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It’s a new year, and we have a fresh start. We have the opportunity to be who we want to be and accomplish what we want to accomplish.

 

So here’s the question I want you to think about tonight as you’re reading this.

What do you want to be about?   What are you going to represent?  What is going to define you this year?

You get to decide now.

 

Last year our Kids pastor and I did a first aid course.  I have to confess those mouth to mouth dummies freak me out as did the gory videos of what to do if someone has a knife in their thigh, burnt arms and all kinds of cuts and gross stuff!  I’m one of those people that love watching things like CSI and House but with my eyes closed through probably about 45% of it.  Usually I watch it with Tony and he is good at letting me know when its okay but this one time he was like, you can watch now but unfortunately it cut to the morge guy peeling back the guys scalp to look at the brain.  Yeah.  No.

Anyway first aid course.  I have a friend whose son did a first aid course through school then LITERALLY walked out the gates and saw a kid get hit by a car.  Literally.  He was right there on the scene and knew what to do because he had done the first aid course.  The course teaches you what to do in the crisis situation so that when you’re there in the moment you’re not having to make decisions – you know what to do and work through your checklist of what to look for.

 

One of the biggest decisions you need to make in life is who you will represent.  Some people wear tshirts to show what sports team they’re into, or what movies they love.  But I’m not talking about representing things like that but about making a decision about where you stand with God, about knowing God and making Him known.

What does it look like to represent Jesus?  What does it look like to live fully devoted to Jesus in real life?

Do you have to wear Christian tshirts?  A massive cross?  Does your ring tone have to be Jesus is a friend of mine?

There are heaps of ways that we can show that we know God and are Christians.

 

  1. what we say.

Did you know that the average girl speaks about 27000 words a day.  And the average guy about 18000.  Or if you’re Jessy about 263.  That’s a lot of words and a lot of conversations.  Sometimes the conversations are just about surface stuff – tv, youtube, the weather blah blah blah.  But sometimes they can go deeper – about what we’re worried about, how we’re stressed out, things going on that hurt us… in those moments we have a decision to make – will we encourage someone with the encouragement that God can give or just say nice things.  The bible says that God comforts us so that we can pass that on to others.  We go through things and God helps us so that we can help other people and encourage people to get to know our awesome God who loves us and helps us and gives us peace and is with us always. Read the rest of this entry »

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You may have noticed the sound of crickets around here lately….   The photo kind of gives it away.  About 5 weeks ago I broke my finger.  Playing dodge ball at youth group.  I’m the youth pastor and I think the first official break for the year.  But it means that for a few weeks its been painful to type.   After 4 weeks of pain and no longer being able to really bend my finger I decided that it wasnt getting better by itself so saw the dr, who sent me off for xrays.  I chipped a bone in my joint and then fractured the bone between the joint and my hand.  No wonder it hurt.  I’ve had it in a buddy strap splint since then.  Which actually has made all the difference.  Mobility is returning and it is less painful to do normal things like indicating in the car or brushing my hair and cutting my food.  Though, when the splint is on I’m a bit hopeless.  I cant bend my finger or type properly.  Or cut my food.  Or carry things.

You know, sometimes in life we’re broken.  A bit cracked.  In pain.

Sometimes we need to strap ourselves to a friend and let them support us and strengthen us through the healing process.   Yes seriously.  Life lesson from a broken finger.  Who are you strapping yourself to today?

Last night we had our official kick off 2015 for HKC Youth @ The River.

We had some worship, games and then I spoke.

Being the first night I wanted to tell them a little bit about my own story….

 

I thought I’d begin by telling you a bit about my story.  You see, even though I am WAY older than all of you, I once upon a time, a long long time ago, was a 16 year old girl, who wore all black, who didnt know God and was lost in life.   But one day that all changed.

My family  moved around lots because of my Dad’s job.  Every 2 years we moved to a new town.  I was born in Whangarei and have lived all over NZ – from the north to the deep south in a tiny town called Edendale and Gorrrrrrrrrre.  It’s where i get my accent from.  So you’ll hear the extra R’s when i say church, Lord, worship, purple work shirt.

Anyway when I was 16 we moved to Blenheim.  Now the difference between Gore and Blenheim for me was huge.  I went from a co ed school, with about 300 guys and girls, to a girls only school, with over 1000 girls in it!  Yikes!  Culture shock!

One day in my Classics class a girl I sat beside me asked if wanted to go to youth group with her.  I looked at her and said “do they have boys there?”  She was like, “duh, yeah”.  So i was in!  Yip, I went to youth group to meet guys.  Man God is sneaky sometimes!

But notice – it was her invitation that got me along to youth group.  I wonder who you sit beside?  Who has God put in your life that He is wanting to show His reality and love to?

Anyway, I went along and on the first night there was someone there, yes a guy, with a guitar and he said we’re going to have worship now, and he then prayed.  Everyone closed their eyes and bowed their heads and I was woah, what is this?  What is happening?  But then my woah turned into a WOAH because I had this sudden realization that God was real and that I could know Him.  That I MUST know Him.

I went along to their Easter Camp, knowing I was going to become a Christian.  I didn’t know what that meant but I was ready to give my everything to Jesus.  I think I thought that being a Christian meant I would have to wear gray, be really boring and never listen to heavy metal music again.  But that sense that it would be all worth it was so strong that I was ready to wear gray, be boring and listen to nuns singing soprano.  Forever. Read the rest of this entry »

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Last night I had my first night at HKC youth….  I officially start in January and so wanted to make the most of seeing what happens now and how things click together.   I felt incredibly priv’d to be at what turned out to be an incredibly special night.  Many young people felt the presence of God for the first time and it took me back to my own youth group days when I first got saved and knew that God loved me.  This is why I said “yes”.  This is it.  This is the real deal.  This is what life is about.

*  photo is me speaking at youth camp last weekend

 

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Recently I got to watch a clip of a 12 year old boy give a speech in the Auckland speech finals.   His sister died in the Elim cannoning tragedy in 2008.  His speech was on legacy and the challenge to his audience was  What are you doing to leave a legacy?  He challenged us to make our lives count.

Life is more than breathing.  It’s more than minecraft (shock), more than our friends, more than today.

You may think, yeah I’ll think about that when I’m 21, when I’m a grown up, when I’ve got a job.  But today matters.  Today counts.  Today you are creating your legacy.

The greatest legacy we can leave is lives changed eternally.  To see His Kingdom Come.

DL Moody, a famous old dead guy who was a famous preacher and revivalist said ““The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”

 

“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man or woman fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that person.”

 

That is the challenge that I throw down to each of you, to myself.   To know God and make Him known.

So how do we make that real in our lives?

 

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home.  Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them,  four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat.  They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves,  “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts?  Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’?  So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said,  “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”  Mark 2:1-12

 

In this passage we see four men with radical faith, who created a legacy and made a difference.  They heard Jesus was in town and knew that Jesus was the answer their friend needed.   This was their one chance, their moment.

Their friend was paralysed.  He could not walk or move.  He could not get to Jesus himself.  He needed the deliberate intentional choices and actions of his friends to get Him to Jesus.

 

Who are you bringing?

 

Who are the paralysed people in your life?  They may not be confined to a wheel chair unable to walk or move, but there may be other areas that they stuck and paralysed in.  Loneliness.  Fear.  Rejection.  Depression.   Sin.

The paralyzed man had his whole life radically changed.  He could walk and run and dance for the first time.  And more importantly, his sins were forgiven.  His eternity was changed.   He knew that God loved him, rescued him and that God was real and amazing.  Heaven collided with earth.  It was more than just a story, it was more than just a good idea.  God did something so real and irrefutable, so big and spectacular that it blew the limitations that people had around God.

There is so much more possibility than we have seen before because Jesus is more amazing than we can dare, ask or imagine.  So lets dare, ask and imagine great things and see God exceed those things.

In my own story, before going to youth group I was paralyzed.  Just like that man.  I was stuck in the blackness of my life.  I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.

On the first night I was at youth group they sung a song – Don’t you know that I love you, don’t you know that my plans for you are good.  Look and see I’ve engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

When God saved me it was like I walked for the first time.  In fact, at the end of the meeting I went outside and did cartwells and couldn’t stop moving and talking and expressing the crazy happiness I felt on the inside!

I believe that as we bring people to Jesus we’re going to see people get up and walk for the first time.  We’re going to see the mess of people’s lives collide with the majesty of God’s grace.  We’re going to see people set free and discover that they are created on purpose by a very real on purpose God.  You are going to see the amazing things that God can do through someone that says YES.  Someone who is consecrated and goes hard out to see His Kingdom come.

 

The people who know their God shall be strong and do exploits.  Dan 11:32

 

 

** this is my message at Collision Youth Camp

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this is the youth group i got saved in, 20 years on.  we met again and celebrated our friends 20th wedding anniversary over the school holidays in napier.  20 years is a long time.  some of these people i have reconnected with in real life over the years, but some of them, it had been the full 20 year quota of time between conversation.   but throw us back together and it was like no time had passed.  it was glorious.  here we are with our spouses and kids, changed and living our dreams, yet it was like no time had been between us.  it was glorious.

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River Eyes Open River Touch Your World

i’m loving this new series we’re doing at our church, The RIver.  We have a TOUCH YOUR WORLD message in the morning, with an emphasis on turning our heart outwards to other people in our world and an EYES OPEN message in the evening at our 7pm service.  This week i’m preaching at 7.  Excited much and so thankful for the opportunity.

 

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ballet started yesterday!  yay!  i love our ballet teacher – she is the most positive and encouraging woman!  evangeline does so well in her class and has made some lovely friends.  this is the 3rd year this class has being together.  i take the opportunity to read and am reading CULTURE OF HONOUR by Danny Silk.  Its a required reading for SAS and so far chapt one has been awesome.  

 

 

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its our wedding anniversary on monday but we mostly celebrated last weekend as our babysitter was available then.  but its so inbetween movie season and also oscar season.  which means only meh movies or really intense movies (like 12 yrs a slave) and we weren’t really in the frame of mind for that.  in the end we rejigged our babysitter to come in the arvo and we went and saw JACK RYAN : SHADOW RECRUIT.  and loved it.  is the classic action move.  great hero.  great action.  good plot.  its based on a TOM CLANCY character.   i confess it was also lovely to in plush air conditioned surroundings at the Monteray Movie Theatre on a very hot day!

 

 

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we have entered into a new parenting phase.  we are now youth group parents.  our son started youth group last week @ The River.  and had an awesome time.  i adore our leaders and what they’re doing with the young people in East Auckland. 

 

 

and as always.  i love Jesus with all i am and all my heart and all my soul and all my days. For His glory and the building of His kingdom and the rescue of the lost.

 

 

so what are you totally loving this week?

… check out what other peeps are loving whatever day of the week it is over at MNM’s BLOG

things im loving

 

*** on friday night i went to the girls youth sleepover… no i didnt sleepover, i like my bed, and i have terrible morning hair, and had a training day at church to go to… but i did go in my pjs!  the topic was boys, dating and God… and was a lot of fun.  we had some good questions and some good group discussion and generally a great night!  i think i overdosed on minties as well!  following are my notes.

 

I’m going to give everyone a piece of paper and a pen and I’d like you to write 3 good things that you think about yourself on it. You don’t have to show anyone unless you want to, but I want you to write down 3 things that you like about yourself or think that you are good at.

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Some of the questions I was asking myself as a teenager: I had a look at what I really wanted in life – why did I want a boyfriend? What was I really wanting? And the big picture questions: Where was I heading? What made me happy? What was my purpose? What was God doing in my life? And I want to emphasise the word LIFE there – life is much longer than two weeks or this year and what you do today has an incredible impact on what you are ABLE to do in the future. The decisions you make today influence your tomorrow. I want you to wrap your mind around that and have a big picture view of your life.

By stepping back and having a look at those things it gave me a road to head down and a sense of destiny.

And it and made me see what I really wanted: to be loved. To be cared for. To have people I could have fun with. I wanted to be loved and appreciated and have people I could totally be myself around. To feel special.

Things that I expected a boy to do… but that really deep down, that only God could do.

Let me tell you this – falling in love is the most magnificent fun crazy confusing wonderful thing – it is a rollercoaster of emotions. And it is worth waiting for. It is worth going for gold instead of settling for second best. And to be honest, and maybe brutal. It doesn’t usually happen when we’re in high school. There is a huge portion of our life that happens after high school. When we’re more emotionally equipped to deal with things. When we have perhaps figured out what we want to do with our lives. The bible says there is a time and season for everything – a time to fall in love and a time just to have friends and “grow up”. That’s not to say that you may not meet the person and marry your high school sweet heart… but that is about 1% chance. We want you to walk into this with eyes wide open so that you can live your best life and that at the right time, with the right person, you can have that magical wonderful experience of falling in love.

 

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