Keeping Up With The Smiths

Ryan Morrill

Ryan Morrill

Kids and Family Director, Orion campus

I am horrible at keeping up.

Ask me to drive in the middle of a pack of cars, I can’t do it. Ask me to keep pace with a group of runners, very frustrating. Ask me to try to keep my technology up-to-date with the latest version and updates…no way. I’m not saying I haven’t tried to keep up in areas of my life—but after years of trying to keep pace in the world, I find it is exhausting, frustrating and it stirs up so many inadequacies that I really don’t even want to go there.

The feeling of falling behind surrounds so many of us today and is only exacerbated by what we are seeing behind the screen every few minutes (if we choose to let it). Growing up in the 80s I was not a pacesetter, nor was I one of the popular kids. But fortunately, I didn’t know what I was missing. If I wasn’t invited to a party happening over the weekend or I was excluded from a bunch of people hanging out, I rarely found out. Even so, if I did find out about it, it was already days in the past and I could easily move on.

Today, however, we have immediate access to what is happening. Thanks to social media channels like Snapchat and Instagram, kids immediately know when they are missing out. As adults, we are also victims of FOMO (fear of missing out). When we scroll through Instagram and Facebook, we see wonderful happy pictures of couples, families, perfect children, amazing food that people are eating in fantastic restaurants, and cute pets that everyone is so excited to have. We see vacations all over the world, trophies and awards presentations, date nights out to fancy places and recreation at its finest.

It’s no wonder I took the Facebook app off my phone, chose to ignore Twitter and decided that I didn’t have many images to offer Instagram. I just can’t keep up.

Whether you are on social media or not, the feelings of inadequacy and comparison have plagued men and women for all time. Think back to Eve. She wanted the apple because it offered her something she could otherwise never have. Ironically, it’s because of that first sin in the garden that our eyes have been opened and we can see what we have and what we don’t have. You and I live in the consequences of a fallen world. We feel the tensions of it every day.

When I was in my 20s, I read a short story by Leo Tolstoy titled, “How Much Land Does a Man Need.” The story has stuck with me and shaped much of how I feel about contentment. It is about a young peasant who stated to a friend that he would have complete happiness if he just had more land. The Devil was hiding in a corner and overheard him say this. The Devil decided to test him. The young man came across a generous landowner who was willing to give him all the land he could want simply by walking it in a day, sunup to sundown. Everything inside the perimeter of land that he walked was his. The only condition was that he must return to the same spot he started before the sun went down. If he didn’t make it, he got nothing. At sunup the man was off, and he walked and walked, slowing making turns around the most beautiful land anyone could ever want, excited that it all would one day be his. He walked miles and miles through the hot sun all day long. Along the final turn, late in the day as he was nearing exhaustion, he overextended himself in a desire to get an extra portion of land that he wanted as his own. After walking the extra mile, he realized he may lose it all if he did not hurry back. He sprinted as fast as he could the final miles trying to return before the sun went down. As the sun was about to set, he was crawling the final 100 or so feet trying to complete the loop. He collapsed at the spot where he started, just as the sun went down. The land was his! The kind owner was so happy for him. However, when the owner looked down, he found that the man was dead from exhaustion. The final line of the book was “6 feet head to toe was all the land that he needed.”

That line has always stayed with me, and I have always held in my mind that nothing ever satiates. Nothing ever satisfies. My quest for more will always be. Whether I have much, or very little. In fact, my quest for more leads me closer and closer to misery, unhealthiness, and even death.

In our quest to find life, to live it to its fullest, to enjoy ourselves and find contentment we can’t forget to realize that there is really only one source of Life. 1 John 5:12 says, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Recognize this is a key for life. You have been made by God for a purpose. Who you are is designed by Him. He did not make a mistake. He wired you the way he did intentionally. The family you have, the house you live in, the job that you work, the car that you drive—it’s all in His plan. It’s all His anyway. And most importantly whether you have little or you have much, true Life comes from Jesus and Jesus alone. Nothing else can bring it.

The next time you are comparing your life to the Smith’s on social media, the next time you find yourself jealous over how someone else is living, or the next time you wish you could trade places with someone, just remember what life is. If you have it, you need nothing else. I close with the words of the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church of Philippi, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11- 13).

May we each rest on Him who gives us strength.

What Next?
If any of this inspired you, I’d love for you to join my family at Rock Your Family. This year’s theme, “For the Win” will help you win in your parenting and family. We’re headed back to SpringHill Camp in Evart, Michigan for another amazing Rock our Family weekend! Get ready to ride, climb, bike, paddle, gallop, hike, blob, tie-dye, and laugh ‘til it hurts! Rock Your Family is more than a weekend away from the day-to-day, it’s a vacation with a purpose. Registration and more info at kensingtonchurch.org/ryf.

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December 24 Services
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Divorce Recovery

You don’t have to go through the pain and stress of divorce or separation alone. Our Divorce Recovery workshop combines expert speakers, small group discussion and a time of community with people on the same journey.

Divorce Recovery Winter Sessions

Troy campus | Mondays 7-9pm | Feb 5 – Apr 15

Orion campus | Tuesdays 7-9pm | Feb 6 – Apr 16

Cost: $45
The cost includes a workbook, snacks at each meeting (including coffee), and dinner at end of session. Childcare available.

You are encouraged to join us on any week. Sessions are self-contained.

Grief Recovery

At Kensington’s Grief Recovery support group, you can find hope and healing after the loss of a loved one. It’s a place where you’ll encounter caring people who can empathize with your pain because they’ve been through it themselves.

Winter Grief Recovery | Feb 6 – April 30 | Orion campus
Winter Grief Recovery | Feb 13 – May 7 | Troy campus (DAYTIME GROUP!)

Find a Grief Recovery group near you: griefshare.org

You are encouraged to join us on any week. Sessions are self-contained.

Kensington Visitation

Our dedicated volunteers bring encouragement and prayers of faith to those who are in local hospitals, medical centers, recovery centers and homebound. If you or someone you know would like to be blessed by such a visit, email visitation@kensingtonchurch.org or call the Troy Campus during business hours at 248-786-0600.

Pastoral Care

Members of our Pastoral Care Team are trained by the nationally known Stephen Ministry program and are compassionate listeners who walk alongside others to provide skilled and distinctly Christian care in times of need. They can’t promise to have all the answers, but they can promise their focused support. To receive care from one of our Pastoral Care Team members, call us at 248.786.0600 and ask for a Campus Care Provider – they can get the process started.

Interested in joining our Pastoral Care Team? Email us for more info.

Retreats

Podcasts

Websites

Subscriptions

Marriage 365

Married People

Growing In Marriage

Prepare Enrich

Subscriptions

Marriage 365

Married People

Growing In Marriage

Prepare Enrich

Books We Love

Preparing For Marriage

Marriage Prep

Before the Last Resort

Marriage Restoration

Vertical Marriage

Marriage Growth

Secrets of Sex and Marriage

Intimacy

Men Only/For Women Only

Marriage Growth

Smart Step Family

Blended families

The Meaning of Marriage

Marriage Prep

The Power of a Praying Wife

Marriage Growth

The Power of a Praying Husband

Marriage Growth

The 5 Love Languages

Dating

Love and Respect

Marriage Growth

Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away

Marriage Restoration

101 Questions To Ask Before You Get Engaged

Dating

Newlywed Couple's Devotional

Newlywed

365 Connecting Questions

Connecting

Fierce Marriage

Marriage

Children's Programming During Services

Troy

5pm | 12/23
Birth–PreK programming

7pm | 12/23
Birth–PreK programming

11am | 12/24

Birth–PreK programming

1pm | 12/24
Birth–PreK programming

3pm | 12/24

Birth–PreK programming

5pm | 12/24
Birth–PreK programming

Orion

5pm | 12/23
Birth–PreK programming

7pm | 12/23
No children’s programming

11am | 12/24
Birth–PreK programming

1pm | 12/24
Birth–PreK and Elementary programming

3pm | 12/24
Birth–PreK and Elementary programming

5pm | 12/24
Birth–PreK programming

Clinton Twp

5pm | 12/23
Birth-PreK and Elementary programming

7pm | 12/23
Birth–PreK programming

11am | 12/24
Birth-PreK and Elementary programming

1pm| 12/24
Birth–PreK programming

3pm| 12/24
Birth–PreK programming

Birmingham

11am | 12/24
Birth-PreK programming


1pm | 12/24
Birth-PreK programming

Traverse City

2pm | 12/24
No children’s programming

4pm | 12/24
Birth–PreK programming

Clarkston

10am | 12/24
Birth-PreK and Elementary programming

12pm | 12/24

Birth-PreK programming

Marriage and Blended Family

The Marriage Course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Strengthen your communication and gain a deeper understanding of your partner. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.
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The Blended Family Workshop addresses the confusing roles and boundaries involved in blending families and identifies why parents so often struggle in blending their efforts. Find a community of people who are contemplating blending a family or are “in the trenches” building and growing their blended family!
REGISTER


Please email 
marriage@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

Spiritual Formations

Discover rhythms and practices that can help us abide in the love, grace, and hope of God, where our lives can be transformed. Explore some of these practices together with others who are pursuing the same. To find out more, please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org.

Birmingham Campus

We are offering a time for our congregation to gather after the 10am service for prayer in the Groves Auditorium, 20500 W 13 Mile Rd, Beverly Hills, MI 48025.

On Sunday evening, Dec 5, parents of high school and middle school students are invited to the second half of our Edge gathering at Genesis Church, 309 N Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067, at 6:15pm. We will have a breakout to equip parents in caring for themselves and processing pain with their children in times of tragedy.

Parents & Student Resources

Parents – self care is critical. It’s important to do your own processing with another adult so that you can be more present as your child processes. Here are tools that you can use to get you started.

Podcast

Helpful Blogs

Other Materials

Counselors Are Needed After Tragedy

“The aftermath of the Oxford shooting tragedy will undoubtedly result in traumatic symptoms and experiences across our communities for quite some time. Healing the brain through evidence-based therapies is absolutely possible with clinical guidance. There is a valuable village of Trauma Therapists with collective resources standing by for Oxford, for both direct and secondary survivors to engage in therapy. Until then, we honorably hold a sacred space, as students, families, staff and school partners continue to mourn.” -Laura Azoni, LMSW, Founder of Sanctuary Services

Orion Campus

We believe that unity at this time is more important than ever. Several churches in the area are partnering together to offer space for students to begin the process of healing.

We will have several grief and trauma specialists on site this Sunday evening at our Orion Campus (4640 S Lapeer Rd Lake Orion, MI 48359) from 5-6:30pm and will have a night of prayer, worship and an opportunity for students to process with each other.

Tate Myre Funeral:
Monday, 12.6 Visitation 1 to 8pm
Tuesday, 12.7 Visitation 10-12pm and funeral at Noon

Clinton Township Campus

We will be offering a time for our congregation to gather after each service for a time of corporate prayer in the Greatroom. Prayer will be offered at 10:15 am and 12:15 pm. (25000 Hall Rd, Charter Twp of Clinton, MI 48036)

This Sunday at 3:30 pm as a community we want to gather, pray and mourn together. We are all looking for answers and wondering why tragedy happens but we can find hope and peace in Jesus. 

Troy Campus

Join us Sunday night, December 5th for a Community Prayer Vigil at Kensington Church at 6:00 pm. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to come together for a time of hope and prayer. 

Following the Vigil, at 7:00 pm, there will be breakouts for students and for parents to process and be equipped in caring for themselves and those around in times of tragedy.

Marriage Classes

What grows marriages? Focusing on the two of you and being in community!
The Marriage Course includes seven sessions, designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Some couples do the course to intentionally invest in their relationship, others are looking to address more specific challenges. Either way, the course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help you build a relationship that lasts a lifetime. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

Please email marriage@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

Financial Compass

Financial Compass is designed to help you discover the freedom found in wisely managing the resources God provides. To find out more, please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org.

Bible Basics

Whether you are brand new to the Bible or have been reading it for decades, Bible Basics is a course that will help you understand the overall flow of the Bible. Over the course of several weeks, learn how the Bible came from the original writers to the English versions we have today. We’ll look at the big-picture story of the Bible and how all the individual books add to the whole. We’ll even learn a little about the history of the Jewish nation. But most of all, we’ll grow in our awe of the amazing author of this amazing book!

Please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

All Campuses

Clarkston

Orion

Troy

Alpha

What is my purpose? What value does the Bible have in my life? How do I pray? How can I grow in confidence to share my faith? These are the big questions that are at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with God. Alpha is a space to explore life’s big questions, to say what you think and to hear other people’s points of view. Over ten-weeks you will explore and discover while listening to weekly topics, participating in table discussion, and developing community. Alpha courses meeting in-person gather around a meal.

You don’t have to come for the whole series—just check it out for the first session and see what you think. No pressure.

Please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

Registration coming soon!

Birmingham

Clinton Twp

Orion

Traverse City

Troy

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For additional questions, please contact giving@kensingtonchurch.org or call 248.786.0637

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