Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sunday Sermon Share: Faith Catalysts - Practical Teaching

Luke 6:46-49 NLT "So why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord!' when you don't do what I say?
I will show what it's like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.
It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock.
When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.
But anyone who hears and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins."

We at Elim North were very blessed to have Pastor Bob Lawson teach us today. This man is a great speaker and has a passionate heart for ministry and mission work.

Today's sermon was the second in Elim's Faith Catalysts Series and dealt with foundations.

In my notes I scribbled in a column: What is the foundation of your life? What satisfies your soul?

sidenote: if you're wondering whether tonight's tv program or next weekend's major sporting event might satisfy your soul, be aware, we're aiming deeper here. Read this for an explanation.

Our foundation and our lives should be based in God's Word. The Bible, the highest grossing bestseller of all time, the most translated, and is rumoured to be the most stolen book in the world.

Even if you haven't given your life to Christ, the Bible is full of concepts that will guide you in living a life of integrity and strong character, but I believe it is so much more than a guidebook to living a good life. It's a faith-fueler. 

Anyway, Pastor Bob explained these 6 steps to building a solid foundation:

1. Hear God's Word

Romans 10:17 NKJV Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

(my notes: read it out loud. Pastor Bob mentioned that reading it our loud can sometimes help it to stick. How many times have I read on 'auto-pilot'? Especially right before bed!)

2. Read God's Word

2 Timothy 3:16 NLT All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

3. Study God's Word

Acts 17:11 NLT And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those  in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.

*Studying the Word for yourself is the only real way to ground yourself in your faith, I know too many people who blindly trust everything they hear or read. I've had Pastors in my life who preached a rather warped version of scripture (for a long time I couldn't trust the way I interpreted it myself because of the strange filters in my own head as a result) and then I've had others who urged me to test everything against the Word. Guess which ones I trusted more? 

4. Memorize God's Word

Proverbs 7:2-3 NKJV Keep my commands and live, And my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Psalm 119:11 NLT Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

*Ok, so here's the thing, there is a perception out there of christianity as a religion full of rules and laws. It's actually not. It's a way of life founded in love. The two most important commandments in the Bible are: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. 

5. Meditate on God's Word

Psalm 1:2-3 NLT But they that delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Joshua 1:8 NLT Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

*I don't know anyone who doesn't want to prosper and succeed, do you? 

6. Do God's Word

James 1:22 NLT But don't just listen to God's Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves.
Matthew 5:19b NIV But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
John 13:17 NIV Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

*Please note that the paragraphs with the * next to them are my musings and aren't necessarily what was taught in the service today.

Lastly, Pastor Bob, towards the end of the service, spoke on this verse. 
Luke 16:10-12
New International Version (NIV)
10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

And this really spoke to me. Odd that the verse that wasn't even in the sermon notes is what resounded with me the most. I truly feel that God is entrusting much to Pieter and I in this season of our lives. 
Four kids???? Seriously? 
I am firmly of the belief that our kids are not truly ours, they belong to God and we are merely stewards of His treasures. I'm over-awed that He trusts us enough to give us yet another treasure to love. 

Friday, 22 February 2013

Strange Happenings

I had an entire blog post planned for today, but the oddest thing happened last night...

...something that seems to have eclipsed everything else!

It seems Minion Number 4 will be joining our family in late October.

As I was drifting off into oblivion it suddenly occurred to me that I was around five days late. Not being one to keep track of these things, I wasn't too sure, but thought I had better check anyway.

When those two little stripes appeared I started giggling at the absurdity of the fact that motherhood seems to have become a career for me.

Never saw that one coming!

But anyway, I had an awful attitude towards life in general during my pregnancy with Blossom and I'm determined to face this particular future with a smile on my face. Despite what all of our plans were, there seems to be a greater plan and purpose in the works.

And we'll just roll with it.

Linking up:

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Sweets for my Sweets

 Last week wednesday, my overly (yet beautifully) pregnant friend Lynne randomly dropped by my house loaded up with sponge cake and and assortment of tools that one apparently associates with cake decorating.

Her collection is astonishing!

Her idea was to make Valentine's cakes for our husbands.

As I hadn't managed to get anything for the man, it being the end of a very long pay period, this idea rocked!

Here is a photographic portrayal of the process:

First we cut out the heart shapes.

We added a crumb coat of caramel. (My favourite part of the process!)

Rolling out and colouring the icing. Looking gorgeous Lynne!

The pro at work. (not me...Lynne!)

These were mine...
And my end result was the first photo, as well as these little ones that went out on the day as lunchbox surprises. Blossom's got eaten too fast for a photo. Takes after her mother.

Linking up:

 Show & Tell Thursday's

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Terrific Find Tuesday: Decor Revived

Supporting local and small business owners.

I walk past a small shop everyday and I've been desperate to go in for ages...

The problem is, it's not the kind of shop you really take kids into, or at least not my kids!

I spotted these gorgeous hand-crocheted cushions from the road and managed to dash in and grab a few shots, with the permission of Jill, the owner, before the kids totally lost it.

 In fact, that is why there are only three shots.

By the time I managed to snap the last one Blossom had twisted herself around in the stroller in an attempt to escape, and Roo was begging to explore further inside....
Ummm.... no.

Anyway, from the tiny glimpse I got, Decor Revived is a treasure trove of retro items rarely seen anywhere else. Jill's taste is awesome and I can't wait to go back, sans the minions, of course.

You can find all the pretty here:

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday Sermon Share: Personal Ministry (Faith Catalysts 1)

Bible Verse: Matthew 14:15-18 (NIV) As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."
Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
"Bring them here to me," he said.

I wasn't in church this sunday, I was out in the toddler program doing my bit, but Pieter was, and when he shared the subject of today's sermon on the way home in the car, I almost cried.

You see, it's a subject that has become personal over the last little while.

I started working on the Sparkz Program about 6 months ago. Blossom was old enough to go and they were calling for volunteers to work with the toddlers. Groaning inwardly, I figured that, since my kid was in that program and I was benefiting, it was my duty to volunteer.

In the last ten years I could count on one hand the amount of times I was privileged enough to sit through an entire sermon, surely, sacrificing one sunday in four and ensuring that the Sparkz Program continued to run, I would still be gaining more spiritual input than I had been anyway?

But I dragged my feet.

I didn't really want to do it. I've done childcare for such a long time and, to be totally honest, it just was never my passion. And I fully believe that childcare as an occupation is very similar to nursing or teaching - you truly have to have a passion for it. It's a calling.

I never heard any calling, in fact it was all quiet on the calling front, you could hear the crickets chirping rather loudly in the silence.

Not only was I not passionate about kids, but darn it, I was nearing the end of the stay-at-home-mom phase of my life and I wanted to get to the next bit. Bring it on. Just not kids.... please!

The entire week before my first stint as kiddy-carer, I dreaded sunday. I was nervous, I pictured screaming, inconsolable toddlers and poopy nappies. I fully expected to be in a total state of hysteria by the end of it.

Yup, well, it didn't go that way at all. In fact, it rocked!

I arrived in a fluster and people greeted me, they stopped to chat and catch up on my family. I became a person instead of an anonymous face on sunday morning. Suddenly I was part of the family and I felt included, loved, needed.

There were no poopy nappies. Yes, there were tears, but none of the hysterical kind. And, surprise! Surprise! I was able to console most of them. It just wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and I gained something far more important than the freedom to sit in a service. I plugged into the church community.

Anyway, that personal testimony wasn't the point of the service this morning. At least, not totally the point. Actually, I couldn't say either way, I wasn't there.

The point of the Bible verse was: Just bring what you have to Jesus and watch what He can do. Go and read the rest of the story here. God can do huge things with the little that you have.

You don't have to have any qualifications in public speaking/theology/semantics/intercessory prayer (or any of those rather scary sounding subjects that Pastors study) in order to serve in your church, all you really need is a positive attitude. Heck, I didn't even have that, all I had was a strong sense of responsibility. But it changed...

And anybody can help out. Even you, yes..... you!

Can you smile? If you can smile, you can greet people at the door.

If you have good vision you can guard the cars in the carpark.

If you are ambulatory you can be one of the ushers and pass around the offering basket.

It's not difficult.

And if you have just one grain of confidence, please consider helping out in your local children's ministry. I stopped going to church for years because of what I like to call the "Christian Mommy Exile." What was the point if I wasn't going to be able to sit in church anyway?

By serving in the children's ministry you are enabling mums to actually receive some form of spiritual nourishment on a sunday. And, quite possibly, you will be keeping some families in church, instead of falling away as a result of the futility of mums going for no reason.

Sending sunday love from Elim Christian Centre North.

Friday, 15 February 2013


Blogging with this little monster on my lap.

I'm actually just glad it's sleeping, when she's awake, you just never know when or where she'll attack. The favourite thing is to try and claw her way up my legs.


So I'm thankful for moments of peace!
 One of the things I've resolved to do, as a result of this sermon, is to get out of the house more often and do things that don't involve kids or housework.

I had an absolute blast on tuesday working in the church office, playing with the guillotine and phoning people.

This is to become a regular thing - yay!

I'm thankful that a friend gifted me the entire series of these books. I've read them before, and I know the ending, but I'm enjoying them all over again. Because good books are like that, they're old friends  who uplift you with each return visit.

I encourage everyone to give them a try.

The technology is a bit outdated, even though it was cutting edge at the time of publishing. I have a good giggle every now and then, but despite that, I'm still being blessed by them.

I'm thankful for this little monkey because, after having two boys with their rough and tumble ways, her girliness is a continual delight.

I'm also loving her gleeful enthusiasm for life.
Any little thing is a source of extreme excitement!

And those totally delicious curls! Yes, they occasionally go a bit fuzzy, but I love fussing over her hair.

Daughters are just delightful!

And the Roo's enthusiasm for learning!
His mind is so thirsty for knowledge and his perseverance is something I'm very proud of.

You go Roo!

I'm thankful for a romantic husband who left a card next to my bed  this Valentine's Day, that sent me on a treasure hunt to find....

...these, hiding behind the mustard at the back of the fridge!

Can I hear an "awwwwww"?

He's such an incredibly sweet man and I'm so blessed!

Linking up:

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Granny Squares

My grandmother taught me how to make these a long time ago and I never forgot how.

It's actually gotten to the point where I don't even have to watch what I'm doing, my fingers automatically seem to know what they're doing without requiring my brain to engage. I remember another grandmother knitting like that while watching TV. I was in awe of her. I still am!

Now, despite the fact that I seem to put quite a bit of effort into my crafting, I rarely actually finish a project. A fact that my husband points out from time to time, whenever the clutter that my hobbies generate seems to be taking over the house. That's when I know to pack it all into a box and move it out to the garage.
It's anybody's guess just what is out there...

But, nevertheless, I'm determined to finish making whatever these are going to ultimately be and I promise to show you when I'm done.

Happy Valentines Day to everyone, we had tons of crafty fun around here and I woke up to a treasure hunt this morning, that had Lindor at the end of it.... I'm so well loved!

 Show & Tell Thursday's

Monday, 11 February 2013

Sunday Sermon Share: Posture

Bible Verse: Joshua 7:10 (NIV) The Lord said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?"

I've gotta say that I absolutely love when I get to catch Pastor Becs in action. She has this brilliantly engaging and expressive preaching style that grabs my attention from the first sentence and doesn't let it go until the closing song.

This week she spoke on the subject of 'Posture", which may sound a bit strange - the pastor giving instructions on correct posture but there was actually quite a bit of profound-ish common sense to it.

While she did have a bit to say on external posture, it was what she said on internal posture that applied. It impacted me because, referring to the verse above (and maybe give it a read from the beginning of the chapter, for a bit of background), I've been down on my face for quite a while.

You see, I never expected to spend five years out of work, languishing in the mental desert that is stay-at-home-mommyhood, and it's gotten to the point where I just don't believe I'll ever reenter the workforce. The way I've been seeing it, it's those who did actually manage to rack up some form of work reference during the recession, that will be considered as a potential employee.

I've been feeling pretty darn worthless.

Now, I know that to my kids I'm somebody important, and to my husband, I'm somebody important. But I have to tell you that to myself, I'm not. I don't feel as though I have accomplished anything. For five years.

And then Becs yells from the stage: STAND UP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING DOWN ON YOUR FACE?

And I just wanted to cry, because I knew that that was for me.

The whole message seemed to be for me:


Get off your face, Renette! What are you doing down there? I don't want you down there, my plans for you require you to get up!


Prepare yourself, Renette, plant your feet upon the Rock!


So that you can stand firm. My plans and purposes for you, Renette, are to give you a hope and a future. Get ready! It's coming


Isn't that encouraging? Doesn't that sound hopeful? That message applies to everyone, not just me. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013


The highlights of my week:

Sunday, we had an awesome church service at our church, the sermon was about vision and we were extremely blessed by the end of it.

Monday, school started! And there are quite a few things I'm loving about this!

This year I am blessed to have TWO of my kids in school. Of course, I had to have a conversation with The Jord regarding NOT terrorising his brother at school, the way he does at home.

 I'm loving the amazingly positive attitude The Roo displayed on his first day of school.

I was quite nervous about it because of the hysterical tears the night before.

But, surprise surprise, he dived right in!

To the point of muttering at me: 'Ok mom, you can GO now..." when I tried to kiss him goodbye!
And then, at about noon, the most profound thing happened. Blossom went down for her daily two hour nap....

And I was alone!

For two whole hours.

It felt like a gift from above, a reward, a taste of what is to come.

Two whole hours to think my own thoughts without being interrupted by demands for jam sandwiches and juice.


 I am thankful for precious reminders of what is truly important, like this one.

The Roo's first attempt at writing was about playing cricket with his Dad.

 I'm loving the fact that homework has started again and the kids are starting to use technology in a productive way, instead of just as entertainment!

And I'm loving that my baby can read....

And lastly, on wednesday, my littlest one turned two. And that day I spent reflecting on the moment she joined our family.

I'm loving the way we work and play together during those morning hours when it's just the two of us.

Linking up today:

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Away With the Fairies

Yup, that is my mother's favourite way to describe me.
"All the intelligence in the world, just no street-smarts!"

Which is true.

The latest situation I find myself in that has been caused by my absentmindedness 'rich internal thought-life' is the loss of my last blog: The South African Kiwis. I changed the email address to a gmail address, that I rarely use. So rarely, I forgot the password.

And now I have no way of signing in.

When I think of the time and effort I expended over the last four-and-a-half years posting to that blog, I don't know whether to fume in annoyance, or howl out my grief!

Anyway, there are posts on that blog that are precious to me and I will be 'retrieving' them by reposting here. I'll probably also put up a list of favourite links on a different tab, just so I don't lose it completely.

But welcome to my new blog, my clean slate.
My fresh perspective on life!


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