church, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Show Up and Grow Up!

growLife is full of obligations and requirements we don’t feel like doing (think taxes, exercise, going to work, changing nappies).  Sometimes, we get complacent in our relationship with Christ only to find ourselves not feeling like going to church.  We start making excuses and we disconnect from the body of Christ.  Much like someone who puts on 10 kilos of extra weight after weeks of small unhealthy eating choices and too many “snooze-button-mornings” of skipping workouts, we make decisions that not only limit our faith but actually stunt our spiritual growth.

SHOWING UP to God’s house means we increase our odds of  GROWING UP in our faith.

Like anything worth committing to, great rewards come when we attend God’s house week in and week out.  We actually allow God the opportunity to speak to us in new ways; we lead others into His presence through serving; and, we experience life corporately alongside other believers.  I heard a powerful testimony last weekend at Colour Conference in Sydney of a young girl who grew up attending church but struggled to experience God in a miraculous way.  She testifies that she just kept turning up, however.  She never backed down, never gave up seeking God.  And now, she’s grown up and she is actually leading a huge youth ministry impacting thousands of young people.  What if she had stopped showing up?

My own Pastor Lori Champion, has a similar testimony of “showing up” while grieving the sudden traumatic death of her father who was a pastor.  Instead of letting herself go down a path of anger towards God in questioning why this wonderful Godly man could die in the middle of preaching a sermon on a Sunday morning, she just kept getting herself to church.  When she was numb from the pain and grief and didn’t “feel God,” she went anyway.

I run into people all the time who say they love Jesus yet are disconnected from His bride.  This cannot be. Am I saying the only place you experience God is in church?  No.  He is omni-present!  EVERYWHERE!  However, someone saying he wants to be best friends with my husband, but who dislikes me, his wife, probably doesn’t stand a chance at getting close to Greg.  It’s the same with Christ. He is coming back for His church.  His church is his kingdom on Earth, the hope of the world, the place where we find our ultimate fulfillment and calling.  The church is the answer to our community’s problems and needs.  “At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.” (Ephesians 1:20-23 MSG)

So, my friend, wherever you are in your walk with God… let me encourage you:

Show up.  And then Show up again.  People aren’t perfect.  Pastors aren’t either.  The world is full of pain and it’s not God’s fault.  When you’re not happy, go to church.  When you’re hurting, attend anyway.  When you don’t know God and are searching, run to His House and look for Him.  Find a local body of believers and stay when they remind you that Jesus died for you.  Go to a sanctuary where people love you just the way you are.  Connect, dig in, serve, give, and keep showing up.  I promise you that God will meet you there.  And you will grow up your faith and convictions.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4 MSG)

Church planting, Faith, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Juggling

busy1

I remember feeling overwhelmed in High School when I had two jobs, honors classes, extra-curricular activities, and a social life.  I would cry and stress when I thought I would never be able to stay on top of it all. I had similar experiences throughout my University studies and then…

I had kids!  The busy-ness of life went to a whole new level and I looked back at the other times I felt overwhelmed and laughed.  This new job was unprecedented.  Being available to a baby 24/7 without even a chance to plan when I could have a shower was unchartered territory.

Life went on, however; and somehow, we have managed three kids and still have our sanity albeit by a thread on some days!

Then, I moved to Australia to start a church.

Rather than rant about how long the to-do list is, how much spiritual attack I feel I am under, the amount of pressure and negativity that comes against me some days, the unknown black hole that is before me, and the three kids who are still living under my roof, let’s talk about what to do in these moments of overwhelming pressure:

Living in a measure of chaos is part of all of our lives.  No matter what stage or station, we all have stress and burdens that we carry.  We each cope in different ways.  The busier I am, the more calm I become.  It seems illogical, but at a certain point, we all must prioritize, tackle what we can, then…

LET THE REST GO!

For a control freak, this feels impossible.  For a people pleaser, inappropriate.  For a worry-wort, wholly irrational.  For an organized checklist type, insurmountable.

Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.  No test or temptation that comes [our] way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All [we] need to remember is that God will never let [us] down; he’ll never let [us] be pushed past [our] limit; he’ll always be there to help [us] come through it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 MSG)

God never promised us that we won’t have trials.  We have all lived long enough to know life isn’t easy, fair or simple.  For many, life’s difficulties become excuses for dismissing the God I serve.  However, I choose the opposite.  I run to my Heavenly Father as a safe refuge.  I cast my cares on him.  I entrust people to Him instead of trying to control them.  I point people to Jesus and His Word instead of to myself as the Saviour.

As a pastor, I’ll crumble if I take it as my responsibility to please everyone, not overwhelm anyone, or control the periphery ones.  As messy as it all seems with a long to-do list and a short amount of days to prepare, I know that nothing surprises my God.  I can only just keep myself prayed up and full of faith to lead this charge alongside my husband.

In the meantime, I’m cooking dinner and changing nappies (diapers). I’m making phone calls, scheduling dinners and teas, praying for my church, planning Easter service, buying supplies, packing for Colour, leading a prayer group at school, paying bills, ironing shirts, hanging out the washing, answering my phone, going for runs, all with a smile on my face!

I bet you are too!  And if you’re feeling weak and unable, you can pray this:

I love you, God- you make me strong.  God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight.  My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout. (Psalm 18:1,2)