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Did you know that experts say that we have 7 seconds to make a good first impression.  That first 7 seconds can determine what people will think of us from that point on.  7 seconds is not very long!

I first met my current pastor, and boss, and friend when he  spoke at a conference at my church in Dunedin.  On the Sunday night there was a massive combined churches event in the town hall and I remember going forward for prayer and Peter prayed for me.   I was getting massively touched by God and having an amazing encounter with the Holy Spirit when these two elderly ladies came up and started praying unusually for me.  Now back in the days I was quite an alternative grunge dresser so was probably wearing lots of black and ripped jeans and I remember having this cool hair style that night where I had put my hair in like 30 pigtails then wound them round and round to make like mini buns all over my head.  I also had lots of ear rings and a nose ring.  And so they were trying to cast a few things out of me.  That I didn’t have.  I was on fire for Jesus and was a youth leader at my church.  But they judged me on my appearance and judged me as demon possessed.  Peter tried to come to my rescue and then they unusually prayed for him too…. Yikes!  Talk about first impressions!

 

In Luke 7 we read about a woman who couldn’t shake her first impression.

 

Luke 7:37-39 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

 

Her name is never recorded but she is labelled a sinful woman.  She is identified by her issue.  She is known by her reputation.

The host of the party looked with his natural eyes.  He looked and saw a sinful woman – he judged, he condemned, he isolated, he rejected.

Jesus however saw so much more.  He saw a woman forgiven.  A woman free.  A woman worshipping.  A woman prophetically anointing him for burial.  A woman grateful.

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I’m so glad that God is like this.  He seeks us, He pursues us.  He never gives up on us.

No matter how we run, no matter how we fall, He is there.

 

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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The good news of the gospel is that Jesus did not wait until we were loving before He loved us; He didn’t even wait till we asked Him to love us before He loved us—He loved us in our unloveliness. And His love for us births love in us, which bleeds love through us to those around us. ~ Tullian Tchividjian

Your love is better than anything else that would draw on my attention.

It is better than what the world can give.

Your love is pure, real, honest, filling, giving, now.

Your love is unconditional and calls me to respond, to love in return, to lay my life down for this love, to shout from the rooftops that this love is all there is to live for.

This love.  God’s love.

He loved me first.

His love heals, restores, redeems, creates, hopes.

His love never gives up and nothing can tear me away from this love.

It is freely given, and richly paid for.

We have to stop striving for what we want and just be IN LOVE with Him. His love language is LOVE. His expectation is LOVE. His gift to us is LOVE in the form of favor, power, authority, and grace. So, if you’re feeling a little withered and dry inside, if you’re feeling the need to be revitalized, if you’re feeling the need to revitalize the community around you, here’s your one step program. Your one-bullet-point sermon, your one trendy plan in two words: JUST LOVE. Talk to Him like you’d talk to a good friend. Listen like you would listen to a good friend. Worship Him with gratefulness. Spend time just being with Him and see what happens. Lindsay McPhail – The Fearless Experiment

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YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
YOU ARE POWERFUL
YOU ARE SMART
YOU ARE INTERESTING
YOU ARE COURAGEOUS
YOU ARE DARING
YOU ARE SIGNIFICANT
YOU ARE WORTH IT

Who you say you are determines EVERYTHING about how you live, how you face your fears, and the size of mountains you’ll let Him use you to move. It’s time to rip off those old labels. It might be painful. Some of the labels might be stuck to you like a badly inked tattoo. You can’t remove them by yourself. Ask Him right now to soak you with His Spirit. Ask God to start lifting off the labels of who you thought you were and replacing them with permanent seals of who HE says you are. Your life will change, but when you follow Him, it has to.

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Exactly how I feel every-time I have a coffee: Time to get stuff done.

 

 

An Open Letter to All the People Writing (And Sharing) Open Letters About What’s Wrong with The Church

If you want to build community or grow in intimacy, just show up. Squeeze their hands. See their hearts. Pray for them. Ask about their stories. Hear the countless ways their hearts have been broken by the world and healed by God as they have walked with Jesus longer than we’ve been alive.

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23 Things That Love Is

  • LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
  • LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
  • LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
  • LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
  • LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.

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How to Make the Most of Your Bible Study

We are pulled in many directions: work, family, ministry, fitness and many other activities tug at our schedules. The more we are tugged, the more we have to work to guard the time we give to personal study of our Bibles. When we are at last able to sit down to read, we want every precious minute to count. Whether we have 15 minutes or two hours, we want our efforts to yield the most benefit possible. But how can we make the most of the time we have to read and study?

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 Five Important Questions to Ask About the Person You’re Dating 

When my boyfriend of seven years proposed to me, I said No, mostly because I feared making an intractable mistake. Five years later, I was slightly more courageous and said Yes to the second man who proposed; He pulled the plug four months later. Confused and raw, I determined to create a criterion that could guide me through the sometimes murky waters of dating and engagement. In the months that followed, I fabricated more than one spreadsheet titled, How to know if your significant other is a good match. Twenty-three years of marriage and twenty years of pastoring later, I have distilled that spreadsheet into the following five questions.

1. Does this person have integrity?

2. Do I respect this person?

3. Can I continue to respect and love this person if their most annoying habit or significant weakness never changes?

4. Does the object of my affections deeply love God?

5. Finally, does this person encourage me, not only in word but also in action?

 

 

I Choose Me –  / Bedlam Magazine

Purpose is a powerful thing. Understanding what you were created to do helps you understand who you are. But who you are is more than just what you do. You are worth loving just because you exist. That’s it.

YOU ARE LOVED AND WILL BE LOVED AND HAVE BEEN LOVED SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU ARE.

 

 

 

Love Never Fails, or Does It?

“Love never fails” is such a tidy phrase; but is it true?

We post often about how love never gives up, how marriage has “no plan B”, and as long as you stick together you can make it through anything. We’re strong proponents of fighting hard for your spouse, and loving especially when times get hard.

But what if you’re divorced or heading toward one? What if you feel helpless, as if love is failing you and you can’t do anything about it?

 

 

Delayed Gratification – Paul David Tripp

I don’t know about you, but I can be very impatient. When I ask for something, I want it provided immediately! When I go somewhere, I expect you to be early and waiting for me in the car! If it doesn’t happen without delay, it’s easy for me to become an irritated man. I know you can relate.

The reason you and I hate to wait is because a delay immediately announces that we’re not in charge. If we could control the situations, locations, and relationships of our everyday life, we wouldn’t have to wait. There would be no such thing as a delay.

 

 

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

Meeting new people can be awkward. What should you say? How can you make a good impression? How do you keep a conversation going?

Research shows relationships are vital to happiness and networking is the key to getting jobs and building a fulfilling career.

But what’s the best way to build rapport and create trust? Plain and simple, who can explain how to get people to like you?

Robin Dreeke can.

Robin was head of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program and has studied interpersonal relations for over 27 years.

Love God and Love People - These are the two greatest commandments. (Does not mean that you condone bad actions, you are to just love as Christ Jesus has loved us, and God loves Jesus)

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35

By THIS people will know that you belong to me.

By LOVE.

Not by works.

Not by impressive leadership.

Not by a great show.

Not by excellence.

Not by anything else.

But our love.

Our love for one another shows that God is real and that we belong to Him.

Love means we have to let the walls down and let people in.

We need to be intentional about connections and meaningful in our conversations.

Vulnerability, trust, grace, hope, service are hallmarks of love.

Love.

Our lives and our churches should be places where people see and feel love.  People need love.  The world is starved for love and people look in all the wrong places.   The church is where they should see it demonstrated and lived.

By this all the world will know that we are His.

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