sydney australia

Post Post-Grad

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    Some posts ago I said I was finishing up grad school in less than one week, however things have changed! Now, a few blog posts later and grad school has been over for the last 3 weeks (No matter how many times I say that out loud or in my head, realizations like that make me squeel like a little girl who was just hugged by Harry Styles). 

      Given that, I’m sure everybody wants to know what my future plans are (and by everybody I mean probably just my parents, siblings, and a few relatives who have invested a lot of time, words of wisdom, prayers, money, extra bedrooms for me to crash in, and effort into any part of my educational career). Well let me tell you, my plans post post-grad go as follows:

1. Live life. 
2. Repeat step one while doing so in Sydney, Australia. 

      Yep, 12 years of grade school, 4 years of secondary eduction and a one-and-half-year post-graduate degree later the best answer I can come up with is to live life. I’m aware of the fact that my answer doesn’t sound too thorough or stable but still… Isn’t that the best answer any of us can come up with?
      The year before I graduated college I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Truth be told, that was a grand part of the reason why I decided to go to get my master’s degree. Everyone around me at the time had some sense of what they wanted, what they were good at (Maybe I missed the memo about that meeting). So I did what I usually do in situations like that, I prayed. Afterwards I sent in my application for grad school and that was that. 
      While my  time spent in school  did help me figure out more of  what I was interested in it didn’t help me figure out what exactly I could and would do. That part was all God. He helped me realize that the years I spent stuck having a one-track mind were actually limiting me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to make a general goal of where you’d like to be in x-amount of years but we can never successfully devise the actual  steps to get there (Proverbs 16:9 || Jeremiah 29:11). That part, again is all God.
      “Be open to new, to the unknown and the unexperienced”, He said. “That’s where unexpected opportunities and trust in who I Am have the best chance of thriving.” He constantly had to remind me that He knows the desires of my heart - of all of ours - the depths of my mind, and the ability of my hands. He would not have given such things to all of us us if were supposed to stay glued to one thing  for the rest of our lives. 
      So here goes nothing everything. Here is to taking time to design more stuff, starting a  business of my own, volunteering, blogging more, growing roots, listening to people’s stories, taking pride in how far we all have come, late nights followed by late mornings or early mornings preceded by early nights, helping others, sharing my love of Christ with the world, strengthening relationships, travelling, more photos, getting blown away by God’s unconditional and unending grace, new connections, roads less traveled, new customs, old traditions, family, friends, strangers, peers, co-workers, love, never stopping my education long after school has ended, unplanned moments, meticulously planned schedules,
living, imagination, faith, and excitement. 

Reblog: Creative Team Night 101

    There are many teams that act as the gears to my church but I think the one I feel the strongest towards is the creative department. That probably has something to do with the fact that work in that department but whatevs.
    Recently I came across Hillsong's blog called Hillsong Collected. Being a creative myself, when I read this post I found it inspiring and down right awesome! So awesome I thought I would share it with you guys.

Happy Readings,    
Teniola

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There’s something pretty unique about Thursday nights at Hillsong Church. It’s the night that our creative community gathers, first in Australia and then slowly as the clock moves, right across the globe. It’s one of my favourite nights of the week, and I look forward to it with great anticipation and excitement.

Our creative team has an incredible responsibility within our church to help create a picture of who God is through using the gifts and talents that we have been given. Within our church, the creative department encompasses many areas, not only worship music and singers, but spans production, TV, filmmakers, artists, writers, costumer designers, youth and kids worship teams, stage managers, designers, and regular people who choose to belong to this beautiful melding pot of people.

Often I get emails about why our team gather weekly from people outside of our context, and so I thought that I would share just a few of these reasons with you.

1. We gather to rehearse and prepare for the weekends.

It is our firm belief that God deserves our very best. We have a responsibility to lead the church in worship as best as we are able. As a result, there is a need to practice, to hone our crafts, to steward our gifts and to learn how to better work together in a team. Rehearsals allow us that opportunity. We make mistakes, modifications and then continue to rehearse until we know that what we will bring on Sunday, as people gather to seek God, is the best we are able to. Our aim is that we want to play a small part in helping people to encounter God, and by getting better hopefully people are helped by what we bring, not hindered by it. That’s what excellence is, a commitment to bringing your personal best to the table, and a commitment to ongoing improvement.

2. We gather because we love hanging out.

The truth is that our creative community actually likes each other. We find a sense of commonality in our quest to worship God with our gifts and talents. We find a commonality in our love for The Church, in our love for Jesus and in our love for the people of God. On Thursdays we are seeking to build a community that makes a big church seem smaller. That places value on each person who calls Hillsong Church their home, and that allows everyone to find a place to belong.

3. We gather to inspire each other and instil courage.

On Thursday nights we “have a go”. Sometimes we bring new songs, we try new ways of worshipping, watch our dancers let loose, or hear from artists endeavouring to capture beauty on canvas. We are inspired by pieces our writers craft, or moved by photos or music that our team is creating. Thursdays create a place where we can try things and fail, or try things and succeed, whatever way, we watch each other take steps toward becoming more and more creative. We find each other looking for words and ways to describe God differently to inspire worship and adoration from others. We want to find ways to help people see God is working amongst us and on the earth.

4. Gathering together shapes our culture.

On Thursdays we come together to worship. We are not performers on a platform, but people transformed by the love of God and living in response to this love. We listen to people within our team encourage us from the Bible and their own lives, which is causing leaders to rise up from within the ranks of our own team. We give to see the Kingdom of God advance, which is creating generous people. We serve so that others may encounter Jesus, which is allowing people to realise that life is bigger than themselves, and one of the greatest blessings in life is to give our lives away for the sake of others.

We attend master classes, coaching groups to refine our talents, unearth new gifts, and practice in preparation for what may be required of us. We laugh, we cry (some more than others), we share life and hopefully little by little become more Christ like. When we gather together we find ourselves united around a common goal, we are able to articulate why we do what we do and who we do it for.

If you ever find yourself at Hillsong Church, our creative community is open to you. Join us in Australia at our Hills, City, Southwest, Brisbane and Melbourne campuses at 7pm Thursdays. You’d be welcome!

Cass

To see the original post please click here

Got That Mad Luv.

  I have so much love for my church. I love the fact that you can come in and put a name to every face you see. I love the fact that church members have such a strong relationship with the pastors that asking them for a ride home is never considered out of the question. I love that while there are distinct areas and ministries in the church no one is ever too proud to help out or unwilling to lend a hand in an area they’ve never dealt with before. With all that said, what I love the most about my church is the commitment every single person puts into making the church what it is – it’s a commitment that is unfailing and unwavering.
    While we may not have a large building or even up to 200 people, one would think otherwise with all the love, time, and consideration put into our services. Every Sunday and even on the days between I see a work ethic that is nothing short of inspiring. You yourself cannot help but be impacted by it. Members, pastors, and volunteers make an effort to put on something that will personally touch the lives of the people who make it out each weekend.
    What I have learned over the last seven months of being here is that fame does not matter, and neither does size. I have been a part of bigger churches - churches that have their own CDs, stations, and PR team. Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely root for those churches too because I believe in spreading the gospel in any and all ways possible. However, the church I go to does not have that, they are of a modest size but one with the heart of ten giants. They believe that even if only four people show up those four people are everything.  Those four people ought to be cared for and shown that no matter who they are,  no matter where they come from or what denomination they are a part of that they matter to the church and to God. I believe that that right there is the epitome of attention to detail. It is no gimmick, rouse, facade or embellishment on who they are -what you see is honestly what you get.
    Which reminds me, I was at a business seminar a few weeks back and the keynote speaker brought up church. He said, whatever church you go to surely you must consider it to be the best one out there otherwise you wouldn’t go to it. How true is that? If I didn’t think my church was the best I would have looked for another one already. I must say, because of the work and care put into this church so much light shines out  and that light is what draws me close.  I am so blessed by the people that make up this body of Christ-followers and so grateful that God has continued to bless me with their company and presence in my life.

I love you God for that and love you church for you are and what you do.

*I’m not here to advertise to or persuade anyone on religion, that’s a choice you have to make yourself.  Nonetheless, if you ever do find yourself questioning or considering, in need of a prayer, or just wanna talk, come to Every Nation. Our doors are always open.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

Brunch on a whim.

Even though we see each other every Sunday we don’t get to hang out that much outside of church. Making no excuses this time, we all found our earliest common free hour and decided to do brunch. Danisha (bottom left) suggested we try Kiss the Barista and that was that. Funny enough, I have passed by this place multiple times because it’s only a ten minute walk from my house but I have never tried it out myself.

While we were there we ran into Nate (top left), who also goes to our church and lives down the street from me and Angelique (top right). I’m glad that we all found time to pencil each other in. I love being around these girlies. They are so kind, funny, and warm be near. And that does include Jessica (middle left) and Mai (bottom right) even though they were not mentioned earlier.

So, if you’re ever in the Sans Souci area go check out Kiss the Barista. Great service, great food, and the view is just amaze - it’s right on the beach.

Stick around for more pictures of our girl’s afternoon out.

Brunch on a whim.

Even though we see each other every Sunday we don’t get to hang out that much outside of church. Making no excuses this time, we all found our earliest common free hour and decided to do brunch. Danisha (bottom left) suggested we try Kiss the Barista and that was that. Funny enough, I have passed by this place multiple times because it’s only a ten minute walk from my house but I have never tried it out myself.

While we were there we ran into Nate (top left), who also goes to our church and lives down the street from me and Angelique (top right). I’m glad that we all found time to pencil each other in. I love being around these girlies. They are so kind, funny, and warm be near. And that does include Jessica (middle left) and Mai (bottom right) even though they were not mentioned earlier.

So, if you’re ever in the Sans Souci area go check out Kiss the Barista. Great service, great food, and the view is just amaze - it’s right on the beach.

Stick around for more pictures of our girl’s afternoon out.

Brunch on a whim.

Even though we see each other every Sunday we don’t get to hang out that much outside of church. Making no excuses this time, we all found our earliest common free hour and decided to do brunch. Danisha (bottom left) suggested we try Kiss the Barista and that was that. Funny enough, I have passed by this place multiple times because it’s only a ten minute walk from my house but I have never tried it out myself.

While we were there we ran into Nate (top left), who also goes to our church and lives down the street from me and Angelique (top right). I’m glad that we all found time to pencil each other in. I love being around these girlies. They are so kind, funny, and warm be near. And that does include Jessica (middle left) and Mai (bottom right) even though they were not mentioned earlier.

So, if you’re ever in the Sans Souci area go check out Kiss the Barista. Great service, great food, and the view is just amaze - it’s right on the beach.

Stick around for more pictures of our girl’s afternoon out.

Brunch on a whim.

Even though we see each other every Sunday we don’t get to hang out that much outside of church. Making no excuses this time, we all found our earliest common free hour and decided to do brunch. Danisha (bottom left) suggested we try Kiss the Barista and that was that. Funny enough, I have passed by this place multiple times because it’s only a ten minute walk from my house but I have never tried it out myself.

While we were there we ran into Nate (top left), who also goes to our church and lives down the street from me and Angelique (top right). I’m glad that we all found time to pencil each other in. I love being around these girlies. They are so kind, funny, and warm be near. And that does include Jessica (middle left) and Mai (bottom right) even though they were not mentioned earlier.

So, if you’re ever in the Sans Souci area go check out Kiss the Barista. Great service, great food, and the view is just amaze - it’s right on the beach.

Stick around for more pictures of our girl’s afternoon out.