Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Ministry

Bless, I never know where to begin. I guess I can say that what I know to be true is that God works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him.

ALL THINGS.

One of the many things on my mind lately has been:
How I can work full time and save money to go back to do degree, while not feeling like, by working full time, that I’ll never get back to my degree.

But it’s probably not as big of a deal as my brain makes it out to be.

Something that comes up after someone finishes studying is what they are going to do after it. I was recently very thankful to get to travel back to the USA and see my family for Mothers Day. Which landed me at my old church among people who’ve known me or known about me through my family for ages. Someone (rightfully so) inquired as to what on earth I was still doing in Australia and if I was done with studies.

First off I married an Australian.

Other than that – I’ve finished my Advanced Diploma in Ministry and I’m saving to go back and get my Bachelors of Theology. But… please don’t ask me what is after that.

So, naturally she asked me what was after and if I was planning on running a church with my studies. This has been such a weird thing for me to balance over the years because I haven’t had a very strong desire to pursue a job within ministry *gasp*. And guys, that’s weird. Why on earth did I move to the other side of the world to learn how to do ministry from some of the best and why have I had an increasing desire to never get a pay-check from a church?

Phill (my husband) and I both have a massive heart to GIVE to the Church and BUILD the Church but maybe not be employed by the church, possibly ever. I told her that one of the biggest things I’ve learned about myself in the years in Australia is that my ministry is very much hospitality – I think even if the only thing I learned in three years was how to be a better person and how to be hospitable then it was all worth it.

I think ministry looks a whole bunch like a house full of people and a meal that maybe you didn’t have all the finances to afford but you tried anyway. Sometimes ministry for me is asking a customer at work one extra question just to see if they need to talk. I think pastoring maybe looks like cinnamon rolls, coffee and a late night couch chat with someone who had the worst week and feels life might not change.

I believe that hospitality and ministry looks a whole lot like showing up to the table, saving a spot for someone and listening.

I actually just switched jobs this week from a café that I’ve been serving at for two years to sales. I needed the challenge of a new environment and something to learn but taking care of people will always be my nature. My last shift was this past Thursday and I decided to come in Friday morning to surprise one of our regulars and have coffee with him. He is around my father’s age and has two sons. We chatted about travel, jobs, learning, and books. Truthfully, I don’t know why I came in to have coffee with him, it sounded like a nice gesture to finish the week and make someone feel special. We talked about doing what you’re passionate about and with reading, writing came up… he asked if I had a book idea already down and I began to share a bit about what I’d love to write out.

I had a BIT of a panic as I realized I couldn’t tell him about what I wanted to write about without God being a part of the picture. Not knowing how he felt about religion, I disclaimed that my story has a lot to do with my faith. I got to talk about Jesus, in the most casual and relational way and I left thanking Jesus that we get to talk about Him. What a wonderful honour.

By the end of the conversation he just thanked me for showing up – I didn’t have to and he wasn’t expecting it and to that point, I wasn’t sure why I did. But G-d works ALL things together for good. Even a coffee with someone I’ve got to serve for a few months. I don’t know what will ever come of that conversation but I hope he knows that Jesus is good. I hope he knows that Jesus thought enough about him to prompt me to just a simple coffee. I hope I always listen to those promptings and understand that ministry should cost me something – even just $4.50 and some time.

I think hospitality ministry is just as valid as a preaching the word, counseling, being and elder or a theologian. I think it’s where I belong and I hope I always steward that well

I hope you understand that being ‘called to the ministry’ is just a phrase, and that everyone to some capacity is called to their ministries. Live inside of yours gracefully and remember that you’re just as potent as a minister as those who end up working for a church. Be the stay-at-home moms and dads that they next generation needs, be the business people who lead with honour, authority and truthfulness. Open your home to anyone and everyone who you love or don’t agree with, at the end of the day everyone needs a meal. Use your words kindly and never be afraid to speak to the stranger with their face down low. Play music in all areas of entertainment with excellence and creativity. Do YOUR thing with G-d and for G-d as worship and let G-d bless it and bring ALL things together for good.

He is SO good.

Wonky Looking Love

I’m trying to get better at writing as a discipline and not just writing when I feel inspired – but bear with me as I find my new rhythm. And if you are here reading, despite my learning and inconsistency, thank you.

 Consider this an inspired blog.

Maybe it’s because of Valentines Day or maybe I’m just doing a series that I wasn’t aware of but we are learning how to love others still/again/forever.

“For the whole law can be fulfilled in keeping this one command:
“Love your neighbour as yourself’”
– Galatians 5:14

Sunday morning at church we heard from our lead pastor Joel A’Bell on loving others. He tied a beautiful bow around the thoughts of love being kind and patient and if we are not kind we are not being loving. If we are not patient we aren’t loving.
Because love IS patient, love IS kind. While we like the idea of this, we tend to find it more difficult to live out. He made a comment about how we love to highlight the parts of our Bibles that really resonate with us and maybe those we feel we are nailing in life. He also brought up an idea that has shaken a lot of how I see the scripture and people. He admitted that sometimes he’d love to highlight the parts of the scripture that he didn’t agree with or didn’t want to try for with a black marker.

I think everyone would admit that they enjoy highlighting what they feel they’re good at. I do – but when I focus solely on my strengths and what I’m good at, what I’m not good at REALLY starts to suffer and I become an extremely unbalanced person. What about scripture? What if we truly gave ourselves the freedom to look at the Bible highlighted black with the bits and pieces and chunks and sections that we don’t agree with? What if we took a marker to the parts of the Bible that are too convicting or hard to wrap our minds around?

When I focus only on my strengths in my personality – I become an unbalanced person. When I focus on the bits of the Bible that I love – I break my own theology and God becomes that much smaller, love becomes that much more distorted and what Jesus came to do becomes a nice story.

And what of my relationships? Family? Husband? Best friends? Acquaintances? How many people would I prefer to highlight with a black marker because they’re too convicting or hard to love? Maybe they just aren’t convenient to love.

So I mix my unbalanced personhood, with my broken theology and give what’s left to others.
But only some others, because the OTHER others have been written off.

But, if God is love – and love is in me, then love CAN’T just translate to my fluro-yellow highlighted friends, my quotable friends, and my Instagrammable moments in my marriage. It needs to stretch into my soft convictions and my difficult people to love. If it doesn’t, is any of the rest of what I offer my friends and family LOVE? Real Love?

What even IS real love?

Love it Patient.
Love is Kind.
It does not envy.
It does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonour people.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not rejoice at injustice.
Love DOES rejoice in truth.
Love always protects.
Love always trusts.
Love always hopes.
Love always perseveres.
God is love.

And if God lives in me then I have to believe that I can outwork all of these attributes.

However, if I put a check mark by what is listed that I felt GOOD at… there would be less checks than black spaces. If I went even further and marked myself 1 out of 10 for the check marks… I’d probably be good at loving 4%.

I think we learn to love when we take time to figure out what any of this really means to us. I remember reading over this list thinking,
“What the heck does ‘love ALWAYS protects’ even mean for my relationship with my husband?”

Truly, I still don’t know.

I wish I had all the answers, but that would just be for my ego. I wish even more to do this journey with people; best friends and acquaintances.

What does it mean that Love always hopes? I think it means that I always have expectancy for the unseen best that is to come. I think LOVE means that I HOPE that for all people. Not just for some. It means that at the end of this I believe for you ALL who might read this,
I believe truth to find you, for genuine care to surround you, and for steadfastness in your heart to continue despite what you might be walking through.

I’m not very good at any or all of this, but I’m pretty good at writing – so lets do the harder stuff together. I love you the best I know how, and I need you for the rest of this.

 

“For the whole law can be fulfilled in keeping this one command:
“Love your neighbor as yourself’”
– Galatians 5:14

 

And a Happy New Blog

Guys, there isn’t a good way to intro my first blog back after a horribly long break.
I missed this. I miss you (probably). More to come (probably).
There is nothing like longevity to back up commitments so I decided to post my first blog back on 2 January instead of the 1st, because that seemed too eager.

In my last blog I announced I’d be starting degree in January – Well life has a way of happening and due to getting a visa sorted and settled I will actually be taking this semester off of studies to work and save and keep my track record of debt free education. I was bummed at first and really didn’t want to admit it to myself that it was a wiser decision to take some time off, but since then have realized just how good this will be for me and the people in my life. So, I’ll begin in July for another 1.5 years of study. It will still be a Bachelors of Theology with a focus of Biblical Studies. With that said, my intention is to publish a blog fortnightly. As always, these are downloads of what I am learning, thoughts, inspirational posts, honestly posts. They are hopefully the cheeky amount of me that you needed for your day and full of all the love I can give – that prayerfully points to something much bigger than myself.

I also announced that I was getting married.
That didn’t change 🙂
Laina Davey at your service.

This semester I hope to figure out how to prioritise being a consistent writer and to trust my content, not because it’s the best in the world, but because you get to read my content with the lens of your life. In my brain that makes the perfect melody of community for you to get the most out of my thoughts. They’re worth more when you add to them. Please feel free to respond to my thoughts, leave a comment, leave a disagreement or a different way to see something. I’m here to learn. For the love, correct my grammar… I know I need it.

I feel like that’s what I’ve learnt most this year is that I just need people. I’m so thankful for my confronting friends that I’m surrounded with, just them living their life makes me work harder at mine. We sat with half of my connect group (small group or family group) and chatted about our “New Years Thoughts”, they’re kind of like resolutions but they’re more lax than “I will run every day” or “I will start going to bed at 9pm”. One of the sweet ones in the group simply said she wanted to love people more.

I was a little bit wrecked. My goals were all about…me. Developing myself while I’m not in school, reading, listening to podcasts, writing, reading more. She just wanted to meet more people and take care of them.

Eeek.

This is why I love connecting with VERY different people.

As if her comment wasn’t enough, our connect is also walking through the 19 Mercies retreat in the back of Brennan Manning’s “The Ragamuffin Gospel” (HIGHLY recommend) and I’m on day 8: The God who is love.

“Do you really believe that God is unchangeably, unalterably loving?”
– 19 Mercies

I’m still sitting with this question – I’d love to jump in and say yes! but sometimes the way I act towards God would admit otherwise. I want to have no separation from an ideal and true belief and what I live out as my beliefs.

1 John 4:7-20 (NIV, Emphasis added) “Dear friends, let us love ONE ANOTHER, for love comes FROM GOD. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.

Eeek.

Do I believe that God is love? Do I believe that He loves me? Is His love seen in me by loving others? If no – Do I REALLY believe that God is love?

I’m committed this year to love people with my strengths – I will love by giving myself and my learning to God and others. I LOVE to give to others, I love hospitality and feel that gift is straight from God because it isn’t natural for my personality to love people 🙂 Jesus sometimes has to remind me. But I am committed to loving people the way I know how. By learning, giving my heart and soul into understanding things and sharing them in conversations and writings. Over tea or sitting by the beach. Or both.

I’m also committed to loving people the way they understand love. Do you need a hug? I’ll get over myself long enough to show you care in the way you receive it. Are gifts your thing? Please allow me to be the thoughtful friend who remembers your birthday – or even remembers that it is a Tuesday and you are alive and deserve to be celebrated. Love unlocks things that are bound and I’m praying that this semester/year I learn what it is to give until I see people changed. NOT because of me… but because I can love because I know what it is to be loved… even with my faults.

 

I do love you much.

I pray blessing over your today, I pray the sunshine reminds you of the faithfulness we see in God. He is SO kind and SO loving and SO in love with you. 

Isn’t She Lovely?

I feel like I haven’t written a post in this style for a long time now, but something has been on my thoughts and floating around my heart lately that I thought I might share.

I’ve been thinking about Brides… 

**First I feel like I need to make an authors note to my parents and anyone who thinks they have the gift of reading between the lines to clarify that I am currently NOT betrothed. I didn’t elope. I’m not secretly planning some ceremony and picking out dresses.

Y’all chill.

I just have a LOT of friends in the old Facebook feed who are either having children, or on the path to make that happen (engaged/married). I wish I could fully understand what it is about bridal pictures that have everyone secretly creeping through the shots. We as a culture tend find beauty at its purest form when our friends get dressed in white and commit the rest of their lives to their loves.

I personally think that the reason brides are so stunning is the time they put into the wedding day. They carefully planned every detail, from trim and the flowers, to making sure crazy Aunt Sally wasn’t sitting next to anyone she could get into trouble with at the reception.

Brides spend hours picking out their dress, how they will wear their hair, what shoes they want and testing out what makeup style is most flattering. Finally, it all comes together in the moments sweetly exchanged between families, now forever united.

The result?

“You are the most stunning bride!”

“Simply gorgeous!”

 “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”

I have a feeling that what sets apart the brides from everyone else that day is the preparation. I think brides are beautiful because they are prepared.

 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

Scripture shows us some beautiful imagery of Christ and the Church being His Bride. I feel like maybe we also have a role to play in being prepared, and in that readiness I think we carry an attractiveness that the world wants. I think G-d shows up in the everyday things and I very much see Him in the holy commitment of matrimony. Brides have to prepare themselves, but we as the church have the blessing of trusting the bridegroom to be a big part of our preparation.

 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.  And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.

Hosea 2:16-20

 

I hope I’m preparing the Church to be ready – I hope I’m adding to the attractiveness of knowing Jesus AND that I’m trusting Him when He says that HE is the perfector, He is the one keeping me in commitment and in preparedness.

There is so much of His story that I want all over mine and I guess that’s why I’ve decided to commit to this all these years. I know that if I join with the creator in a sweet exchange to be united forever that I will carry His name.

I will be His and He will be mine.

// I like the idea of belonging.

 

Happy Birthday

Hillsong College has been booming with end of semester presentations and performances lately, which has been great fun mixed with a little nervous excitement. The first year songwriters had their performance this week and as I sat at the packed out café and listened to their beautifully composed songs I began comparing (as you do). But it wasn’t a negative comparison or even a “me against them”. It was more reflective of my first year songwriting self – I began to wonder if there was a difference between my time before college, last year and this last weeks performances and the caliber of songs that I was producing. I think this was Jesus – because I am not this clever – but I felt in my heart that it wasn’t a measure of “are my songs better” but:

“Am I better? Am I better at being a songwriter?”

I got stuck on the thought that if I haven’t improved in my discipline of songwriting, then, I haven’t improved. I feel the same can be said of my character and life. I question a lot if I’ve changed much year to year being at a Christian Leadership college and spending most every day at the church. We are invested into almost hourly and are exhausted by the second week of school. It’s beautiful here and it is hard. This has been the most demanding semester I’ve been a part of and I have felt stretched and sometimes broken. I didn’t address my infrequency of writing this semester in my previous blog because I didn’t want to.

But just so you know, I KNOW.

In my questioning if I have changed, if I’m the same, if I’m different but revert quickly back to the worst of me, I again felt that drop of a discipline thought – If I haven’t improved in my discipline, I haven’t improved. I can’t actually gauge how I’m doing by how I feel because that changes every time I change my diet. If I don’t see my journals filled, if I have more books to read than books that I’ve read, If I have more abandoned coffee dates than friends then I am no better.

But tomorrow, I get to start a new journal, I get to start reading Joshua, I have a coffee date with a good friend and I get to choose to believe that He who began a good work in me will carry it out unto completion. I’ve learned more this semester than ever about getting into the Word of God and APPLYING it to my life. Technically there is a model to look at them, us, me – but that’s more of an in person conversation and it’s my blog so naturally I’m talking about me.

The Word of God is active and is most useful when it is USED. Of all my disciplines I pray this increases the most.

My life isn’t about the caliber of my accomplishments but the consistency of my growth – and I pray that yours never becomes about what you produce but the daily producing of fruit and great things to build your community and to grow you closer to Christ.

I love you all, Happy Birthday.

Proverbial Regurgitation

Ok, I need You all over my today – I need more of Your love today and grace. I want to put you first in my actions and thoughts and I’m sorry for any time I’ve let anything come before You. Teach me to lean on YOUR strength Do something new in me today.

Proverbs 9 –
How gross is it that Wisdom and Folly sound the same? Both say “Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?” How appealing is that in the first place?

In the message version both lady wisdom and ‘madame whore’ call out but you have to listen long enough to make out who is speaking. I think too often we take the first great chance we get when we haven’t even distinguished if the Lord is in that decision. I pray that I’m getting better at waiting on the Lord but I think everyone is still on that journey.

G-d isn’t slow but He sure takes His time at being on time.

I don’t feel like I have some amazing story about this to make you wonder what I’m talking about and then tie it all together. I think it’s just some of the not-so-common-common-sense that I’m relearning as I jump through Proverbs again.

I’ve heard several thousand times in my life to read the Proverb of the day and I would sometimes and wouldn’t sometimes. This time that I decided TO read I used the Message version and have found some new life-verses for the semester. I could tell you, or you could read it for yourself and find something to hold onto.

Honestly, just spend time every day doing something that makes you better.

I love you all. I really do.

Am I Hipster Yet?

My housemate Krysia and I have had coffee dates every semester since school started specifically to discuss what we are expecting for the semester coming. As well as the ‘pre-semester expectations’ that we set up we have follow up meetings to see how those expectations went. I’ve had ‘themes’ and sentences impressed on my heart for the semesters that have tied with different scriptures that have carried me through the very crazy seasons that emerge at Hillsong College.

At the end of last semester as I was thinking about what I wanted for this semester it wasn’t an opportunity or to even grow in a particular area of college or church leadership. I simply want to know G-d more this semester than I have in a while. I want to focus on the Word like I haven’t in a while and spend time learning about the Lord. The songwriting and lectures and learning curves will happen and somehow everything will get done this semester that needs to, but my desire is more Jesus and more of the Word in my heart. 

On a recent trip home for my brothers wedding I inherited my dads Nikon camera. Short of having another ‘Daddy teach me’ blog I will say that trying to figure out how to use it today has made me realise a few things:

  1. Learning new things, and more than that, learning ALL about new things involves more reaching out to people who know more than it does you trying to just guess. 
         By this I mean, I went ham on Youtube tutorials for this specific model of Nikon and watched all the things. I didn’t rely on and can’t rely on myself and my thoughts on how the camera should work in order to take the best pictures but I SHOULD research and see how people have used it and how they’ve best figured out to take those classic hipster shots that get so popular on Instagram (shameless plug). But really, learning is best done in community and I don’t see how that differs to learning about G-d. We should be discussing what passages mean to us and the best that we understand how it applies to whom it was addressed to and to us. We should be reading and researching what the scriptures are actually saying and we should be giving them a chance to say it. 
  2. Learning involves time – but the learning goes quicker if you focus your time. 
    I’m the QUEEN at multitasking… and by multitasking I mean today I did laundry, watched youtube, did make up on half my face, finished my laundry and then washed my face, straightened 1/3 of my hair before I realized I didn’t like the texture of my hair so I washed it then redid the whole thing and blogged. I also took one photo I was proud of but it was with my iPhone. I tend to get bored halfway through whatever I am doing so it sometimes takes me a while.In other, more related words, sometimes getting to know someone or something intimately involves time given up to focus JUST on that thing or person. This is more just a reminder for myself of what is required for my expectations
  3. I would love to have a number 3 because 3 points is good but I’ve really said what I wanted to.

Sometimes I don’t know why I post stuff on my blog that just belongs in my journal.

Thank you if you’ve read this – and if you will just pray that I focus and get what I’m expecting this semester. Love you all.