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!

 

Advertisements

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.

Don’t be fooled

There’s a common thing that happens to surfers when we go out into the sea, after checking the surf, we paddle out and then while waiting for a set of waves to roll in, looking down to our left or right and the waves look like they are breaking better and more frequantly, If we paddle down and look where we just were, guess what? The waves look like they are breaking better and more frequently there! If you’re not careful you can end up spending your time paddling to and from and just wishing you were at either place!

I have to remind myself in that situation not to be fooled, which is sometimes so hard.

Quite often if I am patient the waves will come to me or it’s just an illusion that it’s better either side of me.

Hello, real world. What about our life situations?

We may feel when we look to the left or to the right at someone’s else’s life or on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagra, other families , lifestyles that life would be better “somewhere else” or our situation would be so much more fulfilling doing what “someone else is doing”.

The thought “if only” will kill your joy and ability to enjoy life where you are at.

If only I had a partner who was like this.

If only I had this thing.

If only I lived in that country.

If only I had a family like that.

If only I had more money.

If only I had more time.

If only I was taller, smarter, funnier, more talented.

Then I would be happy.

Setting goals and pushing forward towards your best is such a great and powerful thing to do, but it is also important to learnt how to find joy and happiness where you are now, enjoying being patient, achieving things, being content with what you have, because unless we learn how to be able to be filled with joy where we are at now there is no job, no partner, no place, no material thing, that will make you find it because it comes from within.

Enjoy your place now.

Enjoy your relationships now.

Enjoy where you are at in your life now.

Be content and see how much it can transform your life!

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Things start out small 

When we plant any seeds, in the natural we expect a harvest. 

I tried gardening once….it was pretty bad. I don’t have a green thumb that’s for sure and to be honest I’m pretty neglectful and lazy when it comes to watering, weeding and getting rid of bugs. My landlord once saw my garden and felt sorry for me, it was pretty funny. The next day my Landlord came and planted a whole lot of tomatoes that he had grown from seeds, he would care for then every day and of course they reduced beautiful tasting tomatoes! 

When we plant in our lives in differnt areas we will get something from it.

You want better friends? Sow seeds of good friendship, stop and ask “Is this going to be a good seed or am I planting a weed?”.
For friendships:

Praying for our friends, encouraging, giving, to them, spending time together. You want better environment at work? What seeds are you planting? Is this word I’m speaking or Attitide I have and am I saying good things about my work collegues or boss. 

Is this a Good seed or a weed?

We can plant seeds daily towards many areas of our lives; work, love towards others, love towards self, relationships, healing, finances, gift development, spiritual, goals.

No one has a garden and decides to plant weeds. So why do we do it so many times in our daily lives? 

 Asking God to take away the bad more room for good is a great way to “garden” our lives. 

I’m sure we all want greatness and good stuff in our lives and the results always come from the small seeds that we plant today. Keep planting and being aware of what “kind” of seed you’re planting and have vision to see something big and great come from it! 
“Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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

Why I stopped posting negative stuff.

I used to air every annoyance, or complaint that I had, something that someone did against me or something I didn’t like to someone on social media.I’d try find humorous ways or just blatantly say it. I mean who gets harmed by my negativity anyways……
If you follow any of my posts or social media you won’t find anything negative on there. Not a story, a complaint or a joke. Years ago I decided to stop.

Why? 

I realized I have the power to impact people in a positive or a negative way, I can show the good that’s happening in life or talk about the imperfections. 

I believe part of the importance of being a Christian is showing hope, joy and the choice of happiness in this world rather than soaking up and spilling out the negativity which is everywhere.

I’d rather be around someone who uplifts me and leaves me feeling great than around someone who leaves me feeling angry, hopeless and annoyed at the world around me. 

Before every lifegroup we ask “Who has good news”. Why do we start like this? It’s to make us start by focusing on the good that happened this week and shift our eyes to gratitude. 

Are we gonna be the darkness? Or are we gonna be the light? 
I wanna be the light! The world is full of darkness, but darkness doesn’t inspire or give life, light and love do. 

That is my why. 
When people see what I write, what I post, I want their eyes and souls to be soaking up something good and not bad. So what I choose to put up is what I’m choosing to give others and what I choose to read is what I’m choosing to feed my soul.

This scripture pretty much sums it up. 

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”‭‭ Matthew‬ ‭6:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬