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Last night we had our official kick off 2015 for HKC Youth @ The River.
We had some worship, games and then I spoke.
Being the first night I wanted to tell them a little bit about my own story….
I thought I’d begin by telling you a bit about my story. You see, even though I am WAY older than all of you, I once upon a time, a long long time ago, was a 16 year old girl, who wore all black, who didnt know God and was lost in life. But one day that all changed.
My family moved around lots because of my Dad’s job. Every 2 years we moved to a new town. I was born in Whangarei and have lived all over NZ – from the north to the deep south in a tiny town called Edendale and Gorrrrrrrrrre. It’s where i get my accent from. So you’ll hear the extra R’s when i say church, Lord, worship, purple work shirt.
Anyway when I was 16 we moved to Blenheim. Now the difference between Gore and Blenheim for me was huge. I went from a co ed school, with about 300 guys and girls, to a girls only school, with over 1000 girls in it! Yikes! Culture shock!
One day in my Classics class a girl I sat beside me asked if wanted to go to youth group with her. I looked at her and said “do they have boys there?” She was like, “duh, yeah”. So i was in! Yip, I went to youth group to meet guys. Man God is sneaky sometimes!
But notice – it was her invitation that got me along to youth group. I wonder who you sit beside? Who has God put in your life that He is wanting to show His reality and love to?
Anyway, I went along and on the first night there was someone there, yes a guy, with a guitar and he said we’re going to have worship now, and he then prayed. Everyone closed their eyes and bowed their heads and I was woah, what is this? What is happening? But then my woah turned into a WOAH because I had this sudden realization that God was real and that I could know Him. That I MUST know Him.
I went along to their Easter Camp, knowing I was going to become a Christian. I didn’t know what that meant but I was ready to give my everything to Jesus. I think I thought that being a Christian meant I would have to wear gray, be really boring and never listen to heavy metal music again. But that sense that it would be all worth it was so strong that I was ready to wear gray, be boring and listen to nuns singing soprano. Forever. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently I got to watch a clip of a 12 year old boy give a speech in the Auckland speech finals. His sister died in the Elim cannoning tragedy in 2008. His speech was on legacy and the challenge to his audience was What are you doing to leave a legacy? He challenged us to make our lives count.
Life is more than breathing. It’s more than minecraft (shock), more than our friends, more than today.
You may think, yeah I’ll think about that when I’m 21, when I’m a grown up, when I’ve got a job. But today matters. Today counts. Today you are creating your legacy.
The greatest legacy we can leave is lives changed eternally. To see His Kingdom Come.
DL Moody, a famous old dead guy who was a famous preacher and revivalist said ““The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”
“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man or woman fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that person.”
That is the challenge that I throw down to each of you, to myself. To know God and make Him known.
So how do we make that real in our lives?
When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” Mark 2:1-12
In this passage we see four men with radical faith, who created a legacy and made a difference. They heard Jesus was in town and knew that Jesus was the answer their friend needed. This was their one chance, their moment.
Their friend was paralysed. He could not walk or move. He could not get to Jesus himself. He needed the deliberate intentional choices and actions of his friends to get Him to Jesus.
Who are you bringing?
Who are the paralysed people in your life? They may not be confined to a wheel chair unable to walk or move, but there may be other areas that they stuck and paralysed in. Loneliness. Fear. Rejection. Depression. Sin.
The paralyzed man had his whole life radically changed. He could walk and run and dance for the first time. And more importantly, his sins were forgiven. His eternity was changed. He knew that God loved him, rescued him and that God was real and amazing. Heaven collided with earth. It was more than just a story, it was more than just a good idea. God did something so real and irrefutable, so big and spectacular that it blew the limitations that people had around God.
There is so much more possibility than we have seen before because Jesus is more amazing than we can dare, ask or imagine. So lets dare, ask and imagine great things and see God exceed those things.
In my own story, before going to youth group I was paralyzed. Just like that man. I was stuck in the blackness of my life. I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.
On the first night I was at youth group they sung a song – Don’t you know that I love you, don’t you know that my plans for you are good. Look and see I’ve engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
When God saved me it was like I walked for the first time. In fact, at the end of the meeting I went outside and did cartwells and couldn’t stop moving and talking and expressing the crazy happiness I felt on the inside!
I believe that as we bring people to Jesus we’re going to see people get up and walk for the first time. We’re going to see the mess of people’s lives collide with the majesty of God’s grace. We’re going to see people set free and discover that they are created on purpose by a very real on purpose God. You are going to see the amazing things that God can do through someone that says YES. Someone who is consecrated and goes hard out to see His Kingdom come.
The people who know their God shall be strong and do exploits. Dan 11:32
** this is my message at Collision Youth Camp
The first time I heard God speak I was about 4 minutes old as a Christian. I had just got saved, in a shearing shed, and had gone back to my seat. I was all of a sudden filled with a warmth and a peace that i had never felt before. I felt God speak to me. It was amazing. and i was 4 minutes old, brand new.
But it’s also a learning process. We practice hearing His voice and recognising what He is saying and what He is leading us to do. Sometimes its not as easy and clear cut as it sounds like it should be, sometimes we can be distracted by our emotions and circumstances.
Each of us needs to learn from personal experience what it means to hear God given our unique background, personality, and life situation. They way that you hear God is likely to be somewhat different from how I hear God. But the beautiful amazing thing is that God speaks to us.
The God that created the universe, breathed the stars out, is eternal and unshakable, all powerful and glorious – that He speaks to us, that He is near and personal, interested in our lives and doing life with us.
How did Hosea know he was to marry a prostitute?
How did Isaiah know he was to be a naked prophet – for three whole naked cold years?
How did Paul face the storm and shipwreck without fear?
How did Joshua know the walls would fall down?
How did Elijah know to go to zarapeth?
These are all out there examples of people who did radical out there things when they heard from God.
Have you ever had that moment, you’re on the phone, having a great conversation, sharing your heart and then you realize it’s really quiet on the other end. The mmms and ahhas have stopped and there isn’t even any background noise. Silence. Disconnection.
Doesn’t it sometimes feel like that with God. You’re talking away, sharing your heart and then you wonder if there really is someone on the other end of the line.
Hello? God are you there?
David felt like this.
In numerous psalms he cries out “God do not be silent to me!”
Psalm 28:1-2 says:
To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You are silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.
And like he says: When God is silent it’s the pits.
We wonder what has caused the disconnection. What went wrong? Was it something I said? Something I did. Someone I am?
Are you ‘ready to go’ in the morning?
Are you able to maintain high levels of energy during the day?
Do you rely a lot on caffeine or energy drinks to keep you going?
Do you have energy left in reserve at the end of the day?
When we start to pursue our dreams and to live our life to the max the best thing to have is an abundance of personal energy, to have all our tanks full and to go forward in high gear and at full speed! What good is it to have great personal goals if there is simply not enough energy to follow through with them? If we have that extra energy everything will become easier to do.
We are often obsessed with time, and there never seems to be enough of it.
We try to squeeze more into every minute of every day.
We eat fast food on the run and chat on our cell phone while driving, eating, or exercising. We get drive through coffee and watch TV “on demand”. At the end of the day, we fall into bed exhausted, but sleep doesn’t come easily because we’re constantly thinking about the next day.
We want more hours in the day so that we can do more. But there are only 24 hours in each day, 168 hours in the week.
There are two problems with time. The first one is that after a certain number of hours fatigue inevitably sets in. There is only so much we can do.
The second problem with time is that it’s finite, and most of us don’t have any of it left to invest. Our dance cards are full and yet we’re never finished.
There is a strong case that energy management can save you more time than time management.
The way we’re working isn’t working.
We need to manage our energy vs managing our time.
Though time is finite, energy can be expanded, renewed and used more efficiently.
We need to be intentional about energy management.
What do you to to make time work for you?
What are your energy management strategies?
(see the post tomorrow to find out HOW!)
Romans 12 begins with a powerful call to transformation:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The message frames v2 in an interesting way:
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
We don’t want to be so well adjusted to the world that we just blend in. But in order to live different we must act differently. We must make different choices and do different things in order to be different.
“Because of Jesus, you no longer have permission to live life ‘normally.'” – Scott Thompson
Living differently – living a non normal life – means living deliberately and on purpose. Intentionally.
**** preaching notes from preaching last night at The River
Confession time. So I did this crazy thing on Monday. I drove past a woman hitching on Avimore, and felt God say, with a bit of a woosh in my heart, turn round and pick her up.
Um no God, I don’t do hitch-hikers. I’m a woman. I’m 5 foot one. I don’t know jiu-jitsu.
Pick her up.
So, I swung around, u-turned and picked her up.
Turned out she was heading only about 5 minutes away and while I had only intended to take her to the end of avimore… I took her to where she was going.
We chatted on the way, as one does.
She was like “I cant believe you stopped” and I was like on the inside “I cant believe I stopped”
But I knew why I had.
“I’m a Christian, I believe God is real and he loves you, and you know, I really felt from God to turn around and pick you up and help you out. Weird eh, but He cares about those things.”
“That’s cool. I cant believe you picked me up!”
It wasn’t a huge conversation. We drove for only about 5 minutes, I dropped her off. But I know that God was using that moment to speak to this young woman. If anything, she knows that He saw and cared.
All the time God is speaking. To me, to you.
He wants to speak TO you and THROUGH you.
God has a history of speaking to us THROUGH people.
He reveals Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. People. Not just heroes or giants of the faith but real flesh and blood people. People who were husbands, fathers, friends, neighbours, workers, employers. Today He speaks through people.
“Embedded in the larger story of redemption is a principle we must not miss: God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the lives of others.”
He is the God of Peter, of Oliver, of Jennifer, of Claire. And people learn about God and see Him THROUGH people like you and me.
We live in a world where there are so many voices coming at us from every direction. Even our own voice doesn’t stop. Everything and everyone competes for our attention and ear space. But not everything speaking is good. There are voices with an agenda to kill, steal and destroy. And the only one that speaks perfectly is God. So how do we hear His voice more clearly?
It’s important in this sea of voices to hear clearly from God.
It’s important to hear HIS heart and His guidance.
God’s Words will change your future. God’s Words will change a nation. God’s Words will define our life. God’s Words will define our marriage, our children, our identity, our dreams, our destiny. We need to hear His voice.
God’s voice is powerful. In the beginning God SPOKE and there was light. God said and creation was created. And His words still carry power. The disciples said “You have the words that give eternal life.”
God is speaking. Are we listening? Is His voice the loudest?
In a world of noise how do we hear His voice with a greater clarity?
*** I’m reading PLATFORM by Michael Hyatt and was mmmmming over an experience he and his wife had while snorkelling… it just resonated with me as a brilliant analogy and as it fits as a preaching illustration for a message i’m writing for the 25th May i’m filing it here for reference…
I read this great, aka challenging, post the other day (10 Things Pastors Absolutely HATE to Admit Publicly) and began applying it to my own life in the circles of influence i have.
For myself i have added number #11 to the list
#11 : I worry that i’m not ____________ enough and can’t provide the help you need (fill in the blank: good, qualified, smart, compassionate, wise, cool, relevant)
#11 is my biggest worry, fear, whatever.
There is even a phobic name for it.
#11 is the one i need to punch in the face, shut it up and nullify any limitation it could place on me. i will not live within its boundaries or restrictions.
I shared about it with my mums group yesterday as that was one area i was adding a i’m not blank enough to.
I had being away on holiday and some live stuff had happened for these women and they had posted in our fb group about what was going on. I was away but had snippets of time to check fb and saw what was going on but didn’t have the time or head space to go in depth to reply and help. And frankly, some of it was about things that I have forgotten. Toilet training. Night time waking. Tantrums. 23 sure fire ways to get your toddler to adore broccoli. Things that i don’t have to deal with as a mother of a 12 and 8 year old. They have their own stages and joys. And they like broccoli.
So I was being down on myself that I was maybe not blank enough to be their leader.
That perhaps they needed someone more in touch with their specific relevant life issues and that was parenting savvy and wise.
I had then gone to bed and had had a really “interesting” dream. One of those ones that speak to the heart. I awoke and knew that God had been speaking and that I was the right leader and that though I probably wasn’t going to be the one to advise them on night time waking and toilet training and two year old tantrums I was going to encourage them and get them praying and equip them to become not just mums, but warrior women of God. That the gift I could give was that I “had been there and done that, got the tshirt” and was now passing on HEART strength for whatever battled they faced.
So I bared my heart to these lovely mums yesterday and was humbled and heartened by their outcry that I had even entertained for a second that I was not blank enough to be the leader or even part of the group.
There are times we have to take those voices of insecurity and ignore them. Or more importantly replace them with a truth. The Truth. Remove the lie and speak the truth.
We have to refuse to live with atelphobia and to live in the freedom of God’s acceptance and power.
Rewrite the script you live by and know that God graces and empowers you to serve Him.
How do we rewrite the script?
1. know what God says about you – find specific personal verses in the Bible that God rhemas to you – highlight them, write them down, meditate upon them
2. stop the fear in its tracks… change the way you think but stopping the thoughts before they become a negative downward spiral
3. talk to someone about how you feel. let them give you a new encouraging script and perspective
4. step out and help someone – use the gifts and talents God has given you and watch Him work His wonder THROUGH you. a few positive experiences under your belt is evidence you are blank enough
5. make a list of all the ways you are enough – your talents, your values, your attributes
In myself I am nothing, but with God I am everything.
He qualifies and equips the called.
My job is to say YES to the things He is calling me to do and He will enable me to be a best fit in that moment, for that role.
In Him I am blank enough.
Do you ever struggle with feeling not blank enough? Or is this just me?
* notes from my preaching last night at The River
There is one guy in the bible I just don’t like.
He’s a jerk.
But you know, he often makes it into children’s bibles. I don’t know why. I mean, the guy is strong, kind of the wolverine of the bible. The children’s bibles always picture him with strong muscles and beautiful flowing hair. He even makes into Hebrews 11 which is like a hall of fame in the bible.
But he is a womanizer and as I said a jerk.
Samson was called to live a consecrated life but instead he lived an out of control life. He was called to be a great hero and while he does some heroic acts he has some serious flaws that detract from his potential and purpose and at the end of his story we find him broken and blind destroying a temple kamikaze style.
He showed such promise. Like Samuel, like Isaac, like John the Baptist he had a auspicious supernatural beginning. His parents, barren, had a divine encounter with an angel and the promise of a son. Talk about DESTINY!
But he is a jerk.
Tonight I want to talk about some of the lessons we can learn from his life – about living consecrated, living set apart, not out of control.
But before we get into that I want to add a disclaimer.