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10356202_10153319292279258_6184601864101469717_nAt the start of the year when I said yes to being the youth pastor here there were 3 things that scared me….

  1. Driving the van
  2. Feeding 30+ people at camp or on a Friday night
  3. 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 »



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 love the story of Elijah on Mt Carmel.

By the way – i hate that word, story.   Its not a fairy tale or a make believe “story” but a real life account of something that really happened in history.

But doesn’t it just blow your mind.  It’s the greatest showdown.  God vs Baal.  Elijah, the lone ranger, vs the Baal prophets.

Fire from heaven.

Drama and humour.

But how is this relevant for us here today?

  1. Nothing is impossible for God.  No amount of water could stop God from boom showing up.  Though all the circumstances said NO WAY, God came by fire.  He proved Himself regardless.    In our life, no matter what the circumstance says God can and will and does move.
  1. It’s for His glory. There was no way that that altar could catch on fire by itself.  The odds were stacked against it.  In our lives we got to live for His glory.  We don’t create the fire, we don’t make the fire, we don’t own the fire.  Anything great that God does – GOD does.  Not us.   Live for His glory and the fire will come.

Read the rest of this entry »


“When we know the truth about God, it fills us with wonder. If we fail to understand his true character, we’ll never be amazed by Him. We’ll never feel small as we stare up at Him. We’ll never worship Him as we ought. We’ll never run to Him for refuge or realize the great love He’s shown in bridging the measureless distance to rescue us.” Dug Down Deep / Joshua Harris


I’m going to give you 5 reasons why God blows my mind… and should or could blow yours

  1. God is so creative

It never ceases to surprise me how radical and creative God is.  And every day scientists are discovering new things, not only about the universe and stars, but about our own planet and even our own bodies.

In fact, scientists discovered 18000 new species last year!

Did you also know that if you stretched out your DNA code it would stretch all the way to the sun and back 4 times!  It would stretch out to the moon and back 1500 times!

The human genome, the genetic code in each human cell, contains 23 DNA molecules each containing from 500 thousand to 2.5 million nucleotide pairs. DNA molecules of this size are 1.7 to 8.5 cm long when uncoiled, or about 5 cm on average.

You have about 10 trillion cells in your body, so if you stretched the DNA in all the cells out, end to end, they’d stretch over 744 million miles. The sun is 93,000,000 miles away, so your DNA would reach there and back about 4 times!

And if you laid out all your veins from end to end you’d be dead.

Read the rest of this entry »


* 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.



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

Read the rest of this entry »


How many of you know what this is?


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 »



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 »

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

March 2018
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