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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 »

“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
The big idea today is that the depth of your character will determine the vertical depth and horizontal reach of your influence.
The further and faster your influence extends, the deeper your foundation of character and conviction must be.
Public service requires private submission.
Build who you are off the stage and behind the stage and beside the stage way before you start thinking about getting on the stage.
Have you ever met someone and they talked a good talk but didnt walk the walk?  How did you feel? Disappointed?  Let down?  As a youth pastor and as a person I am always thinking what is it like to live on the other side of me?  What do people see when they see my life?  Am I living in such a way that those who see me will want to know God more?
We all are growing credibility accounts with people – and our character will either make deposits or withdrawls in that account.
Spiritual maturity isn’t based on how much truth you know, but on how much truth you live.
Jesus is interested in our heart and our behaviour.  His mission is to transform us  The good news is we dont have to clean ourselves up ever to come to Him but that He is at work in us to make us willing to be transformed.  Christianity isnt a bunch of rules but about a relationship but the way we live our lives does matter and make a difference, first with our vertical relationship with God, and secondly in the horizontal relationships with the people in our world.

Read the rest of this entry »


Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.”[b] 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.  1 kings 18


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.


The amazing encounter with God, the fire falling on the altar came after the altar was rebuilt, after the trench was dug, after the wood was cut and after the ox was prepared.  All of these elements take work.  Digging.  Building.  Hard Labour.   Elijah had to prepare for the fire to come.


Paul puts it like this – fan into flame.  Press on.  Run the race.


Chop the wood.  Pray.  Read the Bible.  Go to church.   Serve.  Give.  Worship.


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


Chopping the wood takes time, effort, and consistency.  It is often done in the unseen places, in private preparation.


Have you ever watched a movie and been amazed at the transformation of an actor?  I know things like that fascinate me and I am a geek so often will look up stuff about the behind the scenes information about movies and actors.


For example, Hugh Jackman used to run on a treadmill at the gym and sing at the top of his lungs to prepare for Les Mis.


Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson spent so many hours training with their lightsabers for the highly coordinated battles that they had to actually slow down the footage because they were too good.


Here’s a geeky thing for you:  when Star Wars – The Phantom Menace was released in 1999 2.2 million employees in the US skipped word to see the movie.  This unauthorized absence was estimated to have cost the US economy $293million!


We see the finished product and enjoy the entertainment but behind the scenes someone has spent hours preparing for that role.


Your life is telling a story and this year is a brand new chapter in that adventure.


What are the everyday private things, the behind the scenes things, the decisions, the actions, the disciples, that frame your life and prepare you for the highlight reel moments?


What are the habits that you have curated that build your life a life of faithfulness?


What are the intentional actions that you do to build your marriage, to love on your kids, to connect with those in your world, to grow in your calling and steward the life that God has given you?


Character is learning how to make the little choices along the way that ultimately add up to who we become. It’s learning when to say yes and when to say no.


Building a lifestyle of worship, of faithfulness, of passion and purpose chops the wood and gets you ready for the fire to fall.


It’s like you’re painting a massive target on your life saying here am I Lord, send me!



“While king saul was truly the best man Israel had to offer when they demanded a king, his heart had not been groomed through testing before he assumed the throne. As king, saul was entrusted with a measure of anointing to lead the armies of Israel to victory and shepherd the people. Yet without the strength of character that only comes by winning private battles, these public victories exposed the previously hidden weakness of saul’s heart towards God. That weakness, combined with his growing appetite for favour of man, led him to bring glory to himself and disobey the Lord.”

Bill Johnson – Strengthen Yourself In The Lord




When to Say “No” to Good Things

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to help you decide when to say “yes” and when to say “no” to good things:

1. Am I protecting time with my spouse? Be intentional in setting up a weekly or monthly date night with your spouse. If a volunteer opportunity comes up that interferes with your date night, just say “no.” Plan around this special night so you are able to love your spouse well before loving others well.

2. Am I protecting time with my kids? If you are missing your son’s basketball games or your daughter’s dance practices to pursue other good things, then you are not protecting your time with your kids. Spend time with your kids before you commit to spend time with your clients or colleagues. Also, before you commit endless hours serving in your community, first make sure you spend quantity time with your kids. And when you do serve in your community, do it with your kids.

3. Is this an area that I can use my gifts? Avoid spreading yourself too thin. Give your best to just a few important things, rather than a mediocre effort to too many things. Be strongly committed to the opportunities that allow you to use your gifts well.

4. Do I have margin in my schedule? Just because you have an open slot in your schedule doesn’t mean you have to fill it, even with good opportunities. Be sure to leave some open time for rest, reflection, and unexpected occurrences that will surely arise.






What Will Your New Spouse Be Like?: An Answer – Gary Thomas

Want to know what your current boyfriend or girlfriend will be like as a husband or wife?

The answer to this question could be the most important piece of information to consider before marrying your boyfriend or girlfriend. Or letting your kids marry their boyfriend or girlfriend.

And the best part? The answer to this question can be said in one sentence.


The Question:

What will my significant other be like as a spouse?


The Answer:

“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

(This is according to my good friend, Dr. Steve Wilke.)

It’s as easy as that. What are they like now?




Instead of Building Your Platform, Build Your Character

Pastor, words like “platform” and “influence” are important.

But if we aren’t careful, in our desire to build our platform and influence, we can end up building our EGO.

As leadership gurus Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges say, “EGO stands for ‘Edging God Out’.”


Instead of building your platform, focus more on building your character.

According to the Apostle Paul, the qualifications to be an elder-pastor are about character, not gifting.




12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans

May your actions speak louder than your words.  May your life preach louder than your lips.  May your success be your noise in the end.

The result of enormous success is often pretty noisy – lots of people talking, writing and sharing stories about it.  The actual process of achieving enormous success, on the other hand, is far more discreet.  But it’s this process that happens quietly, behind-the-scenes, that makes all the difference in the world.

1.  They have calm, consistent morning routines.

2.  They eliminate all needless busywork

3.  They do what needs to be done, TODAY!

4.  They gradually turn life’s obstacles around.

5.  They learn by stretching themselves to their limits.

6.  They turn to their intuition when making tough decisions.

7.  They mindfully focus on the positive.

8.  They create visual reminders of their long-term goals.

9.  They keep some kind of personal notebook.

10.  They have mentors they observe and consult with.

11.  They welcome honest feedback and criticism.

12. They keep their pride in check.



dear daughters (marry the right guy) – Susie Davis

the ‘Marry Mr. Right’ list:

  • He loves Jesus. More than you. More than his job. More than money. Or anything else.
  • He has a hard time keeping his hands off you. Sexual attraction, chemistry, whatever you want to call it is important. Now and later. If he’s uninterested physically, that’s just weird. Walk away.
  • He has a hard time keeping his hands off you BUT HE DOES. He does not ask for sex ~ or anything that vaguely resembles sex ~ before marriage. (See #1)
  • He will not compromise your reputation because he is lazy or selfish. In other words, he values and works hard to protect your p-u-r-i-t-y. (ie: would not hesitate to pay for two hotel rooms on a trip even if y’all were going to ‘sleep in separate beds’ in the same hotel room.) Yes, that’s so old-fashion but it’s also awesome.


Continuing in our series looking at the roadblocks to vision:



Failure to see the end in mind


Sometimes we cant envision the end in mind, the goal, the result and are overwhelmed by the babysteps and details we have to do to get there


Remember that scene from The Karate Kid in which Mr. Miyagi made Daniel wax his car? and paint his fence?

The lesson of the Karate Kid has stuck with me since I watched it when I was about 12.  If you havent seen the original – then do it.  It’s not just a movie but it’s a metaphor for life.  I’m looking forward for my kids to age a little bit so they too can learn from Miyagi’s wisdom.  And paint our fence.

The point of the mundane “housework” wasn’t to teach Daniel how to clean and paint, it was to teach him the specific movements and elements that he would then use as karate moves, defeating the roadblocks in his life and achieving his goals.

Daniel spends weeks doing this repetitive, boring task, without understanding why. Over and over again, he paints up and down, and waxes on and waxes off until he reaches a breaking point.  He didn’t come to Mr Miyagi to be a slave but to learn karate!  He thought that Miyagi was using him and wasting his time.

“But Miyagi shows him what he’s been doing has been preparation for all the moves he’s going to learn. In fact, he’s already learned them — without realizing it. Daniel learns an important lesson here. And so do we when we commit ourselves to the work, not just the fruit.  There is no “awesome” and “mundane.” There is only the work that must be done. And you either love it or you don’t. There are three lessons we learn from this Miyagi-style teaching: 

  • Sometimes, practice doesn’t feel like practice.
  • You’re practicing even when you don’t realize it.
  • All of life is practice — even the boring parts (in fact, especially the boring parts).

Whatever you’re doing, don’t believe the lie that says you’re doing nothing. No, you’re practising something. It’s just a matter of how intentional you’re being.” Jeff Goins


What are you practising at you in your life?

What are those boring tasks that make up the learning you’re doing?



Lack of Character


Character carries the dream.  The word used in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is INTEGRITY. If you don’t have the character, the INTEGRITY to carry it, it will become a roadblock that will prevent you from moving forward.

Character is a pattern of behaviour, thoughts and feelings based on universal principles, moral strength, and integrity – plus the guts to live by those principles every day. Character is evidenced by your life’s virtues and the “line you never cross.” Character is the most valuable thing you have, and nobody can ever take it away.



Oscar Pitorious.  Tiger Woods.  Lindsay Lohan.


All examples of people who didn’t have the character to carry their dream.



Why is character important?






1.  Never give up.  Your dream may take longer than you ever dreamed it would.  There are things that God is doing behind the scenes to grow you and make you and these things take time and come disguised as trials and “roll your sleeves up work”.  God knows the road you are walking and the destination.  He is the map maker and the author of your life.  Follow the compass of His guiding and never give up.

My dream has been to preach.  I got saved when i was 16 and thought that was EVERYONE’S dream.  I wanted to communicate the good news of Jesus to everyone and anyone.  one on one, in groups, up the front.  whatever and however.  i wanted to know God and make Him known.  in 2004 i was fortunate to do a preaching course at our church, with the drawcard that we would be sent out to itinerate as part of the course fulfilments.  And then i got pregnant.  i remember driving home from church one night, after hearing about the adventures that the other course graduates, non-pregnant men, were having and feeling discouraged and disappointed.  I clearly heard God say “i made you a woman.”  like duh?  but then i let that sink into my heart.  God knew the road i was walking on.  He knew and created me.  He knew i was a woman and would be a mother and pregnant.  I didn’t have to follow the same road as the other people around me.  He had a specific tailor made designed road for me to walk on.  He is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller.

2.  Learn on the way.  Take the opportunity to learn for everybody and everything on the way.  Difficult people in the workplace.  Family crisis.  Rejections.   Storms.  They are all teachers that give us wisdom and skills that we would never learn otherwise.   Make the most of every moment.

As a preacher moments can become stories, analogies.  I can learn how people communicate, how people learn, how people understand.  I can learn how to wrap words around a concept.  I often listen to message twice, once for content and then once for crafting.  I am always learning.  I am learning most of all how a very real God meets us in very real situations.  I am learning to pastor people as i am pastored and as God outworks things in my own life.  It connects me to God and connects me to people.

3.  Serve someone else’s dream.  As you serve you learn.  As you serve you grow.  As you serve you develop character and work ethic that will take you a long way into living your own dream.  Don’t sit back and wait for it all to fall into your lap but develop credibility with God and with others by living for the dream now by serving someone else’s dream.

If i want an opportunity, if i want my moment, then i must be faithful with other peoples dreams and serve where the need is.  sometimes this means working outside my gifting, or doing something not glamorous or not noticed.  but it develops credibility with people that can open doors.  its NOT about me.  its about what God is doing in His church, His body.  together we work and serve and live.  God holds the key to the promotion and to your dream but He has created His body for a reason.  Be involved and connected.

4.  Be who the dream needs you to be. Character matters.   Character will keep you in your dream.  Develop consistent integrity.  Be prepared to go the right way and the long way and the wise way.  Because it counts and it has reward.

Now i’m not talking about perfection here, but reality is that if you want to lead you need to have integrity and character.  don’t expect talent to take you everywhere.  talent with no character is no good.  i believe God will hold the door closed if we don’t have the capacity to live and sustain the dream. because the dream really isn’t about you – its about people being drawn to God and walking with Him.  i have seen the fall out from when leaders buckle under pressure and don’t have the character to sustain the calling.  i don’t want that to be my legacy.  my prayer is that God will continue to give me His wisdom and grace and i humble myself to make right choices that honour Him and encourage others.

5.  Let the dream grow.  your dream might look a bit fuzzy around the edges… that’s okay.  Our dreams often grow as we live, serve and experience life.  Position yourself in life to explore and expand your capacity.

As i said, when i got saved all i knew was that i wanted to preach.  today i have the priv of speaking at our church a few times a year and at our women’s conf.  i get to service lead and together with my husband we lead a housegroup.  i lead a mums group and next year will be working closely with a group of young adults in a “gap year” course.  knowing God and making Him known.  i am living out my dream.  my dream has evolved as God has revealed more of the picture and as i have grown and walked with Him.


The worst thing people say to us moms. by Jenny Acuff

“We have heard all about Jon’s dreams and passions, but do you have any Jenny?”

This question always makes me laugh because I know people are not going to like my answer.

Folks want me to say, “My passion is baking or sewing or photography.” We all have a definition of what really counts as a passion and often it most be artistic by nature. People essentially think you’re going to respond with something that is found on Pinterest.

But do you know what my passion is?

Raising our kids.

Being a mom.

Taking care of the Acuff house.

That is my definition and I don’t particularly care if other people think those passions “don’t count.”

They count to me.



10 Ways to Do Adulthood Well

Don’t worry about aging. Worry about not aging well.

It’s hard to say when a person reaches adulthood. Leaving mom and dad’s house, finishing college or getting a job don’t seem to automatically make a person an “adult” these days.

If anything, adulthood is a daily and gradual process of choosing maturity over immaturity. It doesn’t happen in one big moment, but over years of wise decisions. Adulthood is a sculpture carved over time. It’s a process of a person casting away their childishness and taking the shape of Godly maturity in their thoughts, words and actions.




Reasons to be Passive (Part 3) by Paul David Tripp

You and I live in these little, mundane moments. The character of a life is not set in three or four moments of huge significance. No, the character of a life is set in 10,000 little moments, one after another. The character formed in those innumerable little moments is what positions us to respond in the big moments of life (see the Parable of the Ten Minas, Luke 19:11–27.)





FUN Prayers for Myers Briggs Types

INFP: God, help me to finish everything I sta

ENFP: God,help me to keep my mind on one th-Look a bird-ing at a time.

ENFJ: God help me to do only what I can and trust you for the rest. Do you mind putting that in writing?

INTJ: Lord keep me open to others’ ideas, WRONG though they may be.

INTP: Lord help me be less independent, but let me do it my way.




Conflict Resolution by Lysa TerKeurst

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

When I was in my early twenties, there was nothing I disliked more than conflict.  I won’t use the tired cliché that I avoided it like the plague.  But, since I just used it anyhow, I’ll admit I tried to navigate around conflict at any cost.

I was a ‘stuff it and smile’ kind of girl.  The problem with pretending to be fine when you’re really not, is all that pent up steam will eventually come out.  And if you’ve ever held your hand too close to steam, you know how it can burn.

A much healthier approach to the inevitable conflicts we all must deal with is to face the issue head on with grace and humility having asked ourselves one very crucial question.  This question is so crucial that might I dare say not asking it could lead to extreme conflict escalationrather than relationship restoration.

So, what’s this crucial question?

Am I trying to prove or improve?  That’s the question.  In other words, is my desire in this conflict to prove that I am right or to improve the relationship at hand?





**** notes from sunday morning at the river ~ guest speaker kristen williams


Matt 24:14 then the end shall come
The gospel expresses the kings dominion over everything

With the king comes the kingdom
Want the king more

Heb 6:12
Inherit what is promised
Faith and patience
Faith days NOW
Patience says NOT YET

Rom 8:22
We have an inward longing for a outward different reality that we do not have yet

Prov 29:18
When there is no revelation of Gods redemptive purpose

Live in a way today that prepares us for tomorrow

Run with the horses now

God wont promote you to a place that your character cannot withstand

Faith is expectation
Patience is contention
To become strong enough to carry it

Phil 3:12 I press on
matt 6:9 your kingdom come

Live on and love that tension
Because God is at work to shape us

Jacob wrestled with God and then walked with a limp

Faith with no patience produces shooting stars, here today gone tomorrow

Patience without faith produces hope less christians

James 1:17 even the wait is a perfect gift

Theologically and experiencally know that the kingdom is not now and now

John 16:33 in this world you will have pressure


See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work. Isaiah 54:16

**** notes from the best housegroup in the world – peter morton speaking



The test of success is even greater than the test of hardship
All about jesus

Leadership is using the influence you already have
1 positive
2 negative
3 do nothing

The kingdom of God is the influence of God


Change the way we see our lives
Often we just think of occupation

Perceive our identity not just by what I do but who i am

At any given point in time

None of us need a title to be a leader
Eg fruit tree
What is in your life will come out
You don’t need a title to be empowered

What’s in the well will come up in the bucket

Do you think it matters how well a leader manages their personal life even if they can do the job?

Leadership always begins with us, with me

It’s not about principals but about character

We can only influence the world for God the same degree we are influenced by God

Guard your own time with God

Ripple effect
Fly in the ointment

Intention doesn’t change anything, action does

Too many christians live without the anointing
What could your job look like with the power of God
Its not just a job
Dont box God in

Use your influence for the kingdom of God

Where the rubber meets the road

Having your personal life on order actually means you are mire flexible to be available to God

Disorganization is not spiritual
Creation shows order
Disorganization is sin
Not just personality flaw

Disorganization affects those around you

Bring it under the lordship of christ

Getting organised
1 use a diary
2 have a week view of your life
3 don’t leave things to the last minute

You will reap what you sow

How you treat leaders is how others will relate to you

No one ever has a problem with authority until authority tells them to do something we dont agree with

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

June 2019
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