Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o Speech on Black Beauty says:

I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I had been the day before. I tried to negotiate with God: I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted; I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.






Enter grace.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2

The Message puts it like this:

Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.


The invitation is to come.

God welcomes us into His family.

Despite what we have done, despite our flaws and our shame.  He invites us.

Because the invitation doesn’t depend on my worthiness or good, but upon His.

His alone.



The NLT translation of Ephesians 1:5 says this: God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.



Ooh isn’t that so so so so good. It gave Him great pleasure to adopt us, gave Him great pleasure to welcome us into His family.

Jesus, when referring to God, did something revolutionary to stress this point, He takes it one step further – He called God “Abba” – an Aramaic term of endearment for father – the closest thing we probably have in English is daddy. No other world religion so personalises God. He is our heavenly Father, our daddy, who welcomes us with an everlasting love and affection.


You have been welcomed into God’s family with all the benefits and protections and rights and blessings of been a daughter of God.

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!


Believe that today. 

Read Ephesians 2 again, slowly. 

Inhale each word.  Believe each word.

there is just something incredible about this song, such a call to surrender and lay our lives down to know God and make Him known

When we’re living our lives with intentional gratitude we’re fixing our eyes upon Jesus and agreeing YES He is good and YES He is faithful and YES He is Lord and YES He is the one who loves us!  Gratitude is an expression of faith.

1000 things

Be joyful: Intentionally look around for measures of joy each day. There is joy in simply being alive and in being redeemed by God. Remember, joy is a choice we make, not a feeling we hope to get from our circumstances. It’s good to look for the good, to celebrate it even in small ways. Doing so is a moment of victory.  Lysa TerKeurst




2589.  the meaning of Easter – grace, love, hope, power, change


2590.   easter food – chocolate and roasts


2591.  besties


2592.  sunshine and rain


2593.  teacher only days


2594.  #liveyourlist – awesome podcast with ryan eller and jarred murr – and they do a shout out to me on episode #30


2595.  new people at church


2596.  the best housegroup in the world – movie night!


2597.  ug boots and cooler days


2598.  elevation church – steven furtick – crash the chatterbox – great series we’ve been using in our mumstime


2599.  school holidays


2600.  gluten free sponge cake – with jam between layers – nom nom – and fantastically, i didnt have to make it myself!


2601.  leading and loving it JustONE virtual conferences


2602.  overseas mail


2603.  youversion


2605.  my son’s eyebrows


2606.  screwed up heroes and grace


2608.  easter camp memories


2609.  SAS


2610.  new books for SAS – Start by Jon Acuff 


2611.  familyish photos


2612.  Good Friday @ The River 


2613.  finally an appointment!


2614.  fresh worship


2615.  iron man 3


2616.  family road trips and reunions


2617.  the lego movie – so much fun.  though i think i’ll have its theme song stuck in my head forever






“Too often I miss Him, oblivious, blind. I don’t see all the good things that He is giving me, gracing me with, brushing my life with. True, He is everywhere, always. Before I thought of Him as further off, not so close. When I started to see all the things that I love bestowed upon me, I started to see Him as near, present, everywhere, showering me with good things. Seeing the things I love all around me gives me eyes to see that I am loved, that He loves me.” Ann Voskamp

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Why We Wear What We WearMalcolm Levene

For a lot of men and women, their less-than-happy relationship with their appearance is often a symptom of conditioning, poor self-image or thinking they just don’t have any taste.

We all have taste; it’s an innate part of who we are. Often, it only emerges when we’re helping somebody else choose a clothing item, or when we’re selecting a decorative piece for our home. It’s as if our "Style Gene" only kicks in when it’s not about us personally. To develop taste and a "good eye" for what suits you, begin by focusing on the details. Start with the three F’s as your guide: Feel. Fit. Flatter. You will be clearer about what to select and what to reject when it comes to choosing any form of apparel. Be super aware of purchasing clothing items that focus solely on fashion. "Fashion fades, only style remains the same" - Coco Chanel


Here are a few pointers on how to develop your Personal Style:

- You’re Unique — don’t try to be a copy of someone else

- Trust your instincts when it comes to making choices about where/how to shop, but do some research in advance

- Spend quality time developing your Personal Style — this is mission You. So ensure you have the time and mental space to shop properly

- You have 10-seconds to make a positive impression — make sure you look the part

- Choose colours that complement your personality, hair colour, skin tone and existing wardrobe. A good way to do that is to have a wardrobe clear out, so you can see what you actually do wear, not what you have

- Someone who’s able to convey great Personal Style does so with subtlety and grace

- Ensure all the details of how you attire yourself are in line with the three F’s: Feel. Fit. Flatter




What Your Clothes Might Be Saying About You

She is not my type. He couldn’t hack it. She looks friendly. He looks efficient. I can tell she is an extrovert.

We make snap judgments about people from the clothes they wear. On what basis?

There is much more to our clothing choices than we might imagine. For many people, what they wear is merely a matter of habit, but when we dress in the morning it might pay us to be a little more careful in the choices we make. Doing something different with your clothes might be a way of changing the impression others have of you.

A study just published1 by our team in the UK and Turkey shows some of the very subtle ways in which clothing influences all kinds of impressions about us. Our clothes make a huge difference to what people think about us – and without us knowing or in ways we couldn’t even imagine. People make their assessments in the first few seconds of seeing another; assessments that go way beyond how well you are dressed and how neat and tidy you might look.

We carried out the research with over 300 adults (men and women). They looked at images of a man and a woman for just 3 seconds before making ‘snap judgements’ about them. In some of the pictures the man wore a made-to-measure suit. In others he wore a very similar off-the-peg suit bought on the high street. The differences in the suits were very minor – we controlled for all the big differences such as colour and fabric, as well as making sure the face of the model was pixillated so that there could be no hidden messages in the facial expressions.

After just a 3-second exposure people judged the man more favourably in the bespoke suit.  And the judgements were not about how well dressed he was.

They rated him as more confident, successful, flexible and a higher earner in a tailor-made suit than when he wore a high street equivalent. Since the model’s face in the pictures was blanked out these impressions must have been formed after quickly eyeing what he was wearing.

So, our clothes say a great deal about who we are and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others, even if the impression is actually unfounded. Research suggests that these impressions about us can start in childhood – one study found that teachers made assumptions about children’s academic ability based on their clothing.

In another study we have investigated in our lab an issue that women often report encountering in the workplace -  differential gender-biased standards and being judged as less competent than men, even by other women. What role does dress play in this?

We made minor manipulations to female office clothing to see how this affected first impressions of them. We also researched whether the occupational role of the woman made any difference to these impressions. We tested this with 129 female participants who rated images of faceless (by pixilation) female models,on six competence based dimensions (intelligence, confidence, trustworthiness, responsibility, authority, and organisation). In all cases the clothing was conservative but varied slightly by skirt length and an extra button being unfastened on a blouse. The models were described as having different occupational roles, varying by status (high – senior manager, or low – receptionist). The images were only presented for a maximum of 5 seconds.

The assessment of the competencies we measured should surely not be affected by these minor clothing manipulations? Surely people use proper evidence to make such judgements?

I am afraid we found that the clothing did matter. People rated the senior manager less favourably when her dress style was more ‘provocative’, and more favourably when dressed more conservatively (longer skirt, buttoned up blouse).  I reiterate that the clothing in the ‘provocative’ condition was still very conservative in style and look – it was not a short skirt and a revealing blouse, but a skirt slightly above the knee and one button on the blouse undone.

The rating of the receptionist role was not affected by these clothing manipulations suggesting that there may be more leeway for some jobs than others. 

So even subtle changes to clothing style can contribute toward negative impressions of the competence of women who hold higher status positions. Wearer beware!

It is important to choose our dress style carefully because people will make all sorts of assumptions and decisions about us without proper evidence. We are unlikely to know what these assessments are too, so it is quite possible that our clothes reveal more than we thought.






Fashion a Favourable First Impression

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. That’s great advice. But, the truth is: during a job interview or networking opportunity we dooften judge a book by its cover. So, while it is important to say all of the right things during your job interview and networking opportunities; your actions and body language often speak much louder. Rather than bemoaning this simple truth of human nature, learn to use it to your advantage.

The First Seven Seconds How you present yourself – from grooming and dress to body language and level of confidence – plays a major role in how others will evaluate you during an initial meeting.

"You have approximately seven seconds in which to make a good first impression," says wardrobe stylist, Kristen Kaleal. "That’s the amount of time it takes to shake somebody’s hand and then take a seat. That’s before we’ve had a chance to thell them how great we are or how qualified we are. It’s before we’ve had a chance to become ourselves."

The initial impression made in that first seven seconds will often lay the foundation for the remainder of your interview or first meeting. If the impression made is less than favourable, you’ll spend the next seven minutes trying to overcome the poor impression made during those first seven seconds. The good news? You have a say when it comes to how others think of you.

Impression Management "We have the power to control what people think of us. It’s called impression management. It means that we can control what other people think of us based on our appearance, our grooming, and how we communicate with them," Kaleal says. "We can use [impression management] to spin our brand in the direction we want it to be perceived."

By putting careful thought and effort into self-presentation we can greatly influence the first impression others form of us. This requires being deliberate in our choice of dress and grooming, being conscious and in control of our body language, and being focused in our communication with others.






Clothes DO Make the Man

How important really is what we wear?  Is there a cause/effect in how we are treated by the world? Does it make a difference in getting someone to help you in a Department store, or being seated at a good table in a restaurant? Can’t people look through all the superficial and see the real us?

Fortunately, guys, we have some scientific evidence to support what you wear does make a difference in how you influence the world around you. Maybe we didn’t want to believe (but suspected) the real reason that guy down the hall who always dressed great, but didn’t know poop is now a vice president!

When your credibility is crucial, in situations such as job interviews, court testimony, sales presentations and first dates (or even second and third dates) it is important to made a “good” first impression.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression– Will Rogers

Behavioural scientists tell us that this “first impression” is a strong one. And the process of sizing you up is on a subconscious/emotional level of the brain. Your evaluation by a stranger takes 30 seconds or less and can be so strong that it could take as much as five years to erase.

Read the rest of this entry »

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave
~ john mark mcmillian


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loved this Good Friday vimeo clip by Luke St. Hilaire that showed this morning during our Good Friday service at The River this morning… incredibly powerful!


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last week our son got his hair shaved as part of the Child Cancer Foundation’s SHAVE YOUR LID FOR A BRAVE KID campaign – along with his best friend (yes, a girl).  the next day we had our kids primary school jubilee and were snapped by an incredibly talented photographer from Crisp Photography.  i love how she has captured caleb and also tony and i.   i confess i dont like my photo taken at all… like AT ALL!  but i like these… or maybe i’m just learning to like what i see in the mirror eh…


Today’s blog post is written by the beautiful inside and out Dara Crandall who lives all the way in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. She has been hairdressing for 3 years and just launched Hairspray & Holywater. A blog about hair, culture, travel, and beauty. When she isn’t doing hair at the salon you can find her hanging out with her family and her pooch Rowdie. She likes music, art and being in big cities. Her dream is to bring good hair to the world and open a discussion on beauty and why it matters.



A few years ago I fell in love with a worship song by the name of You’re beautiful by Phil Wickham. The song paints with such vividness the beauty of creation, the power of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and the amazement of eternity that awaits us just beyond this life. I love this song because it challenges how I see God.

I tend to look on my Creator as loving, merciful, fierce and all-consuming. But before I met that worship song I never really saw the Almighty as beautiful. There is a grumbling in the Church that beauty is vanity and vanity takes us away from the discipline of the Cross, but the more that I walk the road to heaven the more I realize the fallacy in that statement. We were created by God, for God and in His image. Scripture waxes on about the wonders of creation and how it reflects God’s glory, might and beauty. The book of Ecclesiastes says that he has made everything beautiful in its time and the Psalms exclaim that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. That we are knit together in the most tender way, dreamt of and thought of before time even began.

I think that our quest for beauty has more to do with our soul’s ache to be back in Eden and in complete communion with God than it has to do with our lack of discipline and weakness in the face of vanity. The book of Genesis says that when Eve was brought to Adam and he beheld her for the first time that they were both naked and felt no shame. If we dealt with a faith that was solely concerned about a man dying on a Cross and how we must suffer and endure this life to hope to gain some sort of freedom in the end, then I don’t understand why that last statement would have been included in the Scriptures. To feel absolute pure, uncompromised, untainted beauty is to know the feeling of being naked without shame. I think that all our cosmetic surgeries, our thousands of dollars spent on make up and hair and our hours spent in front of the mirror have to do with making us feel the same way Eve did in front of Adam. And if that feeling of beauty and freedom existed before the Fall then I can only conclude that experiencing beauty is part of God’s design and His plan. Our beauty matters because it takes us back to a place free from sin and brings us to a time before our separation from God.

1st Corinthians says that our bodies are Temples of the Living God who now lives and dwells in us. The Temple was God’s house, that is where he “theatred” all his glory from. It was a fantastic building built by knowledgeable hands and skilled vision. It was laced with gold and other fineries, it was spectacular in its beauty. It was well kept, well maintained and well loved. If we loved our bodies the way that the Jewish people loved the Temple our lives would be so different. And not just different from a health point of view but from a beauty point of view too. We would decorate and love our bodies because they house the Living God. We wouldn’t be so caught up in achieving a worldly standard of beauty, we would be more concerned about clothing the house of God in a way that glorifies Him and celebrates what He has done in our lives. Maybe we wouldn’t hate the mirror so much if we knew that we were the packaging for a beautiful, fearsome God who lived inside of us.

Our beauty matters because we were created in the image of a beautiful God who lives and makes his place among us. There is strength and joy in beauty. Our job is to reflect his beauty to the world so that they might see and be intrigued. If creation is beautiful and reflects the majesty of the King and if we are created beings then we need to understand that we also reflect the beauty of the Most High.

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