New Adventures (we are moving!!!)

Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He is in the waiting…

Hold on to your hope, watch your triumph unfold, He is never failing… – Kristene DiMarco

We are moving! We have felt God moving us for a while now, we just had no idea what it would like. Earlier on in the year we were encouraged with this verse:

Psalm 77:19 “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters- a pathway no one knew was there!”

We have been holding onto it and declaring it with blind faith, willing to go wherever… In the words of Hillsong Worship, “ready for the unexpected!” And after a lot of waiting, waiting and waiting… choosing to give ourselves fully to the present so that we would remain faithful in every season and in turn be stronger and more equipped for the future.  C.S. Lewis put waiting like this,

I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.”

Little did we know that on the other end of our prayers, there were other people praying and waiting. Trusting that God would bring the right people at the right time to help them. Life Community Services is an incredible NPO that looks after the less fortunate community in George, by providing education, aftercare programs, foster homes, celebration services, etc… For a few years now they have been praying and asking God to send a ministry couple to come and work with them. To help mentor staff, to do pastoral work and to preach Jesus in the community.

They contacted us and since the call, we couldn’t shake the feeling that this was our answer to prayer. This was the pathway no one knew was there. That this was the next door God wanted to lead us through.

We are incredibly excited. Not only for the new adventure but that we get to work together in ministry and we are honoured that God has entrusted us with something that is most dear to his heart, looking after the poor, the orphans and the widows! What a privilege. The best truly is yet to come!

And since we made the decision everything has just fallen into place. We sold our flat in 2 days, we bought an incredible house a week later, we had estate agents and bond originators praying for us and with us. We have seen God straighten our paths in the most incredible way.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for us, who sat with us as we made these decisions and who encouraged us to keep following His voice. This decision wasn’t easy because we both love what we are currently doing but at the same time we knew he wasn’t done with us yet… We can’t wait for our next chapter!

He is faithful!

xxx, The Mays

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A few short thoughts on leadership…

One of the first things I was told when I started full-time ministry was, “If you want to know if you’re a leader, turn around and see who is following you.” And while this saying makes sense in principle, there was something about it I just couldn’t quite reconcile in my heart.

(If I’m placed in a position of leadership, am I only doing a good job if lots of people are following me?)

This morning I read a devotion that put a completely different spin in on it. It put beautifully into words what I’ve been wrestling with all along.

“Sometimes, it definitely matters who is following you but other times it doesn’t at all.”

Sometimes, leaders are the ones forced into the wilderness all on their own to make a way. Sometimes, leaders need to do the unpopular thing, the thing that no one else wants to take a risk on. Sometimes leader’s convictions cause them to stand alone.

Your followers don’t always show your leadership ability. And sometimes your leadership doesn’t always reflect the quality of your followers.

I’m no means an expert on leadership, I’ll be the first to admit that I am young and inexperienced. But what I have been able to do is observe. I have seen leaders with many followers, as a result of their position not necessarily their skill. I have seen people following others for what they can get out of it, not for who they are. I have seen people following others out of fear. Sometimes, power attracts followers more then a leader’s character does.

I have also seen Jesus like leaders with a heart of discipleship who are making a massive impact. And I have seen leaders who are doing things that really matter, trusting God but at the price of doing it alone. (For now!)

The truth is, the Church and this world doesn’t need leaders with more followers. We need more leaders who follow God. Leaders who hear from him, who fear him and who walk with him faithfully and courageously, no matter the cost.

“Leadership is not about people following you, it about you following God.” – Tim Mannin

We need leaders like Jesus, who understood that it’s about serving and loving before leading and growing.

The worlds standard of leadership is not our standard and it shouldn’t be!

So why do I share this, because for a long time I’ve been measuring my ability to lead by a standard I don’t think God ever set for me.

So my only hope and pray out of this, is that all my days, I will lead not by my following but according to who I am following and where He leads me!

Matthew 20v 24-28When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”

Chosen!

“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” – EPHESIANS 2:10

I love that the word is alive. I love that I’ve read this verse so many times before but in this season it reveals something new. Before, all I saw was that I am His workmanship. Which, I agree, is enough revelation on its own! But the other night as I read this verse again it came alive to me and spoke directly into one of my greatest insecurities: does God really want to use me? Other people maybe, but not me…

In a season of confusion and low self-esteem, staring at me in black and white on the page, lay the words, I was “created for good works”. But more then that, I wasn’t just created to do some good things every now and again, when I feel like it. No! I was created in Christ to do things that God has PREPARED for me to do, so that I WOULD walk in them. God created and made me with a plan and a purpose. I didn’t just come into the world and now he holds his thumbs that I will find Him, hold onto Him and live a noble, box-ticking life. He is much more intentional then that! Before I was born, he planned the year in which I would enter this world and the year I would leave. He gave me gifts and abilities, he placed me in the right circumstances, he put me where he wanted me, SO THAT, I can do what He created me to do.

Bring glory to him!

The very fact that I’m living is proof that He has a purpose for my life and a purpose for my everyday.

“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” – EPHESIANS 2:10

We always speak about calling and purpose in church and I think so often we convey the wrong message. Can God appear to us and give us a very specific mandate for our lives? Obviously! But we need to be careful not to lead people to believe that if that “moment” hasn’t happened, they need to live in pursuit that moment for the rest of their lives. I have had conversations with too many Christians who feel incomplete in pursuit of their “callings.”  Meanwhile the only thing we need to be pursuing is God. The only thing we need to be earnestly seeking is Him and His Kingdom and the everyday question of, how can I bring You glory today? How can I remain conscious of Your presence today?

Over and over again in youth I heard the message shouted, find your calling, find what God wants you to do for Him… Which are all very good messages, so please don’t misunderstand me but through conversations I’ve come to realise that that message without proper explanation has the potential to leave many people feeling inferior and confused. Especially, if this vocation hunt is not linked to the church in some way.

I am not a theologian and I don’t pretend to be. But in my honest pursuit of wrestling with my insecurities and fears, I have found this verse as my sense of peace.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

God is far more concerned with my nature, with my heart then He is with my career or vocation. Gods calling/will for me is to rejoice in who He is and all He has given me. His will for me is to live my life in constant prayer and communion with Him. His will for me, is to be content in every circumstance I may find myself in; knowing that this is temporary and that He is greater and that I am His. If everyday this is what I am walking in: I am living out my calling! I am His workmanship, doing the good works He created me to do. I have purpose and purpose has me!

Prayer: God I thank you that You knitted each one of us together for a purpose. I thank you that the very fact that we are alive is proof of Your love for us. I ask for forgiveness for the times we have chased after anything but YOU. Holy Spirit reveal to us how to walk in Gods will for us daily, not based on our careers but based on our everyday actions. Thank you God for Your word that is alive. Create in us pure hearts and steadfast spirits. AMEN. 

 

Pause… a prompted post…

ImageThe noise of cars never leave my ears. Not while I’m out and certainly not while I’m at home. I’m lying in my bed counting each car as it flashes past my window. The road and it’s travelers completely unaware of me as I sip my green tea. Yet I, always conscious of them.

This scene reminds me of something all to fimiliar, dare I say it, life! There isn’t a second from the moment I was born that life hasn’t been happening to me. Obvious right? Every day flashes past my view and every moment gone the next. Unapologetic and unconcerned, life keeps going. Unaware of me as I sip my green tea.

Unlike the busy road outside my window though, I am not always conscious of life. Some days I wake up, I brush my teeth, I eat my meal, I go to work. I do my work, I drive home, I make dinner, I may read or have a conversation or two and then I close my eyes… The next day I do the same, unconscious of life happening while I exist.

But then, my counselor, my comforter the great Holy Spirit reminds me to PAUSE!

Pause, because everyday that life goes on, there is an opportunity for a soul to be saved. Everyday as life goes on, there is a moment to bless someone with a gift, an attentive ear, a heartfelt prayer. Everyday the cars will keep driving all their people to all their places but if we pause we will realize that just across the busy road is an open field.

A field that in spring is dressed more beautifully than the clothes we work so hard to get. There is a field where birds are cared for and find a home. Right across the crazy busy road is a field where a treasure can be found…

When I pause, I no longer see the cars, nor do I count them. As I sip on my green tea, I see a field. A field where I dream, where I live and where I meet with God.

Remeber to pause. Life shouldn’t just happen, it should be lived! And it should always be remembered that wherever we are, in whatever busyness, there are others waiting to live too. But you can only invite them to what you see through your window. So learn to pause…

via Daily Prompt: Pause

Your Presence…

Psalm 63:1-4

“God- you’ re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In Your generous love I am really living at last!”

Spiritual fulfillment it something we all desire…

How do we live in ‘Paul’s’ absolute contentment in God? Content in our circumstances, content with our thoughts and content in our relationships, particularly our one with God. I am becoming convinced, that nothing but knowing the constant presence of God will bring such fulfillment.

Brother Lawrence writes that in order to accomplish this, “it is necessary for ‘our’ hearts to be emptied of everything that would offend God. He ‘longs’ to possess our hearts completely. ‘But’ before any work can be done in our souls, God must be totally in control.

So I guess the question we wrestle with is; how do we empty ourselves? What does complete surrender look like? And then, how do we practice the constant presence of our King?

Last night at church we had a Holy Spirit encounter night, which was phenomenal. The main thing I took from it was Ephesians 5:18 where it says do not do x,y,z “but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit.” In the original Greek, “be filled” means “keep on being filled constantly and continually.” An encounter night with God is amazing but I don’t want to live from one organised encounter to the next. I want to live in the daily surrender of my will and my desires so that I can be filled with His presence constantly; not for what I will get out of it but simply out of my love for Him.

Brother Lawrence- “It isn’t necessary that we stay in church in order to remain in God’s presence. We can make our hearts personal chapels where we can enter anytime to talk to God privately. These conversations can be so loving and gentle, and anyone can have them”

Living in constant communion with God, that is my prayer! If ever I could advise anyone on any matter in their journey with God, my greatest advice would be this; become aware of God’s constant presence in your life. It’s there that everything else finds its place.

PRAYER: Father God, thank you for your Son and for your Spirit. Thank you for one of the greatest gifts in our lifetimes- your presence with us. Help us God to empty ourselves so that you can occupy our lives the way you desire to. Make us more aware of your presence.

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I’ve found a treasure…

“As Christians, we wake each morning as those who are baptised. we are united with Christ and the approval of the Father is spoken over us. We are marked from our first waking moment by an identity that is given to us by grace: an identity that is deeper and more real than any other identity we will don that day” – Tish Warren, “Liturgy of the Ordinary”

In my search to experience Gods presence in a way I have not before; my journey has led me to the pursuit of “being still”. Not striving more, not doing more, not journal-ling more, just being still.  I am starting to feel a rumbling in my spirit, a ‘deep calls to deep’ kind of rumbling. Like the relieving sound of a waterfall in distance after a long hike. You haven’t seen it yet, but once you’ve been parched and sun beaten on your journey, it brings the most refreshing hope. I know my life will be spent on this pursuit but right now, in this season, I have stumbled upon something foundational – the absolute peace and rest that comes from being still in the presence of God. Silence and solitude have become a valuable companion of mine. I have stumbled upon a treasure.

I got to read a sample of Tish Warrens book, “Liturgy of the Ordinary” and as soon as I have some extra money that’s the first thing I am buying. Before you get of bed, before we even start our day, we can stop; stop and meditate on the truth that His mercies really are new every single day. We can know that we wake up approved of, redeemed, found! Before we rush into our days and try remind ourselves of who’s we are in our moments of stress; we can wake up with a peaceful assurance that we are safe because we are His.  I pray that this will become a discipline I treasure. To stop, every morning and KNOW…

“Transformation is actually carried out in our real lives, where we dwell with God and our neighbours…. First, we must accept the circumstances we constantly find ourselves in as the place of God’s kingdom and blessing.  God has yet to bless anyone except where they actually are” – Dallas Willard

Amen.

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