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See The Present

There was such a swirl of activity around Jesus, with so many people coming and going, that they were unable to even eat a meal. So Jesus said to his disciples, “Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest a while.” 32 They slipped away and left by sailboat for a deserted spot. 33 But many of the people saw them leaving and realized where they were headed, so they took off running along the shore. Then people from the surrounding towns joined them in the chase, and a large crowd got there ahead of them.

34 By the time Jesus came ashore, a massive crowd was waiting. At the sight of them, his heart was filled with compassion,[o] because they seemed like wandering sheep who had no shepherd.[p] So he taught them many things.

35 Late that afternoon, his disciples said, “It’s getting really late and we’re here in this remote place with nothing to eat. 36 You should send the crowds away so they can go into the surrounding villages and buy food for themselves.”

37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.”

“Are you sure?” they replied. “You really want us to go buy them supper? It would cost a small fortune[q] to feed all these thousands of hungry people.”

38 “How many loaves of bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” After they had looked around, they came back and said, “Five—plus a couple of fish.”

39 Then he instructed them to organize the crowd and have them sit down in groups on the grass. 40 So they had them sit down in groups[r] of hundreds and fifties. 41 Then Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, gazed into heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the bread and the two fish and distributed them to his disciples to serve the people—and the food was multiplied in front of their eyes42 Everyone had plenty to eat and was fully satisfied. 43 Then the twelve disciples picked up what remained, and each of them ended up with a basket full of leftovers! 44 Altogether, five thousand families[s] were fed that day! // Mark 6

When you look at your life and your today, your present circumstances, what do you see?

The disciples saw the need, the problem and saw their lack.  They forgot to have supernatural vision despite having just been out on amazing mission adventures, despise seeing Jesus again and again change the world with His mighty power.

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2 years ago I needed glasses.  It’s that thing that happens when you turn 40.  I couldn’t read the Netflix suggestions and if someone waved to me across church I’d be completely unable to tell you who it was.

When I went to pick my glasses up the optometrist got me to stand near the back of the shop and look out across the road.  I could see there was a café… some people…. Parked cars… then I had to put my glasses on.

Well.  The song I can see clearly now was sooooo true.  The café had words on it, signs.  The people had faces.  The faces had freckles!  It felt like a miracle.  Everything was in high definition!

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I love how the old testament has so many things that happen in real life that picture something supernatural and spiritual.

Take for example when the Israelites were in the wilderness, fleeing from exile, heading towards the promised land and they were hungry.  Their reaction always amuses me – they were slaves in Egypt, treated terribly, forced to work in extreme conditions, oppressed and persecuted, yet here they complaining and wishing they were back in Egypt where I quote “here we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”  Now from reading previous chapters of the conditions they faced I’m not sure their filter was accurate.  They’re painting their past like it was satisfactory and forgetting that they belong to the God of miracles who split the sea to set them free.   And I confess I have read it and gone silly Israelites, you are so stupid, how could you forget your God, oh ye of little faith.

Until God reminded me, that I too am like a silly Israelite, forgetting my God, oh me of little faith.

We have moments in our life when the journey when hardship comes from left field, or things aren’t working out like we expected and we forget that the God who does miracles is with us and for us and at work doing a zillion things behind the scenes but we might see only 3 of them.

Gods solution to their complaining met their needs on a practical level but also on a spiritual level.  God provided manna that would fall every morning – like a supernatural bread that would appear around them – that they were to gather every day.  They were to gather just enough for that day for themselves or their families.  There were of course some that tried to hoard but when they went to open their manna pantry the next day their manna had rotted and was filled with worms!

Everyday they had to gather the manna for that day.

Everyday they had to find their satisfaction in God.

Everyday they got a tangible reminder that God is with them and for them.

Everyday they got a reminder that they are special to God.

Something in real life that reveals something supernatural and spiritual.

Everyday we have to gather the manna for our day.

Everyday we have to find satisfaction in God.

Everyday we need that tangible reminder that God is with us and for us and that we are His children and that He loves us with a never ending love.

Now we’re not heading out the backdoor to the lawn to pick up the days kai, our manna is time spent with God, in His word, in prayer, in worship and its not filling our bellies but filling our spirits and souls with peace, hope, grace and wisdom that being in God’s presence gives.

Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that we do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God.

The passion bible puts it like this: Bread alone will not satisfy,[d]
but true life is found in every word,
which constantly goes forth from God’s mouth.”

 

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map reading

One of the key truths that God has graciously given to me is that I know that God made me on purpose and with a purpose.  I remember getting saved and having a very real and very clear call at that moment to ministry.  All I wanted to do is preach the gospel to anyone and everyone.

But there was that next big question, the question we often ask about life.

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 didn’t 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.  Probably 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 friend.  Hey Fee, Claire here.  Help I’m LOST and um, yeah that toll bridge thing.

Ended up that I wasn’t lost, I just wasn’t there yet.  And we didn’t have to go the toll bridge, we had to take some off ramp with a weird name that didn’t 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 didn’t 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 isn’t random.  He didn’t 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 doesn’t 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. 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.    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 doesn’t 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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“More than any other organization or movement on this planet, the church should be a safe haven and incubator for audacity. Everyone else talks big, but in reality they have limited resources. For us, there is no limit to what we can see God do through us other than our faith to believe Him for it.” Steve Furtick

This song is a call to more, a call to give it all, a call to know God and make Him known…

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Today is a new day, with new opportunities, new challenges.

Embrace them.  Seize them.  Live them.

Don’t live in the shadow of what might have been, what could have been, what was, what didn’t work.

Life is not about perfection, it is about progress.

Today hold onto the truth that God loves you and is for you.

That HE is the author writing the adventure of your life and that you can lean upon Him in all seasons.

In Him we will find our hope, our fire, our strength, our peace.

Today.

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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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“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

What dreams do you have for the future that you need to plant the seeds for today?

How can you best nurture those seeds?

Today I had a fascinating conversation with my 13 year old son about memory.  He told me that there are 4 types of memory.  Short term, long term, now memory and future memory.

Future memory is about vision and dreaming.  The person you want to be, the things you want to do and have.

I want my future memories to become future realities.  I want to take them out of the dream realm into the now realm.

So I plant seeds in my now.

I nurture the gifts and talents that I am graced with.

I stir up the passions and purposes of God.

I read and learn and grow and stretch so that as time passes I am becoming and being who I am meant to be.

I nourish my root system with connections and relationships, with conversations that spark a sense of determination and delight, with books and podcasts that reframe how I see the world.

I want my fruit to be rich and productive, to speak of a life lived with God, for God, by God.

I want my fruit to encourage and inspire other people into the greatness that God desires for them.

I want my fruit to be eternal, lasting, significant.

I want my life to touch other peoples lives, not for my own fame but to make His name famous.

As I see this end in mind I must nurture a life that walks with God in my today, in my now.

My now has a profound influence on every part of my tomorrow.

How are you nurturing your seeds and roots?

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“God-size dreams ensure our growth. When God calls us to something, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable, like someone handing us the wrong size in the dressing room. It gaps in strange places and pinches in others. We may find ourselves wanting to send it back for a more reasonably-sized dream, one that doesn’t cause so much discomfort.
But that’s a huge mistake.   God hands us an extra-large vision by design. He is not just interested in what we can accomplish for him, but in who we are becoming along the way. As we struggle to grow into what and who God calls us to do and be, we are changed and shaped more and more into the likeness of Christ.”  Michael Hyatt

We are the dreamers of dreams.

The visionaries who live for the invisible of tomorrow.

The builders who create now for the future.

We are the dreamers who stretch into greater things, who push ourselves to do more and more importantly, become more.

Today is a glimpse into what I dream and what I dream to become and do.

As dreamers we must make each moment count.  Our whole life matters.  Dreams don’t magically come true at the right time without the right preparation and cultivation.

Do you dream of being an author?  Then write, now, today.

Do you dream of being a missionary?  Learn and serve, now, today.

Do you dream of being a worship leader?  Practice and join the worship team.

Do you dream of being a preacher?  Write messages, now, today.

Take God’s hand and run with His dream.  Put doing steps and substance to your dream.

Live for the invisible promise of what is to come and wrap preparation around it today.

I love reading about when God calls Jeremiah the prophet in Jeremiah 1.

He tells Jeremiah that before he was even born, before he was anyone, before he did anything, that God called him to be a prophet to the nation.  God then goes to to teach Jeremiah to see and to speak.  He shows him an almond branch and asks Jeremiah what he sees.  He unfolds the meaning of that branch to Jeremiah and then shows him further things and further insights.  God prepares Jeremiah.  He equips him.  He trains him.

Likewise, before we were born, God knew us and called us.  He destined us.  He wired us, on purpose with purpose.

And as He is the dream giver, He is also the dream fulfiller who unfolds step by step the growth process that shapes us to live out that dream.

My dream is in HIS hands.  He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in my life.

I can trust Him with my dream and respond in faithfulness to grow to be who that dream needs me to become.

What is the lesson God is teaching you today?  

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