Monday, 5 August 2013

Running with Giants - John the Baptist

video

Know your purpose and know your calling.

One day back in March I received an email newsletter from our church announcing that they would be doing baptisms and I just casually mentioned it to the Jord:

"Hey Jord, do you want to get baptised?"

"Yup! What does baptised mean?"

"Erm... Well. It's something that the Bible tells us to do when we ask Jesus into our hearts and it's kind of like Jesus giving our spirits a bath. Pastor Steve will dunk you under the water and when you come up all your sins are washed away and Jesus has made you into a new person."

"Ok, cool! How long will he hold me under the water?"

Don't you just love the way things are that simple for kids? They live in a world that is totally black and white, no ifs or buts!

John the Baptist was kind of like that.

He lived out in the middle of nowhere, wearing camel haired clothing and eating locusts dipped in honey. And apparently this was pretty radical even for those times because it attracted a lot of attention. He would stand in the river calling people to be baptised, telling them: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2) The Bible tells us that everybody in the region went off to see John and be baptised.

The world was black and white for John and he knew his place in it. In John 1:19-29 he states that he is the person that Isaiah was talking about: I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'

He's coming, are you ready? Are your hearts in the right place to receive His love? Your Messiah stands among you, is your heart clean? Have you confessed your sin?

He knew who he was. And that is the point of yesterday's sermon: If you want to run with giants, you need to know who you are in God.

If there is one thing I've learnt in my walk it's that who I am is not the person that everybody else sees. Believe it or not, with my warped perceptions of the world around me, who I am  is not even the person I believe myself to be. The absolute truth is that who I am is how God sees me: precious, worthy, valued.

He is the Rock and my firm foundation and only His love is unchanging. Only His eternal perspective is solid enough to be relied upon. And only His opinion matters.

John the Baptist knew who he was, he knew what his purpose was and what his calling was. His purpose was to point the way to Jesus and his calling was to preach. To be that voice calling in the wilderness. Regardless of whether what he was saying caused crowds to flock around him, or whether he was imprisoned (and ultimately killed), he stood firm in his belief. Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah.

Do you know what your purpose is? Do you know your calling?

As a Christian your purpose is the same as mine: to know God and make Him known.

We are charged with spreading the Gospel. Our job is to point the way to Jesus. Within our spheres of influence there are people who don't know the love of God. Who don't understand what Jesus did for them. We are meant to be the ones who cry out to them, sometimes gently, sometimes loudly, always, always demonstrating God's gentleness and goodness and mercy and grace.

Your calling is the unique individual way that God has equipped you to fulfil your purpose. Everyone of us has a gift or a talent that can be used to point the way to Jesus. If you don't think you have one, you just haven't discovered it yet. Keep looking.

My first sphere of influence is my family. As a mother I am charged with the mission to point my kids to Jesus, which is why The Jord's baptism was one of the most profound moments of my life. I didn't realise just how much it would impact me on an emotional level watching my baby publicly choose Jesus.

And since that day I have watched miracles happen around him. My neighbour came rushing over to knock on my door the one day and tell me that she had just walked past The Jord on the sidewalk as he was walking his friend home from school. She, a non-believer, congratulated him on his baptism and as she was walking away she overheard a conversation that made my heart burst with pride. His friend asked him what a baptism was and The Jord proceeded to matter-of-factly explain how Jesus died on the cross for our sins and by getting baptised he was telling the world that he belonged to Jesus.

My beautiful, beautiful boy. I am so, so proud. And I am glad that God put you in my life so I can point the way for you.

You can find and listen to the sermons here.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Running with Giants - Rahab

It's been a while since I shared any sermons, I've been pretty slack. But today's sermon had huge impact on me.

Lately, Pieter and I have been doing a course through the church called Cleansing Streams. It's a tough course to describe, I guess you could say that it's an extremely intense foundational course. So far we have covered Walking in the Spirit, Committing everything to God and Speaking words of Life. Even though it has been almost overwhelmingly challenging I'm loving it, because not only does it explain the 'whys and whats' but it also explains the 'hows.' How to walk in the spirit, how to commit everything to God.

Now, I don't know just who has been praying for me while I'm on this course, but heck they're doing a good job! Each session has brought unexpected areas in my life to mind, highlighting aspects of my walk and my history that need work.

Honestly? I didn't realise I was this messed up! I didn't realise I carried this much baggage...

What does this have to do with Rahab, you ask? Well, I'll tell ya!

The biggest area that I've been having difficulty with is just how badly I've stuffed up in my past and a desperately hopeless feeling regarding my future. Apparently, this was not an area that I had fully committed to God. Now, I know all the awesome promises in scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favourites. Often I'll quote it to myself and feel a temporary sense of peace, but deep down?

Deep down I feel as though I have failed. I haven't lived up to the promise and potential that I felt was evident in my teens. I look at my life now and get this horrible feeling that I've wasted it. That I've accomplished nothing...

When I walked in the church doors this morning and saw on the sermon notes that we would be hearing about Rahab, I thought: Oh good! I love Rahab! Her story is one of redemption and hope. But I had never actually stopped to consider what her journey through life actually looked like.

Rahab was known as 'Rahab the prostitute.' Can you imagine a name like that following you throughout your life? Throughout the ages, for eons to come? A name like that immortalised in a book with the longevity of the Bible? And yet, when Joshua 2 picks up her story, she kinda wasn't. At that point in her life she had moved on. Two things in the bible tell us this: there was a significant amount of flax on her roof and she had a long length of scarlet rope.

Rahab was a cloth-maker. She had changed careers. The flax that she had stored on her roof was processed in such a way that it could be woven into cloth, and she had enough of it to hide two grown men. She also had a scarlet rope, which I am told was used to dye cloth. Dye merchants would soak rope in the dye and then sell it to cloth-makers who would then cut off sections and use it to dye cloth. I imagine that rope signified a major investment in her business. I don't think that dye was cheap back then. And she used it to lower a couple of spies who were there to take the land she lived in. She used it to save her family. It seems to me that she sacrificed her livelihood for the faith that the bible tells us she had in Joshua 2:11. A faith the went against her culture, everything that she had been raised to believe.

And for what? The slim chance that she wouldn't be killed in the sacking of her city? Can you imagine that? Sacrificing your here and now in the hope that your faith in God will provide security for your future? Tough stuff.

But Rahab put her faith into action. She didn't sit around whining about how awful her past was and how she would never amount to anything. She did something about her circumstances.

And look at what God gave her in the end. A hope and a future. And a place in the genealogy of Christ. Is there any greater honour?

If you want to run with giants, don't let your past determine your future.

Is your perspective and attitude holding you back from the purpose God has for your life? Do you have unresolved emotional issues that are keeping you from the freedom that Christ promises?

I do.

There are aspects to my life that are stagnating because I have not believed that there was anything better. Areas that I have 'swept under the carpet' because they are too painful and raw, so it's easier to just ignore them. But if I want to live an effective life for Christ I can't let His purposes be limited by my lack of faith and trust.

By choosing to not lay down all my failures at the cross and, instead, carrying them around, am I not negating what was done for me? By telling Jesus: No, I'll take that - You can have only this much... By not trusting Him I'm devaluing what He did for me on the cross.

His word to us is: Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

What is stopping us?

You can find and listen to the sermons here.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Jelly Baby Bribery

The end is in sight!

Since this didn't happen, apparently I'm nearing the end of the mothering-small-children stage of my life and I'm starting to realise just how much good can come of the closing of this chapter.

I could study. Figure out who I actually am and not base it on what I am to everyone else...

The future is starting to blossom with possibility!

However there is one thing that needs to be done before I can say that I have released all my chicks in to the world - or at least into some form of daycare...

I have to toilet train Blossom.

Now, some of you might remember my attempts at toilet training The Frog and the hilarity that ensued. I have actually come to the conclusion that only one thing will actually get the minions to start paying attention to what is happening in their pants and contemplating just where it should be going: Jelly Babies. (or jelly beans, or chocolate drops, or yogurt raisins as SimaJ suggests)

Now, I realise that this falls under the category of bribery and corruption and that, in some circles, this is considered bad parenting. But honestly, I don't aim for "good' parenting, just effective parenting. And this happens to be very, very effective.

My kids don't get tons of junk. It's rare that they get lunchboxes with stuff like yogurt or muesli bars, packets of chips or fruit rolls (aka sweets/lollies). Not because I have anything against food like that, but because sandwiches and fruit are more cost effective. And so any form of sweet, lolly etc. etc. is a huge treat.

The promise of one jelly bean will effect great deeds. Like peeing on the toilet. It encourages certain little minions to remember their bladders and other minions to run down the hall with them to make sure they get onto the toilet without falling in.

Bonus. It's a win-win situation. And all it cost was a $4 bag of Jelly Babies.

I predict that day nappies will be a thing of the past by the end of the school holidays.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Alone in the Wasteland

Pieter is away tonight.

He is down in Auckland overnight doing stuff to do with work. He is a very hard worker. Have I mentioned that before? Pieter is one of the most diligent workers that Mainfreight has, they don't realise just how awesome he is, I'm sure...

But anyway, I was just thinking while handwashing the dishes (because that is when my best thinking happens) that, tonight, the ratio of kids to adults is 3:1. I'm going to be outnumbered by a higher number than usual.

And normally that isn't a problem. It's the ratio that I deal with most days, but today is different. There is no promise of rescue, no light at the end of the tunnel. My husband is not coming home at the end of the day to even up the odds, or at least make them even-er.

And it occurred to me that I'm not alone in this. Being a stay-at-home mom is like living in a mental wasteland. There is very little by way of intellectual stimulation and I know that I am not the only mom out there who is grateful for a husband who comes home at the end of the day.

When Pieter walks in the door he is my knight in shining armour. He is my rescuer and I am the damsel in distress. His arrival heralds the return of sanity to my world. The return of adult conversation and the ability to contemplate intellectual concepts without interruption. I am not the only adult in the house and therefore I can relax, just a little.

I don't have to listen to the repetitive songs of Playhouse Disney or Nick Jr. I don't have to get up every two minutes to get an updated progress report on Blossoms systematic destruction of my house. I don't have to wonder if my makeup is safe from her pudgy little hands. I don't have to be the only one worrying whether watching his brother play Minecraft is going to give The Frog nightmares tonight. I'm not the only one wondering why The Jord feels that a webcam on his laptop is essential. I'm not the only short-order cook fielding requests for juice and peanut butter 'sammiches.'

Get it?

I'm so grateful that someone is coming to save me. Someone is coming home to let me be me, whoever that is, and not have to be everything to everyone else.

I don't know how single parents do this.

But it's not happening tonight. Tonight I am it. The only adult.

Pray for me please?

UPDATED: And pray for my brother and sister-in-law too. Andrew has just gone down to Christchurch to be a part of the big rebuild happening down there. Sherri is still up here and will stay until Andrew can find them a house. As you can imagine, with the massive earthquake damage, housing is in very short supply and what there is, is very expensive. She may be alone in the wasteland for a long while yet. Lift them in your prayers too, please?


Monday, 8 July 2013

What We've Been Up To

We moved house... And then the unthinkable happened - we lost The Jord's little kitty, Cocoa. After a suitable period of mourning we got another kitty for him, which he then named Cola.

Get it?

Cocoa.... Cola?

Of course, when we got to the house that was in desperately need of new homes for the fruits of their rather productive kitten season, there were two left, and do you think I could say no to either one of them?

We went home with both.

Meet Cola and Autumn.

And no, I didn't have anything to do with their names!






Blossom has been up to a lot as well, some cute and some not-so-cute:



 
 
This is one of the not-so-cutes. She has demolished several of my lipsticks! 



 


 
And then you see something like that, a random nap after playing dressup. Cute!
 
 
Speaking of cute... How adorable are these:
 


 
Is there anything more precious than a Daddy who cherishes his daughter???
 
Otherwise we are still growing, life is still moving along. How is everyone in the blogosphere?


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Broodiness and Busy-ness!

Just to let you know...

My beautiful friend Lynne from the Valentines Cakes post, had her baby.

Here I am feeling just a little awed at the fact that I get to do that again!

Welcome Miss Marcella Rose!

And another 'just to let you know:' This blog may start to adopt a mild air of abandonment, I've discovered a REALLY cool website that is allowing me to work from home.

Yay...!



Take a look here:


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sunday Sermon Share: Faith Catalysts - Practical Teaching

Luke 6:46-49 NLT "So why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord!' when you don't do what I say?
I will show what it's like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.
It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock.
When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.
But anyone who hears and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins."


We at Elim North were very blessed to have Pastor Bob Lawson teach us today. This man is a great speaker and has a passionate heart for ministry and mission work.

Today's sermon was the second in Elim's Faith Catalysts Series and dealt with foundations.

In my notes I scribbled in a column: What is the foundation of your life? What satisfies your soul?

sidenote: if you're wondering whether tonight's tv program or next weekend's major sporting event might satisfy your soul, be aware, we're aiming deeper here. Read this for an explanation.

Our foundation and our lives should be based in God's Word. The Bible, the highest grossing bestseller of all time, the most translated, and is rumoured to be the most stolen book in the world.

Even if you haven't given your life to Christ, the Bible is full of concepts that will guide you in living a life of integrity and strong character, but I believe it is so much more than a guidebook to living a good life. It's a faith-fueler. 

Anyway, Pastor Bob explained these 6 steps to building a solid foundation:

1. Hear God's Word

Romans 10:17 NKJV Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

(my notes: read it out loud. Pastor Bob mentioned that reading it our loud can sometimes help it to stick. How many times have I read on 'auto-pilot'? Especially right before bed!)

2. Read God's Word

2 Timothy 3:16 NLT All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

3. Study God's Word

Acts 17:11 NLT And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those  in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.

*Studying the Word for yourself is the only real way to ground yourself in your faith, I know too many people who blindly trust everything they hear or read. I've had Pastors in my life who preached a rather warped version of scripture (for a long time I couldn't trust the way I interpreted it myself because of the strange filters in my own head as a result) and then I've had others who urged me to test everything against the Word. Guess which ones I trusted more? 

4. Memorize God's Word

Proverbs 7:2-3 NKJV Keep my commands and live, And my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Psalm 119:11 NLT Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

*Ok, so here's the thing, there is a perception out there of christianity as a religion full of rules and laws. It's actually not. It's a way of life founded in love. The two most important commandments in the Bible are: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. 

5. Meditate on God's Word

Psalm 1:2-3 NLT But they that delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Joshua 1:8 NLT Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

*I don't know anyone who doesn't want to prosper and succeed, do you? 

6. Do God's Word

James 1:22 NLT But don't just listen to God's Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves.
Matthew 5:19b NIV But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
John 13:17 NIV Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

*Please note that the paragraphs with the * next to them are my musings and aren't necessarily what was taught in the service today.

Lastly, Pastor Bob, towards the end of the service, spoke on this verse. 
Luke 16:10-12
New International Version (NIV)
10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

And this really spoke to me. Odd that the verse that wasn't even in the sermon notes is what resounded with me the most. I truly feel that God is entrusting much to Pieter and I in this season of our lives. 
Four kids???? Seriously? 
I am firmly of the belief that our kids are not truly ours, they belong to God and we are merely stewards of His treasures. I'm over-awed that He trusts us enough to give us yet another treasure to love. 


Friday, 22 February 2013

Strange Happenings

I had an entire blog post planned for today, but the oddest thing happened last night...

...something that seems to have eclipsed everything else!

It seems Minion Number 4 will be joining our family in late October.

As I was drifting off into oblivion it suddenly occurred to me that I was around five days late. Not being one to keep track of these things, I wasn't too sure, but thought I had better check anyway.

When those two little stripes appeared I started giggling at the absurdity of the fact that motherhood seems to have become a career for me.

Never saw that one coming!

But anyway, I had an awful attitude towards life in general during my pregnancy with Blossom and I'm determined to face this particular future with a smile on my face. Despite what all of our plans were, there seems to be a greater plan and purpose in the works.

And we'll just roll with it.

Linking up:

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Sweets for my Sweets

 Last week wednesday, my overly (yet beautifully) pregnant friend Lynne randomly dropped by my house loaded up with sponge cake and and assortment of tools that one apparently associates with cake decorating.

Her collection is astonishing!

Her idea was to make Valentine's cakes for our husbands.

As I hadn't managed to get anything for the man, it being the end of a very long pay period, this idea rocked!

Here is a photographic portrayal of the process:

First we cut out the heart shapes.

We added a crumb coat of caramel. (My favourite part of the process!)

Rolling out and colouring the icing. Looking gorgeous Lynne!

The pro at work. (not me...Lynne!)

These were mine...
And my end result was the first photo, as well as these little ones that went out on the day as lunchbox surprises. Blossom's got eaten too fast for a photo. Takes after her mother.




Linking up:

 Show & Tell Thursday's

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Terrific Find Tuesday: Decor Revived

Supporting local and small business owners.


I walk past a small shop everyday and I've been desperate to go in for ages...

The problem is, it's not the kind of shop you really take kids into, or at least not my kids!

I spotted these gorgeous hand-crocheted cushions from the road and managed to dash in and grab a few shots, with the permission of Jill, the owner, before the kids totally lost it.






 In fact, that is why there are only three shots.

By the time I managed to snap the last one Blossom had twisted herself around in the stroller in an attempt to escape, and Roo was begging to explore further inside....
Ummm.... no.

Anyway, from the tiny glimpse I got, Decor Revived is a treasure trove of retro items rarely seen anywhere else. Jill's taste is awesome and I can't wait to go back, sans the minions, of course.


You can find all the pretty here:


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday Sermon Share: Personal Ministry (Faith Catalysts 1)

Bible Verse: Matthew 14:15-18 (NIV) As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."
Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
"Bring them here to me," he said.


I wasn't in church this sunday, I was out in the toddler program doing my bit, but Pieter was, and when he shared the subject of today's sermon on the way home in the car, I almost cried.

You see, it's a subject that has become personal over the last little while.

I started working on the Sparkz Program about 6 months ago. Blossom was old enough to go and they were calling for volunteers to work with the toddlers. Groaning inwardly, I figured that, since my kid was in that program and I was benefiting, it was my duty to volunteer.

In the last ten years I could count on one hand the amount of times I was privileged enough to sit through an entire sermon, surely, sacrificing one sunday in four and ensuring that the Sparkz Program continued to run, I would still be gaining more spiritual input than I had been anyway?

But I dragged my feet.

I didn't really want to do it. I've done childcare for such a long time and, to be totally honest, it just was never my passion. And I fully believe that childcare as an occupation is very similar to nursing or teaching - you truly have to have a passion for it. It's a calling.

I never heard any calling, in fact it was all quiet on the calling front, you could hear the crickets chirping rather loudly in the silence.

Not only was I not passionate about kids, but darn it, I was nearing the end of the stay-at-home-mom phase of my life and I wanted to get to the next bit. Bring it on. Just not kids.... please!

The entire week before my first stint as kiddy-carer, I dreaded sunday. I was nervous, I pictured screaming, inconsolable toddlers and poopy nappies. I fully expected to be in a total state of hysteria by the end of it.

Yup, well, it didn't go that way at all. In fact, it rocked!

I arrived in a fluster and people greeted me, they stopped to chat and catch up on my family. I became a person instead of an anonymous face on sunday morning. Suddenly I was part of the family and I felt included, loved, needed.

There were no poopy nappies. Yes, there were tears, but none of the hysterical kind. And, surprise! Surprise! I was able to console most of them. It just wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and I gained something far more important than the freedom to sit in a service. I plugged into the church community.





Anyway, that personal testimony wasn't the point of the service this morning. At least, not totally the point. Actually, I couldn't say either way, I wasn't there.

The point of the Bible verse was: Just bring what you have to Jesus and watch what He can do. Go and read the rest of the story here. God can do huge things with the little that you have.

You don't have to have any qualifications in public speaking/theology/semantics/intercessory prayer (or any of those rather scary sounding subjects that Pastors study) in order to serve in your church, all you really need is a positive attitude. Heck, I didn't even have that, all I had was a strong sense of responsibility. But it changed...


And anybody can help out. Even you, yes..... you!

Can you smile? If you can smile, you can greet people at the door.

If you have good vision you can guard the cars in the carpark.

If you are ambulatory you can be one of the ushers and pass around the offering basket.

It's not difficult.

And if you have just one grain of confidence, please consider helping out in your local children's ministry. I stopped going to church for years because of what I like to call the "Christian Mommy Exile." What was the point if I wasn't going to be able to sit in church anyway?

By serving in the children's ministry you are enabling mums to actually receive some form of spiritual nourishment on a sunday. And, quite possibly, you will be keeping some families in church, instead of falling away as a result of the futility of mums going for no reason.

Sending sunday love from Elim Christian Centre North.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Thankful

Blogging with this little monster on my lap.

I'm actually just glad it's sleeping, when she's awake, you just never know when or where she'll attack. The favourite thing is to try and claw her way up my legs.

Ouch!

So I'm thankful for moments of peace!
 One of the things I've resolved to do, as a result of this sermon, is to get out of the house more often and do things that don't involve kids or housework.

I had an absolute blast on tuesday working in the church office, playing with the guillotine and phoning people.

This is to become a regular thing - yay!








I'm thankful that a friend gifted me the entire series of these books. I've read them before, and I know the ending, but I'm enjoying them all over again. Because good books are like that, they're old friends  who uplift you with each return visit.

I encourage everyone to give them a try.

The technology is a bit outdated, even though it was cutting edge at the time of publishing. I have a good giggle every now and then, but despite that, I'm still being blessed by them.





I'm thankful for this little monkey because, after having two boys with their rough and tumble ways, her girliness is a continual delight.














I'm also loving her gleeful enthusiasm for life.
Any little thing is a source of extreme excitement!















And those totally delicious curls! Yes, they occasionally go a bit fuzzy, but I love fussing over her hair.

Daughters are just delightful!












And the Roo's enthusiasm for learning!
His mind is so thirsty for knowledge and his perseverance is something I'm very proud of.

You go Roo!












I'm thankful for a romantic husband who left a card next to my bed  this Valentine's Day, that sent me on a treasure hunt to find....














...these, hiding behind the mustard at the back of the fridge!

Can I hear an "awwwwww"?

He's such an incredibly sweet man and I'm so blessed!










Linking up:



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