divine appointments, God Speaks, Uncategorized

Day 19: “Dream State”

Jabez prayed to the God of Israel: “Bless me, O bless me! Give me land, large tracts of land. And provide your personal protection—don’t let evil hurt me.” God gave him what he asked.

1 Chronicles 4:10 (MSG)

Billie Eilish recently became the youngest artist at age 18 to win four of the top Grammy awards including Best New Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the year, and Song of the Year. She also took home a 5th on the same night winning Best Pop Vocal Album. In interviews with her, she interestingly explained how much of her songwriting came out of various dream states: Night terrors, lucid dreams, nightmares, and sleep paralysis. Isn’t it fascinating  that the world is giving so much credit to a young girl who wrote an entire album flowing with ideas coming out of her sleep?! Her music has an eerie alternative vibe and if you watch one of her videos you’ll believe it came out of some sort of dream because outside of a hallucination they make little sense.

You have embraced 2020 as a “Year of Possibilities” and God has done a work in your spirit over these past few weeks. You’ve spent time meditating, praying, thinking, and hopefully dreaming about your own future, allowing God to speak to you. Even if you don’t have a 54.6 million Instagram followers and a stack of awards for your talent at putting your fantasies on paper, setting them to music and then uploading them to a YouTube channel, you can tune yourself into your dreams and use your sleep time as a time to allow God to speak to you. Billie might not give credit to her Creator for her experiences in the night, but you can!

You dream during your REM sleep even if you wake up with no memory of it. Tonight, ask God to speak to you after hours; have a journal next to you so you can write down anything you remember when you wake up. A lucid dream is where you become aware that you are dreaming while you’re still partially asleep. You can have an idea or experience so amazing in this state that you have the impression it’s real. If this happens to you, imagine yourself alongside Jesus and let him encourage you for your future.

Like Jabez, ask God to enlarge your territory. Envision your family and your work flourishing. See yourself flying high in your calling and gliding through your days with ease like a duck on water. You can transform yourself by renewing your own mind, even while you sleep. With the Holy Spirit’s help and a bit of concentration and awareness, greatness might just flow out of you too!

*Read Romans 12:1-2 and meditate on it for five minutes. What part of your mind needs to be renewed? Aligned with God? How can you transform your thinking today? Are you willing to focus your attention, even when you’re drifting off to sleep, on Jesus and what he wants to say to you? Be willing to put aside your worries, fears, and insecurities; let the Holy Spirit flow freely through you as you seek him at all times during the day.

Contentment, Faith, Friendship, Inspiration, Leadership, Personal Growth, Uncategorized

Visual Impairment

I recently found out I needed a mild prescription for reading glasses and was completely baffled and overwhelmed at all the offerings of frames there were to choose from. It reminded me of my first days of motherhood when I realised this whole world existed long before I joined the ranks. When I walked into the glasses shop and tried on a hundred pairs of frames, I thought, “Everyone who wears glasses has done this. I have never appreciated the pain of what they have gone through.” So, to all you glasses-wearing people out there, cheers to a job well done, making it happen for so many years.

My lenses brought the slightly blurry print into focus and I realised that for a few months, I had been straining to see what was clearly there all along. I had been looking through squinty dissatisfaction that what I knew was there just wouldn’t pop off the page clearly enough to be read.

My husband has needed glasses for several years now and he absolutely CANNOT see anything without them. His misplaced specs must be located before he can read homework, look at my Instagram, or check his sports scores. Without his lenses bringing into focus the world around him he is an outsider. Frustrated at what he can’t find. Trapped in his own head for what is out of reach without help.

When he slips on his Clarke Kent frames, his brow loses its furrow and he can once more connect with the world around him. He participates in the conversation; he contributes and is able to see what was always there.

We understand how two people can literally look at small print and see different things depending on the level of myopia involved. However, near-sightedness affects more than how we read the newspaper. Shortsightedness alters our very life experiences.

Wrongdoings of others cause crooked vision and if left untreated, may lead to blindness.

Prideful judgements introduce dyslexia as we swap our expectations of self for other people's intentions.

Miscommunication and an unwillingness to handle conflict breed cataracts among friends, a live lived askew.

Negativity dulls the world around us. Our vision is clouded, like driving through fog; we slow down and even stop for fear of the road ahead.

Clarity comes when we align our optics, not with physical glasses but with the One who is truly perfect. God, our almighty Creator, is the only perfect lens. Life is never perfect, but God promises that we can trust him because he overcame the world. Living a life of faith means we can’t actually see everything in front of us with clarity as we weave our own imperfect perceptions into our world. We must pause and clean off the debris blocking us from seeing Jesus in our midst. Rose coloured glasses are at our disposal if we will just put them on. It doesn’t mean we deny the pain around us, but the onus is on us to be willing to shift our perspective and view life through the 20/20 Biblical lens God has freely given us to look through each and everyday.

That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. 

2 Corinthians 5:6-7 (MSG)
Community, Lift Church, Newcastle, Pictures, Uncategorized

City Serve

rowly_paint

Since Lift Church is a new church plant, I sometimes struggle with how to juxtapose where we currently sit against our huge vision for the future.  Dreams of a community centre and coffee shop open to the public, hundreds of youth, thousands of people giving their lives to Christ and serving this community together overshadow our current reality!  Although we certainly do not despise the day of our small beginnings, it’s difficult to figure out how we can make a lasting difference in our community.

We recently heard about an amazing project called “CityServe,” and its goal to transform our city together through service.  It seeks to ELEVATE what’s already being done in Christian churches throughout our city, ENGAGE civic leaders and other influencers to identify needs, and to ESTABLISH an annual city-wide serving month which elevates the name of Jesus through making a huge impact.

What a perfect way for our church to be a part of something much bigger than what we could do on our own! Throughout the month of October, churches of every denomination are working on projects all over the region.

We found a need we could meet at the PCYC in Windale.

This club offers all sorts of programs like archery, gymnastics, boxing, judo, and more.  The huge facility houses multiple meeting rooms, an outdoor skate park, and a community garden.  The problem is that the building is in disrepair.  The PCYC lacks the funds to be able to make needed upgrades; and, the amount of manpower needed to clean up the place just doesn’t exist at the moment.  When we came to offer a hand and some finances to spruce up the place, we were readily received!

Graffiti has overtaken almost every blank wall space outside.  And, over time, the club has collected so many “extra” items, that the indoor storage was overrun with rubbish.  We spent about 60 man hours painting a massive concrete wall at the entrance to the club.  This first impression was quite un-inviting before but now looks clean and fresh.

wall_before

wall_paint

wall_after

We also hired a skip bin to remove a lot of the un-needed items which had filled some of the storage space.  Our team quickly filled it to the brim and everyone associated with the club is so happy to have the breathing room inside the facility.

move_junkethan_skipskip2

Although there are many more projects to be completed around the PCYC (and we can’t wait to come back and do more), we are so happy to get the ball rolling in the right direction.  Our church willingly served and gave up their Sunday afternoon.  We had a BBQ and fun time hanging out afterwards.  I love the culture we are building into the foundation of our church that puts others before ourselves and seeks to shine the light of Christ into our city. I pray no matter how large we grow, we always have more vision than we have resource to make a difference and keep moving forward. The best is yet to come!