I love the heart in this song.  To love others.  For mercy to triumph.  For people to see God and feel God THROUGH us.  That we, the children of God, would know God and make Him known.  That we would reflect His glory and grace.  To love with open arms, and erases all the lies, and sees the truth.  Beautiful.

Lyric videos make my heart happy.  Yes, thats seriously a thing!  Fonts.  Images.  I love it.  Is that weird?

I confess I got really excited about a new Kim Walker Smith album.  She has the most amazing voice and I just love her heart for Jesus!  I love this new album – love its musicality and heart.  Is very much an album that will stir your hunger and desire to see more and know more of God, to know Him and make Him known.

 

13 reasons

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or binge watching all 6 seasons of LOST) you would have heard of 13 Reasons Why. 13 Reasons Why has become the most watched series on Netflix of all time. That’s a whole lot of teens and peeps watching and talking about a show. The internet has been a buzz about whether or not teens should be watching this show. The show is raw and can be VERY TRIGGERING to teenager that struggles with any of the content matter, not to mention the mature nature of the show (language, bullying, sex, rape, and graphically shown suicide).

I haven’t said anything about it yet, because my laptop was broken and I need to type to think (vs you know, thumbs) but I’ve been reading and watching and thinking about it.

So what’s my thoughts on it all?

As a parent and youth pastor my heart hurts watching the show. For so many reasons. Firstly, I want you to know, whoever you are, that if you’re going through a hard time or a dark space and feel alone, you’re not. There are people who love you and care about you and want to try to help along the way. There is hope.

The show has so many “talking points” in it, things that I think are necessary to talk about (cyberbulling, sexual assult etc) – it shows things that I think are pretty realistic, albeit ugly, about high school life and the ins and outs of been a teen in today’s world. It shows us that little things, both good and bad can matter, and that what we say can really affect someone, again good and bad. Is that reason enough to watch it though?

BUT my heart hurt also because in some ways the show is deception dressed up in cool clothes.

My heart hurts because I am sure that there are people watching who identify with what is going on and then think that her way might be a viable option. Cool even.

My heart hurts because it gave no hope. No options. No tomorrows. The romanticizing of suicide and the total absence of intervention i.e. medical attention, professional counseling, etc., is what makes the series both dark and dangerous for those who are depressed, suicidal or have considered suicide as an option at some point in their life.

My heart hurt because I think the show has the potential to mess with people’s minds, hearts, emotions. Seriously.

I think this blogger said it well – “The message of “13 Reasons Why” is not one hope, optimism or reassurance, but of tragedy, grief and the urgent need for action. I think there’s plenty to be learned from the fictional but poignant story of Hannah Baker — especially for men and anyone unacquainted with the emotional and mental damage inflicted by casual misogyny and rape culture. However, for me, as a woman who has long battled depression and suicidal ideation, the show’s well-intentioned message about mental illness, bullying and sexism was not shocking but rather reaffirming of the dangerous ideals that have often left me feeling hopeless and alone. When I finished the show, I found myself drowning once again in toxic, dangerous thoughts.” https://themighty.com/…/should-i-watch-13-reasons-why-revi…/

If you’re a parent of a teenager then it’s a difficult view but could be informative. It’s a heads up of what can go on (from a negative bias of course).

But if you’re a teenager should you watch it…? I know all your friends will probably be raving about it. Have a strong think about it, a pray about it before doing it. But if you’re struggled with depression, anxiety, bullying, suicidal thoughts or mental illness I would suggest passing on this one. Because the show can trigger things in an unhelpful way. Make sense?

If you suffer from bullying, depression, suicidal thoughts – I beg you – talk to somebody immediately (a parent, sibling, grandparent, teacher, friend, youth pastor, coach, counselor). There is a God – and He loves you. You are awesome. You are beautiful. You matter. You are not alone. You are so very loved. You cannot be replaced. And help is available in abundance.

 Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
 Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
 Youthline: 0800 376 633
 Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
 Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (Monday – Friday, 1pm to 10pm, Saturday – Sunday, 3pm to 10pm)

https://nickwattssoulfood.com/…/netflixs-13-reasons-why-is…/

It’s good to have fast fun songs to worship Jesus with!  They stir the heart and get the blood pumping and get lift you out of a funk!

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“The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift.”  — Francis Chan
The big idea today is that the depth of your character will determine the vertical depth and horizontal reach of your influence.
The further and faster your influence extends, the deeper your foundation of character and conviction must be.
Public service requires private submission.
Build who you are off the stage and behind the stage and beside the stage way before you start thinking about getting on the stage.
Have you ever met someone and they talked a good talk but didnt walk the walk?  How did you feel? Disappointed?  Let down?  As a youth pastor and as a person I am always thinking what is it like to live on the other side of me?  What do people see when they see my life?  Am I living in such a way that those who see me will want to know God more?
We all are growing credibility accounts with people – and our character will either make deposits or withdrawls in that account.
Spiritual maturity isn’t based on how much truth you know, but on how much truth you live.
Jesus is interested in our heart and our behaviour.  His mission is to transform us  The good news is we dont have to clean ourselves up ever to come to Him but that He is at work in us to make us willing to be transformed.  Christianity isnt a bunch of rules but about a relationship but the way we live our lives does matter and make a difference, first with our vertical relationship with God, and secondly in the horizontal relationships with the people in our world.
 

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I am a huge fan of Kim Walker Smith.  I love her voice and her style but most importantly I love how true worship pours out of her.  I had the privilege of seeing her worship lead and speak at a conference about 8 years ago and I was delighted to see that whether she was singing, speaking or just connecting with people who came to the conference, that she was the same person with the same great love for God and His people.  Be it on the stage or off the stage she radiated worship.

 

I love the heart of this song.  God invites us, He calls us, to draw near.  He invites us to find Him and to find all we need in Him.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12

 

healedAt our church we passionately believe that God heals.  In Exodus 15:26 God reveals that His very name is Jehovah Rapha, I am the God that heals you.  It is deep in the heart and character of God to heal and transform lives.  It is in the very fabric of who He is to heal.

In Psalm 103 we read

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.

Healing is something very personal to me.  It’s been neat on fb this past week seeing fb memories about discovering I was allergic to wheat, beginning regular specialist visits, having copious amounts of blood tests, and yes, having to go gluten free… In fact in space of a few weeks I was gluten free, diary free to add to my egg free, nut free, seafood free, fruit free and it felt like, taste free.  One test revealed that I was 3000x the limit of what a normal person’s rate would be.   It was a diagnosis at the end of a 24 month journey of constant unwellness and reactions.  In one test they did out of the 18 things they tested I was allergic to 15 of them.  Only to go back the next month to say, oh you’re also allergic to these things now too.  18 out of 18.  Over achiever!

Now I tell this not to brag about myself but to brag about Jesus and to declare that He is the same today as He was  yesterday and will be tomorrow.

My life changed at His Presence Conference in 2014 one of the speakers begun the session saying that he had some specific conditions that he was going to call out and that God was going to heal.

Carpal tunnel.  Arthritis.  And then severe food allergies.  I stood up.  Now I had been prayed for so many times.  So many.  And sometimes saw some changes but was still battling the condition.  And sometimes people would pray for me and say wanna test it and I would be like, bless your heart. NO!

But this time as people prayed for me I had a sense from God that YES I could eat!   I KNEW I was healed.

So I did!  We had a lovely morning tea prepared around the corner and I grabbed some yummy caramel slice and ate it.

Now this would be a trillion times more than my body could have handled.  If I was reacting it would take about a minute for me to become uncontrollably itchy, for my lips to swell and for my temperature to rise, for me to feel dizzy and like my brain was fritzing out and well, there were other unpleasant things too that would have me in the bathroom for the day.

But none of that happened.  So I ate half a piece of toast the next day.  And the pizza the week later.   And donuts.

No problems.  Completely healed.

I tell you this because testimonies stir our faith.  They remind us that God can do the impossible, and I say if He can do it for me, He can do it for you.

We believe God heals and love to pray for healing.  We understand sometimes it is a process.  I had a few years of process to walk through UNTIL my healing, just like how blind bartimaeus was blind UNTIl Jesus healed him, just as the lepers had leprosy UNTIL Jesus healed them, just as Lazerus was dead UNTIL Jesus healed him and raised him from death.  But we stretch out in faith in every part of the journey, declaring and celebrating that our God is the God that heals.

Isaiah 53:5 says He was pierced for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his stripes we are healed.

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole and we received healing from his wounds

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