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This year to live out the things that God has planned for us we are going to need courage and faith. God is calling us to stretch out our tent pegs and to step out of the boat.
We have to have courage to embrace change. To believe in the impossible. To have the converstations with people about Jesus. To pray and believe for healing. To apply for the new job. To put your hand up for new opportunities.
Moses had to have courage to go up Mt Sinai.
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. We have to have courage to go hard after God, to make that decision to carve out time to spend with Him, to pursue His presence and to want more, even if those around us hold back.
Jonathan Edwards, 18th Century theologian and preacher wrote 70 resolutions when he was 19, which he read once a week to remind himself for 35 years, more than 1,800 times before his death in 1758. All of his resolutions have been summed up in these two statements:
Resolution One: I will live for God.
Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.- Jonathan Edwards
Nothing About You Is The Gospel…And That’s Good News – Tullian Tchividjian
How often have you heard the gospel equated with a positive change in a believer’s life? “I used to __________, but then I met Jesus and now I’m ___________.” It may be unintentional, but we make a serious mistake when we reduce the good news to its results, such as patience, sobriety, and compassion, in the lives of those who have heard it. These are beautiful developments, and belief in the gospel does produce such fruit. But the results should not be confused with the gospel itself. The gospel is not a means to an end, it is an end in itself.
“I resolve to make less than thirty new years resolutions this year, and keep at least two of them.”
Outcome: Stays up for fourteen straight days in an attempt to complete first resolution and subsequently ends up creating fifteen more.
“I resolve to be less regimented and spend more time relaxing.”
Outcome: Schedules relaxation between 3:15 and 3:42pm each afternoon, during which time they create detailed lists of how they will relax on following days.
“I resolve to party less… On weeknights… Before 5pm.”
Outcome: Drunkenly announces their resolution to five hundred of their closest friend on Thursday January 1st, at the bar, at 4pm.
“I resolve to screw over marginally less of my colleagues as I fearlessly charge towards success.”
Outcome: Keeps a detailed chart of co-workers they are not preying on. Eventually hires a colleague to manage this chart as a distraction while the ENTJ rises above them professionally.
NINE QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU EXEGETE PEOPLE – Paul David Tripp
Here are nine helpful questions to ask yourself as you attempt to be a student and exegete of your people:
- What are the cultural idols that are particularly attractive to my people?
- Where do they tend to buy into an unbiblical worldview with its accompanying hopes and dreams?
- Are there themes of spiritual struggle that I need to speak to?
- Where do they tend to get discouraged and need the hope of the gospel?
- What is the level of their biblical literacy and theological knowledge?
- How many of them are actively involved in service, and how many are “ecclesiastical consumers”?
- What do they tend to struggle with in the workplace?
- What do they wrestle with at home?
- What are they reading, watching, and listening to, and how are they influenced by it?
These questions – or others will similar heart-focus and lifestyle recognition – will help you in your preaching, teaching, and counseling as you connect the transforming message of the gospel to the real experiences of the people God has entrusted to your care.
What Are We Missing in Discipleship?
Lately there’s been a lot of talk about spiritual formation and discipleship, and rightfully so.
I think we can all agree there’s a discipleship deficit in many churches. There isn’t a whole lot of discipling going on, even though that’s precisely what we, as Jesus’ followers, were commissioned to do—make disciples.
So leaders are asking questions like, “What should we do?” and “How should we do it?” There are plenty of successful models that have been tried in a variety of contexts. But how can we best make disciples right where we are?
There are plenty of discipleship books and models. But what can we learn about discipleship from Christ and the early church? In this series of articles, we are looking at four discipleship principles found in Scripture:
- Maturity is a goal for disciples.
- God wants you and your church on a clear path toward spiritual growth.
- God involves us in our own growth, as well as our church’s growth.
- God calls you and your church to be spiritual leaders.
my life is made up of rhythms.
rhythms we have intentionally created and purposefully woven into the fabric of our life.
bible and prayers with the kids, every night, round 6.50pm, together.
my own bible reading time, using the m’cheyne reading plan on youversion in the evening
early night tuesday / washing day monday & thursday & weekends
vitamin d, probiotic and supplement first thing in the morning
i have a rhythm for what i do in the morning when i wake up, i have a rhythm for what i do in the evening for going to bed
as a mother my life is all about rhythm and schedules, not as concrete as when my kids were babies but still the world revolves around scheduling and to be honest, meal times and washing
each day has its rhythm of events:
SAS Monday & Tuesday
Mentoring Monday nights
The best housegroup in the world Wednesday
Mums Time Thursday
Date night Friday
there are a few new rhythms that i’m intentionally choosing and repeating until they become unforced and natural
making my husband coffee when he gets home from work (i so appreciate him, but im not very thoughtful!)
getting up early, before everyone, to make the most of the alone time to exercise
no soda and sweets (unless socialising)
so yesterday began the 30 DAYS OF HUSTLE with jon acuff and a courageous group (now on fb) of people wanting to get stuff done and see change in their life.
yesterday our task was to set ONE THING as our WHAT. what is the ONE THING you’re going to see change in in 30 days.
today’s task is about the WHY for our WHAT.
Here we go!
A WHAT goal is great. It’s a fun start, but it’s not enough. We need a WHY goal too.
What’s a WHY goal? It’s the heart of the reason you actually want to accomplish that goal.
To quit smoking for a month is a WHAT goal.
To make sure you’re always around for the people you love is the WHY goal.
To pay off your debt is a WHAT goal.
To be able to take your kids to Disney with the money you save now that your student loans are done is the WHY goal.
So, WHY are you doing what you’re doing?
The reason answering this question is so important is that WHAT tends to wear out eventually. Come day 8 or day 18, WHAT won’t feel that important. Life will be busy again and you’ll be tired again and that goal was silly anyway. WHY on the other hand lasts longer. Under the true light of life, WHY goals tend to buoy us better than WHAT goals.
my ONE THING is this:
my goal in the next 30 days is to loose 3 kgs. (which may not sound much – i’m not sure if its an under goal) (i think its about 7 pounds. my kids were both 7.30 which was 3.2kg)
- i will get up at 6.30am during the weekdays and exercise. this will shift to 5.30am in school term time (eek!)
- i will set boundaries on my snacking choices and reduce the “white” portion size with meals.
- i’m only going to drink soda “with people” on social occasions (which this month will be few as we’re really slowing down and taking a break)
so now the WHY of my WHAT as per day two’s task:
i want to loose 3kg in this 30 days because it makes me feel better energy wise and also confidence wise. it will set me up health wise to live the life i am going to live this year as i believe the fitter and stronger i am the more output i can make. i have let this area become undisciplined in the last year after a major health shock in 2012 so believe that really this is part of a 3 year lifestyle change. with some of my other health challenges i need to be looking after myself and maximising energy. and i want to fit the pair of jeans that i had to put away in the wardrobe.
when i look back at last year i actually feel i accomplished a lot…
i learned to cook gluten free (which seems very momentous)
i learned to EAT gluten free and diary free (definitely right up there as accomplishments go)
i preached at the women’s conference and hosted a chat show
i hosted The Panel at our young adults retreat and was a panellist for youth
i lost 12 kg
i didn’t dye my hair (from june)
i acquired more books and gave away some more
i helped coach my sons rugby team
i preached at both 7pm church and 10am
i went on the street outreach team
i joined the greeters team
i joined a leading and loving it community group
i found a new hairdresser
i made a lot of waffles
i drunk a lot of turkish delight hot chocolate… even soy ones
purchased some gumboots
got over my fear of blood tests
and very much more!
i feel happy with last year
those “activities” and milestones represent my life changed and fingers crossed aka praying, other lives changed
2. preaching at our womens conference – first time ever conference speaking
4. going to Sista’s Conference with my friend and hooking up with an old friend from high school
5. all the RWC enjoyment we had as a family, esp our trip into the city to The Cloud
6. helping lead our young adults weekender retreat
7. having b12 injections aka overcoming the fear
8. hosting (and being quizmaster) a combined churches young adults housegroup quiz night at our chuch – lots of fun!
10. winning housegroup resources
11. designing a church brochure
on new years eve we hung out at a friends house, tucking out kids down there after dinner and some play time, and saw the new year in. we played games including this one above that a couple, who were at the friends house too, had brought in america. once we read the seemingly complicated instructions we gave it ago. it wasn’t until we read the first “entries” that we realized how insanely funny this game was. so funny that i laughed so much i cried. shame i wasnt wearing my waterproof mascara! this game was seriously addictive and funny and best played with a group of randomly funny people. who dont need to be able to draw.
we also brought out the ol’ 500 cards. now i havent played this since tony and i dated or were first married, aka a really long time ago, so needed some serious refreshing on how to play. again, seriously funny and competitive! i confess, i hardly ever, okay NEVER call. i’m a total passer.
i love cheese, esp brie and camembert. i could eat a whole round myself! so of course being new years meant we could eat special food and i have been dreaming about cheese for about a week (no i’m not hapu – my husband DID ask though!) so we took cheese and crackers, and chocolate of course!
i also drunk coffee on our new years eve adventure. one coffee. at 5pm. which was so delish. but it kept me awake till 5am the next morning. which would of been fine if we were out ALL night. but we had got home at one, tucked the kids into their own beds and then gone to bed ourselves to snatch those precious hours of sleep (yes, i feel older admitting that!) thankfully and wonderfully our kids slept in to 9.30am (miss 6) and 10.15am (mr 9) which meant WE slept in those hours too! blissful!
last night caleb (9) and i finished the first book in the Narnia series by C.S.Lewis – The Magican’s Nephew. i esp loved the last half of the book where Narnia is created and some of the linking in (oh the apple tree in the backyard in our world! loved that!) fantastic book. this week we’ll start on The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe which he has seen on dvd.
"As we flick the calendar to a new year, we come face to face with the fact that our days on earth are numbered. As the Psalmist wrote, “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” No thoughtful person can approach New Year’s Day without some introspection. We are reminded of the brevity of time. We also look back over our failures, mistakes, and missed opportunities, and vow that we will make better use of our time during the coming year. We should take time to be pleasant, to smile, to extend the small courtesies we often omit—to show love to our family. Psychiatrists tell us that most people are starved for love. Take time for the goodbye kiss; we shall go to work with a sweeter spirit. Let us take time to get acquainted with our families. We are not machines. We are not robots. The secret of a happy home is that members of the family learn to give and receive love. Let us take time to express our love in a thousand ways." ~ Billy Graham
and as always. i love Jesus with all i am and all my heart and all my soul and all my days. For His glory and the building of His kingdom and the rescue of the lost.
so what are you totally loving this week?
… check out what other peeps are loving whatever day of the week it is over at Paisley Jade
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
this is my heart for 2011 – forgetting the past and pressing on forward into the greater things of God!
you know, i remember doing a futuristic colouring competition when i was about 6 or 7 about the year 2000. it was filled with spiral towers and flying cars. now its way past that futuristic event and there are no flying cars… in fact 2011 seems very much like 1985. but with iphones and computers and big screen tvs and dishwashers. but life is still similar right?
last year was a great year with many good things and new things and growth. it was also partially defined by an event in may that changed and challenged our church in many ways. its a year to leave behind. a year to learn from and a year to be grown from.
so what does 2011 hold for me and my family and my church?
i dont know.
but i am confident in this – that God is good and God is great and God has a great plan!
my life is in HIS hands and i am content to each step of the day, each day, be surrendered to Him to see His plan fulfilled.
God can do whatever He pleases. And what pleases Him is to show off his power for His glory and renown.”
* Steven Furtick
this year i again plan to use my modified/mutated m’chyene bible reading plan. i started it a few years ago, maybe 3 or 4 now, and have added and just gone with the flow. you can find it also on youversion.com which is an excellent bible reading resource. i encourage you to go and check it out! i’ve signed up to the essential jesus bible reading plan on it, also as a way to encourage our young people to get involved and do something like that for themselves.
this year i want to step out more with strangers – i want to make more intentional time to go to the shopping mall or the beach and talk to strangers about jesus and pray for them.
this year i want to preach better and learn how to do altar call/responses better. i’m hoping that our church runs a preaching course again… no pressure… because that regular DOING and the feedback really helps.
this year i want to be a more social and effective housegroup leader… we are so blest to have the young adults housegroup at our church at ours. they’re an awesome bunch of young people fired up about God and living for Him all the while navigating this thing called life and growing up. as a housegroup leader i feel the weight of responsiblity for these people, like they’re grown up children in our hearts. we want to be with them and help them and teach them and guide them and see them fly. one of our goals is to be more social with them – time got smuggled up last year in other things and we werent intentional enough, so we’re MAKING time for hanging out, eating food, watching movies, etc etc etc
i want to be a better mother, wife, friend… all those things that are so very important.
i want to pray more. i want to worship more. i want to seek God and encounter Him more.
maybe i’ll read more. maybe i’ll write more. maybe i’ll bake more…
life is an adventure. i love adventures.
i love how life unfolds.
i am confident that whatever i face this year that God is with me and for me and near me.
i am confident that He has some awesome things in store, as well as some challenges to refine me and make me more the woman of His heart.
i long for revival. Come THIS YEAR Lord!
i’m pressing in to see breakthrough and healing in my life and in those i love and in our church.
God is glorious and great and good!
For His glory 2011 is all His!