Emotions

 “It’s just emotions taking me over….” 

One of the songs that were big in my teens. 

As we have seen this week through with goodbyes, tears, laughs, excitement and almost every emotion possible, I know that being ruled by emotion would get you nowhere fast. 

It’s been 5 and a half years since we made our move to Japan. We’ve surfed more than ever, enjoyed real hot summers with BBQs, made incredible friends, fell in love with each other all over again, discovered our gifts and flourished in Gods house. 

The broken couple that came here are now leaving as a family of three with a passion and love for Jesus and His church. So why would we leave? Why wouldn’t we just stay? When God called us to the next season it just had to be followed. We had to be ruled by Gods plan and his peace rather than emotion. 

Seriously, if I let my emotions rule me this week, I would have changed my mind and stayed and back to moving again hundreds of times, I probably would have told my bosses that I decided to stay and keep teaching! 

Our emotions have no steady bounds, it’s like the scripture being tossed and turned like the waves, the sea is beautiful and calm, the next it is full of danger and unpredictable tides and currents. 

I know that it’s easy to not “feel” like doing something or “feel” like saying something but God doesn’t want us to live this way, tired and unstable. 

So what do we do? 

We place our feet and soul firmly on His word. Follow his peace, presence and look for His way in every situation, isn’t it amazing that the Holy Spirit never ever leaves us and he comforts us and cheers us on.

When we feel overcome just talk to him “I need your help, show me your ways” and he will every time.

Let’s see the fruit of faithfulness in Gods ways and continue to build our foundation on his word so we can be steady and firm and ready to face new season, challenges and flourish in this great life He has blessed us with! 

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Stuff

It’s been a full on few weeks sorting through our things as we prepare to move out of our house today. 

I am so surprised how much we have been blessed with and how we came to Japan with 2 suitcases and 2 surfboards and we have decided that’s how we should leave…apart from an extra suitcase and and extra human 😉 

We had everything we needed in our little house, beds, fridge, aircon, tv, car…everything and they were so useful for our lives. Now those things are no use to us and have been sold, given away or thrown out as junk. 

It really put into the reality of the importance of not chasing material things, how hard it is to let go of something if you work really hard for it and value it so highly.

These years have been spent chasing eternal valued things like souls, freedom, friendships, a closeness to God and I am so excited that I don’t have to throw any of those things away. 

The perspective of life as a foreigner on this earth is so much more realistic when you are leaving a place you once called your home in which it really wasn’t, it was a temporary place. 

I think as followers of Christ we should always be wise of course of the things we need but also keeping our greatest and most important treasures stored up in eternity, not limiting ourselves for being generous because we want to hold onto something or putting stuff no matter what it is in higher priority than Gods ways.

Trusting, seeking him first and keeping value on things that last, I think really gives peace and power to the person who does it! 

It’s always a good question to ask.

Am I chasing Him or I chasing stuff? 

Let’s let material stuff be stuff and not the reason why we love our lives. 

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Done my time

“Do you want to help with kids church?” The Pastor at my new church asked me, I smiled and I said that I would pray about it. In my head I thought “I’ve done my time serving, God you’ve seen how many years I have done kids church, you know how many other things I’ve helped with. I have done my share”.
I went home that evening and before I went to bed I opened the bible to journal. The scripture came up “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Oh……how many thoughts came up in that moment. 

I knew I wasn’t being asked to do “My time” by taking part in an area of church, I was being asked from God “Can you show the children how to come to me? I have heaven open for them. Do you want to be a part of that?” 

And then I realized, servanthood isn’t about “Taking the weight” or “Doing your part” 

It’s about the privilege of being able to serve God by serving people. 
What a privilege to use your gifts for the creator of the universe!

What an extraordinary moment when we welcome someone with a smile and they feel like God loves them.

What a powerful moment when someone gets healed in worship.

What an exciting thing it is to be able to share and create in church with a group of people who love Jesus! 
When we see serving and using our gifts in this way and our attitude changes from only “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”,

church gets better and better every single week and we find ourselves not saying “The church should do this” or “The church is like this” but “My church, my friends, my team, our God” 
Can you imagine what a whole church of people with an attitude like this? Wow, maybe that’s what heaven on earth looks like. 
Maybe you feel like I did, I encourage you to draw closer to God. Jesus didn’t come to be served but to serve and if that’s what happened when Jesus from heaven came to earth then that should be our examples 
So, do you want to help create heaven on earth? 

Seasons 

As we start to get ready to move from Japan after 5 and a half years of living here it’s made me think a lot about seasons in life. 
So here is some advice for myself and anyone else about seasons and change.

1. Get rid of stuff that is not useful for your next season. At the moment I’m literally throwing out bags of stuff I don’t need. Great things or even holding onto “junk” past problems or unhealthy relationships will stop you from moving forward and getting the most and being the most you can be in your new season.
2. Keep the important and useful. Right now we are preparing to do two months in Bali and then go back to NZ summer, what use would it be if I brought all my winter stuff with me? On the other end of the scale it would be silly not to bring my summer gear or my surfboard. What does that look like with regard to seasons in life? Keeping great knowledge, training and experiences for the new season. Getting rid of the bad, hurts or titles. 
3. You can know the what of the next step but sometimes you may not know the how. How can I afford this? How will I do it? What it will it look like? That’s why the bible says “His words light our path” 

4. Whatever it is you’re doing and whoever you are doing it with, the people you impact is not just for the season you did it in. There can be seeds there that grow for eternity.

5. Trust in God and prepare. Maybe God’s calling you to a new job, a new country, there are changes happening in your family or or workplace. Whatever it is, do your homework and be prepared and then trust God to do the rest. 

We should trust in faith and take action.

5. Walk into the next season intentionally. I know, sometimes we just really want to hold onto summer, it’s like we don’t want to let go but it’s inevitable. So with seasons in our lives.  In Japan there have been many seasons and I remember clearly at one point saying “This is so awesome, the people around us are so awesome, I wish it would stay like this”. But if it did, my friends wouldn’t be married, or have kids, I wouldn’t have a son, others wouldn’t have the opportunities that they do now and of course so many other things I could not imagine at that time! If we held onto and resisted the change.

 6. Wherever you go, show people they are appreciated and loved. It’s a priceless thing and travels over many distances and time lines. 

7. Each season is preparation for the next.

8. With Jesus the best is always yet to come and that is a very exciting way to live! 

“but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭1:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Counterfeit

I once had A bag which was a knockoff of a big label .It looked real and people would often comment on it saying how nice it was or that they would love a bag like mine. 

The problem was it was a fake and after time seams started to wear, cracks appeared in the handle and I couldn’t really put much in it, so I had go throw it away. 
A lot of things in this world is like that bag. Looking like the real thing but it’s worth and value doesn’t match, its longevity and satisfaction will only be temporary.
We are surrounded by voices and opinions telling us, we need this to feel successful, we need to give up our values in this day in age to find love, we should settle for less when we know we are made for more, doing a job which we know we are not made for or trying hard to be a good person. 
There are so many things crying counterfeit, looking like it will satisfy and bring joy and fullness to you. Trying to make you envy or want , sounding tempting to the ear or even may it be good intentions.
But like the cracks in the bag there is a point to discover what is the truth, that the only one who can satisfy our souls beyond measure, who gave the cost for us is Jesus. 
Nothing lasts, no status, no job, no friendship, no money, no “love”. Stands the test of eternity but only through God. 
So to put anything else above him is like picking the fake bag over the real thing. 
Even trying to “do good” or volunteer somewhere, give up time or money to help others won’t be enough to make you righteous or fill your self worth.
But when we have God as our foundation, our source, our guide, our help, our number one, that’s when we can see that we have the best, we have the greatest thing that we could ever be gifted with and then when we do anything and live from that, we do have the best! Everything else on top of what you have with God is a bonus and not the “prize”. We do have something worth sharing with others, we do have something worth others wanting and it’s so amazing that we can show them how to get it for themselves and others too!
Don’t Settle for less, don’t chase the imitation, get the real thing and keep the real thing at the very top of your life. 
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What do you want to know? 

Have you ever had a life decision big or small? Of course! 

We all go through life with times of decisions. What to wear, what to listen to, who to be friends with, how to spend your free time, what subject to study or job to take, who to date or where to live.

Some of my hardest times came from making the wrong decision, some of my best moves or seasons in life have been from making the right or good choice.

God says if we don’t know what to do, how to fix a problem or what’s the right choice we can go and ask God and he will give it to us. I wonder how many opportunities to hear Gods opinion and wisdom in an area of my life have I missed simply because I didn’t ask. 

We rely on ourselves too much when Gods hand is stretched forth open towards us always.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”‭‭James‬ ‭1:5-6‬ ‭

God can see the bigger picture, he overflows with wisdom and he will give to you generously the answer if you simply ask! 

How? You might ask. His word (The bible). A word comes to thought. A feeling of peace. A dream. A word of wisdom from someone who is close to God. 

There are many ways that God can show us the best way and when we pray and ask, it makes us ready to be able to see and receive it rather than be overcome with worry and fear. 

You can make the best God decision when you ask Him! I know you can! 

Small compromises make big differences

Compromise it can be a good word or it can be a bad one. What are your foundations and beliefs?

Who sets your standard? Everyone or Jesus? 

We sometimes feel a little bit here and there is okay. And sometimes it is but look at it this way, I’ve noticed over and over again, If you compromise something one time too many times it becomes the norm. 

“I don’t work sundays” then your boss asks you to work….just this once. You say yes. Do you think your boss will ask you again? Yes. And do you think you will feel as bad as you did the first time? No.
Over time you might just find yourself working every sunday……and it’s probably just Normal.

I don’t drink more than one beer, just tonight maybe two….tonight two again, I don’t usually drink three but two is okay so three should be fine……..

We don’t usually see a negative result straight away when we make a small change and so we think it’s okay to do again. But over time it becomes not okay and you may not even realize. 

I don’t think a lot of people who has a Godly belief or biblical standpoint and a relationship with Jesus suddenly decides to one day to reject their stand and walk the other way but I’m sure a lot of us at one point have found ourselves looking at an area of our lives and wonder “How did I ever get here?”

It’s the small and maybe harmless at the time decisions that can creep in and grow without you even really noticing the change. 

I know in one point of my life it became very messy and over time my small decisions had caused bigger living and thinking changes to the point I wasn’t going to church often, I didn’t pray much if at all and I was going out every weekend and it was normal for me. 

Now looking back I can see a very empty, very scary and lonely time.

But the most amazing part about Jesus is whatever point we get to in life or what ever small decision and compromises we make. Jesus never ever comprises us. He excepts as willingly with open arms and let’s us start again, if we choose to go to him. 

What areas do you feel strongly about and know God is asking you to not waiver in? 

What areas do you see that have become “normal” for you which you are sure that it shouldn’t be?

It is so great that we can go to Jesus and ask him to show us, open our eyes and help us everyday to make small changes towards a healthier and wholer us and make compromises that add to, rather than take away from our lives. 

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭143:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬