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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 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.

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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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“More than any other organization or movement on this planet, the church should be a safe haven and incubator for audacity. Everyone else talks big, but in reality they have limited resources. For us, there is no limit to what we can see God do through us other than our faith to believe Him for it.” Steve Furtick

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It is officially 35 sleeps till Christmas.   Or as my husband texted me on Wednesday, 5 Mondays.

Yikes.

That seems way too close.

 

One of the things I love about Christmas apart from the fact that we are celebrating the wonder and glory that Jesus, the King of the Universe, the Lord of Lords, Creator God stepped out of glory and into humanity, taking on the form of a tiny baby born in obscurity, born to live a perfect life, born to die a horrendous death, born to make a way for us to be saved and rescued, is the family traditions.

Every Christmas Eve after we get home from the Christmas Eve service our family open one present.  And it is …. New PJS!  Which means we have cute photos the next day!

 

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Every family has its traditions but a big one is the Christmas meal.   Some do the lunch, some do the dinner, some do the mid afternoon whatever you would call it.   And isn’t there something special about Christmas food.  Even if you eat it at other times in the year, it feels more wonderful and delicious because its Christmas.

When I married Tony I didn’t realise that I married a Christmas foodie family.  My family were always yummy but pretty standard.  We embraced the kiwi summer effect and usually had a roast chicken and veges for lunch, followed by pav and strawberries, every year and then left overs and bbq for dinner.   Tony’s sister however goes all out.  It’s the turkey and the ham, the exotic salads and roast veges and 4 types of stuffing and the sauces and the graveys.   It takes all day and everyone does something.    Now I confess I feel very out of my depth in the kitchen on Christmas Day when we all get together.    So I’m allocated to bring strawberries, dairy free icecream, and pigs in blankets.  For those that don’t know pigs in blankets are mini sausages wrapped in bacon.  That’s my job every Christmas.    And on the day we all bring to the table our creations, fancy or simple, and we eat until we feel like we’ll sleep for a week and bring on new years resolutions!   Whose with me?

 

Imagine Church like that Christmas Day feast.   Imagine if we all brought our best dish to the table, every week.    Or imagine if we expected one person to do all the cooking while the rest of us kicked back and watched another rerun of snoopys christmas?

We all have something to give, something to contribute and without your dish, something is missing, the feast is incomplete.

Now also, think about this.  Who is the feast for?  The feast is for us, yes.  We come and are fed, nourished.  But the feast is for the lost.  This is God’s number one priority.  That the lost are saved, that the lost come and know how great God is, that He is real and that He has the power they need, not just for eternity but for now.  The world needs the feast we serve, need what we offer.  They need what you offer.

 

But often we can feel like I do on Christmas Day.  Inadequate and that what I bring to the table isn’t flash or fancy or something other than what it is.   Sometimes I feel unsure if what I’m bringing is enough, or will be good enough.   I fight comparison and insecurity, yes over a Christmas dinner!

We’ve been talking about being a family and that we all have a role to play, all have a dish to bring,  but sometimes we can feel like we don’t know what our place is, where we fit and what we can offer.

 

So this morning we’re going to pull it back to the micro, we’re going to look at YOU and ME, as individuals and discovering our passions and purposes.

When we find out who we are, how God has wired us, we can then bring our best dish, every week, with confidence and grace.

 

In John 6:1-15 we read about one boy who brought his dish to the table and it was used in extraordinary ways to feed a multitude of people.  God loves to take ordinary people and do amazing things with them.   “Great moves of God are usually preceded by simple acts of obedience, doing what can seem quite ordinary, saying yes to God in all things.”

We need to get our eyes off ourselves and our sense of limitation and lift them up, as Jesus did, to the generous abundance of God, the God who created the universe, who split the sea, who knocked the walls of Jericho down with a shout, who cured lepers, gave sight to the blind, speech to the mute and life to the dead.   Our God has no limits.

2 Corinthians 4:7 says But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

So then, how do we find out what our signature dish is?   How do we find out what we are bringing to the table?

Read the rest of this entry »

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“This is God’s way: Putting extraordinary tasks on the plates of ordinary people so that ordinary people can see what an extraordinary God can do through them.” ~ Priscilla Shirer

As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another. If anyone speaks, he should speak as one conveying the words of God. If anyone serves, he should serve with the strength God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.…  1 Peter 4:10-11

Imagine a world where everyone was the same?

It’s not real.  It’s not possible.

Imagine a song that was just one note.

Songs need melody, harmony, lows and highs.

God has uniquely created each one of us to play our own notes.

When we wish away our gifts and wish upon us the gifts and life of someone else we play someone elses note.  We reduce the song.  We reduce the creativity of God.

You are crafted by God to play your own song.

The world needs your song.  It needs what you give, what you contribute.

The world will never discover the beauty you have to offer if you dont.

Your gift is not just for you, expose it to the light and let it feed the world.

Let your song bring healing and hope.

Let your notes tell His story and your story.

Let your notes impart wisdom and grace.

Let your notes lead.

Let them serve.

Be part of the great symphony God has written.

There is no monotone in the kingdom of God.

 

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God has called each one of us to be ambassadors and witnesses – to shine His light into the world so that people will see God in the darkness.  It is God who saves and draws people to Himself but He demonstrates His love and grace and lives out salvation in us.

God has qualified and empowered each one of us to do this momentous task.  It should be done every day in every conversation in every opportunity.  It’s not something we turn off or turn on.  We don’t clock in or clock out. We ARE witnesses.  24/7.  We ARE the light of the world, unhidden and shinning bright. God often uses small matches to light up great torches, no matter how small you feel in this world, He has something big in store for you and will use you in amazing ways.

I know for myself that the key to being a witness and a light is to say YES.  One small word changes my intentionality level and willingness to be used by God.  One small word.  YES.

Read the rest of this entry »

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“When you look at your everyday circumstances though the lens of God’s perspective, everything changes. You come to realize that God uses each circumstance, each person who crosses your path, and each encounter you have with Him as a divine appointment. Each day counts, and every action and reaction matters. God absolutely loves to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things in them, through them, and with them.”  Lysa Terkeurst

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Who you really are has nothing to do with you — how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behaviour (good or bad), your strengths, your weaknesses, your past, your present, your future, your family background, your education, your looks. Your identity is firmly anchored in Jesus’ accomplishment, not yours; his strength, not yours; his performance, not yours; his victory, not yours. ~ Tullian Tchividjian

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

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