Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Intentional Living

It is completely blowing my mind that we are less than a month away from Christmas. Where the heck did this year go? I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets to this point in the year and wonders whether I accomplished anything I set out to do during the course of the year. I don't know abut anyone else, but I sometimes feel like I an constantly running to catch up, but that time just keeps slipping away from me.

I have been thinking a lot recently about what it means to live an intentional life. About what it might mean to really live life, not just let life happen. To be purposeful, deliberate and intentional in the choices I make everyday.

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10 (NASB)

Abundantly, or abundance, means to have it beyond measure. I know I want life beyond measure!

Our starting point must be Christ. We can only have true life in Christ Jesus.

But He didn't come down to us to give us life, and then to watch as we spend our time here on Earth waiting for His return. Our lives are meant to be so much more. If we have been given life (both life here on earth and life in Christ) we have been given it for a purpose.

I for one want to make sure that I am doing this.

With what I've come up with so far, living an intentional life looks a little like this: being determined to live a purposeful life, dedicated to serving God wholly. Being steadfast, unwavering and persistent in pursuit of a heart like Jesus, and motivated by love.

I have only really started to hash all of this out. I'm still digging, researching, thinking and praying about what it looks like in practicality to live out an intentional life. I don't think it is something that I will figure out, and then that will be it, I'll have made it. This will undoubtedly be life journey, and something that will evolve as I grow in my relationship with the Lord.

So what about you? Any ideas on what intentional living might look like?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Adoption Videos

I love watching adoption videos on youtube and vimeo, it is seriously one of my favourite things to do. I bawl my eyes out, sob and do the ugly cry. Poor Dave wonders what on earth I'm doing!

I just thought I'd share some of my favourites!

Adoption isn't THE answer to the orphan crisis, but it is one of them, and such an important one. These beautiful children and their stories of being placed in families is a beautiful picture of our redemption and restoration into God's family.

I am hoping and praying the adoption is a part of Dave's and my family's story one day. I don't know how God is going to bring it all to pass, especially with Victorian adoption laws/regulations meaning that international adoption usually takes anywhere from five years to eight years to go through the whole process to bringing a child home.

It is a long and challenging  process, no matter where you are along the timeline of adoption, and while God never promises that the road He walks us down will be easy, He does promise that we will never walk it alone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Like a Monet

Claude Monet: Sunrise

I came across this post last week on Carlos Whittaker's website:

Dear Worship Leader…It’s not your job to…

It’s not your job to get them excited.
It’s not your job to sing a perfect melody.
It’s not your job to make them all love you.
It’s not your job to pray the perfect prayer.
It’s not your job to write the perfect worship song.
It’s not your job to preach a mini sermon.
It’s not your job to have the best looking guitar.
It’s not your job to look like Nathan Finnochio (of if you live in Australia, Joel Houston).
It’s not your job to make all the hands go up.
It’s not your job to sing that cover song.
It’s not your job to connect the sermon to the music.
It’s not your job to get them to put down their coffee cups.
It’s not your job to make them into worshipers.
It’s your job to worship God with every facet of your life Monday – Sunday.
When that happens…
All of the above may follow. Or may not. But you will actually have the credibility to be called a “worship leader”.

I like this.

I also wish I had read something like this while I was still on the worship ministry team at my church.
 I found a lot during my time on my church's worship/music ministry that there was a lot of time (as a team) spent on how we sounded, what the stage set up looked like, how we could "impact" the congregation more, making sure the songs all flowed effortlessly from one to the net, being manic in making sure the emotive music didn't stop during announcements or while the preacher was wrapping up their sermon, and on and on. There was so much focus on making sure that the congregation was going somewhere with worship, I have no idea where that somewhere was but we wanted to take them there.

I also spent a ridiculous amount of time on Sunday mornings making sure that my shoes matched my outfit and that whatever top I had one didn't show the jiggly bits on my arms when I raised them in worship.

I realise now that what I did in a service for 40 minutes on a Sunday isn't half as important as how I lived a life of worship Monday to Saturday.

I also knew that when I was on the team, but I didn't always live it out.

I sometimes think that I live more of a worshipful (???) life now than I did back then. I think it sometimes takes stepping back to see the whole picture more clearly.

A little like a Monet painting.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Refreshing Rain

This is what the sky looked like about 30 minutes ago.

Then this happened

And then hail!

We're now listening to thunder rumble and crash above us. We may have also stood out in the refreshing rain for a few seconds. Then it got a little chilly so we sat at the front door and enjoyed the refreshing spray and cooler breeze after a hot and windy day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

His Splendor

Nature worships Him by doing what it was created to to, displaying their splendor, and ultimately His.

When we do what we were created to do - love God, love our neighbour and share the "Good News" - we display His splendor too. (And His grace, mercy and love!)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Vege Patch

A couple of weeks after we got home from the USA I decided it was time to finally plant a vegetable garden. This is how it looked the day I put in all the plants.

This is how it looks now!

We planted tomato, cucumber, capsicum, jalapeno chili's, snow peas, beetroot, broccoli, strawberries and some herbs.

I tasted the first berry the other day, and this morning I was able to pick some broccoli, snow peas and mint. We have also used the coriander a few times in our dinner!

It's so rewarding to see things growing and to then be able to cook with and eat the "fruits" of my own labour.

I am so excited for the tomatoes to start appearing. I'm dreaming of the salads and sauces I can make from them. Yum!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Always Backup Your Computer!

I realised yesterday that when I had my computer re imaged a few weeks ago (it got a nasty virus - stupid virus, stupid, stupid virus) there were some videos from our America trip on there that weren't backed up elsewhere. Yep they are all gone. Almost 200 videos of LA, Houston, Florida, New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Washington and all the adventures on the road in between, gone.

I was shattered.

I was especially upset to realise we had lost the footage of our tour of Bristol Motor Speedway. Dave had so looked forward to that tour and I know the times at the speedway were important to him.

The one comfort is the fact that we took so many photos that if you flick through them fast enough it's almost like watching a video - just without sound. And I hate the way I sound on video so that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

Dave was super understanding. He didn' get mad or upset, just put his arm around me as I hit my forehead over and over while repeating "idiot" about 50 times. What a man!

I do love him!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Weekend: Barwon Heads

On Saturday the weather was absolutely perfect. Warm sunshine streamed from the clear blue sky. Perfect for an impromptu drive to the beach.

We didn't plan on going to Barwon Heads. Our plan was simply to go get something for lunch and ended with us sitting on the sand, enjoying the view and basking in the weekend!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 31} Where to from Here?

Today is the last day (hallelujah!) of this 31 days series. I am actually quite amazed that I have completed it. I am a great starter of things but not such a great finisher.

Case in point. In year 7 I had to take a textiles class where we had to sew a nine square cushion cover. It was an assignment, something we were assessed on. I never finished it. I'm pretty sure it's still sitting at the back of the linen closet at my parents house. I have no idea what mark I was given for that class.

So I am very excited to say that I have completed this 31 days of blogging.

31 days of talking about people living missionally. 31 days of looking at some missional organisations. 31 days of thinking about and talking about what it means to be missionally minded.

But where do we go to from here?

As I was sharing about some of the people who inspire me I realised something. No two people had the same gifts. Katie Dunlap - mum, wife and photographer. Kellyanne - teacher. Katie Davis - high school graduate. The Hendrick family - pastors.

There is no one gift that makes a person more suited to living missioanlly. The reason? Because there is not one kind of person that God calls us to go and serve. It takes all kinds of people with all kinds of giftings, to go and touch the lives of all kinds of people.

4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly (Romans 12:4-6 NASB)

What God has gifted you with is yours and yours alone to use for His glory. No one else can do what He asks you to do. No one else has been placed with your personality, in your neighbourhood, with your neighbours and circle of influence. That is your mission field. God gifts you with everything you need to serve Him where He has placed you.

Jesus gave three commands that tell us what the missional life looks like.

1. Love God (Matthew 22:37-38)
2. Love your neighbours (Matthew 22:39)
3. Go into all the world and make disciples, who will then go and do the same. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 30} Grace

Being missional is living a life that involves intentionally serving others to win more to Christ through living out and sharing the Gospel.
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” Gandhi

I'm afraid that too often I fall into this category of being very unlike Christ. Yet I so desperately want to be like my Jesus.

For some people their first experience of God is through a Christian. That's kind of a lot of responsibility, and one we shouldn't take lightly. I know I will fail miserably time and time again at being a faithful representative of Him. So does He. That's why He has gifted us.


Grace that is abounding, and miraculous and too wonderful to fully comprehend. And because it is so I want to learn how to love the way He first loved me. Sacrificially, generously, without expectation of anything in return and in such a way that others cannot deny that Christ is in me, and that He is good and cares deeply for us all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 29} Faith Without Deeds...

Being missional is living a life that involves intentionally serving others to win more to Christ through living out and sharing the Gospel.

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:14-19)

We cannot be satisfied with our salvation being the end of our story. Our salvation is really just the beginning. Our lives shouldn't be just about getting saved, but about being saved for a purpose.

Serving and caring for others is an outward sign of what Christ has done in our hearts. Doing good or the "right thing" doesn't give us salvation. We love because He first loved us. We do good to others because Christ did, and He calls us to do the same. Faith first, deeds flow out from a grateful heart!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 28} Love

Being missional is living a life that involves intentionally serving others to win more to Christ through living out and sharing the Gospel.

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.  (1 John 3:16 - 23 NIV)

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV)

Loving others the way Jesus does, seeing people through His eyes, is something I have been praying for a lot recently. And I have to say that the days I do pray this, I am noticeably more patient with people, I get frustrated a lot less (and I am easily frustrated!) and I have a real, deep desire to give more of myself to others.

I know that I can't love people the way God calls me to love on my own. I can only love wholeheartedly, compassionately and without expecting anything in return if I have the Holy Spirit pouring into me first.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 27} Mercy

Being missional is living a life that involves intentionally serving others to win more to Christ through living out and sharing the Gospel.

Luke 10:25-37 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

25 And a [a]lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? [b]How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
The Good Samaritan
30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and [c]beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two [d]denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do [e]the same."
Aren't we the image of the man travelling down the road, and Jesus Christ the loving Samaritan who comes upon us.
Satan loves to rob us of our joy, our peace, our blessings and leave us lying on the road with nothing.
Our Saviour loves nothing more than bandaging our wounds, bringing us to His inn and showing us mercy.
If we profess to love our Lord, we must follow in His footsteps in living out the Gospel. Showing mercy to those in need, binding wounds in His name, pointing people to Him with our actions and our words.

"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Missional Focus: {Day 26} Win More to Christ

Being missional is living a life that involves intentionally serving others to win more to Christ through living out and sharing the Gospel.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19-20

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

If we believe in God, who in all mercy and grace, offers us a way to have a relationship with Him, a way to spend eternity with Him, shouldn't we be living lives that are passionate about seeing the lost turn to Him and find the same saving Grace as we have?

I know I should be a lot more passionate about praying for family and friends who haven't come to a saving relationship with Him.

Why do I want to keep what I have in Christ Jesus a secret? Why do I not act like I want others to have what I have in Him?

I want to be more passionate about being a witness for Him.

I pray that my light might shine bright for Him!