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claire dp 1When I was 16 I lived in Blenheim and would get awesome summer jobs at fruit farms over the holidays.  One year I worked for The Jones Strawberry Farm picking strawberries, a delicious but back breaking job.  I then worked for an Apricot farmer, as a picker first of all, but then in the pack house because as we quickly discovered being near the ground is an excellent quality for a strawberry picker, not so great for an apricot picker.   My day revolved around sorting the fruit, packing the fruit, stacking the packs of fruit.  Sort, stack, pack.  I was the only one in the pack house and so spent long hot days sorting, stacking, packing.

On Tuesday a friend of mine shared a hilarious take on the myers briggs personality types on facebook – The post begins with “They say that one man’s heaven is another man’s hell and that couldn’t be truer when it comes to the sixteen Myers-Briggs Personality Types. Each one is inspired, enraged and absolutely tortured by something slightly different. Here’s the destiny that would psychologically destroy each Myers-Briggs Personality type.”

Im and ENFP and this is what it said about me.  Every minute of the rest of your life has been scheduled for you – and it’s a long series of arbitrary, solitary tasks.

Sort. Pack. Stack.  By myself.  Sort. Pack. Stack.   For 2 long months.  Thankfully not the rest of my life.   The first few days of the job were great.  Good time to pray and think, I’m by myself, I can contemplate the great mysteries of the universe and dream and plan my future.  After about a week of sort, pack and stack, by myself, a long series of arbitrary, solitary tasks, I found myself going slightly cookcoo, because how many of you know, especially if you are an ENFP there is only so much deep and meaningful productive positive thinking you can do by yourself.. through another person in the mix and boom, you’re happy, but conversating with yourself, just isn’t the same. and contemplating what is the meaning of life.  The big questions.  What was I here for.  What is God’s plan for my life.  How will I get there.  Who am I, really.

Whether you’re in a job you hate or a job you love, whether you’re at school or uni, whatever stage of life you’re at these are important questions.  What does real living look like?  Because there is a difference between being alive and living, really living.

We can go through life, even successfully, ticking the boxes that define achievement for us, getting the great job, marrying the great person, having the great kids and the great cat and the great house, travelling to the great places etc etc but even that can miss the mark of what living really is.

 

Paul summed it up in 4 simple words in Philippians 1:21

To live is Christ.

This is one those rare times when Paul is brief.  Usually he has sentence with too many commas and plenty of detail and flesh.  But this one is 4 words.  To live is Christ.

 

In 2 Cor 5:15 he says  For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him.

This is the standard he is living by.  This is how he defines his life.  This is the mission statement that wraps parameters and boundaries around not only the big picture but also day to day.  Paul is saying that everything he has tried to be, everything he is, and everything he looked forward to being pointed to Christ. To live is Christ.

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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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God has made us ALL to be witnesses – not just the people people, or the extroverts or the youth or the whatever, but all of us.   If you are a born again Holy Spirit filled believer in Jesus Christ then the bible says that you are filled with power to be a witness.

Sometimes we need a reminder as to what that means and to how that can look in our real life, and a reminder about how passionate God is about this.  God is passionate about the lost and the prodigals.

 

Now we can know that in theory.  We can know the nice bible verses and have a mental agreement that yes, God loves Lost… people.

But how do we embrace and engage the wonder of evangelism and make it real in our lives.

What does it look like for your life?  For your context?

 

Who do we invite?

How are we invite someone?

Why are we inviting them?

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And in the end, what we dwell on is what we become. Where we camp, is where we live and die. Louie Giglio

Our perspective — the way we interpret what’s happening around us — can make or break us in any given situation. Our perspectives shape us, how we think, how we engage with people, how we action in our every day.   Perspective creates opportunity to grow and opportunity to step out, or how it can hinder our progress and restrict us.

Clues to what type of perspective we have is in some of the phrases we regularly say or think.  If your perspective leans to the negative you may not even be aware of it. Thinking the worst can be second nature after years of doing it. But it can be influencing how you live life and keeping you from getting the best out of it.

A negative perspective says:

I can’t

I will never

I could never

That always happens to me

That never happens for me

That’s not possible

It’s language is negative and limiting.

It’s reactive vs proactive,  seeing the bad in people and in situations.

 

A optimistic perspective says:

I can

I will

I will try

It’s going to be okay

Let’s keep going

It’s language is positive and overcoming.  It is responsive and proactive, choosing to see the good in people and situations.

 

A faith filled perspective says:

I can do all things through Christ

I am more than a conqueror

With God nothing is impossible

 

Positive perception says that failure is part of learning, that we can do hard stuff,

We need to turn down our negative self talk and make intentional decisions to transform our perspective, from the inside out.

 

God is calling us to have an enlarged perspective of His faithfulness and power as we step into a new year, to be aware of His ableness vs our own limitations and vs what the world may say.

God sometimes has a totally different perspective than us.

His challenge for us is for us to align our perspective with His, to see things from His vantage point.

We can begin again and change the way we think.  Changing the way we think sets us on a new road that trusts more, dares more, loves more and lives more.

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water

“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.

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Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?   With this small rectangle I can call someone, text someone, check my bank account, have photos of my kids, videos of my kids, can book a movie, view a menu, watch youtube, listen to Spotify and get directions when I am driving.

A few years ago, it feels like back in the olden days now, before I had a phone like this, when I would get lost, I would be LOST.  I would have to rely on maps, which is not an application on your phone, but a piece of paper with squiggly lines and squares and street names and on friendly service station people.

Now days, you just need to pull over and click on the app button and boom.  It can even use your location to pin point right where you are.
But have you noticed, when using this app we see the map just as we are.  Just our little square of location.  But God can zoom out and see the whole map.  He sees every part of your journey.  He sees where you are today and the final destination and everything in between.

Today we are going to explore what it looks like to wake up and live your dream.

Dreaming can be a lot like driving or going on a road trip and today I want to give us 5 ways to wake up and live our dream, to awaken a fresh sense of vision for our life and the potential that comes when we are awake on the inside.

Each of us are wired in different ways by God for a reason, which means that no two dreams are wholly alike.

What may be a dream for me may seem like a nightmare for you!

Your dream might be involve a specific career, a ministry, a relationship, a way of life.  It may be to travel the world, to go to university, to be an entrepreneur, own your own home.   You may dream of being famous, of “making it”, of being successful, of changing the world.  You may dream of being married, having kids, being a grandparent.  Your dream might involve being happier, more stable, more settled, more joyous.

Whatever it looks like and more importantly however you define the success of your dream it’s important to begin with that acknowledgement that God is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller and that He is at work in our lives on a much larger scale than our own personal agenda and happiness and that what matters today is not perfection but progress.

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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 »

I love the vision of this song – such a cry for MORE and for this world to be touched by God

But I know that You are God, Yours is the victory
We know there is more to come that we may not yet see
So with the faith You’ve given us we step into the valley unafraid Read the rest of this entry »

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When I was fairly newly saved a guy who prayed for me at a youth group meeting said he felt God wanted me to go home and read Acts 29.

Now you may have just gone through the files of your mind and thought, wait a minute…. there is no Acts 29.  Acts finishes, albeit somewhat suddenly and with the hint of a comma in Acts 28.

As a new Christian I had no reference and I went home, and yes, searched diligently for Acts 29.

Was this guy wrong? Was he not hearing God?

Or was he mocking me???  What was going on!

I talked to him at church on sunday following and I confess, I was kind of miffed.   I leaned more on the “he was mocking me” side of things.

And then he told me that Acts 29 is the chapter that is written by MY LIFE. That I am Acts 29. That it is the exploits that me and God do together for the sake of His Gospel and His Church. It is the adventure that God and I have together with prayer and seeking His face, and God working through me to reach those around me.

Acts 29 is the church today, you and me today, expressing and living for Jesus in power, authority and love. Read the rest of this entry »

* preaching notes from my message at The River Christian Church, Sunday 26th April

God is my healer.  I have seen Him time and time do dramatic WOW unexplainable radical things in my life and body.  This morning I’m going to weave my story into what I share about how God is our healer.  He is Yahweh Rapha – God our Healer.

I don’t know about you, but this week as I’ve read my Bible, I’ve had a whole new perspective of the name and heart of God.  Every time I read LORD GOD in all caps, or Jehovah God, or Yahweh God, it has touched my heart in a new way.  This is His personal name, His personal revelation of His heart towards us.  This is His personal promise, not out of duty as God or I must cos I’m God, but out of His love and grace towards us.  How awesome is that.

As we discover the different revelations of God’s name, the different expressions of His character and heart, our hope is that you will be inspired to a new level of love and awe at our incredible God who is all powerful, all creative, all wise, all loving, all amazing and that as you live that out in your real life that these are the truths that you hold onto.

We have to be confident in the character of God.  He is deliberately mysterious. God is outside the box, His ways are higher, His thoughts are above any spectrum our thoughts are on.  I believe He also calls us deeper, to seek out those depths of who He is, to stretch out beyond what we know today into more revelation and truth.  God is inviting us into more.

Jeremiah 29:11-13For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will SEEK me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

God invites us to seek Him and promises those who seek, will find.

We are just like the Israelites, on a journey.

If you could turn to, or turn on, Exodus 15:22-26 – which is where we find the Israelites and were we find God reveal, for the first time, His name, Yahweh Rapha.

Yahweh Rapha means God is our healer.  He is our great physician.  He is the one who heals our diseases and our brokenness.  He repairs our lives and restores and keeps us in health.

Psalm 103 says:
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The revelation of this name of God, this defining name worthy characteristic, reveals that God’s heart to us is to heal us and restore us. It is God’s personal promise, woven into His name, to care for us and to demonstrate His great power over all of creation to keep us in health.   It comes from His heart and is His heart for you and I today.

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