Monday, December 24, 2007

From Plasterer to Prime Minister

Its Christmas Eve, and Ive just finished showing Santa to his milk and apple Hannah left out for him, oh, not to mention the carrots, oats and water for the reindeer. But before I hit the sack myself (haha, like that pun?), I have a little something to share...

Somehow, us moving to Bundy comes up a lot in conversations - chatting to parents of preschoolers, people waiting in line, customer service operators on the phone. Whenever the topic of 'next year' comes up, i always have to say we are moving, and they always seem to ask why. Now I'm not sure if it is because 'pastor' is an uncommon job description, or whether i mumble...but today...for the second time...the conversation went something like this...

insurance lady: so why are you moving to Bundaberg?
me: my husband is going to be a pastor at a church there.
lady: oh wow, he must be a specialist in what he does
me: umm, i guess so, he just finished studying...
lady: {uncomfortable pause} oh, dear, I'm so silly, you'll never guess what i thought you said...
me: {here it comes again} no, its alright, what was it?
lady: i thought you said he was a plasterer, that he was going to plaster a church.
both: {laughing}
lady: well i guess he is a specialist in more ways than one!

One other humorous conversation, on the other end of the scale went something like this...

Hannah (5): we are moving to Bundaberg
lady: is your daddy going to do something special there?
Hannah: yes but i cant remember what
lady: is he going to be a minister?
Hannah: oh yes...the prime minister!

Somewhere between plasterer and prime minister, Bryce is going to serve the people of Bundaberg, but this story reminded me of another man who made a similar journey (ok its not similar, its a far stretch but stay with me :) ).

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Born a peasant in a barn,
living as a carpenter,
speaking like a prophet,
dying like a criminal,
rising from the dead as King of All.
A man but also God.

Oh I really hope he has your attention tomorrow. Please don't just get wrapped up {ooh theres that pun again :) } in family and food and fun. Think about the baby who was king, the carpenter who formed the earth, the man who died to take the penalty for your sin and the risen Lord who has conquered death so we can spend eternity with Him.

Please remember that we open presents tomorrow to celebrate the gift that God gave to us. We share with our family and those who have no family tomorrow because God freely included us in His family at no cost to us. We go to church tomorrow not just because its the done thing, but because it was the most important thing ever done in all of history.

"Today, in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11

Read Luke Chapter 2 today!

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Friday, December 21, 2007


With the recent monsoon rains experienced throughout Queensland, we have seen a lot of flooding and swelling of rivers in and around Bundaberg. I was sitting by the river just out of town and noticed many clumps of water lillies jutting out of the fast flowing, murky water. It didnt interest me much until about half an hour later when i realised that these clumps were slowly moving down the river. They were not anchored to the ground, straining to keep their heads above water. They were actually floating and slowly but surely making their way downstream, to be re-planted again somewhere else. I thought that was quite an exciting mission for the little water lillies, having been used to quiet river-side inlets and suddenly thrust into raging waters, to be re-planted downstream where the river deposited them.

And then I noticed that some of the clumps were doing better than others. One little clump I noticed could barely be seen, it was mostly submerged, with just a few leaves above the surface. It would still complete its mission but I imagine it would be a bit worse for wear at the other end. The most succesful clump was a large mass of lillies in the middle of the river. Because there were many lillies sticking together, the buoyancy created lifted them all right out of the water and they were floating effortlessly.

We all have an exciting mission like those little water lillies. God doesnt just want us to stay in our quiet little lives, or our comfortable friendship groups, our successful ministries or even our secure financial situations. When the Spirit moves, He wants us to "let go and let God" and, relying totally on him, be replanted where he wants us. You might feel a tad scared at that prospect, in fact, if its happening to you, you might feel submerged, maybe like you are sinking, but he has a plan, and he knows exactly where he is taking you.

There might be some others you need to pick up on the way, a new colony to start or join, or some new ground to strengthen your roots. If you are willing to go on this journey, there are a couple of things you can do.

Make sure you are growing and have your roots firmly "abiding in the vine" (John 15).
Join together with others for mutual prayer and support (Hebrews 10:24)
And trust God to lead you to where he is working. (Jeremiah 29:11)

In this first month at Bundy I have occasionally felt a tad submerged and thats ok. All I have to do is rely on Him, and with all that praying you guys are doing, Ill be sure to find my place in this new colony, just where He wants me. And Ill be excitedly on the lookout for any seedlings along the way :)

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If anyone remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit." John 15:5

"Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

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Saturday, December 15, 2007


Have you ever had someone drop in unexpectedly at the worst possible moment?

I had a call from a friends husband who was worried as he was out of town on business and could not get hold of his wife. I bravely volunteered to go around to their house to check, but was stopped in my tracks when I discovered the car in the driveway, the lights on, the door open, but no-one answering my calls. By this stage I was getting concerned myself so went to find a braver neighbour to accompany me. We exchanged introductions and i explained my predicament. He kindly escorted me inside the house and waited in the living room while I checked the rest of the house.

One by one i check the childrens bedrooms and they are all fast asleep and finally I find my friend in the back room watching a DVD with her brother, with the volume up loud so unable to hear the home and mobile phones ringing throughout the evening. Relieved to find her, I turned and walked back to the living room, muttering something about how much trouble she is in and she follows me out (in her pajamas) and is shocked to find a stranger in her living room, standing amongst the remnants of dirty clothes, a stray nappy, piles of dishes, toys and gear from a camping trip they had returned from the day before. She is utterly embarrased and after introducing my friend to her neighbour, I politley escorted him out, thanking him for his help and apologising for the false alarm.

The state of my friends house was the most embarrasing part for her. She had been a bit lax after coming back from camping and was in no rush to put things away or get the house in order because her husband was to be away for the week. Then suddenly, when she was least expecting it, there was a visitor standing in the midst of her mess and she had no time to make anything right!

She reminded me that someone else, much more important, is going to arrive in a similar way...

One day soon, Jesus is coming back. Actually, it could be tonight. It could be in the next 15 mintues! The day He returns will come "like a theif in the night" (I Thess 5:2) and he comes not to steal but to reveal. When he comes, we will be seen for who we really are. People will be separated like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matt 245:31-32) And to everyone on earth, he will be seen for who he really is. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord (Phil 2:10-12).

But for those of us who already call him Lord, what will he find when he arrives at our place? Will he find us in the midst of yelling at our children? Or snapping at our husband? Or gossipping about a friend? Or cheating on our tax? Or telling a half truth to a workmate? Or being proud? Or self seeking? Or angry? Or resentful? Or worrying?

Christmas is a time to remember and celebrate the time when God entered history and came to earth as a man - Jesus. Let it also be a reminder that he is coming back any day now. So get ready. Give your heart a spring clean and get rid of the junk that has accumulated, especially over this busy time. Put the important things in their right place and may you be found in faithful service to your Lord when he returns.

Then you may hear those precious words - "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt 25: 21,23)

Want to know some home decor tips for your heart? Read 1 Cor 13 about what love is, Gal 5:22 about the fruit of the spirit and Phil 4:8-9 about your mind.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh Rats!

Greetings from Sunny Townsville! We are on holidays yet I still feel the need to convey a little story I heard... approximately 2710kms from here, yet just a few days ago....A family were eagerly awaiting for Grandma to arrive for the traditional decorating of the Christmas tree. Grandma was due to arrive as expected and Dad was sent to retrieve the Christmas tree from the garage. Surprisingly, the Christmas tree was not all they found in the box. Somewhere between Qld and Vic, a large rat had stowed away with the Christmas decorations and had since passed on. There wasn't that much of the visitor left, but he did leave a covering of hair over the Christmas tree.

Well that brings us to the rather foul smelling dilemma this family faced. There was no time to buy a new Christmas tree, or even adequately disinfect the current one so the tree was taken outside for a quick hose-down. The kids were slightly amused and shocked at this development, and the parents were understandably embarrassed, but Grandma was coming, what else could they do?

So with a mountain of fake spray-on snow and some lovely tinsel and pink and silver baubles, the tree was decorated and looked like it had come straight from the department store. The saving grace in this particular situation is that Grandma has no sense of smell, so while the room smelt a tad 'musty' and even though the kids were dry-reaching while decorating the tree, Grandma was happily enjoying the Christmas celebrations.

My friend who was brave enough to share this story with me, had an interesting thought about how this Christmas tree relates to us. No matter how nicely we present ourselves, we all have a sin nature which is ever present and ever intruding into the rest of our lives. "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good but i cannot carry it out." (Romans 7:18). But Romans 8 goes on to explain that we are set free from this nature through forgiveness found in Jesus. When we trust in Jesus, our sin is removed "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps 103:12) and God "remembers it no more" (Is 43:25). Never. Ever!

God doesn't just cover up our sin, like the fake snow slightly covered the smell of the dead rat, it is totally taken away from us. We still have that sin nature, that tendency to go our own way, but as Christians we are now "controlled by the Spirit" (Rom 8:9) and "being renewed day by day"(2 Cor 4:16). When we become Christians, when we choose to follow Jesus, we are given a new nature. In Psalm 51, David prays "purify me from my sins and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow" (NLT) and then says "create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (NIV)

God hasn't deoderised your sin, he has destroyed it! You have a new life, a new spirit, a new nature and a new start. And he will daily, hourly, moment by moment give you forgiveness and strength to live this new life.

Start this Christmas with a new tree... come to Him, confess your sin, accept the new life he offers and then live in connection with Him, with the Spirit he has placed in you.
Want More? Read Romans 8 and Psalm 51!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Take The Pressure Off

Hello all! Sorry its been a while, you know how it is this time of year. I think everyone is feeling the pressure and busyness of life.

I took a short break last weekend and went to Melbourne to visit a good friend of mine. When I opened my bottle of water mid flight it let out a loud pssst with the air escaping due to the change in pressure. I didn't think much about it and finished the water and put the lid back on. Upon landing I reached down to grab my bottle and found that the whole bottle had been squashed in on itself, again due to the change in pressure.

How are you coping with the pressure of busyness at this time of year? are you exploding or imploding? Are you hissing at anyone? Are you feeling crumpled?

Sometimes the pressure we feel comes from life, sometimes we bring it on the little bird i saw just after returning to the coast. This little bird walked across 3 lanes of traffic at a busy roundabout! crazy bird! His (or her) little legs were moving flat out to accomplish the tremendous task. He made it - just.

Do you ever feel like you 'just make it' through situations or circumstances or commitments for the year? Do you feel like you are running flat out to get stuff done? Then right in the middle of it you might explode with the pressure or feel crumpled at the end?

Id really like to encourage you to think about next year and how much you will be running around like the little bird. Consider the commitments you are making, whether they really are things that fit your gifts and talents and passion, or what other areas might be better.

It was a noble cause for the little bird to undertake crossing the road, but he was designed to fly and he would have made it much easier for himself if he chose that option. So if you get to choose, take the pressure off and think and pray about what you commit to for next year.

And if you don't get to choose, if tomorrow or next year will be hard going, if you will be pressured on every side, then Ive got a few 'pressure adjusters' for you...

Phil 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

2 Cor 4:7-9 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

So next time you are about to 'hiss' at someone, or are about to crumple under the pressure, try and remember these verses. And look what i found before that first bit..."Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."Phil 4:4-7

Did you notice the unexpected part? the Lord is near! we are not told to chill out on our own or stay strong by our own means. The Lord is near. God is with you!

Take the pressure off, take His Hand.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Where are the Baubles?

Have you put your Christmas tree up yet? We put ours up yesterday, it was lots of fun. Master 3 had most fun throwing a bauble around the house. It had lost its top bit for hanging and as it was a hard plastic, was good for bouncing on the tiles. But with kids, you know something is wrong when you hear silence. I noticed the dreaded silence as i was hanging decorations on the tree and looked over to the kitchen and quickly raised my voice to say "JOSHUA...STOP". He had my good skissors in one hand and a perfectly good bauble in the other. He was about to cut the string off so he could use this one as a ball too!

He doesnt realise the pleasure of seeing baubles on the tree and having a decorated Christmas tree to adorn the loungeroom. He thinks throwing baubles is much more fun.

I think we do that in life sometimes. We cut off the 'heavenly ties' and use the good things God has provided for our own pleasure.

James 1:17 says that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

God provides a multitude of good things for us to take pleasure in when they are enjoyed in their proper context like a bauble hung on the Christmas tree. In life, some people cut the strings off marriage, work, relationships, giving, even Christmas. All of these things are meant to be enjoyed in the original context that God had planned. It might still be fun, but it wont be fulfilling unless you know how it was meant to be.

Christmas is a very fun time. I love giving presents, I love the memories, the carols, the family coming together, the excitement of Christmas Eve. But unless we realise the real meaning of Christmas, we have missed the point. At Christmas, God came to earth when he sent his Son Jesus to be born on the earth as a man, the whole purpose being that he would die as a substitute for us, to pay the price for our sin, so that we could live forever in a relationship with God. What a message and a greater meaning for this time. When we give our gifts or token presents, sometimes we miss the greatest gift ever given - Gods gift of Jesus for us.

So, this Christmas, dont cut the ties that make it so special, and think about your response to this message - have you cut the ties to your life that are preventing you from experiencing life to the full in a relationship with God?

Jesus said "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Playground Rage

Well, this is quite a strange time for me to be writing, cause usually at 4pm I am dealing with tired hungry kids and trying to cook dinner or tidy up, but they are confined to their rooms for the moment so i have a few minutes to tell you what happened today. I had arranged to go to Smilies (a big indoor playground) this morning so the kids could have a play with their cousins (and so Jen and I could 'relax' with a coffee). Unfortunately, because it was raining, most of the Gold Coast had the same thought so it was packed and very noisy.

Because there were so many people, the line for the indoor merry-go-round was quite long and so we lined up early to have a go. well, when i say lined up, it was actually more like an ants nest of toddlers trying to get into the little gate to rush to a seat on the merry-go-round. well, all of our kids got to a seat, and the bigger ones got on, but Josh couldn't quite get onto his so he was waiting to get help. he was standing their patiently when a bigger girl came from the other side and hopped on his hippo! (they were hippos and cats rather than horses)

Of course, Josh was horrified and cried inconsolably as i went in and picked him up to take him out. How unfair!! and THEN.... the little girls mum said "looks like he just missed out". Just missed out??? JUST MISSED OUT??? ILL GIVE YOU JUST MISSED OUT!!! (of course i didn't give it to her, but i sure felt like it!!)

Seeing injustice makes me angry. I hate it that life isn't fair. And i really hate it when you cant do anything about it. I get angry when kids are neglected or abused, or people are denied their rights because they are poor or oppressed, or when people who do the wrong thing aren't held accountable for their actions. And it makes me ask, what does God think about these things? And what does He want me to do about it?

Exodus chapter 3 speaks of Gods response to the slavery and oppression of the Israelites in Egypt

The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

God sees the injustice in the world, he hears the cries of the oppressed, he is concerned and wants to rescue them and so he

Today wasn't a time to do anything, I just had to let that one slide. And when you have been wronged, sometimes thats what you have got to do.

In 1 Samuel 24:12, David says to Saul who has been trying to kill him - "May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. As the old saying goes, 'From evildoers come evil deeds,' so my hand will not touch you."

Proverbs 10:12 says "Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs."

But sometimes, when we see injustice, it is time to act.

Justice is mentioned 134 times in the Bible, and God has a lot to say about it. He talks about the poor 178 times, the oppressed 47, the widow 103, the alien 102, the fatherless 39. Thats a total of 469 references! Seeing injustice angers God, and he will do something about it.

check out these verses -

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?"

(Isaiah 58:6-7)

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

"Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay', says the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

Do you see the difference there? God will take care of the perpetrator, and he has given his people the job of looking after the victims. So, in many cases, there is something you can do. Whether that be giving to charities or volunteering to serve the poor, or advocating for the oppressed in your community, or writing to politicians, or just helping a child in a playground :). Ask God to show you his heart for the oppressed, the widows, the fatherless, the poor, the migrant. And then act when he provides opportunities for you to be His hands and His witness here on earth, both in your actions and your reactions.

peace out. :)

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Monday, November 5, 2007


At 6:00am Sunday morning, I woke up and decided I was going shooting. No, not that kind of shooting :)

I like to try my hand at a bit of photography and the day before, Rinna and I had seen a pair of Eagles down at the weir, so I couldn’t resist the urge to take my camera down to get that perfect shot.

Do you know how hard it is to actually take a good picture of an eagle? Firstly, if its just sitting on a tree it looks quite boring, you need that gliding action shot to get anything remotely good. And then, if its in the air, its so high above you that any normal camera captures a tiny speck in the air.

But today, I came prepared. I had my zoom lens on the camera, I had my walking shoes on, I was in the right location, all I had to do was wait for that perfect opportunity. So I waited, and waited, and waited. They were there, I didn’t have to look very far, but they were just sitting on telephone wires. Watching the fishermen try in vain to catch fish. They just sat there, for aaaaaages! So I decided to pray. After all, God created eagles, he invented flying, surely he could give them a bit of a nudge for me? Well, what do you know, it worked! One took off and flew away into the distance. Oh, that wasn’t really what I had in mind!

I could still see him however, flying high above the water and over the hills surrounding the river. So I prayed again! But I suddenly realized something. Even though I had all the right gear, and I was in the right location, it wasn’t going to do me any good cause I wasn’t standing in the right place. See, I was standing on the side of the hill. Even if the eagle did fly back over the river I would be shooting right into the sun, and would only get a side shot anyway. I needed to be standing in the place that would make the best shot, have my camera turned on and then wait.

One of my favourite verses from the Bible says ..."They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up with wings as eagles"...another version says ..."Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles"...

Do you ever feel weary? Like you have done all you can but it still isnt making any difference? And maybe you’ve prayed but still nothing is changing in your circumstances? That verse above says that even the most energetic of us get tired and weary, and even the fittest of us stumble and fall. So what is it that makes the difference? It’s the waiting, in the right place. its stepping out, in the confident hope that you have in our awesome God, that he will lift you and carry you. that’s the right place to be. Not on the hillside looking out to try and find that what you are searching for, but to come before God, admitting that you cant do it without Him, and waiting, resting in him, knowing you can trust him and he will be your strength until he leads you out. And its at this time that you can soar, without effort, above the feelings and circumstances and truly experience the joy of knowing him and having a real relationship with God.

Well, I walked down as far as I could down onto the weir and I waited. For quite some time. but as I watched the eagle soaring above the trees, he turned and glided over to the river. I had my camera on, I was in the right place, I had prayed!, and he circled above me for about a minute while I took as many photos as I liked! Oh it was so amazing!!!

The pictures weren’t crystal clear (next time ill need a bigger zoom lens!), but you could even see him looking at me and tilting his head to look closer as he circled around. All I did was come prepared, stand in the right spot and wait.

By the way, I had the right spot because I knew from before...

Isaiah 40:28-31
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

You can trust Him. Just stand there, and keep your eyes up
and you can experience this for yourself...

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Thursday, October 25, 2007


Todays Quotable Quote to give you a smile

Miss 3: Oww
Me: Whats wrong?
Miss 3: I have those sprinkles that go on your feet when you've been on the toilet a long time
Me: Pins and needles?
Miss 3: Yeah!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dont Sleep With Caterpillars

Good morning! its 4:30am. There is a very good reason why I am not in bed right now. But it’s a long story so grab a cuppa and ill explain.

At 3:30am I was woken by inconsolable crying coming from my daughters room. When I went in and finally found was able to translate the sobs into intelligible words I realized a terrible thing had happened – Chloe the Caterpillar was gone!

She hadn’t just escaped though, her little container of grass had tipped over, leaving a grassy bed, an empty container and no Chloe. I did my motherly duty and searched carefully over the bed and floor but to no avail, Chloe is missing in action. While removing the spiky bits of grass from the sheets, I tried the old saying “Its ok, we’ll just find another Chloe tomorrow” but that didn’t work (actually, has that ever worked?). Next I tried “maybe Chloe just went outside to visit her family” but that wasn’t very consoling either. So we had a little discussion about caterpillas (at 3:40am!) and we decided that since Chloe was a caterpillar, maybe she turned into a butterfly and flew away (phew!). That will do until morning.

So I went back to bed but here it is an hour later and I'm still awake. See I was thinking maybe some of you might need to hear my story and learn the lesson – Don’t sleep with caterpillars, you just get spiky grass in your bed.

Some people are ‘sleeping with caterpillars’ even though they don’t have a Tupperware container filled with grass in their bed. I'm sure you can remember a time when someone has hurt you, either by their words or their actions. Sometimes, we carry around that hurt, make a place for it inside our heart, feed it by thinking about it and dwelling on it, replaying it over and over in our minds. In the end, all you end up with is an empty heart and a life full of prickles.

We all need to let our caterpillars go. For some its as easy as leaving the container outside, of choosing not to bring it in. For others, it may be simply placing the caterpillar on a leaf and walking away. Others still might need a friend to stand by while letting it go and lend a hand cleaning up the grass.

If we had let Chloe go, she would have turned into a beautiful butterfly and we would have enjoyed the beauty and freedom at another time. That’s what happens when you let things go, you experience freedom and your life, even though you have been hurt, can be a life of beauty.

So next time you find yourself carrying a caterpillar, remember Chloe and leave it outside.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Please forward your resume to

So, that was quite a job description we looked at from verse 1 hey! Try writing a resume for that one! check out what I a little further on in verses 5 and 6.

Romans 1:5-6 “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”

There is nothing about us that warrants us being chosen by God. It is not by our resume or our role or our referees that we were chosen. It is not because of anything good we have done or any evil we have resisted. Paul says in his letter to the Galatians says “God set me apart from birth and called me by his grace” (Gal 1:15).

Grace is receiving something you did not deserve. It is purely by Gods grace that we have been saved. Mercy is being spared something you did deserve. We have been shown mercy, because for our sin we deserved to be separated from God forever. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Rom 5:8)

While we were still sinners. While we were separated from God, undeserving of any merit or favour, dead in our sin, God chose us and rescued us. It is from this point that we are called, and called to belong to Jesus Christ and given his mandate to share it with the world. Not because of our accomplishments, but through his work on the cross.

And, here is the most amazing find in this passage – for his name’s sake. In the Greek, it means ‘on his behalf’. Woah, not only are we totally undeserving of the calling, and given the amazing blessing of belonging to him, we are now his representatives here on earth, living and doing and speaking on his behalf. What a mandate! Set apart for the gospel of God and chosen despite our sinfulness, to be his ambassadors.

“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (1 Cor 5:20-21)

Father I was totally undeserving of your grace and mercy yet you sent your son, even when I was an enemy of yours and dead in my sin, so that I could be in relationship with you. Thankyou. Please take me as I am and use me to reach others for you. I am yours.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Hows that for a Job Description!

I thought it would be a good idea to go through a book of the Bible and see if i could find some cool stuff in there. So following is my attempt at doing that through the book of Romans. The major bonus of doing this is that i get to study the Bible and even if no-one reads this, it will be good motivation to keep going :). Dont expect great theological insights, im just sharing what i find along the way.

Since we are going with the theme of 'roaming', Ill stick with the analogy. I didnt really feel like i have the ability to write a study something like 'the complete encyclopedia of wild flowers of the fields of the simpson desert', but i could do something like 'a coffee table picture book of some cool flowers i found on a journey one day'.

So here begins the journey - Romans 1:1

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God - the gospel he promised beforehand..."

Set apart for the gospel of God, thats an awesome thought. Chosen and set apart for a purpose, a plan prepared thousands of years beforehand, and we are selected to be a part of it - to take that good news to the world.

Isnt it great to be a part of something bigger than you? Like being in a team who are accomplishing together, so much more than any individual can do. It was an awesome experience to be a part of the team that ran the Mosiac conference this year where we saw 200 ladies come and worship together, hear some great teaching and be equipped to be Gods woman in their life and community. Even though that was a great thing to be a part of, God has an even greater job for all of us.

Rom 1:5 (sneaking ahead a little bit here) says that "we received grace and apostleship" - Pauls job description is our job description too! The Good news that Jesus came so that man could have a right relationship with God, is OUR good news and ours to share. we are a part of the eternal plan to reconcile God and man.

We are the ones to fulfil the great commission "go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything i have commanded you" (Matt 28:19-20). Hows that for a job to do!

Reckon you are up to it? Nope? me either!

Phil 2:13 says "But it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (phew!) "God hasnt told us to go away and do some work for Him, he has told us that He is already at work trying to bring a lost world to Himself." (Experiencing God, pg 67) and whats more, he says "and surely i am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt 28:20).

Well Lord, this plan is way too big for me. But i am honoured to be a part of it. Thanks for choosing to use me. Please help me to see where you are working and to join you there. give me a love for your word so that it becomes the nourishment for my soul. Help me to be obedient to your call and respond to your leading each day. Give me your heart for the people around me. Amen

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Friday, October 12, 2007

GPS Ponderings

Have you heard those in-car GPS's that tell you how to get somewhere?
"in 50 meters turn right"
"at the second exit turn right"
"turn right now"

a friend of mine was driving out western Qld and was quite amused when her GPS said "in 200km, turn right." wow, 200kms of straight road! I think it would get a bit boring after a while - and possible a tad irritating when every 20kms the GPS interrupts with "in 180km, turn right" "in 160km, turn right".

Wouldnt it be nice though if we had a GPS for life!? "in 5 years, take this man to be your husband" "at the second interview, take this job" "move here now" or "in 20 years, do this". i think in theory we might all like the idea of being told what to do instead of figuring it out for ourselves (ok, maybe just us girls!) but i guess it would be a bit boring knowing that far in advance what is going to happen.

It certainly is an interesting journey taking turns wherever God wants you to go, whether it be sharing with a friend or making dinner for a family or spending time with someone who is lonely or quitting your job, selling your house and moving towns. And what would happen if we knew the bad roads? I'm not sure i would be willing to take some of those turns if i knew all that was to follow!

Well, it turns out that actually God did provide us with a GPS for life...GPS stands for Global Positioning System - it shows you where you are in the world, and which way you need to head next. And God has given us His own 'global positioning system' in the practice of prayer. When we pray, we are sharing with God where we are at, and seeking His will for where he wants us to be. When we position ourselves right before him, we are much more likely to be heading in the right direction. And while he doesnt give us details about the road ahead, he does show us which turns to make (or U-turns in some cases!). And he has given us some ripper road tips in the Manual (the Bible)!

Romans 12:12 is one of these - Be Joyful in Hope, Patient in Affliction, Faithful in Prayer. Or as another version puts it - Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles and pray at all times. I reckon if we follow those road rules our path is going to be a lot straighter.

Let your hope keep you joyful - remember you are on this earth for a purpose - to glorify god and share him with others. You were separated from God by your sin - by going your own way. But because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, and because he rose again, you have a relationship with god and can enjoy him forever into eternity! i know there will be tough patches and rough terrain but if i remember that truth, there is a joy in me that continues through the journey.

Be Patient in your troubles - have you ever been impatiently stuck behind someone and when you finally get the chance to overtake and give them a knowing glare, you realise they are totally oblivious to you and are happily chugging along? or have you ever damaged a car because you have been rushing? Being patient both in the car and in life would save a lot of tension and a lot of damage being done. It is so much easier to find where you are going when you arent rushing. And it is easier not to rush if you are relying on the instructions from your GPS!

Pray at all times - remember your GPS! Get right with God and you are going to be travelling in the right direction and you will be tuned in to hear when he asks you to make a turn. have your GPS on all the time - ask for directions in the little things - say thankyou for a sunset or a wildflower, ask for wisdom when talking to a friend, ask that God would use you to encourage someone else, listen to see what he would like you to do for someone who is hurting or lonely. By using the GPS God gave you, you wont know what lies ahead on the road but it will be the most fulfilling journey you've ever taken!

then right at the end you might hear "you have reached your destination. well done, good and faithful servant!"

Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles and pray at all times (Rom 12:12)

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

To Blog or Not To Blog


My name is Donna and I live in Australia with my husband Bryce and our two children. My husband is a pastor here in Queensland, my daughter is 8 and loves to read and my son features the most in my writing because of his crazy antics and death defying stunts (and he’s only 6!).

I’m sure you will get to know us a little as you read about our weird and wonderful adventures but the main reason I write is so you’ll get to know someone far more important - The God who created you, has a plan for your life and sent his Son so that you could have a relationship with him now and for eternity!

Its an honor that you are reading what I'm writing and it is my prayer that through my words you will be encouraged in your faith and grow in a deeper relationship with our God.

If you would like to read more, check out 100 Things About Me (you might want to grab a cuppa first though ;)

Have a fabulous day!

Bundaberg Mum

Todays kids quote - 3am one morning...

Master 5: Does God love people with no hair?
Mummy: Yes, of course, God loves everyone the same.
Master 5: Yes, but does he liiiiike bald people as much as other people?

...hoping I'm not raising my children to discriminate against the follicly challenged...

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Monday, January 1, 2007

100 Things

100 Things About Me

My husband Bryce is a pastor and I am always stoked that I am the one who gets to go home with him after church :).
I had a crush on him when I was in high school.
He didn't feel the same way until quite a few years later.
We have two awesome kids.
We live in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia.
I like the feel of new flannel pj's.
I like the smell of a pine forest.
I can juggle.
I play the guitar, and the Congas.
My favourite flower is a Gerbera.
I love Pepsi Max, possibly a bit too much.
I scored 200 in ten pin bowling in 2008.
I can touch my nose with my tongue.
I think my husband is a great preacher.
Gift giving and words of encouragement are my love languages.
I once lived on Lord Howe Island.
I love wearing jeans, even on cooler summer days if I can get away with it.
I am a bookkeeper, and I enjoy the feeling of a reconciled bank statement.
I don't like the sand.
I would love a laptop.
I always wear my hair up.
I am a pro in wii bowling.
Photography is something I love to do.
I enjoy reading, but don't often make the time.
Comments on my blog always encourage me.
The only time I have seen snow was in a blizzard.
I love Christmas and often wrap presents for myself under the tree.
I have been to Thailand and New Zealand.
I have seen Kangaroos in people's back yards.
I don't like having bare feet.
I am a messy, and Bryce likes things neat. Yeah, you get the picture.
I love taking pictures of soaring eagles.
I have been married since 2000.
I have been known to put the Christmas tree up in November.
My favourite animal is a gecko.
I enjoy playing with my kids.
I would like to be an author.
I have written for 5 Minutes for Faith and Inspired Bliss. I don't know if that actually makes me a 'writer' or not.
I enjoy speaking and I loved the Mosaic conference @ Southport '07.
I enjoy talking in general :).
Being with people energises me.
I would love to go to a Blissdom, Blogging, JBU or P31 conference in the USA.
I like listening to Third Day, Jimmy Needham, Brandon Heath and Casting Crowns.
My favourite Bible verse is Isaiah 40:31, but I have many other very much loved passages.
I connect with God easily through music so often include music in my quiet times.
I love going to Tamborine Mountain for our winter holidays and sitting by the fire (and chasing eagles).
I like going to the Sunshine Coast for our summer holidays and sitting by the pool (and chasing eagles).
I have a Bachelor of Ministries from the Bible College of Queensland.
I did 2 years of a 4 year town planning degree at university and my job since 2001 has been with a town planning company.
My favourite dinner is roast lamb with baked veggies.
My favourite combination at Cold Rock is Double Chocolate Ice Cream, with Flake Chocolate and Chocolate syrup mixed in.
My current favourite icecreams at Baskin & Robins are Love Potion or Cookie Dough. mmmmm.
Last year, my 4yr old son was stung three times by wasps, once by a bee, fell off a horse, burnt by a stick out of the fire, and had 7 green ant bites on his back. He keeps things interesting.
I love Australian summer afternoon thunderstorms.
I love telling my kids about the Bible and how God relates to everyday situations.
I really love it when my kids surprise me with unprompted manners or kindness to others.
I always enjoy seeing native wildlife, except when they are inside my house.
I use my mobile/cellphone to see in the dark.
I have never been admitted to hospital except to have my kids.
I am 30 and a bit.
I think Coke tastes better out of glass bottles.
I update my facebook status frequently, but I don't tweet very often.
We have lived in 8 houses in 8 years of marriage.
We had bouquets of red roses at our wedding.
My Bible is an NIV but I also enjoy CEV and New Living Translation.
We have 28 Bibles on our bookshelf and more around the house. Do you think thats overdoing it a bit? :)
I like country music and a bit of Jazz.
I really dislike the sound of people eating.
I don't have any fillings.
I am shortsighted (in an optomological kind of way).
I am very afraid of grasshoppers.
I love Grosvenor Sherbet Fountains (sherbet with a liquorice stick).
I may be caught singing along to Veggie Tales or Music Machine songs.
I am lactose intolerant (but I try to train my body by having the occasional chocolate thickshake).
I am allergic to alcohol (not fun, but a good party trick. Of course I don't do that because I'm a pastor's wife ;).
Last time I danced was at a best friends wedding. Bryce declined the offer to join me :).
I recently watched the entire season of Quantum Leap. Remember that show?
I used to sell Star Wars Lego on eBay.
I was an eBay powerseller for a while.
I don't have any pets.
My first car was a little red Leyland Mini (thanks mum!).
I grew up with two dogs and two cats. Oh and my mum, dad and brother.
I secretly like Dolly Parton and I may have Dolly Parton Hymns on my ipod somewhere.
To quote The Princess Bride, "I am not left handed."
I have line-danced and belly-danced in the last year. 'shimmy!'
I am on the taller side of short.
I only need to be 20cm taller to be in my healthy weight range. (I think I should do something about that. Update: lost 10kg last year ;)
I am currently loving reading Lysa Terkeurst, I like Francine Rivers Novels and I enjoy reading Max Lucado.
I don't like saying No.
I like skittles though.
I love going out for coffee.
I have 475 friends on facebook.
They aren't really all my friends.
I have a good friend who lives in Denham Springs, Louisiana.
Currently I also have friends in Fiji, China and Turkey.
A lovely, slightly more mature lady got me drinking coffee and taught me to wolf whistle just a few years ago. I admire her greatly :)
I love chatting to my friends from afar on the phone, you know who you are!
Feasting with friends, Lunches with June and Hanging with the Hecks have been some of my highlights here in Bundy.

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