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This song is a call to more, a call to give it all, a call to know God and make Him known…

FirstAid

Earlier this month our Kids church pastor and I did a first aid course.  After doing the course we feel empowered and ready to save lives and leap buildings in a single bound.  We did the CPR training – 30 to 2 no matter who, to the beat of staying alive, which sounds much better than to the beat of another one bites the dust.  We bandaged head wounds, knife wounds and a range of broken bones and amputations.   I only killed Jen once in our practice scenarios.  Of course the key to first aid is blankets – do you know how many times we had to use a blanket to complete our assessments and save our patients.  Many times.  But seriously, the key to first aid is knowing what to do in an emergency situation and having some pre-prepared responses that kick in when needed.

After having a conversation with someone the other day I realized that there are parallels between first aid and evangelism.  The key to feeling empowered to step into an emergency first aid situation is as I said, that knowledge of what to do and some pre-prepared responses that guide you through a situation.   I feel confident that if I came across an incident, that because of the first aid training that I would feel competent to step in.  I even dreamed about it the other night!   I did however think it was odd that kylo ren was the ambulance driver….  Welcome to my world….

The key to feeling empowered to step into an evangelistic situation also involves knowing what to do and how to use those skills.   Our confidence comes from being trained and equipped to step in when the opportunity presents itself.

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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When we say YES to extraordinary things can happen.  Our willingness to say YES opens the doors for God to bring people.  Saying YES can be the hinge that will change our lives, and the lives of those that we have God conversations with.

  1. Recognizes & Responds

When we say YES To God we recognize that it is His will, not our will.  He is God and He sees all and knows all.  He can lead us to the desert because He knows who we will meet there.  He can take us to unfamiliar “places” because everything is on His radar and map.   Saying YES acknowledges that He is Lord and that we are not.

YES is our response to God’s love and grace.  Obedience isn’t to win salvation or “pay it back” because it is a free gift from God, but when we love Him we want to live to please Him.

1 John 2:3–6  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.  By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

 

John 14:15 puts it even more black and white.  “If you love me, keep my commands.”

 

If we say we love God and yet are not prepared to talk to other people about Him, and are not prepared to step out as God leads… then what does that say about our faith????

 

 

 

  1. Responsibility

God has given us the ministry of reconciliation.  God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace. We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God. 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, so that all who believe in Him will not die but have eternal life. And God uses you and me as ambassadors, as representatives, to proclaim this good news.

God’s plan is to rescue the world and the very agents of change to proclaim the gospel is you and me.

Rescued people. People who have experienced grace for real.

We have a responsibility as ministers of reconciliation – as ambassadors for Christ.

Todd White, awesome evangelist, says he isn’t a professional evangelist, he is just a full time Christian.  When we make evangelism a task instead of a lifestyle we relegate it to the to-do list, or the maybe-do list.   We put our evangelist hat on when it suits us instead of living all the time on the ready, in the role, ambassadors representing Jesus everyday, in every way.

It is our responsibility as believers to “Live in such a way that those who know you but don’t know God will come to know God because they know you.”

Pray that God would set up scenarios which would give you the chance to invite someone to church and share your story with them. Don’t be reactive, be proactive and ASK God specifically for these moments.

 

 

  1. Results

I am more convinced now than ever before that someone who says “yes” to God in big ways and in small ways is a world changer and an eternity changer.

Sometimes the world seems so big and the commission to tell all the world about Jesus can seem quite daunting. But I have personally experienced the wonder of simply being obedient to whatever is right in front of me and it is enough.

My job is obedience. God’s job is results.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 says I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

Isaiah 55:10-11 says “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,

And do not return there,

But water the earth,

And make it bring forth and bud,

That it may give seed to the sower

And bread to the eater,

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
When we have God conversation with someone we are planting seeds, watering seeds and sending forth the Word of God.

Don’t you love the iconic spray and walk away add.  30 Seconds, spray, walk away.

In the same way we have a conversation, we pray, and then we walk away.  The results belong to God and just as the 30 seconds solution works on the lichen and moss, dissolving it, so the words of God and the Holy Spirit works in people’s hearts dissolving barriers against the gospel.

So often though don’t we put the pressure on ourselves to not only plant the seed, water all the other seeds, weed the patch, apply fertilizer and harvest the crops….   The results are Gods.  God may lead you to pray with the person or to take them to the next level but the results are His.

 

 

  1. Refocus

Peter talked last week about how we are being conformed into the image of santa, I mean Jesus, the perfect evangelist, the perfect apostle, the perfect teacher, the perfect prophet, the perfect pastor.  We are all being transformed to be more like Jesus.

This transformation process is the journey of refocusing on what is really important.

Seek first the kingdom of God.

“The Enemy is trying to get you off assignment. He wants to distract you with something that God is not emphasizing in your life so that you will miss what God wants to teach you in that moment. Make no mistake: God is trying to grow you exactly where you are.”  Banning Liebsher

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field.” —James 4:7-8 MSG Focus

Life is more than breathing and so often everything can become focused on me me me unless we surrender to a constant process of refocusing.

Refocus on what is important to God.  People.  Lost people.  Jesus said His mission was to seek and save the lost.

Refocus on how God sees people.  Do we see people as unreachable, in the too hard basket, or that they’ve got it all together?

Having the heart and lifestyle of an evangelist means that you will begin to look at the people in your life differently. Every person in your life is created in the image of God, and Jesus commands every one of them to follow Him. God has placed these people in your life so that you will do everything that you can to influence them. Following Jesus means that you will be teaching other people to follow Jesus.

God sees people as children He loves and died for and did everything to rescue them.  When we refocus and allow God to soften our hearts for people we align ourselves with his heart.  It is often the hardness of OUR hearts that is the barrier to people getting saved than it is the hardness of their own heart…

Being completely honest, list a few reasons why you’ve avoided inviting your friends to church. Then pray over each one of them – that God would give you compassion and courage instead of focusing on yourself.  Ask God to change your perspective about those who don’t have a relationship with Him: ask Him to open your eyes to the reality that their soul CRAVES Him.

 

  1. Rejoice

When we say YES to God we get to be part of the redemption process.  “Sometimes the God of the universe pauses in the midst of all His creation to touch the heart of one person.” He wants to partner with us – that rescued people would rescue people.  That we who feel the effects of grace and love, who have experienced salvation for real, would then get to go and tell other people about it.   There is incredible joy in being used by God.  There is nothing better than a conversation with someone that becomes a spiritual conversation.  Heaven throws a party when one person gives their lives to Jesus.  That is rejoicing.

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As I pause to help others, I am reminded that, just like Jesus, we are called to notice the people around us and to bring a touch of hope into their lives.  A person pursuing obedience is able to pause and touch those that He says need our time, in spite of busy schedules.  The obedience soul redefines who she is through God’s eyes and any hesitation to do what He asks fades way. // Lysa Terkeurst

 

Whether I’m writing an encouraging note to a discouraged friend or lending a helping hand to a mother who is overwhelmed with the responsibilities of her life, I’ve discovered its so simple to bring the light of God into the midst of our everyday world.  It is in the small acts of life that He can be reflected so beautifully – taking a meal to a new mother, welcoming a new neighbour with an invitation for dinner, or even just smiling at strangers as we pass them on the street.  as i pause to help others, I am reminded that, just like Jesus, we are called to notice the people around us and to bring a touch of hope into their lives.  // Lysa Terkeurst //

 

“Sometimes the God of the universe pauses in the midst of all His creation to touch the heart of one person.”  // Lysa Terkeurst

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God has made us ALL to be witnesses – not just the people people, or the extroverts or the youth or the whatever, but all of us.   If you are a born again Holy Spirit filled believer in Jesus Christ then the bible says that you are filled with power to be a witness.

Sometimes we need a reminder as to what that means and to how that can look in our real life, and a reminder about how passionate God is about this.  God is passionate about the lost and the prodigals.

 

Now we can know that in theory.  We can know the nice bible verses and have a mental agreement that yes, God loves Lost… people.

But how do we embrace and engage the wonder of evangelism and make it real in our lives.

What does it look like for your life?  For your context?

 

Who do we invite?

How are we invite someone?

Why are we inviting them?

Read the rest of this entry »

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God is looking for one man, one woman, who will become His personal representative…God wants you/me to be available – His messenger boy, a suit of clothes in His ready-to-wear department that He could put on at will to accomplish His purpose.

Howard Hendricks

Here are some of my favourite (aka inspiring, informative, challenging and relevant!) reads from around the net this week:

who do you want to be

Evangelizing to People Who Have Heard it All Before

5 ways to share your faith without shoving it down people’s throats.

Within a society where people know the gist of what Christianity teaches but words such as “converts,” “evangelism” and “proselytize” are increasingly associated with religious zealots, abusive cults and violent terrorism, it’s becoming more difficult to communicate faith-based ideas without being offensive or perceived as a close-minded bigot.

Historically, evangelism has sometimes been used as a weapon to hurt, shame, guilt and induce fear. Its longtime associations with obnoxious street preachers, sleazy televangelists and corrupt organizations make it even less appealing to the public—and to Christians themselves.

7 Ways to Become An Indispensable Youth Leader – Pastors.com

It has been said that “nobody is indispensable” and, to a degree, that is a true statement. But I can tell you that, as a former pastor and current leader of a youth ministry organization (with 20+ employees), there are certain staff losses that hit the church or ministry harder than others. Losing these kinds of employees leaves a bigger hole in the ministry because they have made themselves more and more indispensable through working harder, smarter and longer.

This brand of youth leader is the last to get cut when finances go south in a church. Indispensable staff members (no matter what their position) have worked hard in the good times so it makes them almost impossible to let go in the bad times. And firing? Forget it! Unless there is some moral issue, you find a way to keep these employees happy. Why? Because they are working hard and producing results!

The Issue Is Never The Issue – Going To The Source

It’s only until we’ve allowed God to take His place in our hearts and lives that we can then look past the complaints from/about each other, or the lack of connection – all the little, daily issues we face being married.

We can’t look to our marriage/spouse to fulfill or complete us – they were not designed to be our “salvation.” Christ is the only way.

When our security is in the Lord, through spending devoted, undistracted, daily time with Him – only then can we truly love our spouse, and be loved by them.

9 Things Everyone Should Do When Reading the Bible : A few simple habits to build into your Bible reading

Amid the hours of serious Bible study, I treasured this advice. Sometimes, we read to study and understand and wrestle with the truth. But sometimes, we read to make our hearts happy. “Delight yourself in the Lord,” for “your words are sweeter to me than honey.”

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God is all powerful, all knowing, wise, just, creative, The Creator capital T and capital C, He breathed out all the stars of every universe, every planet and atom is by His design and His will.  He is compassionate, mighty, just, holy, righteous, glorious, victorious, reigning….  His love is everlasting.

He hears our every thought and knows what we’ll say, before we say it.

He knows how many hairs we have on our head, and how many hairs we have on our toes.

And not just us, not just me, not just you, but every single person alive and breathing right now on the planet and ever was and will be.

Jeremiah 32:27 says I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

Luke 1:37 says For nothing is impossible with God.

Zip. Nada.  Zero.  Nil.  Zilch.  Nothing.

There are no impossibilities for God.

With God ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE.  Nothing is in the too hard basket.

He has the power.

Leonard Ravenhill says “I want to see the glory of God invade this generation.” – we want the reality of the Kingdom of God to be evident here on earth – because that’s where the captives are set free, the brokenhearted mended, the sick healed, the blind see, the lost saved. It’s about giving real love to those who have only felt rejection or had to earn love in all the wrong places.  It’s about answers to those who have no idea who they are and what they are doing on this planet.  It’s about giving real hope to people who have no hope and feel like giving up, or who cut themselves or drown themselves in drugs and alcohol and sex because it’s the only way to process their pain.  It’s about being family to those whose families are broken.  It’s where people find hope, grace, forgiveness, eternity… It’s where broken people experience the love and grace of God – just like we have.

This generation is going to hell literally and figuratively and are we doing something about it?

It’s not about life on earth as we know it but about demonstrating supernatural reality.

We have this amazing gift of salvation and being able to really know God.  That wow God that I spoke about 2 minutes ago… who breathed out the stars and made the neck muscles on the giraffe do those things they do so a giaffes head doesn’t explode every time it bends down to drink….

We have to live that supernatural reality from the inside out.

This life isn’t what it’s all about.  It’s important YES – but it’s just a blink in eternity.  Life is more than breathing.  This is not the only realm there is.  Life is more than what we can touch and feel with our 5 senses.  It’s more than minecraft, facebook, wifi, more than Star Wars, more than keeping up with the jones or anything else like that.

So how do we make real the supernaturalness of our lives and see His Kingdom Come?  How then should we live?

10356202_10153319292279258_6184601864101469717_nAt the start of the year when I said yes to being the youth pastor here there were 3 things that scared me….

  1. Driving the van
  2. Feeding 30+ people at camp or on a Friday night
  3. Camping over at church during Ascend….

I can now tick off 3 things and say DONE…  and really they were only half scary… except driving the van.

In my first week Dean took me for a test drive and I was like oh my word.  This is big.  It takes a ladder for me to just hop up to drive, just kidding…   I confess, I also have a bit of a record with things with wheels and accidents.

Had part of my finger amputated after a tricycle accident.

Broke my leg in 4 places after a bicycle accident.

Flipped a motorized go cart over a ditch.

Wrote of my parents 4 wheel drive when I was 17….

Got hit by an 84 year old lady driver and had car written off.

So yeah… I didn’t want to add CHURCH VAN to my list of driving “adventures”….

But I have a confession to make.

2 weeks ago I crashed the van.

It had been “one of those mornings” and anyway long story short when I got to church as I was parking I “clipped” Grace’s bumper and wheel.  Man did it make a horrendous noise.  There is nothing like the crunch of metal against metal to make the heart stop!  The kids were like ooooooh (thanks kids) and I uncharacteristically burst into tears.  The whole ugly cry thing.  The worst thing was that the van and Grace’s car were stuck together at the wheel part and until Grace moved her car forward we were stuck there, in the middle of the driveway, on a Sunday morning.  Aka everyone was going to see it and see me.  So as my calm husband began to sort things out I slunk into church and made my tearful confession to Peter .  I’ve crashed the van!   He came out to look as I continued to sob on Annikas shoulder.  Tony then was like, “Claire, have you had a look at this?”  I was like no, I don’t need to look, the sound told me everything!  I imagined the side had caved in and that well… yes.  He took me by the hand and took me round the side, where Peter was looking bemused.   Let’s just say my tears tried to stop as I looked at a small dent and a black line.  Yes we were stuck on Grace’s wheel, but once she moved, it was all okay.  No major crisis.  No cave ins.  No write offs.

Now this story isn’t just for confessions sake…

It was one of those moments where God spoke clearly.  “this is about perspective” He said.  Yip.  My perspective was that i had munted the van and that it was all bad.  The fact was that there was a small dent and a black line.  It wasn’t until I went around and looked for myself that I saw the extent of the “damage”.

How many times are we doing that with life and with God? Read the rest of this entry »

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