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. 

Just Cause

Amos 5:21-24
(NIV, emphasis mine)
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

One of my classes this last week focused on Worship and Justice. We looked at what these two have to do with another and what expectations have changed since scripture was written up. I was shocked to discover the call in the Old and New Testaments to the leaders and governments to keep justice in the courts – be fair to the widow, orphan and poor. We have to assume these warnings were written to 1) keep them on track and 2) clean out what was already bleeding through the culture of oppressing those who couldn’t support or even defend themselves.

We as students were given different portions of scripture to look at: what it meant to the people it was addressed to, what it means for us as a collective body of Christ and what it means to us individually. My group looked at Exodus 23. I’ll summarise it for you…

  • Don’t lie about people
  • Don’t pervert justice and lie in court
  • Be fair to poor people in court
  • Be kind to your enemies property
    • Not JUST to them but even their stuff
  • Don’t take from the poor just because they are poor
  • Don’t oppress a sojourner (don’t beat down, put down, dishearten, suppress a visitor, companion, inmate, visitor, lodger, different nationalities, different religions, refugees)

When we as a group looked at what it might have meant for the Israelites we assumed maybe they had corruption in the courts and were probably exposing heaps of poor people because they thought they could get away with it. We assumed there were crooked people who were so wrapped up in the culture of slavery that they had just been delivered from that they were treating others as slaves. Granted, that’s what they knew to do but it still wasn’t just or fair. We assumed they were treating people less than what they would want to be treated like and that they were disregarding taking care of people who didn’t belong to them.

Then we moved to a harder question – What does this text mean to us as the body of Christ?
How do we take on these scriptures in the Church?

 We talked about Public Justice (How society treats and manages others),
and Private Justice (How I treat others and manage myself to benefit others).

So the public justice level around this passage would look more like how many Christians are educating themselves on the elected ‘in-charge’ of our governments and nations. Are they contributing to who is in the courts and even becoming those who are in the judges in courts deciding what is fair for all? Are we as a local church involved and benefiting the community around us? Are we investing in families and defending those trapped in Domestic Violence? Are we doing all we can to find homes, clothes, food, and clean water* for refugees and flood victims alike?

There are many more things the Church COULD be doing but there are loads of things that fall more on the individuals that make up the Church that we should probably be looking at.

Private Justice –
The hardest and most confronting question of all that we addressed is how this all applies to me? How do I treat others?

This was the hardest one to speak out loud.

I grew up in a westernised, bible belt, mostly white’ish people culture. But I also grew up with the news… I knew what areas of Tulsa (and now Sydney) to avoid if I was alone and I rarely ever walk in a park without looking over my shoulder. I grew up with a fear of homeless people because at no point do you know if they’re going to rape you, if they’re mentally unstable, if they’re in a very real sense ‘battling their own demons’ or how they would react to a conversation. But my fear grew out of judgments that began when I didn’t take the time to look them in the eyes as I walk by them on busy Sydney streets. My very judgments dehumanised someone with a story. I wasn’t being fair – I wasn’t being just – I wasn’t being anyone who remotely resembled my Saviour. Jesus, who took the time to look a naked woman in the face and tell her that He held no sins against her. Jesus, who when Himself was oppressed by the government didn’t fight back with entitlement or ‘rights’ but instead STILL SHOWED LOVE to all. I know much this last paragraph makes me seem like an ignorant… dirtyword… but this was my honest heart condition.
My ignorance turned into judgments that disguised itself as fear so that I could neatly sweep it all away as, “I’m just protecting myself”.

Am I saying single girls should stop at every homeless person and strike up conversation? No, that’s not what I’m getting at… But maybe just get involved and start to add humanity back to those around us. Maybe just start to learn the faces and names of those we equate with statistics and numbers.

My thought is that we are already a pretty passionate generation – I think that there are specific desires that are unique to individuals. Where our Private Justice comes in is EDUCATING ourselves on the issues of our hearts and GETTING ACTIVE in those areas.

Some of your hearts are absolutely wrenched for the homeless, some want to take care of the elderly, some have a resolve of adopting, some are desperate to help stop domestic violence, some of you can’t sleep at night because you’re broken over those still enslaved in sex-trafficking.

Great, I hope something breaks your heart – I hope you let yourself cry sometimes while praying over these neglecting issues that Christians love to talk about but sometimes never DO anything about.
But, OUR G-D… the one who CREATED JUSTICE calls us also to be just

The Lords desire is more for justice and fairness than for one more ‘Christian’ to write Him one more song, or worship Him one more time for all they have. He wants us to give to and restore those who DON’T have.

So after you forgive me for being a little too honest again, find one of the links throughout this blog and research, get involved, be the just cause… just because.

Life Update

“We’ll smile at the sound of silence”
Staple, Sound of Silence – Of Truth and Reconciliation ’05
((one of the few bands I cried about when they broke up))

I wish I could link that song for you all but unfortunately you’re only option is to find the full album on YouTube and skip to the song… or listen to the entire album which may do you just fine.

I didn’t mean to carry on posting fortnightly and I can assure you this isn’t the new norm- Last week was the final push to get to and through songwriting performances for this semester. They went well if you ask me. I wrote a song about a prostitute (Gomer – Hosea’s wife… from the Bible) and much enjoyed my typical minor chord fashion.

This week has been wonderful! It’s school break so everyone has been posting pictures of their travels and adventures and I’ve enjoyed minimal going out, minimal make up, and minimal stressing about what is coming next. I got a random road trip to the Blue Mountains —blue.JPGand I purchased a bucket of apples for $10. I found out a few tidbits about myself I think I forgot

  1. Nostalgia is refreshing – The group I went to the mountains with all listened to Underoath in their lives and so we had a good throwback to our teenage years and listened to heaps of screamo songs.
    1. A. Apple sauce smells like fall to me and will always remind me of my family, even when I didn’t actually grow up going with them when they could go apple picking.
  2. Clean laundry and clean hair ALWAYS make me feel better. Nuff said.
  3. Quiet and empty places creep me out and I also love them.

Now, can I change topics and remain pretty honest? I’ve put off writing my book this entire break because I’m a big scaredy cat. I LOVE going alone to cafés and sitting for ages but the thought of sitting alone with my thoughts to work towards my book (which my goal is to have written and ready for editing by July) sounds like an awful experience.

I’m really good at boundaries and I tend to say ‘no’ when I need to for things and social events but I’m stinking at setting a boundary to write every day. Even when and especially when I don’t feel like it or think I have anything to say. But you can’t edit what isn’t there.

Also, I don’t like random blogs or abrupt endings, unless they are done well.

Bullet Point Update

  • I have an issue of collecting lots of ideas in my heart and wanting to write about all of them but struggling to clarify what I am meaning.
    • I have 3-4 pending ideas on posts any given week
    • I have one on my heart specifically that I’d love to share with you all but I don’t feel like I’ve focused and thought through the subject enough to be satisfied with my work.
    • I’m extremely passionate about a lot of things but sometimes I forget that I am until I begin to speak.
  • The semester is picking up a lot faster than I expected
    • Colour Conference 2016 is RIGHT around the corner
      • I have this sinking sort of understanding that I’m going to learn A LOT this year. I could sort of explain why but I don’t care to.
    • Easter is the Sunday after Colour. Yup.
    • Assessments are already due this coming week.
      • I’m already done with them 🙂
  • Second Year classes are blowing my mind
    • Worship Theology –
      • One of the greatest questions I’ve never been asked before, “When you pray, who do you tend to address first and then in what order do you address? (i.e. Father, G-d, Lord, Jesus, Abba, Holy Spirit, Daddy)
    • Old Testament – Psalms
      • I feel like it’s the bible half of a songwriting lecture
      • The Hebrew Poetry is gorgeous and somehow the beauty translated
      • It had to be G-d breathed
    • Tutorials – New people to learn and believe in
      • Everyone has, “a really good tutorial this semester”
        • That’s because our intake is amazing
      • I already love them all and can’t wait to do life with them this semester
      • Acts is leaning on my heart and I have a desire to see a grace-filled community in tutorial.
    • Chapels/Church (they aren’t the same thing)
      • Not the same thing BUT – there is something different going on this year
      • Chapels haven’t felt like this before. Everyone is engaged and passionately seeking something more.
      • Church feels more like family than ever, I don’t feel like it’s really a Sunday without serving with my team and picking on Paul for coffee.
    • Me
      • I’ve had random fatigue since coming to Australia again, it got better but I still felt a tad off.
      • My overthinking is hella annoying right now
      • I’m beside myself when I think about how blessed I am to be here, with these people and learning in this environment again.
        • #WeGETtodothis
      • I frequently have extremely weird dreams – EXTREMELY weird
      • I’m excited to refocus my passion and time to fit in writing a book this year. Jesus bless it.
      • I love you all

        I keep reading Philippians over and over in different versions and study Bibles because I can’t get over how full of thanks and blessing that book is.

The picture was brought to you today by my 2009 year old self. It was one of my favourite hair styles I had. But it hardly has anything to do with todays blog. Except that I like baking… that’s another point under the “Me” section I guess.

Dear Dying Self

Who do you want to be when you’re done? What legacy do you want to leave and how do you want to be remembered?

I believe this blog was Craig Groeschels fault. I think I wrote it after reading his book Chazown, it was a challenge to write your own epitaph and live in a way that would allow it to be true. I wrote this when I was 20 and I would have to say my opinion hasn’t changed much.

22 Dec 2010


 

Dear dying self:

Through your life I hope that you sought to glorify G-d in all of your “todays” and desired to spend time daily with G-d; daily praying for others needs; daily giving your life to be a witness to all the goodness G-d has placed in your life. I hope people remember falling in love with Jesus because His love ran so pure in you. I hope you got over any sort of jealousy and realized that your life is to be given and not to be lived looking for the things you can get. I hope people saw you broken, I hope people saw you seeking. I hope people saw you raw before G-d and holding close to His heart. I pray you never went through a dumb stage where you thought you could do it alone – or where you decided it wasn’t worth it. I hope G-d’s kids are ALWAYS enough for you because you were enough for Him. I hope you never thought twice about obeying what G-d told you to do, even if YOU didn’t understand. I hope G-d gave you boldness and strength, and that you took it. I pray you changed your world one hurting soul at a time. I hope you never let yourself be the reason someone walked away.

 

 

 

 

Me, Myself, Martha and Mary

Real Talk

It’s always Real Talk

I swear I re-write these like a billion times.


I have such a Martha heart sometimes. I don’t believe by any means that we are saved by works, or by what we accomplish but I sure keep myself busy instead of sitting at the Fathers feet sometimes. I always think it’s a novel idea to sit and listen but then struggle with feeling lazy. It’s one of the many mindset changes I’ve been praying for this semester in school… To not have the attitude of Martha who was upset when her sister wasn’t just as busy ‘doing’ as she was. I don’t want to live distracted. I couldn’t imagine that getting to the end of your life could be worse than not even realizing you didn’t live because you were busy being distracted.

I want to worship and commune with Jesus – I’m just highly distractible and move around way too much and phone way too much and mindlessly interwebs way too much.

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

I had a day at home over this week and realized how much time I had to just sit with Jesus, and I was really excited about it. I thought to myself, “dang, I can get so much reading and writing and revelating (not a real word) done today! How awesome will that be?!” and then I cleaned the kitchen, and my room, and vacuumed and watched YouTube. We all get busy either from jobs or from life but we don’t all have to get cluttered. You know, the unnecessary amounts of things that we do that aren’t entirely productive. I’ve always been like that though, too busy to think clearly. It’s slowing down and breathing that I’m not good at.

Hillsong Conferences’ theme is “Speak: We’re Listening” which couldn’t be more seasonal for me. So naturally I’m expecting a lot. But a large part of this for me is going to be learning how to sit at Jesus’ feet and take in and listen to what he is saying. I think it’s really easy to get distracted with the preparations and at that, the things that really do HAVE to get done. But what is better? What is needed?

Just one thing. 

Mary chose what was better. There is nothing else. There is no time more valuably and costly spent than time with Jesus. Not only that, but Jesus told Martha that it wouldn’t be taken away from her. All the time she used wasn’t wasted and it wasn’t going to be removed. It wasn’t a lack in her life but it was the best decision she could have made. Time with G-d can’t come back void. I believe I’ve written about that before or if I haven’t now I have. If you’ve had a RealTalkTuesday with me lately I’m sure I’ve preached that to you. It’s something I absolutely need to hold onto right now. Even when I don’t see or feel the change I need to believe it.

((Honestly, I just have a lot to learn.))

Assessments, Assignments and Assassinations

This is a very collegiate post; not in the sense that it will be educated and polished, but simply an update on how college is for me. The first few weeks of HILC (Hillsong International Leadership College) was full of the same three questions that we now all make jokes about.

  • What is your name?
  • Where are you from?
  • What stream are you in?

Super boring, totally doesn’t provide the best means to get to know anyone… We ask in hopes that from that 1. The new intake student will then begin rambling their life story in order that we can figure out if we are a good pair for friendship or 2. It will keep the conversation going until the next ‘activity’ or thing happens so that it isn’t awkward. Now that we are past that we are getting a morphed version of the same set. If we happen to run into someone that we don’t know (which at Hills campus happens ALL the time) the questions look like this:

  • What is your name?
  • What intake are you?
  • What stream are you in?
  • How do you like college so far?

To which, every Hillsong student replied, “SO good!”

So, How DO I like college so far?

It’s an important question to ask myself if I’m being honest. How am I enjoying life? How am I really?

I’m alright, I think that’s the most honest answer I can give. We have first semester performances coming up in roughly 2 ½ weeks, which is exciting and nerve-racking when you take a step back and realize what you signed up for. We have a larger assessment on Amos coming up the week before. The assessments are hard, not as in they are difficult to get the answers but sometimes they’re hard to think about the answers. They can be lengthy but mostly the fact is that we are being asked questions that we have PROBABLY been asked before but this time we are required to actually give an answer. An educated and leadership minded answer. We are thinking about our futures in ministry and the Kingdom and how this all relates to our relationships with Jesus. It’s just a little different when life becomes real.

So as you see, the busy is starting to hit a little harder. It isn’t impossible; it’s just more entertaining to get your assessments in when G-d is sifting your heart in the process. I feel like this season has taken so many different turns in direction and what I’m learning about. It doesn’t feel as if G-d is changing the call on my life and my passions but it does feel like He is moving me forward in all of what He HAS called me to do, which just looks different – it looks more aggressive, it looks more like praying constantly because the farther I get into this the less I feel like I know what I am doing. What a tense beauty life is becoming.

Along with the turning things in and thinking through things, I feel like G-d has been dropping just as many things to let go of. He is asking me to put to death insecurities that I legitimately didn’t realize that I had. I was talking with some of my Songwriting class about how we came here feeling like we were adults and pretty set as far as our thoughts on how our relationship with G-d was and soon came to realize how much more work Jesus has to do on us. Ugh, it’s a mess. I’m a mess.

This is just a brief update this week… just thought it would be good to let you all know the practical side of how life is lately.

Hopefully this is short, sweet and to the point