included in the festivities and well and seemed to be pretty excited. However, Logan is convinced that his Mom and Dad are now going to "buy" him a brother.

I plan on posting pictures when I get my hands on some but until then here is one of my favorite pictures I've taken of their family.

The Koutz Family: Matthew and Nicole
Gwendalyn Joy, Aggie Ruth, Logan Matthew, and Taylor Lynne

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Special Request: Funny Story

Most of you know that I play keys for our student ministry program almost every weekend. Some of you know Seth Bible and know that he is our worship leader. Seth has some amazing skills and is one of the most humble people I've every met. Seth has a huge fan club, including several of my students from school. Thursday I had this conversation with one of those students.

Miss Koutz: So what did you think of service last night.
Student: Actually I get a little bored when I have to be upstairs.
Miss Koutz: I understand. Do you go to the Air Force room for Journey Class?
Student: Yea.
Miss Koutz: That's cool. I was thinking of playing with their band. I thought that might be fun.
Student: It is. Hey, aren't you in THE Seth Bible band? (This was said with LOTS of enthusiasm)
Me: Umm....yes?!
Student: I thought you were. I saw you practicing with him one night. That is awesome!
Okay so I'm not really in THE Seth Bible Band. I just loved the fact the student thought I was "in a band" and the fact he thinks playing for GSM is THE Seth Bible Band.

Seth thought the story was funny. In fact it was his idea to blog about it. Hence the post title, Special Request. May be if you come up with a good blog post idea and share it with me, I'll write post just for you. Any ideas?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A little help please

I'm almost through the first week of the workout Brooke helped me create. I didn't think it is was possible for my body to ache as much as it does. I'm still alive and the ankle is holding up well, which makes me happy.

The problem is my workout playlist is in need of some new tunes. So friends help me out here. Give me some good workout tunes and I'll add them. Other than five songs I picked at random today, you get to create the entire playlist. I can't believe I'm doing this. You should feel special knowing I'm give you all this freedom. This workout bit must be making me crazy.

My Random Five:
Adding to the Noise - Switchfoot
Ain't Nothing Wrong with That - Robert Randolph & The Family Band
Bleed American - Jimmy Eat World
Count Me In - Leeland
We Won't Be Quiet - David Crowder Band

Bring on the songs!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Classroom vs Gym

I started a new workout plan today and I've concluded I need an easier plan. Wow am I out of shape! While I was praying my way through Brooke's Crazy Core Cardio Class I had the realization that the gym and my classroom aren't horribly different. There are some common threads that just show up in different ways. Let me give you some examples.

1) Comparison Game -
Classroom - When someone else is better students quit so they don't look dumb.
Gym - People do dumb stuff to make themselves look better.

2) Excuse Game
Classroom - Make the stupidest excuses ever for not doing the work.
Gym - Make the stupidest excuses ever for not doing the work.

3) "Ya feel me?"
Classroom - Do you understand what I'm trying to say Miss Koutz?
Gym - Are you in pain yet Sarah?

4) Striving to Survive
Classroom - Dodging things being thrown at you, avoiding punches thrown in a fight, keeping your hearing during a student meltdown
Gym - Not passing out, puking, crying or dying in Brooke's class

Let me make sure I make this perfectly clear. Brooke is an INCREDIBLE trainer. She is encouraging the entire time she is pushing you to your breaking point. She has helped me find an individual workout plan the works well for me. If she can motivate me to fit a workout into my schedule she can help anyone. Thinking of joining a gym or need a good workout plan, she is the one to help you out.

New Blogger

My good friend, Jason Miller, just recently rejoined the blogging world. Don't let the title of his blog fool you though. He is anything but common! He would roll his eyes if he knew I said that.

Jason is doing amazing things for the kingdom. I'm not sure what his exact title is but is probably something like "Pastor of Everything" or "I can do just about anything Pastor." Jason oversees our college-age ministry, leads worship and teaches at GCC. Check out his blog. You'll love it!