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)
Community, Hunter Region, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 17: “Your City and Region.”

Your people will rebuild long-deserted ruins,

building anew on foundations laid long before you.

You will be known as Repairers of the Cities and

Restorers of Communities.

Isaiah 58:12 (TPT)

Chances are, if you don’t work in government of follow politics, you don’t give much thought to who is running your local council, nor your state or federal government on a daily basis. If you live in a first world country like Australia or America, you probably take for granted hospitals, firefighters, and police. Your children have access to public education and you are governed by laws that protect you and serve to keep peace and order in your community. You have beautiful parks to take your children to play and your roads are smooth and safe. You are blessed.

Today, set aside your time of prayer to specifically lift up your community servants and your elected officials. They are the important people making all the aforementioned services and entitlements tick like clockwork for you. 

Kingdomworks, a Christian organisation which aims to bring unity among the spiritual leaders throughout the Hunter Region, recently spearheaded a mighty movement. Various churches and Christian business owners have chosen one day each month to pray specifically for three things: oneness in the body of Christ, for the Good News to capture hearts, and for a spiritual awakening across the area.

If you don’t live in the Hunter, why not use this as a catalyst to pray the same over your particular region? You might even lead the charge to create a similar movement in your neck of the woods. Why not be a repairer of your city and a restorer of your community through prayer?

* Read 2 Chronicles 7:14. What does it mean to humble yourself and pray? What “wicked ways” are prevalent in your community/state/country which might be inhibiting a move of God? Pray against those and intercede for your city today.

government, Newcastle, Series, Uncategorized

2015 Fasting, Day Two

Read 1 Kings 4:29-34

King Solomon ruled over all of Israel. He had great success and provision during his reign and was known for his wisdom. 1 Chronicles says God gave him wisdom because he asked for it. He didn’t ask for wealth, possessions, honour or the death of his enemies. He wanted wisdom and knowledge for how to lead the people.

Do you ever feel like you need answers? Or wish that your children would come to you for answers as you watch them struggle to make decisions? We can actually pray and ask God to make us wise like Solomon did. Knowing God has all the answers for us, let’s specifically seek Godly wisdom during our fast.

*This week, we are lifting up Newcastle and Lake Macquarie in prayer in addition to whatever you are personally bringing to God.

Lord, before I chase after anything this world has to offer, I first seek YOU and your wisdom. I know no matter what I face, you hold the answers for me. I pray you would speak to me through your word and guide my every step. Also, I lift up the leaders of our city. I pray for our Government officials, school administrations, council members, and anyone with influence in our community. Please guide them. Give them great wisdom as they make decisions that affect the ones they lead. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Contentment, Newcastle, Pictures, Uncategorized

Stop and Smell the Roses

I’m amazed at how many people in my BEAUTIFUL city complain about it or say negative things.  No matter how many other beautiful places around the world there are, I refuse to look around at this:

IMG_0084
Newcastle Beach (20 mins from my house)!

And this:

lake
Lake Macquarie (5 mins from my house)!

And this:

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Lake Macquarie from Green Point Reserve (5 mins from my house)!

And this:

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Blackbutt Reserve (15 mins from my house)!

And think anything except, “GOD, I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU CALLED ME HERE!  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!”

Oh, how sweet the light of day,And how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour… (Ecclesiastes 11:7 MSG)

Australia, church, Newcastle, Timing, Uncategorized

Preparing the Way

Just as God sent John the Baptist to “prepare the way” for Jesus on this earth, we are continually amazed at what God has and is preparing for us in Australia.  As we are stepping out to follow God’s voice for our future church plant, we have discovered some exciting things about the Hunter region where we are going.  With an approximate population of 645,000 people, this area extends from the North side of Sydney about 75 miles.  The city of Newcastle and Lift Church are going to be centrally located within this area.

When we picked the place we wanted to re-locate and plant our church, we asked God to close the doors if He didn’t want us there.  So far, there have been nothing but green lights.  We never had any super-spiritual reasons for choosing it.  We like where it is on the map in relation to Greg’s family and Sydney.  We like the population, weather, and proximity to the ocean.  That’s about it.  Well, we are continuing to be amazed by how much God is positioning us for an exciting time in the region.

While visiting Australia last month, everywhere we went, people were raving about the Newcastle economy and growth.  We found out 200,000 people are predicted to move to the Hunter region in the next decade.  Housing developments are thriving out West of Newcastle with projected growth in just one suburb already mapped out for the next seven years.  The mining industry is booming.  As a matter of fact, this was the front page of the newspaper the saturday before we left:  

The article says “the Hunter is defying an alarming industry trend to cement its position as the most productive region in Australia.”  While 53,000 people lost manufacturing jobs in 12 months across Australia, 4000 have gained a job in this sector in the greater Newcastle area during the same 12 months.

It is exciting to be in a city where there’s a buzz and energy about the future.  People love living there and are positive about the years to come.  The economy is thriving and there is an undercurrent of something great that you can “feel” in the city.

The growing economy is just one area God is touching in the region.  He is laying the groundwork and “going before us” to prepare the way for people to hear the Good News about Jesus Christ.  The Bible promises that the LORD himself goes before us and will be with us. It says he will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:8).    We are continually being reminded that this endeavor is not about us. God is moving in Australia.  Revival is coming.  We are just being allowed to be a part of it.  Rather than looking at what we are doing as a way to pat ourselves on the back for our great faith, or to promote ourselves as church leaders, I am daily being humbled at the fact that God would choose us to play a small part in what He is doing in the Hunter region.  We declare the promises of Isaiah 55 that we “will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.”