Monday, 13 January 2014

Active vs. Passive Christian

I want to pose this question to you; “What is the point of going to church if you are not going to let it change you?”

47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Luke 6:47-49

It’s so easy to hear God’s word and not listen, to pray without concentration, to believe without conviction, to have faith without trust and to change without the intention to make a change.

The majority of us are driven individuals, if we want to achieve a specific goal we actively pursue it until we succeed so shouldn’t we carry the same mentality into our walk with Jesus Christ? Shouldn’t we stop at nothing to see our friends and family saved and be compassionate and loving to every single person who crosses our path? I love what Brian Houston says in his new book How To Maximise Your Life, “To have a Kingdom spirit means you have a vision that is bigger than you – you will always be devising generous strategies or plans to bless others.” Jesus actively pursued his purpose without hesitation he was always moving and bringing about change to crowds of people. He never gave up until the very end when “It was done”.

People often like to compare the Holy Spirit to the wind, “You can’t see it, but you can feel it”. If the spirit who lived in Christ now lives in us then we too should be free and moving like the wind touching everyone and changing everything in our path. We can choose to be a subtle breeze or a gale force wind. A breeze is comfortable, people delight in it, but it doesn’t bring about change, the leaves only move a short distance until the breeze dies down. A gale force wind however, is uncomfortable, people try to hide from it, but it moves and affects everything around it. It doesn’t only move one or two leaves but a whole bunch of leaves will soon follow the motion of the wind. I want to encourage you to actively pursue God like a gale force wind, it may make you feel uncomfortable, people may try to avoid the truth, hide behind walls of empty promises but gale force winds are able to bend the firmest trees. You will inspire others to come along with you and with that motion many more people will venture on the journey too. Your willingness to never give up will bend and shape the mindset of those you deem as completely lost. When the truth moves it brings about change.

We weren’t saved just to be well behaved. We weren’t called to push people away but to point them to the way. We were chosen to reach further and make a different with every motion. We made our decision to ensure that people hear the truth with great precision.

You see we are so focused on being loved that we forget that our mission is to love everyone else unconditionally. With the power that Jesus had he could have easily built himself up and become one of the most loved individuals at that time. But he loved us more than his desire to be loved, he delivered the truth and although it made people feel uncomfortable, he was unapologetic about it which led to his crucifixion.
Can I encourage you to actively pursue God’s calling in your life, don’t sit back and allow others to do the job for you. Yes the church may have amazing leaders but you too can become a great leader and Jesus may be our shepherd but “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” Luke 6:40. We will never be Jesus but we can try with all our might to live by the principles he lived by, leading by example in every area of our life.

Jesus left the earth and entrusted us with the responsibility to carry out the message of his good works in the generations to come and nothing feels worse than disappointing your father. Follow God persistently with a pure heart in 2014 and I can promise you that you will see God’s blessing in every area of your life as well as in the life of others. 

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Dawn of a New Year

"The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom." Deuteronomy 28:13

As the sun set on another incredible year, people exchanged laughs about the crazy memories they’ve shared, they reflected on the loved ones lost, new births celebrated and true loves found. They raised their glasses in honour of all they have achieved and all they are going to achieve, all their challenges overcome and their incessant battles won. As we look to Facebook to remind us of our “highlights” of 2013, can I maybe just encourage you to look at the lowlights which weren’t necessarily in the spotlight but have been a lamp unto your feet to get you to where you are today. The little moments that have shaped your heart to be bolder and more courageous, the moments that have stretched you to trust more and to be content with the love that God has for you. If I look at my year in reverse it has truly been the best year of my life, in 2012 God showed me a bit of the world, last year God showed me a bit of His world! I can honestly say that if you can’t sense God in the sunlight, in the smell of the ocean or in the splendour of nature then it’s all useless and the beauty of the world is without purpose.

Who knew that my travels wouldn’t end when I arrived home from London on the 14th of December 2012, but that God had greater travels in store for me, to take me to new heights and to push me beyond anything I could have ever imagined, challenging me to rise above and beyond any obstacle I had to face with surety that His love would be there to catch me when I fall. As humans, love is just as much a necessity as water, light and oxygen, I’m happy I’ve found a love that never runs dry, a love that glows in the dark and a love that makes me feel like I can breathe again, I found my hope and love in Jesus Christ.

Here is a personal highlight reel of everything God has done for me in 2013:

My Job:

When I got back from overseas it was very, very tough trying to get back into the design industry, I went to several interviews all posing different problems, I was praying about it and wanted God to bless me with the right job. I met up with my friend for sushi and she gave me the contact number of the design agency her company uses and low and behold it was perfect, very close to home and they were indeed looking for a new designer but haven’t advertised the position yet. I went for the interview and got the job. During my first 3 months I wasn’t really entrusted with any work so the boss decided to cut my salary to half of what I was originally earning. For the first time in my life I doubted myself as a designer but instead of giving up, I decided to press into prayer and ask God every morning to bless me with more responsibility and then deliverance, and so He did. Each week I got more tasks and more clients and everyone was beyond happy with the work I was delivering, I received an increase and come year end I was running campaigns for huge clients. Sometimes God knocks you off your high horse so that you will become dependent on Him and not on your own abilities. God kept reminding me that 2013 was a year of preparation, and that this job was an “in the meantime job” I held onto God’s promise and now I’m lucky enough to be part of the Internship programme at Hillsong Church next year. The company I worked at was amazing, but I know that God has called me to do something even greater!

The Passing of My Uncle:

My uncle passed away at the beginning of the year, although he was only an uncle through marriage to my aunt, the loss of his life was no less painful. The family fought the good fight, we prayed and I fasted, and we truly believed for a miracle, but unfortunately God took him home. Through the loss of His life, the rest of my family gained life. We have not only become closer to each other but we have drawn closer to God. The loss of my uncle made me realise how desperately I needed to have God in my life which ultimately led to my salvation, and for that I will always be grateful. You see sometimes we have to lose the things closest to us to realise that inner strength can only be found from the sacrificial love of our saviour.

Driver’s License:

After failing my drivers twice in 2011, having my learners expire during my move to London in 2012, I was determined to make 2013 my year. You see some people are gifted with the ability to drive, and then there is me... frozen at the thought of ally-docking and pulling away on an incline. Not having my license made it very difficult to serve at my church so I decided to start this blog in the mean time. I made a promise to God and told Him that if He gave me my license I would serve my heart out. God blessed me with my license but because He always gives you more than you expect He also made it possible for me to use my dad’s car in the evenings as my dad’s working hours were shortened a week after I got my license. I now serve in Hillsong Kids and run a connect group with one of my best friends, Tara.  Can I just encourage you to get plugged in at church during 2014, not only will you develop a deeper relationship with God but you will start to see people the way God sees them, the more time you spend serving and growing in fellowship with people the more you will love them and have a deep desire to elevate and encourage them to become the best that they can be. To love others and to be genuinely loved in return is one of God’s greatest blessings.

Meeting New Friends:

Okay if you know me, or know me well, I’ve probably tried to make you my best friend by smothering you in hugs, adding you on Facebook and/or following you on Instagram. I don’t know why but I have an insane obsession with meeting new people, I wasn’t always like this but it’s become a habit of late. At the start of the year “I was just a small town girl, living in a lonely world...” okay enough of my Journey rendition, but being part of a huge church like Hillsong has its perks and its drawbacks. I found it very difficult to make friends at church especially when everyone already knew each other. After I was saved, I felt very alone, I didn’t really want to party hard anymore but I didn’t have a different group of friends to just chill with when my other friends were out partying, but after weeks upon months of prayer I met some amazing girl friends at Encounter the youth conference and as they say, “The rest is history”. Now I have the amazing Blackpanndjat, 4Shore and my connect girls, yes we name our girl groups because we cool like that. God still continues to bless me with amazing new friends all the time and this continues to be God’s greatest blessing in my life.

Favour is yours for the taking, you just have to be willing to acknowledge and accept the blessing. People often use the term, “Everything happens for a reason” to justify the so called failures in their life, but we sometimes forget that all our decisions should be within reason and that things will work out according to His reasoning no matter what silly mistakes we’ve made or what silly mistakes we’re bound to make. Let’s be sure to make 2014 a year of reason, to guarantee that only the best fruits are produced during each season. May you continue to draw close to God no matter what circumstances you are faced with, this is the only way I can promise you a prosperous year ahead!

Can I encourage you to start your year off on the right with the How To Maximise Your Life Devotional by Ps Brian Houston.