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* 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.

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IF YOU SEEK THE LORD
This term at HKC we’ve asked the 3 big questions. …

Who am I?
Where am I going?
How do I get there?

In week 1 we looked at how God made us on purpose with a purpose, that he likes us, loves us and that is not about being a copy of anyone but about being you.  The world needs you, not a fake.

In week 2 caleb talked about how God has about plan for our lives…. Jeremiah 29:11, in fact the bible says that before you were born ….

So, we know that God made us on purpose and with a purpose… but how do we get there?

Earlier this year I went for a bit of a road trip to visit my friend Fee who lives in Gulf Harbour.  I had never been to Gulf Harbour before.  In fact, I had probably only driven over the harbour bridge about 5 times in the whole 15 years I’ve lived in Auckland!
Anyway, I had her address written down.  I knew from the map on the net what streets to take in her little township area.
But as I drove over the bridge and started looking at the motorway exit signs I noticed one thing that made me half freak out.  They didnt have suburb titles, like how the rest of Auckland does.  Like Manukau.  East Tamaki.  Greenlane.  It had road names.  I was heading into unfamiliar territory and the road signs made no sense!
Then I saw another sign that made me freak out even more.  Probalby a 3/4 freak out on the scale of freaking out.  Toll bridge ahead.  We had been driving for over an hour and there were less and less houses and more and more grass and more and more cows.  I was like oh my word!  Perhaps we totally missed where we were going?  Perhaps I was totally lost!  

So i pulled over and rung my frirend.  Hey Fee, Claire here.  Help I’m LOST and um, yeah that toll bridge thing.

Ended up that I wasnt lost, I just wasnt there yet.  And we didnt have to go the toll bridge, we had to take some off ramp with a weird name that didnt relate at all to the area she lived in.
Now I bet you’re wondering what on earth does that have to do with my life and my dreams?  Its a nice story, but hello….
You see, just like how I was on a journey we are all on a journey.
I had a destination, but I was driving unfamiliar roads and didnt really know how to get there.
I was pointing in the right direction, but some of the signs were confusing and made me unsure if I was on the right track.
And in the end I phoned my friend for help.
And yes, we made it there in the end!
We are all on a journey.  Life is a journey.  Every day counts.    But the good news is that God knows the destination, and He knows how to get there.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says: For 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.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
You can be confident at every age and at every stage that God loves you and that He made you on purpose with a purpose.  God isnt random.  He didnt make you and then throw you into humanity to see what would happen.  He made you on purpose, with a purpose.
But sometimes it feels like we’re driving unfamiliar roads.  What will I study at high school?  What about university?  Or apprenticeship?  Who will I marry?  Should i do an OE?  Buy a house?  The red pill or the blue pill?     Big questions.
Philippians 1:6 says that God will finish what He starts.  He started something in your life.  And He will see it through to the destination.  God is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller.  He gives us dreams….  those desires and thoughts you have are seeds of God’s plan.  And He doesnt just leave us to do it ourselves, He on purpose is at work to make the dreams come true.
Sometimes there are confusing signs though.  Some of the confusing signs could be what other people say.  You’re not good enough.  Why would you do that?  Sometimes its what we say to ourselves.  Man we can be mean to ourselves eh?  Sometimes we’re saying we’re not good enough.  Sometimes there is life stuff that happens that shakes us a little bit.  Sometimes its also a timing thing, that God knows the perfect time for things to happen and so He keeps on working on us from the inside out so that we’re ready for the challenge and the task.
Though we may not know exactly what the map is like, we can be confident that God will show us what to do at the right time.
So how do we do that in real life?
1.  Habit B.  Reading the Bible.  Psalm 110:105 says Your Word is a lamp unto my feet.  Its a light to show us where to put our feet.   The wisdom and cool stuff in here will show you what steps to take.
2.    Habit H: Hang out with God.  Remember Jeremiah 29:12-13 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. God hears us when we pray.  Keep drawing close to Him and hanging out with God.  He is so wise, so amazing and knows all and sees all.  He sees your journey from the beginning to end.  Blows your mind eh!  By hanging out with God He gives us the confidence to step out of our comfort zone when we need to, and the peace and strength to keep going.  Sometimes He shows us a better way to do things.  Sometimes He shows us that we’ve been heading in the wrong direction totally and He helps us U Turn and get back on the right road.
3.  Talk to someone.  I phoned my friend.  Talk to a big person in your life, someone who perhaps is further down the road of life than you.  Ask them what they know to be true about God.  Ask them how they got through the rough parts.  Ask them how they figured out what to do next.
I am further down the journey that you.  I have had some epic plot twists.  I have had some interesting detours.  I have had some seasons where it has felt like I was going the long long long way round and that I was asking God every 3 minutes “are we there yet?”  “are we there yet?”  “are we there yet?”
We see the map just as we are.  Just our little square of location.  But God can zoom out and see the whole map.  He sees every part of your journey.  You can trust Him.  He never gets lost.  He never takes a wrong turn.  He doesnt need to ask for directions.
Tonight put your journey in the hands of God, whom you can trust, and who loves you…
You might however be at that point of wondering if God is real.  If He loves you.  If He knows your journey.  Yip, He does.  He loves you.  He knows your name.  Jesus came for real and lived for real and died for real and rose from death for real to prove that love.  Life without God is like not even getting in the car, to spin the analogy.  Yip, it may feel scary to think about God.  Yip, it may be scary to get real about it.  But its so worth it.

 

whoami

So who am I?

When I was 16 this one of 3 of the biggest questions I had with life.

Who am i?

Where am I going?

How do I get there?

 

So, who am I really?

What does the word IDENTITY mean to you?

Identity is how you see yourself and then that affects how you live out in the world.

 

So who am I?

I love LOST.  I love chocolate.  I’m a mum.  I’m married.  I grew up in southland.  I have an amputated finger.  I am a Christian.  I am the oldest kid in my family.  I am a kiwi.  I love to read.  I read about 5 books at once.  I love music.  I don’t like offal.  I am 5 foot 1.  I was top of my class for 3 years running in high school. I have had things I’ve written published in 2 books.  I’ve been on tv.  I wanted to be a journalist when I was growing up.  I’ve been overseas 3 times.

But is that really who I am?

When we talk about identity we’re talking about those qualities that make you you.  Some of those things will change over time but essentially they are the things that are your personality, your heart, YOU.

They are more descriptive words rather than facts.  The things I just said were facts.  I like lost.  Fact.

But if I was to give you some descriptive words about myself I would say I am encouraging, creative, purposeful, honest, passionate.

See the difference.

Knowing who you are will give you confidence to step out and live the adventure God has prepared for you.  Knowing who you are will help you to make wise choices.  Knowing who you are will help you be you.

It’s really important at this stage of your life that you understand what God says about you.  There are going to be lots of people with an agenda to make you feel insecure.  We do it to ourselves too.  How often do we compare ourselves to others and say you’re not valuable.  Or cool.  Or pretty.  Or smart.

But when you know who you are on the inside, when you have a secure identity, nothing can shake you.  It’s like the wrong opinions just shake off.

 

There is a man in the Bible who wrestled with who he is, who had some identity issues.  His name was Jacob.  Now names in the Bible often have clues or significant means that show who a person is.  Like Peter in the bible means ROCK.  Or Abraham means Father of Nations.  Now poor Jacob.  His name meant liar.  I mean how bad is that!!!  Liar, its dinner time.  Come here you little cheat, bath time!

In Genesis 32:24-32 we read about a time when Jacob wrestled with God and ended up discovering who he really was.

You know we can often wrestle with heaps of different places or people to try and figure out who we are.  We wrestle with what our friends say.  We wrestle with what we think people are saying.  We wrestle with the messages the media puts out.  We wrestle with what we see on the screen big and small.  We wrestle with what our parents say about us, their expectations.  We wrestle with what our own mind tells us.

Jacob had done that.  He had run around wrestling.  But none of it gave him any answers until he wrestled with God.

It got to the end of the night, and Jacob would not let go.  At that point his opponent was like, I’ve got to be out of here!  But still Jacob would not let go.  I will not let go until you bless me he said!  Well then – and this is where the answers came.  God told him.  He gave him a name change.  You are no longer a liar and a cheat God was saying.  You are a prince.  You are Israel.  You are a leader.  You are a man of destiny.  You are a man of purpose.

 

Who does GOD say I am?

 

But God has uniquely made you – He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Psalm 139:14

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How many of you know what this is?

choc-milk1.0

Lewis Creamery Whikkakers Chocolate milk…

Earlier in the year a craze began in New Zealand.

People started posting about the milk.  Tweets.  Instagram.  Facebook.  Social media blew up.

Without any form of “official marketing” this milk became the hot new product.   It sold out in minutes.  People stalked the supermaket at delivery times.  It was sold on Trade Me for $60 a bottle!  It became an overnight viral sensation and a marketing legend.  In the six months since its been on the market I have only seen it on the shelves TWICE.

Soon there were news stories and rumours of security guards stationed in the milk section of the supermarket.

Some people in this room travelled to TEN supermarkets to buy a bottle.

If you hadn’t had one, you wanted one.

If you had one, well, you wanted to tell people that you were part of the exclusive “I’ve got milk” club.

There was unashamed bragging and sharing.

The word was out.

Chocolypse was here.

 

Now you may be wondering what chocolate milk has to do with the glorious gospel? Read the rest of this entry »

photo-1416838375725-e834a83f62b7

Yesterday I talked about my story.  I talked about how I became a christian and challenged HKC to give their all.

So how do we make that real in our lives?  How do we go from going up the front, praying a prayer, wanting to be a Christian and wanting to know God?

 

For me what has kept me walking with God, apart from how amazing He is – and His grace which keeps Him holding on…  it was the HABITS I formed.

 

Often we ask ourselves “How do I go deeper in my relationship with Christ?” or “How do I grow my faith in God?”

Think about your best friend for a moment. How did you get to be best friends with that person?  You hang out with them, learn about them, and talk with them? You snapchat and tweet them, you text them a trillion times a day on your unlimited text plan.  God is the same way, He wants to hang out with you, teach you about Him, and talk with you.  He may not snapchat you, but He will speak!  The Bible promises that “when we draw near to God, He draws near to us.”

There’s an easy way of doing this, and it’s all based around the word HABIT.

 

H = Hang out with God

A = Attend

B = Bible Reading

I = Investment

T = Tell your story

 

Being a Christian may seem like it’s a list of things “TO DO” and we definitely don’t want you to feel like that!  Or sometimes it can feel like you don’t know where to start.  How do you talk to God?  What is worship?  Why do we go to church?

These are simple keys that can help you to know our amazing God and make it real in your life.  These 5 Habits will change you from the inside out.  God loves you with an incredible love and has done EVERYTHING needed to open the doors for us to come close to Him.   As we practice these Habits and make them real in our life we grow to know God more and more.    Nothing can change His love for us but WOW when we spend time with God and encounter Him our love for HIM massively can grow as we see how awesome He is.

We want these habits to become as natural as putting your shoes on each morning….

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

 

10355765_10204596491726091_4732391501616782173_n - Copy (2)

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

 

lightstock_1877_small_user_4963453

 

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Taize-Silence

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

 

be intentional

 

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!)

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