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I want to tell you a story about someone short.  I can identify.  I mean I have to say I’m real happy there are some new year 7s in here because me and Mikayla are no longer the shortest people here!

 

Anyway my story is about this short guy called Zacchaeus.

Now they say that good things come in small packages but that was so not true about Zacchaeus.  He was the chief tax collector in his area and made a living ripping people off.  People didn’t like him very much and defriended him on facebook and didn’t invite him to their parties or out to McDs for a frozen coke.

Anyway he heard that Jesus was in town and for some reason just kinda felt like he should go and see him.  Like everyone else in his town.

Now short people problems here.   No matter where he stood he couldn’t see.   And people wouldn’t move to make way for him.  So he ran ahead and climbed a tree beside so he could see Jesus.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

 

Did you catch that.  Jesus was walking by the tree, looked up and called Zacchaeus by name.

In the crowd Jesus saw this short guy.  He picked him out.  He knew His name.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Have any of you here done anything that scared you so much you thought you might have a bodily functions moment…. Or that your heart might stop…. Or that you might never survive???

This year we went to The Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise baby!

We hit the theme parks, Sea world, Wet and Wild and Movie World.

Movie world has this one ride that scared the biginoes out of me but that I knew I had to get my son to do.  I knew he wouldn’t do it unless I did.  So yip.

It is the Superman Escape Ride.  After waiting waiting waiting about 45 mintutes it was our turn.  It is at this point that my son informs me that you accelerate from zero to 100 in 2 seconds.  Yes.  What the heck!

Let me show you……

So as we shot out now going 100km an hour my son and I had very different reactions.  I could not scream because I was too scared.  Nor could I shut my eyes.  However my son started with some noise then closed his eyes for the rest of his short life… I mean for the rest of the ride…

At the end I stumbled off the roller coaster, we laughed and high fived because we had survived!   My fearless 9 year old neice who also rode with us was like that was the best ride ever auntie Claire now can we go on the green lantern….  Like heck no!

It took courage for me to go on the superman escape.  And the reward of my courage was bragging rights and the thrill of the experience!

To go up the mountain you have to have courage.

Moses had to have courage.

He was one man out of a whole nation and he said I am not afraid I will go up on the mountain and meet God because he knew the heart of God, he had a personal relationship.  The reward of his courage was he met with God face to face, he met with God like no one else has in history.

Jonathan and his armour bearer had to have courage to climb up the mountain to take on the philistine army.  While the rest of their army nana napped under the pogemgrante tree with the king they snuck out to go make a difference.  They had a chat and said “if we meet the enemy and they call us up then we’ve got them, we’ve won, but if we meet the enemy and they say we’ll come down to you, then we’ll run because that’s a sign from God”  So they find the enemy, and sure enough the philistine solider says come on up….

Boom Jonathan says!  God is with us and nothing is impossible.

It was 2 against whatever, agasint 50-100 men, but the odds were ever in their favour because they knew that God was with them.

They were game changers, while the rest of the army slept they won a great victory.

We must understand that God does not live in our “reality.” He is not confined to odds and statistics. God calls us to throw off those constraints and allow ourselves to dream. Jonathan, was a dreamer who refused to be boxed in by “reality”. He had a dream to take on the army of the Philistines. On their way to the battle Jonathan reminded his friend who was carrying his armour that God could save by many or by few. He was declaring the truth that we can dream an audacious dream because the God we serve is not confined to statistics. THIS reality gave Jonathan courage.  THIS reality fuelled his dream.

Now you might not be facing an army or climbing a literal mountain to meet with God and lead a nation but you have got to tap into supernatural courage to do all audiacous things that God has called YOU to do.

To talk to your friend in class

To have courage to say hey im praying

To have courage to pray right there and then

Courage to live your life differently

Courage to pursue God wholeheartedly

You need courage to grab onto the dream that God has for your life…. That God has for you next year.

Where does that courage come from?

Stir your heart with the promises of God

Chop the wood

Faith in an invisible God who is faithful always

  1. STIR YOUR HEART

God has given us this book for a reason.  Its got just to gather dust.  Its not just a good idea.  This is the living breathing alive active powerful Word of God, that reveals who God is and what God does and what God likes and what God is doing.  Not just at the big picture level but to you personally.

To grow in courage you have got to get this book inside you – you’ve got to read it and let it inspire you.

Put yourself in their shoes….   When goliath faced the giant, he didn’t know the end of the story, he was just a teenager with courage to believe that if God said He would win he would win.    When Moses split the red sea, he didn’t know the end of the story, he was just an old man with a stick got said lift up.  When the little boy brought his lunch to Jesus he thought maybe just the disciples might get a snack, he didn’t know the end of the story, that his lunch box fed 20000 people.  When Shadrach, Mesach and Abendago said no way will we bow down to a false god, they didnt know the end of the story and that they would walk with Jesus in the fire.   They are humans, like you and me.  What got them in the book is their faith and courage, they chose to step out and let God step in.

Getting familiar with this book feeds your faith and faith is the key that unlocks adventure.  You get stirred to believe in a great God who does extraordinary things with ordinary people.

  1. Chop the wood so when the fire falls you’ll be ready

We’ve got to get ready in the simple every day parts of our lives.  If you want fire in your life you don’t just go “boom here I am, I’m ready” – you prepare.

Chop the wood.  Pray.  Read the Bible.  Go to church.

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

If you live your life with that yes then God knows He can nudge you in a direction, towards an adventure and you’ll say yes.

Building a lifestyle of worship, of faithfulness, of passion and purpose chops the wood and gets you ready for the fire to fall.  Its like you’re painting a massive target on your life saying here am I Lord, send me!

  1. Faith in a faithful God

Courage leads to faith.  Courage puts you in the seat of the roller coaster and straps you in but faith is knowing that you’re going to zoom, its the confidence that its designed right and that every mechanical thing is working and functioning and that in 25 seconds you’ll be able to breathe at normal speed again…

Courage caused Jonathan and his armour bearer to leave the safety of the snooze under the pomegranate tree, but faith took them into the battle and the victory.  Once they heard the enemy say “come on up here” they knew that God was at work and that nothing was impossible.

Faith isn’t a what – it is in a who.  We have faith in an incredible God who breathed out the stars, who created the universe, who knows how many hairs you have on your head and knows all the thoughts and dreams of your heart.  We have faith in a God who loves us so much that 2000 years ago Jesus came and lived a perfect life that we could never live and he died the death we should have, punished for the sins of all the world, for your sin, my sin.  Sin is the dumb stuff we do, the things that push us away from God.  God is perfect and holy and could have just left it at that but He wanted to be our Father and to be our friend.  So Jesus came and lived and died and took our place – its like he exchanged his perfect rap sheet for our rubbish rap sheet and now we can be called innocent and not guilty.

This is who we have faith in.  The God who has done everything to make us His friend.  The God who created you on purpose with a purpose.  The God who holds the universe together and is at work yesterday, today, tomorrow.

And He is calling you to have courage.  He is calling you to step up and step out and make a difference.  He has created you for adventures with Him.  He has created you to shine in the darkness of this world.  He has called you to be different.  He has called you to know Him and make Him known.  To do this you need courage, you need to stir yourself up with His promises and with the stories of people doing amazing things.   You need to live a life that holds fast to what it means to be God’s friend, to chop the wood now so that when the fire falls, when the opportunity comes, when the roller coaster of your life takes off at 0-100 km per hour that you are ready and you need to know that God is good and great.

Life is more than breathing, you are on mission.  It might seem like mission impossible but with God He says IM POSSIBLE.  Its time to lift our vision and to stretch out into the more that God dreams for your life….

 

  • HKC Collision Camp 2016

 

identity.pngMan does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

 

We live by the Word of God, by what God says.

 

Your identity is purely what God says about you.  Who he says you are is who you are.

 

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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At HKC Youth this term we’ve been looking at the behind the scenes stuff – the spiritual stuff that goes on behind the scenes in our life, how that affects here and now, what we can see, how we feel, how we act, and how we are not victims but how God has given us tools to equip and empower us for any situation.

A couple of weeks ago one of our awesome youth leaders did a phenomenal message about the armour of God – who can remember the different parts of armour?

One of the parts that especially challenged me and made me go mmmmm was when he wrote on each nerf bullet a tactic or strategy that the enemy uses to mess with our minds.

Shame.

Fear.

Insecurity.

Guilt.

Hate.

And he shot them out of his nerf gun at his brother who was wearing his helmet of salvation and had his shield of faith up and the bullets just bounced off and were deflected.

Our shield of faith is made up of all the truth we know about God.

He is good.

He is for us.

He is powerful.

He gives us peace.

He heals us.

He is at work to make all things good.

When the enemy fires a lie at us, fires a dart at us, his aim is that it will hit us, penetrate us, wound us – kill steal and destroy us.  That we’ll get hit and then we’ll buy the lie and it becomes the way we think.

But faith identifies the lie and replaces it with the truth of the Word of God.

Jesus did this when the devil tempted him in the desert after he was baptized.  The devil would say “so if you think you’re the son of God do this or do that” and Jesus would hold up his shield of faith and say “it is written in the word of God” and the lie would just bounce off.

There is power in declaring who God is.  Regardless of our circumstances, regardless of what it looks like, God is faithful, He is good, He is mighty to save. When we declare Who God is, our circumstances have to bow to the truth.

But sometimes we have our own lies.  We have our own issues that fight against God.

The war is within us.  My will vs God’s will.  My ways vs God’s way.

There are things that I don’t want to do, that I end up doing.

There are things that I want to do, but I don’t do them.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride,  and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope,  humility, kindness, , empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” Read the rest of this entry »

Found these great leadership quotes today… thought I would file them here…

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“Leadership is the ability to not only understand and utilize your innate talents, but to also effectively leverage the natural strengths of your team to accomplish the mission. There is no one-size fits all approach, answer key or formula to leadership. Leadership should be the humble, authentic expression of your unique personality in pursuit of bettering whatever environment you are in.” – Katie Christy, founder, Activate Your Talent

A leader is someone [who] leads by example and has the integrity to do the right thing even when it is not popular. A good leader has positive influence over others, inspiring them to become a better person and example for others to model their life against, as well.” – Mark Little, founder and president, Diversified Funding – See more at:

“Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.” – Lisa Cash Hanson, CEO, Snuggwugg

“Leadership is the ability to help people achieve things they don’t think are possible. Leaders are coaches with a passion for developing people, not players; they get satisfaction from achieving objectives through others. Leaders inspire people through a shared vision and create an environment where people feel valued and fulfilled.” – Randy Stocklin, co-founder and CEO, Readers.com

“Effective leadership is providing the vision and motivation to a team so they work together toward the same goal, and then understanding the talents and temperaments of each individual and effectively motivating each person to contribute individually their best toward achieving the group goal.” – Stan Kimer, president, Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer

Does anyone here when they watch movies find that they are linking the movie to stuff in the Bible or seeing parallels between the gospel and the characters in the movie?  Just me?

 

How many times have we seen a film where a handful of brave souls take a stand against evil? Consider The Lord of the Rings, where the fellowship is pitted against the forces of Mordor, or the recent Star Wars, which features a light side and dark side.  It’s Xavier vs Magneto.  Autobots vs Decepticons.

One of the most heart-wrenching moments in The Chronicles of Narnia is when Aslan surrenders himself to save Edmund. It’s a horrible, beautiful moment when power of love is on full display.   How many times have we seen one of the good guys give up their life, or think they’re giving up their life, or give up something else important, in order to save the day?  Beauty and the Beast.  Saving Private Ryan.  Batman vs Superman.

We love seeing the underdog win.  We love seeing the flawed hero overcome their struggle to win the day.  We love happy endings.

Cinderella meets her prince charming.

Nemo and his dad are reunited.

Westly and Buttercup get married.

 

Is it also just me that cries in almost every movie they see?  Tangled.   Yes.  Cinderella.  Yes.  Star Trek.  Yes.  Force Awakens.  No.  Seriously.

And this part in Thor.

I think my favourite Marvel movie so far is Thor.   Thor really is awesome!

Thor in the movie is sent to earth because of his pride and arrogance by his father Odin the All Father to learn some humility.

NOT A PARALLEL to the Bible.

Stripped of his super powers and cut off from his home in the heavens he walks as one of us – an extremely ripped version of one of us but still.

Unable to wield his might hammer Thor comes to accept that he is no longer worthy of his esteemed position as the Crown Prince of Asgard (his home world). Yet when we the good people of earth are threatened by The Destroyer (a super powered Asgardian security guard) Thor steps up to face the threat despite his (relatively) feeble form. He is willing to sacrifice himself to save us.

There are obviously many differences between Thor and Jesus but the similarity of the basic story of the Son of God sacrificing himself in order to save us should be familiar to most of us.

Philippians 2:5-11 says this – this is what Jesus did and who Jesus is….

Jesus who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!   Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Proverbs 4:23 says:
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. NIV
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. NLT

Why do people “start” with such a passion, such a fire, such a zeal and end up with a mediocre complacent existence, more than living? Lots of that has to do with the condition of the heart.

Life is more than breathing.  Its about adventure and living for Jesus.  It’s about being authentic and being who God has made us and called us to be.

We have to have constant heart checks, it’s not easy to stay motivated and fired up but it takes grace from God and also intentionally stirring up that fire, stirring up that passion on the inside and doing the stuff that fuels that focus and enthusiasm in God.

Sometimes what takes us away from our destiny is that we have potential heart blockages and we need to regularly have heart adjustments to stay on track with the plans and purposes of God.

In the same way we take care of our natural heart to avoid ending up having a heart attack – we exercise, we don’t smoke, eat healthy, we eliminate the harmful lifestyle patterns – healthy hearts equal long healthy life – the same principal is true, we have to look after our spiritual heart and avoid blockages. Read the rest of this entry »

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“For any team, if you don’t fight for community, it won’t happen. Community is the intentional pursuit of being intertwined in each other’s stories. It’s being a part of the highs and the lows together, being hope for each other, having fun together, working together, encouraging one another, helping each other grow and calling out the gold in one another.” // Paul McClure from The Heart Behind Community Nights

 

This popped up on my facebook feed and made my heart pause.

Wow.

This is my heartbeat.  This is my way.

Leadership is about community and having a common WHY and one heart, one mind, one purpose.

Together we do this thing.

Proverbs encourages us to “Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23)

Everything flows from having a well heart, a heart in right relationship first with God and secondly with each other.  Vertical and horizontal health.

When our hearts are discouraged or disillusioned and unwell, we attribute negativity and bad motivations to people.  We are critical and don’t give ourselves fully to serving.  We are divided.  This affects attitudes and our own motivations.  We become hurt and offended.   It creates a gap in relationships, vertical and horizontal.

Our hearts matter.

When our hearts are well we are encouraged and inspired.  We are positive and motivated.  We cover and overlook mistakes, working together to develop strengths, serving with all we are.  We are unified and on the same page, able to be real and vulnerable and creative, discussing ideas freely with no sense of shame or fear.  We laugh and have fun.  We grow.

One of my great goals as a youth pastor is to create a leadership team that is more than just doing a job together.  Together we care passionately, live passionately, serve passionately.  This happens when we’re on the same page, where we are intentional about creating community and doing life together.

Together.

 

What do you do to create intentional community for your teams?

And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.

43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.

“There is nothing there,” he said.

Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”

44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rains started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

1 Kings 18:42-46
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There are a couple of points I want to pull out of this that I think is relevant when pursuing God for revival.
1.  We hear
Elijah HEARD the sound of rain, before there was any rain, before there were any clouds.  Sometimes we get a sense of what God is doing in the visible well before there are any visible signs, any tangible results.  We have to have faith in that sense of the invisible working of God and run with it.  I hear the sound of approaching rain.  When I think of HKC and pray I hear the sound of young people crying out to God.  I hear church place filled with young people.   That is the rain I hear.   We have to grab ahold of what we hear God saying in the secret place and by faith believe that.
2.  We pray.
God does extraordinary things when ordinary people pray.
3.  We see.
Elijah’s servant saw a cloud the size of a mans fist.  We often see small signs of God moving, small changes that are indicators of what He is doing.  Let’s not despise the days of small beginnings but let those things encourage us.
For revival to come we must grow in our vertical relationship with God.  We’re going to grow bigger, stronger, more faithfilled and more faithful.  We’re going to have adventures and step out of the boat.  But in revival we’re also going to grow in numbers, horizontally, as our hearts grow bigger with the vision God has we will step out and be that catalyst for growth.  How do we grow?  How do we see that more?  Simple.  We invite people.  We bring people.  We ask people.  We talk about the awesome things God is doing in our lives and at church and we bring people.
We’re going to be a people who know God and make Him known.  In Daniel 11 it says that the people that know their God will be strong and do exploits.  The greatest exploit we can do is to bring people to Jesus.   In John 4 Jesus says open your eyes and see the harvest.  The servant had to open his eyes to see the cloud and we need to open our eyes to see how God has positioned us and the great things he wants to do, not just to us, but through us.
4.  We prepare.
Elijah told his servant to go and prepare Ahab for the mighty rain approaching.
Are you prepared practically for growth?  For rain?
verse 45 says Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rains started falling.
are you ready for the rain?
can you hear the sound of approaching rain?
will you pray for God to move?
can you see what God is already doing and what God will do?
will you go deeper and get more hungry, for yourself and for those in your world?
will you bring someone, many someones next year.
because if we do.  it will rain.  we will get wet.  and man its going to be glorious!

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When I was flatting in Dunedin we had this amazing flat on Clyde St.  It was a bright red block terrace house, with a yellow door.  No room was matching.  My room had wall paper that had massive green vines.  And orange curtains.   The room upstairs looked like the 60s had thrown up in there.  The living room was tiny and literally fit only 6 people seated.  We could hear the neighbours pee when we sat at our dining room table.  The toilet had windows that didn’t shut and seriously in winter there was a layer of frost!  Ahh we so loved it.

It was there we learned to live and to cook.  I learned that there is more than one type of pastry and that short pastry is for desserts, not mince pies.  And that mince and peas is from the devil.

Anyway the great thing about this flat was that it was a block away from uni.   So our flat had an open door policy.  You could come hang out at ours any time.   Especially if you brought chocolate.

During study time it wasn’t unusual to have 10 of us squished in the living room for mammoth study sessions.

We would get knocks on the doors and windows often late at night as people would drop round.

However one night we took the open door policy to the next level.  I got up one morning to find the front door wide open.  Someone, anyone had forgotten to close it!  Talk about a freak out moment.  Not that we had much to steal, our tv was so rubbish that it didn’t show the colour red.  Everyone had green lips and superman looked like he was captian planet.

But yikes!

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Revelation 3:20 –  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

 

Jesus is standing at the door of your life, knocking.

His knock is the invitation to a changed life.  His knock is an invitation to adventure.  His knock is an invitation to love.  His knock is an invitation to peace and security like you could never imagine.   His knock is an invitation for us to know Him, the creator of the universe, who breathed out the stars, who created the giraffe, who imagined the oceans and the stars and the forests and the mountains.

When you encounter God you are never the same!

When I was 16 I went to a youth camp, just like this one.  Over the course of the weekend I felt that knocking on my heart.  I couldn’t explain it, I couldn’t shake it.  It was this sense that God was there and that He was real and that I could know Him, but that the choice was mine to take it or leave it.

I had always thought that God was far away, on a cloud somewhere, indifferent to the world and especially indifferent to me.

But all of a sudden there was this intense awareness that God knew me inside out, all the good bad and the ugly and that He wanted to change my life.  Read the rest of this entry »

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