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squad disc

I often wonder if I was Jesus how would I choose my squad, my tribe of disciples.

I think I like the X Factor/Britian’s Got Talent/American Idol way.  The contestants would have to audition.  Hi whats your name?  Im Peter.  Whats your day job?  Im a fisherman.  What are you doing for us tonight?

Of course I’d have to have a judges panel.  Maybe with some of the angels or Moses or Jonah. Jonah would be the grumpy Simon Cowell dude.

I found some of the horrible things that Simon says when he X factor judge….

Simon: ‘You look a little odd, your dancing is terrible, the singing was horrendous, and you look like one of those creatures that live in the jungle with the massive eyes. What do they called? Bush baby.’

Simon: ‘Your facial expressions were ugly,’ he said. After the judges protested, he added: ‘You are a beautiful girl, but you’re ugly when you perform. Play it back and you’ll see what I mean.”

Simon compares him to an athlete an the Olympics: ‘Well, the two people who came on before you ran the 100 meters in 10 seconds. You ran it in five minutes. That’s the difference.”

Simon: ‘You sounded like Dolly Parton on helium.’ ‘Seriously.’ That song ‘belongs in some ghastly country fair.’

Simon: ”It was boring, your voice sounded a bit whiny, you looked terrified. And it looks as if you’ve been shut up in your bedroom for about a month, you know, you look verging on haunted, pale, you know? You need some fresh air and you need to make yourself young.
Or perhaps it would be like the Bachelor…. A series of group dates, cocktail parties, one on ones and the rose ceremony.   Judas, will you accept this rose?

Or Survivor, who loves survivor here!  Legendary!  Contestants have to compete in a series of physical challenges and outlast, outwit and outplay their fellow tribe mates in order to be chosen as a disciple.

 

Jesus didn’t use any of those methods.  He just rocked up to them and said follow me.  Now being Jesus he knew all about them but still don’t you often wonder if perhaps his disciple-radar was malfunctioning….  These are the guys that are going to be with Jesus 3 years, witness the greatest miracles, hear God’s heart, learn His teaching, be part of His inner circle and Jesus chooses THESE GUYS!

There is James and John who were known as the sons of thunder, not because they ate too many beans, but because they often threw wild temper tantrums and threatened to call down fire on a village, a whole village because the people didn’t want to follow Jesus.

Simon was a Zealot which pretty much meant he was planning to overthrow the government and commit acts of domestic terrorism.

Matthew who was a tax collector… I mean did Jesus not know that was basically just a job where they got to rip people off.

There is Peter, who never thinks before he speaks.  Who after declaring I’ll do anything for you denies even knowing him 3 times.

And Judas, bless his heart.  He betrayed Jesus.

 

These are the guys that Jesus chose and called and invested 3 years of His life into.  These were the guys that Jesus called to spread the gospel and build the church.

Read the rest of this entry »

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We never grow closer to God when we just live life.  It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness. 

Your level of preparation determines your level of outpouring.  It’s not someone elses responsibility to take care of what’s inside of you.

Paul instructed Timothy to fan into flame the gift that was inside him. (2 Timothy 1:6)

“Your life from seed to full-grown tree is a process. We all like the idea of fruit, but rarely do we allow ourselves to build a root system.” Banning Liebscher

As leaders we need to have a strong, consistent inflow to balance our outflow.  As leaders were are giving out all the time.  Energy, time, emotions.  In order to GROW as a leader we need to stretch our capacity and ability to lead.  Read the rest of this entry »

Here are some of my favourite (aka inspiring, informative, challenging and relevant!) reads from around the net this week:

who do you want to be

Evangelizing to People Who Have Heard it All Before

5 ways to share your faith without shoving it down people’s throats.

Within a society where people know the gist of what Christianity teaches but words such as “converts,” “evangelism” and “proselytize” are increasingly associated with religious zealots, abusive cults and violent terrorism, it’s becoming more difficult to communicate faith-based ideas without being offensive or perceived as a close-minded bigot.

Historically, evangelism has sometimes been used as a weapon to hurt, shame, guilt and induce fear. Its longtime associations with obnoxious street preachers, sleazy televangelists and corrupt organizations make it even less appealing to the public—and to Christians themselves.

7 Ways to Become An Indispensable Youth Leader – Pastors.com

It has been said that “nobody is indispensable” and, to a degree, that is a true statement. But I can tell you that, as a former pastor and current leader of a youth ministry organization (with 20+ employees), there are certain staff losses that hit the church or ministry harder than others. Losing these kinds of employees leaves a bigger hole in the ministry because they have made themselves more and more indispensable through working harder, smarter and longer.

This brand of youth leader is the last to get cut when finances go south in a church. Indispensable staff members (no matter what their position) have worked hard in the good times so it makes them almost impossible to let go in the bad times. And firing? Forget it! Unless there is some moral issue, you find a way to keep these employees happy. Why? Because they are working hard and producing results!

The Issue Is Never The Issue – Going To The Source

It’s only until we’ve allowed God to take His place in our hearts and lives that we can then look past the complaints from/about each other, or the lack of connection – all the little, daily issues we face being married.

We can’t look to our marriage/spouse to fulfill or complete us – they were not designed to be our “salvation.” Christ is the only way.

When our security is in the Lord, through spending devoted, undistracted, daily time with Him – only then can we truly love our spouse, and be loved by them.

9 Things Everyone Should Do When Reading the Bible : A few simple habits to build into your Bible reading

Amid the hours of serious Bible study, I treasured this advice. Sometimes, we read to study and understand and wrestle with the truth. But sometimes, we read to make our hearts happy. “Delight yourself in the Lord,” for “your words are sweeter to me than honey.”

IF YOU SEEK THE LORD
This term at HKC we’ve asked the 3 big questions. …

Who am I?
Where am I going?
How do I get there?

In week 1 we looked at how God made us on purpose with a purpose, that he likes us, loves us and that is not about being a copy of anyone but about being you.  The world needs you, not a fake.

In week 2 caleb talked about how God has about plan for our lives…. Jeremiah 29:11, in fact the bible says that before you were born ….

So, we know that God made us on purpose and with a purpose… but how do we get there?

Earlier this year I went for a bit of a road trip to visit my friend Fee who lives in Gulf Harbour.  I had never been to Gulf Harbour before.  In fact, I had probably only driven over the harbour bridge about 5 times in the whole 15 years I’ve lived in Auckland!
Anyway, I had her address written down.  I knew from the map on the net what streets to take in her little township area.
But as I drove over the bridge and started looking at the motorway exit signs I noticed one thing that made me half freak out.  They didnt have suburb titles, like how the rest of Auckland does.  Like Manukau.  East Tamaki.  Greenlane.  It had road names.  I was heading into unfamiliar territory and the road signs made no sense!
Then I saw another sign that made me freak out even more.  Probalby a 3/4 freak out on the scale of freaking out.  Toll bridge ahead.  We had been driving for over an hour and there were less and less houses and more and more grass and more and more cows.  I was like oh my word!  Perhaps we totally missed where we were going?  Perhaps I was totally lost!  

So i pulled over and rung my frirend.  Hey Fee, Claire here.  Help I’m LOST and um, yeah that toll bridge thing.

Ended up that I wasnt lost, I just wasnt there yet.  And we didnt have to go the toll bridge, we had to take some off ramp with a weird name that didnt relate at all to the area she lived in.
Now I bet you’re wondering what on earth does that have to do with my life and my dreams?  Its a nice story, but hello….
You see, just like how I was on a journey we are all on a journey.
I had a destination, but I was driving unfamiliar roads and didnt really know how to get there.
I was pointing in the right direction, but some of the signs were confusing and made me unsure if I was on the right track.
And in the end I phoned my friend for help.
And yes, we made it there in the end!
We are all on a journey.  Life is a journey.  Every day counts.    But the good news is that God knows the destination, and He knows how to get there.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says: For 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.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
You can be confident at every age and at every stage that God loves you and that He made you on purpose with a purpose.  God isnt random.  He didnt make you and then throw you into humanity to see what would happen.  He made you on purpose, with a purpose.
But sometimes it feels like we’re driving unfamiliar roads.  What will I study at high school?  What about university?  Or apprenticeship?  Who will I marry?  Should i do an OE?  Buy a house?  The red pill or the blue pill?     Big questions.
Philippians 1:6 says that God will finish what He starts.  He started something in your life.  And He will see it through to the destination.  God is the dream giver and the dream fulfiller.  He gives us dreams….  those desires and thoughts you have are seeds of God’s plan.  And He doesnt just leave us to do it ourselves, He on purpose is at work to make the dreams come true.
Sometimes there are confusing signs though.  Some of the confusing signs could be what other people say.  You’re not good enough.  Why would you do that?  Sometimes its what we say to ourselves.  Man we can be mean to ourselves eh?  Sometimes we’re saying we’re not good enough.  Sometimes there is life stuff that happens that shakes us a little bit.  Sometimes its also a timing thing, that God knows the perfect time for things to happen and so He keeps on working on us from the inside out so that we’re ready for the challenge and the task.
Though we may not know exactly what the map is like, we can be confident that God will show us what to do at the right time.
So how do we do that in real life?
1.  Habit B.  Reading the Bible.  Psalm 110:105 says Your Word is a lamp unto my feet.  Its a light to show us where to put our feet.   The wisdom and cool stuff in here will show you what steps to take.
2.    Habit H: Hang out with God.  Remember Jeremiah 29:12-13 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. God hears us when we pray.  Keep drawing close to Him and hanging out with God.  He is so wise, so amazing and knows all and sees all.  He sees your journey from the beginning to end.  Blows your mind eh!  By hanging out with God He gives us the confidence to step out of our comfort zone when we need to, and the peace and strength to keep going.  Sometimes He shows us a better way to do things.  Sometimes He shows us that we’ve been heading in the wrong direction totally and He helps us U Turn and get back on the right road.
3.  Talk to someone.  I phoned my friend.  Talk to a big person in your life, someone who perhaps is further down the road of life than you.  Ask them what they know to be true about God.  Ask them how they got through the rough parts.  Ask them how they figured out what to do next.
I am further down the journey that you.  I have had some epic plot twists.  I have had some interesting detours.  I have had some seasons where it has felt like I was going the long long long way round and that I was asking God every 3 minutes “are we there yet?”  “are we there yet?”  “are we there yet?”
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.  You can trust Him.  He never gets lost.  He never takes a wrong turn.  He doesnt need to ask for directions.
Tonight put your journey in the hands of God, whom you can trust, and who loves you…
You might however be at that point of wondering if God is real.  If He loves you.  If He knows your journey.  Yip, He does.  He loves you.  He knows your name.  Jesus came for real and lived for real and died for real and rose from death for real to prove that love.  Life without God is like not even getting in the car, to spin the analogy.  Yip, it may feel scary to think about God.  Yip, it may be scary to get real about it.  But its so worth it.

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Yesterday I talked about my story.  I talked about how I became a christian and challenged HKC to give their all.

So how do we make that real in our lives?  How do we go from going up the front, praying a prayer, wanting to be a Christian and wanting to know God?

 

For me what has kept me walking with God, apart from how amazing He is – and His grace which keeps Him holding on…  it was the HABITS I formed.

 

Often we ask ourselves “How do I go deeper in my relationship with Christ?” or “How do I grow my faith in God?”

Think about your best friend for a moment. How did you get to be best friends with that person?  You hang out with them, learn about them, and talk with them? You snapchat and tweet them, you text them a trillion times a day on your unlimited text plan.  God is the same way, He wants to hang out with you, teach you about Him, and talk with you.  He may not snapchat you, but He will speak!  The Bible promises that “when we draw near to God, He draws near to us.”

There’s an easy way of doing this, and it’s all based around the word HABIT.

 

H = Hang out with God

A = Attend

B = Bible Reading

I = Investment

T = Tell your story

 

Being a Christian may seem like it’s a list of things “TO DO” and we definitely don’t want you to feel like that!  Or sometimes it can feel like you don’t know where to start.  How do you talk to God?  What is worship?  Why do we go to church?

These are simple keys that can help you to know our amazing God and make it real in your life.  These 5 Habits will change you from the inside out.  God loves you with an incredible love and has done EVERYTHING needed to open the doors for us to come close to Him.   As we practice these Habits and make them real in our life we grow to know God more and more.    Nothing can change His love for us but WOW when we spend time with God and encounter Him our love for HIM massively can grow as we see how awesome He is.

We want these habits to become as natural as putting your shoes on each morning….

Read the rest of this entry »

LOVED this (How To Read The Whole Bible In 2015) that i read from The Gospel Coalition last night on how to read the Bible in a year, and also how to dig deeper and more meditatively.

I personally read the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan—read through the OT once and the NT and Psalms twice, and have done so as a personal rhythm for the past 5-7 years.  Each year I switch it up by changing what version I read it in.  Currently I’m reading the AMP version.

The Gospel Coalition article has some fantastic links to Bible Plans and extended reading and a fabulous breakdown of the themes of the Bible.

bible hand really good

Do you want to read the whole Bible this year?

The average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute; there are about 775,000 words in the Bible; therefore it takes less than 10 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year.

(For those who like details, there’s a webpage devoted to how long it takes to read each book of the Bible. And if you want a simple handout that has every Bible book with a place to put a check next to every chapter, go here.)

Audio Bibles are usually about 75 hours long, so you can listen to it in just over 12 minutes a day.

But the point is not merely to read the whole thing to say you’ve done it or to check it off a list. The Bible itself never commands that we read the Bible through in a year. What it commends is knowing the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and meditating or storing or ruminating upon God’s self-disclosure to us in written form (Deut. 6:7; 32:46; Ps. 119:11, 15, 23, 93, 99; 143:5). Read the rest of this entry »

Here are some of my favourite (aka inspiring, informative, challenging and relevant!) reads from around the net this week:

 

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Evangelizing to People Who Have Heard it All Before

5 ways to share your faith without shoving it down people’s throats.

Within a society where people know the gist of what Christianity teaches but words such as “converts,” “evangelism” and “proselytize” are increasingly associated with religious zealots, abusive cults and violent terrorism, it’s becoming more difficult to communicate faith-based ideas without being offensive or perceived as a close-minded bigot.

Historically, evangelism has sometimes been used as a weapon to hurt, shame, guilt and induce fear. Its longtime associations with obnoxious street preachers, sleazy televangelists and corrupt organizations make it even less appealing to the public—and to Christians themselves.

 

 

7 Ways to Become An Indispensable Youth Leader – Pastors.com

It has been said that “nobody is indispensable” and, to a degree, that is a true statement. But I can tell you that, as a former pastor and current leader of a youth ministry organization (with 20+ employees), there are certain staff losses that hit the church or ministry harder than others. Losing these kinds of employees leaves a bigger hole in the ministry because they have made themselves more and more indispensable through working harder, smarter and longer.

This brand of youth leader is the last to get cut when finances go south in a church. Indispensable staff members (no matter what their position) have worked hard in the good times so it makes them almost impossible to let go in the bad times. And firing? Forget it! Unless there is some moral issue, you find a way to keep these employees happy. Why? Because they are working hard and producing results!

 

 

The Issue Is Never The Issue – Going To The Source

It’s only until we’ve allowed God to take His place in our hearts and lives that we can then look past the complaints from/about each other, or the lack of connection – all the little, daily issues we face being married.

We can’t look to our marriage/spouse to fulfill or complete us – they were not designed to be our “salvation.” Christ is the only way.

When our security is in the Lord, through spending devoted, undistracted, daily time with Him – only then can we truly love our spouse, and be loved by them.

 

 

9 Things Everyone Should Do When Reading the Bible : A few simple habits to build into your Bible reading

Amid the hours of serious Bible study, I treasured this advice. Sometimes, we read to study and understand and wrestle with the truth. But sometimes, we read to make our hearts happy. “Delight yourself in the Lord,” for “your words are sweeter to me than honey.”

Image

 

Why does having a “quiet time” seem so hard?

Have we forgotten the art of meeting with God and praying?

 

As Christians “we underestimate the Bible.”

We know its God’s Word but we don’t treat it like that, we don’t follow its guidelines or invest time into reading it.  We don’t truly value it because we underestimate it.  We must be re-inspired to reconstruct our times with God and to re prioritize reading our Bibles, to hear His voice.

 

Here are a couple of keys that might help refresh this vital time we have – the opportunity to read God’s Words, His letter to us, His revelation of WHO He is and how He loves us…

 

First.

Get yourself a Bible plan, like one year bible or something. YOUVERSION is amazing.  You can get different plans and devotionals at the click of a button.  Find one that works for you and inspires you.

Now with your Bible plan make sure it is one that you can “have off days” in – we all have days when we don’t get time or make time to read the Bible because of life and things so make sure your plan is one that the whole plan doesn’t collapse if you miss a day or a month or something. The one year Bible plan is good because you just pick up on the date you are. Eventually throughout your 80 year or so life you’ll get to read those other bits… don’t sweat it right now.

It takes 21 days to make a habit – so begin and continue.  Once the habit is formed it will flow a bit more naturally.  When we have a regular time reading our Bible we are creating opportunities for God to speak.

* disclaimer… now many people don’t like plans… they don’t read to hear God’s voice but find themselves reading to check that tick box.. Xo be intentional in reading to hear God’s voice, not just to complete a plan or complete a task…  let it be a framework that points you to a passage and creates a regular rhythm of reading the Bible…

 

Second:

When you are reading the bible you are not reading to absorb and learn the whole thing.

You are looking for THE ONE THING.

The one thing is the thing that jumps out at you.

It is the thing that God is ILLUMINATING to you.

You might not think – oh that is just my mind i am just drawn to that – but the neat thing is that that is how the Holy Spirit speaks! That is good!

God speaks through His Word. So when you are reading you are looking for the one thing. That one thing is the thing to focus on, think about, meditate upon etc.

Write it down.  Record it.  Chew it over.  Write notes about it.  Listen for the life God breathes into it.  Listen to what God is saying.

Read the rest of this entry »

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There are so many ways to read the Word of God. Plans.  Studies.  Commentaries.  Surface.  Depth.  Paper or digital? 

Despite the options and the styles important thing is that your find your own rhythm and that you JUST DO IT.  That you read it, not to check off a tick box or get a gold star, but that you read it to hear the voice and words of God. 

The Bible is God breathed, God written, God inspired.  His words to you are life, breath, hope, peace, guidance, challenge, personal.

 

Recently I finished reading Louie Giglio’s book, I am not but I know I am.

i adore Louie, he is a master wordsmith and his evident love for Jesus so radiates through every word, written or spoken.

In the book, Louie Giglio shares something called the One Word Bible Study method. It is an intriguing way to look at verses in the Bible in which you prayerfully meditate over ONE word of a verse each day (yes, just ONE word for a day) until God reveals His message and power through that ONE word. 

Louie demonstrates by using John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and WOW i loved every perspective and revelation.

 

At our church, The River, last night our speaker Thomas Adams challenged us to take Psalm 34 and read a verse every day. 

Just one verse. 

 

To READ IT, CHEW IT, PRAY IT, DO IT. 

 

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
Psalm 34:1-3 #Ps34Challenge

 

I’ll be ONE WORDing my way through my daily verse, ears open to hear God’s personal words to me.

 

Watch over the next few days for other ways to read the Word of God and hear His voice…

POcIO

“There are four principles we need to maintain:

First, read the Word of God.

Second, consume the Word of God until it consumes you.

Third believe the Word of God.

Fourth, act on the Word.” Smith Wigglesworth

 

 

STARTING

Before you get started, think through the following:

  • When will you read? Do you have a consistent time?
  • Where will you read? Do you have a consistent place?
  • What will you read? Do you have a plan?
  • What do you need? Do you have a Bible, journal, pen and highlighter?

 

PRAYER

You should always approach the Scriptures in a posture of prayerful humility and longing. Ask God to:

  • Incline you entirely to His Word.
  • Open your eyes to see the beautiful wonders of Christ and the glories of the gospel.
  • Unite your heart to fear His name, knowing that your desires are ever divided.
  • Satisfy you with His steadfast and unfailing love.

 

READING

The first step of study is to simply read the passage a few times to get an idea of the content, context and flow. Highlight particular sections that stand out so that you can come back to them later.

 

OBSERVATION

What do you see?

Observation lays the groundwork for all subsequent study. Cutting corners in this step can cause the entire process to unravel.

What are you observing? Everything. Your goal is not to determine what is and is not significant. Everything is significant. Observation is kind of like panning for gold. Your goal is to dig up as much as possible and allow the later processes to sift the gold.

  1. Mark up the passage. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible. Circle, underline and highlight. Write in the margins. Get creative.
  2. List 2-3 overarching themes you see in the passage.
  3. List at least two observations per verse. The more the merrier.
  4. Write down questions to think through in the step of interpretation.

 

INTERPRETATION

What does it mean?

Your observations will most likely lead to interesting and challenging questions about the text. The step of interpretation allows you to sift through the various observations in order to provide answers.

Who is…

…the author?
…the audience?
…being discussed?
…accomplishing the action?

Where is…

…the author?
…the audience?
…the action taking place?

What is the…

…meaning of this word?
…significance of this phrase?
…implication of this statement?
…overarching theme?

Why did the author…

…choose this word?
…include this phrase?
…use this command?
…connect these ideas?
…not say ____?

 

  1. Consider the context.
  2. Compare multiple translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, HCSB).
  3. Look up key words.
  4. Check out cross-references to see how this passage relates to others.
  5. When stumped, list out all the various options and pros and cons of each. After due consideration, use supplemental resources such as the ESV Study Bible or commentaries for helpful insights and background information.
  6. Don’t stop until you have considered how this passage fits into the overarching redemptive plan of God – the gospel. How does this passage relate to the person and work of Christ?
  7. Make sure to discuss insights and questions with your spouse and gospel-centered community.

 

APPLICATION

What do I do with it?

Bible study is incomplete until you have thought through how to apply the particular passage to your life. Some passages will be more readily applicable than others, but all Scripture is useful and helpful (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

  • List out a number of potential applications. To get started, here are a few questions to consider:
    • Is there an example for you to follow?
    • Is there a sin to repent of and/or avoid?
    • Is there a promise to trust?
    • Is there a prayer to repeat?
    • Is there a command to obey?
    • Is there a condition to meet?
    • Is there a verse to memorize?
    • Is there an erroneous view exposed?
    • What else is the Lord pressing upon you?
  • Choose one or two particular applications and prayerfully consider how you might pursue greater faithfulness in them. Be specific about what you will do (or not do) and whom you will ask (in addition to the Lord) to help you.

 

 

from The Village Church HERE

 

 

also check out:

Tim Keller on Bible Reading

Keep Going

Finding the “One Thing”

The Loudest Voice

Follow One Passion One Devotion on WordPress.com

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

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