At the start of the year when I said yes to being the youth pastor here there were 3 things that scared me….
- Driving the van
- Feeding 30+ people at camp or on a Friday night
- Camping over at church during Ascend….
I can now tick off 3 things and say DONE… and really they were only half scary… except driving the van.
In my first week Dean took me for a test drive and I was like oh my word. This is big. It takes a ladder for me to just hop up to drive, just kidding… I confess, I also have a bit of a record with things with wheels and accidents.
Had part of my finger amputated after a tricycle accident.
Broke my leg in 4 places after a bicycle accident.
Flipped a motorized go cart over a ditch.
Wrote of my parents 4 wheel drive when I was 17….
Got hit by an 84 year old lady driver and had car written off.
So yeah… I didn’t want to add CHURCH VAN to my list of driving “adventures”….
But I have a confession to make.
2 weeks ago I crashed the van.
It had been “one of those mornings” and anyway long story short when I got to church as I was parking I “clipped” Grace’s bumper and wheel. Man did it make a horrendous noise. There is nothing like the crunch of metal against metal to make the heart stop! The kids were like ooooooh (thanks kids) and I uncharacteristically burst into tears. The whole ugly cry thing. The worst thing was that the van and Grace’s car were stuck together at the wheel part and until Grace moved her car forward we were stuck there, in the middle of the driveway, on a Sunday morning. Aka everyone was going to see it and see me. So as my calm husband began to sort things out I slunk into church and made my tearful confession to Peter . I’ve crashed the van! He came out to look as I continued to sob on Annikas shoulder. Tony then was like, “Claire, have you had a look at this?” I was like no, I don’t need to look, the sound told me everything! I imagined the side had caved in and that well… yes. He took me by the hand and took me round the side, where Peter was looking bemused. Let’s just say my tears tried to stop as I looked at a small dent and a black line. Yes we were stuck on Grace’s wheel, but once she moved, it was all okay. No major crisis. No cave ins. No write offs.
Now this story isn’t just for confessions sake…
It was one of those moments where God spoke clearly. “this is about perspective” He said. Yip. My perspective was that i had munted the van and that it was all bad. The fact was that there was a small dent and a black line. It wasn’t until I went around and looked for myself that I saw the extent of the “damage”.
How many times are we doing that with life and with God? Read the rest of this entry »
I love the vision of this song – such a cry for MORE and for this world to be touched by God
But I know that You are God, Yours is the victory
We know there is more to come that we may not yet see
So with the faith You’ve given us we step into the valley unafraid Read the rest of this entry »
When I was fairly newly saved a guy who prayed for me at a youth group meeting said he felt God wanted me to go home and read Acts 29.
Now you may have just gone through the files of your mind and thought, wait a minute…. there is no Acts 29. Acts finishes, albeit somewhat suddenly and with the hint of a comma in Acts 28.
As a new Christian I had no reference and I went home, and yes, searched diligently for Acts 29.
Was this guy wrong? Was he not hearing God?
Or was he mocking me??? What was going on!
I talked to him at church on sunday following and I confess, I was kind of miffed. I leaned more on the “he was mocking me” side of things.
And then he told me that Acts 29 is the chapter that is written by MY LIFE. That I am Acts 29. That it is the exploits that me and God do together for the sake of His Gospel and His Church. It is the adventure that God and I have together with prayer and seeking His face, and God working through me to reach those around me.
Acts 29 is the church today, you and me today, expressing and living for Jesus in power, authority and love. Read the rest of this entry »
I believe that our lives tell a story.
They tell a story of a great hero, a rescuer, who loves with a great love and does amazing exploits to prove that, despite the circumstances and the obstacles, overcoming and courageous, determined and kind, wise and powerful.
Our lives tell the story of Jesus.
My life tells His story.
In my ordinary life i am a demonstration of His reality and His power and His grace.
He is my greatest hero. my rescuer. my redeemer.
He loves me with a great love and died on the cross as the greatest exploit to save me.
despite the circumstances, the obstacles, my rebellion
He is the hero.
He uses my life to show His love, to show His reality, to show His grace.
That His love never fails.
That He makes all things beautiful.
That as far as the east is from the west He removes our sins from us.
That He makes us His.
That He loves us first.
My story has had some ups and downs. I have rebelled, strayed, cooled, disappointed. I have loved, served, being faithful.
But constantly, He is.
Constantly, He will be.
“Our mess is the canvas on which God paints His story of redemption.” -Louie Giglio
I want my life to tell a good story. A story that reveals His greatness and goodness. A story that is raw and powerful and that compels others to live for Jesus. I want my story to engage with people and draw them in to hear HIS heart.
My life is being written now. I am writing my life. The pages of my past are written in pen but the pages of my future are yet unformed.
By my choices i am “picking my path” (loved those books as a child!)
By my choices i am choosing to follow with the hero, or to walk my own way.
but i am confident of this one thing, that i am loved. that i am called. that i am forgiven.
Even if the red pen is used in my life story, His promise is that He will use all things for the good of those who love Him, for His glory, for His fame, for His story.
He is the hero. He is the main character.
It is all about Him.
The bridge of this song (from 3:42) was the anthemic song at Ascend Conference…. Imagine 900 young people singing this at the top of their lungs!
And I know that you are HERE NOW
Still my heart
Let your voice be all i hear
fix my eyes on the things i cant see now
Like the wind come have your way
I just spent the last week with the most amazing young people from HKC Youth (I have the privilege of being their youth pastor) camping out at church and then travelling into the city to ASCEND YOUTH CONFERENCE run by Life Church NZ. It was phenomenal watching a generation of people encounter Jesus and go hard out in worship for Jesus. The speakers were fantastic and challenging and the atmosphere electric with passion.
Read the rest of this entry »
Ephesians 5:18 tells us, “be filled with the Spirit.” As we yield our lives to Him and allow Him to come in, he will become our file. God absolutely allows us to use our past hurts to help others. But, don’t sell yourself short on how God can and will use you. And don’t forget, my fellow pastor’s wife and friend in ministry, that according to 2 Peter 1:3, His divine power has given you everything you need for life and godliness. Last time I checked, everything meant everything.
With that being said, I know some of you need for me to put some hands and feet to this. So, here are a few tips when handling situations that you may not feel equipped to handle:
- Pray. I know that sounds very cliche. But every single time I meet with a woman, I pray and ask God to give me the words. All these years later, I still need to be led by His Spirit.
- Don’t expect to fix them. You can’t fix someone’s broken heart. That’s God’s job. But as you pray throughout the meeting, God will give you the exact words or verses to share. I promise.
- Be honest. If you don’t know what to say or why this is happening just say it. So much of the time people just need to know that someone cares enough to listen.
If you had to define your faith with one sentence, what would your definition include?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines faith as a “strong belief or trust in someone or something.” The Bible defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Isn’t it interesting how both of those definitions don’t reference God in their initial description of what faith is or what faith does?
Now, ultimately, both of those sources end up associating faith with a belief in God. In its secondary definition, Merriam-Webster explains that faith is a “belief in the existence of God [or] strong religious feelings.” Hebrews 11 goes on to reference God multiple times in the Bible’s famous chapter on faith.
But here’s the point I’m trying to make – every human being lives by faith, with or without God.
The first time I heard the phrase “Walking with a limp” was from John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard movement, when he said, “Don’t trust a leader who doesn’t walk with a limp.”
His point of reference came out of Jacob wrestling with God in the form of an angel in Genesis 32. At the end of Jacob’s all-night struggle, God touched the socket of Jacob’s hip and damaged it so that from that time onward Jacob walked with a limp. This encounter with God changed him in other ways too. He got a new name and moved into a new phase of his life. He was now fit to lead.
There is a remarkable quality that can come from the lives of people after they have wrestled with God and life and the resulting limp is an order to themselves and a sign to others that God has humbled them.
We never have to come to Him and have it together.
Grace and the gospel invades all the bad spaces of our lives, otherwise its not good news or grace.
But how great is the love of God, that He calls us children and friends. We are no longer slaves. We are no longer far from God, but we have been brought near. Live in that freedom. Live in that truth.