Change your angle

We’ve been doing a lot of house renovations this past year, recently we had to change the window latches. I could not for the life of me figure out how to take off the cap. I talked to different people, googled, tried to find a tutorial video and did not come up with an answer. I started trying to pull it and pop the cap out by getting under it with a screw driver. With only a week left until our open home our friend came over, who rang someone who told us to “look under the window”, sure enough there were two screws holding the cap on. My first response was “Why didn’t I look there?”. Something that seemed so obvious now, had left me stumped for weeks.

If only I had changed the angle in which I had looked.

Changing a way that we view a problem can lead us to the solution that we have been looking for so long.

I had someone observe my surfing to see how to improve, one of the first feedback remarks I had was “You are looking just past your feet, look down the line”

The next time I surfed, it totally changed the way I approached and rode the wave because my technique had been wrong for 20 years!

Having some outside perspective on someone who is more experienced and can see from a different angle can change up your way of doing something that can change up your game or totally rewrite the destiny of whatever you are doing.

We may bring “looking just past our feet” when it comes to something we need to overcome but really what we should be doing is looking “down the line” or the bigger picture.

When we were in Japan one of our biggest and hardest challenges was finding appropriate venues to run church out of. We would often do walks around certain areas, ask around and google search for something that would work.

After doing this for months and months we had felt like we had seen and knew every venue in our area that could even be a possibility. Then, one of our awesome leaders decided to think outside the box and use words that we hadn’t thought of in google search….guess what we found? Some of our best venues!

Different words. What have we been speaking over situations that are keeping us short of the best for our lives?

What would happen if we starting approaching situations in our daily lives at work, as parents, at school, in our relationships in a different way?

If something isn’t working and you feel stuck in a problem here are some question that might help.

Have you looked at it from every angle?

Have you talked to God and someone with knowledge about that area?

Have you been you been looking in the right area and speaking the right words over your situation?

Problems are always a way to either be defeated or to grow.

God wants us to grow, to learn and to see different perspectives in our challenges rather than be defeated.

And we overcome, whether big or small. We can celebrate the little or great victory of the challenge The was placed before us.

Face the challenges, look at it from every angel, get outside scoop and speak new over it.

“The challenges we face today, are the victories we see tomorrow”

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I wanted to get revenge.

Have you ever felt angry or hurt by someone and just wanted to get revenge? I know every person in this world has had a moment where they have been wronged, even my 3 year old son!

When I was in my last year of elementary school I stopped going because I was getting bullied. My Mum started taking me to work and I begged her to let me change schools. I went to a new school, made some friends and enjoyed going.

The first year of college I had my new friends to hang out with and I felt confident that the people that used to make me feel so low, deserved to feel the same way as they had made me feel. I would call them names, shout stuff at them at lunchtime, pull their hair in class and throw the top seal of my yogurt at them. At the end of the year one of the girls gave me a Christmas card and a small present and I had this flood of guilt come over me. I had acted out of hurt and resentment but It made me more angry and more bitter and not a nice person at all. I made the decision that the next year I would show love, forgiveness and kindness to people around me and not try and repay the feeling that I had felt back, why would I ever want someone to feel like that anyway! Even at the age of 14 I knew I was suppose to live and love differently than what the normal is.

Recently, I have been reading about David in the Bible. King Saul who was his father in-law, the king that he had helped get through many battles, his best friends father and the one he played music to make him calm, was determined to kill David. Chasing him and sending armies after David. Because Saul was Jealous of David he tried to take his life. David hid in caves and literally ran from his home to stay alive.

What really spoke to me in this all of this how David responded, when David got the chance to kill Saul he chose not to but instead said these very words “As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.” ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭24:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There are so many chances to repay evil with evil, but God has called us to repay hurt with love and forgiveness and when we do that, we can live free lives, free from the weight of holding onto Past hurts, “I should have said this” or next time “I’ll show them.” We can’t control other peoples actions, but we can control how we respond and act. Let God be God in your situation. Don’t dwell on the wrongs that have been done , don’t let yourself be weighed down by a chance to get revenge, but look at the good and that Jesus has set us free, He wants us to live differently, go to Him for healing not holding onto the chance for revenge because he doesn’t want that to be our burden or our responsibility. Instead of cursing, love. In place of  hate, bring Gods ways into every area of your life. God will have his way fully in your life because you have let Him. 

And now that I think of it, if I had never felt the need to move schools, I may have not made one the the most precious friendships that I still have to this day.

Ecclesiates 3:11 “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

 

Why are you running away?

There is a story in the bible about a man named Jonah. God spoke to him about his next step, Jonah chose to try and run away from God because he didn’t want to embarrass himself. In the end, he got swallowed by a fish, spat out at the place he was meant to go and found out that out of his obedience he saved thousands of men and woman.

I have to admit there have been times I have been challenged to potentially embarrass myself and make myself look super silly and not wanted to. With the question….”What if I pray and they don’t get healed?” or What if I tell them about Jesus and they make fun of me” or one that was at the start challenging and the end always fruitful “What if no one stops to hear us sing”, Yes, all of us I am sure have been put in some sort of position where God is challenging us to step past our doubts or discomfort and realise that He wants to say “What if they get healed?” “What if they decide to follow Jesus?” What if they stop and hear what I have to say?”.

God continues to raise us against our comfort zones to prove He is God and He is bigger than everything and He wants to use us.

When we use to do street live at the train station in Japan to invite people to church, I can tell you it was challenging. But over and over again we met people who wanted to come to church, know God and hear that He created them beautifully, that they matter and that they are loved. I met one girl who stopped because I was just joking around “freestyle rapping” but she saw freedom and joy, because of this moment she came to church,  wanted to know Jesus and now has that joy for herself, going to India on a missions trip and helping those who need it most!

Never underestimate what God wants to do, don’t let fear or embarrassment stop you, don’t run away but see God do something great through you!

 

You are doing it wrong.

I went to the park with my son who must of been about 1 and a half at the time. We had a small local playground at the end of our street which consisted of two swings and a slide.

Koa really wanted to go on the swing but it had been hitched up so that it could swing higher for bigger kids. I started trying to untangle the swing and get it to come down a few notches, and I just couldn’t do it. After a few minutes a little voice came out from across the park which said “Your’e doing it wrong”. It was a little 5 year old girl who proceeded to show me how to bring the swing back down again.

I just got schooled by a five year old. She knew more than me.

How many times do we feel like we don’t know enough to give something of value to others, or that others may not have enough “experience” to teach us something.

I really learnt that day that I can learn from anyone at any age and I always have something to give this earth that someone needs. No matter what stage of life that they are in.

Don’t limit yourself by looking at others without value, you may just learn something from them, and don’t limit others by holding back what you have inside to give!

Our experiences and lives may all look slightly different and that’s what makes us all important for helping each other out. Remind your kids that, remind yourself that and always be ready to be a student and teacher.

 

1 Timothy 4:12 New International Version (NIV)

12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Why I gave up my religion

We walked into the basement of the venue….late, my husband and I got off at the wrong train station and then we walked over 20 minutes to where the church service was being held in Yokohama, Japan. I didn’t really want to go in the first place. I had not been to church properly for over 2 years and my plane ticket to Japan was suppose to be a ticket from people asking where I was on Sunday or if I wanted to go to church this week. Yet, here I was walking in late to a service in the middle of the city in Japan.

That day I gave up my “religion”. The realness of Why we were there and Why I had felt such a draw to Japan was in this very moment. As soon as I walked in the room with band playing, my heart felt home. And I knew THIS IS WHY. I had crossed the open sea and God was waiting for me.

Religion comes in a lot of forms. I think as a Christian I have to be careful that I don’t fall under the mistake of following a religion but living my beliefs and realities with Christ. Growing up knowing “right and wrong” and just trying to live right won’t be enough, and we will always eventually fail and feel guilty, instead I started pursuing Christ, reading his word, discovering what He wanted for me, acting out of obedience and love to what I thought was my next step towards greatness and every time falling more and more in love with Jesus and less and less with “Religion”.

It’s not about following “rules” (religion) but about following Jesus (life). God doesn’t want us in pursuit of following rules and doing everything perfect, He wants us to discover his huge love and passion for us no matter where we are at and from that everything else will follow.  I wasn’t sharing Christ with others because I had to, but because I wanted them to discover him. I wasn’t showing up early  to set up at church because someone expected me to, but because it was a privilege and I was excited to, I wasn’t reading my bible and worshiping God to tick it off my list but to genuinely hear from Him. The church is suppose to be there for us to gather around our passion for Jesus and how He can transform lives, don’t go to show face, don’t go to make yourself “fell good”. Go to discover, go to be around people who will build you up, go to build up others, and number one find your relationship with Christ, worship, read his word and don’t be afraid of failing but be ready to fall in Love all over again, because there is nothing more refreshing that new love.

What an incredible journey, adventure and fun I have with Christ. Discovering everyday a little bit more of what he has in store. Even now I find myself looking ahead with great anticipation and expectant to see more happen in my life. It is sweet and beautiful and sometimes scary, but  living with Christ is the best and surely when I gave up my “religion” and started a full on pursuit for Christ, everything became more fruitful and I didn’t just grow fuller but my fruit could help others too.

 

1 Corinthians 10:31 New Living Translation (NLT)

31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

You have the power

The other day we were having a pretty radical talk about the power of one person.

Growing up I saw two extremes. My mum transformed by a real experience with God, and then the ugliest end of the scale with my Dad. A lot of what I remember in childhood is a combination of church and the amazing love of Jesus, and then police stations and jail visits.

But what is powerful and wonderful and so so good, is that because of my Mums experience with Jesus she changed the generations. My son can fully and deeply know Gods love because of her, he will not know jail visits, he will not know the ugly. And, because I have chosen Jesus, I have the power to change the generations with every single children’s church class I teach and every person that I can share Jesus’ love with.

My husbands Father came to know Jesus. It did not just impact him. The power of that one decision rippled and roared into his whole family, Mother, Father, sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, And of course my husband. The truth of God’s love piercing the hearts of our kids and ours to come.

It is the power that Jesus loves us deeply and widely, more than anything or anyone we could ever know. His power lives in us and his spirit breaths life into our souls.

Whatever has happened in your past, no matter what family history. It could be perfect but empty, full of broken relationships, alchohol, abuse, addiction, anger, hurt….

No matter what, God can come in.

God can take anything and anyone and in one moment change history because of one person. I am the one. You are the one. You can impact the one and we together can impact the generations just by a conversation, a prayer or a gesture of love flowing out of the realness of Gods love.

Never underestimate the power in you and what Jesus can do through you.

Is it acceptable?

Is what I am doing acceptable and good enough for God and how do I know?

We all are different. Not made the same, not to function the same, we have different gifts, talents and abilities, families, capacities, finanances, time and personalities.

So, how can we know what we do for God, other’s and in the church is acceptable or good when we are so different?

1. Willingness

God looks at our attitude and heart. Like everything we do God always looks at that first. Someone may give $1000 or even $1000000 away but doing it out of obligation vs the person giving their last $10 joyfully. The one that will be the most powerful gift to God would be that $10 of joy.

2. Abilty

It’s so easy to compare someone to another.

“Well, he is doing this and this and this and she only does this”

I tried keeping up with someone who has the compacity to do a lot while being a Mum

and being a great leader, it almost burnt me out, I had to step back and find my groove so to speak and keep in with what God had placed within me.

We should flourish in our abilities and know them. Do our best, give our best in whatever it is and what ever way we function.

One person may be gifted in playing 5 instruments and another person one instrument.

Someone maybe great at preaching to large crowds and another person one to one encouragement.

You could be a Mum who bakes lavish cakes and blesses others or a Mum who buys the cake and shares with others.

You may do the dishes at church or welcome the people at the door.

You could be that guy/girl bringing 20 of their friends to church or that one friend from work.

Whatever it may be.

The ability may be different but the attitude should be the same.

Willingness + Ability = acceptable

Are you giving your best? And are you doing it with willingness and a great attitude?

God looks at each one of us individually, where we are at, at what stage and season we are in. He sees all factors.

And He doesn’t judge us based on what we DON’T have but what we DO have and what we are willing to do with it.

“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬