Worship Wednesdays

What’s stopping you from going to church this Easter?!

If you’ve never been to church or you don’t normally go to church but you’ve been thinking you’d like to – this week is the time to step out and go. Easter is my absolute favourite period in our church – I have some great memories of Palm Sunday parades with our kids church, Good Friday communion is so special and by the time we get to the awesome celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday the church is full of excitement – it’s what it’s all about.

Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what stops people from going to church. One friend recently told me she was put off going to her local church because she heard they’ll be asking for 10% of her earnings. What an indictment of the church that the amazing message that Jesus died and rose again for us is totally missed?! Don’t get me wrong tithing is an important teaching but my point is that it shouldn’t overshadow or prevent people from connecting with the gospel.

I recently saw a post on social media criticising people who came into church late and those who went out to the toilet during the sermon – is that really sending the right message and welcoming people into the church? What if that single mum was a little late because the babysitter didn’t turn up on time, or that man was late because he witnessed a horrific accident on the way to church, or what if that lady who nipped out to the loo has a medical problem that means she can’t wait and what if that teenager who just walked in off the street 15 minutes into the service was contemplating suicide while you were picking your seat and settling yourself in to be “blessed”!

In my Father’s house, there’s a place for me  

Quite frankly – it’s none of our business what is going on with other people. Every single person is as important as the next and we should be focused on our own relationship with God and how we can reach out as disciples and share the Love of God with everyone and anyone not judging people on their timekeeping and toilet habits.

What about that family struggling to keep their toddler or autistic child settled during the sermon – wouldn’t it be so much easier if they stayed home on a Sunday?! It might be easier for them and quieter for you but why should they? Instead of tutting and giving them dirty looks why not help them by offering some help or a way to distract their kids.

Churches (and let’s face it, Christianity generally) are perceived as stuffy clubs full of rules and restrictions – and I genuinely think people are put off by that perception even if they do believe in God and his ability to work miracles.

So let me set the record straight… having a personal relationship with our constant friend is just that – PERSONAL. It’s about realising that HE loves YOU, that HE wants what is best for YOU and HE is there for YOU no matter what you’re facing.

I heard today’s Worship Wednesday track just last week and it kept coming into my head as I was thinking about this post. It sums up so well what coming to church is really about. It’s not about allowing people to judge you or criticise you – it’s about coming into your Father’s house and resting in the knowledge that you are welcome, there is a place for you, you’re chosen, and as a child of God you are who HE says you are! You are NOT the person anyone else tells you you are or makes you feel you are!

YES I AM!

So tonight listen to this tune and rejoice in the beautiful words and message…

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

 

And if you haven’t already made plans to go to church this weekend and celebrate the awesome power and resurrection of Jesus Christ then please, do me a favour and go join the party!

Easter is the most exciting celebration and it shouldn’t be missed – it’s a perfect time to forget all the perceptions and all the rules you’re scared of breaking. What have you got to lose?! Trust me when I say there is so much to be gained!

If you have been invited to join friends or family at some Easter services or you have a church nearby you please do think seriously about joining them.

To my friends, family and blog followers in Belfast I extend a welcome to our Easter celebrations at House of Worship on both Sunday morning and evening – you’ll be greeted by a great bunch of people who will show you what God’s love is really about but most importantly our constant friend will be there and he has a place saved just for you.

 

 

Worship Wednesdays

Break every chain

We all get days that challenge us right?

Maybe one of the kids tell you you’re the worst mum in the world? Or the car won’t start? Have you ever found yourself in the toilet in work having a wee cry so no one can see (making sure your mascara doesn’t run)?! Maybe someone tries your patience or undermines you and you struggle to bite your tongue? Or sometimes it just feels like you’re banging your head off the wall and no one is listening to you? It’s so easy to let a bad day drag us down and make us question our own abilities and worth.

So what should we do on those days?

Get a battle cry ready to sing in your head or out loud (if you wish) of course! Today’s Worship Wednesday track is just perfect for helping us break every chain that limits us on a daily basis.

There are many versions of the song but I thought this version from The Voice US 2016 was awesome and I always love it when Christian music appears on mainstream TV!

 

Thoughts & Ponderings

Happy Mother’s Day

Our final contributor for this week shared a beautifully honest account that I think many of us can relate to.

“When I think of Mothers Day I think, probably a bit differently than most, I think about rest! It’s a day when I decide that everything can wait. As mothers our minds never stop (whether it be worry or excitement). Our love never stops growing and our bodies never seem to stop moving. It can be so exhausting but we do it all because we love our children and want the best for them.

Lately God has taught me (through my exhaustion) that it’s ok to rest. In Mark 6:31 Jesus told his apostles:

“Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.”

He knew they hadn’t ate and that they needed rest. I don’t believe that God means for us to go hide in the cupboard for 5 mins (my kids always find me anyway). I believe He means for us to go to a place and spend quiet, peaceful time with Him. To forget about the worries or excitement on our minds. To forget about the dishes or washing for a while. To get our hearts and minds set on Him and then we can use the strength that He gives us to get through the rest of the day. Our children need wise mums and it’s wise to rest.”

Enjoy your day and try to take the opportunity to get some rest –  I’ve already been spoilt rotten with some lovely gifts, cuddles and yummy breakfast!

Little life snippets, Thoughts & Ponderings

Daffodils

It’s a beautiful sunny day here and I so hope this lovely weather lasts the weekend for Mother’s Day. I bought a little pot of daffodils last weekend and they’re blooming nicely beside my little handmade flower from my baby bird.

Daffodils hold a special place in my heart – I always remember as a young child planting them in our school garden to raise money for the local Marie Curie centre and taking them home to plant in our garden and my Granny’s garden. My Granny loved daffodils and even after she passed away the daffodils would continue to bloom in her garden year after year.

When we were kids there were loads of daffodils that grew in the fields and paths near us – we thought it was fab to bring bunches of them home to my Mum. I never knew if it was allowed or not but we didn’t see any harm in sneaking a few!

The daffodil is also the flower of March and both my girls were born in March so as soon as I see them in the shops I love getting them in a jar or vase in my kitchen to brighten the place up. I keep saying we need to plant some in our garden just like Granny did – so maybe this year I’ll be organised enough to have our own blooming next spring!

I’ve just realised how much I’ve written about these cute yellow flowers – who knew they could provoke so much emotion!

Just like my memories of daffodils Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet occasion for so many. A good chum of mine contributed this for our Mother’s Day thoughts and I have to say I totally understand what she means…

“Mother’s Day for me is a day to show thanks to my mum for everything she does for me. It’s also a reminder that I am very lucky to have my mum still in my life and to have her as my best friend. It’s also a day that’s tinged with sadness because I can see the hurt that it causes my mum that she doesn’t have hers anymore and how much I wish I could change that.”

Thoughts & Ponderings

International Womens’ Day

Today, as it’s Interational Women’s Day we’ve been challenged by Christian Aid UK to share a photo of a woman who inspires us. It got me thinking – what does it really mean to inspire? The Oxford Living Dictionaries defines the word inspire as a verb to:

Fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. 

I’m surrounded by women who inspire me every day and my wonderful mother has taught me so much but the woman who inspires me the most is the woman of Proverbs 31…

 

Her strength, her selflessness and her diligence can teach us so much. In a world filled with woman  trying to be like the Kardashians and other “reality” TV stars the Proverbs 31 woman should be the example that we look to for inspiration and guidance – even in 2018 we can learn so much from her precedent.

Imagine how different our lives would be if more women were working to achieve the standards set by her.

Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy.

Proverbs 31:20

 

Thoughts & Ponderings, Worship Wednesdays

Always love you

Following on from our post earlier today on unconditional love I wanted to share this beautiful song by Tori Kelly which pretty much sums up how I feel about my mum. I was a bit of a moody teenager and didn’t always appreciate what my mum did for me – it took me a while to understand that my mum is the best friend I’ll ever have! The words of this song sum it up so well…

And now I realize that
Nothing I could
Ever do will make you turn away
No matter how much I mess up
You will always love me

Just like the unconditional love of our constant friend, the love of a momma is strong and can endure so much!

 

Thoughts & Ponderings

Unconditional Love

Continuing on our Mother’s Day theme we have a really touching post from a different perspective – today’s guest contributor is a father, husband and son.

“There’s an image in a Children’s book I saw recently by illustrator Sam Usher which I think depicts perfectly the tender love a mother has for her child. As this was in a Christmas book the image depicted was of Mary with her new born son, Jesus.

An image paused in time like any similar picture uploaded to social media doesn’t always tell the full story. The tears the tantrums, the stress, the mess; all aren’t necessarily visible but they’re very much apparent as any mum knows! Little did Mary know in this candid image that there would also be pain and suffering. The sword that would pierce her soul. Her son who would become the saviour of us all.

There will be hard times ahead, but there will also be unmistakable joy, and through it all a mother’s love is undiminished. It remains strong, tender, forgiving, unconditional. The exact same love God has for us all.”

 

Uncategorized

The Serenity Prayer

Following on with our Mother’s Day series – a good chum of mine sent this lovely contribution ….

“Thinking of Mother’s Day – it’s about being thankful for all your mummy has taught you. A prayer that is particularly special in our family and something my granny used to say and now mummy reminds us quite regularly is the Serenity prayer – a summary of a lot of things my mum has taught me!”

Thoughts & Ponderings

Safe & Sound

Driving in to work this morning I felt the Lord speak to me – leading me to reach out and open up my blog to some guest contributors for the run up to Mother’s Day this Sunday. I contacted a small group of friends, family and acquaintances to see if we could capture the journeys of those in different seasons through words, photos and music.

Mother’s Day can be a joyous day to celebrate those special mothers in our lives – but we also have to embrace those who may be facing very different emotions; for so many it can be a reminder of loss or sorrow. I hope and pray that this little series will encourage, touch and comfort you all, whatever your circumstances.

Our first guest contributor in the series has shared this beautiful song – it came with a very simple but lovely message…

My job as a mum is to keep my birds safe and sound

Just as the Heavenly Father keeps his eye on the sparrow – as Mothers we too watch over our little birds and try to protect them and shield them from harm.

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” Isaiah‬ ‭66:13‬ ‭