Friday, 29 May 2009

Letting go...letting God.


I've been battling with a tummy bug today :( and in the midst of the drama, my 10 year old daughter, Emily, is packing for her school residential trip next week. She will be gone for 1 whole week - the longest we've ever been apart! I will also be away for 3 days - my own school residential to Liverpool and Blackpool - so that may make it a little easier. David will have the house all to himself for a few days - how will he cope? Please visit him occasionally and make sure he has clean socks on and is eating vegetables!

My daughter is growing up. She can't wait for a week of Independence, away from her parents, chilling out with her friends. I can't help but reminisce about her baby days - she was adorable (still is, only a lot louder!) and so reliant on us for everything. Now she is discovering her own mind and voice and is daring to share those thoughts with the world. It is bittersweet watching her at the moment - I love her development and growth but I also yearn for the baby days. Letting Emily go...watching her make choices...form relationships...change school...deal with not-so-nice people...struggle with the transition from child to teenager...is, at times, heartbreaking. I no longer can “fix it” like when she was little. I confess I don’t like it but at the core of me I know that God is faithful to “work out” what I have no business trying to “work out” for Him. He loves Em so much more than I ever could imagine...and I confess that I can’t even wrap my head around that one.

"All that I am or hope to be I owe to my mother. I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all of my life." Abraham Lincoln
I pray that this is how Emily will view my involvement in her life. I pray that she becomes all she can be, that she will dream big, believe in our God of the impossible, hold fast to God's promises and be true to herself.

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." Elizabeth Stone

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Oh you SHALL go to the ball!!


One of the children came around the classes this morning, with a lost shoe - a real Cinderella moment! It reminded me of the message I gave during our first Significance Conference - particularly significant for me as I was battling depression at the time.

Am I really beautiful? Do I really matter? Am I really worthy? Does anyone notice me? We all have such unique stories, situations, set-ups. So many different needs and desires, all of us at different stages of this incredible journey called LIFE.
All of us (boys, you will have to close your eyes and move on - this is girls talk;) ) were once a little girl. – from the tomboy to the girly princess – and we all heard the Fairy Tales. And to greater or lesser degrees we have been swept up into a romance, imagining ourselves playing an irreplaceable role in a great adventure where we are the Beauty of the story. But we grow up very quickly and enter an adult life filled with responsibility, pressures and demands – the reality of life pushes fairy tale dreams a million miles away. You find no romance except in Mills and Boon (does anyone still read these?), no adventure except on Coronation St, you doubt very much that you will ever be the Beauty in any tale (unless Botox is on the cards) and there’s no fairy godmother waving her wand over the dirty dishes. Probably all of us aren’t living the life we imagined we would be when we were little girls!

Well I believe that the story of Cinderella is extremely relevant to our lives as women – it’s about a real life struggle and it’s also about a real hope that things can change. Our hearts are so important to God and as women we can so easily push them to the side because we have learned not to listen to them. We’re afraid to discover who we really are. Our hearts get lost in the busyness of life. Life can harden our hearts, break them, wound them, bruise them, cause them to be bitter, heavy, lonely– we all have different heart conditions and really God’s message through Cinderella is about the recovery and release of your heart. God wants our true selves set free. He wants us to be real.

I really wish I could 'preach' this to you - but let me skip to the best part - the end...
Cinderella is in the presence of the Prince because he invited her, he chose her, he made the way for her to be with him, he sought after her.
“So long as we imagine it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about – He is looking for us” (Simon Tugwell) Our relationship with God is like a dance. God asks us, the wallflowers, onto the dance floor. We don’t have to go pursuing; He pursues us.

Right there, in the arms of God, is where He envisioned us when He thought of us. Jesus is pursuing you. He knows what takes your breath away, knows what makes your heart beat faster. In the arms of the Prince we are accepted, worthy, desired, important and significant. All of her life Cinderella has tried to find her self worth in what she does, her busyness, through the approval and acceptance of others, in roles and responsibilities, in how she looks etc (ring any bells??) and now she finally realises that her life has worth because the Prince has given her the kiss of approval and is teaching her to see that. Cinderella is finding her worth in the Prince.

When He pursues her with the glass slipper, it's so significant. The Prince has in his possession a mould of you that no-one else can fill – no-one else can fill your shoes, nothing compares to you, you have a unique role to play. George Macdonald describes that there is in every human heart a place that God alone can fill. But there is also a God’s heart a place that you alone fill. “It follows that there is also a chamber in God himself, into which none can enter but the one, the individual” You. You are meant to fill a place in the heart of God no-one and nothing else can fill. He longs for you.

God wants to live this life together with you, to share in your days and decisions, your desires and disappointments. He wants intimacy with you in the midst of the madness and mundane, the meetings and the memos, the laundry and lists, the projects and pain. He wants to pour his love into your heart and he longs to have you pour yours into his. He wants your deep heart, that centre place within that is the truest you. He is not interested in intimacy with the woman you think you are supposed to be. He wants intimacy with the real you.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Coffee & Consistency


I'm in school - there's a sub in my classroom so that I can look over a PowerPoint presentation I've got to do for a Board Officer and the Board of Governors. I'm taking a break and having my coffee - but I've no-one to talk to...can I talk to you?

God has been doing incredible things in my life right now. I think I'm finally embracing His plan for my life - in as much of it's entirety as I understand at the moment. When I became a Christian at 16, I knew that I wanted to be all that I could be, to sell out for His Kingdom, to live full and overflowing. It's been quite a journey thus far! Some real low points as well as amazing highs - but through all that, my consistent God has been instilling a consistency within me.

I used to be an emotional roller coaster - not so much now - big change there!
When I hear the word consistent I think stable, reliable, loyal, faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable, solid, steady, constant, steadfast. We don’t tend to celebrate consistency because we think it’s boring. It's not something we get excited about. We’ve under played the great gift of consistency – it’s not glamorous, it’s often over looked but it’s essential to building our lives and the house of God. Consistency is one of the key ways we breed productivity. If you want to get things done don't look for gift, look for consistency. Those are the people who will be on time, serve faithfully, they won’t miss a meeting.

If you are to become a consistent person it’s going to take hard work – and we don’t really like those two words – hard and work. But you can’t build on inconsistency – it’s like building on sand instead of on a rock. Sand is inconsistent, the rock is solid. Which is your life? Some of us are sand-like in our emotions, attitudes, in and then out, hot and then cold, and we ask God to build us – but the more weight you put on sand, the more you sink. God wants a well-built church – consistent, rock-like people who are in for the long haul – people who say, "I’m here whether it’s good, bad or ugly, I love God whether I feel like it or don’t feel like it".

So lovely people I'm off now to do some more work as my break time is over. My presentation is at 1pm and then I'm going to have some fun with my class. See ya later X

Monday, 25 May 2009

Watch your words


Had an incredible few weeks at church - Roy's series on Cursing and Blessing was just powerful. Once again I am challenged to 'watch my mouth' as the words flowing out have power to shape my (and others) destiny (negative or positive)

“The language we use to communicate with one another is like a knife. In the hands of a careful and skilled surgeon, a knife can work to do great good. But in the hands of a careless or ignorant person, a knife can cause great harm.”
Exactly as it is with our words.”
Source Unknown

What happens when I speak? Words spoken are more than a sound, they are a creative force (Prov 18:21) By changing the words you speak you can change your life experience. You can actually use the force of your words to change your feelings (2Cor 12:10)

Study the book of Proverbs - many verses speak of words as having incredible potential and influence in our everyday lives.

Proverbs 16:24 (Amplified Bible)
Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body.

Proverbs 11:11 (New Living Translation)
Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart.

Proverbs 13:2 (New International Version)
From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things

Proverbs 12:18 (New International Version)
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 18:21 (New Living Translation)
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

Over the next few months, we at WOF are embarking on a mission to live 'complaint-free' - "Do everything without complaining" (Phil 2:14)
I remember Roy sharing a story with us of a monk who was only allowed to speak 2 words every 7 years. At the end of his first seven years, his overseer asked him what he would like to say. He said, "Bed hard", and turned and walked back to his silent world. At the end of another 7 years the overseer asked him what he would like to say. He said, "Food bad". After another 7 years , the overseer once again asked him what he would like to say. He said, "I quit". "It's a good job", said the overseer, "All you do is complain!"

You see it's not about how often we complain, but rather how much of your conversation is complaining in nature.
I'm working hard to stop complaining from creeping into my conversation.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Facing the giants


This weekend a few of my friends have faced major obstacles (understatement!) - they have been (individually) attacked, undermined, bullied and intimidated by the enemy. I've spent the last half hour or so praying for them (practicing what I preach) and drawing alongside them as they face their giant - and ultimately defeat it.

"Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites." (Josh 3:9)

I always thought that when you became a Christian, you had to fight - and we do! But I think a key thing that hit my life was - that He will, without fail, drive out the giants from before you! God is doing the work pushing the enemy out in front of us - we just walk in and take the land. Now, yes, we do have to fight, but it’s quite a different story when we know the victory is the Lord’s and not ours. The Battle belongs to the Lord (we know that don’t we?). The battle is not yours, but God’s - that’s what it says in the Word of God itself.

Boldness is only mentioned once in the whole of the O.T. It’s mentioned 10 times in the N.T. - so why is boldness not around there but it is here? What about the word courage - it’s only mentioned once in the N.T., but 19 times in the O.T.
So in the O.T. they had to be courageous but in the N.T. you had to be bold. Isn’t that interesting? Do you see the difference? Without being theological, this says to me - when you go to do something and you’re going to take courage to do it, you have behind in your thinking, “I’ll be courageous and you never know, maybe this will come through for me. If I take a bit of courage and go for this, chances are, I might win”. Isn’t that the sort of feel you get to the word courage? When you have courage, then you might save the day, by the application of yourself to it.
But when God says, “Be bold”, He’s saying, “I’ve already won the day just go in and take it!” and we go, “but, but, but…” and he says, “No, this isn’t about courage. I’ve already done it - just be bold!”
How do you be bold? You set your face like flint and you go for it!
Isn’t that brill? This thrills me to bits - that the job’s done for us and we’ve just got to walk in and take it. We're not courageous Christians but bold believers!!

I need to KNOW my authority in God when I pray, because when I do, prayer is powerful and Heaven responds.

Prayer changes everything!


D.L. Moody once said, "When I see young men by the thousands going in the way of death, I feel like falling at the feet of Jesus with prayer and tears to come and save them."

John Knox constantly carried the burden for his land. Night after night he prayed on the wooden floor of his hideout refuge from Queen Mary. When his wife pleaded with him to get some sleep, he answered, "How can I sleep when my land is not saved?" Payne reports that often he would pray all night in agonizing tones, "Lord, give me Scotland or I die!" God shook Scotland; God gave him Scotland. God respects such a passion for souls.

John Wesley, as he exhorted his pastors upon whom the future of their revival movement depended, urged, "Let us all be of one business. We live only for this, to save our own souls and the souls of those who hear us." Again, Wesley cried, "Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth."

James Caughey said it similarly: "Oh, to burn out for God! All, all for Him! Jesus only! Souls! Souls! Souls! I am determined to be a winner of souls. God help me."

John Smith (English soul-winner) said, "I am a brokenhearted man; not for myself but on account of others. God has given me such a sight of the value of precious souls that I cannot live if souls are not saved. Give me souls or else I die."

George Whitefield prayed, "O Lord, give me souls or take my soul." It is said his face shone like the face of Moses when he sobbed that prayer.

When William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was asked by the king of England what the ruling force of his life was, he replied, "Sir, some men's passion is for gold, other men's passion is for fame, but my passion is for souls."

John Hyde ("Praying Hyde"), so mightily used in salvation and revival in India as the Apostle of Intercession, often cried out, "Father, give me these souls or I die!" he alternated in agony of intercession and joyous praise, receiving tremendous answers to prayer and by the end of his missionary service was averaging more than four souls a day, largely won through prayer.


Powerful stuff! Passion and purpose. Do you long to be a person of God with such a passion for souls that God begins to add a new dimension of fruitfulness to your leadership? Dare you believe that God will give it to you if you ask? Not everyone is called to be a Whitefield, a Billy Graham, or a Praying Hyde. But every one of us is called to reach people with the amazing love of Jesus - with a passion.

There is no greater joy than to lead a person to a transforming experience of Christ. The more you taste this joy, the more you want it.

So, I hear you ask, how can you increasingly find this joy in your own experience?
I certainly don't have all the answers but here's a few things that helped me along the way...

1.Become more passionately committed to Jesus Christ than ever before. The more personal your daily fellowship with Jesus is, the more naturally and eagerly you will speak about Jesus as you share with others. You need personal love for Jesus so real that you overflow with love for Jesus. Then you will not be able to keep silent.

2.Specifically ask God to give you a passion for people. Make it part of your daily prayer to ask God to help you lead people to Christ.

3.Ask God to give you a sensitivity to others. Ask Him to give you eyes to see and ears to hear those about you. Ask Him to help you discern the hurts, heart cries, and needs of those you meet.

4.Ask God to make you spiritually radiant (I love this one!). Each day ask Him to make you Christ-like, overflowing with joy in the Lord, and anointed by the Spirit in all your contacts. Ask Him to put something of His presence and glory so evident in your face and in your actions so that others will be attracted to Him.

5.Ask God for boldness. Ask Him for a loving, caring spirit of initiative to make you recognize open doors. Ask Him to make you alert to seize strategic moments for the Lord.

6.Ask God to make you confident and positive. He will gladly deliver you from fear. The more you speak to others about Christ and about their personal spiritual life, the more confident you will become and the easier it will become for God to use you.

7.Put constant priority on prayer (I can't emphasise this enough). Put priority on both communing prayer and interceding prayer. Prayer is the key to your personal spiritual radiance. Prayer is the key to guidance in your contacts and witness. Prayer is the key to the anointing of the Spirit on your life and efforts. Prayer is the key to God's power clothing you so that there is a divine dimension in your soul-winning efforts. Prayer is the key to a passion for people and to all your spiritual life. Put priority on prayer.

What do you think?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Fire, Fire!


"And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (Malachi 3:3)

A silversmith's job is long and tedious. He or she must pay close attention to detail and be concerned with even the most minimal facet of the work at hand in order for it to be acceptable at its completion. The process of refining is the art of ridding the object of impurities. The desire of the refiner is to bring forth the metal in its truest form. And so the silversmith sits nearby and places the object in the fire. He must plant himself in such a position as to see exactly how much heat is being applied to the metal in order to be prepared to take it out at just the right moment. Any length of time too long will damage the precious work.

Our Divine Silversmith often places us in the fire. Situations and circumstances begin to get almost too hot to handle, the true essence of of heart rises to the surface (sometimes not a pretty sight!) - BUT He is there with us, well able to guide, instruct, direct and love us through it.

The silversmith continues to pay attention to the metal and the scorching heat surrounding it until it is complete. And there is only one way that he can be certain that the work is done and the metal ready to be removed from the fire: he must be able to clearly see his reflection in it.

God's interest is always to make us look more and more like His son. He desires to use all of our circumstances, good and bad, to work inside of us in such a way that we are refined into a woman or man in which Christ's reflection can be seen. No matter what you life's circumstances look like right now, you must always remember that there is something bigger going on than what you can see with your natural eyes. This means that you and I must humble ourselves in the midst of the fire so that the divine Silversmith can get busy on our case and begin His work.

Paul said this, "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. Although He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Jesus did not like the thought of dying on a cross but that was not His focus. His focus was to allow the Silversmith to do exactly what He wanted with His life even if that meant laying it down. And so Jesus the Christ, knowing that He had the power not to, still subjected Himself in humility to the refining process. This is where He found true freedom and joy: in submission to His Father's will.

The same is true for us. No matter how difficult the cross ahead looks. No matter how hot the furnace seems to burn. If it is the will of God then it is the only place where you and I will find true peace; in the hands of the Master Refiner. This is the place where we will become refined. Where the impurities will be burnt away so that we can be presented to the Him "perfect and complete, lacking in nothing". (James 1:4)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

God has your photo in His wallet


"Investigate my life God, find out everything about me; get a clear picture of what Im about then guide me on the road to eternal life." Ps139

Woke up this morning after a brilliant night's sleep!! Best ever! Something caught my eye outside my bedroom window - there in our garden was the most adorable sight. The two kittens from next door (Gavin's house - who is attending Alpha at the moment. Yeh! Go Gavin!) were playing hide and seek, pouncing on each other, chasing each other round the grass and into our bushes. Now I'm not a great cat lover - more of a dog person - but I couldn't help but take enormous pleasure watching these kittens enjoy the very thing they were created to do.

God created us for His pleasure - imagine the joy He feels watching us do the very thing He created us for. When we discover our life purpose and start to live it, the Father's heart swells with pleasure. The Lord doesn’t demand perfection; He requires dependence, trust and covenant connection. Don't approach God with ritual;meet with Him in relationship: Worship is the art of “hanging out” with God.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Fresh & Flourishing!



Ps 92:14 "They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing" Wow, age has no bearing on our productiveness! Our best years are ahead of us! To be a producer rather than a consumer all my life is my goal. I don't want to grow old with you - I want us to grow fresh and flourishing together!

This is a white knuckle love affair - not a pedestrian religious stroll through life. Jesus is real, unpredictable, wild. He calls us into passionate intimacy with him. The only thing that limits my experience of Jesus is my own lack of desire for him. I don't want the stagnant shallows of safe religion. My destiny is the ocean not the shallows! Jesus wants me to know the fullness of my Father, by pouring out as much of his Holy Spirit as I want. Fresh and Flourishing!

Oh what a night!



Wow! What a night! We were incredibly blessed with the ministry of Dr Jimmy Smith - God moved so powerfully! My David was knocked off his feet and I had my face on the floor, crying my eyes out (well they didn't actually fall out) while Roy hit the deck under the heavy weight of God's glory.

What an amazing adventure we are living - and what an amazing time to be alive. History was made in our church tonight - there was a supernatural collision between heaven and earth, and God's purpose for our lives was revealed, confirmed and reiterated.

Haggai has been such a prophetic book for us recently and Jimmy quoted a piece of scripture from it tonight. Read the whole book, it's so enlightening concerning our church at this time.
You know, God sees the bigger picture for our lives (in fact He doesn't just see it, but He plans it for us). Listen to what Paul says..."I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. OPEN UP YOUR LIVES. Live OPENLY and EXPANSIVELY!" (The Message Bible 2 Cor 6: 10 - 11)

Whether we like it or not, there is a spotlight upon this House (our church) and I believe God is using it to awaken hungry hearts to His goodness. So, don't draw back but rather lean even more into the things of God.
Let's all take responsibility for this strategic time in church life as we see these lives transformed. Let's "lose the baggage", "resist mediocrity", "stir up the gift within" and let's make the Father so proud to call us His own.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

She's got a secret smile



For years Art Historians and the general public have wondered what or who made Mona Lisa smile. Her smile has captivated the interest and curiosity of the world.

When I smile I want the world to know the reason...Jesus is madly in love with me and I feel the same!

A smile is infectious, contagious, attractive. I remember a few weeks ago, I was feeling a heavy weight of sadness on my heart (I had lost a few friends) and I had to still be a leader, teacher, wife, mother...God said to me, "Give me a smile".
Well I nearly choked! Smile, while sad???

However I did it. So picture me walking up the stairs in church, preparing the tea and coffee, getting ready for people coming...and grinning like a Cheshire cat!!! On my own!!! I couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous I must have looked!

God knew how to lift my spirit and lighten the load! :)

[ People Returning for the Reunion ] "Get out of bed, Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God's bright glory has risen for you. The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, all people sunk in deep darkness, But God rises on you, his sunrise glory breaks over you. Nations will come to your light, kings to your sunburst brightness. Look up! Look around! Watch as they gather, watch as they approach you: Your sons coming from great distances, your daughters carried by their nannies. When you see them coming you'll smilebig smiles! Your heart will swell and, yes, burst!" (Is61)

"Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God." (Ps42:5)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Mirror, mirror...



I've been doing my annual (well married to David, I do this regularly) SPRING CLEAN and have been sorting out various cupboards etc (old photos, letters, love notes, prophetic words etc). It's been amazingly therapeutic. EXCEPT, when I come across photos of myself in secondary school!

Whoooooooooooosh!!!! That was the sound of me being transported back in time, to the days of gawky, insecure, awkwardness. Took my breath away (cue song). I remember (like it was yesterday) feeling so out of place, different, ugly - it didn't help that my best friends were gorgeous and talented! I was always the 'good mate' - when boys came into the picture, I was their confidant, helping them to go out with my good-looking friends. They loved me (as a friend) giving them guidance and the heads up about how to get into my friends' good books.

I was so insecure about how I looked. I had short, short, short hair (so was frequently mistaken for a fella) and was tall, chubby, clumsy. I used to fall loads - on buses, in the middle of the road - you get the idea! I was smart (but never felt it, there was always loads of people in my year smarter) I had artistic talent (but wasn't the best) I was loyal, caring, generous (but got walked on) I was open about my Christian faith (but got mocked)

Loads of my hang-ups came from comparing myself to those around me.

Women fall in their 1000s into the trap of comparing – the snare of comparing. People are infatuated by what they have and don’t have compared to other people. We spend our lives comparing our.....to others. As women we’re sold products that even encourage us to do that! It’s a subtle trap and a miserable way to live.
We must fight to stop this because the truth is NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU. There’s not one thing that compares to you. God made you as an original, you are one of a kind, you are a unique individual.

Listen to this verse: "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." (Gal6:4,5)

WOW!!! Be creative with what you’ve got. We’re called to run a race but we’re not called to all be in the same lane. That’s how you trip and stumble – you get in other peoples’ lanes because you want to be like them and they trip over you, a collision happens and you get off track with what you’re supposed to be doing. God is saying there are enough lanes for everyone to do what He's called them to do. Realise that when you’re facing Goliath, you don’t have to be Goliath, you just have to be David, you just have to be your gorgeous self.

That's a life long lesson for me - but I'm determined to escape the snare of comparing and see myself the way my Dad does. What's your story? I'd love to hear your thoughts x

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Super verses Supernatural



This is a photo of my brother-in-law Christopher. Hehe, I remember the day (a number of years ago) I was preaching on the topic of 'Superman vs Supernatural-man' and asked Chris if he would mind wearing this costume and acting as a visual aid. Even though he wasn't thrilled about it, he did it - and I am very grateful! Just look at the pleasure you're getting from looking at his photo! Seriously though, thank you Chris!

Here are some of the notes from that message - you may like to read them:

So what does a power filled person who is relevant to the world in which he lives, look like? (ENTER CHRISTOPHER – when I got saved, I became Superman!!!)

Now here is the mistake we all make – we think that God has asked us to become Superman (or woman) when we get saved. I want to show you that God isn’t requiring us to be Superman, he has enabled us to be Supernatural Man! It might sound good to be superman but there are many flaws with this way of life and the only way we can be effective here on earth is by being supernatural (living from our spiritual source) We look at the ‘image’ of superman and we can immediately feel locked out of our purpose because we will never be superman! Let me explore with you, three major differences, three keys to help you and I to move from feeling locked out to entering in and understanding ‘how to’ be powerful in a relevant way and make a difference.

1. DITCH THE DISGUISE.

For the majority of Superman’s day he lived as Clark Kent. He disguised his true identity, he covered up the true nature of who he was. When we adopt a superman mentality one of the flaws is that, for a large percentage of our day, we disguise our Christianity – we cover up the supernatural being that we are. Think about celebs who disguise themselves to blend in, to avoid being noticed. I see it from a very young age with the children I teach - they often don’t want to do anything that will draw attention to themselves – they so desperately want to be the same as everyone else. Superman disguised himself as Clark Kent – someone who looked the same as everyone else. We tend to think that by covering up who we really are, by looking, acting and living the same way as everyone else, is the very thing that makes us relevant. God is very clear that he doesn’t want us to conform to the world around us. As Christian we are called to be different – J.B. Phillips translates this verse in Romans12, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould” This is not easy.

We are called to remain distinctive, to retain our Christian identity, wherever we are and whatever the circumstances. We are not called to be chameleon Christians – to fit in with our background. Being different does not mean being odd! We are not called to wear weird clothes or to start speaking in a peculiar religious language
(Acts 2 highly significant that the first time men spoke in tongues it was the language of the people – they heard the glories of God being spoken in their own language – Pentecost is about connecting with people in their own language!)

Relevance can be defined as ‘connected to what is happening; useful or suitable for a purpose’. To be relevant requires us to be connected to (not conformed to) the world we live in, and to be useful and suitable for God’s purpose. The question we should constantly ask ourselves is this: Are we connected to the world around us? Are we useful to the world outside the church? How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news? (it’s a question we need to ask!) The message is powerful (it has the power to save) but how beautiful is the messenger? We can’t afford to blend in – our difference is what makes us beautiful, useful and relevant, connecting our world to the living God. Ditch the disguise.

2. SUPERNATURAL DOESN’T ALWAYS HAVE TO LOOK SPECTACULAR.

Superman demonstrated spectacular power at times of crisis. His power ‘saved’ people whenever a crisis arose (he got into his little phone booth and changed to reveal his true identity). Remember this is not a changed life we live, it is an exchanged one – one to be lived out 24/7. Now what Superman did in times of crisis was spectacular and I’ve noticed that there is much confusion around in the church about the difference between spectacular living and supernatural living.

We seek the spectacular – alter calls, detailed prophetic words, a huge conference – rather than the naturally supernatural process of the Christian life. We then come to associate supernatural events only with spectacular intervention from God. So, if we are not enjoying a spectacular encounter we cease to believe that we are truly spiritual.
Once we are born again we become Supernatural Man – we are in a relationship with a God who loves us – a process which is fundamentally supernatural. Is faith supernatural or spectacular? For the most part it is a supernatural process, a daily trusting in God as you take each step of your Christian life. The power is in the process.
I believe that we have been so busy looking for the spectacular in our lives that we have missed many of the God whispers. God is saying listen for the whispers church. One of the greatest things you can bring to your life and the lives of others is a heart that is open to and cooperative with the whispers of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve been so touched by the story of Naaman recently – he was the leader of the army of the king Aram, a mighty warrior and held in high respect, but he had leprosy. An Israelite servant girl spoke to Naaman’s wife about him seeing the prophet Elisha. Naaman asked for the king’s permission to go and the king also contacted Elisha’s king (the king of Israel) commanding him to have the prophet heal Naaman. So the stage was set for a very high-powered encounter. (READ 2Kings 5:9-10) This was not what Naaman was expecting! The prophet didn’t even come to the door! Instead he sent his servant who suggested he dip in the filthy Jordan river. And why not in the cleaner waters of other rivers he was familiar with? Consequently – 2Kings 5:11-12. His rage was in danger of robbing him of a supernatural intervention simply because it was not spectacular enough for him!

God is naturally supernatural and wants us to learn to live each day in a supernatural process that embraces all kinds of ordinary things that are actually supernatural in nature and impact. Fortunately Naaman saw sense and did the ordinary thing, which turned out to be quite supernatural, and he was healed.
You might not ever have a pulpit ministry, you might not ever be able to melt hearts with a singing voice, you might never be able to dissect the word of God like some of the great preachers you know (whatever you associate with the spectacular) – but your everyday life, interacting with others can be so supernatural. Long-standing Christian marriages working through problems – that’s supernatural. Single parents working through the practicalities of getting to church every week – that’s supernatural.

3. PLAN ON GOD’S PERFORMANCE.

Superman was a one-man performance show. When we have a superman mentality it leads us into dangerous territory. We begin to think that we can do life ALONE (invincible – don’t need anyone else – no awareness of the BODY of Christ) and we get caught up our own performance plan (how do I look, what do people think of me, if someone sees me doing that surely I will be promoted into a more important ministry etc) We get caught up in ourselves and our performance. We often sing ‘it’s all about you – Jesus!’ and being a supernatural man is about recognising that all the power we have is from Him and it’s HIS performance that makes us relevant! (not ours) You can be so incredibly gifted but if it’s channelled into your performance (not His) you can miss the very people and places that God has called you to be relevant to. When we try to force our performance on the church and others when God is not performing you will be as relevant as a cow ice-skating!!! Live from God’s source not your force.

Jerm 1:11-12 - Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" And I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree." Then the Lord said to me, "You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word."– we are branches of a vine, abiding in Him. Jeremiah was called to watch and when he saw the almond, it meant that spring was coming. The almond means wakeful hastening. Wake up and watch for things to intensify in your life and around you this season. Watch for a new blossoming. Branch-out into new areas. He is ready! When God is ready to move it means he is watching, waking, hastening and anticipating – he is sleepless, alert and vigilant – to build and plant in the earth that which he has blueprinted in heaven.

Once we are abiding in him, he can accomplish, confirm and continue to bring us into the fullness of his plan. The performance is his! To perform means to stir up, strengthen, succeed, accomplish, advance and appoint. When he performs he fulfils, finishes, gathers, governs and grants us that which we need to complete our assignments. There will be a performance! Let him be the performance of your life. Lay down your performance and enter into his.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

It's all about the family!


God says in 2 Corinthians chapter 6. "I will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord almighty" (verse 18).
You know what that means? If He's our father, we are His sons and daughters. What does that make us to each other? Brothers and sisters (now stay with me, I hate the way this term has been abused in N.I. as much as anyone) But the fact of the matter is, we're related to one another because of this truth found in the Word.

So the church is a place of family relationships, like it or not. You may not like some of the people in the church. Some of the people in the church may not like you, but we are family. We have to learn to love each other, to get along with each other. We're going to spend eternity with each other as a family.
Now families can cause pain; they can cause rejection. There can be problems in families, but families can also be the place of the most intimate possible relationships. To be a part of the Church means that we belong to each other, that we're related to each other.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "Christ works on us in all sorts of ways, but above all, He works on us through each other." We need each other in the body of Christ for our walk. It's in the context of the church that our lives are supposed to be getting prepared for heaven, prepared for eternity.
It's in the context of the church(and I don't mean just one service that you attend on Sunday morning)that we learn to lift our eyes up, above what happens in all the rest of our world and all the rest of our week - to look over and beyond this world with its problems and its struggles and its pressures and lift our eyes up and see Christ and see heaven and see eternity. That's where our focus on eternity should be shaped.

Over and over again in Paul's letters to the New Testament churches he says, "Greet one another." That could be considered a Biblical command at least seven times in his letters.
Romans chapter 16, at the end of the book of Romans, Paul names people he wants to greet there. He says, "Greet Priscilla and Aquilla. They have been co-workers in my ministry for Christ Jesus. Greet my dear friend Epaenetus. He was the very first person to become a Christian in the province of Asia. Give my greetings to Mary who has worked so hard for your benefit. And then there are Andronicus and Junia, my relatives, who were in prison with me. "Say hello to Ampliatus whom I love as one of the Lord's own children, and Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and beloved Stachys" (paraphrased verses 3-9) On and on and on and he ends with this word. Verse 16: "Greet each other in Christian love" (paraphrased).
In that one passage alone Paul greets 26 people by name. He knew about those people. Many of them he didn't just say their name, but he said something about them that he knew and appreciated about their service for Christ.

That speaks to me the importance of relationships in the body of Christ. It says that people are important. They matter to God. Their names are important. You can be sure all those people - Andronicus, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Epaenetus . . . - had needs spiritually. They all had rough edges, just as we do. There weren't any super-saints in that church in Rome any more than there are in your church or in mine.

Even when writing to the Corinthian church, riddled as that church was with conflicts and carnality and doctrinal confusion, Paul says at the end of 2 Corinthians 13, "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (verse 12). Greet each other. He doesn't say in this church that has humungous problems, "Quit the church or go find another church." He challenges these believers to deal with one another and to deal with these issues in genuine love and humility.
So when you go to church, don't wait for people to approach you and be friendly. Take the initiative; reach out; be friendly to others. Show an interest in them; show an interest in their children. Look for people who are there alone if you're there by yourself and feeling alone. Look for other singles or women who are married to unbelievers that don't go to church with them, for widows.

Proverbs 18 says: "A man who has friends does show himself to be friendly" (paraphrased, verse 24). Dale Carnegie said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." So ask people questions: "How are you doing? Really, how are you doing? How can I pray for you?"

Be the body. Greet one another; encourage one another; pray for each other; show genuine interest. Can you imagine if everyone would do that or if just even a lot of people would do that in our churches? You say, "I wish they would." You do it! Even if you're the only one in your church who does, do it. Reach out. Get beneath the surface.
Even between weekend services, set a goal to connect with at least one person from your church once each week during the week - a phone call or a lunch together or getting together with your kids. Set a goal to connect with somebody from your church once during the week so that we're breaching between weekends. We're ministering to each other.

Can I be honest? I don’t believe that it's enough for us to go and sit in a service one hour a week, important as that is. But we need more than that in order to cultivate community, to cultivate authentic relationships in the body of Christ in our local churches.

So plug into the life of your local church. Don't just be a pew-warmer, a bench-sitter, a spectator, somebody on the sidelines. Get out on the field; get involved in the game. Get involved in what's going on. Don't go to church and sit there with your arms folded and say, "Now minister to me. Now entertain me. Now make me feel good."

Give yourself, give your heart, give your efforts, give your time, give your prayers, give your resources. Plug in; get your life involved. You do what God wants you to do and you'll be blessed, and His church will be blessed as well.

I preached recently about the redwood forests in California. Have you heard of them or seen them? It's just unbelievable. These redwood trees . . . . I'm told that they're the largest and the tallest trees in the world. Some of them grow over 350 feet high. Some of them are more than 2,500 years old. That's a long time.
Now you'd think that trees that large would have a huge root system growing down into the earth hundreds of feet. But actually, the redwood trees have a very shallow root system. Most of the roots don't go down any deeper than 6-10 feet into the earth, which is not that much considering some of these trees are 350 feet tall.
You have to ask yourself, "How do these enormous trees stand upright for thousands of years?" Well, there's a secret. The secret is in the roots. These trees grow close together and all their root systems intertwine. The root systems are locked to each other. They're inextricably connected to each other. So when the storms come and the winds blow as they do, the redwoods stand, but they don't stand alone. They all support and protect each other.

When I think about those redwoods it reminds me of the fact that we need each other as believers. We don't stand alone. If we try to stand alone, we'll blow over alone when the storms and the winds come. We need each other. We need our roots to be connected to each other if we're going to stand strong and grow tall and live long.

As you read through the New Testament, you find a lot of instructions that talk about how we're supposed to deal with one another. They're sometimes called the "one anothers" of Scripture. We're to greet one another, to comfort one another, forgive one another, build one another up, serve one another, bear one another's burdens, encourage one another, meet with one another. These are all things you'll find in the New Testament. Be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving toward one another. We're to receive or welcome one another as Christ received us. We're to care for one another. We're to minister to one another, to show hospitality to one another, to pray for one another. And those are just some of the "one anothers" of Scripture.

Listen (I don’t know how you do that when I’m writing and not actually talking – but ya know what I mean!), when you're in a community, when you're connected at the roots to the people of God, the family of God, you can't fall over as easily. But you have to contribute to that. You can't be reclusive; you can't be estranged, and neither can you blame it on everybody else. You've got to be willing to get involved. Does that make sense?

Do you love the Church? Jesus does. He laid down His life for it. I want to tell you that's one of the biggest driving motivating forces in my life. I've seen as many or more messes in churches as you have, probably. I've seen a lot; I've heard a lot. But I know that Jesus loves the Church and gave His life for it. Awesome isn’t it?

Monday, 11 May 2009

Emergency


I was in A&E yesterday evening with my lovely daughter, getting her thumb x-rayed. Now you know how long you have to wait in casualty and I couldn't sit still. So my eyes are wondering round the place, watching people, smiling at kids (yes, I'm a good teacher!) and reading all the posters on the wall. Those who know me, understand how I love to read anything (from the back of cereal boxes to Systematic Theology). Well there's all sorts of info in the waiting room...all kinds of examinations you can carry out on yourself, so that you can avoid a visit to the hospital. Well all this got me thinking...

"Examine yourself!" the great Apostle Paul declared to the Corinthian church. Why is this a command that He has to give not just once (1 Corinthians 11:28) but twice (2 Corinthians 13:5) in the span of two books of the Bible? Because this simple and necessary act is often the least observed. The tendency of the human heart is to seek the solution for another's need, assist in the molding of another's soul and judge the intentions of another's heart. This way there's not time left for our own much needed care. Rarely, if ever, do we willingly get down to the pain-staking business of taking a good look at ourselves with the intention of seeking the real truth of who we are. We stray from it because it can often be uncomfortable and will most assuredly lead to a discovery that we would rather leave hidden. Instead, we get involved in the lives of others. We spend our days seeking an answer for their aches and analyzing their wounds. We have become masters at keeping people's attention off of us and the injuries in need of immediate attention. We have built a facade that hides our own deep pain.

Making a decision to administer a "self-checkup" is an act of courage. It means that we submit our deep inner lives to the searing laser beam gaze of the Holy Spirit. Using the surgical instrument of the Scriptures, He penetrates past our facades and pierces into the depths of who we really are. His gaze brings to light the deep internal wounds and messes that need immediate divine care. He offers healing yet we must choose to come to the Word, allow the Spirit to expose us and submit to His prescription for healing.

He offers a check up to anyone who will allow Him the opportunity. He will come to not only disclose the problem but offer a solution of salvation to save you from that which might be slowing depleting you of life.

And to cut a long story short, I guess that's where I am in my journey - allowing the expert surgeon to x-ray, test, prescribe and heal me of anything that is bringing me pain (sometimes self-inflicted!) It's a relief to know I don't have to 'sort myself out'. I've put my life in the charge and care of the One who knows me best.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Friend or Foe?




I grew up having a great relationship with food - I loved it!!! I was a skinny child (fag - pronounced 'feg' - legs was my nickname, as my legs were so thin) and could eat whatever I wanted. I was very tall (ha! still am!) and had more issues with my height than my weight. I always wanted to be smaller and blend in more. When I reached about 15 years old, I started to get 'chubby'. I still didn't have too much of a problem with it - I loved eating. As I got older, I started to notice I was 'curvier' than most of my mates - and while most days I liked how I looked, there was a niggle in the back of my mind that I should be thinner.

I was always a 'people pleaser' (see previous posts) and when I became ill (started around 4 years ago) with depression, the idea of losing weight began to really appeal to me. In fact, the whole weight loss concept consumed me. Maybe people would like me more if I was thin and beautiful...I so desperately wanted to be liked and accepted - by everyone! Depression made me feel out of control, and here was a simple way of gaining control - starving myself. Wow this all seemed like a good plan at the time.

When I first started to lose weight, the compliments flooded in. It was intoxicating! I was addicted to hearing how well I looked (ironically, I was having the darkest thoughts ever, at the same time - sign of insanity?) and terrified of putting weight back on (people would lose respect and admiration for me). I continued to lose weight but never felt or looked (in my eyes) thin enough. My husband and parents were worried sick about my health (physically and emotionally) and urged me to go to the doctor (I was entrenched in depression at this stage and battled with suicidal thoughts on a daily basis). Emily, my daughter, was also hugely affected by my behaviour during this time (something that can still raise feelings of shame and guilt during my weak moments - I do take these messed up feelings to Jesus and am undergoing inner-healing for alot of this stuff).

I received counselling and support from my pastor and father-in-law, Roy (which really helped me understand neuro-pathways and my addiction to approval - essential component to my recovery!), my hubby loved me through the blackest moments (even though I tried so hard to make him leave me), my mum and dad were an incredible source of support and encouragement, and my doctor was fantastic. She understood my reluctance to get better (that would mean taking responsibility!) and slowly guided me towards a healthier mindset.

It's taken time - years. I've put on weight (probably the heaviest I've been for a long time) and have started enjoying food again. My relationship with it is more complicated than before I became ill (I still sometimes mentally log all that I've eaten that day, I sometimes struggle with guilt for eating junk food, I sometimes look in the mirror and feel sick - sometimes, not all the time, like in the past) It's getting better but, make no mistake, it's hard work. I have to continually cast down thoughts that I'm not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough. I work hard to tear down jealousy and comparing myself to others. I discipline myself to eat healthy foods at regular times and allow myself treats. I lean heavily on God's strength and grace to accept myself for who I am. I speak positively (out loud!) to myself about how I look and feel. I focus time and energy into helping others (to stop myself from self obsession).

I'm only beginning to reflect on this weird time of my life...it's painful but healing. Expect more on this subject matter over the next lot of weeks.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Dance to a different beat!



Ok - here's the deal - I'm not naturally musical (I know, I know that's hard to believe!) and don't got much rhythm (can't clap and sing at the same time) So when my class had the opportunity to play African drums, I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. Oh my!!! The concentration it took to keep with the beat!!! I was exhausted!

The drums are a powerful instrument and I'm reminded of a word I'd given a while ago to the drummer in our worship team:

"For thousands of years people have used drums to announce the coming of man. Therefore I believe it’s so vital to use the drum to announce the presence of the living God.
God is going to open your eyes to see and know more fully the power and purpose in striking the drum. The ancient scriptures give authority for the drummer to strike the drum in celebration (1 Chron 13:8), in praise (Ps 150:4), in worship (Ps 68:25), for prophecy (1 Sam 10:5, 6), for healing (Ps 81:2-7), and in declaration of the Lord’s sovereignty (Isaiah 30:32).
Begin to acknowledge drumming as a powerful tool for effecting change. I believe God is restoring the drum to the church and is calling drummers, both individually and corporately, to drum out a new beat - a beat that carries the heart and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God will give you revelation that drumming is a powerful voice for prayer and praise; it can unify the divided, encourage the disheartened, and stir up much needed courage within the church in our times.
I absolutely love the passage of scripture in Genesis that tells us that at the point of creation, the Spirit was hovering over the water. The word hovering is also translated as vibrating. It is so exciting to see how rhythm is part of God's creative technique. Creation has a rhythmic aspect to it. Another amazing insight is that, the rhythm of this world and the rhythms of life often seem to be pulling us away from the things of God and the drum is a great catalyst used in a prayerful way of drawing people nearer to the rhythm or the heartbeat of God.
I want to declare over you that the rhythm and beat of your drum has an even greater purpose than a musical one. See it, believe it and create with it."

So even if you're not a drummer, receive this word into your heart and beat the drum of your life - bring change, encouragement, inspiration, creativity wherever you go!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The child that I am

I'm a child of the 70's, born and bred in Belfast in the height of the 'Troubles'. My mum and dad met when they were very young - mum got pregnant, dad got shot. Shocking, I know - and it happened two weeks before I was born. As a result, dad has been in a wheelchair, paralysed from the waist down ever since.

Now , there's a number of things about this that amazes me:

*Dad is still alive - he was only given a few days, then weeks, then months to live. It's 35 years later and we still have him (thank the Lord!).

*Mum and dad are still happily married - of course they have an incredibly difficult life (mum cares for dad full time) but they love each other and have gotten through an amazing amount of 'near death' situations.

*They never display any bitterness - in fact they have taught me the important of tolerance and respect for others (regardless of religion, race, class).

*They sacrificed their life to make mine the best it could be - and it has been great! I was the first in my family to go to university and get an Honours Degree - I did it because they believed and empowered me to do so.

*My childhood was happy, safe, secure, loving, fun - and I could (and still can) talk to them about anything.

*They adore my daughter and still find energy, finance, and passion to invest themselves in her development.

Oh, I could go on and on (I've huge tears running down my face). My parents have helped to make me who I am today (of course there are other factors - God especially) but they made me believe anything is possible, from a very early age.

When my school teacher advised them not to let me sit the Transfer Test (because I would never amount to anything, due to where I came from) my parents insisted that I should reach for the highest of goals and dream big! They are so proud of me - a primary teacher and assistant pastor - and tell me regularly. I secretly guess that they would say the same, regardless of my job or what I do. They are proud of ME (the person I am). It makes you stop and consider how much more God feels about us.

I have wonderful childhood memories - it wasn't a bed of roses by any means, but it helped to craft a character within me that's not easily moved by circumstances. I love my mum and dad with my whole heart and am truly grateful for everything they've done for me. I'm going to tell them when I see them next!

Breaking the half-way barrier!


We have now nearly reached the halfway or midpoint of the year. I want to make a declaration. I decree that I will not stop, no matter what my circumstance, and that I will move past this half way point into a new place of abundance! Many stop at the half way point. We go through hard circumstances that cause our faith to waiver and our trust and patience to grow thin. Emotional enthusiasm cannot get us past certain obstacles in our path. Our loyalty to the Lord and those we are in covenant with, is many times challenged. The enemy wants to scatter our thinking ability and have us unable to finish the task the Lord has set before us. The enemy has a strategy to wear down our minds (Dan. 7). At times like these, I always go back to the Word and review my covenant relationship with the Lord.

In Genesis 11, we find Terah, Abram’s father, taking his family out of Ur of the Chaldees. In Ur, they worshiped Molech and Tophet. On their journey, Terah settled in Haran. Haran was 500 miles from Ur of the Chaldees. Terah died in Haran. Haran was a good place, but not the place of promise. We find the Lord calling Abram out of Haran - He said, “Get out of your country from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation: I will bless you and make your name great: and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Not only was Haran 500 miles from Ur, it was also 500 miles from Canaan, the place of promise. The only way for Abram to receive the promise was to go past the half way point that his father attained.
INTERESTING!

To do this, I believe there are certain places we have to get out of. I also believe that, if we settle half way in our spiritual quest and many times in our physical alignment, we fall short of receiving the promise that God has for us. Do not stop on your journey at this time. Never settle in a place where God has required you to pass through!
We find this principle over and over throughout the word of God. Elisha received Elijah’s mantle by not stopping along the journey but going all the way with him until Elijah was caught up into heaven and released his mantle to Elisha (2 Kings 2).
Remember Lot’s wife. She started on her journey out of Sodom and Gomorrah but looked back at a half way point and turned to salt. This is a time to set our face like a flint (Luke 9:51) and press through into the place of promise God has for us. Leave old relationships, wounds, losses, and even victories behind and keep moving. In the spiritual, either we are aggressively going forward on purpose, or we are starting to slip backward.

Right, I'm getting myself inspired now - let me break it into points:
1. Develop His MIND.
Don't lean on your own understanding. We will never make the right choice with our limited knowledge. Philippians 2:5-8 says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus... who made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant ... He humbled Himself and became obedient." Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." This simply means don't let Satan's scheme fashion you to the thinking of the world. Also, don't let outward appearances deceive you, causing you to miss what God is doing. We must prove the voice of God, and practice in everyday life what God's will from heaven is declaring to us. Romans 8:7 says, "The carnal mind is in enmity with God". Declare that the Lord will put His finger on every area of carnality in our thinking.

2. Learn to express His heart.
Prophecy is expressing the mind and heart of God. Let the Lord deal with your emotions so that they do not cloud you in communicating His heartbeat. Declare that all self pity and hope deferred is being removed from you. Allow bitterness and unforgiveness to leave so that you can express what God is thinking. Don't let inordinate affection cause you to misalign inappropriately. The heart can have weights or attachments. I declare a "free" heart over you (and me!).

3. Change your atmosphere!
Speak faith!! Jesus could do very little in Nazareth because the atmosphere was so filled with unbelief. Jesus was the all-powerful God walking the earth, capable of signs and wonders. Yet the atmosphere created a barrier for intervention. Break the negative atmospheric presence around you by prophetic declarations of victory!

4. Do exploits!
Optimize resources! That means to see things from a positive standpoint. Daniel 11:32 says "the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and do exploits for God!" To do exploits means to take the resources you have and create new resources or bring them into a new level of fullness. This is one of the things that God means when He says to optimize resources.

5. Watch for the "suddenlies!"
If hope deferred and weariness is ruling you, you will miss it when God moves on your behalf. If fear is influencing you, you won't understand when God starts breaking through on your behalf. The Process that you've been going through is moving toward a Suddenly.

6. Learn the process of going "OVER"!
Overtake or be overtaken. Overthrow or be overthrown. Overturn or be overturned. Overcome or be overcome. Be sure you are being overseen. Also, define the sphere that you are overseeing!

7. Develop a Kingdom mentality.
The Kingdom of God is within you. We build the Church, but we get keys to the Kingdom. Study the Kingdom. Matthew 11:12 says, ".. now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." The Kingdom advances in victory. This occurs through violent spiritual conflict and warfare. He uses John the Baptist and Elijah to teach us to move forward. Fear not! The Church is God's warring agent. Worship and War! The Kingdom increases. Understand the sword and the fire because they are both important in the battle ahead.

8. SHIFT!
A "shift" is a change of place, position or direction. A shift also includes an exchange or replacement of one thing for another. A shift is a change of gear so you accelerate. A shift also entails a scheduled time. Shaking occurs during a shift. Think of a fault line. To shift means a change in frequency.

They said it couldn't be done.
Prominent doctors testified that the human body was physically incapable of it. The world of athletics was in almost universal agreement: No man will ever run a mile in four minutes or less.
Then a man named Roger Bannister, a believer, proved them wrong. On May 6, 1954 he covered the distance of one mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. A barrier was shattered that day.
Suddenly what had seemed impossible became almost commonplace. In the weeks and months that followed dozens of other runners also ran four-minute miles.
Bannister had created an opening. And others began pouring through it.
That story illustrates a very real, very important spiritual principle. There are barriers in the realm of the spirit. Barriers that keep believers from experiencing all that God promises them in His Word. But once a barrier has been broken, anyone can go through it.
I believe God wants us to know, "It's time for the body of Christ to get out of a survival mentality and begin to believe me for supernatural increase and restoration."

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Tree of Life









An afternoon of fabric fun with my class - you like????

Remember the time...?


In Deuteronomy a major theme in Moses’ last sermon – perhaps the major theme – is: "remember." Repeatedly, Moses warns the people not to forget who God is and what he has done for them and in them (see 4:8-24; 6:4-15; 7:17-19; 8:1-20; 9:7; 15:15; 16:1-12; 24:17-22; 32:7).

For Moses, the issue of remembering is clearly related to worship: if you forget these things, Moses warns, you will fall into idolatry:

"Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden" (4. 23).

We are no different from the people Moses addressed: we also tend to forget, and we also need to be intentional about remembering. We need to engage in practices of memory, including personal and corporate worship.

I guess these thoughts spring from an earlier post on being thankful - An Attitude of Gratitude. On Sunday, as the worship team started to lead us, I was so struck with the idea of 'remembering' what God has done (for us, personally, corporately, locally, universally) Worship music has played an important role in biblical and church history as a practice of memory. I encourage those God has raised up as composers of worship music in our day, to be "remind-ers" to God's people, of who he is and what he has done.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Out-of-sorts


Feeling a wee bit out-of-sorts today. I know this kind of happens to me after a busy time and everything's settling down again. I've discovered I'm an adrenaline junkie and love being busy, having places to go, people to see. When things slow down, I kinda panic inside...that's when I'm left with my own thoughts. And God's thoughts too, so that's a bonus!

You just can't get away from yourself can you? - wherever you go, there you are. I see friends trying to run away from themselves on a regular basis - change church, change job, change partner...guess what? ...the problem's still there because it's 'inside' of them. I've tried to do it - have you? I didn't move church, job etc but I've tried to hide in activity, busyness, holidays - I could go on and on - and while this can give temporary relief, if your internal world is messed up, it will affect whatever environment you're in.

So what's my problem today? OVERTHINKING! Mostly analysing what I 'think' people are really meaning when they speak to me. This can tie you up in knots - well, me anyway. So now I've pinpointed the source of my pain, what do I do about it? I decide to read Galatians 6 from The Message.

I meditate over this during my lunch..."Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." and
"So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith."

I'm taking the opportunity to be still in God's presence, letting go of the junk I'm holding on to, carefully exploring my heart, sinking my time and energy into the areas I've been called to and focusing on others. Already I feel some of the weight lifting.

The Boy, Foy.



Wow! Had the awesome privilege of once again hearing the amazing Foy Vance perform live. Also spoke with his wife Joanne (have to admit to being a bit star struck). I don't know exactly what it is about his songs that move me to tears - the raw intensity, the passion, the incredible vocal range, the poetic lyrics that mean so much...all of these things. We have used 'Gabriel' and 'Indiscriminate' for quite a few church events and the words of 'Indiscriminate' in particular, always challenge me to the core:

"I was always taught
If you see someone defiled,
You should look them in the eyes and smile,
And take their heart, no better yet
Take them home, home, home"


To me, this is the heart of Jesus. I need to get out of the church building mindset and focus on being the hands and feet of Jesus to the unlovely, unwanted, unseen.

"Love cannot remain by itself - it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service." - Mother Theresa

Here are the weapons of Jesus' Kingdom: rakes, brooms, listening ears, open hands, generous hearts, and emptying wallets.
I'm examining my heart on a daily basis - does it look like Jesus? (not religion, tradition, rules, regulations). Does my heart and life display love in action?

Well that's my goal and when I stray away from it, a simple thing like a Foy song, brings a God whisper to get back on track - to represent His Son well to the world.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

STANDOUT!



I was at the Stand Out concert last night at the Waterfront - what a night! So challenging and inspiring on so many levels. I've been so passionate to see child trafficking stopped for a few years now, but apart from donating to various overseas charities (which is a great thing) I didn't know what else to do - until now. Stand Out is facilitating individuals and churches in their quest for justice. It's a fabulous local charity reaching out internationally. The cause is worth putting your life into.

The concert itself was incredible. The presence of God so tangible and electric. Bluetree, Ryan and Robin didn't just perform well - they worshiped with an anointing that broke barriers of unbelief, apathy, scepticism, criticism, indifference. David (my hubby) shouted out 'Jesus' (repeatedly) at a still, quiet point in worship, Aaron sang it then led into 'When I Survey' (well, from earlier posts, you know I love this hymn) and at that point (with goosebumps, pounding heart, tears streaming down both mine and Dave's faces) I was so secure in the fact that child sex slavery is NOT TOO BIG FOR OUR GOD!!! We CAN make a difference in the lives of these children.

I loved what the guy from Viva (sorry only remember that his 2nd name is McDonald) instructed us to do...fill in your commitment form NOW because when you get home, life distracts you. We so often put things (what we KNOW we should do) off until another time. Well guys, the best time of the day is NOW!
We must be known as those who accomplish great things for God - not those who simply talk about it. Procrastinators are really good at talking verses doing.
It's so true what Mark Twain said: "Noise produces nothing. Often a hen who merely laid an egg cackles as though she has laid an asteroid."
The apostles were never known much for their policies or procedures, their theories or excuses. Instead they were known for their acts.
We often say we are waiting on God but the truth is, He is waiting on us.

My husband and I filled in the form, partnered in prayer, committed financial aid once a month, and are now looking for ways to get the church and community involved.
I urge you to do the same - now.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Decisions, decisions!


Everyday we are confronted with options and we must make decisions.

Being bitter verses being better.
Indifference verses decisiveness.
Lukewarmness verses enthusiasm.
'If we can' verses 'How we can'.
'Give up' verses 'Get up'.
Security verses risk.
Coping with evil verses overcoming evil.
Blending in verses standing out.
How much we do verses how much we get done.
Coexisting with darkness verses opposing darkness.
Destruction verses development.
Resisting verses receiving.
Complaining verses obtaining.
Trying verses committing.
Peace verses strife.
Choice verse chance.
Determination verses discouragement.
Growing verses dying.
Demanding more of ourselves verses excusing ourselves.
Doing for others verses doing for self.
Steering verses drifting.
Accountability verses irresponsibility.
Solutions verses problems.
More of God verses more of everything else.

Now I just want to expand on the 'blending in verses standing out' idea. One of the greatest compliments that anybody can give you is to say that you are different. As Christians we live in this world, but we are aliens. We should talk differently, act differently, and perform differently. We are called to stand out.
One way to stand head and shoulders above the crowd is to choose to do ordinary things in an extraordinary and supernatural way with great enthusiasm. God has always done some of His very best work through remnants, when the circumstances seem to be stacked against them. God is always on the side of the 'underdog' throughout the Bible.

Never take direction from a crowd for your life. Never choose to quit just because somebody else disagrees with you.
Stand out.