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See yourself

Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself –  perhaps round the corner in our walk through time zone – and all you see is the big zit on your forehead, or the clothes your mother dressed you in (what was she thinking!), or the naff haircut that was all the rage in 1999 (what were you thinking) – or how young you looked only to look in the mirror now and see the wrinkles that weren’t there 20 years ago…

We are our own worst critic.  We see the flaws like the have huge neon signs pointing at them… and I don’t just mean in photos or to do with our faces and fashion choices.

We compare ourselves to other people, especially in this social media age.

We devalue the gifts and talents that God has given us.

Or we are simply unaware because our self vision is blurry and it can be hard to bring ourselves into focus because we’ve been conditioned to compare for so long and there is also that kiwi culture thing of self depreciation and not being a tall poppy.

In Judges 6 we read about how an angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and calls him a mighty warrior, a mighty man of valour.  Gideon literally says who me?

Gideon is sure that God has the wrong guy, that His angelic gps is off.  He lists all the reasons why it oculdnt possibly be him.

Im from the weakest family in the weakest clan.  God, you’re wrong.

But God is never wrong and He sees the gold in who we are.  He sees the potential and He has created you on purpose with a purpose.  God has in fact written into the very fabric of who you are the gifts and talents that He can use to change the world.

2 Cor 4:7 says We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours.

When we see ourselves with supernatural vision, as God sees us, we can step out in confidence because we’re aware and living in that reality that the power and awesome sauce comes from God.

Having supernatural vision of ourselves means we can appraise ourselves with honest eyes – none of us are perfect, but we are loved by One who is.  We all have flaws, but we have a God who forgives and is transforming us day by day, from glory to glory.

We can accept the good, the bad and the ugly because we know how greatly loved we are by God and that we are on a journey of becoming more like Jesus.

Having a wrong view of who we are can so hold us back because we may feel that what we have to offer isn’t enough. We are like that one boys lunch.  We may evaluate ourselves as insignificant but God uses what we bring and surrender to Him.  With God it is more than enough.

We have to accept the flavour of who God has created us to be and run with that.  You are you because God created you to be who you are meant to be.  He wanted one just like you.  You will reach people that only you will reach.  You will communicate the gospel through your words and your life like only you can.  You will serve in unique ways and the world needs the gift that you are.

Confession time… I come across, I think, like a mostly confident person.  But there have been times when insecurity battled within to shut me up and shut me down.  My greatest fear growing up and into my 20s, apart from spiders, was singing in public and dancing in public.  But as many of you saw in our highlights video last week and can look around the corner I ended up in a lead role playing an 8 year old brat, singing and dancing on stage, in the Ultimate Gift.  I had auditioned not to acutally be in the production but to make friends as I had only recently joined the church.  There were many times that I said to peter I cant sing that note and he would tell me yes you can and you will.  There were many times I was shaking on the inside but had to step out and do it anyway.

Even with preaching and leading I often battle the insecurity that I am not enough.  When I was 19 I did a personality test with a group of other youth leaders at my church and they all came out as Cholerics – powerful leaders – or Melencholics – deep thinkers.  And then there was me. Sanguine.  Funny popular.  Light and fluffy.  Again when I was in my late 20s I did a preaching course and everyone in the course were deep and spiritual, or theological and wise sounding and then there was me.    On the outside it looked like I had it together but on the inside I was questioning if what I brought to the table was enough.  God in his graciousness continues to encourage me that my voice is His voice and that everyone needs superhero pop culture references and gun noises from time to time.

Your life is telling a story. There are people who need your brave, courageous steps forward in faith, beyond pain, disappointment, or challenge, coming through with a smile on your face, joy in your heart, and purpose in your step. There are people who need your story of hope, redemption, healing, forgiveness, victory and courage! Your story – your life – it matters.

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Media Manipulation – An Example

When superstar singer Kelly Clarkson was digitally slimmed down almost beyond recognition on Self’s September 2009 cover, people noticed. Her appearance on “Good Morning America” within just days of the cover shoot proved that her body did not look anything like the very thin one that appeared on the cover. In a shockingly ironic twist, the issue she appeared on was titled “The Body Confidence Issue” and featured an interview inside where she explained how comfortable she felt with her body:

“My happy weight changes,” Clarkson says in the September issue of SELF. “Sometimes I eat more; sometimes I play more. I’ll be different sizes all the time. When people talk about my weight, I’m like, ‘You seem to have a problem with it; I don’t. I’m fine!’ I’ve never felt uncomfortable on the red carpet or anything.”

Kelly Clarkson before and after Photoshop on Self magazine, Sept. 2009

Kelly Clarkson before and after Photoshop on Self magazine, Sept. 2009

Rather than apologizing for the seriously unethical and extreme Photoshopping snafu, Self editor Lucy Danzigertried to defend her magazine’s work to the death:

“Yes, of course we do post-production corrections on our images. Photoshopping is an industry standard,” she stated. “Kelly Clarkson exudes confidence, and is a great role model for women of all sizes and stages of their life. She works out and is strong and healthy, and our picture shows her confidence and beauty. She literally glows from within. That is the feeling we’d all want to have. We love this cover and we love Kelly Clarkson.”

Interestingly, Danziger wasn’t satisfied with that statement and felt inspired to take to her personal blog to further rationalize away the Photoshopping hack job:

“Did we alter her appearance? Only to make her look her personal best…But in the sense that Kelly is the picture of confidence, and she truly is, then I think this photo is the truest we have ever put out there on the newsstand.”

It’s hard to believe anyone’s “personal best” is a fake representation of herself. They’ll plaster “body confidence!” all over the magazine and quote Kelly talking about her own real body confidence, but they refuse to show us her actual body.

from: http://www.beautyredefined.net/photoshopping-altering-images-and-our-minds/

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challenging question by Jon Acuff today in the 30 Days of Hustle.

do you believe in yourself?

sometimes.

sometimes no.

Read the rest of this entry »

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We all have something that makes us roar… or sing… or talk or night… something that is our passion, that lights a fire within us, that makes our eyes shine, that flicks our bic….  (and this is for guys too!)

That something is the gift and the talents coupled with the passion that God has placed within us, the passion which when ignited and activated develops into a dream and a life purpose.

The roar is also fundamentally our passion and love for God, expressed in a life of obedience, fire and sharing.

Sometimes we lose our roar, or our roar comes out more as a whisper.

This happens for a number of reasons. Three of the more significant reasons are:

1.CONTENTION

The enemy recognizes the potential danger of a life on fire for God, of a life walking in freedom, power and partnering with God, of a life fulfilling its call and destiny, and so he squashes that roar

The enemy uses such tatics as:

a) Lies. He pushes us down and back with lies such as “you’re not good enough”, “you cant do that”, “who are you to do that?”, “who would want to listen to you” etc. His lies also tell us we are condemned, we can never be forgiven, that God doesn’t love us. These lies silence our roar, holding us back from achieving all that God has purposed for us.

b) Unbelief. This goes hand in hand with the lies element. We believe the lies of the devil because we don’t believe the truth of God. We don’t believe that God loves us and forgives us and has a plan and a destiny for us. We don’t believe that in all things we are more than conquerors and all the promises God has regarding such things as trials and the storms of life.

c) Diversion. The enemy diverts us into other things. He causes us to be busy. He causes us to take our eyes of the upward call of God and the finish line ahead. He diverts our attention from the spiritual to the temporal things of this world, which yes are important, but should not be our number one priority.

Remember – that in Jesus we have victory over the devil. We are not ignorant the bible says of his schemes, but we are aware and thus can retaliate and protect ourselves. We do not need to succumb to his lies, but using the Word of God, the Truth, the Sword which is the Word of God, we can speak the truth over and into our lives. We can tell ourselves what God thinks of us and what the promises of God are that are available to us, to give us strength, to help us and to equip us. That is why it is so important to read the bible and know the bible. The Word within us will also strengthen us and help us keep our roar, it will inspire us and keep the fires of passion towards God burning. The Word is our food. It sustains us. It keeps us from sin. It lights our path.

2. LIFE HAPPENS

Life with all its good times and bad times and circumstances just happens around us and to us and can squash the roar, especially if we allow them to take our focus. Yes there is housework to do, yes there are meals to cook, yes there are files to file and things to create. Yes there are hard times, down days, persistent illnesses, financial hardships, relationship difficulties… But this is the usual weather of life. We all go through “stuff”. Isaiah refers to walking through the floods and the flames, and reassures us that God is with us and that he is helping us in those times.

3. LACK OF FUEL

We don’t cultivate the roar, like a fire, we let it cool down, not stoking it or adding more fuel.

We need to cultivate and restore the roar in our lives. We need to cultivate and restore the fire and the joy and the passion, both for Jesus and for life.

When we are passionate and alive and vibrant – when we are roaring – in our own flavours – we a) feel good, and b) we shine like a bright light on a hill, bringing glory to Jesus.

When we are whispering – perhaps smothered down by life and worries – and it sooo happens – we a) feel kinda slow, like crawling back into bed, like it is a permanent bad hair day… and b) our light shines dimmer than it could.

I want to live my life to reflect God and His glory. I want to be a testimony for Him. I want others to see Jesus and His work in my life. I want to be obedient to Him, I want to abide in Him and develop good fruit.

We need to let God rework in our lives. It is no quick fix. No super spiritual A B C transformation.

Our roar is a declaration – that Yes! we will follow Jesus and stand for Him. We will be His vessels. We will be shaped by Him. It is also declaring the truth of God over us:

That we are overcomers, by the working of God in us, by us holding onto Him and His truth, weilding the sword of God that cuts between soul and spirit…

That those who wait on Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

That (Zephaniah 3:17) God is mighty in your midst; He will save, He will rejoice over you with joy; He will quiet you with His love; He rejoices over you with joyful shout.

Now I am not saying we all need to be RA RA RA, or be extraverted – but there are times in our lives where we need to make the CHOICE to let God be God, and to make the CHOICE to let Him work in our heart to create the right attitude and reaction.

Roaring is partly about overcoming. And what is it we overcome…. Yes, the bible says the world… it is also our circumstances, and more importantly I believe it is our attitudes we need to overcome most of all.

1Colossians 15:57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1John 5:4 For everything that has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.

James 1:2-4 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.

The secret to overcoming is found in the obscurity of life and its challenges. Character that succeeds in God’s eyes is formed in the fires of refinement. True greatness is often found emerging from the secret place. It is found in climbing the mountains that are set before you, in holding fast to God’s truth and purposes. It is in partnering with God allowing Him to work in us, through us. Though it may seem like the antithesis of the road to success, the road of obscurity, of dwelling in the presence of God, is the best road to achievement in God’s eyes.

In that place we need to be making the right choices, to be before God, to honour Him and His ways and to allow Him to work in us.

Roaring is also about knowing where to find the passion and the rest and the fire again…. In the secret place WITH God, in His Word, in His presence.

Picture – a hot day. No clouds. A sound of the waves caressing the shore…. The feel of sand in your toes….

On a day like that there are only 2 things that I find satisfies…. A can of coke, cold… and a lemonade iceblock…

Thirst quenching. Restores you to a level of comfort….

Isaiah 35:1-10 The wilderness and the desert shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the crocus. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the honor of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of Jehovah and the majesty of our God. Make the weak hands strong and make the feeble knees sure. Say to those of a hasty heart, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the full dealing of God. He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness waters shall break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land shall become springs of water in the home of jackals, in its lair, and a place for the reed and rush. And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called, The Way of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it. But He shall be with them; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err in it. No lion shall be there, nor any beast of prey shall go up on it; it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of Jehovah shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy on their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

What refreshes most.

A word from the Lord. Life giving water.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give Me to drink, you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water. The woman said to Him, Sir, you have no vessel, and the well is deep. From where then do you have that living water. Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, and his children and his cattle? Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Now I know this is also talking about eternal life, that Jesus gives us… but it also reminds us that Jesus is the one that satisfies us and quenches our thirst.

A word from God sustains us and brings life. It lifts our heads. It strengthens us when we are weak. It encourages us and gives us hope.

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is on Me; because Jehovah has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to preach the acceptable year of Jehovah and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the mantle of praise for the spirit of heaviness; so that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that He might be glorified.

A word from God gives us the oil of joy for our hard times, beauty for the times we feel down and out. It reminds us WHO our Lord is, and HOW great are His ways. It reminds us that Jesus knows us and where we are at and what we are going through.

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for an a cent? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear, you are of more value than many sparrows.

So how do we get that Word – spend time with Jesus, pray, worship, lie on the floor with a worship cd on, phone someone and ask them to pray for you, keep coming to church, go up the front to the alter calls, keep seeking God. Firstly you need to know how to find God yourself… in your own personal space. He is calling YOU to seek Him and find Him and find the answers in Him. Maturity….

Find your place in Him. Find your strength in Him. Find your peace in Him.

Now go roar. Go shine.

our next assignment for our preaching course is to really work on the challenge part of the message – the bit at the end…. so to prepare and begin that i have chosen a passage and a topic and am in the process of working backwards, from my challenge….

What is my end point?

What is my goal?

I want people to know that God is with them and when God is with us we can do all things! We need not self confidence but GOD CONFIDENCE – confidence in who God is and that he will act exactly as he says he will! We can have faith in God! Today we need to put our hope and our trust in God and step out and be all that God has called us to be. We need to believe His Word and what He says about us. We may feel small and insignificant but God takes our lives and demonstrates himself through us. Nothing is impossible with God and that means that when he is with us nothing is impossible for us! All things are possible because of the might and glory and power of God. Have confidence in God. Go and change the world!

Judges 6:1-6 Then once again the Israelites started disobeying the LORD, so he let the nation of Midian control Israel for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that many Israelites ran to the mountains and hid in caves. Every time the Israelites would plant crops, the Midianites invaded Israel together with the Amalekites and other eastern nations. They rode in on their camels, set up their tents, and then let their livestock eat the crops as far as the town of Gaza. The Midianites stole food, sheep, cattle, and donkeys. Like a swarm of locusts, they could not be counted, and they ruined the land wherever they went. The Midianites took almost everything that belonged to the Israelites, and the Israelites begged the LORD for help.

Judges 6:11-16 One day an angel from the LORD went to the town of Ophrah and sat down under the big tree that belonged to Joash, a member of the Abiezer clan. Joash’s son Gideon was nearby, threshing grain in a shallow pit, where he could not be seen by the Midianites. The angel appeared and spoke to Gideon, “The LORD is helping you, and you are a strong warrior.” Gideon answered, “Please don’t take this wrong, but if the LORD is helping us, then why have all of these awful things happened? We’ve heard how the LORD performed miracles and rescued our ancestors from Egypt. But those things happened long ago. Now the LORD has abandoned us to the Midianites.” Then the LORD himself said, “Gideon, you will be strong, because I am giving you the power to rescue Israel from the Midianites.” Gideon replied, “But how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest one in Manasseh, and everyone else in my family is more important than I am.” “Gideon,” the LORD answered, “you can rescue Israel because I am going to help you! Defeating the Midianites will be as easy as beating up one man.”

Mighty = powerful; by implication warrior, tyrant: – champion, chief, X excel, giant, man, mighty (man, one), strong (man), valiant man.

Valour = probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength: – able, activity, (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train, (+) valiant (-ly), valour, virtuous (-ly), war, worthy (-ily).

Poor = properly dangling, that is, (by implication) weak or thin: – lean, needy, poor (man), weaker.

Least = little; (in number) few; (in age) young, (in value) ignoble: – least, little (one), small (one), + young (-er, -est).

How can I rescue/save Israel? Save = A primitive root; properly to be open, wide or free, that is, (by implication) to be safe; causatively to free or succor: – X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us;

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

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