Friday, 20 April 2012

Where is our strength coming from?

   "If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the flood plain of the Jordan." Jeremiah 12:5-6

    It is quite easy to begin a work or a race strong and/or well, especially if we have trained prior; however, the challenge comes towards the end when we have exerted all of our own energy and are barely hanging on. In a race or marathon it doesn't matter who has the best start, what matters most is who finishes it, and how strong they do so.  If I were to try and give one word to sum up thus far what I have learned this semester it would be endurance. 
    This semester has been a true test of my endurance (spiritually and physically). I came back to New Zealand at the end of January excited and eager to jump back into the ministry here. I started out well and strong yet somewhere along the course I got a little sidetracked, a little self-dependent as well. The ministry that was once so easy to take part in became burdensome, I felt burnt out and lacking joy. It was a time of breaking down and chastening by the Lord, but I drew comfort from the passage in Hebrews 12, 
    "For whom the LORD loves He chastens...Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." -Hebrews 12:6, 11
    I knew that I was to be dependent on the Lord and that He was to be my source of strength, love, and joy but I came to the realization that there is a vast difference between knowing and acknowledging something and actually doing something about it afterward. The Lord was trying to reveal this to me and was drawing me to Himself but for some reason I resisted thinking I could sort things myself. When  finally I came to the breaking point during a Friday morning class where we had an extended time of prayer and worship afterward the Lord gave me a vision to help me see more clearly.
    In my vision there was a line of people all kneeling and they had their hands held out making a cup. Everyone looked weak and beaten and as they held out their hands a man came up to them with a bucket of water which He desired to pour into their hands for them to drink, but only the people who asked Him received and drank off the water. As the people who asked for it drank of the water they immediately transformed and looked stronger and were becoming beautiful.
    The Lord used this visual aid for me to communicate that just knowing my need won't get me anywhere, I need to acknowledge my need and then ask for the Lord to come and fulfill that need. 
   All ye heavy laden  go to the source and let Him be your portion, your all in all. Jesus never asked us to carry a burden on our own, too oft we carry burdens that He never asked or intended us to.   Jesus says, 
         "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."     
                                       -Matthew 11:28
    He only asks that we come to Him with those burdens, not to lift and carry them on our own. 
    Brothers and sisters continue strong on your course that the Lord has placed before you! When you are weak, burnt out or simply confused as to the direction He has for you go to the source, go to Him and ask and He will gladly give you what you need!

    Grace and peace.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

An encouraging note

April 10
The Summer Will Come
"Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you" (Isa. 30:18).
Where showers fall most, there the grass is greenest. I suppose the fogs and mists of Ireland make it "the Emerald Isle"; and whenever you find great fogs of trouble, and mists of sorrow, you always find emerald green hearts; full of the beautiful verdure of the comfort and love of God. O Christian, do not thou be saying, "Where are the swallows gone? They are gone; they are dead." They are not dead; they have skimmed the purple sea, and gone to a far-off land; but they will be back again by and by. Child of God, say not the flowers are dead; say not the winter has killed them, and they are gone. Ah, no! though winter hath coated them with the ermine of its snow; they will put up their heads again, and will be alive very soon. Say not, child of God, that the sun is quenched, because the cloud hath hidden it. Ah, no; he is behind there, brewing summer for thee; for when he cometh out again, he will have made the clouds fit to drop in April showers, all of them mothers of the sweet May flowers. And oh! above all, when thy God hides His face, say not that He hath forgotten thee. He is but tarrying a little while to make thee love Him better; and when He cometh, thou shalt have joy in the Lord, and shalt rejoice with joy unspeakable. Waiting exercises our grace; waiting tries our faith; therefore, wait on in hope; for though the promise tarry, it can never come too late.
--C. H. Spurgeon
"Oh, every year hath its winter,
And every year hath its rain--
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.
"When new leaves swell in the forest,
And grass springs green on the plain,
And alders' veins turn crimson--
And the birds go north again.
"Oh, every heart hath its sorrow,
And every heart hath its pain--
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.
"'Tis the sweetest thing to remember,
If courage be on the wane,
When the cold, dark days are over--
Why, the birds go north again."
An up date will be coming soon! :)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

"Exceedingly abundantly above all"

Well here is the long overdue update of life and ministry that I said I would write awhile ago. So very much has happened and the Lord has been doing such a work in my heart and in the hearts of those around me, as well as in the country of New Zealand. It truly is the most amazing experience I have ever encountered.
So to catch everyone up to speed with what’s happening here and what exactly I am doing with my life we’ll start with the first month. From day one I knew I was supposed to be here, as I believe I mentioned in my first entry on the bus ride from the airport to town I was given the blessing of sharing the Gospel and my personal testimony with a Maori man from Rotorua (Maori’s are the native people of New Zealand for those of you who don’t know J ).
                                              A view of the ranch from the Bible College.

As students began to arrive I of course was super excited to meet all of them and begin this journey of learning and growing together. It is interesting to look back over the semester and see how the Lord has brought us all together, each so unique, but such a blessing to one another. One area of ministry within the Bible college that I have been placed in was Dorm Steward, basically like Dorm Momma. I have asked the Lord to give me wisdom and His heart whilst ministering to these women and He continues to do so, He also continues to use them to teach me, which at times is very humbling but very necessary! We have dorm meetings every Friday morning and they have honestly been some of my favorite times of the semester, just getting to hear what the Lord is doing in and through them is such an encouragement to me.

In addition to Dorm Momma and trying to disciple the girls my other areas of ministry with the Bible college include Chuck tracks and Library. Chuck tracks are a series of verse by verse Bible studies that the students go through each semester with Pastor Chuck Smith who started the Calvary Chapel movement in Costa Mesa, California. So I am in charge of making sure the students do them, and grading them. I went through the series in my two years of Bible college, but hearing how blessed the students are by them makes me want to go through them again; I am thinking that may be one item on my to-do list for the Christmas break. As far as our library goes it has been a semester long project, but one that I have enjoyed and been blessed by even though it has stressed me out on a couple occasions. I was notorious in the beginning of the semester for my “2 A.M. OCD moments” when I would be building bookshelves, organizing books according to subject and author, and making labels. I personally thought it was therapeutic for the most part, but others thought I was simply crazy…which is true, to a degree.

As far as my involvement with the Calvary Chapel church in my new hometown of Rotorua I have committed to helping out with the youth group every Sunday morning and Tuesday night for our gatherings. My heart has just grown and continues to fall in love with these kids, especially the girls. I have so much fun every time we get to hangout and am blessed seeing the work that the Lord is doing in their heart and seeing the desire that the Lord is putting in their hearts to just learn more about Him.

About a month ago the school went out on a 10-day outreach which is part of the school’s curriculum. Each student must choose a place and church to go to and come alongside and help serve them. One team went to Melbourne, Australia, another team went to Hamilton, New Zealand, and another team went to Wellington, New Zealand. I went and co-led with the group to Wellington.  Sorry to anyone I went on a missions trip with before, but I must say that was the best outreach I have ever been on.  We as a team continually prayed for unity within our group and with those we were going to serve with, a servant’s heart simply just to go jump in and do whatever was asked of us, and to be a blessing and encouragement to those we would serve with.  The Lord granted each of those prayers “exceedingly, abundantly above all” I could ask or think. There were no disagreements or disputes between team members and the people we were around constantly thanked us for coming and helping out.
                                      Our awesome team in front of the Street City Church.

Some things we did included helping out with a free sausage BBQ where we gave out free sausage sandwiches and shared the free gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was so much fun, below is a picture of one of the assistant pastors down in Wellington and some team members.
We also helped preparing props for the children’s ministry event “Halos and Heroes” which was an alternative to Halloween party. We made name tags, stars, and paper-machet craters (which were going to be hung up in the “moon room”). Below is a picture of a crater I was making in the beginning stages, it looked better at the end. Promise.
In addition to that we also went out to the streets on several occasions and passed out Gospel tracts and shared the Gospel with anyone who was willing to listen. I do not know if anyone accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior after we talked to them, but the Lord reminded me constantly through the trip that it is not my job to act as the Holy Spirit and win them to salvation in Christ, my job is to tell them the truth about Jesus and then pray for them. To remind ourselves (the team) of that, we called ourselves “The Sowers” taken from 1 Corinthians 3.
                                                  A view of Wellington from Mount Victoria

All in all I was blessed and encouraged and gained even more of a heart for New Zealand and God’s people therein.
This past weekend I got the blessing of going back to Wellington for a vacation weekend. I went down with a few friends and was able to see the country side. New Zealand's landscapes really are incomparable!

Currently we are having Speaker’s Week with Dave Heitman, who is the assistant pastor of the Street City Church in Wellington (the one I served alongside of for Outreach week) and also is moving to Tauranga, NZ with his family next February to plant a church there, and Steve Jones who is the pastor at Calvary Chapel Hamilton. The Lord has been blessing, convicting, and encouraging me through every message. Each session I have taken several pages of notes. The Lord is continuing to clarify the calling He has on my life; it has been hard thinking of some things that factor into that, the sacrifices to be made and the “count to cost” but He is constantly giving me the confirmation I need and the peace to trust Him and the plan He has for my life. One thing that was said this morning was “Any time you risk something for God, He will not make you look like a fool.” This was one thing that really spoke to me because although I am confident in what the Lord is calling me to, I know that it is foolish in the minds of some spectators of my life, and I let their opinions of my life hinder me from fully stepping into what the Lord has for me.
Although I am in a place of life where I have a general idea of what the Lord is leading me to/into, I have no idea how He is going to accomplish it all; yet that I am learning is the fun bit. Perspective is key. I have been challenged with how I look at certain circumstances or issues, but the Lord is constantly teaching me to rely and depend on Him and His strength and I am starting to live life with the perspective that it is an adventure that I get to watch God unfold. Another thing that was said in today’s session was “You don’t know what God has planned for you-keep reading the story.” In essence, we don’t know what God has planned for us, but believe, keep going! God does have a plan and all He wants is us to simply trust Him and allow Him to lead us.
So until I write the next chapter in this series my encouragement is to press on. Continue to trust in the Lord and allow Him to lead and guide you. If there are any reading this who have not yet put their trust in the Lord, who may not even believe in God-my suggestion is give Him a try. You will not regret it. Any questions, please ask!

Prayer requests:
~The country of New Zealand and for God to soften the hearts of the people, to see their need for a Savior and experience His love and saving grace.
~Personally for direction and wisdom from the Lord about the future, and to gain a clearer vision of what God's plan is for my life. 
~For the kids in the youth ministry that I am involved with in CC Rotorua, as well as the youth in all Rotorua, to see the emptiness of the world and to have a greater desire to experience and live for the Lord.

I found this very encouraging, especially since Outreach begins this weekend. 
A new blog update will soon follow including (mostly) everything that has happened and what I have learned here in my first month.
Blessings to all,
love you’s much :)

Intro and some background info for ya's...

Due to the fact that I have never before “blogged” I do not have any idea how this will flow, how often I will update, or how well my blog will sound (it’s quite an intimidating thing in my opinion to write about your life in a manner that will entertain all who read it). However, my desire is to use this to update everyone on what all the Lord is doing around me, through me, and in me. 
So here we go…
Sunday night August 21, 2011 I boarded a plain from San Francisco, CA to Auckland, New Zealand. After a 13 hour plain ride, a 5 hour wait for my bus, and then a 4 1/2 hour bus ride from Auckland to Rotorua, I finally ended up in my new hometown of Rotorua, New Zealand. :)
Now as for those of you who do not know what exactly I am doing in New Zealand here’s the 411. I am interning at a Christian Bible college here in New Zealand. What that fully means and entails…I am still finding out. For a bit of brief history of how I got connected and involved in this begins with my journey to Calvary Chapel’s Bible College in Vajta, Hungary from fall 2008-spring 2010. In my time spent there I met a lovely family, the Walsh’s. Between my first and second year there they moved to New Zealand to start a Bible College which is now known as Calvary Chapel Bible Institute (CCBI), and we are about to begin their third semester. 
Although I had always wanted to go to New Zealand and help out the fellowship and ministries down here, I never thought it would be possible, because of finances, leaving family and friends, trying to finish up school and get a degree so I could establish myself in this world, etc.. Yet through a friend’s encouragement I seriously began praying for an opportunity to come and serve out here. After some time of seeking the Lord and praying, I sent an e-mail out asking if there was a need and the Lord quickly opened the door and allowed me to be here. And even though I have not yet been here a week, I do think it was one of the best decisions of my life and biggest blessings the Lord has ever given me. I cannot even begin to express how in awe I am that the Lord has brought me to this place, and also how thankful I am to just be a part of His work here. 
SO, that is a very brief explanation of what all is going on in my life as of late. I will post another entry shortly just to share the awesome things that are already going on thus far. 
But until then, farewell, may the Lord bless you all (especially those of you who actually read this all), and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you.