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Everyone loves a good love story.

The Princess Bride.

Tangled.

The return of the jedi.

 

If you flick through the tv channels you’ll see evidence of our cultures fascination with love stories.

The Bachelor.

Married at First Sight.

First Date.

 

Not endorsing any of those programmes – especially as these ones often end up unhappily ever after!

Hosea is one of those books that probably should come with a PG rating, and would make reality tv viewers go nuts on social media but is my favourite book of the Bible.  It is a phenomenal picture of the gospel and of God’s unrelenting, everlasting, never stopping, never giving up love for us.  The name Hosea even means Salvation and is the same name as Joshua and Jesus and as we read Hosea we see that not only his words, but that his whole life was a prophetic message to Israel.

The book of Hosea is a love story.  Of the epic romance movie kind.

I’ve been doing some research bout love stories and romcoms this week.  There is a formula for romantic movies did you know.

Boy meets girl.

Boy and girl like each other but must overcome obstacles to be together.

Plot twist.

Happy ending.

 

The book of Hosea follows the genre well.  It focuses on one of the craziest things that God asked anyone in the Bible to do. God told a man named Hosea to marry a woman who had a “shady past” and thus, boy meets girl.    God loving good Christian boy Hosea meets worldly atheistic good time girl.  But the craziness doesn’t end there.  Plot twist number one.  Gomer abandons Hosea and sleeps around, becoming a professional hooker, having kids by these other men. Plot twist number two.  The good times run out for Gomer, and she ends up being sold into sexual slavery.  Plot twist number three. God tells Hosea to go and buy her back and bring her back into his home and to share his love with her again. Believe or not, Hosea obeyed! What was God up to? And will there be a happy ending by the time the credits roll?

The human story was to teach people about His Story. It’s a story that definitely gets our attention, and it’s an incredible reminder of God’s radical love for us. Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ve said before that my church is called The River so any song about rivers captures my eye immediately.

This new song by Jesus Culture, appearing on their new album, is fun, upbeat and one you definitely want as an earworm! Loving the acoustic version too!

It’s lyrics are a powerful reminder to me as to what God’s call is, to set the captives free, to preach good news, to know God and make Him known!

 

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

My church is called The River, and this would be a perfect theme song!

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oh God, we worship You.

You are more than words can say.

You are holier than we dare imagine.  Our minds cannot contain your glory.

All that is within me leans towards you, you are my God.  You are my Lord.  You are my Saviour.

I rest in your grace, comforted in your strength, covered by your unending love.

There are not enough words to express how thankful I am, how grateful I am, how my love responds to you….

At the end of church, after a provoking message on worship, personal and public, Andy Campbell, our speaker, played this song and gave us that moment with God.

I encourage you to play it, to pause in your life and to stir up your thirst for God.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
 I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

* 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

 

We played this clip at our Christmas Eve service on Wednesday night…. I’ve fallen in love with the song and its heart!

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