You don’t have to be a Christian to go to Church

I have often heard people say about themselves, “I’m not very religious.” To which I respond, “neither am I.”  They are always shocked by my answer – knowing I go to church. You don’t have to be a Christian to go to church nor does going to church make you a Christian…simply going to church is just religion.

Religion is about well-intentioned efforts to please God and even though I live my life to please God – it’s not out of requirement but relationship.  In the same way, I don’t share my life with my husband out of requirement to fulfil my marriage vows; I share my life because we have a healthy relationship and I want to.

Some people come to church because of the music, some people leave because of the music! Some people come to church because of the strong sense of community.  It doesn’t matter the reason why you come to church – but eventually you will leave if it becomes out of requirement instead of relationship.

I go to church because I love Jesus and I love his church! I totally believe in the Church that presents Jesus to everyone, accepts everyone as they are and brings out the best in people by connecting them to a community of grace. Church is a place to find purpose and a hope that you can not find anywhere else in the world.  Jesus willingly died in our place so that we can live life both now and in eternity.

Church is an environment where my family and I can thrive.  Our church is Bible-based and teaches practically how to live lives the way the Bible teaches us to.  This is actually not all about rules and regulations – but it’s about Godly wisdom that enriches our lives and helps us to live life to the full!

Just like great parents who want the best for their kids, God has given us safe boundaries in which to live our lives.  Children will often complain about the boundaries set because they don’t realise it’s out of love and it’s the same way God has set parameters for our lives.  Life God’s way is actually not restrictive like people think – but it’s the biggest and best way to live life!  A life lived reaching out to others and loving people like you love yourself.

If it’s religion – it’s a lot of hard work.  Why don’t you try a relationship with Jesus – it’s awesome!  See you at Church this Sunday!

 

 

 

 

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Back me up Pumbaa!

pumba

Timon and Pumbaa, two loveable characters from The Lion King. They were outcasts who had each other’s backs, which is expressed in the phrase ‘back me up Pumbaa’ when Timon and Pumbaa are singing “Hakuna matata” together.  The only problem was, they reinforced this self-centred worldview of being ‘problem-free’.

Simba was destined to be King of Pride Rock.  His upbringing was elite, it was royal because his father was the King.  He had been privileged to certain things and his father passed on wisdom to him.  In a scheme to ruin his destiny and steal his place as King – Simba’s Uncle Scar set him up and sold him a lie that made Simba run away.

Simba found himself in the company of Timon and Pumbaa and they taught him a new philosophy on life that went against the way he knew.  He was being groomed to be a King, he was meant to rule with wisdom and care for others; but instead found himself only living for himself in a seemingly problem-free way of life.

If we are a part of God’s Kingdom, then we are privileged to a royal upbringing  because our heavenly father is King.

Just like Simba’s Uncle Scar was scheming against his destiny with lies – we too have someone scheming against the destiny God has for us.  The Bible teaches us in John 10:10 when Jesus says:

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Jesus’ purpose for us is to give us a rich and satisfying life – but we have to chose to live life his way, live life with Godly wisdom.

Have you ever asked a certain person’s opinion on something because you knew that they would support you and then avoided someone who you thought might try and persuade you otherwise?

Do we seek Godly wisdom in our lives or do we just want to be ‘wise in our own eyes’?

Our sinful nature wants to be wise in our own eyes.  This was evident in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan.  Eve wanted the wisdom the fruit would give her.

I would sum up Godly Wisdom as being Biblical convictions outworked in the way we live our lives and base our decisions on.  It is through personal relationship with God and his Holy Spirit that teaches and equips us to realign our hearts and attitudes.

Godly wisdom is taught in the Bible and caught through relationship with God’s holy spirit.  

Godly wisdom can seem so contrary to reason sometimes and it’s only when we apply his wisdom in faith that we can start to see the fruitfulness that it brings.

We are taught that it is more blessed to give than to receive, that if we want to be the greatest we have to be the least, that we need to enter the Kingdom of God like a child, that we only need faith as small as a mustard seed, to consider troubles an opportunity for great joy.

If we want Godly wisdom in our lives, we need to be intentional – because most often it is the opposite to what comes naturally.

1. Godly Wisdom sees opportunity when we naturally see trouble

2. Godly Wisdom chases the responsibility when we naturally chase the title and accolade

3. Godly Wisdom seeks wise counsel when we naturally want affirmation

James 1:5 says:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.

We all need Godly wisdom and it’s only one prayer away!

 

 

 

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Just Imagine!

car

I had imaginary friends when I was a little girl – they were twins and their names were ‘Greener’ and ‘Grasser’.  It has been such a thrill to watch my 2 year old son develop his imagination.  He pretends to play with some of his real friends as well as the main character from the movie Frozen – Arna.

Yesterday morning he was playing on our front verandah and there was a bird sitting on the railing.  Israel said to the bird, “hello bird, how are you?  Bird – watch me, I’m fast!”  I giggled to myself as he showed the bird how fast he could run.  It was a lovely moment.

I am however a little concerned about his imaginary play with his cousin Jude.  Jude is the same age is Israel and they adore each other, but they also fight a lot.  Even when Israel is imagining playing with Jude – he imagines they are fighting over toys.  I watched him in his room as he looked like he was wrestling over a toy car and saying, “no Jude, my car – my blue car.”

His imaginary play with other children and characters is always lovely, but he has it stuck in his mind that he fights with Jude.  Then of course when they get together in real life, they fight.  We always discipline the boys if they are not playing nicely together and I have started to address this in his imaginary play too, because obviously it his shaping his reality.

I think this is a powerful analogy for our thought lives.  What we allow to go on in our thoughts and imaginations shapes our reality.

 

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The Whole Deal

2 Corinthians 13:11

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

I love the thought of living a whole life; one that is healthy and balanced in every area.  A life lived in such a way as to not only make your life better, but other people’s lives as well.

Some days feel all too overwhelming and it’s when we allow ourselves to feel snowed under that we don’t end up achieving much at all.  If we make excuses and stop pushing ourselves to do more and to be more, we end up with shrinking lives that can barely meet our own needs, yet alone help to meet the needs of others.

So in the midst of your busy life take a moment to evaluate your life and just ask yourself these two questions:

1. Am I allowing myself to feel overwhelmed?

2. Do I believe my life can make a difference?

Jesus was the greatest example of a life lived for others and yet he also showed wisdom in how he made sure that the basics in life were covered so that he wasn’t overwhelmed.  We all have moments of feeling overwhelmed, but do the basics to make sure you don’t stay there.  Eat well, sleep well, exercise and spend time with God.  As much as the life of Jesus was lived for others, he would withdraw himself away from people to make sure that he was refuelled ready to go again.

It takes a lot of pre-planning to live a life that blesses others.  Firstly, we need a conviction that ‘my life can make a difference!’.  When we believe that, we can look beyond our own needs and look to the needs of others and already our lives start to be shaped differently.

There is so much more we can learn, so much more we can be.  One of the best things about being a Christian is that sense of purpose and to know that personal growth comes through getting to know your creator.  When we get to know our creator better, we learn so much more about ourselves and the potential that our life has.

But I want to be more than just potential and with God’s help, he can help me achieve the life he has for me and the same goes for you!

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Thank-you!

download My 2 year old son Israel is catching on quickly to using manners.  He certainly uses ‘please’ when he really wants something and thinks that he can get anything he wants when he uses the ‘magic word.’  His response to things he doesn’t want now most often sounds like “no thank-you” instead of  “NO OK!”

Manners are a good habit to get into – but even more so is the heart behind manners; to be thankful and honouring.  When Israel says, “thank you Mummy” with no prompting, it is a really nice feeling.  I bet God feels the same when we take the time to thank him for things. I was out on a run the other day – I’m not a huge runner – it was only 3km, but the small time of freedom by myself is amazing when I get the chance.  I just ran laps of our block and so I passed our house 3 times.  Each time I prayed over our house, I thanked God for the amazing family I have, the amazing Husband and Father that Ben is.  My heart was just exploding with gratitude!

I must admit that before the run that I was focused on the fact that I hadn’t gone for a run in about 6 weeks, because unless I want to run with a pram packed with two kids – I need someone to watch the children.  As I went for the run and shifted my focus, I was lifted out of that limited mindset.

Colossians 4:2 

                ‘Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.’

I know for me going for a prayer run helps my mind to be alert and focusing on thanking God for specific things gives me a thankful heart.  Take the time out of your day to be thankful.  Having a thankful heart lifts us out of limited mindsets.

God is good! What can you thank him for today?

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Who Do I Want To Become?

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Great thought – who do I want to become?

I was encouraged to dwell on this thought after listening to a message by Bill Hybel and to make a schedule that is inspired by this thought.  It’s easy to plan our lives around the pressures of the things that need to get done, but it’s important to live out our lives and plan our schedules around who we want to be.

I’m in an amazing season of my life as I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my beautiful young children: Israel 2 years old and Sophie 2 months old.  It is very different to being employed – where there is a lot of measured productivity and great sense of achievement.  It’s crazy how full your life can be when you are at home with children, it’s a job that is 24/7 – especially with a newborn and yet when looking at planning a schedule, it is a very strange task because I can schedule all I like in, but if Sophie needs a feed when I have scheduled ‘exercise’  – Sophie’s feed needs to take priority.  If it is normally Israel’s nap time and so I schedule time to read my Bible – but Israel decides that he will boycot sleep time and do everything he can to avoid having a sleep, it doesn’t happen.

It’s important to understand and appreciate the season you are in.  I can still schedule and be fruitful in achieving who I want to become – but it may look a lot different in this season compared with other seasons.

I want to become a God-seeking, family-focused, people-loving, generous-giver.  I want to become a respectful wife, a leader of significance, woman of integrity, Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother, healthy, happy and fruitful for the Kingdom of God.

Who do you want to become?

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Distress Drives

steering wheel

Distress can drive us to or away from God – it’s our choice.  Distress that drives us to God brings no regret, but all gain – as God turns it around for our good.

In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul talks powerfully about this concept:

Now I’m glad – not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around.  You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him.  The result was all gain, no loss.  Distress  that drives us to God does that.  It turns us around.  It gets us back in the way of salvation.  We never regret that kind of pain.  But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed with regrets.  And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which distress has goaded you closer to God?  You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible.

My son Israel loves sirens – as soon as he hears them he says, “Mum – ear orr ear orr.”  Then when the sirens stop, he says, “More!”  He wants me to make more sirens happen and I have to explain to him that I don’t make the sirens happen, I’m not in control of it.

Like little children look at us for all their needs, we need to have that same trust in God.  There are limitations to what I can control for my son – but God has no limitations.  When are circumstances are bringing limitation, when we are in distress – let’s make sure we allow the distress drive us to God.

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