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today is an auspicious day.
today i turn 20.
it was 20 years ago today that i stood and went up the front at an easter camp, in a shearing shed, and said YES to Jesus.
it was 20 years ago today that i became a christian.
i grew up in what could be called a semi religious home. my mum took us to the catholic church. i made my first communion and confirmation. my dad stayed at home and cooked amazing roast lunches. i DID really want to know God though and there are several experiences that i know have shaped my faith, expression and relationship with God from childhood but church was boring and irrelevant.
In early teens though i decided that God must not be real, as He didn’t seem to be “there” – so I figured I would live my life without the “hassle” of thinking about Him and “His laws” (very catholic way of thinking) and so did that. i chose to live my own life my own way.
Our family moved quite a bit and when I was 15 we moved from Gore (the 5th place i’d lived already)… where I went from a 300 student co-ed school to Blenheim, where I had to go to a 1000+ all girls school! Talk about freak out! It was major culture shock! one of my new friends then casually asked me during classics class if i would like to go to youth group with her. I went along with her one night for one reason and one reason only. There were boys there! Great reason for going to youth group eh lol!
Anyway on that first night someone PRAYED and I KNEW God was REAL and I knew I wanted to know Him. i had seen people pray my whole life when i went to church with mum – and this was like it was real, and that he was really talking to a real God, that i could know, not far away, but near and personal, and not grumpy and angry, but loving and filled with grace.
i didnt really know what being a christian was and if it was diferent from what i had seen on a sunday growing up, but i felt there must be something more.
I waited until I went to their Easter Camp (about 3 weeks later) and there, not knowing what a Christian was or did, what the expectation was, what my life would be like… anything… yet I became one… I went up the front and responded to God, and encountered Him radically. By that i knew something was different – that i had given my life to God and became His child. sounds like a Christian cliché eh, but very real. i felt clean and new and forgiven. life had purpose and meaning. it was the start of an adventure.
so i went along to easter camp and i think for the first time heard clearly about who Jesus is and why he died on the cross and that you could have peace with God, peace on the inside.
i went forward when they asked if anyone would like to give their lives to God and had what can only be called a supernatural experience. i felt God. i felt a warmth and a heat that couldnt be explained by the room i was in. i felt happy and peace. i felt loved. i knew that i had crossed a line, that 10 minutes before i was not a christian but then all of a sudden i was.
it was more than going to church but about having a connection with God. a connection i have all the time. and that it was more than rules and being a nice person. i pray and spend time with God, in my real life day. i believe He speaks and guides us, supports us, encourages us.
there was a song that played during the camp that really spoke to my heart.
Don’t you know that i formed you, before you were born i knew you, don’t you know that my plans for you are good.
look and see I’ve engraved on the palm of my hand, look and see I’ve engraved you on my hands
Did you know that your name is tattooed on the palm of God’s hands?
Did you know that?
My name is engraved on the palm of the hand of God.
It is for sure engraved on the palms of Jesus’ hands – great big gaping nail hole wounds.
It was all because of love that Jesus died. It was all because of love that God sent Jesus to live and to die on the cross as the sacrifice that pays for our sins.
The Bible is a book all about God’s love for you and for all people. This love was revealed when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a human being, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Because Jesus died, your sins can be forgiven, and because He conquered death you can have eternal life. You can know for sure what will become of you after you die.
You have probably heard the story of God’s love referred to as the “Gospel.” The word Gospel simply means “Good News.” The Gospel is the Good News that, because of what Christ has done, we can be forgiven and can live forever.
The Bible puts it this way… Colossians 1:20-22 And God was pleased for Jesus to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that everyone would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.
20 years ago i discovered that God really is real.
and i discovered His love is amazing, everlasting, unchanging.
i discovered freedom, peace, hope.
i was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now i see.
“I have but one passion – it is He, it is He alone.”
Count Nicolaus Ludwn Zinzendorf
today i celebrate a milestone. an anniversary.
it was 19 years ago today that i became a christian.
19 years ago my life changed for eternity.
i had recently moved to a new town with my family and was now attending a huge girls only school. culture shock. when a friend invited me to youth group i had one thing on my mind. were there boys there? yes? great, i would go. great motivation to attend a youth group eh…
but i went and while there on the very first night i discovered that God was real and had a real strong sense that i had to do something about that.
i so went to their easter camp and i knew i was going to become a christian… whatever that really was… seriously i didnt know what i was signing up for…
the camp was held at a shearing shed in a beautiful mountain surrounded valley in marlborough.
the speaker spoke about jesus and eternity and heaven and knowing God.
on the saturday afternoon he told us to go away and talk to God.
i sat under a tree, hiding from everyone, crying and making snot because i KNEW i was not good enough to make it to heaven on my own and that i had a dirty heart. the anthem of the camp was keith greens Create in me a Clean Heart. i knew that though i was only 16 and had lived an okay life that i was still dirty and guilty and not good enough.
that night the speaker shared the gospel. that jesus died in my place. that jesus makes me clean. that jesus makes the way to heaven.
he gave the invitation and i went forward.
and encountered God.
and had a heart transplant.
i was forgiven. made new. saved. rescued. cleansed. loved.
19 years ago changed my life. changed my eternity.
God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22
inspired by holly furtick’s post INSIGNIFICANT THINGS ABOUT ME i thought i’d give it i a go and give you more insight into my world
1. i read about 4 books at a time… one at night in bed, one while cooking diner (between stirs etc), one in the car while waiting for the kids to come after school, and usually another random/teaching type thing
2. i love LOST. you probably knew that if you’ve read my blog for more than 2 minutes
3. i learned to bake about 3 years ago as a new years resolution and because my daughter has food allergies. i’ve become a lot more adventurous over the past year. some would even say i’m good.
4. i have a very southern accent… southern New Zealand that is… means worrrrds like churrrrch and worrrrd and purrrrple and spirrrrit and shirrrrrt all come with complusorrrry extrrrrra Rs
5. i can only play one game of Settlers in a row.
6. i go to an awesome brows place that takes 90 seconds to do them. seriously.
7. i listen to preaching at night if i cant sleep
8. i am not a morning person but have in the last 3 weeks totally changed my routine so i get up at 5.30am
9. my favourite way to spend an evening (apart from housegroup) is to curl up on the sofa next to my hubby and watch something like Fringe. or Lost.
10. i cant drink coffee after 10am in the morning. i have a 12 hour affection level.
totally pinched the questions from this post about THE SENIOR PASTORS WIFE (BOBBIE HOUSTON) over at LEADING AND LOVING IT today and thought i would give a go at giving my own answers… go and check out bobbie houstons – she’s wonderful!
1. What is your hobby? um, probably blogging and reading, i often have about 3 or 4 books on the go at once… i’m not very crafty at all. like at all. though i joke about knitting and embroidering (no offense to those that can…)
2. What is your idea of the perfect vacation? family, friends and good food, and places to see and go… a mixture of relaxing and adventuring!
3. How do you create a peaceful environment for your husband? to be honest, i am not the most domesticated chick… but i do try to clear a bit of the chaos and make sure i’ve done the things that i can control… like the washing away… i try to remember to make him coffee, because i know it makes him happy… i’m the extraverted one in the family and we’re both busy with family and BOT and church things and so keeping a bit of order and not changing things without notice, or too rapidly helps… this is definitely an area i can improve on. i also figure if I am at peace and refreshed then from my overflow the rest of the family will be too. the times our home is not at peace are usually when i am not at peace and am tired or grumpy…
4. What special little things does your husband do or say to show you he loves you? you know, its the small things that count. the kiss as he walks past, the laughing at me and with me, the chocolate bar he buys at the garage when he fills up the car… doing life together…
5. What would you say is a unique characteristic about each of your children? my son brings me much joy. he used to be uber uber change reluctant but has so grown out of his shell and is now adventurous and out there, but in still a more thoughtful way. i love the way his eyes sparkle when he is having fun and the way he gets totally passionate about a project or something he’s doing. my daughter is delightful. on the day she was born i put her up on my shoulder and she nuzzled in and God said “she is delightful” and she is. she brings many people joy and loves lavishly. she gives the sweetest cuddles, genuine affection, and is always on the move and always has something to say.
6. How did you know your husband was “the one” you were going to marry? funnily i told my mum that i had met this guy and was going to marry him, before i even told him i liked him. there was just something about him – his assuredness, his security, his unfazedness, his encouragingness, his love and evident commitment to God, that so drew me to him. and his amazing blue eyes… something just clicked. he is my once in a lifetime love and i knew within a few weeks that he was the one.
7. If you could do one thing all day long, what would that be? sleep? read? hang out with friends? go to the movies?
8. What is your most embarrassing moment? i’m kinda dorky and clutzy so probably have many… i fell over at the kids school the other day, not in front of my kids thank goodness but in front of a bunch of parents…
9. When are you the happiest? i have two categories… one is family happy, when i am with my family and doing things, even simple things like reading with them, snuggled up close and sharing a moment, or watching a dvd in the evening with my husband… and the other is ministry happy… i’m so happy today because of some things that happened in our housegroup last night and what God is doing in their lives. i feel alive and happy when i preach, and the other night i prayed with a young woman and she got set free from some stuff and it was glorious to see God at work. both so satisfy me and make me happy.
10. What do your friends & family say you are really good at? talking, encouraging, baking, organising, preaching, communicating…
11. What is the best leadership lesson you have learned lately? that i am who God has made me to be and He wants to move and use me, maximise the gifts HE has given me and that i should relax into that and let Him shine. i can do all things through His strength and grace and that i am the right person for the moment because He is with me and has called me.
eleven years ago today i married my best friend tony on a rainy hot day…
praying we continue to grow more in love each day, more stronger together,
living to fulfil God’s purpose,
knowing Him and making Him known.
i’m so blest to be married to a man that loves Jesus with everything.
11 Years ago the jove of my life said "I do", strangely enough she is still the love of my life. Love you Claire and thankyou Jesus for introducing us : Tony’s fb status today
2. preaching at our womens conference – first time ever conference speaking
4. going to Sista’s Conference with my friend and hooking up with an old friend from high school
5. all the RWC enjoyment we had as a family, esp our trip into the city to The Cloud
6. helping lead our young adults weekender retreat
7. having b12 injections aka overcoming the fear
8. hosting (and being quizmaster) a combined churches young adults housegroup quiz night at our chuch – lots of fun!
10. winning housegroup resources
11. designing a church brochure
is it morbid to want this video by ELEVATION CHURCH played at the start of my funeral?
with the circumstances of the week i’ve been thinking about my own funeral, because i want, when it does happen, it to be a reflection of who i am and to point people to Christ. after my friend chris died 2 years ago i thought alot about what songs i would want (the end by gungor as my entrance song) and what worship songs (came to my rescue by hillsong, i love your presence by bethel) and an exit song (undecided)
but i guess unless these things are said they go unsaid. planning chris’ funeral was so incredibly difficult because he was 19 and it was an unexpected death. tony’s dad however has had a detailed plan including songs and readings.
i am praying that when my time comes that it will be not only a celebration of my life but a celebration of who God is: good, great, glorious, mighty to save, able
i’ve just popped 6 gingerbread men into the oven.
i love the smell of gingeranything cooking – gingerbread men, gingernuts, gingerbread load… delish.
baking reminds me that everything has to have the right ingredients. add this and its no longer what you were planning on creating. forget an ingredient and it doesnt taste right. i’ve had a lot of failures in the baking department so i know what i’m talking about!
people are the same.
we’re all made up of different ingredients.
it takes al the right elements to make someone who they are.
and everyone is their own unique recipe. designed by God.
so who am i? what makes me me? what are the ingredients that are important in my life?
well, i’m claire. and that’s important. my name means clear; bright; famous, illustrious. clear. and i think that is tied up with who God has made me to be – a mirror to reflect His glory. i was like broken glass – dirty and sullied… but now i am clean and clear, a mirror for Jesus. my name is like a label of who i am called to be.
i’m a mum to 2 amazing kids. they bring me much joy. they’re both totally different in personality, but that is what makes life adventurous. they teach me to love and about God, and reveal all the bits still dirty in me – the selfishness, the impatience etc etc etc… all the things that God is at work on in my life. "God uses your family to direct you toward his purpose….God is using your family to work his purpose in you – He placed you in your family to help you develop Christ-like characteristics. " Jon Walker
i am a wife. my husband is my best friend. he makes me laugh often. and laughs at me more i am sure. he sets me free to be me and enables me to serve God as i do.
i am in young adults ministry and love it. they have captured our heart and we earnestly desire that they grow up and follow the Lord wholeheartedly. we strive to be the best leaders we can be so they can have the best life to live. connected, revived, empowered and pouring out for our Lord Jesus who loves them so.
i love my church. like so love it. i love our pastors. our church is the best church in the world and our pastors are the best pastors in the world. i passionately believe that God is going to do great things in and to and through our church. so we roll our sleeves up and dive right in. our church isnt perfect, because no church is, but its awesome and God is doing great things in it and through it.
because i love revival and live to see it and touch it and be part of it and release it. i want to see God pour Himself out like He has in past. i live to make HIM famous so that many many MANY come to know His reality and salvation and love and grace. its all about eternity.
i love old books about revival and preachers. you can tell alot about someone’s bookcase. i love biographies about people who lived it and did it. who dreamed big and lived big. who made a stand for Jesus in their generation.
i’m passionate about people knowing who they are and what they are called to do.
i love music. i have it on as much as possible. i dont like easy listening. or amy grant. i like loud and proud and lots of musicality in it. i have eclectic tastes, from linkin park, jesus culture, hothouse flowers, neil diamond, freelance whales, adele, black eyed peas, gungor, hillsong, cindy ruakere… yes, you read right, neil diamond.
i preach. i love preaching. i knew i was called to preach at day dot of being a christian. when i got saved, i knew i was called at the same time. i dont know how or if anything was spoken to me about it but that was it – called to preach. i preach with my voice, my style. and i pray that God uses it. that is the main thing.
every time i preached in the last 2 years i made mention of LOST. its my most fav programme. ever. i also made gun noises – pow pow – when i preach. i’m speaking at a womens conference for the first time this year. now thats scary!
i’m not your normal girl. i cant sew. i dont do crafts. i can bake, as of last year. i like to cook dinners. but i am not domesticated at all. i love vintage tshirts, chunky rings and funky necklaces. i dont like my photo taken but i love to take photos. i love thunderstorms. i have never called myself a nice christian girl – because i was always on the more alternative edge (yes even with liking neil diamond) and well, i wasnt like “nice” like lots of the other christian girls were. as in quiet and peaceful. i am more loud and extraverted and sometimes thoughtless. once upon a time, as a christian, i wore doc boots and had a nose ring. i still want a nose ring.
i love L&P, pizza, butter chicken and cheesecake.
my ideal date night would be going to a movie and dinner. or watching Lost.
i read fast, write fast, think fast, process fast, connect fast. thats why i like blogging. and facebook. i am sure God created those things with people like me in mind.
i love sharing the good things i read and discover and hear.
i have another life at night. sometimes i dont sleep that well so i read alot at night and listen to podcasts. sometimes for hours. its like another life.
i love john 3:16, Colossians 1, 1 John 4:9-11, 1 John 2:6, 1 Corinthians 2:9-11, 2 Corinthians 4:7, Isaiah 43:2, Hebrews 4:16.
i live to know God and make Him known.
Here is a word for you from the Word.
that grabs your attention doesnt it. i confess i skipped past that “title-ish” part of the email i got this morning from an older friend (and like another mother). until i read the post below. then my eyes drifted up and read Here is a word for you from the Word. and my heart agreed. it was. totally. i had just been in my bedroom drying my hair and thinking/praying that i’m feeling things i dont usually feel. uber tired. discouraged. oppressed. slightly antisocial wanting to hide. enough to get my attention that we’re not operating on normal for me. so i was praying. God give me a strategy and deliver me from this oppression and is this a spiritual attack and if so then God take your stand against my enemies. okay that last bit i wasnt as eloquent as david. but i was meaning the same thing. so now i’m encouraged. and blest.
Here is a word for you from the Word.
Psalm 35:1-3 Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” NIV
That was a prayer of David in a time of deep distress, a time when he felt himself surrounded by enemies pressing in against him and he saw no way to keep them out. So He cried out to the Lord and said, “Lord, take your stand against my enemies. Take up your mighty spiritual weapons and block the way against them.”
It always blesses me to consider that the final, great conclusive answer to that prayer of David came through David’s greater son, the Lord Jesus Christ, about a thousand years later. On the cross, Jesus did just that. He blocked the way against all the enemies of our soul. He stopped the way. He put and end to Satan’s claims. He set a limit to Satan’s territory. He created a boundary that Satan cannot pass over.
Remember this: the cross is God’s great stop sign. The devil may be moving in against us at full speed, but when we put up the cross, he slams on his brakes and comes to a screeching halt because he cannot pass the cross. That’s where Jesus stopped the way against all our enemies. – Derek Prince
i so love God.