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The best version of YOU

At the start of the year is normally the time when many of us re-assess our goals and visions and plan for the rest of the year. I have a love/hate relationship with goal setting: if we plan too much we leave no room for the spontaneous. A lot of AMAZING moments have happened in my life when there was the space for an interruption in my plans. For me, I try to look ahead and plan yet also have a strong understanding that sometimes the interruptions can propel you further into your destiny. If you think about it, a majority of the miracles that Jesus did that are recorded in the Bible were when He was ‘on his way’ to something. If he had the destination in mind, he never would have stopped for the blind man or the centurion’s daughter, for example.

So I try to be visionary, but also relaxed at the same time these days. (which is an interesting tension). I try to think more about how I can be a better person, rather than do ‘better’ or more productive things, if that makes sense.

With that in mind, I was watching one of my favourite science fiction shows (yep, I’m a sci fi junky), where the main characters were, of course, travelling to a parallel universe, bumping into other versions of themselves. The fascination of seeing how one version makes one decision that changes the course of their whole lives was what made both versions the same person, yet vastly different at the same time.

Before you write me off as a nutcase, the whole idea got me thinking – if I met myself in another universe (which I know is not possible – but just go with the idea here) – would it be a better version of me, or a worse version of me? Am I the best version of me that I can be?

Are you being the best ‘you’ you can be? What’s holding you back? How can you reach the true potential of who you are and what you are born for? Often its a small few steps that can create the changes you need.

You don’t need to travel far to be a great version of YOU. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Worship

 

The arts in the church – paper, bows and flowers

 

If you are part of my Facebook page you will notice there have been a lot of comments lately on the arts in the church, and whether they are thriving or not. I was honestly quite surprised at the majority and passion of the responses and it made my heart burn even more to see creative Christians inside and outside the church filled with the fire of Heaven to create beautiful art.

Centuries have proven that time and again the arts challenged what was expected by the church. Handel’s Messiah (Think Hallelujah Chorus), written for the general public, was shunned by most of the church of the day because it was not written for the church. In fact, John Newton the author of the incredible hymn “Amazing Grace’ preached on it’s evils to his congregation and discouraged them from going to see it for over a year! From the artwork of Caravaggio (who had parts of his paintings painted over in the Catholic church to cover up what some considered too obscene to be shown) to Van Gogh (who spent most of his life trying to be a clergyman because he thought that was how to really serve God, yet only sold one painting in his lifetime), there has always been controversy as to what the arts were used for, what was the ‘reason’ for it, and what was it’s purpose in church life.

Today we often have the same problem. But I am not here to attack or complain. To be honest, I think it’s a waste of time. I am here to praise Him with what He has given me. I love the arts and when I am creative, I feel I am praising Him at the highest level. It most likely will challenge people at times, but the reason we do what we do as creative people is to redeem what God originally created for His glory. In doing so, we most certainly give Him glory.

It got me thinking about flowers. When I buy flowers and the florist asks me: “Is this a gift for someone or for yourself?” I always say it’s a gift, because I know they will use the pretty paper and bows to dress up the flowers. I just love how it looks when I walk out of the store. Whether I am giving it as a gift or not, I appreciate the beauty of the wrapping. Yet, if I just received the wrapping, it would probably look like rubbish all folded and most likely wet from the flowers – the encasing is useless without the beauty of the flower.

I think the arts in the church are like the paper and bows. It’s purpose is to draw attention to the main event. Flowers are beautiful all on their own, but always look so well presented with pretty paper. But on its own, with no purpose, it’s just rubbish to be thrown out. I am not meaning to say that art is all for show or about showing off. I mean to say that it adds beauty to what is already beautiful.

I think most people who try to make sense of the arts often don’t appreciate it for what it is. I often hear questions like; “What’s this piece of drama during the sermon for?’ or; “I don’t understand the meaning of this song”, or; “What is that piece of artwork trying to say”? Yet somehow often these things move us, they make us ponder, they reach us beyond what words can explain. Because we can’t explain it or make sense of it logically, we can find it hard to affirm it’s purpose. So we give up and assume it is meaningless. (Mind you, I chuckle to myself as I read “I do not like green eggs and ham” to my daughter because it makes no sense yet she absolutely loves the poem by Dr Seuss – but that’s another story…)

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think all art has to have a reason or be the answer to everything. A great scholar once said: ‘Art needs no justification” (F Schaeffer)’, and I believe this is true. Art doesn’t need to have a full stop. I think this is where we get confused in church – we think that it needs to have a reason. I believe art can be meaningful without having an obvious meaning or explanation.

I guess in all my thoughts here, what I am trying to say is don’t let your creativity waste away because you have been misunderstood, or your creativity doesn’t fit the paradigm, or you don’t understand your gift. Just be you. Write, paint, dance, sculpt – enjoy the gifts He has given you. Give Him praise by using them. Don’t be afraid or hurt and retreat because you feel different. Embrace all He has for you and watch what happens.

Paper and bows are always beautiful when wrapped around the Rose of Sharon.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Worship

 

Finding your place

 

A few days ago my 6-year-old daughter said something that I thought was quite profound. I was chatting to her about her day at school and the conversation went a little like this:

“Mummy, during worship assembly at school, while we were singing, I found my place”.

Me: “Really? What do you mean?”

“Well, you know how I say I love God all the time? Well I never felt anything when I said it before, but all of a sudden while I was singing, my heart filled up so much and I realised I loved God so much, and then I knew I had found my place – I know what I was born for – you know, what I am meant to do with my life”.

Thinking she was going to tell me she was going to grow up and be a ballerina, or a singer like her mumma is the response I expected when I responded with: “That’s awesome honey – so what are you meant to do with your life?”.

Her answer back to me was, “I am meant to worship Him”.

So simple, so true. We get so caught up in our jobs, our careers – thinking that’s what we are meant to do to be fruitful. But at the end of the day, we will find our place when we realise we were born to worship Him”. Everything else comes after this.

Take a moment with me today to realign your vision and dream for your life. Let us make our first priority to worship him. I believe everything else will fall into place and we will live in a place of rest when we make it that simple. We make our purpose so complex, so complicated, but it really is all about loving God and seeing that overflow into all we do.

This is where we will find ‘our place’.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Worship

 

Numbers, dreams and symbols – is God speaking?

I am really into numbers. I believe when numbers line up, or repeat themselves, it’s God trying to get my attention.

Here is an example. This year – 2011, I am pregnant. It was 7 years ago that I was pregnant with my last child (this is a miracle baby that we are very excited about!). 7 years ago I recorded my last album ‘no ordinary life’, whilst pregnant! (whew). I am recording a new album at the moment = 7 years later.

This is my 20th year in the ministry, it’s also my 20 year wedding anniversary, and 20 years since we joined the church we currently attend. It is also my 40th birthday year. So that’s lots of 7’s and lots of 20’s.

Call me crazy, but I felt God was trying to get my attention – so I looked up the numbers in the Jewish calendar. 7 symbolises completion. I also read that every 7th year is a jubilee year. Hooray for that!A time of celebration after a season of wilderness really resonates with me.

20 can signify a year of expectation. Again, very significant in a season where I am having a baby and recording a new album that I hope will have some influence and bless people.

Has God ever used numbers to speak to you? Or is there something that keeps coming up that is the same? We often think God is not speaking, but if we pay attention to even the smallest things, we will find He is trying to get our attention. For example, my mum had several occasions (more than ten), where she would crack an egg, and a double yokes would come from one egg. Now, if that happened once, you would think nothing of it. But when it began happening all the time, she felt God was trying to talk to her about something. We believe it was about a double blessing coming into her life.

Would love to hear your crazy stories, XX Roma

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Worship

 

God’s navigation system

A couple of days ago my husband and I went on a little drive to pick up something I had ‘won’ on Ebay. Because it was an area in Melbourne we were unfamiliar with, we used our GPS. On the way there, the GPS took us through many twists and turns. By the time we got there, my husband said “Now I know where this place is, I realise the GPS took us the long way – there was a much easier way to get here – next time I’m using my brain!”. On the way home, he used his instinct and got us back safely home, in much less time that it took to get there! However, if it wasn’t for the GPS we would not have gone in the general direction of where we were mean’t to go – it helped, but in the end, we also needed to combine that with common sense of what we knew of the journey.

Experiencing all God has for us is a little like this. How many times have we used our spiritual GPS – whether it be the Bible, or other people’s experiences, a sermon we have heard, a song we have listened to – and from that make an assumption on a particular aspect of God’s character, or our experience of God. All those things I have mentioned are good – THEY HELP GET US TO THE DESTINATION.

However, the only way you will truly KNOW Him for yourself, is to take the trip yourself. You have to get in your car and drive there – using those things as guides to get you where God wants you to be. And oftentimes it is in the EXPERIENCE that you realise that many things you thought about God are challenged, as you see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears.

And finally, nothing beats your own personal SENSE of where you are going. Sometimes it’s not as hard/far/complicated as you think.

So the moral of this story is, use the GPS that has been given to you and go on the trip yourself….and…..USE YOUR BRAIN!

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Worship

 

Rewriting the song of your life

This week I have been spending a lot of time finishing songs to be submitted for my next album. Normally, I like to have at least double the amount of songs I will end up using – and choose the best of the lot. The past few days i have spent more time RE WRITING than I did writing the songs in the first place.

What is re-writing? Well, for those of you who don’t write songs, writing a song is generally inspirational (for the most part). You may get an idea for a song melody, or a title, or a great lyric, and can build something from there. When the song is ‘finished’ – and the inspirational moment gone, it’s a great feeling to know you have created something from scratch.

Normally I will leave a song for a few days, and then come back and listen to it with fresh ears. Most of the time I will hear a lyric that needs to change – maybe it’s too cliche, or doesn’t say what I really meant to say. Or, in the case of a worship song for congregational use, maybe it’s not theologically sound and needs a bit of tweaking to project the right ideas. Then starts the process of changing, re writing melodies and lines, and alot of ‘cutting out’ – the most painful part! Trying to say more, with less words is a skill that I dream of mastering one day and is often the greatest contention for a songwriter.

Re writing is a bit like life really. How many of us review our decisions, our jobs, our ministries on a regular basis? Or do you keep doing what you have always done because that’s the way you have always done it? Or maybe your’e afraid to touch on elements of your life you are not happy about, because it’s just like stirring up muddy waters and you are afraid it will just be a lot messier than if you had just left things alone.

Re writing is not about inspiration. It’s a cold hard look at the song of your life. Is it singing the way it should? Does it sound ok for the most part, but could do with of a bit of change here and there?

The great encouragement about re writing is that, for you to begin the process it has to be a good song to start with. If it wasn’t you would just scrap it and start again. Many of us live GOOD lives. Maybe you haven’t done anything in your life that you would say ‘was a big mistake – I really need to start over”. It’s actually harder to re write than it is to start again. But it’s not enough for us to live an ok life. It’s time to look at our song and see if there is anything that needs to change – big or small. Your life will then become a life of intentionality. Just like a well written finished song, we will achieve our purpose – what we were truly born for.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Worship

 

Passion driven

Well, I’m back! I have not written a blog for quite a while now and thought it was time.  Hope you enjoy my musings.

So let’s start with where I am at right now.  I have been thinking a lot about PURPOSE.  Why do we do what we do?  What makes us get up in the mornings to face a new day?

Most people who know me would be surprised that I am thinking about all this stuff.  I have done a lot in my life – a lot of it I am proud of, a lot of it were huge learning curves, some stuff, I’m not so proud of.

Lately I have been thinking about what my purpose is?  Sure, I sing, release albums, speak – I really love all of it, but for a very long time I have been wondering if there was ‘something more’.  I felt like I was missing something. And this has brought me back to square one – why I am here, I mean ‘what am I REALLY here for”?

My guess is that many people feel this way – and many people in ministry feel this way.  But we never do anything about it.  We are too busy stuck in the machine, going through the motions, keeping appointments, getting that message ready, putting together a Sunday service, a conference, making sure the house runs smoothly.

So this pervading feeling just lingers there in the back of our minds, never being dealt with.  Some people never deal with it because the ramifications are huge.  It means huge life changes.  Maybe for some, it means changing jobs, moving to a new city – you know, lots of scary stuff.

I believe an awakening starts when we CONFRONT this question and begin to dig really deep within ourselves.  The only thing I know for sure is that we will come to a dead-end if we don’t do it with God.  He needs to be the central part of this.

So that’s where I am starting.  I am actually on day 2 of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  I think it’s easy when you have been a Christian a long time to think: “I know my purpose, I know my vision”.  But I have decided that I don’t really know anything and I want to confront this issue head on.

Let the awakening begin! Let me know your thoughts,

Roma

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Worship