What I learned about Grace from the Snow

So I am not naturally athletic. I started to learn to ski at 16 and it took me about 20 years to get it. Ask Josh Kelsey, who as a 12 year old ended up skiing with me one day in Massachusetts . Every single time we got off the chair lift I crashed and I took him with me. He would be so patient, coaching me – “this time you are going to make it Pam” – yeah I never did.

The problem was we were skiing on ice. And the problem I had whenever I went skiing was that I skied in icy conditions. Ice is very unforgiving. You fall on it and it hurts.

A few years later I had the joy of going to the stunning, Crested Butte in Colorado with family and friends. Every morning it snowed. Every afternoon we skied on a foot of fresh powder. Powder is very forgiving, you fall into it and it doesn’t hurt.

Here is what happened to me – I finally got skiing. I am never going to be brilliant at skiing , however by the end of the week I was skiing from the top of the mountain with my brother and sister -in-law.

I got it, because I could make a mistake, fall over, and it didn’t hurt like hell !

The powder meant I didn’t worry about falling and so I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes, and so I got better. Instead of creeping down the hill terrified of falling I was free to have fun, and learn . (My brother shouting instructions from chair lifts above, like the voice  God, me also helped !)

Recently I have made some mistakes. Sometimes I have encountered grace from people. It feels like falling into powder – I am still on the ground, but I fell into something soft that meant I have been able to get back up unscathed and carry on.

I have also encountered a lack of grace. It felt like crashing onto ice, not only was I embarrassed by my mistake, but it hurt and damaged my heart.

I have also been around people extending very little grace to others. It feels sharp and brittle.

Grace doesn’t say its OK that you keep falling down, but it creates the environment, that enables you to get back up, keep trying until you don’t fall as much.

We have all been forgiven much, so surely we need to be people who extend grace. Grace does not say ” keep messing up” . It says “we all mess up, let me help you up”.

One of my favourite Jesus moments is Jesus with the woman caught in adultery. He asked her where her accusers where after they had left and then he said to her  – “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.

She fell into powder that day – and it changed her life!

I want to be a person who creates powder for people – I know I am often ice – and I don’t like it. How about you ?

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What are You Believing ?

This is my first post for 2016 and it comes from a message I preached at C3 Service Manly yesterday. I preached on something I am passionate about – what we believe.

This message came out of a season in my life last year when a thought popped into my head one day while I was walking the dog. The thought began as a seed and it quickly took root and before I knew it I had a new belief system in my mind – I had a new doctrine.

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The sad thing about this doctrine was that it caused me to doubt God and despair that I wouldn’t see his goodness in an area of my life.

Good thing for me – this season didn’t last too long. Thanks to the Still Small Voice I came to my senses and dug out that faulty doctrine. However it reminded me how important it is to watch what we are believing.

Doctrine is not for Bible College students or academics – it is crucial for all of us. Paul speaking to Timothy says “Watch your life and doctrine closely”.

The reason it is crucial to watch your doctrine is because what you believe will determine how you live.

Here’s the key beliefs that will determine how we live and love.

1.  God is the Father

If I believe God is a Good Father it will change the way I live. People with Good Fathers are confident in who they are and happy to ask their Fathers for help

2. Jesus did it ALL on the Cross.

We have got to keep central in our minds that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s grace . This will keep works mentality from sneaking  into our thinking . We cannot earn God’s love- we have it 100% every day!

3. The Holy Spirit is NOT the Force (Sorry Star Wars fans)

He is the third person of the trinity, he is our guide, comforter and friend – he is God and He is the power that raised Jesus from the dead and lives on the inside of us. Incredible!

4. The Church is NOT a Meeting on a Sunday.

It is not a religious box we tick once a week. It is a dwelling place that God lives by his Spirit – it is the family of God- at points dysfunctional but still our family.

5. EVERY Person is valuable and made in the image of God!

That no matter the gender, age, status, ability – every person deserves respect and care. No person’s life is disposable for any cause. I hate to get political on a Monday morning but gosh I wish more people in our world understood this doctrine – life is sacred because it comes from God.

I know this is all pretty basic, but if I could forget God is Good for a season – I figured maybe you could too.

Believing for a great 2016 for you all – filled with great doctrine !

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