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Identity Thief


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The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. Not sure if you’ve noticed this but I certainly have. Lately I’ve noticed that he’s been trying to steal my identity from me, perhaps trying to confuse me about my identity and where it comes from and Who it’s found in.

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged and this one has really been on my heart, I’m not 100% sure how to get it out right and it potentially may turn into a series, but for now I thought I’d get super vulnerable and share something I wrote a few months ago in my journal…

“What a strange year! Yet rather than let it be a blip on the radar of my life, I’d like to learn from it, mature and develop character through it and come through wiser and more ready for the future. The biggest lesson so far – it’s not about what I DO for Him, what I do doesn’t complete me. It’s not about getting my identity from what I do. This year has involved me going from the role of a Youth Pastor and Worship Coordinator, preaching, leading worship and teams etc to starting in a brand new church, knowing no one, working as a PA, working in a school cafe, having no job, going back to the cafe, volunteering my time at Church for a new Ministry, with (back then) no preaching, no worship leading, no team leading….

So what happens when it’s all stripped away? It’s pretty raw. It takes time. It raises questions: what’s it all for, what’s it all about, who am I, why am I here?

Truth is, I’m sick of striving to BE someone, to be noticed or recognised or acknowledged. Over it! I want simplicity. If there’s promotion then I only want it from Him!

Part of me gets scared that my dreams won’t happen, that they’ll just die inside of me, that someone younger and more talented will come along, that I’ve missed it, but I guess ultimately my life is His and He gets the say on what happens in it anyway.

If I never preach again, am I OK with that?

If I am only a volunteer team member serving in my local Church for the rest of my days, am I OK with that?

Am I content with just me and Jesus, raw me. Not Youth Pastor me, not wife me, not preacher me, just me, with my identity and purpose in Christ alone?

It’s a hard tension because there’s a desire in me to see multitudes come to Christ, to preach in and to Nations, to raise a beacon of hope to a hurting generation, to hear a cry rise of worship to our great God – yet if none of that happens through my life, I can be content with that. Content in my Jesus.

A life surrendered.”

For me this year the hardest thing has been meeting so many new people and having them ask me “what do you do?” Not that there’s anything wrong with people asking me that, but have you noticed that’s what we always do, we ask people what they do and often in our minds without even realising it we subconsciously label them. By what they do. But what about WHO they are? The fact that I currently work in a cafe actually says very little about who I actually am. And let’s be honest, there’s nothing wrong with working in a cafe; it’s fun, a great environment, I get to chat with teenagers all day and that for me is more ministry than sitting in an office doing admin, plus the added bonus – it pays the rent!!

So, who are you? Not what do you do, although hopefully who you are comes out in what you do (my manager at the Cafe continually tells me what a great leader I am!) I feel like I’ll write more on this topic next week, but today I want to encourage you to not allow your identity to be stolen! We are first and foremost sons and daughters of the Most High, we are completed by who we are in Him not by what we do for Him, and what we do for our job, our kids, who we’re married to or the fact that we’re not married, our accomplishments or our failures…none of these things define who we are!

Jesus came to give us life, and life abundantly, whole and complete in who we are in Him!

I roar for HOPE


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Hope. A small word, but the weight it carries when we are faced with the circumstances of life is huge. We all need hope whether we admit it or not. It gets each of us through every day, sometimes we just don’t sense or acknowledge the presence of hope, sometimes we can feel like we have lost hope, but the truth is, hope is always there, we just need to take hold of hope.

This blog is dedicated to an amazing new Youth Movement, The Roar Effect. An organisation that has been founded with three main aims that all work together; 1) Building Youth Ministries, 2) Developing Leaders and 3) Seeing teen suicide eliminated! This Friday night we are hosting the first Roar Effect Event at C3 Oxford Falls in Sydney at 5:30pm with free entry, it will be a night of fun for youth from all over the area, but most importantly we will be spreading the message of HOPE!

Anxiety and depression are set to be the most diagnosed conditions by 2020 and right now in every single year 12 class across Australia, someone has considered committing suicide. These are not things that we should hide in the darkness or keep quiet about, these are issues that should be openly discussed and the stigma removed so that we can help people to work through these issues and we can be traffickers of HOPE in their worlds. Enough is enough, too many lives have been lost, too many people live in fear and darkness when their lives should be full of light and joy, let’s draw a line in the sand and all work together to bring an end to these conditions!

Hebrews 6:18-20 says ‘…we who have fled to Him for refuge can take hold of the hope set before us and be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus has entered on our behalf.’

The first key here is to actually flee to Him for refuge. So often we run away from God when the answer is actually to run TO God. We blame God for things that are happening to us and think He’s caused it all, and yet He loves us and wants to carry us through every storm of life. How do we flee to Him for refuge? Talk to Him, He is listening, He loves it when you cry out to Him. Listen to Him, He is speaking and has a wealth of knowledge to help you through. Read from Him, His word the Bible contains everything we need to live this life well, there are keys for life all through it, it is alive and active so get it into you, speak it out loud, meditate on it, read it over and over, memorise it, it will bring health to your body and joy to your life! Be where He is, yes He is everywhere, however He LOVES it when His people gather together and can encourage each other and spend time worshipping Him. There is something so powerful about corporate worship! So many times when we are in a place of despair and anxiety and hopelessness we run away from Church and people, but it is at those times that we need to make sure we are keeping those things in our lives! Even if someone has to come and pick you up every week to get you to a service, get them to do it! Don’t blame “the Church” for what is happening in your life, if you’ve been hurt or disappointed by Church then understand that it’s full of people and those times will come, but it is how each of us responds that ultimately determines how the rest plays out! FLEE TO HIM…HE IS YOUR REFUGE!

We have this hope… What is this hope? This hope is our anchor! Matthew Henry in his commentary on this verse says “It is steadfast to it’s object; it is an anchor that has taken good hold, it enters within the veil, it is an anchor that is cast upon the rock, the Rock of ages. It doesn’t fasten into the sands, but it enters within the veil and fixes there upon Christ; he is the object, he is the anchor-hold of our hope.’

Our hope is a person, our hope is Jesus and He is our anchor! An anchor is designed to hold a ship on course so that when the wind and waves come it doesn’t move too far off track but is held in place. Our lives are often hit by wind and waves, storms can come rolling in from nowhere, which is why it is so vital that we have our lives securely anchored in Jesus Christ! When the storms hit, we might get a little moved or shaken or even tossed about but we won’t stray completely off course because of the anchor that He is. I guess that’s why when the pressures of life do come we can usually see where we are anchored and who or what our foundation is.

Jesus is an anchor for our soul. Our mind, our will and our emotions. When the storms and pressures and worries and anxieties come; hold firm, not through your own strength but with Jesus, HOPE, as your anchor.

Your mind – 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we bring every thought captive to Christ, notice that it says WE bring, WE actually have to do something. God doesn’t just take the thoughts away but WE actually need to choose to stop dwelling on things, make a decision to change our thought patterns, to retrain our brains, like it says in Romans 12:2 to renew our minds every single day through the Word of God, speak it out loud and don’t allow your mind to be negative any more! Stand up with the sword of the Spirit, the Word and start to declare it loud and proud over your life! The enemy has already been defeated!

Your will – Matthew 26:41 says that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, but the first part of that verse says to keep watch and pray so that we won’t fall into temptation (the temptation to be anxious, to worry, to be depressed, to stress etc) because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Once again, there is action involved, we need to keep watch and pray! We need to be keeping an eye on our own free will and on what we are choosing, as well as praying for the spirit to win over the flesh and choosing to live that way.

Your emotions – Proverbs 4:23 in the NLT says Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. We are created as emotional beings, we feel things, it is OK to feel sad or angry or upset or confused, in fact it is not healthy to restrict those emotions, when something full on happens we should allow ourselves the space to cry or yell or do whatever we need to do (within reason) to release those emotions! However, I believe the ‘guarding’ part, which is another action word on our behalf, comes in to make sure that we are not allowing ourselves to camp or to stay in those spaces, we should work THROUGH it which means we come through, we get to the other side of that thing. Sometimes that is a long journey but so long as we actually are in the process of working through those emotions and not allowing ourselves to stay in that space then it is OK.

I am certainly no expert on any of these things, however I absolutely believe that the Bible is true, I also believe and it is being said more and more, that science is finally catching up to the Word of God! Science is starting to declare that we can renew our minds, retrain our thinking, even reshape our brain! Yes life is turbulent, yes life throws major curve balls, yes we can be products of our environment but it is ultimately up to us how the rest of life shapes out. You can’t choose what happens to you but you can choose how you will respond. And you can choose who and what your soul; your mind, your will and your emotions, is anchored to.

Choose to anchor your soul and your life to HOPE, to Jesus, to the fact that He has gone before you, He has paid the price for your healing and for your freedom and for your joy and He is interceding for you, He is your hope, your firm and secure foundation!

Job 11:18-19
You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will look to you for help.

I am so excited about the vision of The Roar Effect; to shine a light and to roar for HOPE.

I roar for you.

Jodes.

www.theroareffect.org

Hope perceived anew


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Have you ever had that experience where you are looking for something or someone in your life and then one day you realise that it, or they, are right there with you?

We often talk about the hope of Christ or the fact that He gives us hope; we pray for peace or for comfort or strength and really do want hope in our situations that can often seem so hopeless. While driving and praying the other day, I had a fresh revelation of the fact that Jesus IS hope! The Holy Spirit IS comfort, He IS counsel, He IS wisdom, He IS peace, He IS joy! Yes they bring these elements to our lives and situations, but they more than just bring it, they ARE it!

In a time where anxiety, depression, hopelessness, financial pressures, sickness and the worries of this world are greater than ever before, we desperately need hope and I believe we need a fresh perception, revelation and reality about Hope!

So many times I have, and I’m sure you have too, asked God for peace or that He would give me hope and strength and yet I’ve missed the fact that Hope Himself is mine! Peace Himself is mine! Joy Himself is mine!

In fact HOPE travels with me everywhere I go because He never leaves me or forsakes me. Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Psalm 71:5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.

Wherever I go, whatever I face, STRENGTH Himself is with me. Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Whatever life throws my way COMFORT Himself is with me! Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

If fear starts to grip my heart I can be at peace because PEACE Himself is with me! Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?

When the battle rages I know I am going to be OK because SALVATION Himself is with me! Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my Salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, The Lord Himself is my strength and my defence; He has become my salvation.

When my mind is a raging battlefield, I can be still because PEACE Himself is with me. Our Father gave us the ultimate peace – Holy Spirit! John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I constantly need help to navigate this life, and how blessed are we that HELP Himself is with us! John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.

The Bible is full of verses filled with the wonder of how great, mighty, amazing, compassionate and incomprehensible our God is!

I love Hebrews 13:6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Or mere crappy sicknesses or financial situations or other issues…) He IS your helper! Do not be afraid!!

What about 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Compassion (Jesus!) and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

My prayer is that today you will look at things a little differently, that you will get a fresh understanding of the fact that in EVERYTHING you face, PEACE, COMFORT, JOY, STRENGTH, LOVE, COUNSEL, WISDOM, COMPASSION (and everything else in between) IS WITH YOU!! When you face anxiety and don’t want to get up in the morning, remember that PEACE is with you, He is there, let Him into your world. When you’re facing financial issues remember that WISDOM and HELP is there, He is speaking and wants to give you keys! When you are diagnosed with a sickness or condition that rocks your world remember that HOPE is standing there with you, carrying you through and never ever leaving your side! When you face a situation that grieves your soul, JOY and COMFORT are by your side, catching every tear and providing you with strength you never knew possible… I could go on and on because the Word is full of this revelation and I feel like my eyes have been opened anew, my perception of Him has shifted again to see Him clearer and to fall in love with Him afresh as well as having such gratitude at WHO He actually is!

Romans 15:13 says, “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.”

What is overflowing with hope? It’s overflowing with HIM! Allow your heart, mind, soul, spirit & emotions to overflow with Him, I pray that as you have read this and perhaps re-read it, that your perception will shift, that you’ll look at our precious God in a new light and that you will have a fresh revelation of this wonderful person who IS with you!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Jodes xx

Don’t miss this!


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don't-miss-this3

I’ve been thinking lately about all the things we miss while we impatiently wait for other things to come or to happen… Like 2 weeks ago when I got back from New York and found out I wouldn’t be starting work for another 4 weeks, and immediately I started panicking about how we would survive financially (which is obviously a good thing to think through) but to be honest it could very much have stolen the fact that I had just been handed another 4 weeks holiday!!
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Will you?


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I heard a great sermon on Sunday about the fact that God has chosen us, He’s filled us and He’s skilled us to do incredible things for Him. It was based around the passage in Exodus 35vs30 through to 36vs7, I love Exodus 36vs2, “Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work.”
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Speak LIFE!


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Hello lovely reader! It has been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, I apologise, I was being a total tourist in New York and didn’t have time to stop and blog! What an incredible City! If you ever get the chance to go there, do it!
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Dancing in the Rain


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This blog comes to you from the streets of New York City! Thank The Lord for free wifi at Starbucks!! It’s currently raining outside, has been all day, apparently it is going to get worse overnight due to a tropical storm, Andrea, that hit Florida! Having been a Queenslander for the past 3 years I have learnt a bit better how to cope with these rainy conditions & to make the most of life regardless of the weather!
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trust without borders


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I love the song ‘Oceans’ from Hillsong United’s new album Zion. Have a read of these lyrics…
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revelations from a 12 year old!


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The other day I had the privilege of picking up Miss 12 from School and later driving her to Youth. During the course of our drive, she was explaining to me why she thought sermons should be more interesting, and she gave an example of her friend, also a 12 year old, who shared in Kid’s Church just recently. She said to me, “He was talking about creation and he was drawing on a board, he isn’t really a very good drawer, but it was more interesting because there was something to look at. He talked about how God spoke all of creation into being, but He actually stooped down to form man with his own hands.”
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Let Faith Rise!


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It seems that ducks are constant sources of illustration for me lately! Yesterday I was sitting by the lake watching the sun go down and as I sat there looking at the calm, peaceful water, a few ducks swam past. It fascinates me that on the surface the ducks hardly make a ripple, yet underneath you know that their feet (are they called feet?!) are paddling like crazy to propel them along.
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