Madeline Murphy


I have a terrible addiction to coffee and if I could I

would sit in a pile of leaves and read all day long. I am

a product of the sweetest grace because of the

decision I made to follow Jesus. I love writing, not

exercising and laughing really loud. I dream of being a

missionary in third world nations.

 

Current status: Second year EPIC Commission student

& Senior at Western Michigan University majoring in

Organizational Communications and Non-Profit

Leadership.

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Come Away With Me

Come Away With Me

When I woke up this morning to go to work, it was still dark out. And when I got home from school, it was dark. Leaves are falling and fall is in full swing. Aesthetically, fall is my favorite season. But internally, fall always makes me feel like I’m being pulled in 15 really important directions. Fall makes me irrational. Honest to goodness, I had places to be last week, but aimlessly drove down back roads looking at trees because I had to get a taste of it.

I had to step away from my calendar and busyness and schedule, just to breathe. To see with fresh eyes. To get my heart and my spirit filled back up with HIm.

Because that is the point. He is the point. I can make myself as busy as I want, but I will always need to come right back to the Father. And in the midst of every busy moment, of every “yes” I say to doing this or that, or hanging out with friends - He is whispering “Come away with Me.”

`Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.'  Mark 6:31

‘Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28

‘Be still, and know that I am God’ Psalm 46:10

Come away with me and just love Me, worship Me. Set your life aside and focus on the one True God. I can hear that gentle, but firm (how does he do that?!) voice of the Holy Spirit say to me.

But how many times do I listen? How many times do I say no, or set my studies aside, or stop scrolling through Instagram or watching Netflix… to follow that voice? To go to the one who I know is my only Help.

So I’m trying. And I wonder… if any of you have been here too. If in the midst of this beautiful, but busy fall… if you feel a little worn down, in need of a little rest, desiring a ton of Jesus. If that's you, let’s do it together. Let’s listen when we hear Him calling. Let's go to His feet when we feel like we need it. I don’t want to wait until the moment where I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off to scream a prayer to Him, let’s be people who catch it before we get there. It doesn’t take long, just a couple moments of intentional time with Him, but it makes all the difference.

We’re all in this together people

**cue Zac Efron**

Love ya’ll.


Madeline Murphy

2nd Year Student Blogger




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And in my Weakness, Still He is Faithful

And in my Weakness, Still He is Faithful

“...And finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask Me about My thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on - I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me. I am at peace and even take pleasure  in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong...”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

The Voice Version

These past couple of weeks have been filled with this, these words that Paul wrote about. The way of living to where I am fully dependent on that grace that is enough  to cover and sustain me. This act of being fully reliant on Him. Of realizing my weaknesses. Of admitting my fleshly defeat, and desperately coming to the feet of the Father.

But I also have been continually remembering that there, right there in my mess of weakness; in my struggles in school. My weaknesses of being an RA, a friend, a daughter, that He - our Jesus is still glorified. Because He is strong and mighty, He quickly and immediately does a God shrug at my mountains. And causes me to lean onto Him in those areas where I just cannot do it, because He can.

In this scripture, Paul goes on to say that he would rather be weak, but have the power of Jesus in him. And THEN says that he takes pleasure in ANY weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and afflictions for the sake of Jesus. Because when we are at our weakest, He makes me strong. He is glorified. Paul is incredible in a thousand ways, but these words struck me. He REJOICES in his weakness, so the Father can be glorified? How in the heck.

So EPIC Commission students - let’s rejoice in our weaknesses. Let’s bring our feebleness to the Father and allow Him to be glorified. Don’t be discouraged by your shortcomings, but instead have faith that through them people will be drawn to the power that is in you through Jesus. That He will be glorified. Welcome weaknesses with open arms, because He will prove you to be strong in them.


Madeline Murphy

2nd year blogger



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And In The End, You Have Family

I am utterly convinced that we started EPIC commission yesterday, but unfortunately that is false. As I write, we are all preparing for the last day of EC tomorrow. The last day of first year for some, the last day forever, for others. The last day of being surrounded by our friends, of structured learning and prayer and being led by the best leaders.

Somewhere between the two dates on the calendar - big things happened, incredible things. But one of them, was so extraordinary that I can't seem to not write about it. In the span of 9 months, I met and loved people that I will call my family for all eternity. We grew alongside each other, laid hands and prayed for the other, cried together, sharpened each other, laughed hard, took adventures,  but the most important thing we did together was to passionately seek to know the face and voice of our Father.

"In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” -C.S Lewis

Leave it to C.S Lewis to write a quote that leaves me with tears running down my face. But guys, this says it all. We aren't all in EC this specific year by chance. We didn't do it because it was a choice we made. But one that God, long ago, decided to use to mold us into the people He wants us to be, and in that He decided to use each other to pull out gifts and lives and traits in us. HOW INCREDIBLE. How gracious of a Father. That He wouldn't give us one or three great friends, but instead 27. 27 people who will pray you on, fight for you and love ya till the end.

There are millions of things this year was about. Millions of ways God was faithful. We could write a long book on the ways we had to trust Him, and how every time He came through. We could talk for hours on the things we learned in classes, and the prayers we prayed during prayer. But when I look back at this year, I will always remember the way the Lord used these friends, this group of incredible friends to reshape my heart.

So thank you EPIC Commission students - thank you for teaching and loving and stewarding the friendships that were created within the walls of EPIC commission.

Thank you to The Babe Cave, and to sisterhood and to brotherhood. Thank you Pastors Eric and Erica for creating a place where these things could happen & for always following the Spirit’s leading.

I wouldn't have wanted to do this year with anyone else. Love all you crazy people. What an honor it is to call each of you family.

"By “the Lord” what I mean is the Spirit, and in any heart where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is liberty. Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it."

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 | The Voice

 

Madeline Murphy

1st Year Student Blogger


 

 


 

 

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All for Love

All For Love

A couple weeks ago a good portion of EPIC Commission students headed down to Panama City Beach, FL for our spring break mission trip. We all had one goal and one God given command - to love the lost. The lost that in this case, would be spending their spring break hitting the beach and strip with one intention - to party.

 

“We, though, are going to love - love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.” 1 John 4:19

 

Before I get into it, here is a brief overview of the trip. Sunday night - Thursday night our team hit the streets. We had 2 shifts every night, one being to walk the strip and reach people however you feel led, and the other was to be in the van giving free van rides to those who called. Every morning we would meet at a local bowling alley where the sweetest group of elderly people would whip up batches upon batches of (the best) pancakes to feed to the masses (spring breakers).

During our week we saw people hear the gospel and run into His arms for the first time ever. Watched people who had wandered far from God come back to Him. We were able to be led by the Holy Spirit to talk to specific people. We watched as a man healed right before our eyes. We had tons of conversations, spiritual and not. The Lord allowed our team to be involved in the holiest of moments, where His love touched the hearts of people who needed it.

Sometimes love comes in the form of pancakes drenched in melted butter, or a ride in a big white van, or hugging a girl as she cries into your shoulder. Love is sharing a seemingly insignificant and otherwise random part of your story with a girl who needed to hear exactly that. Love is walking for miles with one guy just because you want to get him home safe. Love is walking our new friends to the club entrance and praying with them as they walk in.

Love like this is only possible because of Jesus. And because we have been transformed by His love, we were able to be carriers of His love to a generation so in need of it.

And how cool, that in the midst of flashing lights and clubs and constant drinks being poured - God did something in those streets. He did things in hearts of His children who are/were desperate for Him. He allowed to be vessels of His love & light. And people were changed for eternity.

 

“Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.”

2 Corinthians 4:5-6

Madeline Murphy

1st Year Student Blogger

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Take the Joy

February is a month isn’t it? Between heart shaped balloons at every store, piles of snow covering the ground and a pretty consistent grey sky - it could really get you down. And last week as I spent time with the Lord, I took things like that to His feet. Things like “God I’m tired of college classes.” And “Lord I’m done with the snow.” Man did He snap me quickly out of that attitude and spoke the sweetest of scripture to my heart -

 

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,

we were like those who dreamed.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.

Then it was said among the nations,

“The Lord has done great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

Psalm 126:2-3

 

This Psalm is one that represents the deliverance of God’s people. The people responded to God’s goodness and faithfulness with laughter, joy, and gladness. They had been delivered and they had something to sing about. They sang so loud, they were so joyful that even the surrounding nations also recognized that God had done great things for His people.

Daily God delivers us and daily we should be rejoicing, and that rejoicing can come out in ways of joy. And like the people of Zion, when their God did something big, when He came through AGAIN for them - they were joyful and they let everybody around them know it.

We must be stewards of His joy. We are constantly filled with the joy of the Lord and given reason to rejoice over His doings - so we must share that joy. Jesus gave it and gives it to us to run with. So run all over Kalamazoo, your home, your classes, with the joy of the Lord seeping out of every part of your being. Let it saturate within you and watch it permeate even the hardest of hearts. Sing praises to our God. And watch what that will do. GUYS, the nations surrounding Zion heard of the Lord's goodness just because His people were good stewards of His joy! That's incredible. And that was done without social media, cars, Iphones, etc. Think of the joy spreading, praising, God goodness sharing we can do these days!?

Don’t let the heart shaped balloons and snow and grey skies steal that joy from you, don’t let it prevent you from embracing and living out His joy.

Peace & blessings to ya’ll

 

Madeline Murphy

1st Year Student Blogger

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8 Reasons Why YOU Need to Attend UpClose

As I reflect on the past year and digest what God did in my life -- one of the most defining, life-changing, path re-routing events was when I attended UpClose. A little background information on me: my time in Kalamazoo began 2 years ago when I moved here to attend Western Michigan University. The first 2 years were rocky, as I grew in my relationship with the Lord, but also tried to stay away from the worldly college experience. The whole time I deeply desired something more. More growth, more teaching, more community, more of Jesus. The Lord had made it really clear to me that He needed me in Kalamazoo, and that He saw my desires. So I stayed and waited.

Who knew that what I was waiting for was EPIC Commission. And all that needed to happen for me to get there was an invitation from a friend to go to UpClose. I’ll admit, it took that same friend a lot of convincing and coaxing to get me to finally sign up, and reluctantly I went to UpClose. During the short 2 days my heart that had been hardened toward EC, was slowly being softened and by the end of the weekend I knew that I was going to do EPIC Commission. I went home to my apartment that night and applied right away.

Now that I’m halfway through my first year of EC I know why God needed me to stay in Kalamazoo and I’m so thankful that in being obedient to attend UpClose it led me to join EPIC Commission. The life I live now, compared to a year ago is completely different - because I started to let the Lord shape it. Below are 8 reasons why I think that you should come to UpClose, 8 reasons that coincidently applied to where I was when I attended last year.

  1. God will meet you there, wherever you are at

  2. You will meet people who are in the same season of life as you, who want to chase Jesus as much as you do

  3. If you feel like you are experiencing a dry season, this is the perfect weekend to dive back in

  4. Regardless of if you want to do EPIC Commission or not -- it will be a great weekend full of Jesus

  5. You will be in a community of people who care deeply about you, want to see you live as Jesus lived and who will come beside you in it

  6. We will laugh really hard and have tons of fun

  7. You get a sweet beanie {just for coming}

  8. I will give you a death-gripping hug {for real}

So whether or not you’ve come to 6 UpClose’s in the past, OR you have never heard of EPIC Commission or attended Valley Family Church -- you are invited. God is faithful to do big things and I believe He will. I want to personally invite you to attend a weekend that could very much change you life.  My “8 Reasons Why” may not have affected you at all - but I promise you that a weekend with this gang will. Can’t wait to see you next weekend!

http://www.epiccommission.org/#epic

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
 

Madeline Murphy

1st Year EPIC Commission Student

 

 

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What To Do When You're Halfway Through?

This morning the EPIC Commission students move out of the condos for Christmas break. Contrary to popular belief (or maybe just mine) we didn’t start EC last week, but indeed 4 months ago.

The past 4 months have flown by. The last bit of summer we caught together was spent getting to know each other as friends, housemates, brothers and sisters. Fall left as quickly as it came, and during that time we became a family. And now we are in the dead of a fairly snow-less winter, we have packed our bags and moved back home for a couple of {long} weeks. We are officially halfway through.

Halfway by definition is “In the middle or between two points, not total or complete.” But halfway through is a mark. And at that mark we have a choice, we have a choice to continue on, stronger than the first half or slack off. Your year so far does not dictate the intensity of your relationship with God, we still have so far to go, we have something to complete.

So here are five ways we can make the best of the rest. Five different things that if we apply them to our lives I believe the halfway mark won’t falter what we have going now, but instead push us forward.

  1. Pursue your God

    • Pursue Him harder than you did the first half, know Him more, seek His face every morning and every moment.

  2. Don’t take one day for granted

    • This saying can often be seen as cliche or overused, but I truly believe that if we live with intention each day, that if we wake up and ask God to do what only He can do in one day - then the next months won’t speed by and we won’t miss what He has for us.

  3. Invest in relationships

    • The Lord calls us to walk in fellowship and community, and the relationships we invest in during our college years are special ones. And in a program like this, these relationships are at our fingertips. These kind of friendships aren’t easy. It’s sometimes uncomfortable, it hurts, it involves immense sacrifice but it is just a small way we can put other people in front of ourselves. Friendship is humbling and beautiful and brings tears to my eyes. Because the people that I/we have the privilege of walking with right now, I pray are ones that are in my life forever. They are friends that I have allowed to enter the deepest parts of my heart, the ones I can go to and ask for real Spirit led and faith filled prayers. Invest in those friends.

  4. Dig Deep

    • We are at the perfect place in our lives where we can easily lay our heart’s out for the Lord, as an empty jar of clay before Him. Giving Him full rights to those deep parts of you (that maybe He wasn’t able to access the first half of EC) - allowing your heart, mind and life to be changed by an Almighty God.

  5. Finish strong

    • We are running a race and though EPIC Commission is only a small part of the grand race, I want to finish this year and this portion of the race strong. I want us all to come to the end of the year and be able to look back at all God did, not look back and see areas where we were preventing Him from doing more. So run, run fast and strong each day, and finish that way.  

Halfway can be bittersweet, can make us reflect, or can empower us. And if you get anything from this blog post today, I hope you feel challenged. Challenged to make the most of the next five months. To give God your all and fall deeper and more recklessly in love with our Jesus - because now is the time.

“But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they’re going. I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch. These are the things I’ll be doing for them - sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.” Isaiah 42:16 MSG

Peace friends - I'll miss you over break, but when we come back I expect we will be side by side, ready to take the second half, the best half - with Him.

 

Madeline Murphy

1st Year Student Blogger

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A Little Less Time, A Little More Grace

It’s 10:36 pm, I have been awake since the early early morning and if I am very honest I don’t think I have stopped all day. It’s 10:36 pm and my blog post is due at some point tonight and this is the first second I have had to sit down and write it. So here I am, with a to-do list longer than my right arm and not enough hours in the day.

And I can tell we are all there, we are all running on a little less sleep, with a little more stuff to do and a whole lot less time. But God, my God is so good. And I don’t say that in a cliche way or lightly, but with weight. Throughout the day like when I run into a good friend at the gas station before class, or when He whispers sweet words to my heart – I am overwhelmed by His goodness. The goodness that gives grace. Grace for this out of control and constant pace. Grace for the season He has allowed me to be in. Grace for EPIC Commission and college classes and work and everything in between.

Grace that I do not deserve.

I don’t deserve it because in my busy days I rarely make time to sit in solitude with my God. Even on my not so busy days it’s hard to spend time with Him. But every time I do, every time I push everything else to the side, because everything else can wait; I question why I wouldn’t want to be still with Him in His presence. So in this crazy season I’m  learning to sacrifice time (or sleep) to spend even a little time with Him.

Be still and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10

So EPIC Commission students, anyone reading this, take heart. Take heart because He is God and we are not. Take heart because He knows what you’re going through. Take heart because busy seasons are only seasons. And go spend time with Him, take your spare 10 minutes between apprenticing and work, wake up an hour early and take refuge in Him, because man do we all need some Jesus.

”Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30

I’ve added a song that He’s been using to speak to me this week. Listen to it and imagine it’s Him singing it to you – you are known, loved and adored.

Madeline Murphy

1st Year Student Blogger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XFkDqQtfs0w

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For the Sake of Sisterhood

From a gal who’s always been surrounded by incredible girl-friends, but never had a strong sense of sisterhood, this past weekend was one for the books. Last Friday the ladies of EPIC Commission traveled North to Pine Trail Camp in Saugatuck. The day started as we explored camp, braved the river (and Lake Michigan if you were in my canoe), played games that tested our sisterhood bond (and patience), and spent some time talking about what it looks like to be established in our hearts.

    “Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
James 5:8

For a good portion of the day and night, we gathered in creation and shared the stories of how God created us. How He crafted each of our lives, the special ways we each came to know Him, how He revealed His Son to us. The valleys and trenches we had to crawl through to get where we are now, to see victory. There were tears and laughter as we ripped open our hearts and lowered walls that hadn’t been lowered, all for the sake of sisterhood.

Ever since then I’ve been thinking, and the Lord’s been speaking to my heart a lot about sisterhood and friendship. About how it’s hard and messy. And because we are humans there are emotions involved deeper than we know how to deal with. Sisterhood takes trust, vulnerability, an outpouring of grace, and strength from Him. It involves sacrifice and determination. It’s uncomfortable, but man does it feel good in the end. Sisterhood is a commitment. It’s a practice of reaching across the table to a girl you wouldn’t necessarily always choose, and saying “I see you, I love you, I value you, I will walk beside you.”

Last Friday 20 girls, who have known each other for at least the past month, walked into that camp as housemates, roommates, friends or at least acquaintances; and the next day we left with a bond that will forever bind us to each other. A bond that is not perfect, but it has the workings of a Holy God knit throughout it. A bond that will last because His hand is upon it. A bond that we will treat with love and respect because we are so unbelievably blessed to be given the opportunity of this unique sisterhood.

I can’t wait to see how our EPIC Commission sisterhood is strengthened this year, and how the Lord will use us for His Kingdom.

Madeline Murphy
1st Year Student Blogger

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