Monday, January 26, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #3

Yet another one from the Book of Isaiah...

Isaiah 33:6a (NASB)
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge...

Another promise... claim it!

A New Church!

Yesterday, our family had the opportunity to attend the Launch Service of the newest member of The Sanctuary Network --- this is a church that will be specifically ministering to mandarin-speaking Chinese people in the Greater Toronto Area.

The experience was definitely an eye-opener for us, especially for our children who do not speak or understand the mandarin language at all. For them to see church in a different context was definitely a good thing! I think we will continue to bring them to launch services like this one in the future. It lets them see church with a wider point of view, with greater perspective. As for me, I was quite impressed to realize how much mandarin I still understand! I definitely didn't know I still had that language in me. :-)

The coolest thing from yesterday is the realization that it was the first time, since our Launch Service, where hubby and I delegated our responsibilites at our home church to other people. Delegating to others freed us up to help this new church. It gave us a sense that God is preparing us to do more... perhaps preparing us for the ministry of helping The Sanctuary Network's newest babies get up and running, in one way or another!

This morning, I bumped into this article at The High Calling. Let me quote a couple paragraphs from the article:

"It's important to be open to the way God wants to use us. Often we aren't. We think we need to be someone else, somewhere else, for God to use us. We think we need a certain talent, a certain skill, a certain work for God to use us. We think it's about the gifts in us and not the God in us. We forget that His indwelling is the only reason He can use us.

God has a plan and it's His, not ours. We may be very receptive to God using us in the ways we imagine, but are we open to the way God wants to use us? He has a unique and distinctive vision for each of us. And it involves using us today, exactly as we are, where we are, doing what we do. For if we can't serve God in this way, in this work, in this brokenness, when will we?"

Powerful words, aren't they?

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
---Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #2

I'm still on the Book of Isaiah. I love this book --- it is so full of promises! My nephew's name is Isaiah and it means "God is salvation".

Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)
But now, this is what the Lord says ... "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine."

I am HIS! That is just awesome.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #1

Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV)
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

For This I Was Born

Over the Christmas holidays, I was able to spend some time reading. Reading is one of my favourite pastimes... one that I (unfortunately) don't get to do as much of anymore these days!

I read Brian Houston's book, For This I Was Born. Brian Houston is the founder of Hillsong. Wow! What a great read it was. It is especially relevant because of the church planting work that God has led hubby and I (and our kids!) to be involved with at the start of 2008.

When we joined The Sanctuary Pickering one year ago, we fully embraced the vision of this church becoming a "church planting church". We envisioned ourselves planting our first daughter church in three years. Well, God had other things in mind. He always does... something bigger than us! He put in place The Sanctuary Network's newest "seed" in North York, launching at the end of this month --- in two weeks! And... we have already been presented with several opportunities to help this newest "seed". God is surely going full steam ahead... like I've said before, this is one wild ride we're on!

So, back to Brian Houston's book... several things made real sense to and jumped out at me. Here they are:
~ We have to build the kind of church that releases people into their God-given potential.

~ Your life can impact the future. How do you want future generations to remember you?

~ The truth is that our calling is not found in the ethereal; it is found in the here and now.

~ The secret of living a life of purpose is living for something bigger than you are.

~ Your life is not meant to be a to-do list of competing priorities. We all have got one life to live, the God-life. It has God at the center and all the other aspects of your life flow from and hinge on Him.

~ God will use time to grow, enlarge, and increase your capacity, so do not ever dismiss the value of time.
"... for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."
---II Timothy 1:12 (KJV)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Memory Verse Mondays

So... it seems to me like God is impressing upon my heart to memorize or meditate on His Word this year. When He wants to make a point, He's not subtle at all, is He? I visited Beth Moore's blog on New Year's Eve and what did I see? An invitation to memorize or meditate upon two Scripture verses each month this year.

And then yesterday, I opened up my Bible Study workbook --- Jennifer Rothschild's Walking By Faith, and flipped to Week 5 to start doing my homework. What was the topic all about? Remembering God's Word --- in other words, memorizing Scripture verses, one per week!

There is a problem though... the skill of memorization just doesn't come naturally for me. It's definitely not my favourite category at all in the Wii game called Big Brain Academy! So, I've decided to take Beth Moore's suggestion of meditating instead of memorizing. To help me out visually and to keep the verse forefront in my mind all week, I'm going to post one verse each Monday morning here on my blog... thus the post label Memory Verse Mondays!

I'm excited about this... hopefully, I can keep it going all year.

"I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You."
---Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Looking into the New Year

Happy New Year! Five days into the New Year and I'm just logging in to tend to my blog. It's been a hectic few weeks, to say the least. Hectic? A better word to use would be... stressful! Yes, that's right. It has been a stressful past few weeks.

Over the holidays, I encountered several stressful situations where I've had to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help me "live beyond myself" --- that is to display the fruit of the Spirit in my words and in my actions.

I had to go back to my Bible study workbook, Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself, to review the main points... love never fails, joy cometh, peace rules, patience waits, kindness tenders, goodness does, faith fights, gentleness bows, self-control stops.

Through it all, I realized one thing: it is when I can not do it myself... when I have to ask God to help me with my words and with my actions... that the fruit of the Spirit is actually being manifested and God is fully at work within me. It is definitely in those situations when I become fully aware of my humanity!

One good thing is that as I was reviewing the character traits that the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit and as I reflected upon this New Year, I realized that a good goal for me this year would be to allow God to work more in me so that my life can display more and more of the character traits that make up the fruit of the Spirit --- a life lived beyond myself, one moment at a time!

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!"
---Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)