* preaching notes from my message at The River Christian Church, Sunday 26th April

God is my healer.  I have seen Him time and time do dramatic WOW unexplainable radical things in my life and body.  This morning I’m going to weave my story into what I share about how God is our healer.  He is Yahweh Rapha – God our Healer.

I don’t know about you, but this week as I’ve read my Bible, I’ve had a whole new perspective of the name and heart of God.  Every time I read LORD GOD in all caps, or Jehovah God, or Yahweh God, it has touched my heart in a new way.  This is His personal name, His personal revelation of His heart towards us.  This is His personal promise, not out of duty as God or I must cos I’m God, but out of His love and grace towards us.  How awesome is that.

As we discover the different revelations of God’s name, the different expressions of His character and heart, our hope is that you will be inspired to a new level of love and awe at our incredible God who is all powerful, all creative, all wise, all loving, all amazing and that as you live that out in your real life that these are the truths that you hold onto.

We have to be confident in the character of God.  He is deliberately mysterious. God is outside the box, His ways are higher, His thoughts are above any spectrum our thoughts are on.  I believe He also calls us deeper, to seek out those depths of who He is, to stretch out beyond what we know today into more revelation and truth.  God is inviting us into more.

Jeremiah 29:11-13For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will SEEK me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

God invites us to seek Him and promises those who seek, will find.

We are just like the Israelites, on a journey.

If you could turn to, or turn on, Exodus 15:22-26 – which is where we find the Israelites and were we find God reveal, for the first time, His name, Yahweh Rapha.

Yahweh Rapha means God is our healer.  He is our great physician.  He is the one who heals our diseases and our brokenness.  He repairs our lives and restores and keeps us in health.

Psalm 103 says:
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The revelation of this name of God, this defining name worthy characteristic, reveals that God’s heart to us is to heal us and restore us. It is God’s personal promise, woven into His name, to care for us and to demonstrate His great power over all of creation to keep us in health.   It comes from His heart and is His heart for you and I today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comparison is the Thief of Joy Gold Foil Poster Print

When my son was about 1 I was part of an awesome preaching course our church ran.

The course taught us how to prepare and preach, but the most important lesson it taught me was to embrace who God had made me to be.

As classmates stood up and shared their messages it seemed like everyone was gifted to be deep and theological or teacherish with 5 points all beginning with the letter E… and then there was me.  I couldn’t speak with the same eloquence that they did.  I couldnt speak or read or think Greek.

I have my own voice and style.  I’m me.  I love Jesus with everything and in my *own way* I am deep and theological.  But I am probably more encouraging and dare I say it (because others have!) funny.  I use pop culture references and make strange noises.  I have used a Power Rangers segment to get a point across, and even *blush* a clip that had swearing in it (that I swear I didnt know about!)

I had to embrace that this was and is how God made me.

I had to quit comparing myself to others because this is who I am and what I bring is what God wants to say through my expression.  Comparison is a brutal attack on one’s self worth… and more importantly on God’s creativeness in creating me.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Everyone has their place and their role.  If we get stuck in a comparison trap then we put a guard up and restrict what God can do to and through us. We put walls up.  We devalue ourselves and our Creator. When we’re comparing ourselves with others we’re attributing value to their offerings and talents, and dismissing the value in who we are and what we offer.

We need to refrain from comparing ourselves to anyone else because God doesn’t want us to be frustrated and feel unworthy of the blessings He desires to give us. Read the rest of this entry »

We can’t spread life and revival without being filled with HIS LIFE and HIS REVIVAL. There are no words or works that can ever replace the POWER and MIGHT that mark the life of a person filled with the Holy Spirit. We can try to duplicate it, but all attempts will come up empty and feel like old religion. It’s easier to play a part than to actually be filled with Him. It’s easier to control a situation than to risk being broken. It’s easier to whine about what we think we deserve than to surrender what we think we need. But how we know Him is how we share Him and expose others to Him. We have to stop trying to imitate and recreate what only HE can do. We are His unique creation. He is ready to do something new, in fact he has already started…we just have to be willing to let go and believe that what He has for us is eons more extravagant than anything we could ever try to do ourselves. ~ The Fearless Experiement

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We can wear a mask and put our best foot forward for only so long.  We can squeeze ourselves into the expectation of someone else for but a fleeting moment.  Bowing to the pressure of our peers brings a temporary solution but essentially denies the truth of who we are.  For a season it works, but there is that sense that its not real.  That its all make believe and one day something or someone will see beyond the facade into the realness of who we are.

It can be exhausting.  The edges become frayed and gray.

But God promises life abundantly.  He calls us into a life of authentic truth.

He has created us, fearfully and wonderfully.  He loves us.  He likes us.

And so He calls us into those places of truth and reality.

To let go of the masks and to be who we really are.  To let the world see.

The world needs to see the real you.  Not a copy or an expectation.  Not an image of what we think they should see.

But you.  In all its truth.

Those promises of abundant life and the richness that God’s love and grace gives so lavishly are for you.  The real you.  They are to be lived and felt and tasted.

God welcomes you in, just as you are.  He delights in you.  He delights in your authentic self.  He has dreams for the real you.  Plans, purposes, promises.

God is calling you to step out of the boat of expectation into the warmth of His embrace and acceptance.

He is calling you to embrace who you are and to discover freedom and joy in being you.

You do not need to have it all.   You do not need to be a size whatever. You do not need to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect anything. You do not need to be married with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. You do not need to be classically beautiful.   You do not need to be anything more than who you are because God declares you are enough.  More than enough.

What mask do you need to let drop today?

What expectation are you trying to live up to?

What freedom is God calling you into?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ve probably heard the new hillsong united song TOUCH THE SKY.

it even made the Today Show in the States!

the song has some incredibly lyrical lyrics and a beautiful melody that captures your heart….  it is intimate and reflects the sound of a generation hungry for God and spiritual truth.

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground

What treasure waits within Your scars
This gift of freedom gold can’t buy
I bought the world and sold my heart
You traded heaven to have me again

Find me here at Your feet again
Everything I am, reaching out, I surrender
Come sweep me up in Your love again
And my soul will dance
On the wings of forever

Get fun name tags for the kids to write what they are dressed up as, or if they did not dress up, what they want to be! This is fun for all ages! (also allows kids who did not dress up to feel involved and engaged)

I’m good at names. #humblebrag

When I start the year with a new Bible in Schools class (scariest thing on the planet!) I make a bet with the kids that I can learn all their names in one half our session.  And remember them all the next week.  It’s my win them over trick.   This year Evangeline’s class has 31 awesome kids.  Yes, 31.  A mental challenge yes, but one I took on and smashed.  I’m good with names.

So I totally enjoyed The School Of Greatness podcast with Lewis Howes with his special guest Jim Kwik.  Jim had some simple Memory Hacks to remembering names that I thought were very actionable.   Check out the link to find out more.

When I am learning a class full of names I get the kids into a circle and we play the “random get to know you question game.”  Yes I know, naff title.  But it works.  I get them to say their name and something interesting about themselves.  I then every now and then go back down the line repeating their names and what they’re interested in.  We have fun with this and usually end up with some good natured teasing about who likes pizza.

I use the same technique when meeting someone new at church or at an event.  Say their name, link it with something interesting that they’re into.  Boom.

Jim Kwik’s tips are this: BE SUAVE

Believe
Exercise
Say the name
Use it
Ask about it
Visualize
End by saying their name

How do you remember names?

Random Inspiration 161 | Architecture, Cars, Style & Gear

“When we know the truth about God, it fills us with wonder. If we fail to understand his true character, we’ll never be amazed by Him. We’ll never feel small as we stare up at Him. We’ll never worship Him as we ought. We’ll never run to Him for refuge or realize the great love He’s shown in bridging the measureless distance to rescue us.” Dug Down Deep / Joshua Harris

This would be cool with some of my grandparents' old post cards or snapshots.

7 Ways for Women to Find Soul Friends – Lisa Jo Baker

Soul friends pay attention to what you’re saying, not to what time the clock says it is.

Soul friends listen as long as it takes to make you feel heard.

Soul friends aren’t in a hurry to get to the point or to check you off the list.

 

How do I tell my story? – Suzie Eller

There’s power in sharing our stories.

Do you feel God leading you to tell someone?

It can be a fearful thing. What if no one listens?

What if some of the details are harsh?

What if it’s not that exciting?

What if communicating isn’t my thing?

All of these are questions I’ve asked myself as a God-girl with a story.

Do you know what freed me?

I finally owned my story.

 

The Moment that Saved My Marriage – 

A few years ago, my husband Art and I hit a rough place financially. Some investments we’d made went bad and we lost nearly our entire life savings. I was knee deep in caring for three small children at the time and hadn’t a clue that financial danger was looming on the horizon.

That is, until Art came home and the look on his face spoke of utter defeat. How could we have lost so much? He’d been wise with our finances. He’d done his research. He was a faithful saver. I stood stunned in our foyer that day, as Art told me the news.

There were many different directions my reaction could have gone in the minutes that followed. I was upset. When Art first talked of making these particular investments, I shared with him that I didn’t have a good feeling about it. But, in the end, I let him make the final decision.

So many times in my marriage, I’ve chosen the wrong words — words that were tainted with bitterness, words that were emotionally toxic. But I’m so thankful the Lord had been working on preparing my heart for this moment, and instead of reacting immediately with what would have been a disastrous response, I paused. I allowed the Holy Spirit a few seconds to interrupt my natural flesh feelings.

 

SERVANT LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGIC THINKING

We are servants first.

Without understanding your identity as a servant, leaders (myself included) can use the “important but not urgent” category as an excuse to isolate themselves and be unapproachable and unavailable to the teams they serve alongside.

Much of ministry to people is unplanned.

My friend Darrin Patrick has said, “The most impactful conversations happen at the most inconvenient times.” Some of the best interactions are not on the calendar. Some of the most holy moments are opportunities disguised as interruptions. Without that understanding, leaders (like myself) can loathe the urgent, and those great opportunities would be missed.

If you approach the matrix with the foundation that you are a servant and that God works in the midst of the urgent, then the matrix can be very helpful. After all, it is possible to be both a strategic leader and a servant leader. One does not need to negate the other.

Christine Caine

What is impossible with people is possible with God. We just have to believe that God has called us to go into the world in His name, and not listen to the crippling or even paralyzing labels and limitations imposed by others. We cannot allow them to daunt us.” Christine Caine

What do you allow to limit you?

Is it something someone has said to you?

Or something you have said to yourself?

How many times have we felt that call from God to step out of the boat, but have felt ourselves held back by something or someone?

Today is a new day.

It is a day to step out with freedom.

It is a day to rip out those negative voices recorded on the tape of our memory and mind and replace them with updated confidence that comes from knowing who we are in Christ.

In Christ we are capable.

In Christ we are empowered.

In Christ we can do all things.

In Christ we can have confidence. Not in our own ability or gifting or talents but in His all sufficient power and grace. We are just jars of clay so that the all surpassing power be shown to be of God, not of ourselves.

This one verse, in 2 Corinthians 4:7, inspires me and challenges me to say YES to God when He calls me out of the comfort zone.

I trust not in my own ableness, but in His grace that makes me able.

What is impossible for me, is possible with God.

Any label, given by someone or given by myself, must bow to His Lordship and His call.

Any label must surrender its power to cripple me to the power of God to empower me.

I choose to not let any label paralyze me but I get up and walk into destiny and adventure.

I choose to not let my flaws and limitations daunt or intimidate me, but I fix my eyes on One who is Greater and One who promised that He would finish what He started, who prepared me before the foundation of the world to serve Him and live to give Him glory.

Jesus comes into the prison of our fears and regrets and guilt and shame and sadness and says “I love you no matter what.” You are free. ~ Tullian Tchividjian

What label are you holding onto instead of embracing the freedom Jesus has given us?

What holds you back from saying yes?

Whom must you please?

Whose opinion of you counts?

From whom do you desire approval and fear rejection?

Whose value system do you measure yourself against?

In whose eyes are you living?

Whose love and approval do you need?

Most of us have the desire to be liked by everyone. The problem is that desire can never be filled. Even Jesus, the only perfect person to ever live, was not liked by everyone. Actually, He was hated and killed by a mob of people. If people hated Jesus, you can rest assured that from time to time someone may not like you. That is okay. Really! Come to grips with that—it is okay if other people don’t always like you. This is often the hardest thing to grasp because we place too much value on the opinion of other people.

“They put everyone else before themselves,” she said. For some, saying “yes” is a habit; for others, “it’s almost an addiction that makes them feel like they need to be needed.” This makes them feel important and like they’re “contributing to someone else’s life.”

People-pleasers yearn for outside validation. Their “personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on getting the approval of others,” said Linda Tillman, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta, GA and assertiveness expert. Thus, at the core, people-pleasers lack confidence, she said.

They worry how others will view them when they say no. “People don’t want to be seen as lazy, uncaring, selfish or totally egocentric,” Newman said. They fear “they’ll be disliked and cut from the group,” whether it’s friends, family or co-workers.

What many people-pleasers don’t realize is that people-pleasing can have serious risks. Not only does it put a lot of pressure and stress on you, Newman said, but “essentially you can make yourself sick from doing too much.” If you’re overcommitted, you probably get less sleep and get more anxious and upset. You’re also “depleting your energy resources.” “In the worst case scenario, you’ll wake up and find yourself depressed, because you’re on such overload because you possibly can’t do it all,” she said.

people pleasing is like comparison – a thief of joy.

it robs us of the ability to relax into who we are, to experience and express life through who we are meant to be and called to be

it labels us and limits us

and often the attempts we make to please people fall short and then we fail anyway.

when we try to please everybody, we end up pleasing nobody.

But the fact is, people pleasing isn’t about pleasing others, but fending off our fear of rejection.  Those of us who would consider themselves people pleasers are generally individuals who feel the need to be accepted by the world around them.  And not just a general acceptance, but that of each person they come in contact with.

its good to want to live a life that enriches those around us, to have friends and family that we value.

but when we mask who we really are to please them we are slowly losing ourselves.

We need to refrain from comparing ourselves to anyone else because God doesn’t want us to be frustrated and feel unworthy of the blessings He desires to give us.

Comparing our lives with other people’s lives is unfair, to them and to us. It’s unfair to them because if we become jealous of what they have, what they know, how they look, etc., we start to resent them. Then we can no longer appreciate them as the wonderful person God made them to be.

It’s unfair to us because it limits God’s plan for our lives. Comparison says to God, ‘I want to limit Your work in my life to this and nothing else. I just want to be like this other person.’

But God has an individual plan for each of us. His plan for you is greater than you could possibly imagine. Stop looking at His plans for others so you can walk in the plans He has for you and receive the blessings they bring.

by Joyce Meyer Youversion Devotional

the challenge is to live authentically.  settled in our own skin, quirks and all.

Know your priorities and values.  This can help put the brakes on people pleasing.

Who are you at the core?  What is your purpose?  What is your vision?  What are your strengths?

Who does GOD say I am?

God does not love you because of your performance; He loves you because of your position as His child.

What gives us our identity is not colour or culture, wealth or relationship status. But chosenness.

You aren’t loved because you’re valuable. You’re valuable because God loves you.

You please Him.

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