Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Power of Three

Have you got a favourite number? 
I don't really. 
For some reason though, the number 3 seems to come up a lot. 
I am one of three children. 
I have three children. 
And, strangely I often find myself at the supermarket subconsciously buying things in threes. 

Of course, for people with a Christian faith, the number 3 has significance. God being three in one (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
Peter denying Jesus three times (Luke 22:54-62). Jesus asking Peter three times if he loves him (John 21:15-17).

That is just to mention a few examples from the 467 times the number 3 is mentioned in the Bible!

When I recently heard a song by Hillsong, Young & Free from their newest album - named Three, the words of the song impacted me greatly and I was, once again, reminded how this significant number is in my life.
Maybe you know the old song, 'Jesus Loves Me'. 
Jesus loves me this I know, 
For the Bible tells me so. 
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong.

For me, its one of those of songs that feels like it's been a part of my life since before I can even remember. And as a parent, I can recall bed times when my children were much smaller - times when I had no words of comfort left of my own and all I could do was to stroke their hair gently and sing those lyrics quietly over them.   

Those beautiful words first appeared as a poem in the context of an 1860 novel, spoken as a comforting poem to a dying child, but the tune was added in 1862. After publication as a song it became one of the most popular Christian hymns in churches around the world, especially among children.

And now, this new version of the song is bringing fresh reminders for our family of those comforting and life-changing truths, speaking life and love into our lives during both the best and worst of days.
Jesus Loves Me
Hillsong Young & Free

It was just three words
But it changed my life
Just a childlike truth
That consumed my mind
From my life's first breath
Till the day I rise
All I need to know
Is this age old line

Jesus loves me this I know
Jesus loves me this I know
I won't forget the Bible says
That He loves me so

It was just three nails
That held Him on that cross
But God was not restrained
For He was there by choice
As He gave His life
For a world He loved
So the earth replied
In this age old song

Jesus loves me this I know
Jesus loves me this I know
I won't forget the Bible says
That He loves me so

It was just three days
But it changed our world
For when there seemed no way
From the grave He rose

Jesus loves me this I know
Jesus loves me this I know
I won't forget the Bible says
That He loves me so

As a parent, I have days when I feel like most of my conversations with my children involve, "You need to change that...", "More of this...", "Less of that...", "Don't do that...", "Do this..."
But at the end of the day when my advice, warnings, recommendations, commands and instructions are left ringing in their ears - all I really want my children to know is one thing... that I love them. 
When they're all grown up, more than anything else I want them to reflect back and know that they were loved. More than helping them with homework, more than baking yummy treats, more than the toys and clothes I bought them, more than the lectures, more than the acts of service, words of encouragement and physical affection... my heart cries out, "I love you!"

Three words.

I think that's what so special about this old song is that those three simple words sum everything else up, "Jesus Loves Me".

Maybe for some people, this message may be hard to accept. For some, it may seem inconceivable or unbelievable.

And if that's you... would you test it out this week? 

Simply, ask Jesus to show you His love.

It could be life changing... I know it has been for me. 

The power of three!
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Sunday, August 5, 2018

It Was a Long "Rhode" ... But It Was Worth It.

I know it sounds like an oxymoron but one month away in Australia felt like it went quickly but it also seemed like we'd been away from home for a long time.

Our trip back was separated into: 2 weeks stay in Sydney and 2 weeks in Melbourne.

First stop, Rhodes!

There was nothing disappointing about Rhodes that's for sure. It was where we planted ourselves to reacclimatise (believe me it's a 'thing' when you've lived overseas for over 8 years), travel to catch up with ZOE supporters, see church pastors and make new Sydney connections.

We also managed to go on some nice long walks and drink a lot of really. good. coffee.
Shout out to Auvers Cafe! It's worth stopping (just sayin').

In our second week we eagerly waited for ZOE founders Mike and Carol Hart at the airport to arrive for their FIRST ever trip Down Under.

We also attended the Hillsong Conference and got to hang out with our great friends Bill and Amie whilst being well and truly "topped" up spiritually.

Finally we managed a half-day-touristy-wander around the beautiful Sydney Harbour before flying to Melbourne for the second part of our trip.

The first week in Melbourne involved spending time with our wonderful Australian team. We also caught up with Eric and Cathy (who run CHIPS) which was super-interesting and so encouraging to hear how they are helping transform children's lives. We attended several meetings, did some strategic planning, presented at a dinner hosted by Entrust and managed to have some time with Mike and Carol to brainstorm and dream for the future.

Our children were lovingly cared for by my parents from Sunday to Thursday and after a broken arm-scare (Eliana) and a truly broken finger (my dad), the five of us were reunited once again.

After Mike and Carol had flown out, Dave presented his human trafficking awareness talk at two schools, we caught up with lots of our supporters, Dave had some more meetings and then we got to hang out with our families (but not-for-long-enough).

So thankful for the gift of a Relief Band to aid my body's reaction to flying. Someone told me tonight that I should be on commission for that band! It really does work!

Ahhh yes the joys! But I am happy to report that everything is now under control!