Posts Tagged With: church

Why I don’t write

I often have a conversation with myself as if I was writing for this blog. I so want to update this and write what is going on. And yet, I find myself with countless unfinished posts. There are a few reasons why the posts never get published. And one of them is not that life has become dull. On the contrary. It is rich. We are still seeing miracles and salvations. We are still seeing devastation and sadness.

The real reasons I have not been writing, I will try to explain here. And maybe a few will get it… and the others of you may just think I have clearly lost my head ūüôā

1. It (meaning life in the Alice) has all become so normal that it feels that I would be writing about the mundane, regular (which is by no means a lot of people’s regular) routine. Ok routine is probably too strong a word… but the rhythm of our life although to others hectic or bizarre, just feels the norm to us… so I struggle to know what to tell that would be of some interest.

2. It has become more personal. More real. Most of the people I would want to tell the stories of have become deeply connected to me and my family and to their families. Sometimes, I feel like it is sharing secrets (and although I have always as much as I can sought permission to share what I do) I don’t know how to explain some of the stuff I see. It is much more involved and complicated than it first appears.

3. I don’t trust what some people will do with what I have written. Some people like to take things out of context. Some people like to glorify it, and use that as an excuse about why they are not living a ‘naturally supernatural’ life. Others, use my posts as a way into the people’s or their families lives and do more harm than good. And I know there are others of you that are just encouraged and encourage me: so please for those of you in that category forgive my rant ūüôā ).

and lastly,

4. I haven’t known how to say, that as good as it is here, and as wonderful as it is to see God move and transform lives, ¬†there is also a whole lot of bodgy stuff going on here, and I’m not talking about the non-believers… and that sickens me and saddens me and angers me, and I have been seeking the Father what I do about this that will help bring change and I know for this to occur I will need to do it in His Spirit as it won’t be effective otherwise, I will be merely joining them in their self-glorification, etc…

So… maybe now this is off my chest, new things will merge. new posts will appear… I want¬†to share some of the testimonies, just not sure how or when.

Let me say how grateful I am for those of you who pray for me and my family. We seek in our lives in all things to honour Christ, to love people and to be transparent. I expect that other believers will do the same, and find myself hurt when they aren’t and don’t. But I suppose that gives me more opportunities to forgive, just like Christ forgives me :-). (Perhaps I should be like some of my friends who say they never have any expectations on people and therefore never get hurt or offended- but I don’t seem to be able to do that without shutting people out emotionally). A wise friend of mine has said we have to learn to be expectant without any expectations. When I have achieved that, I will let you know ūüôā in the mean time, please continue to uphold me in your prayers and I too will uphold you in mine.

Bless you,

Reb

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the year that was

So apparently 2013 has come and gone already. Wow. What a year.

We have been in Alice for almost 2 years now and this was definitely packed in and a time of growing and learning. I had a read of my personal journal entries from last year, and was interested by a post written in January. I felt that God had said that it would be a year that I would need to hold on tight, and had the verse ‘those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, they will not be moved (or shaken)’. Oh my, if only I had knew what truth that verse held for the year to come!

Allow if you will for me to reflect on some things I have learnt and/or been reminded of in this last year.

1.¬†Jesus when he was on this earth never put much weight on whether people approved of him or not, because it says that he knew their hearts and how fickle they were (are ūüôā ).

This has been helpful for me to remember when I’ve found people flattering me or when they have been outright slandering me, or the one’s that think they are above me. Jesus’ response teaches me to get to the place where I can respond in the same way (not that I have fully achieved this, but that I am aware of it is on the way). Jesus knew where to get his worth ,from his Father… and me? I’m working on doing the same, because the Father’s thoughts on me are unchanging.

2. Doing things scared is much better than not doing it at all.

2013 was a year of me starting to take risks again. I did things I would have done years ago, but that I had  stopped because I had let fear of man and failure creep in. I went in a 24 hr dance marathon with some friends (turned out to be one of the highlights of my year), I sung solos, I entered a 24hr film comp, I directed and performed in a drama in front of thousands of people.

3. Forgiveness isn’t the same as denial, it is freedom.

This year I came to some realisations that people I had cared for deeply, didn’t care the same for me, and my expectations of them to care had just allowed hurt to fester in my life. Other people had treated my family badly and still treat us with disdain even though we weren’t at fault. We have been let down countless times and the list goes on… I assume you could all write your own stories :-)… BUT God was teaching me a deeper forgiveness than I had experienced before. It was literally like he was walking me through some very¬†dark places ¬†but we did not stop there. I felt raw, but could feel his deep healing working as he unveiled truths (not always pleasant truths, but truths nonetheless). These truths are to allow me to still be in contact with these people but go in with my eyes open, deal with things in my own heart and guard against attacks from without.

4. Don’t get distracted.

Look after the people God has entrusted in our care. Keep the main thing, the main thing. Protect the sheep from the wolves but let God deal with people with their own agenda.

5.¬†God’s grace IS sufficient for me and His power is made perfect in weakness.

Sometimes I have felt so tired and not enough time to stop. But it is in those times, when I have not much of myself to give, that I have seen God work in His miraculous power. I’d pray for someone and they would begin to get excited and they would be healed. Or they’d ask what they might do to be saved. Or there’d be a stack load of kids turn up hungry for learning the Bible. Or the latest one, he would multiply our dinner to feed all the people who just randomly showed up at our doorstep with nothing. Just love how our God does that. Mostly, it reminds me, it’s not about me… It’s about HIM… It’s always about HIM ūüôā

AND lastly but not least

6. Laugh. Lots. Let your hair down. Never forget where you come from, but don’t get stuck there.

 

Bless you all. Thanks for taking this journey with me. I pray that 2014 is a year you say yes to God and what he is doing. I’m going to give it my best shot. And if last year was the year of ‘hold on’ or ‘stand firm’, ¬†then this is the year of ‘thrust’,20130911_160722 of moving forward, of breakthrough. Get ready to run. It’s going to be fantastic!

Reb

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The word of their testimony

The team from Stirling Source Church in South Australia arrived on our doorstep last Saturday afternoon not knowing what the week ahead might hold for them. Most of the team were seasoned yearly visitors to the Alice, but this year we decided to change things up.

For many of them, it was the first time they shared their testimonies. A few of them felt they didn’t really have much to share, but as they looked over their lives they realised that God had taken them all on a journey, and they could speak of God’s grace and faithfulness on their sometimes difficult and individual paths. As the week progressed, so did their confidence, and people were moved and the

team sharing at the hostel

opportunities for prayer increased.

Never underestimate the power of  your testimony. As said in the book of Revelation

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death

Our testimony is one third of the integral way we overcome the enemy, and the team got an opportunity to see how powerful their testimonies are. People responded with wanting prayer (experiencing God healing people), to others wanting to share parts of

their own stories as well as experiencing people come to salvation and rededicating their lives.

The testimonies were one highlight of an extremely hot and challenging week for the team. Another was their faith in action, doing some yard blitzes for those unable to do so themselves. This was a blessing to the families as they saw people who barely knew them working hard to make their lives easier.

One of t

he ways some of the team ministered to us was when they took time for our children. In particular, Becky and Vanessa who gave up some of their ‘free time’ to play with the boys and teach them sewing. Thanks ladies, this was beautiful.

My prayer for this team is that they will grow in their knowledge and understanding of their God the Father who was willing to lay down his most precious possession for them, his Son, and that this will spur them on to live a life of good works as an outworking of His love in them.stirling team

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the eyes have it

God is moving. well actually, He never stops moving, we just become more aware of the fact sometimes.

At the moment, He seems to be particularly interested in eyes. A couple of weeks ago, whilst praying with a lady from church at a connect group she had healing to her eyes. Hopefully you can read below….Image

And then, this Sunday we were just about to start our Sunday worship service and a lady who was singing who needs glasses to read any print, kept taking her glasses off and cleaning them because she couldn’t see the print properly, it was all foggy… after a couple of times she looked at the sheet without her glasses, and could see the words perfectly. She put her glasses back on. foggy. took them off. Clear.

Her eyesight was healed! Saw her this morning, and she’s pumped about reading her Bible without her glasses…

Seems like it’s a season for eyes to be healed. And just like in the natural, so it often is in the spiritual.

Last Sunday morning, there was an amazing time in the Sunday School room. We were teaching on how Peter and John were on their way to the temple and were asked by a lame man for money, but money they didn’t have… but because of Jesus… when they prayed, the man was healed and began to walk and leap and praise God. We then shared the stories that are happening around us and that when they say yes to the Holy Spirit and Jesus working in their lives the same things can happen with them when they pray. Their spiritual eyes were opening…

The children were ¬†all (miracle in itself)¬†¬†standing, worshiping God, and we asked if they wanted prayer to close their eyes and put their hands out. Well they all wanted prayer and waited as we went round from child to child. All were touched by the Holy Spirit and a few after were saying they felt really wobbly on their feet as we were praying. I look forward to hearing what miracles Jesus does through these children as they step out in faith….

Exciting times.

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the heart and Body

Alice is literally in the centre of Australia, and some have gone so far to say it’s the heartbeat. So if it’s where the heartbeat of our nation is at, then we had better look after it, as I’m pretty sure the heart is a vital part of us sustaining life. Right? ūüėČ

People come and go from this place, some unmoved by the atmosphere but loving the landscape and blue skies, others disillusioned by the hardness and dreams lost and buried here. Others are awakened here… they sense the heartbeat calling them in, drawing them in to new things and adventures untold and the deep wells of spiritual wealth in this place… and so they come. For a short while or long. Some fly in for a whirlwind tour to scout the land and feel their way and encounter new things. Others leave everything behind and come to sow their lives- some last that out, others leave from the sheer magnitude of life in the desert with its challenges and obstacles and tireless needs.

Over the last month, we have encountered many new faces and some old long-time friends who have all been drawn to this wonderful place our family have come to call home, and the exciting thing is, they have all sensed the same thing. God is doing a new thing. He is preparing the soil for a new and fresh outpouring of his Spirit and His body (His church) are getting hungry, and are awakening from their slumber and listening to the call for harvesters. Some are finding their feet and where they fit in with what God is doing here.

This week in particular we have had visits from some beautiful people who have encouraged our souls and prayed with and for us. This prayer and worship time was refreshing and just what I needed and didn’t know it. The body of Christ was doing its job. Edifying one another and spurring one another on. The coolest thing about it, was that these people were unknown to me. We were connected by our love for Christ and a love for people. The rest naturally followed. I am very aware that we often get caught up in the natural world we live in and forget about how the spiritual or supernatural is intricately intertwined in our lives… but as Watchman Nee said we are spiritual people having a natural experience, not the other way around. When we walk with God close, our lives don’t look the same as others. Our cravings are different from others, and we find ourselves in awesome experiences and being a part of naturally-supernatural moments.

The body of Christ is an amazing family, that reaches far past our nationality, language, culture and family ties. Jesus binds us together, that we can feel connected to a believer whose baby needs prayer in the Philippines, to an Indigenous man riding his horse over Australia to reach people for Jesus, and to a bunch of Koreans who come and sing and pray at your house just because they love the Lord and were obedient to His call. This body is made up of a bunch of once unruly, misfits, thieves, slanderers, murderers etc who have now laid down their former lives and said yes to the gift of life from Jesus Christ… a motley crew who, with warts and all, God chooses to outwork his grand plan of giving people opportunity to once again commune with him.

I love this body, and thank God I’m in Alice, where I get to see all these people come in, wanting to be a part of the heartbeat of Australia, be a part of its call and where I get to see daily, my God at work in ordinary people who are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of Jesus. I believe as we lay aside our own agendas and how we think things should pan out, we’ll see God weaving his tapestry and we’ll begin to flow in time with Him and see even greater things than we can imagine. This heartland of Australia will begin to beat in time with His heart and bring healing first here and then flow on and on.

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Jesus healing

On Wednesday we have a bible study for some new Christians in our church, this particular week for different reasons we only had one lady show up, and so rather than do the formal study we asked if there was anything she would like to know about. She said that she wanted to know more about the story from the kid’s talk on Sunday which was on the theme ‘i want more’. We discussed the passage about the woman who came to Jesus persisting he listen to her. From there we talked of her family and how God had been moving in their lives and she told us of her brother-in-law’s sister who was staying with them at the moment. This lady has been bedridden. She has so much pain in her back she even eats lying down. She had tried everything from doctors to witch doctors and other healing methods, but she hadn’t encountered Jesus. So we shared the story from Acts 19 where Paul prayed over some handkerchiefs and aprons and the people got healed.

We asked her if she wanted us to do this for this lady, she was keen but had nothing of hers with her. so, we prayed over a tissue and believed that as our friend took it home the lady would be healed.

And she was… Our wonderful Jesus, showed up.

She is now sitting up and eating, and the pain is gone! Others in the family wanted to touch the tissue to get a touch, but we know there’s nothing special about a tissue… it’s the power of Jesus, alive and real today, working through his people, who are asking and open to his touch. And then that faith being transferred to others because they see a powerful God at work, who is intimately involved with our everyday lives and struggles.

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Another bus story

Ben (my husband), has done quite a bit of study on building inter-cultural relations and one of the things he has shared with me that has stuck with me: ¬†that they (not quite sure who¬†they¬†is, but let’s just go with experts in the field) say that humour does not cross cultures. You cannot assume that something funny for you will be funny to another people group. Well I suppose that can be said to be true if any media stories are to be taken as truth, where ‘jokes’ have gone wrong when they go off shore, or when I take my Greek friends to see “the Castle” and they give me a strange look and then I go to a live ‘Wog Boys’ ¬†show and they are falling off their chairs laughing whilst I am merely falling asleep.

But I have seen humour cross the cultural barriers when there is friendship. Something happens as you become familiar with people and they let their guard down, and we become playful. Where am I going with all this? Well where I inevitably go, if you talk to me long enough… to the church bus run.

On Sunday, a guy from church (we’ll call him Joel) and I, go on one of the bus runs for our church. Now we more or less pick up the same people every week and have the same conversation every week. We pick up a lot of older ladies from hostels in town (where they are living so they can get to their renal dialysis appointments 3 times a week). Twice a week we have the pleasure of picking up these ladies who most are walker or wheelchair bound and take them to church activities. Every week, they ask where Ben is, and I tell them, he’s waiting for them at church. They then ask where Maku (my youngest boy) is, and I tell them he’s at church waiting for them. And every week it’s the same, except for our random weeks, which I love. Like this Sunday.

Yesterday, we needed to drop off a gentleman on a different side of town than we usually go with our run, and we decided to take him first as the ladies usually like to go for a drive. So we began to travel slightly north, and they begin to say, where you taking us? Darwin? I say yes, and so begins the banter, in which most of them get involved, even the grumpy man at the back who said we were taking too long to get him home for his lunch. They say “the driver man (Joel) can catch us some fish… with a spear. And the man at the back can get us some kangaroo, which he says we can eat raw…” and so it continues…. it was as if the event was really taking place and we were all to be involved including the driver man hitting a goanna which we could cook up.

Now to you reading this, ¬†you may say where is the humour in this… Maybe it’s not hysterics, but it is playful, banter, imagination, fun… crossing all sorts of boundaries, cultural, age, gender and it worked. There was not one of us on that bus that wasn’t smiling and enjoying the story… It was a wonderful experience of humour crossing boundaries where it ‘should’ not apparently. I love being a part of these times. Stories that are really ‘you had to be there’ sort of stories, but one’s that convince me of this: that¬†love is what crosses all boundaries that are in our way. And where there is true love (that only God can give) for the people you come into contact with, no matter how hard and daunting it can sometimes be, good things happen and people’s barriers begin to come down… and true friendship begins and deepens.

Bus run

Some of the people we pick up on the bus

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how beautiful…are the feet that bring good news

Sunday morning

Sunday morning

Kids Club

Kids Club

Youth group

Youth group

From time to time we have teams that visit Alice Springs and bunk down at our home for a week. Last week 18 young people descended on us- affectionately known as ‘Seaton Mob’. Lots of new faces, including Tom, who has seen the miracles of God flowing in his life, in particular over the last year where he has been recovering from being hit by a truck, whilst riding his bicycle. He really is a walking, talking, laughing (and what a laugh that is:-) ) miracle.
The team was headed up by Sam, a fella who quietly and confidently led the team, even though at times he had no idea what he was getting himself into…
This year saw many changes. In the past outreach teams main focus has been to run kids programs. This time around we wanted to see if there was a way of reaching whole families, and encourage the people in our congregation, as well as do some street outreach- singing and prayer.
The team sung in a few of the hostels that we have relationships with through church and the response at those places was fantastic from both the residents and the staff. The people were so happy to have the team sing for them and were encouraged by their prayers for them. One person even shared how last year he was prayed for and was healed.
There were healings happening when the team were praying this year as well!
What brought me great joy was when the team took our youth out to Telegraph Station and played some games and had a BBQ tea. There were a couple of our guys who chose to start following Jesus that night- priceless.
The kids club was good too. Due to some technical difficulties, the team had to show their flexibility and run the program outside. And to their credit, they held the 40+ children’s attention for an hour. Well done team!
Ben and I love to see young people come and give of their time and grow in confidence with growing and sharing their faith. When I was a young teen, not that long ago really ;-), a Pastor was willing to give me a go sharing my faith and just giving things a go, and he put me in good stead for where I am at today. He birthed a passion in me that couldn’t even be put out when I detoured off the path for a while, and it was that seed planted in me then, that ultimately brought me back on the narrow road as Jesus so calls it. It is our hope that these times in Alice can be the same for these young adventurers. That they are spurred on to go deeper in God, not be satisfied with the status quo, that they will stand out and stand up for righteousness and injustice and be passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, not just with their lips but with their lives as well.

The first day some of the team were quite timid when they went out on the streets, but by the end some of the girls were so excited that they might have another opportunity to pray with someone. Just beautiful. They even learnt a chorus in Pitjantjatjara, which according to someone in the know, was “deadly”- that means good :-).

Our church were blessed by the time they spent here. (Must mention Jill Daly and Bethany’s food was exceptional once again- wasn’t it Joel?)

Things didn’t always go to plan (but when¬†do¬†they in Alice?) and we faced some opposition, but I do believe it was a fruitful time. I know our family were blessed and laughed a lot and danced a little, bring on the Bollywood.
Look forward to the next team (after hopefully some sleep ;-)) and seeing what God has in store for us and them.
The verse that springs to mind as I think on this team and the others that come our way… “How¬†beautiful on¬†the¬†mountains¬†are¬†the¬†feet¬†of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…” Isaiah 52:7.

Todd Mall

Todd Mall

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The Vibe

The CrossI was asked what my favourite part of the Easter weekend was…. I have to admit, I found it hard to find ‘my favourite’, it was a really special weekend… so I replied with the only thing that I felt would express it truly: it was ‘the vibe’ of the thing (coined beautifully in the movie ‘the Castle”:-) ).

The whole weekend was about the church being a family, being the church. The services were great: filled with people singing and dancing and artwork that was unbelievable, but everyone who wanted to be involved, could be. And there was such an excitement and anticipation in almost everyone that was there. Love was just oozing out of the place. Even those that like to be grumpy, couldn’t help themselves but smile a couple of times at least.

Were the items perfect? No. Did it run smoothly? No But we had 4 year olds to 70+ year olds getting up and expressing their love for their Saviour Jesus. And it brought tears to my eyes.

The fellowship that weekend was special also. We had lots of unplanned get togethers that were just pure fun. Picnics, BBQs, cricket, walks, Maccas and it was just beautiful. Old and new friends. People we had never met before to family.

I wish you could have all joined us for this time. This weekend was all about our church remembering who Jesus is and why he did what he did. His cause was outworked implicitly and explicitly throughout the entire weekend that Jesus came to give life, and not just life, but life to the full… abundant, full, joyful, in relationship with Him, and His people.

DSCF9218

Beautiful dance on Good Friday- Lead me to the Cross

Karen and Rosie

Karen and Rosie

BBQ and cricket funBBQ and cricket fun

DSCF9220Some of the kids singing a Pitjantjatjara chorus

DSCF9221

The choir. These ladies are just amazing at singing. Felt privileged to have the chance to hear them sing

Sunday Resurrection Dance. The boys even cut loose with some break dancing :-)

Sunday Resurrection Dance. The boys even cut loose with some break dancing ūüôā

DSCF9213

At the young people's Bible Study we had a foot washing just like Jesus did with his disciples at His last meal before the cross

At the young people’s Bible Study we had a foot washing just like Jesus did with his disciples at His last meal before the cross

We shared a passover meal together at Bible Study Thursday night

We shared a passover meal together at Bible Study Thursday night

20130307_091110

The boys helped do the background for the cross

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It’s been a while

Just reading a friend’s blog and am finally inspired to write again. If only so one day I might look back and remember where I was, and where I was hoping to go.

It has been 11 months since we moved here with our 3 little boys and embarked on the journey of our lives. This has been a settling, stretching year in our lives, but not one that has felt too hard to adjust to. It is like we were made to be here. It is like all the other things in our lives were equipping us for this moment (as I am sure we will feel about this time in our future endeavours).
It is true that He equips those He calls… The lives we have seen changed by the power of prayer has been beautiful. We are looking forward to God outpouring more in signs and wonders as the church of Alice Springs rises up.

This town is often put on the map for all the wrong reasons, but I believe that we will see the day when the media will be piling in to get the scoop on what God is doing in this town. What does it say? Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more!!

Every time I see the Todd River flowing (which has only been twice this year, it is often a dry river bed) I get excited in my spirit. I see that God wants to flow in this town just like that river, but as a constant flow, not  a now-and-again happening but a well-spring of life, bringing joy, freedom and healing.

You know life here seems pretty normal to us with it’s going on, but Ben’s younger brother and wife arrived recently and they looked a little wide-eyed and culture shocked and I realised that what has become the norm for us (the interesting visits at the gate for one thing) is not everyday experiences in most peoples’ lives.

We have had an interesting couple of months, both Ben and I have been in hospital (Ben with appendicitis and me collapsing and getting my first ride in an ambulance). There has been some interesting people coming in trying to upset what God is doing here in Alice, but our God is faithful and His presence is very real in our lives. The exciting thing for me is that God is speaking to our children and they are feeling/ seeing Him at work in their lives, not just hearing it from us.

Ben has started working a couple of days on The Ghan (Train) as his study is coming to an end. The boys are still homeschooling and playing soccer. Zion had his first game, which was very exciting for him. We have had 3 venues for church this year, which has happened surprisingly smoothly, but are now in a school hall where we have a chance to continue to grow and see God outwork in our community.

Looking forward to seeing exciting things in the year to come, and can’t wait to¬†share with you what is unfolding here.

Maggie, Janie, Nola and Narelle

Maggie, Janie, Nola and Narelle

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