As a young adult who grew up in church I have never struggled to understand the power of kids ministry in raising up men and women of God. It was in kids ministry that I first experienced the presence of God, I remember watching carefully the way the worship leader swayed from side to side while praising God and carefully copying so as to ensure that I too, felt His presence. I was confident that God loved me and that I had a relationship with him and made it my mission to read the New Testament at the age of 10. I wrote songs to Jesus just like the ones I heard at church and I prayed against my fears at night and asked God to be with me. One of my first revelations of God was at 11 years old when I was overwhelmed at the prospect of moving cities and went to my bible to ‘just see’ if God had something He wanted to tell me. I quickly found that He did indeed.
I have been a full time artist for over 3 years now and I never thought it would be possible to be a successful artist and have constant work coming in. It hasn’t always been that easy. I studied at the National Art School when I first left high school and then I studied fashion design and business because I thought there was no way I would be able to make money from being an artist. After working in the fashion industry for over 4 years, I knew something needed to shift as I was getting nowhere and there was no ease and flow with what I was doing. I did a few painting commissions over the years and had 2 at the start of 2013 when I decided to quite everything and become a full time artist.
I have often fallen into the trap when pastoring people and when dealing with my own life to think that if some external circumstances change happiness will follow. However the older I get the more I realise that happiness is fleeting and contentment is not based on external circumstances. Now I am not talking about tragic or incredibly difficult situations. These obviously effect our emotional well-being. As does chronic pain, mental health problems, isolation and long term stress. However I know that as a younger believer I was often thinking that when X happens I will be content, then life will be good.
Amanda and her husband Kristian are the founders and owners of The Honest Jones, a creative studio based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The Honest Jones is about creative work in its purest form; clean but not overly polished. Work that has depth, but not unnecessarily complicated. It is constantly growing and refining skills, whilst experimenting and being ok with the beauty in a raw outcome. We sat down with Amanda to chat about work, life and a few things in between. Enjoy!
Over the last 30 years, Ephesians 6:10-13 has resonated from my heart as I have engaged in prayer and spiritual warfare. Our weapons are spiritual in nature and resemble that of a high priest. We wage war through prayer, petitions and praise. We fight, not with our own strength but through knowing our authority and identity in Christ. I have discovered that the whole armor of God is not just for passive protection when we face the enemy. Rather, as this scripture says, we have to assertively STAND and position ourselves to engage in the battle … to STAND against the enemy … to STAND in prayer till the breakthrough happens … and to be found STANDING when the battle is over.
Who knew that a two week trip could completely change your life! God had to take me to the other side of the world to show me something that I now realise you can experience literally anywhere if you’re willing. That is when God breaks your heart for what breaks His--your heart is in fact broken into place. At least that’s what I found to be true.
I am one of the first to admit that I am a recovering ‘control freak’ or ‘control enthusiast’. In reality I believe we can all relate to wanting to control at least one aspect of our lives, especially the areas that seem most out of our control. It is our way of making ourselves feel secure.
Personally this year has been one big, giant roller coaster and I have searched for a way to get off or closed my eyes waiting for everything to come to a stop. I have come to the realisation that it is way better to go with the flow, release my grip a little, and enjoy my front row seat. God has promised to never leave nor forsake me and, He promises that He is not surprised in the least with where I am in my life right now – even when I am. God is a God of purpose and uses EVERYTHING to His Glory.
Six months ago my husband, Justin, and I became co-campus pastors of C3 Church Blue Mountains. This was an exciting but scary opportunity for us! I can still remember the moment when our Senior Minister, Ps Andrew Gray, asked us to take on this role - our jaws hit the ground!! We felt unprepared, unqualified and totally shocked!
Three years ago my life was pretty ordinary, working for a large corporation, going to the same job Monday to Friday for the last 15 years and seeing the same people every week. Saturday was my down time and Sunday was Church day. Then all of a sudden my world changed. My job was made redundant and I felt completely lost. One big door was shut and I had no idea what to do.
Fear can be like jumping over a hurdle that isn’t even there. At least that’s what I experienced in my current travels to Seoul, South Korea. For our two week holidays between Term 2 and Term 3 at C3 College, I got the opportunity to travel up to South Korea to visit my best friend of four years.
As an idealist with an (arguably) warped sense of reality and a long held desire to live in a Dolce & Gabbana campaign, it seemed only right that my next destination abroad be Italy. From the overflowing limoncello, to the promise of the world’s best pizza, to the glorious masterpieces of old, housed in embellished galleries, Italy holds a certain magic that has captured the imagination of countless people before me. As it is peak season in Europe, I thought it might be enlightening to do a little recap of my Italian travels circa 2015 - So with the beauty of retrospect, I humbly bring you these top tips and tricks to assist you in your travels:
On the second day I almost quit. What was I thinking, writing a daily devotional as a new mum? Add that hat to the other ones I wear: wife, pastor, business owner, and I didn’t really need to put the pressure on myself. Here we are though, halfway through the year, and I cannot fathom living 2016 without my daily discipline.