Monday, 15 November 2010


This blog has been a long time coming but I was waiting for the right kind of inspiration to come along! And it the form of Katy Perry.
Have you heard her new song? It’s called Firework and I was listening to it on You Tube. That girl has come far since singing about kissing girls!! Here are the lyrics:
Do you ever feel like a plastic bag drifting through the wind, wanting to start again.
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin, like a house of cards, one blow from caving in.
Do you ever feel already buried deep, six feet under scream, but no one seems to hear a thing.
Do you know that there's still a chance for you, cause there's a spark in you.
You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine. Just own the night like the Fourth of July.

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colours burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gunna leave 'em fallin' down.

You don't have to feel like a waste of space, you're original, cannot be replaced.
If you only knew what the future holds, after a hurricane comes a rainbow
Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed, so you could open one that leads you to the perfect road. Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow, and when it's time, you'll know
I guess most of us can identify with the verses of this song, either now or it brings up something from the past. Feelings of being insignificant, a bit of a nobody, drifting through life without purpose.  I can easily pinpoint times when I’ve felt this way or others have helped me to think that way.
We aren’t designed to live like this though. The song says we each have a spark within us, something that allows us to shine. If we let disappointments, cruel words, low self esteem or fear enter into our lives, then that spark gets put out, buried underneath the lies we are told or believe about ourselves. I believe that the spark within us can be ignited when we realise our true identity. In the moment that we refuse to believe the lies and become happy with the person we were designed to be. That’s when we become a firework.  
My identity is in Jesus Christ. I belong to Him, I am his child, I am made righteous through Him, I am chosen by Him, I am forgiven by Him, I am one with Him, I am his workmanship, I am loved by Him and there is nothing that I can do that will separate me from that awesome love. These are the words of God and they are not the lies of the world. These are the words that make me smile, words that make me stand that little bit taller, words that make me have confidence in what I do, and the words that make me shine out like a firework!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

I chose you...

As many of you will know, I am currently living in London and training to be a children’s pastor with St Barnabas Church. This week’s blog is the story of how I got to this point.
I was involved in children’s and youth work within my home church since I was 16. Over the years I have grown as a leader, learnt loads and had my passion for children’s work ignited.
For a long while I have had my two career dreams. One of these was my realistic dream and that was to become a Graphic Designer, which I did in March 2008. My second dream I referred to as my unrealistic dream, and that was to work in a Christian environment doing children’s work. It was named ‘unrealistic’ as I didn’t really see a way I could achieve it.
Early on in 2009 I shared my unrealistic dream with a friend who has become one of my greatest influences. She told me to keep it whirring in the back of my mind and not to give up on it just yet. I was already living my realistic dream and was happy with that but not completely content and so I took the advice on board and kept hold of my unrealistic dream.
Over the course of the year God’s plans and purposes were mentioned a lot. Jer 29 v 11 says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’  This verse has always spoken volumes to me and it just kept appearing over and over throughout the year. I began to really pray about what my future would hold and I said to God that I would do whatever He wanted me to do. I didn’t get any instant revelation, or big neon signs telling me which way to go, in fact I got absolutely nothing but I kept on praying.
On 27th June 2010 I was on my way to church with 101 things on my mind as I was leading the service that morning. The thought ‘Becki, go to New Wine’ just randomly popped into my head! It was very odd as New Wine was most definitely the last thing I was thinking about. I pushed it to one side and refocused on getting to church and setting up for the morning. Just before the service began my pastors father-in-law approached me and said that he thought I should go to New Wine, but not as a delegate, he saw me in leadership. In my head I freaked out a little but I kept my cool on the outside and politely said that I hated camping but would maybe think about it.
During the service I acknowledge that God was clearly trying to get me to New Wine for some reason. I still wasn’t sure I wanted to go so I decided that if there were places available on the older kids team or on the youth team then I would go. You know what’s coming don’t you? Yes, sure enough I get home, visit the New Wine website and as the conference was only 3 weeks away at the time most of the teams are full, except Boulder Gang (10’s & 11’s) and Club One (12’s & 13’s) For a reason, completely unknown to me, God wanted me at New Wine and so I filled in an application form for Club One and hit ‘submit’. I then got horrible uneasy feelings that I had made a huge mistake about applying for Club One. I had picked youth over kids because I’ve had more experience with that age group but the ache I had in the pit of my heart suggested I needed to change teams. I rang New Wine and they changed my application over to Boulder Gang and it was like a weight had been lifted. So there I was, 3 weeks until the conference, heading for a children’s team, still with absolutely no idea why I was actually going.
New Wine was brilliant, amazing and awesome! I made some fantastic new friends and really enjoyed getting stuck in with the children’s work. I still had a sense that I had been sent for a reason but as the week went on I began to think that maybe God has just wanted me to go to have some fun, and there was nothing more to it than that. How wrong was I?
The day before we were coming home I was sat listening to a talk on choices and the future from one of the Team Pastors. We were then encouraged to sit and pray quietly. It was the end of an extremely tiring week and so I was power napping more than praying but as I sat with my legs crossed and hands held open, I felt someone take hold of my hands and whisper in an audible voice ‘Come and follow me’. It was God calling me into children’s work. The only way I can describe it is it was like a light bulb being switched on in my heart. A sudden realisation of what my purpose is and what my future held.
The word ‘internship’ had floated around quite a lot during the week I was at New Wine. I hadn’t really heard that word used in a church context before but I understood that it meant a church employed someone to come and work in a specific area of ministry where they would gain training. Again, I just knew that my light bulb moment and the word ‘internship’ fitted together.
I got home and was so excited to jump on my laptop and do some research into churches taking on interns. I was drawn to the New Wine website and the first post on the jobs section was a church in North London looking for a Trainee Children’s Pastor.
Let’s just say the rest is total history!
My friend was right to tell me to keep hold of that unrealistic dream because now the impossible is possible and I’m living that dream.
God has a plan for each and every one of us. It may be something really huge or it may be something that seems quite insignificant, but He has a plan. Our lives are in His hands and only good can come out of that.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Spot the difference

Look at the people around you. They could be members of your family, work colleagues, friends or total strangers. It doesn't take a genius to spot the differences in physical appearance. Blonde hair, brown hair, blue eyes, green eyes, 6ft tall, 5ft short, athletically toned or voluptuous curves. We all look different. Even identical twins will have something that makes them unique in appearance. Now think about the people you are friends with and look beyond their physical appearances. Focus on who they are as people. Patient, quick to anger, happy, whiny, confident, shy, loud, quiet. You see, we all have our differences.

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to do children's work in Uganda. I was part of a team that consisted of myself and 11 people who were members of my church. We weren't hand selected as the 'best' people to go, nor did we have to go through a rigorous application and interview process, we were just 12 individuals who wanted to go and serve in Uganda.

On one of our first meetings whilst still in the UK I looked around the group at my fellow team mates and there were at least 6 people on the team who I didn't really want to spend 14 days in Uganda with. Some of the team I considered as being too old, others were moany and whiny, or just too annoying for my liking! Given the choice, these people would not be on my team. However, when we arrived in Uganda and we got down to doing what we had set out to do, none of it mattered. 12 ordinary individuals became 12 extraordinary team members known more affectionately as the Dream Team.

In the Bible God describes us as a body:
“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Cor 12:14-27 (paraphrased)

What if all 12 of the Dream Team were good singers? Or what if all of us were good at listening to children? Who would do the crafts, who would do the dancing and who would tell the stories? Each one of us had something to offer, some special talent that God had given us, and each one was different to enable us to complete our purpose – serving the children of Uganda.

I believe we are all called to be Dream Team members in the places we live and where we go to school, college or work. We all have a special talent to share that can help make the lives of the people around us easier and better. I see us all as jigsaw pieces. The bits on a jigsaw piece that stick out are the areas where our strengths, talents and the things we are good at make us outstanding. The bits on a jigsaw piece that are cut out are the areas of our lives where we have weaknesses and lack certain qualities. As individuals we need to embrace the things we are good at, embrace that special talent and become outstanding because it is then, and only then that we can truly fit together as one big jigsaw puzzle. You may be a brilliant dancer but not so good at being patient, but there will be someone else who is fantastic at being patient and keeping a calm head who can make up for your weakness. When Dream Teams are built our true purposes can be lived out.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. Actually who are you not to be. You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others" Marianne Williamson.

So, are we going to let our different talents really shine? Are we going to show that we are all outstanding and embrace our differences? I am learning every day to be who I am made to be and to let my God given talents shine out.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Every day is a school day...

Last week I was at New Wine (a Christian conference) and working on one of the kids teams. Now every day wasn't a school day because I had kids with me all week, it was a whole week of school days due to the lessons I was being taught and learning.
I'm sure we have all said at some point in our lives 'Ooh you learn something new every day', but how true is that statement? I think if you keep your mind open, your ears alert and you mix with people then it can be very true but if you choose to close yourself off from the world then who can you learn from?
The lessons I learnt last week came from an unexpected source. At a conference like New Wine you will find amazing worship leaders and inspirational speakers but my teachers for the week were much less renowned yet still amazing and still inspirational. My teachers were 11 year old children.
I like to think of myself as a child in an adults body. Maybe that's why I enjoy doing children's work so much. When it comes to messing about, playing silly games or jumping up and down to crazy worship songs, my inner child is released and I'm 8 years old again. But when it comes to my faith, reading the Bible, understanding about God and praying, my inner child gets tucked away and my 25 year old adult returns.
Now some may see that as a good thing. Surely a 25 year old will see things more clearly, understand more and have more faith and life experience but I don't think so. The 11 year old children in my group saw things more clearer than me, understood more than me and had more faith than me.
We prayed a lot at New Wine, especially for healing. When children wanted to be healed they told a leader or they stood up. No reservations, no fear, they stood there firmly believing, with their 11 year old unshakable faith, that God would make them better. Those children not standing up would reach out their hands to pray for the ones who were. Hundreds of little hands all raised towards sick children, hundreds of little hearts believing God could fix the problem. And you know what...He did fix the problems!
I wonder how many of us adults pray to God, with no doubts and no fears, firmly believing, with an unshakable faith, that He will fix the problems in our lives? I know for me, prayer isn't always my first port of call. I see it as inactive, I'd rather 'do' something to fix the hurts and the problems than sit and talk it through with God. But what can I do to fix things in my own strength? 
We are called to have a childlike faith. It says in the Bible
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
The 11 year old kids in my group will all enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, they are children but it is their faith that matters. They love God and they understand His love for them. They trust him and they know that with Him anything is possible. They pray to Him to fix their problems, not as a last resort, but as a priority because they know He will sort it.
And so I have learnt to be like the children in my group. To follow their example. I will come to God as my inner 8 year old child and not as a critical, questioning, fearing 25 year old. 

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Something to live up to...

I am a children's worker. I minister to children.
My calling is sure. My challenge is big. My vision is clear. My desire is strong. My influence is eternal. My impact is critical. My values are solid. My faith is tough. My mission is urgent. My purpose is unmistakable. My direction is forward. My heart is genuine. My strength is supernatural. My reward is promised. And my God is real.
In a world of cynicism, I offer hope. In a world of confusion, I offer truth. In a world of immorality, I offer values. In a world of neglect, I offer attention. In a world of abuse, I offer safety. In a world of ridicule, I offer affirmation. In a world of division, I offer reconciliation. In a world of bitterness, I offer forgiveness. In a world of sin, I offer salvation. In a world of hate, I offer God’s love.
I refuse to be dismayed, disengaged, disgruntled, discouraged or distracted. Neither will I look back, stand back, fall back, go back or sit back. I do not need applause, flattery, adulation, prestige, stature or veneration. I do not have time for business as usual, mediocre standards, small thinking, outdated methods, normal expectations, average results, ordinary ideas, petty disputes or low vision. I will not give up, give in, bail out, lie down, turn over, quit or surrender.
I will pray when things look bad. I will pray when things look good. I will move forward when others stand still. I will trust God when obstacles arise. I will work when the task is overwhelming. I will get up when I fall down.
My calling is to reach boys and girls for God. It is too serious to be taken lightly, too urgent to be postponed, too vital to be ignored, too relevant to be overlooked, too significant to be trivialized, too eternal to be fleeting and too passionate to be quenched.
I know my mission. I know my challenge. I also know my limitations, my weaknesses, my fears and my problems. And I know my God. Let others get the praise. Let the church get the blessing. Let God get the glory.
I am a children's worker. This is who I am. This is what I do.