30 Nov. 2007

Hi Everyone!

Its awesome to know you have been returning to visit the connect group blog.

Guess what, you dont have to wait for me to roster someone to share :o) When God reveals something to you during your devotion or anything at all that you learn during the week, feel free to write an entry!

Some updates:

Connect group will be run base on suburbs & we are commencing a Justice project where our young adults will be involve in serving our community every once a month - ie. cleaning or renovating a single mum's home.

It will be Pastor Jason & Kym's second last week in church as they prepare to head off to Bristol. Do keep them in your prayers.

Pastor Jonathan has invited the church to pray and fast with him for 21 days as God leads us into a new season. This is the 2nd week where we meet up at 7.30am on Sunday morning to pray.

I strongly encourage you to be purposeful & prayerful as we draw near to the end of the year as to what God has to say to you for 2008.

Its going to be a really exciting season in the life of the church & as daughters of the House, lets be involved & align ourselves with what God is saying. Lets seek His heart for 2008. I know as God speaks to our leaders, often He will be speaking the same things to us if & when we seek Him. Lets not wait till we step into the new year & when face with circumstances than we decide what our priorities, where our commitments will be. Instead, lets move forward with vision, asking that God open our spiritual eyes to see! Lets decide that next year we will be committed on the journey, passionate about our King, laying down our own desires, own needs & want, trusting in Him & moving forward as young adults of the church.

So do pray, & better still, begin & end the year with a fast as a sign of surrendering your life to HIs leading.

And when God gives you a word, a direction or anything at all for next year, share it with the rest of us. Nothing is too short, too small, or too long winded to share!

Keep praying for our leaders & church as we step into what is the most significant & huge transistion of church life.

Come back expectant, refreshed & ready to be stretched & enlarged!

Keeping you gals in prayer.

Love,
Winnie

15 Nov. 2007

Forgiven Much

Very often we’ve done in “personality” surveys asking are you a rule keeper or a rule breaker? What is your answer?

Some of us like to deviate from the norm at times, but I guess most of us would say that we keep the rules as best as we can. All through our lives we’ve been asked to follow the rules, be a good student, be a law abiding citizen. I would say that for myself as well. What good would it do if we break the rules? God definitely wants us to keep the rules. He’s the one that gave the 10 commandments! Of course we can never keep all of them but, at least I won’t cheat in an exam, I try not to gossip about people, I do the right thing as best as I can. To me it is easier to live my life with a set of Do’s and don’ts, I like rules! Whilst many might praise me and say that I know my convictions. But what is my real motivation?

I realised that being law abiding, being “Christian” and doing all the right things can arise out of a heart of self centeredness. Pride. It may seem like I’m a goody Christian but in actual fact, sadly at times the motivation is to look good in front of others. My Christianity has been governed by “rule keeping old testament laws” as a preacher says.

The Pharisees and religious leaders in the bible had no problem following the rules but if u noticed, Jesus always had a go at them. Why? I mean they are the ones that are following the rules, what’s wrong with that?

Following the rules is a definite must but living for it alone is NOT.

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. (Luke 7 :36-38)


I’ve read this incident many times and always thought whether that woman was actually trying to curry favour Jesus or something. I tried to imagine taking my CK One Summer perfume and pouring it on Jesus, its crazy man! Does she have to be so exaggerated in crying and wiping his feet with her tears thereafter pouring that expensive perfume?
What made her do that??

If we look at this passage in context, Jesus was having a meal at the house of Simon the Pharisee; around him were other Pharisees and high ranking people of that place. In those days, these kinds of meals are taken in an open space where the public is able to have full view of and even stand around the parameters of the place. This prostitute just walked into that intimidating environment in front of all the Pharisees and with her alabaster box poured out all that she had in worship to Christ.


When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."(Luke 7:39)

In the above verse, its funny how that Pharisee calls that woman a sinner. It just shows that he probably thought that he wasn’t. Jesus then addressed his problem in the verses below.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
(Luke 7: 44-47)




The woman worshipped Jesus with her all, because she knows she has been forgiven much and Jesus was trying to say that Simon did not worship him because he didn’t think that he needed to be forgiven.

Its really true how we live our lives taking Christ sacrifice on the cross for granted, we don’t think that we need to be forgiven of much coz we didn’t sin much. May it never be. We’ve been born in sin but he took the initiative to reconcile that relationship. Lets continue to ask the Lord to help us to be grateful for what he has done.

Doing good works and following the rules should come from the inside out, a heart that is devoted to the Lord and out of love for him
Much Love
Sarah

14 Nov. 2007

CONNECT GROUP FINALE

Hi everyone!!

A quick reminder, we will be having our last connect group for the year this Sunday!

I have booked table for 10 at the Argentinian restaurant for dinner @ 7.30pm.

After service in the morning, we will be spending time sharing our personal thanksgiving items for the year. Everyone will have a chance to share, come prepared :o)

Following the sharing, you will be receiving an early Christmas prezzie!!

Papers will than be handed out to everyone where you will write your name on it and pass it around for everyone to write a note of encouragement or anything they want to say to you.

Come eager to bless one another!

I'll see you on Sunday!

If any of you have ideas like going to a picnic or somewhere special for lunch let me know.

Please pass this information to Jebbrine and Suying.

Love,
Winnie

9 Nov. 2007

my sharing

A lot of times we determine our emotions depending on the good and bad circumstances in our life. And due to that, we chase after little personal goals in hope that it might improve our situation. When we fail to get what we want we will naturally feel down about it, and at times when circumstances don’t turn out the way we wanted, we tend to look at \the negatives and complain about it. Has anyone ever shared this experience with me?

Ecclesiastes 5:19,20

Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work- this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.

This was what came to my mind last Sunday (yes, when I was caught flipping my bible).


When Ps JF talked about being low in confidence, I thought it was so true that more often than not, we look for happiness through temporary and superficial means be it better grades, praises from others, better things… and although we try our very hardest, sometimes we may or may not succeed and our emotions will then sway according to it. More often than not we pray for ‘things’ or for ‘better situations’ because we think that that is good for us.

From reading the book of Ecclesiastes, I’ve come to realise that happiness is actually truly from God. We can have the best grades, the best things and the best income and still not be happy. Why? Because it is God who allows us to be happy with what we have. Wealth and possessions are from Him but so is happiness. This is His gift to us.

I also thought then about the things we cannot change and the ‘bad’ situation that we are already in (eg. if we ALREADY have a disease or a misfortune). What is the next step then?

When that verse came to me, I realised that when we pray and ask God for His promise, we also can ask God to give us happiness. To allow us to accept and enjoy what He has already given us, to understand that joy and happiness comes only from Him. When we surrender our circumstances and situation into His hands to focus on Him, that’s when God will fill our hearts with gladness.

Chelsie