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28.10.11

The Tale of a Church Planter

 
The ups, downs, frustrations, joys and everything in-between on the roller coaster ride of church planting. I can honestly say that no recipe or formula for church building exists - God does not work in this way! D7 Church is proof of this. Not because we didn’t try, we did try just about everything.

Our bookshelf is lined with books that tell you what works and what doesn’t work. Our computer is filled with files of blog posts from mega-church pastors, documents with strategy from other churches. We have attended conferences and visited other churches to try and learn about building a church.  It was only when we gave up and said so to God that we began to have breakthrough. This is our story.

Cover Photo by Lorah Kelly 

Available at: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle

Contents:

Introduction
In the Beginning
Never Cancel
Do Not Grow Weary
A Wolf and Abandonment
The Least and the Small
Pitch Up and Press On
Build a Great Team
Why Me?
It’s Not About You
Let God be God
Raise Leaders
Lead by Example
Money
When Passion Fades
Casting On The Other Side
Enjoy the Ride

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25.10.11

Being a Wife - Who is Not Independent

1 Corinthians 11:11
Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.

Men AND women are not independent, God made us both interdependent. This means that we both need each other. If you look at any marriage where one person doesn’t need the other then you will find an unbalanced, unhealthy and unhappy marriage. It doesn’t work. It wasn’t made to work. The design for marriage was interdependence.

Three sorts of relationships exist, co-dependent, independent and interdependent. Co-dependence is a win/lose situation, independence is a lose/lose situation and interdependence is a win/win situation. Let’s take a closer look at what our relationships should not be and then end off with what they should be. This is a fascinating subject and warrants an entire book dedicated to it. I will briefly touch on it as best I can, but please do your own further study and gain a healthy perspective on interdependency.

Co-dependence
There are three main types of co-dependency.

1. Givers
These people need to be needed desperately. They relate to others primarily through giving, helping and nurturing. The co-dependent always feels responsible for other people and always feels compelled to solve their problems. The co-dependent does too much, feels stressed or pressured but at the same time victimized, unappreciated and used because they won’t ask for or accept help.

2. Relationship Addicts
These people need to be in a relationship, they can’t survive alone. They typically use caring and sex to gain acceptance. They stay in bad relationships for all the wrong reasons and are often prone to sexual problems. The co-dependent tries to control behaviour of others through approval-seeking and people-pleasing behaviour.

3. Saviours
These people truly believe that if they don’t do it, it won’t get done. They try to make themselves indispensable. They typically won’t ask for help and take on more than they can cope with.

Co-dependents are worriers, lack trust, have poor boundaries, controlling behaviour and poor communication skills. It is very difficult to please a co-dependent and even more difficult to understand exactly what they really want or need. Most co-dependants come from a broken home and an abusive background.
Unresolved patterns of co-dependency can lead to more serious problems like addictions, eating disorders and other self-destructive behaviours. People with co-dependency are also more likely to attract abuse and often stay in stressful jobs.

Co-dependence Way Out
The first step to getting free from co-dependency is to let go. Co-dependents must learn to accept their powerlessness over people and events.

Independence
Marriage is not for independence. If you find yourself being self-sufficient, relying only on yourself and concentrating on your own individuality and freedom, then you are independent. Where the co-dependent doesn’t focus enough on themselves, the independent person is totally self-absorbed. The co-dependent places too much priority on the needs of other and the independent person feel that nothing and no one is more important themselves. The independent person feels suffocated by someone who doesn’t fit in with their plan to please and take care of themselves. They are very confident in themselves and will resent anyone who dares to stop them from being who they are.

The independent person is capable of providing their own needs, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Clearly, independence is harmful to any form of relationship as an independent person doesn’t need a relationship.

Independence can come from an upbringing of self preservation due to neglect or from being hurt one too many times and shutting the world out. You will often hear an independent person saying, “I don’t need you I can take care of myself!”

Independence Way Out
The first step to getting free from independence is to start connecting. Independents must learn to lean on other people and not do life as a ‘Lone Ranger’. If their independence is a result of hurt they must learn to open their heart and trust again.

Interdependence
Interdependence is a state of being mutually dependent on each other. It is the perfect balance for any relationship, especially a marriage.

Interdependence is that wonderful place where we recognise that sometimes we need to depend on our husband and at other times we need to give him some space. We give and we receive, care and are cared for, we are balanced between dependence and independence regardless of whom else is around or what anyone else thinks.

Let’s look at a wonderful relationship in nature that is interdependent – flowers and bees. Flowers and bees enjoy a relationship in which they both helped each other and both benefit each other. They probably could live without each other but the results would be disastrous and the whole cycle of life would be affected! Flowers produce pollen to fertilize other flowers. But for this to happen, pollen must get from the flower of one plant to another plant in order for fertilization to take place.

How does it happen? The flower needs the bee to make this happen. There is no way the flower can manage to fertilize another flower without the bee. A bee visits a flower and collects some pollen, then visits a different flower to collect more pollen, thereby mixing pollens and fertilizes the flower. This simple process is what causes the cycle of life to continue. Without the bees the flowers would not become fertilised which means they would not produce fruit, which would mean the end of the flowers! No more flowers!



“Independent thinking alone is not suited to interdependent reality. Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won't be good leaders or team players. They're not coming from the paradigm of interdependence necessary to succeed in marriage, family, or organizational reality.”  (Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989)

If we are able to achieve interdependence then we will find ourselves bringing out the best in our husband and he will in turn bring out the best in us. Our lives will be fruitful as we build our marriage like the bees and the flowers build each other. In order to truly get all we can out of our marriage we have to strive for interdependence.

The possibilities are limitless when we begin to tap into the synergy that interdependence will create in our marriage.  

Find out more about Being a Wife here.  
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23.10.11

Marriage Tip #13 - Keeping Winning Their Heart


I was telling Eric one morning how much I loved all the things he did to try and win my heart while we were dating.  It was his intentional words and cute poems he used to write for me that wooed me and made my heart melt.  Since those early days in 2004 until today, I have kept all his cards, handwritten notes and other cute things from him.  These are my treasures and if ever I had to leave our home in a hurry I would grab my treasure box, a small box in my desk full on little notes from Eric, my children and some even from friends.  As I was chatting to Eric about how I missed his efforts to win my heart I realised that I too needed to continue to win his heart as I once did.  It's the age old story of plank and speck syndrome! Marriage can get pretty dull if we live only to get through each day!  Making an effort to keep marriage magical, mysterious and romantic is essential!  With that in mind I determined to find out what I did that won Eric's heart so that I could continue to win his heart daily. Just because we are married doesn't mean we should stop winning each other's hearts.

What things won your heart in the early days or what did you do to win his heart?  Let's swap some ideas to spice up our marriages and keep the romance alive!
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21.10.11

Passion & Purity STUDY GUIDE

Passion & Purity Study Guide, based on Passion & Purity,  is a practical, interactive workbook that will take you from a place of desperately needing to feel loved to a place of complete bliss.
    Sound to good to be true?  It is possible, we all need to be loved most desperately and many of us have looked for love in all the wrong places. This study guide covers practical steps from my search for love, all the mistakes I made and finally the truth that I found that set me free.
    Passion and purity can be yours too, it's not too late.  No matter where you have been, who you have been with or what you have done, there is still hope.  You can be pure again, you can find true love.


Written as a fully interactive  workbook format, this study guide can be used for self study or small group study.  Buy your copy now from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
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20.10.11

Submission


I had the awesome privilege of being able to share the word at our church this past Sunday. My message was a result of spending most of this year asking God to teach me about submission.  What I discovered has totally blown me away and I hope what I shared impacted people as much as it impacted me!  In a nutshell, I highlighted the different sorts of submission from the Bible and tried my best to explain what exactly submission is.  This message also forms a part of a chapter on submission in my book, Esther or Delilah, which is coming out next year. In the meantime, have a listen to the message here.
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18.10.11

Being a Wife - Who Wants to be a Wife

Being a wife is more of an attitude than a gender. You can get women that are clearly not wives, yes they are female but their attitude is that of a man. Don't assume that because you are married that you want to be a wife. You might be married but you might still be acting like you are totally independent. 

“I am the boss around here!”
“I make the decisions.”
“I can take care of myself and provide for myself, I don’t need your money!”

I am sure you get the picture. When a woman says things like that then do you really think she is a wife? On paper she might be but in her heart I think not. When you get married you become one with your husband.

Mark 10:8
and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

You take a completely different form, you are no longer your own but you are now a part of something new.

1 Corinthians 7:4
The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.

Being a wife is so much more than having a marriage certificate. To truly be a wife you need to choose to be a wife by cultivating the attitude of a wife. There is no more his and mine but those two words become one = ours. You are not truly being a wife if you marriage still consists of yours and mine. No matter how hard it is, being a wife consists of letting go of your rights to ‘mine’ and embraces everything as ‘ours’.

If your husband likes golf and you are not interested it would be a great idea to get interested as it is not his hobby but ‘our’ hobby. It’s not that you are going to be by his side twenty four seven but it is more a case of finding ways to support his hobby and understand what is important to him as opposed to ridiculing his passions or desires. In our home Eric likes to play the guitar and before we were together I was not interested in guitars at all. Since we have been together I have supported him in his time alone to play his guitar, I have learned a little bit about guitar so we have something to talk about when he want to chat about his passions. I don’t even like his style of music but I have learned about it because he likes it. If it is important to him is has to be important to me too.

Eric does the same for me. I love to write and before anything goes to print he reads what I have written and checks for mistakes. I am sure this is not something he would do for fun but because it is important to me it is important to him too. If I sell a book or hear of a life changed as a result, we share the joy as it is ‘our’ book.

His career is no longer his own but you would do well to support his career in any way he would like you to as it affects ‘our’ marriage. No matter what area of life, it is no longer your own but ‘ours’. Areas of failure or success are no longer yours and mine but ours too, if either one of you are failing or succeeding at anything then the burden or joy should be shared.

Finances is another area where you could be maintaining your independence or giving up ‘mine’ and embracing ‘our’ finances. Yes it can be difficult to be a wife but unless you are bringing about a oneness in your marriage you are not truly being a wife, you are merely being a woman who has a marriage certificate.

There are several things that can cause us to not want to be a wife, even if we are married:

Past Hurt or Abuse
A person who has been hurt or abused as a child or even as an adult thinks that once the abuse stops, she can just get on with life and everything will be alright. After-all, the past is the past, right? Wrong. Sadly, unless a past hurt or abuse is fully dealt with it will affect your marriage. No matter how much you have dealt with it outside of marriage, I believe there is an element that has to be dealt with within marriage.

Even married women keep their defences up if they have been hurt or abused in the past whether it was by someone other than their husband or their husband. You might have taken your vows but you always hold on to a degree of independence for your own protection. I wife with this background might find it difficult to completely surrender to being a wife.

If you are not married you may reject the idea of marriage completely or find legitimate excused not the make the commitment. You do want to be a wife but you don’t at the same time and so you live in confusion about what you really want.

Temptation
You may be facing a temptation which is hindering your desire to want to be a wife without you even realising it. Temptation can come in many forms and can be anything at all. Perhaps you are tempted with ‘what ifs’. What if there is someone better just around the corner, what if we didn’t get married when I was so young, what if I married someone else, what if, what if, what if. You entertain ‘what ifs’ and their possible outcomes. Your ‘what ifs’ might even cause you to believe the current problems in your marriage wouldn’t exist if the ‘what ifs’ were a reality. Entertaining these ‘what ifs’ for too long could also lead to very real temptation that you end up acting upon. Perhaps you allow yourself to look at other men while wondering ‘what if’ or perhaps you become jealous of other women while entertaining your ‘what if’.

Your ability to want to be a wife is held back by these ‘what ifs’ and so you don’t really want to be a wife. If you want to be a Godly wife, let go of your ‘what ifs’ and deal with any temptation you might have. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Influences
Who or what is influencing you? Are you walking with other women who want to be wives or are your friends the sort of people that say nasty things about their husbands or marriage? Observe your friendships, the movies you watch, the books you read and anything else that may influence you. Is the message for or against marriage?

Spiritual Differences
Being a Godly wife whilst married to an ungodly man can be difficult at times. Even if your husband is saved he might not be at the same place as you in your walk with God. Even saved couples who are at the same place in their walk with God will encounter spiritual battles from time to time. The bottom line is that no matter who is where with God there is a spiritual battle going on in your marriage. The devil has a clear mandate and that is to steal and kill and destroy your marriage.

Understand the spiritual side of life can dramatically affect your desire to be a wife. At times you may feel that your desire to be a wife wanes without explanation. It is in these times that you might have to fight a spiritual battle. You decision to want to be a wife is half the battle won already!

The next step is to submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you . And finally, if you are trying to win an unsaved husband or a lukewarm husband, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

There are many more things that can cause us not to want to be a wife but the key will always be your choice. The Bible says that as he thinks in his heart, so is he . If you think you don’t want to be a wife you will struggle to be a wife but if you chose to think that you want to be a wife then you won’t struggle.

So I ask you now, do you want to be a wife? Don’t automatically assume it's a 'yes'. Search deep down inside your heart and be honest about how you really feel about being a wife. Decide if your hearts attitude is a ‘yes I want to be a wife’ or has there been a ‘no’ in your heart. Don’t feel guilty if you find a ‘no’. It is good that you have found it because now you can do something about it. If you are marriage intentionally change your no to a yes by sheer force of your will. If you are not marriage go to God with your no and ask Him to show you what you need to see – whatever that might be.

Find out more about Being a Wife here
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14.10.11

Secure on the Rock STUDY GUIDE

Since the Hope's Journey STUDY GUIDE has been selling three times as fast as the actual book, I thought it would be good to let you know about the Secure on the Rock STUDY GUIDE too.

This book is a very practical workbook that will take you from any form of insecurity to a place of freedom and security. Based on the book, Secure on the Rock, the study guide covers practical steps from my journey of extreme, unreasonable, controlling insecurity to freedom in security.

It is written in a fully interactive workbook format and can be used for self study or small group study.  Buy your copy now from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
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13.10.11

Time to Laugh

"A merry heart does good, like medicine" - Proverbs 17:22






Do you have anything funny to add?  Let's start today with a good wholesome chuckle together :)
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11.10.11

Being a Wife - Who Builds Her Husband

Have you ever noticed how little is said about the husband in Proverbs 31. It pretty much says that he trusts her (v11), he praises her (v28) and is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land (v23). Could it be that all that she does is the  reason for his honour at the gates? 

Verse twenty three seems quite out of place, stuck right in the middle of a detailed description of all the work that she does. But he's not really out of place. He is actually perfectly placed. Our work is what we use to build our husbands up with. It is when we gladly lay down our glory that our husbands are lifted up. It is in the midst of all her work that her husband sits as an elder at the gate. Her wise use of time, talents, treasures, and her words is what glorifies him. 

As wives our role is primarily to build our husbands. Everything we do should be to lift him up and not to lift ourselves up above him. Don’t worry, you will never lose. Do you notice the final verse of Proverbs 31? It says, “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (v31)

It is at those same gates where her husband is known that she receives the fruit of her hands and where her own works praise her. She never did it for that reason, but because of her hard work and support to her husband, the story ends in her favour. Girls, you can NEVER lose by building up your man – NEVER. If you don’t however and choose to build yourself and not him, both you and he will lose and so will your children.

These days it seems women are more ambitious and often more successful than men. It also seems that today 18-to-35-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 10-to-17-year-old boys. Many men seem to be refusing to grow up and take responsibility in life and more and more women are managing independent of men.
Personally, I think it is massively the women that have emasculated the men. We have fought for our rights, insisted we do the things men do which has caused us to be independent of men. Why on earth would a man bother then if he is not needed? I have a brilliant CV but now that I am married I choose to stay home and play house. It’s so much fun, I am active in raising my children and my man knows he is needed.

I use my professional skills to support my husband in his business and I have no desire to get ahead of him. In fact, in the past before we had our little ones, I turned down a job that paid much more than he because I knew it would harm our marriage one way or another.

How about you, are you building your man first or are you building yourself first?

More coming from Being a Wife, find out more here.
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10.10.11

Being a Wife

























Being a Wife is a follow on from Being a Woman where we go into the Biblical role of the wife in depth.  A refreshing read on being a wife with lively, real discussion with a group of every day ordinary women - it's NOT at all what you might think.

Available on: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle

Contents:
Invitation
Heterosexual or Not?
The Five Stages of Marriage

Being a Wife

Purchase Options
Which chapter would you like?

Study Notes:
For small group study, printable PDF notes and worksheets are available for each chapter at £1.20 per chapter.  Once you have purchased the PDF's you are welcome to print off as many copies as you need.  These notes offer thought provoking conversation guides that will guarantee a lively women's study group.
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8.10.11

Free to Be Me

I can't do this, it's too hard!"

"Well I am going to do it because I have decided that I can."

"But it's too painful, surely I will die if I keep going!"

"Nope, I will push through, I will run until that tree over there, no matter what it takes."

This was my conversation with myself one morning. I had set a goal for where I was going to run to but half way there I wanted to quit, I was running out of breath and my legs were turning to jelly. The goal was in sight though, near the end of a very long and very beautiful Cotswold country lane. I decided not to quit! No matter how my body felt or how much moaning I was doing in my mind, I had to reach that tree. So I ran without quitting. Then it happened. You always hear of it but I experienced it, I broke through the wall. It was as if there was literally something keeping me back and once I had broken through it, I was free! I could run and run and run, it was wonderful. The tree came and went and I still wanted to run, when the road came to an end I turned around and ran some more. It was a sweet victory and a precious freedom. Excitement filled the air as I found the breakthrough I so longed for. I knew that from this point forward things were going to get better and I was going to be a brand new runner, one that actually ran for more than five minutes at a time ha ha.

Why am I sharing this with you? I thought it was a stunning metaphor for how we can find freedom as women. Too often we settle for less or we give up before we become all that we can be. Excuses pile up. Busyness takes over. We stop believing that we can be anything more than we already are. Condemnation attacks us. So we don't bother, we settle for less and accept things the way they are. It's a lie, we can be free, we can break through the wall. Who do you believe deep down inside that you really are? Who do you want to be? What areas are you fighting for breakthrough in? Don't quit, keep believing in yourself, it is likely that those desires are things that God put inside of you and He wants you to succeed in them.

Find out more about how I found freedom to be myself in my book 'Free'. More chapter snippets will follow soon, full details about this book are available here
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5.10.11

I Don't Know How She Does It


Sarah Jessica Parker stars in a sparkling comedy about a mum juggling marriage, children and a high-powered job.  It's a really lovely movie that leaves you feeling warm and squishy inside rather than grossed out because you've seen things you really didn't want to see - which is the response I have had to most movies I have seen lately.

I highly recommend this movie if you want to laugh and cry and leave the cinema feeling good about your life - whether you are a working mum or not!  You can watch the trailer here. I have also found a fantastic website that you can use to check out a movie before watching it - it really helps me not waste time watching rubbish movies.  See for yourself at www.movieguide.org
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4.10.11

And the winner is...


Congratulations Samuel ! You have randomly been selected as the winner of our Pink Blush Giveaway. I actually did it twice and you came #1 both times so it's definitely meant for you!  I hope you enjoy these beautiful flowers.

Thanks to all of you who entered! We will do another giveaway soon.
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1.10.11

Money Matters - Introduction

Today I read about four hundred young girls that were rescued from the sex trade. What shocked me most were their ages - age two to age fifteen! Immediately after reading this I went into my two year old daughter’s bedroom and watched her sleeping peacefully. It was impossible to imagine her not being tucked up safely in her bed sleeping as peacefully as she was. I could not imagine what sort of person would want to have her for their sexual pleasure! Turning a blind eye to this information and all sorts of other awful stories from around the globe was no longer justifiable. Saying that there was nothing that I can do about it at that point in time no longer worked as a reasonable excuse as I knew ‘one day’ would never come.

Today is that day. Today is ‘one’ day. Today is that day that I stop justifying my passivity and start making a plan to do something about it. I will be plagued by the thought of this two year old in the sex trade forever if I don’t do something about it right now. There is always something that can be done, no matter how small the contribution, it can make a difference, especially if everybody did something small together. 

This book is not about the sex trade or world poverty, this book is about why money matters! It was a generous donation that set up the organisation that was able to rescue these four hundred girls from the sex trade. Without that money the little two year old would still be out there having who knows what done to her! Bottom line – all the good intentions in the world can’t rescue people who are suffering – IT TAKES MONEY!

I hope that by reading this book you too will see what I saw today. You will see that we have a responsibility to get our finances in order, to generate money and to get busy either financially supporting organisations that are making a difference in the world or actually getting our hands dirty and getting involved in the physical world.

God never made money, man did. The Bible is full of direction for us in the proper use of money, how we should rule it and not have it rule us. I have failed to find any verse in the Bible yet, that shows abundant life and money together, or happiness and money together. I really believe that God wants us to live an abundant life whether we have loads of money or very little money. My motivation for wanting Christians to prosper financially is because there is so much that we can do if we have money. Sadly, the problem today, is that money has most Christians. They are in bondage, in debt and under materialism without even realising it. 

My conviction is so strong that God never intended for money to rule us the way it does. If we have money, it rules us – how do we use it wisely? If we don’t have money, it rules us – how do we get it? Even those who don’t lust after money seem to be ruled by it – how do we live without it and still be happy? The point is, no matter how good or bad we are at having this idol in or out of our life, we still seem to be so focused on it. My challenge to those of you who want to read this book is; read this book, get God’s perspective, and get out of debt and then move on and don’t look back. No matter where you find yourself at the end of this book, let one decision remain. I will no longer let money be a focus in my life anymore! Lord, renew my mind, create a new heart within me and let me be free.

Take your time and read these words slowly and allow God to place His heart in yours to gain wisdom and understanding about the realm that God intended us to live in the first place - in Him we live and move and have our being.

Read more about 'Money Matters' here.
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