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dVision 7

While on holiday in Blenheim last week I went to visit my brother – he’s a builder and has the most epic beard.  Over the past 8 weeks he has renovated their kitchen and living area.  He had kept me updated over the past 8 weeks with snapchats and photos of their progress.  Progress when you’re renovating is not pretty at first.  Their first step was to completely gut their kitchen and living area including removing the wall between the two rooms.  In winter, in Blenheim.  They stripped the stipple ceiling and jib board I confess, rather them than me.  Every weekend they would drop my neice,  off to my parents so they could install walls, paint, scrape, build, whatever.   Eva and I got to see the mostly finished product on Wednesday and it is beautiful.   All the work has paid off.  They have the most epic taps and cupboards that literally make you go oooooh.

 

Vision is a doing word.  It takes action.   We cant just dream, we have to do.

I love the book of proverbs.  Firstly, it nails you on those character things… but secondly, some of them are just funny.

Prov 22:13 The lazy one [manufactures excuses and] says, “There is a lion outside!

I will be killed in the streets [if I go out to work]!”

Proverbs 31:6 (New International Version)

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.

Proverbs 26:11 (New International Version)

Gray is a crown of splendor: it is attained by a righteous life.

 

But one that I have always enjoyed is this:

 

Proverb 14:4

Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is clean, but an abundant harvest is produced by strong oxen.

 

It’s the poo profit ratio.  If you’ve got no oxen, you’ve got no poo.  But you’ve also got no harvest.  You’ve got to have the oxen to have the harvest and what do you know, oxen poop.

The idea is to have the poo profit ratio right.  Too much poo – not a good thing, you spend your time mucking the stall and up to the ankles in… .  Too little poo means too little profit.

Get the ratio right and we’re living the vision.

 

Every vision requires doing.

It requires work.  Effort.  Sweat.  Time.  Tears.  Strain.  Stretch.

As people of vision we must make each moment count.  Our whole life matters.  Dreams don’t magically come true at the right time without the right preparation and cultivation.

Do you dream of being an author?  Then write, now, today.

Do you dream of being a missionary?  Learn and serve, now, today.

Do you dream of being a worship leader?  Practice and join the worship team.

Do you dream of being a preacher?  Write messages, now, today.  Join a connect group

Don’t let your vision stay as just a blueprint.  Knock down walls and build stuff.

There are so many ways that we can feed our visions – podcasts, books, getting around people who are doing it – but at some point we need to just step out and trust God in the doing.

 

A few weeks ago I had the incredible privilege of speaking at a Renew Youth event in Whangarei.  Right up to the moment I stepped onto the stage and grabbed the mic I was freaking out and the voice in my head was saying why did we say yes to this, what were we thinking, can I back out now, I need to pee!

But as I stepped onto the stage it was like the Holy Spirit came upon me and through me and it was the sense of I am made for this.

Living out the vision may be scary – probably will be scary and bigger than what we can do on our own strength – but that is the awesomeness of doing life wth God.

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.

Vision 3

Often we equate vision with doing but a massive part of vision is BEING.  We have to BE the vision, we have to BE the person that can live that vision.

Vision is more than what we do.

It is who we are.

“God-size dreams ensure our growth. When God calls us to something, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable, like someone handing us the wrong size in the dressing room. It gaps in strange places and pinches in others. We may find ourselves wanting to send it back for a more reasonably-sized dream, one that doesn’t cause so much discomfort.

But that’s a huge mistake.   God hands us an extra-large vision by design. He is not just interested in what we can accomplish for him, but in who we are becoming along the way. As we struggle to grow into what and who God calls us to do and be, we are changed and shaped more and more into the likeness of Christ.”  Michael Hyatt

 

In 1 Samuel 10 we read about the calling of Saul.

1 Samuel 10:23-24

23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.”

Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

 

On the outside Saul looked like he was the right man for the job.  On the outside he was head and shoulders above everyone else, tall dark and handsome.

Saul’s downfall wasn’t a one time event but a series of consistent character flaws that revealed where his heart was at… he made snap decisions and followed his own heart, he built his own kingdom and did things his own way.

Compare this to David… he wasn’t even in the line up when Samuel was there to choose the new king

1 Samuel 16:6-7

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 

In Acts 13:22 we read that God said that David is man after my own heart – David was a man after God’s heart.

Time and time again we read how David would seek God and follow God’s ways.  He wasn’t perfect and like all humans, had some serious character flaws, but for God to say that he was a man after God’s heart speaks volumes.

All the competency in the world can’t compensate for a lack of character. Not for long.

Eventually, ultimately, your character is your lid.

Even in your workplace character is a great level upper.  You may be the smartest person in the room but if you don’t follow through and keep your word and be kind then it may hinder you in stepping up.   Lack of character hurts marriages and friendships.  It erodes trust and closes the doors to opportunities.

As John Wooden famously said, he true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.  It means we’re the same with one person, as we are on a stage or with a thousand.   I read a great challenge the other day:  live as if everything you did and everything you said would be made public.

Saul, the man who was head and shoulders above everyone didn’t have the character to carry the crown.

Like it or not, here’s the truth:

Character, not competency, determines capacity.

 

2 Timothy 2:20-21 describes a house with objects used for common and special useage.

 

2 Timothy 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. Therefore, if anyone purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified and useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

 

So the question I want to ask today is simple.

What are you doing to grow your character?  What are you doing today to be prepared for every good work?  To be a person who will live the vision?

Psalm 119:11 says I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

As human beings we are flawed selfish creatures.  Which is why we so need Jesus!  By reading the word of God and letting it transform us inside out, letting it challenge us, letting it choose how we live and react and letting it determine our priorities, we allow God to shape our heart and it helps our character grow so we can BE the person that lives the dream.

One of the best ways to grow your character is to remain in God’s presence. And by keeping your attention fixed on Him, you will become changed.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18

We see in David’s life when he walked close with God making the right choices was easier – note I didn’t say easy, but easier.

Francis Chan says the secret to overcoming temptation – thus the secret to growing good character – is to know that God is greater.  We need to live that – in a very real awareness and sense of awe and worship that God is greater and the thankfulness that we can have a real relationship with Him.

Vision sets boundaries for how we live our life.    It affects our choices and how we spend our time.  It changes what we give our focus and attention to.

 

My dad was a marathon runner and I have very clear memories of how all encompassing the lead up to a marathon was.  He would run every day but leading up to a marathon those runs would start earlier and would often be followed up by an evening run.  Closer to the time he would take a Wednesday afternoon off (and work in the evening) and would build up his stamina and ability to run the distance.  We would go and watch the finish line and cheer him on and it was amazing to see the hundreds of people that would do this, for fun.   Dad’s vision was to run a marathon and so he trained his body to run the race.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

The MSG version puts it this way: You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.  26-27 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.

The dream is free, but the journey isn’t. At some point, we have to make a transition from believer of the dream to buyer of the dream, from vision seer to vision be-er.  No dream comes true without somebody paying for it. If we want to achieve the vision, we have to be willing to do more than just imagine the outcome. We have to sacrifice our comfort, money, time, and energy.

“I encourage you today to embrace the change necessary in order to grow into the success that God has prepared for you. God calls us to step up and into His promises and purposes, and He will give you the grace to run your race.” ~ Christine Caine

 

“Your life from seed to full-grown tree is a process. We all like the idea of fruit, but rarely do we allow ourselves to build a root system.” Banning Liebscher

 

Vision 1

VISION is a picture of the future that gives passion in the present.

With God I believe there are 4 parts to vision.

  1. See the vision
  2. Grow the vision
  3. Be the vision
  4. Do the vision

 

The legendary sculptor, Michelangelo claimed that as he looked into the stone, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” His imagination had already created his masterpieces before his hands did the work.

Many people don’t jump start their lives because they don’t have anything to jump to! They plod along through life with little more than survival in mind. Visionaries dare to dream. They peer into the future and generate possibilities in their mind’s eye.

John Maxwell says : Vision is the roadmap to your destiny, the picture of your purpose. Without it, you may find yourself off course — or worse, going nowhere.

We all have limitations. Limited time, limited resources, and limited energy. We cant have it all.  Seeing the vision clearly helps us to prioritize which opportunities to bypass and which activities deserve our dedication.

The choices we make either draw us closer to our vision or push us farther away from it. If we’re unsure of the vision, then we won’t know how to make decisions that carry us in the right direction. Clear vision illuminates the path in front of us as we select which roads to travel down in life.

Vision gives significance to the otherwise meaningless details of our lives.  Too many times the routines of life begin to feel like shovelling dirt.  But take those same routines and responsibilities and view them through the lens of vision and everything looks different.  Vision brings your world into focus.  A clear vision enables you to see everything differently.  Andy Stanley

 

So we all now agree that Vision is important – its necessary!  But for some of us it can be one of those ethereal things we know we should have but we’re not sure how to actually get one.  You cant go buy one off the shelf and even reading amazing books or listening to inspiring podcasts may not help.

Now in talking about vision I’m not just talking about ministry.  Often in a church context we narrow our scope of what vision is to cool God stuff – which is cool and awesome.  But God doesn’t put vision in a box.  He wants us to have a vision for our lives and that can be ministry, or business, or the arts, or science or politics.  God doesn’t want us to limit our dreams to these 4 walls – to God there is no spiritual and secular.  Everything can be a God vision.

Firstly, vision is something you can ask God for.  He is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller.  God has a blueprint or intelligent design plan created for each and every one of our lives.  In Philippians 1:6 it says that God finishes what He starts.  He has a vision for your life and He doesn’t want it to be a secret.  He loves to share it!

Vision begins with surrender.  God I give you my life.  God I give you permission for you to lead me.  God I want to live for you.  God, here am I send me.

Proverbs 3:5-6 can sound like such a cliché but it’s a very real truth…  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

From that position of surrender God begins to stir our hearts towards “something” – and I say something because often we don’t fully know what that will look like but we can be fully assured that God will direct our paths.

When I was 16 I got saved at an easter camp and I knew right from that moment of salvation that I wanted to preach.  And even as years went by I knew that that was my vision and calling – to preach was part of my something.   As I walked with God and “grew up” that began to become more defined and clear.

There are some practical questions we can ask ourselves to help define our vision

Take some time to LOOK…

Within you: What is your passion?

Behind you: How have past lessons and experiences prepared you to pursue your passion?

Around you: What’s happening to others around you that inspire you or break your heart?

Ahead of you: What do you want to accomplish?

Above you: What part does God play in your life and dream?

Beside you: What resources are available to you?

Alongside you: Who can partner with you in this pursuit?

 

These questions might illuminate the seeds of vision God has planted within you.  Vision starts as a seed and often grows and unfolds as we step forward into it.

“In the pursuit of following Him, He brought my destiny to me. I didn’t have to chase my destiny. It came. My eyes fixed on Him, walking to Him and He aligns my steps” Kim Walker Smith

23435228_1456531371110915_4664355571573296691_n work

The promise of God is that He finishes what He starts.

I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]. Philippians 1:6 AMP

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Philippians 1:6 MSG

I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! Philippians 1:6 TPT

God is at work to mature us, to transform us and to make us into the men and women of God He created us to be.  We are designed on purpose, with a purpose.

Today you can be confident that God sees you and that He loves you.  He has great plans and purposes for your life and He is fully committed to seeing His success through your life.

 

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“There is no thing as secular employment for the believer. Once we are born again, everything about us is redeemed for Kingdom purposes. It is all spiritual. It is either a legitimate Kingdom expression, or we shouldn’t be involved at all.

Every believer is in full time ministry – only a few have pulpits in sanctuaries. The rest have their pulpit in their areas of expertise and favour in the world system.

The call of God is important, not because of the title it carries, or doesn’t carry. Its valuable because of the One who called us. An assignment to be in business is as valuable in the Kingdom as is the call to be an evangelist. The privilege to be a stay at home wife and mother is equal in importance to being a missionary. Embrace your call with the faithfulness and thankfulness worthy of the One who has called you.” Bill Johnson – Dreaming With God

I love the slow pace of the new year – its time to rest, chillax, stop collaborate and listen… which for me means binge watching west wing, sleep ins and reading lots.

To kick the year off I read Shawn Bolz Translating God, which if you’re interested in knowing God more and making Him known more is well worth the read.

In Translating God he talks about connecting with Brian Welch, guitarist of Korn, who is a born again Christian and seeing God at work in and through his life.  Korn for those who don’t know, is a heavy heavy heavy metal band.  Its lyrics and concerts are not pretty.   Think drugs, sex rock and roll and then multiply that by 10 and you’re maybe getting a clear picture.  After getting saved Brian stepped away from Korn, realising that it perhaps wasn’t the best environment to walk with God and live free.  After about 10 years though he felt led by God to rejoin the band and now at concerts has a team of prophetic people scout around the audience handing out VIP backstage passes to meet with him.  These fan meet and greets however aren’t just about signing autographs or having selfies with Brian, they’re gospel presentations and supernatural encounters that see people saved and set free.  Heavy metal fans who went for a concert and met their Saviour.

I wouldn’t call Brian ordinary, but God chooses to use ordinary people to extraordinary things.  I love how God loves to use the unexpected to do amazing things.

Think about some of the main players in the Bible.

Moses – Hebrew baby, hidden away despite a death order for all male babies, then adopted by the Egyptian princess, raised in the palace who then discovers his heritage, murders an eyptian and flees to the backside of the desert where he becomes a shepherd for his father in law.  God then uses him to deliver the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt and to lead them to the promised land.

David – a man after God’s heart, who commits adultery and then has the womans husband murdered

Peter – a fisherman who often speaks before he thinks, who denys Jesus 3 times, even after Jesus told him he would

Mary was an unwed mother.

Jonah ran away from God.

Elijah was depressed and suicidal.

Jacob was a liar and a cheat.

Paul, who wrote at least ½ of the New Testament, orchestrated the genocide of Christians in the early church.

 

God has proved time and time again that He moves in unexpected ways through unexpected people, yet when it comes to our own lives we often want God to colour inside the lines, to be a cosmic genie granting our wishes and moving in predictable safe ways.

 

Think about some of the key moments in the Bible:

Walking around the walls of Jericho in silence until the 7th day was an unexpected battle plan.

Splitting the Red Sea was an unexpected escape route for the people of Israel as they fled from Egypt.

From the prison to the palace was an unexpected progression for Joseph.

Boy chosen to defeat a giant was an unexpected choice and a massive risk!

An elderly couple who have been barren have a promised son is outside the laws of nature.

The first preacher of the new church was an uneducated fisherman who just over a month ago had publically denied even knowing Jesus was an unexpected leadership promotion.

Being born as a human child to a virgin teenage girl, who then wed a carpenter and grew up in obsecurity, becoming a capenter himself, revealed as the Son of God who then was arrested and executed on the cross – our Saviour Jesus Christ, whose death seemed like defeat but was the greatest victory as it was the punishment for our sins and the price paid to rescue and redeem us, and was not the final say as Jesus didn’t stay dead but rose to life!

 

This morning at the start of the year I want to challenge us to say yes to the unexpected and to equip us with some keys to empower us to thrive when the unexpected comes our way.

 

 

 

Nothing is Unexpected to God.

 

One of the things I love about God is that nothing takes Him by surprize.  We will face the unplanned and the unexpected this year, but we’re loved by a Saviour who knows no surprises.

Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Jeremiah 29:11 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.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

Luke 12:7 says that God knows the number of hairs on our head which means He is paying attention to even the tiniest detail of our lives!

 

God is never surprised. To be surprised you have to be uncertain about what is coming. You have to not know things. God never not knows about the future or about anything. He is never uncertain about what is coming.

We can know this for at least two reasons. One is that the Bible shows that knowing the future, even the future of human decisions, is part of what it means to be God. And the other is that the Bible shows that God knows the future because he plans the future.

Sometimes  you just have to yell PLOT TWIST and then carry on in full assurance that God is the author of our life and that your plot twist did not shock Him.

God is all powerful and when we find ourselves facing a giant, or blocked by the red sea, or up against walls we can be confident that God is able and that nothing is impossible to Him.   We often box Him in and place our human limitations on God who has no limits.

This means that we can put our hope in God.  We can put our trust in Him.  He is the God who never fails.   He is the God that promises to complete the good work He has begun in us and that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his children who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.

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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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chuttersnap-120736

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 »

map reading

One of the key truths that God has graciously given to me is that I know that God made me on purpose and with a purpose.  I remember getting saved and having a very real and very clear call at that moment to ministry.  All I wanted to do is preach the gospel to anyone and everyone.

But there was that next big question, the question we often ask about life.

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 didn’t 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 wasn’t lost, I just wasn’t there yet.  And we didn’t have to go the toll bridge, we had to take some off ramp with a weird name that didn’t 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 isn’t random.  He didn’t 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 doesn’t 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. 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.    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 doesn’t 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.

wes hall.jpg

Have any of you here done anything that scared you so much you thought you might have a bodily functions moment…. Or that your heart might stop…. Or that you might never survive???

This year we went to The Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise baby!

We hit the theme parks, Sea world, Wet and Wild and Movie World.

Movie world has this one ride that scared the biginoes out of me but that I knew I had to get my son to do.  I knew he wouldn’t do it unless I did.  So yip.

It is the Superman Escape Ride.  After waiting waiting waiting about 45 mintutes it was our turn.  It is at this point that my son informs me that you accelerate from zero to 100 in 2 seconds.  Yes.  What the heck!

Let me show you……

So as we shot out now going 100km an hour my son and I had very different reactions.  I could not scream because I was too scared.  Nor could I shut my eyes.  However my son started with some noise then closed his eyes for the rest of his short life… I mean for the rest of the ride…

At the end I stumbled off the roller coaster, we laughed and high fived because we had survived!   My fearless 9 year old neice who also rode with us was like that was the best ride ever auntie Claire now can we go on the green lantern….  Like heck no!

It took courage for me to go on the superman escape.  And the reward of my courage was bragging rights and the thrill of the experience!

To go up the mountain you have to have courage.

Moses had to have courage.

He was one man out of a whole nation and he said I am not afraid I will go up on the mountain and meet God because he knew the heart of God, he had a personal relationship.  The reward of his courage was he met with God face to face, he met with God like no one else has in history.

Jonathan and his armour bearer had to have courage to climb up the mountain to take on the philistine army.  While the rest of their army nana napped under the pogemgrante tree with the king they snuck out to go make a difference.  They had a chat and said “if we meet the enemy and they call us up then we’ve got them, we’ve won, but if we meet the enemy and they say we’ll come down to you, then we’ll run because that’s a sign from God”  So they find the enemy, and sure enough the philistine solider says come on up….

Boom Jonathan says!  God is with us and nothing is impossible.

It was 2 against whatever, agasint 50-100 men, but the odds were ever in their favour because they knew that God was with them.

They were game changers, while the rest of the army slept they won a great victory.

We must understand that God does not live in our “reality.” He is not confined to odds and statistics. God calls us to throw off those constraints and allow ourselves to dream. Jonathan, was a dreamer who refused to be boxed in by “reality”. He had a dream to take on the army of the Philistines. On their way to the battle Jonathan reminded his friend who was carrying his armour that God could save by many or by few. He was declaring the truth that we can dream an audacious dream because the God we serve is not confined to statistics. THIS reality gave Jonathan courage.  THIS reality fuelled his dream.

Now you might not be facing an army or climbing a literal mountain to meet with God and lead a nation but you have got to tap into supernatural courage to do all audiacous things that God has called YOU to do.

To talk to your friend in class

To have courage to say hey im praying

To have courage to pray right there and then

Courage to live your life differently

Courage to pursue God wholeheartedly

You need courage to grab onto the dream that God has for your life…. That God has for you next year.

Where does that courage come from?

Stir your heart with the promises of God

Chop the wood

Faith in an invisible God who is faithful always

  1. STIR YOUR HEART

God has given us this book for a reason.  Its got just to gather dust.  Its not just a good idea.  This is the living breathing alive active powerful Word of God, that reveals who God is and what God does and what God likes and what God is doing.  Not just at the big picture level but to you personally.

To grow in courage you have got to get this book inside you – you’ve got to read it and let it inspire you.

Put yourself in their shoes….   When goliath faced the giant, he didn’t know the end of the story, he was just a teenager with courage to believe that if God said He would win he would win.    When Moses split the red sea, he didn’t know the end of the story, he was just an old man with a stick got said lift up.  When the little boy brought his lunch to Jesus he thought maybe just the disciples might get a snack, he didn’t know the end of the story, that his lunch box fed 20000 people.  When Shadrach, Mesach and Abendago said no way will we bow down to a false god, they didnt know the end of the story and that they would walk with Jesus in the fire.   They are humans, like you and me.  What got them in the book is their faith and courage, they chose to step out and let God step in.

Getting familiar with this book feeds your faith and faith is the key that unlocks adventure.  You get stirred to believe in a great God who does extraordinary things with ordinary people.

  1. Chop the wood so when the fire falls you’ll be ready

We’ve got to get ready in the simple every day parts of our lives.  If you want fire in your life you don’t just go “boom here I am, I’m ready” – you prepare.

Chop the wood.  Pray.  Read the Bible.  Go to church.

Do the everyday things to make your life an altar for the fire to fall.  Live consistent.

If you live your life with that yes then God knows He can nudge you in a direction, towards an adventure and you’ll say yes.

Building a lifestyle of worship, of faithfulness, of passion and purpose chops the wood and gets you ready for the fire to fall.  Its like you’re painting a massive target on your life saying here am I Lord, send me!

  1. Faith in a faithful God

Courage leads to faith.  Courage puts you in the seat of the roller coaster and straps you in but faith is knowing that you’re going to zoom, its the confidence that its designed right and that every mechanical thing is working and functioning and that in 25 seconds you’ll be able to breathe at normal speed again…

Courage caused Jonathan and his armour bearer to leave the safety of the snooze under the pomegranate tree, but faith took them into the battle and the victory.  Once they heard the enemy say “come on up here” they knew that God was at work and that nothing was impossible.

Faith isn’t a what – it is in a who.  We have faith in an incredible God who breathed out the stars, who created the universe, who knows how many hairs you have on your head and knows all the thoughts and dreams of your heart.  We have faith in a God who loves us so much that 2000 years ago Jesus came and lived a perfect life that we could never live and he died the death we should have, punished for the sins of all the world, for your sin, my sin.  Sin is the dumb stuff we do, the things that push us away from God.  God is perfect and holy and could have just left it at that but He wanted to be our Father and to be our friend.  So Jesus came and lived and died and took our place – its like he exchanged his perfect rap sheet for our rubbish rap sheet and now we can be called innocent and not guilty.

This is who we have faith in.  The God who has done everything to make us His friend.  The God who created you on purpose with a purpose.  The God who holds the universe together and is at work yesterday, today, tomorrow.

And He is calling you to have courage.  He is calling you to step up and step out and make a difference.  He has created you for adventures with Him.  He has created you to shine in the darkness of this world.  He has called you to be different.  He has called you to know Him and make Him known.  To do this you need courage, you need to stir yourself up with His promises and with the stories of people doing amazing things.   You need to live a life that holds fast to what it means to be God’s friend, to chop the wood now so that when the fire falls, when the opportunity comes, when the roller coaster of your life takes off at 0-100 km per hour that you are ready and you need to know that God is good and great.

Life is more than breathing, you are on mission.  It might seem like mission impossible but with God He says IM POSSIBLE.  Its time to lift our vision and to stretch out into the more that God dreams for your life….

 

  • HKC Collision Camp 2016
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