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Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.        — William James

what kind of things make a difference….  a smile… taking a packet of chocy biscuts into work for morning tea…  a friendly email to say, hi, i was thinking of you….  a card in the mail to a friend….  a hug….  a cup of tea after a long day….  a compliment….  a kind word…  a saved seat at church…   helping wash up after dinner…. lending a book….  lending a cd…

you get my drift… little things… simple things…  but they can make a real differnece to someones day.   we dont know what is going on behind closed doors, and the smile we see may just be for “appearnces sake” (not to be rude… i know i do it… cos i also like being with people etc…)  and so even the smallest kindness can make a differnece.  we do not see the lonileness of someones heart, or their fears and insecurities.  people do not often project their hurts and worries to others… they hide them.

but God sees.

he sees all.

and so we, his children. can make a difference.  we can share the love.

simple things.  but they make a difference.

act now.

it is amazing that God uses us… not just in the great things but in what we could consider everyday things.  these everyday things are the things that get used more often…  we meet people everyday.  we rub shoulders with people everyday.   God in us is with people everyday… get the drift…   we are partnering with God to plant seeds and see lives changed.  the biggest and bested change is that people come to know God, that they are saved – born again, life eternal, knowing God, accepted and new and loved everlasting.  everyone is on that journey to know God.  we can be watering their seeds, demonstrating the love and grace of God.  in even the ordinary things.  in the everyday encounters.

think of what you can do to make the difference.  think today of what you can do.  pray about it.  God will show you.  listen to him as you go about your day.  he will use you!

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only son… so that whoever believes in him will not die but have eternal life.

 

the very heart of God is to give.  he gave his son.

 

we are his children, we are called to be like Jesus, to be like our Father in heaven.

 

he is The Light of the world and we are called to be lights to the world.

we are his witnesses, demonstrating his love and grace to those around us.

 

Jesus did what he saw his father doing.

 

John 5:19
Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

likewise, we should follow what we see our Father doing and be like him.

today, for the offering (i am speaking) i encourage you to be like God.  to be generous and giving.

Passionate people make a difference because they pour their energy and resources and time into what they are passionate about. Passionate people change the world they live in in tangible ways and in the intangible invisible ways they effect the hearts of those observing them. One of the common tributes for Sir Edmund Hillary (first man to conquer Mt Everest, explorer to the South Pole, social changer) who died in January this year was “that he seldom left you the same, that his passion was contagious and he transformed you from an ordinary person to someone who could accomplish extraordinary things.” Your passion and dedication will inspire others.

Wesley said “when you are on fire for God people will come for miles to see you burn.” God is passionate about seeing the lost come to him for salvation, healing and freedom – for people to be transformed into children of God – and he does this through his children – thorough us, Christians. He calls us to shine and declare through our lives that he is great, glorious and good – that he is able and mighty to save, that he is real and worthy. As we live for him we draw others to his life.

God is worth being passionate about. David said “one thing do I desire, one thing am I passionate about… to know God and see Him in His beauty, to see Him as he truly is” (Psalm 27:4 – my paraphrase). He didn’t just say the words he lived the life that practiced this. Relationship with God takes decision – yes it is all by grace but as a child of God we make the decisions to say “yes” to God to obey and serve Him. We decide to make God a priority and to seek Him, thus allowing Him to transform us and shine through us. Saying yes to God and obeying Him shows we love Him. It leads to not a mediocre gray life but a life rich in adventure and joy.

We need to be people who passionately pursue our Creator and Saviour; people are prepared to press on and resist the opposition from the inside and the outside.

Has anyone ever told you you’re “too spiritual” and to “just settle down”? Don’t buy into their discouragement. Pursue God. Know Him. Make Him known. Live a life characterized by your relationship with God. Yes, it involves making sacrifices and being different. There will be things that “normal” people can do that we as Christians should make the choice to resist and avoid. God calls us to be holy, to resist things that drag us into sinfulness and trip us up. Not so we cant have fun, but so that we can be whole and clean on the inside as well as the outside. God is very real. He is very personal. He is the Almighty Dreator.. God who created the giraffe, the squirrel, daffodils and the flying fish speaks to us and outworks plans and dreams in our lives. He calls us by name and knows how many hairs we have on our head and how many hairs we have on our toes. The reward of knowing God is so much more worthy and wonderful than a fleeting fling with things that bring fleshly reward. Keep your eyes focused on this reward and don’t allow others to deter you from this great prize.

Don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t be afraid to live giving your all. Don’t be afraid to be passionate. God delights in the passion you display for him. He loves the enthusiasm you worship Him with. He loves the private dedication of your study, the disciplines of reading His word and seeking His ways. These things please God. These things open wide the doors of our heart for God to move and transform us. They allow God to shine in an even greater measure to those around us.

God doesn’t want us to demonstrate Him in shades of gray. God is glorious and wonderful. We should live lives that reflect His greatness and His grace. We should wholeheartedly seek to know Him and make Him known. Today, make the choice to be on fire for God, to pursue Him passionately, whatever the cost. The prize is knowing Him intimately and the fruit is the accurate expression and representation of our awesome God. Be part of changing this world and making a difference. It is what God has created you for…

“There are people on this planet whom only you will be able to reach, because of where you live and what God has made you to be. If just one person will be in heaven because of you, your life will have made a difference for eternity” Rick Warren

Ii’m a big believer that God gives us dreams for our lives, of things we can do that will bring him glory.  and just to right off the bat say it doesnt need to be dreams that fall into secular or spiro catergories.  God gives people unique tailor made dreams and that is awesome!

I believe that our own lives are the starting point, the springboard for dreams. As dreamers, we need to put our dreams into the realm of reality. Dream fulfilling begins today with fostering a right attitude and heart towards ministry. It begins with equipping ourselves with skills to do what God has called us to do. It begins by praying and seeking God for wisdom, his heart for the lost and the people of God. It begins by being challenged to pursue God, to live a right clean life and to be sharpened by like minded people (iron sharpens iron). It begins with small opportunities – baby steps.

As we take steps to walk into our dreams (in particular a dream of preaching for me) we need to remember:

  • It’s all about JESUS
  • Lifetime of preparation
  • Preaching is 1% of a life time of service
  • Preaching is in context of ministry and service
  • God has the keys to open any doors
  • Preparation for preaching ministry is long term – no short cuts
  • The Word of God is the Message – must rightly divide it
  • Life is lived in the secret place – your own private devotions and relationship with God and obedience does matter!!!

Be ready at all times – you never know what is around the corner!

In all you do be a demonstration of the grace and love of God

It’s okay to dream (but understand preaching is not by right nor might! But by the anointing and calling and appointing of God – in his time! No certificate will give access to the pulpit!)

What is your dream?  How can you see that being outworked in your own life?  Can you see steps to take to live it out?  It’s not about “making it happen” or being the master of your own destiny – it is about living your life in the context of your dreams and passion, not just dreaming it or wishing it.

As Christians we can be confident that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives. The general big picture plan is for us to love, serve and demonstrate Him – to bring Him glory, and that is expressed in the personal outworking of our lives. It amazes me that God calls us and chooses us to be His messengers, like His advertisers on earth. But at the same time it makes sense considering the great wonderful work He does in us. Who better to declare a message of hope than those who have found it. As the hymn says “I was lost, but now am found!”

We need to be intentional people – intentionally making choices day by day to live lives that shine.

I was really blessed to be invited along to the women’s Thursday night group last month. While I was there some of the women shared about how they had talked to people during the week about Jesus. They were just going about their day to day activities, one even getting a manicure (!) and they took the opportunities that presented in conversation to talk about God and His hope and love. That is intentional living. Making the choice to be a light high on the hill, not hidden under the bed. I was very encouraged and inspired by their testimonies.
It is exciting to know that God use us. He can work through our ordinary lives in extraordinary ways! Lets be people who are open and ready to change the world and make a difference. Don’t underestimate what God can do in and through you!

in reading around you sometimes stumble across a post or a blog that just so resonates with who you are and what you think… even though you havent written it it could come from your own pen…  or that you wish you had written…. and this such post that i am shouting out to so does that for me….

Your Life Is Your Ministry is a post at the wonderful blog The God Hungry which i read frequently!

“My life is my ministry and my ministry is my life. I am called to live out of my own authentic life in Christ. This speaks volumes as to who I am called to be before Christ and the world.

I am not called to live a transformed life because it looks good on my resume or because it makes a difference in the quality of my preaching/teaching. I am not interested in spiritual transformation because this seems to be the thing to do if I am going to stay current. The point of a transformed life is not to get me somewhere in my work with a church.

The reality? Every man and woman in Christ is called to live out of an authentic life in Christ. This life is my ministry. My ministry is my life. This morning as you are at home with your family, your ministry is already happening. As you go to work, your ministry is already being lived out. Your ministry is happening wherever and whenever you live and are present in another’s life.”

see why i like it?

i totally believe that as we live our lives we are called to be demonstrations of the love of God to those around us. we are demonstrating his love in the ordinary events of life as well as the extraordinary. ministry can be defined so narrowly – as preaching, or worship leading or something like that, but our whole life is ministry – ministering God’s love and grace to those around us. serving our friends and family and strangers.

practically this can be making a meal for a family with sick kids, or mowing your neighbours lawn because they’ve broken their leg… or because the grass is long. it can be sending a “thinking of you, how you doing?” email to a friend you havent seen in a while, or even a smile to the check out chick at the supermarket you shop at. or learning her name. simple things.

we need to remember that God doesnt use us on Sunday from 10-12 only. but every day and every moment. with our children. with our workmates. with our families. with our friends. be a demosntration. be a minister. serve God!

Life is life isn’t it. There is the good, the bad and the ugly. We have moments of pure joy and also circumstances that threaten to wrench our hearts out. That is life. If you’re breathing you know this.

As Christians I believe that we live our lives as demonstrations of God’s love and grace. In the good, the bad and the ugly. We face battles. And yet in this battle time God is with us and for us and calls us to overcome. He gives us hope and peace, no matter what we face. In these battle times he calls us to keep our eyes on him, to hold to faith in Him, and to overcome.

Isaiah 60:1-4 says “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of Jehovah has risen on you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but Jehovah shall rise on you, and His glory shall be seen on you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning. Lift up your eyes all around, and see. All of them gather themselves; they come to you.”

“Isaiah challenges me every time I read what he wrote: He said that we are to arise from the depression in which circumstances have kept us – rise to a new life. In face we are supposed to shine! He said that darkness is covering the earth (boy, isn’t that the truth?), but that the glory of our God will be visible in you and me so that people who are hurting can come to us for answers.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

2 Corinthians 1:4 says “He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” And this is something I totally subscribe to. God comforts us in our battles and hard times so we in turn can demonstrate God to them, giving hope and comfort and the Gospel.

We can often feel that life’s hard times knock us about and discredit us. We can feel like we are damaged because of the things we face. Disqualified because we are in a hard time.

”Once when my husband visited an antique coin dealer the owner told him that most people make the mistake of cleaning all of their old coins before bringing them to sell. They think that if the coins are clean they will be more valuable. They are wrong. Rather than calling the black stuff on old coins “tarnish” we should call it “being toned”. Toning actually makes them worth MORE.

So, if you’re feeling tarnished, I would like to suggest that we are merely toned – and thus growing in value. The battle you are in is toning you. It can be your ceiling in life or a stepping-stone to your future.

Your choice.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

Let me repeat that. In a way we are not responsible for the battles we face. We don’t choose cancer or illness. We often have no choice in a job loss, financial issues, relationship difficulties (though we contribute perhaps…). We are however responsible for how we respond and react. Are we reacting in a “shinning” way – are we holding onto hope with God, do we trust Him that he will be with us??? or do we want to go to the bottom of the garden and eat worms? I’m serious! The battles we face can shape and transform us in positive ways if we allow it to. The life experiences we gain can make us more compassionate, stronger, more faith-filled, more faithful, more wise. Or they can make us grumpy and bitter. Our choice.

In Warrior Chicks Holly Wagner shares the powerful life testimony of Ernest Shackleton – who from 1914 to 1916 survived the wreck of their ship in the crushing Antarctic ice. They were shipwrecked 1,200 miles away from the nearest people – in 1914 – with all the limitations of the technology. No communication. No cell phones. No sat phones. No rescue beacons. No hope of rescue from the outside. If they were to survive it was their choice. Their ship began to be broken up by the crushing ice and they had to trek out – on the ice – in the cold – to be rescued. They survived, most of them, and did it with style. One of the reasons for the success of their self rescue was that Ernest Shackleton was remarkable man who refused to let this battle destroy them… He remembered and celebrated birthdays. They sang. They performed skits.

”Ernest was not blind to the challenge before them – he just knew that if they were going to survive, he had not only to rise, to have joy, but also to give it away. It was more than a feeling. It was a decision.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

We are called to be light to those around us. People ARE watching. Lets show them, lets demonstrate how God works and upholds us. People need answers, they have questions. All of us face battles. All of us have circumstances beyond our control. Life happens. We make a choice in how to react. We can feel the pain and grieve and be worried and all those normal responses… but in this we must shine. We don’t paint happy faces on – we must be authentic. God can use pain and shine through that. He DOES use hard times. We can be assured that he is with us. we can be assured he sees us and knows the pressure. We can be confident that he loves us. we are not just flesh and blood – not “just human” – we are children of God and are his ambassadors and witnesses here on earth – in the good, the bad ad the ugly… It isn’t about being real but about having faith in our Father God… Faith is demonstrated in our actions… Arise and shine, remember for such a time as this you were called and live. Remember those around you need to know the hope you have… and remember Romans 8:37-39 “But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Do you know that you are a vital part of God’s army – of God’s team that he uses to reach the lost.

General George S. P atton said it like this:

Every single man in this Army plays a vital roel. Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain.

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

You are in a unique location. You are a unique person. You have unique gifts, talents, experience, personality… thus you are the only one suited to the task that God has appointed for you. There is no one else like you.

You may look at yourself and think you are inqdequate and inferior and that God should use that person over there, you know the one with it “all together” – the uber gifted and charismatic person who has it all sorted who lives under the end of a rainbow…. You know the one we all imagine that everyone else is…

YOUR gifts are YOUR gifts and GOD has GIVE them to you for his glory and his purposes. To change the world.

some people can sing. Sing so that it touches heaven and changes hearts.

Some can take a swatch of fabric and toss it on the floor, move one piece of fabric and suddenly make a room look amazing.

Some can make a computer do miraculous things.

Some can smile and welcome us into a church or store and keep smiling even if we have a grumpy face.

Some are great counselors and give excellent advice.

Some can cook.

Some can nurse us back to health.

Some can turn a room full of 8 year old boys into well-behaved young men….

And the list goes on…

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

You may not think they are remarkable or spiritual even. But they are gifts that God has given us and can be used to LIVE and DEMONSTRATE the love and grace of God as we just DO and BREATHE and LIVE. Do you get me?

God has made us into a body. He could have delegated great soul saving roles to great soul saving type personalities. Given all the responsibility to Billy Graham and Ray Comfort type people. He could have given the role of strengthening his church and pastoring his sheep to those pastor type dudes and dudesses and let the rest of us just pew sit….

But God didn’t do that. He didn’t give the good jobs to just 27 people – but to 6 billion (currently alive). We are all called and appointed to care for one another, the lost and the saved.

1 Corinthians 12:12-18 For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If all the body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If all hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him.

We are all parts of a wonderful amazing body. Without one part, no matter how insignificant it may seem, we are not whole.

Lets all do our part. Lets all rise and shine and know our awesome God and make Him known. Lets love each other and really care for each other. Begin by knowing that you are a valued part of the team, and now go and do your part.

colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward those on the outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be always with grace, having been seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

this is such a relevant passage for all of us. we need to be people who are mindful of the big picture. we need to be people who know God and make Him known. we need to be demonstraters of our faith and sharrs of our faith. why? so people will ask questions. so people will see God revealed in us. this is of eternal signifcance. what we do does affect those around us. people do watch us to see ‘what those christians do’. lets be people who by nature invite converstion about God and who have real, relevant revelatory answers.

* Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Jesus = god

* colossians 2:13-14 He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.

wow. no more words required. wow. oh one more…. thanks. thanks and wow. in jesus i am alive, have a new life. with a clean slate. a fresh start. the life i now can live is a new one that is filled with jesus and his Holy Spirit and righteousness. the story of my life now begins when i was born again, and is lived by a jesus-righteous child of god. it will have a happy ending.

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