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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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Have any of you here done anything that scared you so much you thought you might have a bodily functions moment…. Or that your heart might stop…. Or that you might never survive???

This year we went to The Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise baby!

We hit the theme parks, Sea world, Wet and Wild and Movie World.

Movie world has this one ride that scared the biginoes out of me but that I knew I had to get my son to do.  I knew he wouldn’t do it unless I did.  So yip.

It is the Superman Escape Ride.  After waiting waiting waiting about 45 mintutes it was our turn.  It is at this point that my son informs me that you accelerate from zero to 100 in 2 seconds.  Yes.  What the heck!

Let me show you……

So as we shot out now going 100km an hour my son and I had very different reactions.  I could not scream because I was too scared.  Nor could I shut my eyes.  However my son started with some noise then closed his eyes for the rest of his short life… I mean for the rest of the ride…

At the end I stumbled off the roller coaster, we laughed and high fived because we had survived!   My fearless 9 year old neice who also rode with us was like that was the best ride ever auntie Claire now can we go on the green lantern….  Like heck no!

It took courage for me to go on the superman escape.  And the reward of my courage was bragging rights and the thrill of the experience!

To go up the mountain you have to have courage.

Moses had to have courage.

He was one man out of a whole nation and he said I am not afraid I will go up on the mountain and meet God because he knew the heart of God, he had a personal relationship.  The reward of his courage was he met with God face to face, he met with God like no one else has in history.

Jonathan and his armour bearer had to have courage to climb up the mountain to take on the philistine army.  While the rest of their army nana napped under the pogemgrante tree with the king they snuck out to go make a difference.  They had a chat and said “if we meet the enemy and they call us up then we’ve got them, we’ve won, but if we meet the enemy and they say we’ll come down to you, then we’ll run because that’s a sign from God”  So they find the enemy, and sure enough the philistine solider says come on up….

Boom Jonathan says!  God is with us and nothing is impossible.

It was 2 against whatever, agasint 50-100 men, but the odds were ever in their favour because they knew that God was with them.

They were game changers, while the rest of the army slept they won a great victory.

We must understand that God does not live in our “reality.” He is not confined to odds and statistics. God calls us to throw off those constraints and allow ourselves to dream. Jonathan, was a dreamer who refused to be boxed in by “reality”. He had a dream to take on the army of the Philistines. On their way to the battle Jonathan reminded his friend who was carrying his armour that God could save by many or by few. He was declaring the truth that we can dream an audacious dream because the God we serve is not confined to statistics. THIS reality gave Jonathan courage.  THIS reality fuelled his dream.

Now you might not be facing an army or climbing a literal mountain to meet with God and lead a nation but you have got to tap into supernatural courage to do all audiacous things that God has called YOU to do.

To talk to your friend in class

To have courage to say hey im praying

To have courage to pray right there and then

Courage to live your life differently

Courage to pursue God wholeheartedly

You need courage to grab onto the dream that God has for your life…. That God has for you next year.

Where does that courage come from?

Stir your heart with the promises of God

Chop the wood

Faith in an invisible God who is faithful always

  1. STIR YOUR HEART

God has given us this book for a reason.  Its got just to gather dust.  Its not just a good idea.  This is the living breathing alive active powerful Word of God, that reveals who God is and what God does and what God likes and what God is doing.  Not just at the big picture level but to you personally.

To grow in courage you have got to get this book inside you – you’ve got to read it and let it inspire you.

Put yourself in their shoes….   When goliath faced the giant, he didn’t know the end of the story, he was just a teenager with courage to believe that if God said He would win he would win.    When Moses split the red sea, he didn’t know the end of the story, he was just an old man with a stick got said lift up.  When the little boy brought his lunch to Jesus he thought maybe just the disciples might get a snack, he didn’t know the end of the story, that his lunch box fed 20000 people.  When Shadrach, Mesach and Abendago said no way will we bow down to a false god, they didnt know the end of the story and that they would walk with Jesus in the fire.   They are humans, like you and me.  What got them in the book is their faith and courage, they chose to step out and let God step in.

Getting familiar with this book feeds your faith and faith is the key that unlocks adventure.  You get stirred to believe in a great God who does extraordinary things with ordinary people.

  1. Chop the wood so when the fire falls you’ll be ready

We’ve got to get ready in the simple every day parts of our lives.  If you want fire in your life you don’t just go “boom here I am, I’m ready” – you prepare.

Chop the wood.  Pray.  Read the Bible.  Go to church.

Do the everyday things to make your life an altar for the fire to fall.  Live consistent.

If you live your life with that yes then God knows He can nudge you in a direction, towards an adventure and you’ll say yes.

Building a lifestyle of worship, of faithfulness, of passion and purpose chops the wood and gets you ready for the fire to fall.  Its like you’re painting a massive target on your life saying here am I Lord, send me!

  1. Faith in a faithful God

Courage leads to faith.  Courage puts you in the seat of the roller coaster and straps you in but faith is knowing that you’re going to zoom, its the confidence that its designed right and that every mechanical thing is working and functioning and that in 25 seconds you’ll be able to breathe at normal speed again…

Courage caused Jonathan and his armour bearer to leave the safety of the snooze under the pomegranate tree, but faith took them into the battle and the victory.  Once they heard the enemy say “come on up here” they knew that God was at work and that nothing was impossible.

Faith isn’t a what – it is in a who.  We have faith in an incredible God who breathed out the stars, who created the universe, who knows how many hairs you have on your head and knows all the thoughts and dreams of your heart.  We have faith in a God who loves us so much that 2000 years ago Jesus came and lived a perfect life that we could never live and he died the death we should have, punished for the sins of all the world, for your sin, my sin.  Sin is the dumb stuff we do, the things that push us away from God.  God is perfect and holy and could have just left it at that but He wanted to be our Father and to be our friend.  So Jesus came and lived and died and took our place – its like he exchanged his perfect rap sheet for our rubbish rap sheet and now we can be called innocent and not guilty.

This is who we have faith in.  The God who has done everything to make us His friend.  The God who created you on purpose with a purpose.  The God who holds the universe together and is at work yesterday, today, tomorrow.

And He is calling you to have courage.  He is calling you to step up and step out and make a difference.  He has created you for adventures with Him.  He has created you to shine in the darkness of this world.  He has called you to be different.  He has called you to know Him and make Him known.  To do this you need courage, you need to stir yourself up with His promises and with the stories of people doing amazing things.   You need to live a life that holds fast to what it means to be God’s friend, to chop the wood now so that when the fire falls, when the opportunity comes, when the roller coaster of your life takes off at 0-100 km per hour that you are ready and you need to know that God is good and great.

Life is more than breathing, you are on mission.  It might seem like mission impossible but with God He says IM POSSIBLE.  Its time to lift our vision and to stretch out into the more that God dreams for your life….

 

  • HKC Collision Camp 2016

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.”

This would be cool with some of my grandparents' old post cards or snapshots.

7 Ways for Women to Find Soul Friends – Lisa Jo Baker

Soul friends pay attention to what you’re saying, not to what time the clock says it is.

Soul friends listen as long as it takes to make you feel heard.

Soul friends aren’t in a hurry to get to the point or to check you off the list.

 

How do I tell my story? – Suzie Eller

There’s power in sharing our stories.

Do you feel God leading you to tell someone?

It can be a fearful thing. What if no one listens?

What if some of the details are harsh?

What if it’s not that exciting?

What if communicating isn’t my thing?

All of these are questions I’ve asked myself as a God-girl with a story.

Do you know what freed me?

I finally owned my story.

 

The Moment that Saved My Marriage – 

A few years ago, my husband Art and I hit a rough place financially. Some investments we’d made went bad and we lost nearly our entire life savings. I was knee deep in caring for three small children at the time and hadn’t a clue that financial danger was looming on the horizon.

That is, until Art came home and the look on his face spoke of utter defeat. How could we have lost so much? He’d been wise with our finances. He’d done his research. He was a faithful saver. I stood stunned in our foyer that day, as Art told me the news.

There were many different directions my reaction could have gone in the minutes that followed. I was upset. When Art first talked of making these particular investments, I shared with him that I didn’t have a good feeling about it. But, in the end, I let him make the final decision.

So many times in my marriage, I’ve chosen the wrong words — words that were tainted with bitterness, words that were emotionally toxic. But I’m so thankful the Lord had been working on preparing my heart for this moment, and instead of reacting immediately with what would have been a disastrous response, I paused. I allowed the Holy Spirit a few seconds to interrupt my natural flesh feelings.

 

SERVANT LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGIC THINKING

We are servants first.

Without understanding your identity as a servant, leaders (myself included) can use the “important but not urgent” category as an excuse to isolate themselves and be unapproachable and unavailable to the teams they serve alongside.

Much of ministry to people is unplanned.

My friend Darrin Patrick has said, “The most impactful conversations happen at the most inconvenient times.” Some of the best interactions are not on the calendar. Some of the most holy moments are opportunities disguised as interruptions. Without that understanding, leaders (like myself) can loathe the urgent, and those great opportunities would be missed.

If you approach the matrix with the foundation that you are a servant and that God works in the midst of the urgent, then the matrix can be very helpful. After all, it is possible to be both a strategic leader and a servant leader. One does not need to negate the other.

Now you may think it is totally odd to have the lyrics by an (obviously?) not christian rock band here… but apart from the fact i really like their music (when i catch snips of it) i get it. and it speaks.

i think they often capture the heart of a genteration. music can do this. every now and then comes a band or a song that is the unspoken heartbeat of a generation…

and i am sure God is saying ARE YOU LISTENING? music is relevant. it is emotional and emotive. its not just music it is substance.

this song has some weight and a heart cry. what do people want – a clean slate. a new start. to be forgiven. to forgive themselves. righteousness.
have a listen and let your heart be moved by the heart… moved to pray for this generation, your generation, my generation, the generatino to come. and moved to pray for these guys who are obviously i think asking some questions….

” So let mercy come
And wash away
What I’ve done
I’ve faced myself
To cross out what I’ve become
Erase myself
And let go of what I’ve done”

the chorus reads powerfully…. So let mercy come
And wash away What I’ve done  I’ve faced myself To cross out what I’ve become Erase myself  And let go of what I’ve done

Jesus with certain hands washes away what we’ve done. His mercy and his sacrifice earases all our sin, so we can let go and move on clean and new. Jesus paid the price for forgiveness. We can be forgiven and have acceptance with God.

Last night in our housegroup we talked about forgiveness and how God makes us new.  totally new.

Colossians 3:1-4  You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God’s right side.   Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth.  You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God.  Christ gives meaning to your life…

Colossians 3:10  Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better.

God does not hold our past against us.  what we’ve done is part of who we WERE not of who we ARE now.  because of the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus we can be new and clean and forgiven and holy.

Colossians 1:21-22  You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things.  But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.

Jesus is calling. Speaking. Will we stand up and speak for him and with him so that these generations know the hope we have, the reality we have of forgiveness and love and life?

ps i really like linkin park and this is a great video!

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