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Focus 6 (1)

Let’s have a look at how focus plays out in Numbers 13

The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”

V18 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.”

21 So they went up and explored the land ….  23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol,[a] they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs.

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

The spies came back and said: We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. Numbers 13:33

Note the wording there.  We looked like grasshoppers in OUR OWN eyes.  And so we looked the same to them.   IN OUR OWN EYES.

Because the Israelites saw themselves as small, powerless, and insignificant they were then seen as small, powerless, insignificant grasshoppers by the people possessing the Promised Land.

They were focused on the wrong things!  They focused on the walls and the giants instead of their God who split the red sea so they could walk through on dry land and who would knock the walls of Jericho down and defeated a giant with a shepherd boy and a stone.  Sure, they didn’t know those realities yet – David hadn’t even being born and Jerichos walls were strong and proud but this is the God they followed and this is the God WE follow!

It was the people’s insecure perception of themselves that limited their ability to take the land and have faith in God. It was the Israelites incorrect perception of themselves that hijacked the fulfilment of the call of God.

Compare this to what Caleb and Joshua, the other two spies, said in verse 30: We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.

Why did they have this confidence? Interesting to note that God says of them “my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly” Numbers 14:24

They had a different attitude and perception, not only of themselves but of the power of God to bring victory and fulfilment. They focused their attention on God and his superabuntant ability to do more than we even dare ask, dream or pray for.

So where is our focus?

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Everyday we are bombarded by voices.  Kids in our class.  Teachers.   Family.  Friends.  Social Media.

Those voices try, and succeed to shape our identity.   They try to pull us down, make us weak, discourage us, and make us fit in with what everyone else is doing and becoming.  And what is worse is that we actually often add to those voices with our own.  We look in the mirror and go meh.  We agree with all the negativity and then cant see the positive stuff.  We compare and compete.  The worst voice against us is often the one in our own head.

Do you know who should define our identity?  our identity is purely what God says about us.  Who he says we are is who we are.

You are loved by God.

You are called by God.

God sees the good the bad and the ugly and he says I choose you.  I choose you to be in my family.  I choose  you to be my friend.  I choose you to be my representative.  I choose you to be my servant.  I choose you.  I choose you to go out into all the world to preach the gospel and tell people how real I am.  I choose you to lay hands on the sick and they will be healed.  I choose you to do amazing things.

You are called to make a difference in your generation and the devil wants to shut you down and shut you up but God sees what HE has begun in your life.  Its not by our greatness, or our good works, or our talents and abilities but it is by what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives.  Our only part is to say yes.  Our only part is to agree with what God is doing.

This is why prophecy is so powerful.  Because it counters the lies we hear from the outside, and the lies we tell ourselves, and is God saying this is who you are.  You are my child.  I love you.  I have a great plan and purpose.  It is God speaking His hope and His dreams for us.  It is God encouraging us.

God doesn’t major on the mistakes we make.  He looks at the potential He has planted in our lives.  This is who we are.  This is who you are.

God sees you as a son and daughter of God.

He sees you as a leader.  He sees you as a world changer.  He sees you as a influencer.

In the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. Acts 2

The promise is that the Holy Spirit will come and that those who know God, who are Christians, who are filled with the Holy Spirit will be able to prophesy.   You see God doesn’t choose special super spiritual people to give prophetic words, He can and does use anyone.

1 Cor 14:1-3 says Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. The one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.

Propehcy strengthens, encourages and comforts.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Giden he prophesied Gideon you mighty man of valour and Gideon was like who me?  No way.  God had planted the seeds of greatness and might in Gideons life and Gideon then had to choose to have faith in God and in His words.   He had to have a change in identity.

Daniel when he was taken to Bablyon, a captive, a prisoner agreed with the identity that God had spoken into his life.  He refused to be assimilated but instead stood up and make a stand for what God had called him to do.  He refused to have his identity compromised by the worlds culture and systems, even at the threat of his very life.   He knew what God had said and how God had said for him to live and lived by things.   He allowed his heavenly identity to shape how he lived.

Joseph dreamed of being a great leader and held onto that sense of calling and identity even when his brothers beat him in a jealous rage, and sold him into slavery.  Even when he was falsely accused of having sexual relations with that woman and thrown into jail he kept his sense of identity secure and lived as a leader, regardless of the location and situation.   He lived by the promises of God and then was ready for that day when God turned the tables and he became prime minister of Egypt.

What does God say about who you are?  What is God saying about who you are to become?  You might be like Gideon and look at yourself and say who me?  You might be like Joseph and wonder how on earth you’re going to get there.  But God has a plan and a purpose and it is Him who shapes your life and knows the days and seasons.   When we build our life by the Word of God we have real life.



So we all love movies where the hero overcomes the odds, scores the girl, defeats the bad guy, saves the day, right?  As of the start of the week ENDGAME has made $2.73 billion which means a lot of people have seen it including one fan, Agustin Alanis who has seen it 103 times.

It’s like there is something in our DNA that is drawn towards stories of ordinaryish people who rise up and become the hero and I think something in all of us that wonders if we were put in that position… if we were bit by the spider… if we found a droid with a secret message… if we were struck by lightning… that we would accept the challenge and be the hero.. am I right?

Well in the bible we meet about a moment just like this – a guy plucked out of obscurity, chosen by God to be king, who against all the odds defeats the bad guy and saves the day.

So Israel have this king, Saul, but he’s gone off the rails a bit and God has chosen a new guy to be king and sends Samuel, the prophet to go and anoint the new king.


Now here begs the question… where do you find a new king?  There aren’t schools for kings, you cant go to a shop and select one off the shelf and you cant order one from the internet.  Perhaps you could do a show like the bachelor, where you give a rose to the candidates and end up living happily ever after with the king at the end…  or survivor “the tribe has spoken”…

God tells Samuel to go to visit a family in Bethlehem and that he has chosen one of his sons to be king.

Read the rest of this entry »

Im weird.  I like weird things.  I like things weirdly.  Take for example, I like to eat my M&Ms by colour order, I don’t like peas and I dont like my food to touch on a plate.


I’m slightly obsessed with Lost, the tv show, and Star Wars and often know weird random facts about them that no one else may really care about like the fact that an estimated that 2.2 million full-time employees missed work to attend the film, resulting in a US$293 million loss of productivity.  I’m also slightly obsessed about missing people and cold cases at the moment and listen to a couple of podcasts about them – I think its the Lost thing but in real life.


I’m also 4 books away from the goal I set myself to read this year.   Weird and super geeky I know.  Anyway recently I read a book about art restoration, as you do, and it got me wandering off on a tangent thinking about how it applies to our identity as God’s masterpiece and the process we are on to become more like Jesus.


Art Restoration is a very specialized business.  Do it the wrong way and you end up with this…. Phrases such as “the worst restoration in history” and “a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic” were used to describe her attempt to repair the 1930 artwork – a depiction of Christ with a crown of thorns….

art restoration bad


Do it right and you can enhance the original beauty and glory of the artwork.

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Life is a process of trading one thing for another. We’re all given a certain amount of time and ability which we exchange to gain other things, such as money, food, shelter, relationships, leisure, and pleasure.

We also can trade our identity – who we really are – who God says we are – for other things and if you turn to Genesis 25:29-34 we can read about a shocking exchange between Esau and Jacob that illustrates the danger of trading away who we are.

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.[a])31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.


This has to be the worst negotiation in history.  Esau’s birthright meant that not only would he get DOUBLE inheritance but it would mean that he would become head of the family and all the benefits that brings.  It is the door to wealth and prestige.  It is the key to future opportunities and provision.  It was designed to be an incredible blessing for his life and his family, onwards even past his lifetime down the generations.

And he swaps it, he exchanges it for a bowl of lentil stew.

I’m sure you’re all thinking what I’m thinking.  How dumb can you be and still breathe?  What was he thinking?

The reality was that he wasn’t thinking.  He was just doing.  Just living.  Just breathing.  Verse 34 says Esau despised his birthright. This verse reveals the underlying significance of Esau’s actions. “To despise” means to treat something as worthless or with contempt. Esau’s willingness to sell his birthright was evidence that he considered it to be unimportant.  He lived for the here and now. “Who needs a birthright?” he thought. “After all, I may be dead tomorrow. What I need now is a good meal. What good is a birthright if I starve to death?”

His birthright should have been something he valued and protected and lived in the reality of – instead Esau trades it away for a bowl of lentil stew.

We point fingers and scorn Esau.  We shake our heads dismayed at the choice he has made.

But we all like Esau have gone astray and we have all played the trade game and exchanged our identity for lesser things.  We have all traded things that we should value in our lives for things that are of the same value as lentil stew.

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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.”

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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.






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 »


Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought meh?

Ever taken personally someones mean words, taken them to heart, made them a truth?

Have you ever felt like you were not ________________ enough (you can fill in the blank)?

Let me tell your heart this – You are enough.   You are worthy.

Today, look in the mirror and speak the truth that comes from God.

That you are loved.



That before you were born God purposed you, on purpose, with purpose.

You are His.

You have worth.

Let His truth speak to your heart.


“Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.”
-Brennan Manning


The mystery of true acceptance is that God welcomes us, and embraces who we are – mess and all.  He embraces our flaws – no wait, He goes one step further and COVERS our flaws with the blood of Jesus.  He transforms us day by day to become the best version we can be, transformed by love, transformed by His peace, transformed by trust.

We can be real, authentic, ourselves.  Because this is who God has made us to be.

We are crafted by God.


The price paid for us was the precious blood of Jesus.

Live in that reality.



Would who she was really be enough? There was no magic to help her this time. This is perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take—to be seen as we truly are //  Cinderella 2015

I am sure we have all taken a moment to ask ourselves this same question.

Are we enough?


Can I be myself?

Will I be enough?

Cinderella knew that her worth was not in her gown or fairness of face, but that her worth was in her heart, her character.  She had courage and kindness and THIS defined her.

She would not be defined by the names her stepsisters or stepmother called her.  She removed the power from their labels and walked in the power of her own identity.

With dignity and presence she appeared before her prince.  Loving him as he was, and being loved for herself.

Life is not a fairy tale though.  Yes there are princes, and sometimes nemesis, trials and tipping points that feel magical.  But we have to walk with that same Cinderella sense, to take the risk, to be who we truly are.

Who are you truly?  Will you risk and be that person?

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

July 2020
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