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The start of the year is a great time to refocus and catch God’s heart for our lives.  Many people make resolutions, make lifestyle changes, take holidays as well as those who start new jobs or new courses.

We’ve been talking about Occupying your Occupation at the start of this year at church – getting a vision for a significant part of our lives, and reframing it from just work to being on mission.

God has placed us in our workplace, our classes, our circles of influence on purpose and with a purpose and when we catch His heart for these spaces in our lives we can see significant things happen. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Every Christian is, in one way or another, involved in the unseen war. There are no bystanders, no spectators. It makes no difference how clearly you perceive the realities of the conflict or if you even believe in the existence of demonic spirits. Whether you participate as a combatant, a captive, or an instrument of the enemy (even an unwitting instrument), be sure of this: You are in it, and the stakes are very high.” Harry R. Jackson, Jr. (The Warrior’s Heart)

Whether you know it or not, if you are a christian or not, you are in a battle. There is no spiritually neutral ground. There are two primary mistakes when it comes to talking and thinking about spiritual things like spiritual warfare—over-emphasis and under-emphasis. Some blame every sin, every conflict, and every problem on the invisible world, on demons that need to be cast out. Car breaks down, it’s a demon. Wifi goes down, it’s the devil. Boss is unhappy with you, it’s a demon. You’re out of coffee… you get my point. Others completely ignore the spiritual world even though the Bible tells us it is real and that there is a battle going on. We have an enemy and he is messing with us sometimes but we are not powerless or victims in it, we don’t need to freak out or be afraid, because God has given us tools and Jesus came to defeat the devil and He did!
So how do we know what is battle and what is life? How do we know when we’re been attacked or just having a bad hair day?

Ephesians 6:12 says For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, the things we can see with our natural eyes, or rather the people we see with our natural eyes because I don’t know about you about many of the times when I’m in a battle behind the scenes the enemy is using people in my world to mess with me.
The battle we see with our eyes is the conflict we’re in at work, or that person that is talking behind your back, or the constant arrrghh going on at home with the kids and hubby. The battle is our fears and feelings that rise up in the midst of those conflicts – the sense of rejection and fear, the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
In this battle the devil loves throws accelerant on the fire. You were dealing with a match sized flame and then boom he throws on a cup of petrol and those thoughts and feelings are raging out of control.

Now in this battle I cant control the reactions of people but I can control my response. I can control my thinking. Sometimes our natural reaction is to go gung ho wham bam thank you mamn but God calls us to submit to God, resist the devil and he must flee. It’s in our surrender first to the ways and will of God that empower us to resist. It’s in our dying to ourselves – our natural reactions – that honour God. It’s in surrendering to God to grow in the situation, to humble ourselves to own our part in things and to become wiser. It’s in letting God have His way in our actions and thoughts.

The heat of the battle refines our hearts and minds and makes us more like Jesus.

“Only you can decide how your fires will affect you. Will you be sanctified or scarred” – Beth Moore
Read the rest of this entry »

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And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Joshua 5:14 v14

Joshua bowed down and worshipped Jesus.

Worship is more than singing. It’s about expressing surrender, its about wrapping language about how we feel, its about changing our perception and seeing things from God’s vantage point. The quickest way I know how to knock something down is to worship God. When faced with obstacles, make a choice to get your eyes open and on Jesus and to worship Him.

 

Worship reinforces what matters most, reminds us of truths we forget and renews our desire to live what we believe. Rick Warren

 

It reminds us that yes, God is with us.

It reminds us of His greatness and power.

It lifts our eyes beyond our circumstances to believe the unfailing promises of God.

We see it time and time again in the psalms of david.

David is doing what I call compraying. It’s a combination of complaining and praying.

David is being real with God. Calling a spade a spade.

But then instead of staying in that place of woe is me, David flips it around and fixes his eyes upon God, and begins to worship.

There are so many instances in the bible where worship preceded victory.

We have got to be a people who carve out time to encounter God. I know I say it every time I get up here, and all the time at housegroup but it is so vital.

 

There is something you get in the secret place that you can get no where else. Do everything you can to establish a secret history with Jesus. ~ Banning Liebscher

Read the rest of this entry »

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When in-laws don’t accept you – Focus on the Family

Heather and Steve have been married almost four years. They love each other very much, but relationships with their in-laws have always been strained.

Heather feels Steve’s mother is overly critical of how Heather parents the children. She also gets upset over her mother-in-law’s statements about how Steve works much too hard; she sees them as attacks on her choice to be a stay-at-home mom.

Steve has great difficulty connecting with his father in-law, who seems to live for sports. When Steve and Heather visit his in-laws, Steve is especially disturbed to see Heather share her father’s sports mania – leaving Steve feeling like an outsider.

It’s normal to want to be accepted by your in-laws. But feeling that you need to be accepted can bring complications, causing you to be uncomfortable and unnatural around them.

Unrealistic hopes cause problems, too. Many parents are initially over-protective of their own child, or have expectations that no spouse can meet in the beginning.

Often, new husbands and wives assume they’ll be loved and accepted by in-laws on the merit of having married the in-laws’ child. This may be the case, but it usually takes time to establish trust and respect. Just as it takes time to build other close relationships, gaining acceptance into a family doesn’t happen instantly.

 

 

 

The Most Important Thing We Can Teach Our Kids in an Over-Sexualized WorldWe Are THAT Family

Protecting our children from our sexually-charged culture is something we work hard at. And in one unavoidable moment, it happened. My sixth grade son saw pornography right in front of me.

And that’s when I realized something gravely important: It’s impossible to filter the entire world. I can’t do it forever. It’s not realistic or even my job. Instead I have to equip my kids.

 

 

 

How to Re-Ignite Your Passion for MinistryRick Warren

Passion is what energizes life. It turns the impossible into possible. In fact if you don’t have any passion in your life, ministry will become boring, dull, routine, monotonous. I’ll go so far as say if you don’t have passion in your life you are not living. You are existing. God made you to live a passionate life and to serve Him and His people with vitality. With vibrancy. With energy. With enthusiasm. He wants you to have this in your life.

In John 10 Jesus said “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”  God wants you to live a full life, a fulfilling life, which is the basis for a fulfilling ministry. If that’s true that’s the kind of life God meant for us to live life is meant to be enjoyed, not merely endured. Sadly, however, countless thousands of pastors and ministry leaders are simply enduring, holding on for the ride and hoping to survive until death without blowing it too badly.

 

 

 

Me, My Kids and the World Wide WebPaisley Jade

As a parent these days, not only do you need to learn how to feed, clean and care for your children, but you also need to have completed a thesis on how to navigate the web with your kid.

Unless you want to become Amish, getting a healthy balance and some wise advice in this area is essential for any person, especially parents.  You just can’t bury your head in the sand when it comes to technology, no matter how technologically illiterate you are.

I often get asked questions about how we cope with media in our home and also about how we protect our kids while online – so here are some of our tips and tricks for technology in the home.

Please Note: I am definitely not an expert when it comes to this stuff, just a mum who wants to help my kids learn to navigate technology wisely.  Tackling this subject is almost overwhelming, as there is so much that could be covered, but I’m going to take the bull by the horns and do my best to share some of the simple things that have helped us as a family, in the hope that it may help some of you.

 

 

 

11 Presentation Secrets You Can Still Learn From STEVE JOBS

Stick to the rule of three. Jobs instinctively understood that the number “3” is one of the most powerful numbers in communications. A list of 3 things is more intriguing than 2 and far easier to remember than 22. Jobs divided his iPhone presentation into three sections. He spoke about the iPod functions of the new iPhone, the phone itself, and connecting to the Internet. Jobs even had some fun with three. He stepped on stage and said, “Today we are introducing three revolutionary products. The first, a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second, is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.” As the audience applauded, Jobs repeated the three ‘products’ several times. Finally he said, “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, they are one device and we are calling it iPhone!”

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“It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.” – Rick Warren

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Have you figured this out already?  Still arm wrestling with the usual suspects over whether the return on investment is worth the cost?

 

Here are 10 killer benefits of a thriving small group ministry:

 

  1. Life-change happens best in small groups.
  2. Small groups make churches personal.
  3. Small groups provide a nearly unlimited leadership development pipeline.
  4. Off-campus small groups provide nearly unlimited space at optimum times.
  5. “Come over to my house” is a much easier invitation than ”come with me to church.”
  6. Small groups provide the best opportunity for one-anothering.
  7. Small groups can provide a sense of family for many whose biological family lives far away.
  8. I can ask questions in a small group.
  9. Small groups make it possible for more people to be cared for between Sundays
  10. Small groups provide an ever expanding network for communication and impact.

from PASTORS.COM

 

 

some specific things i’ve love about OUR housegroup this year are:

worship times

our noise level

robust conversations about the hobbit/war/english history + theology of course

its not just about wednesday

philippians with matt chandler

sex makes you stupid with mark gungor

what we believe

dessert nights

movie nights

my name is luka, i like on the 2nd floor

life app nights – oh the questions!!!

unglued

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The Power of Focusing On the Peanut by Pastors.com

“When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is for me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God said, ‘Well, George, that’s more nearly your size.’” George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was born into slavery in the mid 19th Century in Missouri. He went on to become a world famous scientist. Because he was frail and sickly as a child he worked as a gardner. As a result he had plenty of time to investigate, wander the woods and fan into flame his natural curiosity for all things scientific. Although his ambition was much bigger God gave him one thing to focus on…the peanut. As a result of his relentless experiments on that shell covered protein bullet he discovered over 300 uses for the peanut, including peanut butter (Praise the Lord!)

 

 

 

 

A ministry momentum killer by Steven Furtick : Make sure your private devotion keeps pace with your ministry momentum.  Your relationship with God is only as strong as your most recent encounter with Him.

 

 

 

Why Shame isn’t your Story… and the hungry caterpillar by Tindell Baldwin

Shame isn’t your story. Guilt isn’t your story and working really hard to make yourself look better won’t do anything but exhaust you. The only one that can clear our rebellion and wipe our slate clean is the one who was clean. We all have a past. We all were messed up and some of us you could tell by looking at their life (me) but some hid it better. Either way we had a heart condition that needed fixing. Jesus came, we either accept that he saves us or we don’t, and we move forward.

 

 

 

How to Become a Mentor and Why It’s Important By Justin Lathrop on PASTORS.COM

Many of us understand the importance of having a mentor, but sometimes we forget about the important of being a mentor.

Maybe you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to becoming a mentor. Here are three thoughts I have.

1. Find someone who reminds you of yourself five years ago.
2. You don’t have to be an expert
3. Just be available

 

 

 

Finding a Rhythm and Raising the Energy Level in Your Leaders By Rick Warren At PASTORS.COM

The quickest way to destroy a team is to burn them out. And you don’t have to look around the field of ministry very long to realize that the ministry is filled with burned out leaders. But it’s possible to find a healthy working rhythm and ultimately increase the effective energy with which your leaders serve without causing them to burn out.

Every minute of every day we are using up energy, and every person has a limited amount of energy. If we keep the pace high all the time, we use up the energy people have to give like the way a car with its lights left on will wind up with a dead battery.

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worship reinforces what matters most,

reminds us of truths we forget

and renews our desire to live what we believe.  Rick Warren

 

worship reinforces that what matters most is seen in the light of eternity, grace and love

that i am created to love God and be loved by Him

that i am a child of God, my life finding purpose in my relationship to Him, my Father

that He is greater

that He is good

that His heart is kind

that He is powerful, eternal, faithful, mighty

His Word will remain, His promises are unshakeable and unfailing

 

 

worship reminds me of the truth that i so easily forget

that He loves me

that His ways are good and great

that i can trust Him

that He holds the universe in His hands and that nothing is impossible for Him

that He is greater

that He is good

 

 

 

worship renews my desire to live to know Him and make Him known

i fall in love all over again

amazed and awed and His power and grace, His love and His kindness, His justice and might

it renews my desire that others also know Him

that they encounter Him for real

 

 

in worship i hope, i am free

i hear His voice

He guides me and leads me, restores my soul

 

 

 

some of my favourite worship songs that remind me how BIG and AWESOME God is are:

ANCHOR – HILLSONG

CORNERSTONE – HILLSONG

GREATER – ELEVATION CHURCH

ANCHOR – BETHEL CHURCH

 

 

 

#FiveMinuteFriday free write time! <—click to tweet this!

Five Minute Friday is a feature over at Lisa-Jo Bakers TALES FROM A GYPSY MAMA blog.  i first read about it on my friend Fee’s blog and thought it sounded fun!

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?

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Jesus challenges us to OPEN OUR EYES AND LOOK.

In john 4 He describes the harvest as plentiful and ripe. Numerous and ready.

 

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35

 

Statistics say that of the 5.8 billion people in our world, 1.2 billion (around 20%) have yet to hear the Gospel.

55,000 people die daily in India and around the world without ever hearing about Jesus.

I read somewhere that every day 74,000 people across the globe come to faith in Christ. That’s 3,083 new fellow believers every hour of every day!

 

Everyone of those new believers has a name and a face and a life.  Look at them.

Everyone of those people who die without Jesus has a name and a face and a life.  Look at them.

Look.

and see.

 

Our mission is to see people saved, to see people know the love and forgiving grace of Jesus Christ.

God demonstrates His love and grace through US – the once broken, once fallen, once sinners, once guilty – NOW whole, NOW saved, NOW redeemed, NOW forgiven, NOW innocent, NOW new, NOW clean… We who experience the reality of God’s salvation and grace are called to witness it to those around us both in our actions and our words.  We who KNOW the reality of God’s love and grace get to LIVE IT OUT to the world around us – this is what a witness is.

We must open our eyes and look though and allow God to move our hearts and stir us. Jesus came and lived and dwelled and died and rose for the salvation of those around us.

For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that all who believe in Him will not die but have eternal life.

This is the heart of God!

Look.

and see.

 

You might not be a paid pastor – but you can care for those around you.
You might not be a paid missionary to India – but the lost people around you need to know the love and grace and gospel message of salvation and Jesus.
You might not have gone to bible college – but the Holy Spirit dwells within you and will give you the answer needed.

You get the picture. We are ALL called to shine and serve and speak and teach and evangelise and care and love and BE Christians! God has called each one of us to be ambassadors and witnesses – to shine His light into the world so that people will see God in the darkness. It is God who saves and draws people to Himself but He demonstrates His love and grace and lives out salvation through us.

God has qualified and empowered each one of us to do this momentous task. It could be done every day in every conversation in every opportunity. In the classroom.  In the doctors office.  At the mechanics.  In line at the supermarket.  Over coffee at a cafe.  At work.  At school.  It’s not something we turn off or turn on. We ARE witnesses. We ARE the light of the world, unhidden and shinning bright.

Let’s open our eyes.

Let’s look and see.

Jesus’ eyes are open.  He looks and He sees.

Lets take the opportunities to share the Good News and be part of the work of God in this generation! Lets communicate the news in who we are, what we do and what we say.

“There are people on this planet whom only you will be able to reach, because of where you live and what God has made you to be. If just one person will be in heaven because of you, your life will have made a difference for eternity” Rick Warren

Look.  See.

 

 

#FiveMinuteFriday free write time! <—click to tweet this!

Five Minute Friday is a feature over at Lisa-Jo Bakers TALES FROM A GYPSY MAMA blog.  i first read about it on my friend Fee’s blog and thought it sounded fun!

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?

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some of my favourite tweets from the past weekish…

@herbertcooper Your private devotion can determine your public anointing. Seek and honor God.

 

Pauldejongnz: Lets all focus on what’s at hand, because the truth is ‘We arrive tomorrow at the foundations we set today’"

 

@JohnPaulJackson The valleys teach us character, mountaintops are where we find out if we learned it.

 

@PaulTripp Don’t be discouraged at the messiness and unpredictability of your life. God is in the middle of the mess with his sovereign grace.

 

@randyMB In Christ’s immeasurable love He became what we are, in order to make us what He is.

 

@ElevationChurch "If you want to change what you see in someone, change what you say to them."

 

@ColeenYork God hears the cry of your heart. He hears every prayer you breathe. He rejoices when you rejoice and cries when you cry. He is ALWAYS close.

 

@mckinneyhammond A tree doesn’t get to pick where it’s planted but it grows anyway. Today choose to master your trial, don’t break character, grow!

 

@pwilson: God is not as interested in your ability today as he is your availability. #surrender"

 

@loswhit Nothing you do,say, or pray will add one ounce of work 2 what Christ did on the cross for you.It’s Finished.You can live now.

 

@prayer_coach "Scripture enables you to enter in prayer and empowers you to have confidence before God." – @KevinShorter

 

@RickWarren Cultural lies conform us but eternal truths transform us: See Romans 12:2

 

@nzkristenw You are not disqualified because you struggle. Simply decide to never give up… And let Jesus make ‘everything beautiful in it’s time’

 

 

and me:

Claire McLean@fireball3316 Because its.so worth it

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

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