praying_in_the_spirit1

I love how the old testament has so many things that happen in real life that picture something supernatural and spiritual.

Take for example when the Israelites were in the wilderness, fleeing from exile, heading towards the promised land and they were hungry.  Their reaction always amuses me – they were slaves in Egypt, treated terribly, forced to work in extreme conditions, oppressed and persecuted, yet here they complaining and wishing they were back in Egypt where I quote “here we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”  Now from reading previous chapters of the conditions they faced I’m not sure their filter was accurate.  They’re painting their past like it was satisfactory and forgetting that they belong to the God of miracles who split the sea to set them free.   And I confess I have read it and gone silly Israelites, you are so stupid, how could you forget your God, oh ye of little faith.

Until God reminded me, that I too am like a silly Israelite, forgetting my God, oh me of little faith.

We have moments in our life when the journey when hardship comes from left field, or things aren’t working out like we expected and we forget that the God who does miracles is with us and for us and at work doing a zillion things behind the scenes but we might see only 3 of them.

Gods solution to their complaining met their needs on a practical level but also on a spiritual level.  God provided manna that would fall every morning – like a supernatural bread that would appear around them – that they were to gather every day.  They were to gather just enough for that day for themselves or their families.  There were of course some that tried to hoard but when they went to open their manna pantry the next day their manna had rotted and was filled with worms!

Everyday they had to gather the manna for that day.

Everyday they had to find their satisfaction in God.

Everyday they got a tangible reminder that God is with them and for them.

Everyday they got a reminder that they are special to God.

Something in real life that reveals something supernatural and spiritual.

Everyday we have to gather the manna for our day.

Everyday we have to find satisfaction in God.

Everyday we need that tangible reminder that God is with us and for us and that we are His children and that He loves us with a never ending love.

Now we’re not heading out the backdoor to the lawn to pick up the days kai, our manna is time spent with God, in His word, in prayer, in worship and its not filling our bellies but filling our spirits and souls with peace, hope, grace and wisdom that being in God’s presence gives.

Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that we do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God.

The passion bible puts it like this: Bread alone will not satisfy,[d]
but true life is found in every word,
which constantly goes forth from God’s mouth.”

 

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Occupy Sermon Series DP

Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?   With this small rectangle I can call someone, text someone, check my bank account, have photos of my kids, videos of my kids, can book a movie, view a menu, watch youtube, listen to Spotify and get directions when I am driving.

A few years ago, it feels like back in the olden days now, before I had a phone like this, when I would get lost, I would be LOST.  And as much as I love LOST the tv show I do not like being lost locationally in my world.

I would have to rely on maps, which is not an application on your phone, but a piece of paper with squiggly lines and squares and street names and on friendly service station people.

Now days, you just need to pull over and click on the app button and boom.  It can even use your location to pin point right where you are and a nice lady that can tell you to turn right in 400m.

But have you noticed, when using this app we see the map just as we are.  Just our little square of location.

God can zoom out and see the whole map.  He sees every part of your journey.  He sees where you are today and the final destination and everything in between.

A few years ago 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.  Probably 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 friend.  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 didn’t 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 be when I grow up?  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.

As we talk about Occupying our Occupation we have been talking about being senior pastors in our world, about owning our classes and our workplaces, our spheres of influence but I am sure it has also raised many questions about finding that occupation that releases us to be God’s minister to the world around us.  Some of you might be yup, I’m salty and shinning and ready to occupy but feel that you may not have the occupation side of things nailed down yet.  You might be in that place of making the decision of what will I be when I grow up and I don’t think that question has an expiry date.  We can be in our 30s 40s and beyond and have a career change and a sense that there might be a better fit out there for us.

Our work matters and I think God has placed without our hearts a desire for purpose and destiny.  One of the greatest driving forces in the human heart is the need for significance. This quest for significance is fueled by a deep need for meaning: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? The reason your heart yearns for meaning is that you were created by the God of purpose, to fulfil His purposes on the earth.

But we can feel like we are driving on unfamiliar roads and our smart phones don’t have a DPS – a destiny positioning system.

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HKC YOUTH fllydvtd DP

So the first reason I ever went to youth group was to meet boys.  Yup, seriously.  I had moved from a little town called Gore where they wear purple work shirts and close the curtains and use words with extra RRRRRs where I went to a school with 350 kids, guys and girls, from year -13.  We moved to Blenheim and my new school had 1500 kids… only girls!  Culture shock!

I was in my classics class one day and the girl next me just turned and said “do you want to come to youth group on Thursday night?”  Literally my first response was “are there boys there?”  She was like “um yeah”.  And so I went.

The first time I went I had no idea what was going to happen.  What did they even do at youth group?

So I was a little bit unsure, freaked and awkward when they said they were going to have worship.  Worship was something you did at church, and this youth group met in someones house, and it was something you did with an organ and hymn books.  That was my limited understanding from my limited knowledge of church.

A guy grabbed his guitar and prayed, “hey God……”  and then began to play.  People closed their eyes and raised their hands and I was like okay, different.

This was like nothing I had seen before.  It looked like for these people that worship meant something to them, that they connected with it, that it was meaningful…. Instead of boring and irrelevant.

In that moment it was like my eyes were opened that God was really really real.  And that I could know Him, that I must know Him.

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HKC YOUTH fllydvtd DP.jpg

It’s a new year, and we have a fresh start. We have the opportunity to be who we want to be and accomplish what we want to accomplish.

 

So here’s the question I want you to think about tonight as you’re reading this.

What do you want to be about?   What are you going to represent?  What is going to define you this year?

You get to decide now.

 

Last year our Kids pastor and I did a first aid course.  I have to confess those mouth to mouth dummies freak me out as did the gory videos of what to do if someone has a knife in their thigh, burnt arms and all kinds of cuts and gross stuff!  I’m one of those people that love watching things like CSI and House but with my eyes closed through probably about 45% of it.  Usually I watch it with Tony and he is good at letting me know when its okay but this one time he was like, you can watch now but unfortunately it cut to the morge guy peeling back the guys scalp to look at the brain.  Yeah.  No.

Anyway first aid course.  I have a friend whose son did a first aid course through school then LITERALLY walked out the gates and saw a kid get hit by a car.  Literally.  He was right there on the scene and knew what to do because he had done the first aid course.  The course teaches you what to do in the crisis situation so that when you’re there in the moment you’re not having to make decisions – you know what to do and work through your checklist of what to look for.

 

One of the biggest decisions you need to make in life is who you will represent.  Some people wear tshirts to show what sports team they’re into, or what movies they love.  But I’m not talking about representing things like that but about making a decision about where you stand with God, about knowing God and making Him known.

What does it look like to represent Jesus?  What does it look like to live fully devoted to Jesus in real life?

Do you have to wear Christian tshirts?  A massive cross?  Does your ring tone have to be Jesus is a friend of mine?

There are heaps of ways that we can show that we know God and are Christians.

 

  1. what we say.

Did you know that the average girl speaks about 27000 words a day.  And the average guy about 18000.  Or if you’re Jessy about 263.  That’s a lot of words and a lot of conversations.  Sometimes the conversations are just about surface stuff – tv, youtube, the weather blah blah blah.  But sometimes they can go deeper – about what we’re worried about, how we’re stressed out, things going on that hurt us… in those moments we have a decision to make – will we encourage someone with the encouragement that God can give or just say nice things.  The bible says that God comforts us so that we can pass that on to others.  We go through things and God helps us so that we can help other people and encourage people to get to know our awesome God who loves us and helps us and gives us peace and is with us always. Read the rest of this entry »

Occupy Sermon Series DP.jpg

The start of the year is a great time to refocus and catch God’s heart for our lives.  Many people make resolutions, make lifestyle changes, take holidays as well as those who start new jobs or new courses.

We’ve been talking about Occupying your Occupation at the start of this year at church – getting a vision for a significant part of our lives, and reframing it from just work to being on mission.

God has placed us in our workplace, our classes, our circles of influence on purpose and with a purpose and when we catch His heart for these spaces in our lives we can see significant things happen. Read the rest of this entry »

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So we named this term at HKC YOUTH “stay lit” and I thought I should do due diligence and google what the slang term actually means…

And urban dictionary told me the most popular Urban Dictionary definition of “lit” is, “The state of being so intoxicated (regardless of the intoxicating agent) that all the person can do is smile, so that they look lit up like a light.”

Part of me was like face palm, until I read that it also means that something is popping or going off… and even the whole state of being so intoxicated that all the person can do is smile doesn’t freak me or make me go dou because as Christians the bible says don’t be drunk with wine but filled with the Holy Spirit, we’re meant to encounter God in such a way that all we can do is smile, so that people can see our changed lives all over how we live.  We’re meant to be captivated and in awe of God so that it affects the way we live.

But this term when we say stay lit I want you to think of fire.  A Christian slang term is be on fire for God, stay on fire.  What that means is the state of being so wowed by God, so in love with God, so amazed with God, that all the person can do is live for Jesus and know God and make Him known.

Way back in the Old Testament, near the start of the Bible we read about how Moses built a place for people to encounter God called the Tabernacle.  Read the rest of this entry »

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One person’s obedience and surrender to a process and to healing will ALWAYS unlock someone else’s heart for healing, surrender and worship. We are here on this earth for a greater purpose—one that is watched over and cared for by God who is like a gardener. He prunes and cuts away and it hurts. But He fights over you, dances over you and He uses lyric and melody and surrender to do it through. Your encounter unlocks an encounter for someone else. Keep singing. Keep writing. Don’t flee in heartache—run to Him. Don’t fight against the pain—feel it and take it to your comforter and let Him comfort and heal you deep down. If we live in the shallow end we’ll never experience the fullness of what the deep unlocks. —Kari Jobe

Im weird.  I like weird things.  I like things weirdly.  Take for example, I like to eat my M&Ms by colour order, I don’t like peas and I dont like my food to touch on a plate.

 

I’m slightly obsessed with Lost, the tv show, and Star Wars and often know weird random facts about them that no one else may really care about like the fact that an estimated that 2.2 million full-time employees missed work to attend the film, resulting in a US$293 million loss of productivity.  I’m also slightly obsessed about missing people and cold cases at the moment and listen to a couple of podcasts about them – I think its the Lost thing but in real life.

 

I’m also 4 books away from the goal I set myself to read this year.   Weird and super geeky I know.  Anyway recently I read a book about art restoration, as you do, and it got me wandering off on a tangent thinking about how it applies to our identity as God’s masterpiece and the process we are on to become more like Jesus.

 

Art Restoration is a very specialized business.  Do it the wrong way and you end up with this…. Phrases such as “the worst restoration in history” and “a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic” were used to describe her attempt to repair the 1930 artwork – a depiction of Christ with a crown of thorns….

art restoration bad

 

Do it right and you can enhance the original beauty and glory of the artwork.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

I had heard this song – done this way – with a twist – sometime a few years ago.  It blew my heart away.  I stumbled across it this week and have had it on repeat 🙂

Here are the lyrics to show the conversation, through song, between ourselves and God.

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life speak

There is a quote by St Francis of Assisi that says “preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”

And I usually hate that quote.

Seriously.

I think people have used it as a spiritual cop out for actually talking to people about Jesus.   That they’ll just live their life and people will just look and see and just get it.

I’m more the peach the gospel at all times and use your words as well!  Im more the subliminal message gospel by osmosis thing doesn’t fly so speak up and be radically bold and just be real and tell your story.

 

But.

Our lives can often speak louder than what we say with our lips.

Our lives speak loudly.

Our lives can either back up what we say with our lips or can tell a whole different story.

 

Tonight I want to challenge you to live a life that loudly shows people that God is real, that He is good, that you can find hope and love and grace with Him, that living for Jesus is the best way to live and that He has real answers for real problems.

 

“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

 

Your life speaks loudly when you have faith to step out and do something for God, just as Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water.

Your life speaks loudly when you say yes to God like the boy with his lunch that fed the 5000.

Your life tells a message when you choose to trust God in the face of your problems – like Joshua and the Israelites did when they circled the city of Jericho with its massive walls in silence for 7 days.

Your life tells a message when you make a choice to do what God wants even if its counter culture, like Daniel and his friends did when they refused to eat the kings food or bow down to idols or give up praying.

 

The Bible says in Philippians 2:15

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

So that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world

 

Breaking that down it says live lives that reflect who God is.  Live lives that shine for Him.  Live lives that are clean and pure so that you stand out in a generation of darkness, a generation that lives for themselves, a generation lost.

 

 

What kind of message is your life speaking?

 

Let’s look more at Daniel and his mates, Shadrach, Mesach and abendigo.

They were 3 fine young men, born in Israel, but taken into exile in Babylon.  Their countries were at war and Babylon won and so they king there took most of the fine young men, the potential leaders, with him to Babylon.  The kings plan was to change the culture of this captured country by assimilating the key influencers to be like them.

All around us we have a culture saying BE THIS, DO THIS, LOOK LIKE THIS. We follow trends and brands and shape ourselves to fit in. There is pressure to conform and culture tries to desensitize us to the lax standards of the world so that we wont stand out or stand up for God.

But Daniel and his friends made a choice to not blend in but to stand out.

 

Let’s read about what happened in Daniel 1:

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.[b] 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.

 

You may not ever have to make stand on what you order for lunch but there are things that go on around us every day that we need to make choices about:

 

How we dress

What we watch on tv or youtube or play on xbox

Movies we go to

How we talk

Dating and flirting and all that

 

But deeper than that – cos those things are more like external symptoms of the inside standards – how we treat other people, do we join in the gossip or speak words of encouragement, do we join in with the smutty conversation or change the topic, will we be honest at all times, generosity, kindness, forgiving someone and moving on, trusting that God will do what He says He will do and be who He says He will be, that He has a plan and a purpose in our lives and for our lives…

 

It’s the times that we change the conversation from tearing someone down to building someone up.

It’s the times we turn up to church even though we could have slept in.  It matters.  It shows that church is a priority.

It’s the attitude we serve in when someone asks you to move the chairs, or fill in for the car park guy who didn’t turn up.

It’s the respect we show in the classroom.

It’s the language we use.

It’s the loops we allow our thoughts to ride on…. Do we let them loop around like a record player saying you’re a failure, worry worry worry, who do you think you are… or do you smash that record and start a new loop that has the voice of God that says you’re an overcomer, God’s got this and that He loves you and has a plan and a purpose for your life.  The words we speak and what we think about most determine what we believe.  And what we believe will leak out in our actions and words, in the way we live.  They will preach.

Small things eh.  They tell a story about who we are living our life for.

Never discount how much of an impact these small acts make on those in our world.

 

It’s interesting to note at the end of Daniel 1 we read that IN EVERY MATTER OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING THESE GUYS WERE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE. Why? Because they were faithful to God and so He was faithful to them.

God wants your life to the best life He can give.  He wants to take you on God adventures.  He has plans and purposes, dreams for your life.

God doesn’t want you to miss out.

The way to live that adventure and to do all that God has purposed for us is to live a life that consistently shows that living for Jesus is real for us.

 

Now I want to add a disclaimer.  None of us is perfect.  That is why Jesus came.  He is the only perfect one.  We all have flaws and make mistakes.  We all have good days when we feel really on fire and amped and its easy to shine, and we all have days when it feels like we shouldn’t have gotten out of bed because everything we did and do was wrong.  We are all growing.  There is grace to cover that.  This is not a message to make you feel stink.  It is to challenge you and if you’re feeling challenged ask yourself why….

 

I want to finish up by reading one verse to you 4 times, 4 different ways.   It is God’s invitation to live a life that shines bright like a diamond, shines bright like stars in the dark sky.  It is God’s invitation to step out and see Him step in.  You are not created to blend in, you are invited to stand out.

 

You are invited to let your life  speak of the amazing things that God does.  To shout with your life that God’s grace is real and covers every mistake, that His love is real and never runs out.

 

Do not conform any longer 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. NIV

Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. CEV

Do not be conformed to this world, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs, but be transformed and changed by the entire renewal of your mind by its new ideals and its new attitude, so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. AMP

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. MSG

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Worship Wednesday

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