Posts Tagged With: love

I would go to the ends

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There was a song popular a couple of years back and had the lines

And I would go to the ends of the earth. To the ends of the Earth

For you alone are the Son of God…

I think on the lyrics and I wonder.

Are we just singing a nice ditty that jerks at the heart strings, or do we mean it. Do I mean it when I sing it. There was a fella I met a while back that said he won’t sing that line, because he knows he’d be lying. At least he was honest. Would we really go. Would I go? That same fella said that I was qualified to sing it because I came to Alice and that to him is the ends of the Earth. Haha. Sometimes I’d agree with him.

But it makes me think. Would we do half the things we do if we couldn’t get the satisfaction of getting those likes on Facebook or ❤ on Instagram? Would we go and do what Jesus said even if there was no-one at the end of the day who knew what we did besides Him?

Could we find ourselves so completely in love with Jesus that we could not only say ‘Yes’ but follow that up with action? I am hoping. Over the next year I am hoping to instil in our young people (and whoever will listen for that matter) that it is what is done for Him that counts. It is for Him that we labour, that we share, that we sing, that we get out of our comfort zones. What if, for just one year, we went for broke. We didn’t hold back. Think of what He could do through us. Think if we truly meant the words to that song! What a change this world would see.

What do you think? Are you up for it? I’m wondering if I am. I am going to fall deeper into love with Jesus and I look forward to seeing where it takes me. Would love to hear where it takes you!

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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 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? 😉

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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Jesus moments

There are days when all flows just how planned and you feel extremely satisfied with life and all that it is…. and then there’s the rest of the days. The plodding days, the downright awful days, the freak me out days, the overtired, overworked, over people days… and it is in those days that one would like to retreat into hibernation, or drive off in to the sunset, or consume a whole tub of chocolate ice cream and then feel guilty about that and consume a mega block of Cadbury chocolate to overcome the guilt… of course I’ve only heard about those days, I’ve never done that ;-).

Jesus had those days (though I’m pretty sure he didn’t eat the chocolate). Ooo now before you super theology spirro gurus write me off as a heretic, I’ll give some Biblical evidence for my radical observations and explain where I’m going… When Jesus had ‘one of those days’, he withdrew to the solitary places. When his cousin John got beheaded, he withdrew to the solitary places to grieve Matthew 14:13 and it says in Luke 5:15 that Jesus often withdrew to the lonely places to pray. There is a time, and this is the one I am thinking on today, that Jesus says to his close disciples, “Come away, to a quiet place and get some rest” and so they sail to another area, but arriving there and about to rest and recoup, Jesus sees the crowds that had caught wind of where he was going, and he has compassion on them and began to teach them, and then went on to feed them all… over 5000 of them… It was supposedly his ‘down time’. His  ‘me and my friends time’ and yet when he saw the people he was overwhelmed with compassion for them because he saw they were like sheep without a shepherd… they needed care and guidance and sustenance which he had in his hand to provide.

I have felt in this place, where I have withdrawn to the solitary (well tried to :-)) places in need of some rest, and it will be in those times that someone will come or call, in need -physical, spiritual, relational and I have felt what I call a “Jesus moment” about to take place. His compassion (not my own), His sustenance, His power and His provision give me what I need, at that moment to fill the need of the other person.

Now before you all get concerned that I am saying that we should all give up our rest time, me time etc… that is not what I am saying. We need time to refill and spend time letting the Holy Spirit replenish our temple (our body). We also need to set boundaries with people and not always do everything for them…

What I am saying… is that there will be times when we think we can give no more, when our tank is depleted, when we are exhausted, when we are justified in our time out, but a person will come or call with a need, and Jesus will prompt us to say ‘yes’ to the compassion that He can give us for his wounded treasures, and be amazed at His grace flowing through us and extending to others. It is often in those times I have seen the greatest breakthroughs and miracles, because it is literally less of me and more of Him… purely a “Jesus moment”. He will give you rest, and He says He will empower you to run and not grow weary…

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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.

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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

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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 🙂

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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

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The boys helped do the background for the cross

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Baptisms

Today we baptised 17 people who are a part of our church. To watch the people who chose today to be baptised as an act of obedience to their Lord Jesus was wonderful. The age range was from 7 years old to 60 something!  I am in awe that I have been privileged to be a part of their spiritual journey so far. They come from such varied backgrounds and all have their story to tell of how they came to be where they are today. I could hardly contain my excitement. One lady, who has to use a walker was so adamant she was getting baptised. She had asked me a couple of months earlier and I was so excited when she entered the water today. It was difficult, it was a ‘swallow the pride’ moment as she worked to get into the pool, and yet she was so determined. She loves her Jesus, and you can tell. Her face just beams.

She has become a good friend of mine. She was one of the first ladies I met when I arrived here. Her name is Maggie.

Maggie and I

Maggie and I

Maggie baptism

maggie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She lives in a hostel here in town as she needs renal dialysis 3 times a week and so it is impossible for her to return home for long periods of time. She started following Jesus last year, we prayed together on a day in October and she has been a different Maggie since. She is sometimes in a lot of pain, but when we pray together, the pain dissipates. I don’t understand why God hasn’t healed her completely, but she keeps coming to Him, and asks for prayer. These people are my heroes. Many of them face such adversity, and yet they continue on. Their God carries them.

It was a special day today. There were salvations and baptisms. People that had never come to church before but got on the church bus, chose to follow Jesus. And are keen to begin doing Bible Studies. Tears were flowing. Hearts were changing. The Holy Spirit was so strong I could hardly stand whilst I was praying for people. Exciting times. All I can say, is I feel blessed to be a part of God at work and say “more Lord, More!!”

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In pursuit of a Saviour

I watch people. Always have. Enjoy it immensely. My husband will always give me the most open seat in a restaurant or wherever we are, because he is aware of my love for people-watching. I love their interactions, their facial expressions when no-one is watching (or so they think), I love trying to guess who they are and what their history is.
I suppose my love for people watching got watered when I was training to be an actor. It was a requirement that we studied people. We were even graded on how we could mimic a person we had watched, and be able to put over not just the right walking position, but their ‘aura’, mood, facial expressions, gestures. Everything.
One thing that I notice the most in people is their constant pursuit for a saviour. Whether it is through beauty, money, career, relationships, religion, music, sport etc people are always on the whole, in pursuit of something that will take them to a place better than they are at that moment. In the end, most of it seems futile. Though I have met a few people that seem comfortable in their own skin. And a couple of people who seem to have ended the pursuit and just are.

They are the ones that rather than being in pursuit of a saviour (whatever their fetish of whoever or whatever), instead were keenly aware of the Saviour in pursuit of them.

These people, were like a young person in love. Except without the insecurity. They are like an Olympian who has won gold.

That Saviour has pursued me, and won. He has wooed me and called me in to drink of his Living Water, He refreshes my soul, He quenches my thirst and my longings. He makes me all I was created to be, and yet loves me when I don’t quite make the cut. He loves me, He loves me, He loves me.

He pursues everyone of us, and is extremely fond of all His creation, but He is a fiercely jealous lover/Saviour. He will not share us with anybody or anything. He wants us completely. And in that He asks us to lay down our own wants and desires, which goes against everything this independent woman has stood for, but I can’t help myself. His love is overwhelming, it pursues me with such passion that I am hopeless to resist and gladly allow my Pursuer to not only pursue but take over me. Consume me. Transform me.

He calls you in too. He woos you. He desires you. His name is Jesus, and He calls you by Name to come and dance with Him. To enter into the most fulfilling love story that has ever been told. The choice, my friend, is up to you.

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