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The other week I had a dream I knew was from God.  Last night I shared about it with my youth at HKC as they were main characters in it.

In my dream a whole bunch of us were in a massive hotel.  It had many floors and elevators and stairs.  We were in a room with huge glass windows and glass French doors that showed us the rest of the hotel.  It had a library and big tv and comfy sofas.  While we were hanging out the hotel hallways started to fill with people.  Some were faces I knew and some were strangers.  Then there was a noise.  We looked out the windows to the outside and into the hallways and the hotel was been taken over by daleks.

The Daleks were going round saying EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE and zapping people.  We moved the couches and shelves over the doors and barricaded ourselves in the big safe room.  But we realized that the people in the halls were in danger and at opportune moments we would pull the couches back and then rush into the halls warning people and getting them to come into the big safe room with us.  In the big room they could read and rest or watch a movie.  More and more people joined us and then more and more people were going into the hallways and up the stairs and rescuing people.

RESCUED PEOPLE RESCUE PEOPLE

 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,[e] so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Cor 5:19-21

Being a rescuer starts from the inside out.  It starts with making rescuing a priority.  It starts with aligning our heart and goals and identity with His heart, His goals and His identity.

It starts with knowing that our mission is to know God and make Him known, that “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” Luke 19:10.  Like really knowing.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?   With this small rectangle I can call someone, text someone, check my bank account, have photos of my kids, videos of my kids, can book a movie, view a menu, watch youtube, listen to Spotify and get directions when I am driving.

A few years ago, it feels like back in the olden days now, before I had a phone like this, when I would get lost, I would be LOST.  I would have to rely on maps, which is not an application on your phone, but a piece of paper with squiggly lines and squares and street names and on friendly service station people.

Now days, you just need to pull over and click on the app button and boom.  It can even use your location to pin point right where you are.
But have you noticed, when using this app 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.  He sees where you are today and the final destination and everything in between.

Today we are going to explore what it looks like to wake up and live your dream.

Dreaming can be a lot like driving or going on a road trip and today I want to give us 5 ways to wake up and live our dream, to awaken a fresh sense of vision for our life and the potential that comes when we are awake on the inside.

Each of us are wired in different ways by God for a reason, which means that no two dreams are wholly alike.

What may be a dream for me may seem like a nightmare for you!

Your dream might be involve a specific career, a ministry, a relationship, a way of life.  It may be to travel the world, to go to university, to be an entrepreneur, own your own home.   You may dream of being famous, of “making it”, of being successful, of changing the world.  You may dream of being married, having kids, being a grandparent.  Your dream might involve being happier, more stable, more settled, more joyous.

Whatever it looks like and more importantly however you define the success of your dream it’s important to begin with that acknowledgement that God is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller and that He is at work in our lives on a much larger scale than our own personal agenda and happiness and that what matters today is not perfection but progress.

Read the rest of this entry »

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“God-size dreams ensure our growth. When God calls us to something, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable, like someone handing us the wrong size in the dressing room. It gaps in strange places and pinches in others. We may find ourselves wanting to send it back for a more reasonably-sized dream, one that doesn’t cause so much discomfort.
But that’s a huge mistake.   God hands us an extra-large vision by design. He is not just interested in what we can accomplish for him, but in who we are becoming along the way. As we struggle to grow into what and who God calls us to do and be, we are changed and shaped more and more into the likeness of Christ.”  Michael Hyatt

We are the dreamers of dreams.

The visionaries who live for the invisible of tomorrow.

The builders who create now for the future.

We are the dreamers who stretch into greater things, who push ourselves to do more and more importantly, become more.

Today is a glimpse into what I dream and what I dream to become and do.

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

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

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

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

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

Take God’s hand and run with His dream.  Put doing steps and substance to your dream.

Live for the invisible promise of what is to come and wrap preparation around it today.

I love reading about when God calls Jeremiah the prophet in Jeremiah 1.

He tells Jeremiah that before he was even born, before he was anyone, before he did anything, that God called him to be a prophet to the nation.  God then goes to to teach Jeremiah to see and to speak.  He shows him an almond branch and asks Jeremiah what he sees.  He unfolds the meaning of that branch to Jeremiah and then shows him further things and further insights.  God prepares Jeremiah.  He equips him.  He trains him.

Likewise, before we were born, God knew us and called us.  He destined us.  He wired us, on purpose with purpose.

And as He is the dream giver, He is also the dream fulfiller who unfolds step by step the growth process that shapes us to live out that dream.

My dream is in HIS hands.  He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in my life.

I can trust Him with my dream and respond in faithfulness to grow to be who that dream needs me to become.

What is the lesson God is teaching you today?  

Kittens

How Jimmy Fallon Catapulted To Hosting ‘The Tonight Show’ Through Exceptional Networking

In the span of about five years, Jimmy Fallon went from a “Saturday Night Live” alum unsuccessfully navigating Hollywood to a late night star to the host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” one of the most respected franchises in entertainment. It’s not by accident.

Fallon’s meteoric rise is partly due to his intense focus on developing relationships with people who could advance his career, according to Shane Snow’s book “Smartcuts” and a recent interview with the comedian.

And he proves that this type of networking doesn’t have to be some kind of Machiavellian manipulation, but rather can be based on a genuine interest in personally connecting with influencers.

 

 

 

Leader Heart

Leadership is a complicated thing.

I often get chances to speak at conferences for student ministers. I love to do them. I love to share ideas and learn from everybody. And, because I run a large ministry with many volunteers I often get questions about leading volunteers. In fact, I can’t remember a conference where I wasn’t asked about them. Furthermore, I can’t remember a conference where I wasn’t asked this specific question that gets to my point.

Here it is.

“What are some good ways I, as a leader, can value my volunteers?”

Now, this can be a great question!

But . . . this can also be a terrible question!

And there is a fine line between this being a good and bad question—that line lies at the heart of the person asking it.

 

 

MARRIAGE IN LIGHT OF FOREVER

FRANCIS AND LISA CHAN ON THE SECRET TO RELATIONAL SUCCESS

The way to have a great marriage is by not focusing on marriage.

Not the sort of advice you’ll find on a bestseller rack near you.

In their new book, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, Francis and Lisa Chan set out to reframe the entire way we think about relationships, marriage, and parenting. The marriage union is great, they observe, but it’s not forever. Therefore, we must approach this sacred relationship from the zoomed-out vantage point of eternity. And when we do, it changes everything.

 

 

7 Steps To Becoming A Professional Speaker

  1. You need to start thinking of yourself as a speaker.  You must grasp the fact that you have something to say. This is a mindset shift you must go through in order to become a professional speaker.
  2. You must find your niche.  Business coach, speaker, and author, Jane Atkinson refers to this as “picking a lane.” She recommends choosing “a topic area to focus on, based on your expertise.” Don’t waffle around from one thing to the next. Finding your passion or area of interest is essential to building your speaking career. As a speaker in this area, you will be known as a subject matter expert, so it’s important you do your research and know your stuff.

 

 

1 surprising lesson about dream chasing from a Heisman Trophy winner  – Jon Acuff

The world’s ability to understand your dream is not a reflection of whether you should chase it.

The world’s ability to support your dream is not a reflection of whether you should chase it.

Throw the passes when no one is watching. Write the pages no one sees. Work through the business plans people don’t believe in yet. Hustle long before the spotlight finds you.

You don’t need the whole world on your side to create something that changes the world.

– See more at: http://acuff.me/2014/12/1-surprising-lesson-dream-chasing-heisman-trophy-winner/#more-1561

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Today is a fresh day.

A day of new promise.

Yesterday is past and whatever happened, happened.  To quote LOST.

Today we have a choice.  Will we grasp the opportunity to love, to give, to be, to grow, to hope? To walk with God?

It is a fresh day.

Yesterdays happenings may have caused pain or problems, but today we have a choice to respond or react.

Will we lash out in the stain of  yesterday or will we allow that to cause us to draw nearer to God, to hold onto His promises and look out with expectation for Him to unfold His plan and wisdom?

Today choose to invest in your relationships, in your dreams and destiny.

Choose to live life richly.  Live in the reality of the unlimitlessness and faithfulness of God.

Let go of fear and shhh the voices that magnify the flaws of yesterday.  Turn your gaze to see the potential of today and the todays that follow.

Today we are heading to Butterfly Creek, a attraction here in Auckland that not only has an amazing butterfly enclosure but is home to farm animals and crocodiles.  Not together of course.   Places like this are good for my heart.   The remind me of the creative power of God.  Who spoke and it was.  Who designed each butterfly and its unique colours and pattern.  Who created the guinea pig.  Who fashioned the crocodile.   I frame my world with faith in this God.  Who was and is, and who is to come.  Who can do above and beyond what I can dare ask, dream or imagine.  My life is secure in His heart.

 

What does your heart need to remember today?

 

 

Vintage Typewriter and White Coffee Cup

5 Tips to Prevent Ministry Burnout

You went into ministry with a passion to serve people and lead them to Christ. You knew that would require diligent work and would likely involve some heartache. We live in a messy, fallen world so dealing with people in their mess and helping them get out of it isn’t an easy endeavor. Working with limited time and resources, combined with the overwhelming needs of your community can wear out the most dedicated individual.

 

 

 

Everybody Wants It, but Nobody Seems to Get Any – Michael Hyatt

I know what you’re thinking, but I’m talking about margin—breathing room, think time, downtime, those moments we all desperately need really stay effective and enjoy the things that matter most.

But the truth is we seem to be getting less and less of it. Not only are prices racing while wages slow, but we’re working more hours, too.

We’re used to thinking “full time” work means forty hours a week. With that kind of commitment, we still have time for ourselves and families. But there has been a significant creep on our weekly work hours.

Nowadays the average American worker is clocking closer to 50 hours a week, according to a Gallup survey, and for some it’s even higher. A quarter of salaried workers put in more than 60 hours a week!

And what about those of us who are entrepreneurs? It could feel good to cram the calendar or scary to clear it out, but either way we’re often drowning and in desperate need of margin.

 

 

 

YOU BE YOU: THE VALUE OF AUTHENTICITY @ Corie Clark, Guest Post by Kevin Buchanan

I don’t know about you but I get tired of seeing fakes. You can normally spot them from a mile away. They are so busy trying to be what everyone else tells them to be that they have completely lost who they really are.

I used to be that way. Although I grew up with a sense of who I was, I still occasionally fell into the trap of being what others expected me to be. It took many years for me to consciously start living in the truth of who I was and who God created me to be.

Maybe that was you. Or maybe that IS you. Years of being what others wanted you to be, or told you that you should be have left you looking in the mirror, staring at an unfamiliar face.

Who is the real you?

Who are you meant to be?

What are you meant to offer the world?

 

 

The Narrative Fallacy: Why You Shouldn’t Copy Steve Jobs –

This kind of hero worship can be a good thing, it can be a guiding light. But this has also given rise to the dramatic oversimplification of entire lives. Headlines like “8 Ways to Think Like Warren Buffett” and “The Socratic Method of Great Living” garner retweets and clicks but they create a terrible feedback loop of writers cherry picking moments from someone’s life, distilling it all down to a blog post or even a book, and then a willing reader to believe that advice is the key to success.

What happens is we have wantrepreneurs and armchair creatives thinking they are walking in the footsteps of the greats by focusing on “productivity hacks” instead of, you know, doing the work.

 

 

THE COST QUESTION: ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE FOR YOUR DREAM?

Thirty years ago, Mary Lou Retton vaulted into stardom at the 1984 Olympic Games, becoming the first American to win gold in the women’s all-around gymnastics competition. She wowed the world with her amazing mix of grace, power, and dexterity. Her Olympic triumph, combined with her buoyant, bubbly personality made her an instant media sensation.

The speed with which Retton attained celebrity masked the years of sacrifice, dedication, and determined effort during which the little girl from West Virginia had developed into a world-class athlete. In the words of Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford, May Lou Retton had “worked a lifetime to become a darling overnight.” Her Olympic victory had come at a tremendous cost. It caused her to move halfway across the country from her parents, required her to miss our on a normal childhood, and exacted a significant toll on her body. Read the rest of this entry »

 

PERSPECTIVE & PURPOSE (1)

Perspective is a funny thing isnt it.

It’s so individual.

A friend of mine was told he is too young to pursue his dream, to step out into what he feels called to.

He is 32.

However at 38, a mere 6 years older, sometimes I can have the perspective that I’ve missed it, that I’m too old, that the window of opportunity I dreamed of has passed me by, like a breath of wind that I couldn’t quite catch.

He asked me, how do I gain perspective?

It’s a great question.  How do I gain perspective?

There are some days when it feels like there is none.  When I feel my stage of life and count down the years ahead of me and the moments I feel I should of, could of, would of  behind me.  I try and keep those days to a hush, not letting them have a voice in my identity and destiny.  Those voices are my fears and failures and though they make up part of who I am they do not define me.

I am defined by the promises and purposes of God.

I am called to know Him and make Him known.

I am called to connect and communicate Christ.

I am called to light a fire in the hearts of young adults so that they burn for Jesus and run hard for Him all the days of their life.

I am a jar of clay so that the all surpassing power is of God, not of myself.

I am part of the great story that God is weaving throughout the generations and the world.  He knows my story.  He knows my plans.  He knows my crafting.  He has fashioned me for such a time as this.

Every day is my moment.  Every day is my time.  Every day is my opportunity.

He is the One who opens the doors and creates a platform for me to stand upon and declare His goodness and greatness.

So I trust.

I choose not to dwell on what might of being but I choose to trust that today I am where God wants me.

I choose not to compare myself to anyone because the world needs my hustle, my voice.

When I was 29 and pregnant with my 2nd child I had a moment with God that settled this perspective in my heart.

I was driving down Union St late at night after church, despondent and feeling worn out in heart and body.

I had just completed a fantastic preaching course, but was now watching the other people in the course having opportunities to go and speak around New Zealand.  I however, was 8 months pregnant and felt like dreams were slipping by me, beyond my grasp.

As I drove down Union St I felt God very distinctively and clearly say “Claire, I made you a woman.”

Insert sarcastic tone here.  “Yes God, I can see that!”

“No, listen” came His gentle reply.  “I made you a woman”

In that second listening came a fuller understanding.

God made me a woman.  A wife.  A mother.  Pregnant.  Breastfeeding.  Preschoolers.  Caregiver.

All the seasons of my life were designed by Him.

He knew my path.  He knew my pages.   He knew my heart.

He was ordering my days.

I look back and I know that I would not be the person I am without being a mother.  Without being a mother to Caleb and Evangeline.

I love my life today.  I feel like I am living a dream I could not have dared imagine.

Perspective comes from knowing that God is good and great.  It comes from knowing that He is a good Father and can do great things.  That nothing is impossible from Him.  It comes from lifting our expectations to match His unlimited capacity and from saying Yes, God, here I am, use me.

 

 

 

succulents

 

An Open Letter To The Future Therapist of My Children – 

Dear therapist who will one day be counseling my children,

There are two things I need to say right out of the gate:

1. I tried my best.
2. I hope you have a sound machine.

The second point is more of a personal preference rather than a revelation. Having gone to counseling myself, I appreciate when a therapist has some sort of sound machine that makes you feel like you’re at the beach. Gentle electronic waves lapping against the shore tend to help you forget you’re actually in a strip mall off the highway, wedged between the Dollar Store and a nail salon.

 

 

THAT RELATIONSHIP WILL NOT ‘COMPLETE YOU’

If you’re at all familiar with romantic comedies of the modern era you’ve likely heard of or watched the 1996 hit film Jerry Maguire. Many of us can recall the scene when Jerry walks into the middle of a women’s “divorced and lonely group” and divulges to Dorothy how meaningless his life is without her. His speech crescendos with the words “You complete me,” finally proving to Dorothy that he loves her. The movie ends with the two living happily ever after.

If you’re anything like me, romantic stories like Jerry Maguire can lead you to start contemplating Jerry’s philosophy, thinking there’s someone out there who could “complete you.” As you look on your singleness you can feel dissatisfied and even begin thinking of yourself as a second-class citizen because you lack your true soulmate. In an attempt to fill the void you spend months, and sometimes years, searching for the mythical “one” who will supposedly meet your needs and give meaning to your life.

 

 

Do NOT work toward your dream! – Isabel Hundt

STOP working toward your dream. Instead live it today. Chose to live your dream today no matter if you have accomplished your goals or not. If your actions are no longer bringing you the results you are looking for, it is time to look at who you have to BE.

 

 

Our Children, Our Neighbors

If you asked me the single most important insight that has shaped my parenting, it would be this: Children are people.

It seems self-evident. Clearly, they have arms, legs, ears, noses and mouths—enough to qualify. But the idea of their personhood goes far beyond possessing a human body. It goes to the core of their being and speaks to their worth. Children bear the image of God, just like adults. Well, not just like adults. It is true that they are developing physically, emotionally and spiritually at a different rate than adults, but children’s intrinsic worth and dignity does not increase or decrease depending on the rate or extent of their development. As Dr. Seuss has famously noted, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

 

 

 

OCT

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
But happy is he who keeps the law.  Proverbs 29:18

The flipside of this proverb is the principal and truth that when you have a vision for your life you cast ON restraint – you have discipline and sacrifice in order to focus towards your vision and goal.

Dreams take action.  Hours.  Energy.

Dreams need nurturing and stoking, like a fire.

Dreams require doing and intentionality. 

Intentional dreaming results in intentional living.  There are choices you will make, both yes and no choices, that will influence the success of your dream and the timing of living it out. 

Sometimes we need to say no to things.  The greater YES within us should keep the dream alight.  Yes to the dream means no to distractions, passivity and living on cruise control.

 

What choices do you need to make to achieve your dream?

Sea

What if I told you that I don’t have it figured out?

Because I don’t.

Sometimes I give that impression in real life I think, that I’ve got my big girl pants on and am rocking at life.  

But sometimes I feel like I’m flaying around like a non-swimmer who floated into the deep end by accident.  You get the imagery.

 

But I do trust.

I trust God.

He promises to begin the good work He has begun in me.  He finishes what He starts.

He promises to work out all things for good because I love Him and because He has a plan.

He promises to shape my character, to refine, to transform.

Sometimes the flaying around is me searching for solid ground, for a constant in the mess.  But God is saying float into the deep, learn to swim.  Trust.

 

The Hillsong United song OCEANS says it like this: 

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

 

In all things He is with me.  

At all times He is at work.

He has a dream.  He is the dream giver and the dream fullfiller.

So I float.  

Not having it all together, but trusting in the One who is all together wonderful and wise.

Not being wise in myself, but trusting in the One who created the universe and breathed the stars out.

I don’t have it figured out.  

But that’s okay.

I won’t sink. 

I will walk upon the water.

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