Australia, Contentment, Finance, freedom, Inspiration, Lake Macquarie, peace, Social problems, Uncategorized

“Parrots and Pelicans in a Pandemic”

In all my travels to beautiful Australia before I moved here eight years ago, I couldn’t get over how many amazing birds I would hear each morning as I woke up. Lying in bed hearing kookaburras laugh was so much fun for this native Texan. I fell in love with the pink galahs and couldn’t believe the amount of exotic looking parrots that were EVERYWHERE.

I enjoy running for both exercise and mental health as it refreshes and relaxes me several times a week. Leaving from my house in Lake Macquarie, surrounded by blue skies, bright sunshine and plenty of refreshing salt water feeds my soul. Most often, I run along an old railway track through the bush (Fernleigh Track). I love the sound of the bellbirds and any time I envision myself on that track, I can hear them calling out.

A graceful group of black swans lives just down my street in the giant saltwater lake. Magpies, although annoying and not very savvy, visit our window every morning, banging their beaks into their reflection. Pelicans as big as a smart car scoop up fish right before our eyes while we skip rocks on afternoon strolls with our family.

And what about the cockatoos by the hundreds, sitting on power lines or in the trees out back? I remember seeing those birds in zoo aviaries and I’m in awe that they live all around me everyday, as common as rubbish bins lining my street on Tuesday mornings.

None of these birds seem phased that Covid 19 is rampant across the world right now. As they sing out to each other, I marvel at their tranquility. They calmly roost in amongst our human fear, un-phased by the anxiety. How marvellous their wings! How soft their feathers! How oblivious to the pandemic!

I turn my attention to my beautiful surroundings and I find peace too. I let the stability of my magnificent environment ground me and my thoughts. Today, you might be facing the uncertainty of your finances, the weight of the reality of your stock portfolio, and/or the severity of illness. Take a moment and let yourself draft behind your fearless guide – Jesus. Let him remind you to “Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds” (Matthew 6:26 MSG).

If you turn your attention outward, you’ll find freedom in your current circumstances. Pause and listen to the chirping of the birds outside. Let it be a lullaby from your Lord, reminding you of his sovereign hand in amongst your angst. Breath in some fresh air and reflect on past provision as a reminder of future stability. Your God WILL supply ALL your needs according to his riches.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Matthew 6:34 (MSG)
Australia, Fasting, government, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 17: “Pray for Your Nation”

australiaIf you live in Australia, you love your laid back culture and your mantra when facing a problem is “no worries, mate.” BBQs, beaches and sunshine exemplify your weekend experiences and you bleed Green and Gold. Your nation is peaceful and prosperous for the most part with few world enemies.

You’re blessed.

Remember that your government is in place because God has allowed it. Recognise that no matter what’s going on in politics, which party is in power, or how much housing prices have risen, your God is in control.

He has you where he wants you and expects you to be a good citizen. He loves engaging with your prayers. As you lift up your country today, ask Jesus to bless your elected officials. Ask him to bring peace to your nation and to allow wisdom from above to guide its decisions. Don’t lose sight of your role nor the power of your God. Ask for Christ to be revealed throughout your nation.

And, no matter what the landscape of your life looks like as it relates to your culture and position in your country, learn to embrace it fully and to be content.

“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Philippians 4:12-13).

Australia, Social problems, Uncategorized

Emily’s Voice


The issue of abortion is one of the most polarizing subjects of our time.  People’s strong opinions on both sides of the issue make it difficult to have an open and honest dialogue.  Usually, someone’s agenda is at stake.  Politicians have votes and money on the line; doctors and abortion clinics do too.  Women in crisis have emotions, fear and stress affecting their judgement.  And, many Christians have a “holier-than-thou” judgemental mindset that widens the gap between those who consider themselves “pro-choice” and those who are “pro-life.”

We celebrate medical technology advancements like intrauterine surgery to save a baby’s life on one day; and the next, we see medical professionals advocating killing a “fetus” that’s the same age or older in the name of Women’s Rights.  The prevalence of lies surrounding the subject is one thing.  The absence of truth is another. I believe if most people are given the facts on both sides of an issue, they are competent and capable to make a wise decision on the matter.  When rhetoric and emotion are involved, this is hard to accomplish.

The facts are that at LEAST 80K babies are aborted annually in Australia alone.  And, there is a MAJOR lack of information and resources out there to actually help women (and men) facing a crisis pregnancy situation.  Contrary to popular belief, more than half of abortions are for social reasons, not because a mother’s health is in grave danger or because the baby suffers with a disability. 97% of aborted babies are PERFECTLY HEALTHY.  (Click here for references or to read more facts about abortion.) Sadly, abortion is often the only option a lot of women feel is available to them. We want to help change this in our community.

We have recently personally partnered with an amazing organization called Emily’s Voice which exists to help Australians fall in love with the unborn.  Motivated by love for the mother and her unborn baby, Emily’s Voice uses a clever and beautiful marketing campaign (30 sec commercials, bus ads, billboards) to portray real life stories of people who were faced with an unplanned pregnancy or with the news that their baby had a disability.  Sometimes the ads just remind us that “long before our first steps, first haircut and first heartache, the journey’s already begun in the womb.”  By highlighting beautiful facts about our unique features like hair, feet, or hands, we are reminded of the miracle that is LIFE.

Sadly, one in three Australian women will have an abortion.  This means one in four pregnancies are terminated.  However, 70% of women who had an abortion say they would have continued the pregnancy if a significant “other” had encouraged them. We believe Australians mindsets about abortion will change over time.  Much like the major government marketing strategy to highlight the dangers of smoking (no one actually thinks it’s a wise decision to smoke due to the influx of truth about this disgusting habit), Emily’s Voice will help Australians become aware of the fact that abortion is bad for more than just the baby who loses its life.  The emotional and physical ramifications for the mother are dangerous too.

Because of our own personal experience and passion to see these stats and mindsets change, Greg and I want to help others affected by this issue.  We have a vision to see a crisis pregnancy centre in our city which will provide education and support to women facing difficult situations. After all, if we really care about women’s rights, they deserve to have emotional support and correct information to make their CHOICE.  If you would like more information about Emily’s Voice or to partner with them now, click here.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made! Psalm 133:13-14 (MSG)

Australia, Inspiration, Uncategorized

How Big is Your World?


If you have ever been around pre-school kids, you know they are full of questions.  Their minds are always turning and thinking and they are SO LITERAL! I get the most joy out of chatting with my four year old daughter lately.  She is very clever and NOTHING gets past her.  A few days ago, we were driving and she said, “Mum, is Australia bigger than the world or is the world bigger than Australia?”  I laughed as I tried to give her a geography lesson and I was hit with some deep revelation.

In her mind, Australia is everything.  It’s home.  It’s school.  It’s church.  It’s family and friends.  Shopping and eating, sleeping and traveling.  Her whole universe is what’s right in front of her.  It’s hard for her to imagine anything bigger than her “WORLD!”

The sphere we live in is much smaller than the actual Earth, isn’t it?  I realized as I explained how big the rest of the world is to my sweet girl that nothing outside of her reality really mattered much.  She sort of looked at me with glazed over eyes and moved on to the next topic.

As adults, we are very similar.  Oh, we might understand geography and topography.  We might know demographics and populations.  But our worlds don’t go much beyond what we experience each day either.

Think about it… if you’re like me, your prayers mostly revolve around your own issues and needs.  Your schedule revolves around your priorities.  Your conversations are always about your life.  It takes a conscious effort to actually think about something other than yourself.  To remember

THE world is so much bigger than  OUR PERSONAL world.

I’m encouraging myself today to think about something other than myself!  Let’s all do it and make THE WORLD a better place!

Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. (Psalm 117:1,2)

Australia, church, Church planting, Lift Church, Uncategorized, Video

Launch Rewind Video

So thankful for our talented volunteers!  This awesome night was captured beautifully on video.  Check it out:

ARC, Australia, church, Church planting, Inspiration, Lift Church, Newcastle, Uncategorized

Grand Opening

launch team2

Well, this amazing journey of church planting is now entering a new phase.  Last Saturday, May 11, we officially “launched” Lift Church!  This just means we pushed all of our marketing (radio, mass mailers, FB ads) towards this ONE BIG DAY in order to create some critical mass.  And, guess what?  It worked!

Prior to last weekend, our core team has been holding great services with anywhere from 30-60 people in them.  Saturday, we had 161 in attendance and most were first time guests.  Friends and fellow pastors drove from Sydney, Maitland, and Nelson Bay to celebrate with us.  The service itself was very special and we sizzled some sausages while kids ate sugar and ran laps through the jumping castles afterwards!

Most importantly, one lady made a decision to become a Christian and many of our guests experienced church and God in a fresh way that was upLIFTING, pardon the pun, and actually surprising for them.  Many will return and begin this journey of understanding their Creator alongside us.  Now, we have a great foundation on which to build.

On a personal note, I have to share what meant the most to me on the day…

Our family moved to Newcastle 11 months ago from Texas; we didn’t know anyone here.  We came with amazing training from ARC on how to plant a church, money we had raised from supporters in the States, some experience in pastoring, and that’s about it for the tangible pieces.  Everything else we owned was all tied up in the secret places of our hearts.  Our dreams, vision, and burden was alive in us but we felt very alone.  We believed strongly that God had called us and sent us here; however, we really had NO IDEA how we would get our first members.

One family moved here from TX to help us and then suddenly in July, one more approached us and asked if they could come along (which we thought was quite funny as we really weren’t in a position to say NO!)!  Over the next month, we gathered a couple more people which allowed us to begin “living room church” with five families.

As the weeks went on and one by one we added to this core team, shared our vision, and began putting systems in place and holding serves, a significant shift began to occur.  What was once only in OUR hearts, poured out and took root in OTHER PEOPLE’S HEARTS.  What I saw on Saturday, and what made me weep on and off all day (and again as I type), was a group of about

40 “LIFTERS” who were absolutely SOLD OUT to our vision.

They came early and stayed late.

They moved equipment and decorated.

They shopped and planned and cooked and cleaned.

They practiced playing their instruments and singing.

Their kids joined in the labour of love that was about to “LIFT-OFF!”

The enthusiasm was electric and each and every one of them invited friends and family and were so proud of what they, with God’s help, had accomplished.

This, to me, is God’s Church at its best.  Unity and enthusiasm working hand in hand.  A dying to ourselves and a willing sacrifice in order to provide a place of refuge and hope for the lost and hurting.

When we place our gifts in God’s hands and allow them to be used in the local church, there’s no greater example to the world of Christ’s love and character; and THIS, my friends, is why I love the church.

Before Jesus was captured and crucified, he prayed a beautiful prayer for his followers.  Tonight as I reflect on all that is good in my life, I am praying a portion of this same prayer over Lift Church and our amazing team:

“I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.” (John 17:20-23, MSG)

Australia, Fun, Pictures, Uncategorized

My Christmas Letter

This year, my usual Christmas schedule was “off” since we moved to Australia! Here are some highlights from our year that you might have received in a Christmas letter if I had sent one:


Disney World trip: It was amazing to go to Disney for a week before we moved! I still miss Mickey and dream about another trip to Florida with all three kids.  We left Sammy in TX so he wouldn’t slow us down this time.  It’s only fair to him that we go again ASAP! #wheredreamscometrue


Moving to Australia: We love where God has called us! #newcastle

furniture arrival

Furniture arriving: Our furniture left TX on April 10. We moved into our rental house on June 1.  Our furniture arrived around July 20.  Camping out in our house was old news by the time our shipment arrived.  We were so happy to have our own beds and more than 6 suitcases worth of clothing for the five of us. #stuff

hillsong conf

Hillsong Conference: There’s nothing like worshiping God in an arena with 25,000 people from all over the world. #spectacular


Getting Brett into Belmont Christian College: God provided a way for Brett to attend the great private school at the end of our street.  This has helped us all in our transition. #education

rob and ang


Meeting Robyn and Angie: My two neighbourhood friends who make me feel at home everyday.  From early morning runs, to “happy hour,” baking, and special celebrations for birthdays and holidays, these two girls are already like family to me. #friendship

lift first


First Lift Service: Having our first service in our rented church building was indescribable.  We never thought we would be as far along as we are in building a team in 2012. #blessed



Our First Aussie Members: We were surprised the day this beautiful couple came to us (after meeting at Hillsong Conference) to say they felt called to join Lift Church.  They lead worship too! #answertoprayer



Running Blackmore Half Marathon: I trained throughout winter to run this race so I could experience the beauty of Sydney in a different way.  I ran across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and ended at the Opera House. #lovetorun



Celebrating 13 year anniversary:  I love this man more than words can say.  I am so proud of the Godly leader he has become and cannot believe the journey we are on with our three amazing kids. #truelove

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (Ephesians 3:20 MSG)