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See yourself

Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself –  perhaps round the corner in our walk through time zone – and all you see is the big zit on your forehead, or the clothes your mother dressed you in (what was she thinking!), or the naff haircut that was all the rage in 1999 (what were you thinking) – or how young you looked only to look in the mirror now and see the wrinkles that weren’t there 20 years ago…

We are our own worst critic.  We see the flaws like the have huge neon signs pointing at them… and I don’t just mean in photos or to do with our faces and fashion choices.

We compare ourselves to other people, especially in this social media age.

We devalue the gifts and talents that God has given us.

Or we are simply unaware because our self vision is blurry and it can be hard to bring ourselves into focus because we’ve been conditioned to compare for so long and there is also that kiwi culture thing of self depreciation and not being a tall poppy.

In Judges 6 we read about how an angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and calls him a mighty warrior, a mighty man of valour.  Gideon literally says who me?

Gideon is sure that God has the wrong guy, that His angelic gps is off.  He lists all the reasons why it oculdnt possibly be him.

Im from the weakest family in the weakest clan.  God, you’re wrong.

But God is never wrong and He sees the gold in who we are.  He sees the potential and He has created you on purpose with a purpose.  God has in fact written into the very fabric of who you are the gifts and talents that He can use to change the world.

2 Cor 4:7 says We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours.

When we see ourselves with supernatural vision, as God sees us, we can step out in confidence because we’re aware and living in that reality that the power and awesome sauce comes from God.

Having supernatural vision of ourselves means we can appraise ourselves with honest eyes – none of us are perfect, but we are loved by One who is.  We all have flaws, but we have a God who forgives and is transforming us day by day, from glory to glory.

We can accept the good, the bad and the ugly because we know how greatly loved we are by God and that we are on a journey of becoming more like Jesus.

Having a wrong view of who we are can so hold us back because we may feel that what we have to offer isn’t enough. We are like that one boys lunch.  We may evaluate ourselves as insignificant but God uses what we bring and surrender to Him.  With God it is more than enough.

We have to accept the flavour of who God has created us to be and run with that.  You are you because God created you to be who you are meant to be.  He wanted one just like you.  You will reach people that only you will reach.  You will communicate the gospel through your words and your life like only you can.  You will serve in unique ways and the world needs the gift that you are.

Confession time… I come across, I think, like a mostly confident person.  But there have been times when insecurity battled within to shut me up and shut me down.  My greatest fear growing up and into my 20s, apart from spiders, was singing in public and dancing in public.  But as many of you saw in our highlights video last week and can look around the corner I ended up in a lead role playing an 8 year old brat, singing and dancing on stage, in the Ultimate Gift.  I had auditioned not to acutally be in the production but to make friends as I had only recently joined the church.  There were many times that I said to peter I cant sing that note and he would tell me yes you can and you will.  There were many times I was shaking on the inside but had to step out and do it anyway.

Even with preaching and leading I often battle the insecurity that I am not enough.  When I was 19 I did a personality test with a group of other youth leaders at my church and they all came out as Cholerics – powerful leaders – or Melencholics – deep thinkers.  And then there was me. Sanguine.  Funny popular.  Light and fluffy.  Again when I was in my late 20s I did a preaching course and everyone in the course were deep and spiritual, or theological and wise sounding and then there was me.    On the outside it looked like I had it together but on the inside I was questioning if what I brought to the table was enough.  God in his graciousness continues to encourage me that my voice is His voice and that everyone needs superhero pop culture references and gun noises from time to time.

Your life is telling a story. There are people who need your brave, courageous steps forward in faith, beyond pain, disappointment, or challenge, coming through with a smile on your face, joy in your heart, and purpose in your step. There are people who need your story of hope, redemption, healing, forgiveness, victory and courage! Your story – your life – it matters.

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See others

Did you know that experts say that we have 7 seconds to make a good first impression.  That first 7 seconds can determine what people will think of us from that point on.  7 seconds is not very long!

I first met my current pastor, and boss, and friend when he  spoke at a conference at my church in Dunedin.  On the Sunday night there was a massive combined churches event in the town hall and I remember going forward for prayer and Peter prayed for me.   I was getting massively touched by God and having an amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit when these two elderly ladies came up and started praying unusually for me.  Now back in the days I was quite an alternative grunge dresser so was probably wearing lots of black and ripped jeans and I remember having this cool hair style that night where I had put my hair in like 30 pigtails then wound them round and round to make like mini buns all over my head.  I also had lots of ear rings and a nose ring.  And so they were trying to cast a few things out of me.  That I didn’t have.  I was on fire for Jesus and was a youth leader at my church.  But they judged me on my appearance and judged me as demon possessed.  Peter tried to come to my rescue and then they unusually prayed for him too…. Yikes!  Talk about first impressions!

 

In Luke 7 we read about a woman who couldn’t shake her first impression.

 

Luke 7:37-39 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

 

Her name is never recorded but she is labelled a sinful woman.  She is identified by her issue.  She is known by her reputation.

The host of the party looked with his natural eyes.  He looked and saw a sinful woman – he judged, he condemned, he isolated, he rejected.

Jesus however saw so much more.  He saw a woman forgiven.  A woman free.  A woman worshipping.  A woman prophetically anointing him for burial.  A woman grateful.

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