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“How heavy is this glass of water?”
“The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
“The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Insecurity. Shame. Fear. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
One of the reasons that we’re tackling this topic is so that break down the walls that divide us and put barriers up – that prevent us from having deeper, amazing relationships.
We need to put the glass down.
You are not meant to carry your shame. You are not meant to live in fear. You are not meant to live in insecurity.
Insecurity isn’t a sin, it’s a place for God to fill.
from where i sit i can see a messy lived in desk, kids artwork, school certificates, photos of the ones i love
i can see my chunky rings, identity definers
my ipod, charging for whatever my night brings
sunscreen and leave in conditioner – the essentials for summer and swimming
i see my life, in micro
things and things that represent doing and purpose, dreaming and potential, destiny and promise
i see grace and gratitude, God’s hand at work in and through my life, His great tapestry and master craftsmanship
there are times when i don’t see, where i feel distracted and discouraged
when the clutter and the things choke creativity and confidence
it takes refocus and refixing my eyes upon God
(and sometimes a desk tidy!)
Psalm 121:1 I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from?
2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
i will see the unseen. i will see and trust.
i will look past the today’s into tomorrow.
i will see the testimony of my past and the promise for the future.
i will see God, my loving heavenly Father, creator of heaven and earth.
i will see hope. grace.
from where i sit i can see i am not alone. Jesus is near.
OUT OF THE OVERFLOW – I sleep with the Pastor
We must start living our daily lives, and doing ministry out of the overflow of God. People need Jesus more than they need me, or you. We need to start praying for God to root all of us out, so we have more room to fill Him in. I want when people to see me to see Jesus. I want when I leave a place, or a conversation for people to desire more and more of Jesus. I want them to experience Jesus, not Jessica.
May the anointing of God start filling us, and the places we go. We sing these songs to be the lights of this world, or songs to fill us up and send us out. But are we just sleeping and singing corporate karaoke or are we truly awakening to the power of the words of these songs and desiring every cell in our body to be covered by Jesus.
Remember that scene from The Karate Kid in which Mr. Miyagi made Daniel wax his car? (What — you’ve never seen that movie?! Shame on you. Go watch it now. It’s a classic!)
The point of the exercise wasn’t to teach Daniel how to buff. It was to teach him the fundamentals of a craft he didn’t understand.
So Daniel spends weeks doing this repetitive, boring task, without really understanding why. Over and over again, he scrubs that car until it shines like nothing else — until finally he can’t take it anymore.
He didn’t sign up for this. He wanted to learn Karate. He wanted to be awesome. And this felt like a chore, a waste of time. But Miyagi shows him what he’s been doing has been preparation for all the moves he’s going to learn. In fact, he’s already learned them — without realizing it.
Daniel learns an important lesson here. And so do we when we commit ourselves to the work, not just the fruit.
What social research says about the power of vulnerability at work & at home.
Research shows that projecting as if we have it all together is both “dated” and “destructive.”On the contrary, when we’re willing to take off the masks of who we “should” be to admit who we currently are, we create a human connection that is not only necessary for relationship, but critical to inspiring (or leading or helping) others.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of inspiration. Brene Brown, a long-time student of vulnerability and the author of “Daring Greatly,”says it this way:
Our ability to be vulnerable forms the basis for our connection with others, a connection that is critical if we are to inspire others. (Read more)
Vulnerability inspires change. Peter Fuda and Richard Badham spent 5 years studying the effects of vulnerability in a professional workplace. Their conclusion?
When a leader (read: parent, pastor…etc) admits their own weakness, it invites a mutual accountability that creates momentum for change. This act of humility is seen as courageous and inspires others to follow suit. As more members of the team join the process, the snowball becomes more tightly compacted and almost impossible to stop.
Focus, Perspective, and Leading Well – Christine Caine
THE MORE LIFE I LIVE, AND THE MORE CIRCUMSTANCES I FACE, THE MORE CONVINCED I AM THAT IN ORDER TO FULFILL OUR CALLING, WE MUST BE SELECTIVE IN THE THINGS WE LOOK FOR IN LIFE.
If we as leaders truly desire to live out our God given purpose and destiny, we must make the decision to follow God with our whole hearts and maintain a passionate faith walk. I have come to the realization that the perspective we maintain actually determines the purpose in which we walk in.
As leaders it can be easy to become distracted and miss the plans and purposes God has for our lives because our focus is on unimportant, insignificant things (that just happen to be screaming the loudest for our attention!).
4 Places to Encounter Jesus That May Surprise You – Jonathan Merritt
A few years ago, I found myself in a time of profound spiritual emptiness. I’d been working in the church world for many years and my time of service was a period of sweet struggle. Crafting sermons, trying to make much of Jesus. Calling people to faith, and reminding those who found it to keep doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.
BUT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY MINISTRY HAD BECOME A JOB. ANOTHER WAYPOINT IN MY EFFORTS TO SAVE THE WORLD. I SPENT MORE TIME TALKING ABOUT GOD THAN TALKING TO HIM. MORE TIME DESCRIBING GOD’S PRESENCE THAN BATHING IN IT.
I had become a travel agent pointing to God like a far-off tourist attraction when I should have been travelling there myself.
I tried to balance my increasing workload with budding writing opportunities, a juggling act that often left both efforts unfinished. I was moving bricks from one stack to another. Worse still, I was moving farther away from the God I wanted so badly to draw near to.
So I decided to take a journey to meet the God of the Bible. What I discovered is that Jesus often shows up in unexpected spaces.
+ this great one:
A young couple moves into a new neighbourhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbour hanging the wash outside. "That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap." Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbour hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: "Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this? " The husband replies, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows." And so it is with life… What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.
*** church notes from The River – Pastor Peter Morton speaking
2 kings 6
Elisha can hear the enemy because of Gods power
The prophet and his servant were surrounded
His eyes were opened and he saw the angel armies
The facts had not changed but the servants perspective did
The servants heart was filled with fear until he opened his eyes to what God was doing
Analogy of music speakers and music mixing
perspective is more about how you interpret the facts vs the facts themselves
1 Turn up the testimonies
Eg david, God delivered me from the lion and the bear
Mix your life with faith
Sometimes we can doubt God because of one experience or one day
Keep a testimony list do that you remember who God is and what He does
Build your faith
Psalm 103 forget not His benefits
Remembering His faithfulness stirs faith and changes our perspective
2 Reframe your loses
Joseph, sold off by his brothers into slavery, put in prison, then dreamed and became prime minister
What you meant for evil God intended out for good
Reframe your losses
All things romans 8:28
There are times when following jesus means we will walk through the fire, daniel 3
Jesus is in the fire with you
the fire burned off all the chains, sometimes freedom comes in the fire
They didnt even smell like fire
You get a sense of what people smell like
You can have peace in the fire
Sometimes though people stink of the fire because they haven’t walked with jesus and have wrong perspective
but I want to be defined by the jesus who walked through the fire
isaiah 6 holy holy holy
The four living creatures saw the whole earth filled with the glory of God
Get a God perspective
3 remind yourself that the best is yet to come
judges 6 gideon
Gideon had lost perspective, he was talking to an ANGEL!!!
God was about to move and bring change
The truth is the best is yet to come
dont let the devil kill, steal and destroy
Mute the testimonies, amplifying the loses, saying its all bad
But jesus came to give us life
1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough
2. Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions
3. Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house
4. Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed
5. Go outside – happiness is maximized at 13.9°C
6. Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number
7. Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain
8. Plan a trip – but don’t take one
9. Meditate- rewire your brain for happiness – Pray!
10. Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction
I believe every married woman wants to be the best wife she can be, but it’s hard to have a clear picture of what that really means or looks like.
The media seems to bombard women with conflicting messages about what the “ideal woman” is all about. One moment you’re being told to starve yourself and spend all your time in the gym and salon so you can always look like an airbrushed model on the cover of a magazine. The next moment your role model is a CEO mom who is making millions and still “having it all” by being a wife and mommy too. You flip the channel again and you’re told that an ideal wife makes her own clothes and home schools her 20 kids.
1. Give respect to your husband.
2. Create a positive tone in the home.
3. Fall in love…with God!
We men tend to get our priorities out of whack sometimes. We can be passionately devoted to our work, our hobbies and our favorite sports teams and still neglect the priorities that should matter most.
We need to “Man Up” and love our wives and kids the way they deserve to be loved. I’m not just writing this to you, but i’m writing this as a guy who needs a daily reminder of all these things myself! Here’s how we do it…
1. Love your wife passionately and selflessly.
2. Protect your wife.
3. Stop acting like a kid.
5. Create romance outside the bedroom.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an expansion of Carl Jung’s ideas about personality types, expressed in one of 16 four-letter acronyms that express your dominant traits. Although you can only officially take the test with a licensed practitioner, there are plenty of unofficial version available online. These animals took the test and the results are in!
(i think i’m an ENFP) Creative and contagiously happy, ENFPs have boundless energy and an appetite for learning about new things and meeting new people. They bring joy to others and are keenly perceptive to the needs of those around them. They are vivacious and popular enthusiasts. ENFPs tend to get bored easily, and they are always ready for the latest and the greatest in friends, relationships, experiences, and ocean jumping.
Whatever you’re facing in life, or whatever is coming in your future, God has already given you the faith for it. It may not look like it, and you may not feel like you have what it takes to overcome, but faith in God isn’t based on our circumstances or how we feel.
The enemy would like for you to believe that you don’t have a chance in life, that you’re too weak, too poor, too whatever. But God has a different view of you. God sees you through the eyes of love. He sees not what you can be, but what He has invested in you, not what you or others may see.
Seeing yourself the way God sees you leads to a life of overwhelming victory.
But it takes faith. You can’t just hear that God loves you and sees you as His child, you have to believe it. It takes faith to move forward and overcome the challenges of life. And faith does you no good if you don’t know how to release it. You have to release your faith in order for it to work.
We release faith through our words, actions and, of course, through prayer. It’s up to us to act.
1 John 4:4 is a scripture we quote a lot, and almost anytime I say this verse in a church or meeting, everybody claps and cheers. But how many people really believe that "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world?"
The truth is, the One in you is greater and He loves you. So stretch your faith today and see yourself the way God sees you. It doesn’t matter what the enemy wants you to see or how things might look. Our faith overcomes through the One who lives in us!
from Oceans // Hillsong
Psalm 121:1 I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from?
Psalm 123:1 I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven.
2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
there is just “something” about lifting our eyes, about looking with a different perspective and vantage point.
i will lift my eyes from my i cants, to God’s i can
i will lift my eyes from my limitations, to God’s nothing is impossible
i will lift my eyes from my flaws, to God’s gift of forgiveness and righteousness through Christ
i will lift my eyes from my loneliness, to God’s promise that He is with me
i will lift my eyes from my exhaustion, to God’s invitation to come
i will lift my eyes from my excuses, to God’s encouragement that i can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
Sometimes we may never know the WHY something happens. But we can always know the WHO. And we can be confident that God is always with us. Always.
He is our view. Let us fix our eyes upon Him, the author and perfector of our faith.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” ~ Psalm 27:7-8
With so much instability and fear in the world today, we must cling to Jesus and fix our eyes on Him and view life through the eyes of trust and faith. God is always good. In every challenge and every circumstance, He is good. He can always be trusted. He is in the business of turning anything bad into everything good. He breaks open prison doors, He sends whales as coast guards, He tells the paralysed to get up and walk. And He raises the dead to life.
Perspective matters. Perspective changes death into life. Perspective changes hopelessness into hope. Fear into faith. Crisis into opportunities to grow and trust God.
Instead of letting difficulties draw you into worrying, try to view them as setting the scene for God’s glorious intervention.
So, let’s do this thing. Let’s write.
Set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
OK, are you ready?
#FiveMinuteFriday —>Click to Tweet that.
***** notes from my preach this morning @ The River
The word of the Lord came to Jonah ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, ‘How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.’
Then the sailors said to each other, ‘Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.’ They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, ‘Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?’
He answered, ‘I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’
This terrified them and they asked, ‘What have you done?’ (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, ‘What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?’
‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea,’ he replied, ‘and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.’
Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried out to the Lord, ‘Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.’ Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Running From God
First lets all get on the same page here, we are all JONAH. We’ve shared his thoughts and we’ve made similar decisions. We’ve run from God, we’ve gotten angry at Him and we’ve chosen our own way.
He’s said one thing and we’ve done the opposite.
He’s said go and we’ve said no.
He’s said stop and we’ve put our fingers in our ears.
He has set the standard and we’ve compromised lower.
Let me tell you one thing I’ve learned, in my brief life, I may not understand WHY God is saying something, but He is God and I am not. His go has all of His eternal wisdom and insight behind it. His no has all of His eternal wisdom and insight behind it. God sees the big picture.
We may not have hopped on a boat to tarnish… but we all have our different escape routes…
But the good news is though Jonah ran from God, God never left Jonah
In a good way you can never escape the presence of God.
He loves you too greatly. His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.
If you are saved, if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Saviour, He will never let you go. You may run for the hills and rebel and live in complete opposite to His ways, but He is your Father. He doesn’t unadopt His kids.
Now there is a lot of conjecture about whether it was it a fish or a whale that swallowed Jonah ? To me it doesn’t matter as it was in the right place at the right time. God provides a way where there seems none.
The whale was God’s rescue mission to save Jonah… Imagine the slush and the filth and the acid and the dead fish! The whale is like the worst worst worst case scenario you could be in. Now we know the end of the story, we know Jonah gets spat out and lands back on the beach… but Jonah has no idea of this. Any moment could be his last breath.
God has personal holiness programme. Our happiness is on His agenda too, God does want you to experience joy and peace and hope and life – but in within the boundaries He, our loving Father sets. He is at work shaping us to make us more like Jesus. Because He knows that is good for us, our best life. But we, even as Christians, forgiven, given a new life, transformed have this part within us that runs after things that will never satisfy, that are hurtful, that will only end in brokenness and heartbreak. And that includes trying harder. You know, everyone has their own distinctive running style. I saw a photo of my brother, who had done really well in a half marathon and I was “oh my goodness! He runs just like dad”! They have this arm thing they do that means I could spot dad from the finish line a couple of hundred metres away. We all run our own way. For some of us running from God involves getting into wild living, drugs, alcohol, partying, or into wrong relationships, serial dating, or into climbing the corporate ladder or blatant disobedience. Anything to fill the void. But sometimes running includes looking like a good church person on the outside but there is something not connected on the inside. I read this great quote last night:
“Why do people persist in their self-destructive behaviour, ignoring the blatant fact that what they’ve been doing for many years hasn’t solved their problems? They think that they need to do it even more fervently or frequently, as if they were doing the right thing but simply had to try even harder.”
Instead of running FROM God we need to RUN to God.
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you.” Jonah 2
So how do we stop running?
1. STOP: Like Jonah we’ve got to stop – and acknowledge that we’re running. We’ve got to put our hand up and get real. This is an open invitation. You might be 3 steps out the door, 3 miles down the road, 3 days in the belly of a whale. But the invitation is there. Our God is compassionate and merciful.
Let me tell you, you are never too far away from God. Jonah was in the belly of a whale. He had run as far as you could away from the will of God. He was a prophet – his job was to hear from God and he stuck his fingers in his ears and rebelled.
2. IDENTIFY: Jonah was identified by lot as the cause of the massive storm. And then he gave answer to the sailors questions. What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?’ They asked. Jonah answered, ‘I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’ This terrified them and they asked, ‘What have you done?’ (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.) Just as Jonah identified what the problem was, we identify the running behaviour and contributing factors. Identify what it is standing in the way of your obedience. Then kill it.
Is there rebellion in our life? Disobedience? Are we living more into the shadows than in the light? Are we skipping church? Are we avoiding certain people? Ie caller id
But again more importantly, identify what God says about you – you’re His beloved child, He has a plan and a purpose for you, His mercies never fail, nothing can separate us from His love.
3. CHANGE: We’ve got to change that behaviour, repent, make a lifestyle change, make relational changes, do whatever needs to be done to get back on the right road. The sailors asked Jonah what they should do. Now, most of us will not have such a drastic response such as “toss me in the sea” but we may have to make some radical changes to realign ourselves with the purposes and will of God.
And let me tell you, its worth it. Its worth it to walk with God, it’s worth it to follow His ways, its worth it to be in relationship with Him. Somewhere along the way we’ve dumbed God down to an lifestyle optional extra – full cream, extra sugar and Jesus please. But wow, we can have relationship with God! Jesus died on the cross to set us free from guilt and open the door to supernatural reality and connection with the amazing creator of the universe! That’s like winning every jackpot of every lotto in every country every day of the week plus infinity plus one.
From what I have learned in life if I put anything up on a scale vs God – God wins every time.
Who knows what we might be missing by running from what could very well be God’s means of steering us towards the most magnificent outcome of our lives. Priscilla Shirer
When GOD Ran
In Luke 15 Jesus tells the story of a man who has two sons. The younger son asks his father to give him his portion of the family estate as an early inheritance. Once received, the son promptly sets off on a long journey to a distant land and begins to waste his fortune on wild living. When the money runs out, a severe famine hits the country and the son finds himself in dire circumstances. He takes a job feeding pigs. He is so destitute that he even longs to eat the food assigned to the pigs.
The young man finally comes to his senses, remembering his father. In humility, he recognizes his foolishness, decides to return to his father and ask for forgiveness and mercy. The father who had been watching and waiting, receives his son back with open arms of compassion. He is overjoyed by the return of his lost son! Immediately the father turns to his servants and asks them to prepare a giant feast in celebration.
So the younger son goes off, parties it up, looses it all. So he decides, at his lowest, the whale belly moment so to speak, that he will return home. He stops running and identifies what the problem is and makes a change to put things right with his father.
He leaves the pig pen and begins the journey home. One step at a time. Bracing himself for whatever he would receive when he got home. He left in style, he arrives, in sty.
But watch what happens when he comes in sight. His Father is there, watching from afar. He is keeping a lookout for his son. He hasn’t given up. While the son was a long way off, his father saw him coming. And he ran.
Now we think, that’s nice. The father ran.
But put it in a cultural context here. Middle Eastern men didn’t run. Especially middle aged Middle Eastern men. Ever. It was undignified. Unacceptable. But this father ran.
It says so much about the love the father felt for his son. Extravagant lavish love, so much so that he ran, he forgot about his social standing and social rules and expressed with his whole self how glad he was his son was home.
He saw his son, was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms round him and kissed him. He bear hugs him. Everything he does speaks love.
Remember, the son left in style, but arrived back weary, dirty. He is malnourished. Probably ill looking. Smelling of pigs. Smelling of sweat. He hasn’t probably washed in at least a week, and I’m being generous. He would have slept on the ground. No morning hygiene routine. No toothpaste! He has walked from wherever to here. His feet would reek and you might not even be able to tell what colour his skin is by the ground in layers of dirt.
Yet his father looks beyond that and sees his son and cant get close enough to him. He kisses the dirt. He kisses the stinky son.
Oh and then the son remembers his speech. The one that he has rehearsed in his head with every step closer to home.
Father, I’ve messed up, I’m no longer worthy to be your son…” midspeech his dad stops him.
Worthy? Worthy? Stop right there!
We have 2 kids, Caleb aged 11 and Evangeline aged 7. They’re great kids. But there is never a time we’d disown them. As soon as they were “there” inside me, they were mine and I was their mum. We share blood and dna that can never be extracted. Sure we’d like them to be good kids and grow into great adults and live a life pleasing to God and us but the reality is, they’re our kids. They’re McLean’s whether they like it or not.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says “for by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Being a child of God is not based on our performance but upon what Jesus did on the cross.
My worthiness isn’t based on anything I can earn or do. I have nothing to boast about apart from the grace and mercy of God, demonstrated in Jesus upon the cross, that while I was still rebellious and running away, Jesus died for me to rescue me.
We are all that son. We are all like Jonah. We have run away from God. We have ignored Him and rebelled against Him. But the invitation of God is to come home. And there He is, watching from afar, filled with compassion, ready to run.
For me that moment happened 20 years go. On Wednesday I celebrated 20 years as a Christian.
I grew up in what could be called a semi religious home. my mum took us to the catholic church. i made my first communion and confirmation. my dad stayed at home and cooked amazing roast lunches. i DID really want to know God though and there are several experiences that i know have shaped my faith, expression and relationship with God from childhood but church was boring and irrelevant. In saying that I follow the new pope on twitter and he says some awesome stuff about Jesus!
In early teens though I decided that God must not be real, as He didn’t seem to be “there” – so I figured I would live my life without the “hassle” of thinking about Him and “His laws” (very catholic way of thinking) and so did that. i chose to live my own life my own way.
Our family moved quite a bit and when I was 15 we moved from Gore (the 5th place I’d lived already)… where I went from a 300 student co-ed school to Blenheim, where I had to go to a 1000+ all girls school! Talk about freak out! It was major culture shock! one of my new friends then casually asked me during classics class if i would like to go to youth group with her. I went along with her one night for one reason and one reason only. There were boys there! Great reason for going to youth group eh lol!
Anyway on that first night someone PRAYED and I KNEW God was REAL and I knew I wanted to know Him. i had seen people pray my whole life when i went to church with mum – and this was like it was real, and that he was really talking to a real God, that i could know, not far away, but near and personal, and not grumpy and angry, but loving and filled with grace.
so i went along to easter camp and i think for the first time heard clearly about who Jesus is and why he died on the cross and that you could have peace with God, peace on the inside.
i went forward when they asked if anyone would like to give their lives to God and had what can only be called a supernatural experience. i felt God. i felt a warmth and a heat that couldnt be explained by the room i was in. i felt happy and peace. i felt loved. i knew that i had crossed a line, that 10 minutes before i was not a christian but then all of a sudden i was.
God loves you. Just as He ran towards me, He runs towards you.
Running WITH God: Perspective
Jonah ran because had a different perspective from God. When God called Jonah to preach to Ninevah Jonah disagreed with God’s perspective.
A bit of background: NINEVEH was the famous capital of ancient Assyria in seventh century BC, a economic and trade hub for the Assyrian empire. Its ruins can be found in modern day iraq. It was also famous in the ancient world because it was a centre for the worship of Ishtar (Astarte) the fertility goddess. The Assyrians brought many scientific, philosophical and practical advances to humanity including many inventions that we take for granted today. Everyday most of us lock our doors when we leave the house, locks and keys were invented in Assyria. They also invented a system that kept time and ascribed 360 degrees to a circle. They are given credit for inventing paved roads, the first postal system, the first use of iron, the first libraries, the first plumbing, flush toilets and aqueducts.
Jonah saw Nineveh as a barbaric terrorist state – the Assyrians were their worst enemy – but God looked at Nineveh and marked them for repentance and salvation.
Just as in Hosea 1 it says about the people of Israel – In the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people”, they will be called “children of the living God”. Hosea 1:10
In a way Jonah looked at Nineveh and said THEY ARE NOT MY PEOPLE. That’s not my calling! They are not my target demographic! I don’t relate to them! I have nothing in common with them! I am not going to THEM!
No darkness is too dark for God to shine His light in.
God calls things differently than you call them because He sees things differently than you see them.
Are you seeing your situation the way God does?
What is God’s perspective on your past? Do you see yourself the same way?
What does God say about your workplace? You are positioned there to be salt and light
When you’re screaming hopeless can you hear the heartbeat of God declaring hope?
What is God saying about your family? What strategy has He given you to repair your marriage?
Who or what is your Ninevah?
Will you let your perspective line up with Gods… and then what will you do about that?
Recalibrating . . . My eyes to His vision, my ears to His speaking, my heart to His heart’s beating.
So what do you do when God calls you and everything within you screams RUN in the opposite direction?
1. STOP. I saw a funny picture the other day on facebook, and I’m not sure if its true or not, in my vast experience of facing off against wild bears in the wild, but it was of a guy playing dead on the ground when a big brown bear is sniffing around him. Like I said, no experience bear hunting, so I googled. And yes. If faced with a bear in the wild, apart from all the obvious things like STAY AWAY, you should lie facedown, to protect all your vital parts and protecting your neck with your hands laced behind the neck. Apparently the bear will think you’re not fresh and walk away. There you go, you learned something. But, segway here, when faced with the freak out moments from God we should stop.
Stop and breathe.
Stop and remember who God is. Big. Powerful. Creative.
Stop and remember who we are. Called by God. Children of God. Anointed by God. Appointed by God.
Stop and remember His promises and that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
2. IDENTIFY. Indentify what it is that is freaking you out. Fight the fear and respond with faith.
“Instead of hiding from the world or being overwhelmed by the evil of it, we need to strengthen our spiritual cores and trust in the power of the spirit at work in us.” Christine Caine
My dad is a runner. He would run marathons all the time. He would take every Wednesday afternoon off, and run. For fun. He explained to me what the phrase hitting the wall meant after one run. You get to a certain milage and then boom. You feel like you’re going to puke. Or die. Or both. Your legs hurt. Your arms hurt. Your neck hurts. You want to give up. At that moment you could choose to pull out of the race… or keep going. You know you just have to push through a little bit more and then boom, second wind. I asked him what would get him through the wall? His reply was very insightful. “I did what I knew I could do. Run. One step at a time. And I knew the end wasn’t far away.” He identified what he could do and what the purpose of each step was.
You are in a race. I sometimes have jillian Michaels, from the biggest loser, as my life coach on my shoulder. “unless you faint, puke or die, then keep going!”
I love what lois said last week Don’t tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is. My God is the one who said “peace” and the storm stopped. My God is the one who made the wind and the water in the first place! When David faced off against Goliath he couldn’t believe that no one had stood up to this measly teeny tiny giant up till then. David said in 1 Samuel 17:45 “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” Identify God’s perspective. Change. Change the behaviour from flight to fight. Step out in faith. Step out of the boat. Pick up your slingshot. Face towards Nineveh. If God has called you to slay giants He will make you a giant killer. Trust God. Trust God. Trust God. Brennan Manning says “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God.” Let this be your identity. Let this inspire you to run with God. God’s perspective of you is that you are His child. That means you carry the mission of a child of God and the authority of a child of God. Greater is HE in you than he that is in the world.
3. CHANGE. Here are 3 questions we can ask ourselves – questions to propel us into change and action.
#1 – What is the next step we need to take in order to stay in step with the vision the Lord has given us?
#2 – Are there any obvious problems that we are trying to deny that simply need to be dealt with? (There are some things you cannot “pray away!”)
#3 – What if you truly began to believe and live like you were created, positioned, empowered called by God to?
Wherever you are today, God loves you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. He invites you to run with Him. He invites us to stop running and to say Yes to Him.
Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:16-21
Growing in truth is connected to you practicing what you already know
Let us live up to what we’ve already attained
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:1-8
Follow those who set the example
Our faith although personal is not meant to be private
Find someone who is strong where you are weak
The WHY to give us purpose and perspective to continue forward
Eyes were here on earth, temporary things, leading to destruction
Eyes fixed on Jesus and eternity
Live with eternity in our hearts
All there will be will be the story of our great king and the heroes will be those who followed him
How do you do that in real life?
Now and not yet KINGDOM
Let God chisel me, hard times are gifts to remind us that this isn’t home
Where are your sights set?
Fixed on that day
Towards following wholeheartedly
we all make plans about things that are important to us
How and when
Just do it