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Copy of WELCOME TO THE FAMILY.jpgOne of the funniest things about being a parent is observing the family resemblance that get passed down from generation to generation.

There are the obvious.

Height.  Or lack of it.

Hair colour.  And hair colour changes…. My husband’s mum was completely white by the time she was 35 (and my husband is nearly completely gray/white at 43 – and looks awesome!)

Eyes.

But there are other things that families do in common, traits and quirks that identify people as belonging to a family.

You’ve probably heard the sayings:

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Like father, like son
A chip off the old block.

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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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“Lamentations 3 tells us “His compassions are new every morning.”  God’s compassions, or mercies are available minute by minute, step by step, decision by decision, reaction by reaction.  We don’t have to get bogged down and label as unable.  We just have to ask God for forgiveness and move on. I am a woman on a journey of learning how to make sure my reactions don’t deny Christ’s presence in me.  ~ Lysa Terkeurst

Grace covers me.  All of me.  There are no spaces of my life where grace and the good news of the gospel cannot flow and bring hope.

No matter what I do, I am covered by His grace.  No matter who I am, I am covered by His grace.

On my best days, and my worst.

In my strength and in my weakness.

This is the good news for everyone.  No matter how dark you feel your soul is, no matter how wild your behaviour, know that the grace of God is enough.   More than enough.

Grace invites us to draw near when we would hide.  Grace comes and sits beside you in your aloneness, in the space you shut everyone out.  It shines light into the corners where we shrink away.  It takes our hand.  It wipes away tears.  Grace is the new morning, the fresh start, the clean slate.  Truly.  Really.  Totally.

There is nothing we can do that will disqualify us from His love and make Him turn away from us. Read the rest of this entry »

“How you are internally poised will affect how far you go in living out the destiny God has for you” Charlotte Gambil

Are you at peace on the inside?

Living with hope?

Holding on with faith?

These internal poises will affect how you live out your life and how you live your purposes.

I want to be someone who lives with purpose, on purpose.

The peace I have on the inside is a gift from God.  There are times I am so messy and up and down!  There are times my thoughts rage against me.  My worst enemy lives between my two ears.  But the Bible says that God gives peace that is beyond understanding, that doesnt require circumstances to be a true peace.

The hope I live with comes from a confidence that God is who He says He is and that He is good, and great.  My hope is founded upon His character.  It also is a gift that He gives, an ability to see the world through the lens of His power and heart.  The world may be dark and my life surrounded by struggle but because of the promises of God I can live with hope.

The faith I hold onto isnt something I work up or work out.  It isnt about being good enough, trying harder or being more spiritual.  The object of my faith is worthy of the faith and trust I put upon Him.  Jesus.  It’s not my faith that is special but Jesus that is worth it.  I hold onto faith because His promises can be trusted.  I have seen it in my own life.  I have seen it in others.  Life is a journey and I hold onto God’s hand as I navigate every pathway.  Even in my weakest moments I know that it will be okay because God is with me.  Even in the mess of life I know that I am loved, chosen, called, liked, accepted.

My poise is a response to God.  It is a response to His love, grace, faithfulness and power.

It lives and breathes His peace, hope and faith.  It is fueled by His love.

THAT is what empower me to live the plans and purposes of God.  Himself.

How are you living your life today?

alejandroescamilla-book

To live by faith you’re going to need to become very familiar with your bible. You’re going to need to saturate your mind with the Word of God. If your faith isnt rooted in God’s promises, its not scriptural faith. Prioritize the presence of God in your daily life. – steven furtick – Sun stand still

There are going to be times when life throws lies at you.

Everyday there are people that may attack us or live out of their own pain, and we just happen to be in the way and the first person they can lash out at.

Everyday people will let us down, unintentionally and intentionally.

Everyday there will be situations that stretch us, that test us, that turn up the pressure.

Everyday the enemy will aim fiery arrows at us.  His objective is to kill, steal and destroy.  He has many tactics and strategies to bring darkness.

Everyday he will weave words of deception and accusation around us, works of death and discouragement.

Everyday that internal voice we have wrestles with the cacophony of opinions around us, deciding which we will align ourselves with and agree with, deciding which we will discard and deflect.

Everyday it can feel like we’re drowning.

Every day we need the Word of God to proclaim TRUTH to us.

What is the truth of what God says about who we are?  Accepted.  Loved.  Welcomed.  Called.  Liked.

What is the truth of what God says about your situation?  All things work for good for those who love Him according to His purpose and plans.

What is the action of God at this moment?  He is at work to protect and encourage you, give you hope and peace.

God wants to saturate us with His hope, life, love, grace and peace.

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There

Is

SOMETHING

About

This

Song.

Something amazing.

I have had it on repeat since it was released last week.  It’s lyrics are deep, somewhat moody and beautiful.

The bridge is phenomenal!!!

Dry spells are the instrument of God, for your good. Yes, it is true in such times, your five senses have been deprived and all outward progress of outward piety ends. Know this; In such times you are either going to leave off prayer and perhaps even a large part of your Christian walk, or you will be drive to a comfort which has nothing to do with the outward sense.” Molinos from 100 Days In The Secret Place (by Gene Edwards)

Currently in New Zealand we are experiencing one of our hottest summers in record.  Last week, as we flew over Blenheim, the contrast of the lush greenness of the well kept vineyards and the barren dryness of the surrounding hills was extreme. They need rain.

The earth is not the only place where things can be dry.  We experience seasons where we struggle, where we falter, where we doubt, where we feel dry.

In these dry places we learn to persevere and to draw near to God regardless of how we feel and what we sense. In this time God is still at work, even more so I would think, as He develops strength of character and hunger for Him. We learn to pray in new ways, to seek after God and to in that action to hold onto our faith and beliefs. We may even find our beliefs and faith changing as things that are built on works and feelings and comfortability fall away. We may discover that we do know in our deepest parts that God does love me and knows me and forgives me – despite all our failings and unworthiness.

In a dry spell the greatest watering and growth can occur.

Even if we know nothing else we can have hope in WHO God Is.   God is God, the God of mercy and compassion, love and peace, grace and hope, Jehovah our Provider, Jehovah our Healer, Jehovah our Breakthrough.  He is the same today, yesterday and will be tomorrow. He will never leave or depart us, never abandon us. Our names are written on the palm of his hand, and there are nail scars to reinforce the point.

On the Cross Jesus said I THIRST.  The maker of heaven and earth, the Lord of Lords, the one who gives living water so we will never thirst again, thirsted.

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keepcalmgodloves:    onceshedecidedtofly:    Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is.    (via imgTumble)

 

i feel really small when a 6.6 earthquake hits the town where my parents live.

i feel really small when my daughter has a potentially life threatening allergy reaction.

i feel small sending my kids to school each day.

i feel small, often.

life is fragile.

this world is broken, groaning, crying out for restoration and renewal and for the return of The King.

 

but my God is big.  bigger than i can even comprehend or define.

He is the one who breathed out the stars, spoke and there was light, who created the universe and holds all things in His hands.

 

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Psalm 33:6

 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.  Colossians 1:14-16

 

He is the healer, the storm calmer, the life giver.

He knows my days, my hours, my minutes, my thoughts.

 

Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.  Psalm 139:4-5

 

i am secure in His might and love.

i am safe in His grace and power.

i belong to Jesus.

i AM small.  but He is amazing.

i put my trust in Him.

Last night we had an incredible night at our Daughters @ The River (women’s ministry) event.

We had a local speaker, who shared her story and how God gave her hope,

in the midst of her pain.

As she began to unravel her story, the journey of hope she was on,

there were many tears, and no words.

Before she spoke to us about hope, she thanked the worship team for their worship and song selection.  Every word, she said, resonated.  I knew, this was her life.  This was her declaration.  This was her reality.

In the storm, hold onto the anchor of God.

His truth.  His character.  His heart.

His goodness.  His greatness.  His nearless.

Hold onto hope.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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

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