Tag Archives: worship

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures (March 2014)

Tips, Treats etc, monthly round up March 2014 We are currently enjoying the cool of autumn’s arrival, after a long, beautiful hot summer. March is my favourite month of the year.  Last weekend’s berry picking left us with just a small bag of berries, as the last of the summer berries have finished.  Soon will be root vegetables and casseroles coming out of the kitchen.

On that note, here are a couple of recipes that I’ll be trying soon.

In the Kitchen

I really like the sound of these sweet and sour meatballs from the talented Danielle Walker (Against All Grain).  

And same website for these gorgeous 7 layer bars .  Don’t be scared off by the many layers – most have just a couple of ingredients each.  Yum!

What I’m Reading and Watching

Have a watch of this music video where the singer is photo-shopped in real time.  You’ll never look at magazine images the same again!

I’ve been wanting to read this book the moment I read the Amazon preview.  The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by christian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi.

And this one: Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothin.  Read the Amazon preview on this one too!

An article on ADHD that you’ll find interesting.  I’ve been reading this for years, and read a particularly great book by Phillip Day that said similar things.  

New Discoveries and Great Ideas

Food Matters TV is here!  Head over to their site and watch over 300 health and wellness videos on demand.  

How to Remineralise Your Teeth Naturally (an article at Wellness Mama):    And if this interests you, purchase Ramiel Nagel’s book ‘Cure Tooth Decay’ for extensive guidance on healing your teeth naturally.

On the Homeschool Front

We’re enjoying Supercharged Science at the moment, and I’ll be posting a review next week.  This week has been about minerals and genetics.  We love our Apologia Science. But I’ve found Supercharged Science has given us a fresh boost of inspiration and new knowledge and perspective that has breathed life into our homeschool.  Perhaps we’ll keep doing both for a while!

I found this a really great read from All About Spelling (the spelling curriculum we use) on Why Copywork Doesn’t Always Work’.    They also have this free ‘Phonogram Sound App’ for all 72 sounds taught in their spelling and reading programs.

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

I love what Heather has written about learning the Word with her children, and also putting their efforts towards bible translation work: End Bible Poverty

A great read on what really matters: When You Can’t Give Your Kids Disneyland 

A few of my favourite things

I enjoyed this really neat music video of a couple’s bump to baby progress.  It had over a million views in 2 days.

This month I’ve been enjoying worship from the fantastic Josh and Amberley Klinkenburg, and All Sons and Daughters.  Josh and Ambs have released an EP called ‘Our Love’, which you can pick up on i-tunes.   And All Sons and Daughters have released a live album available on their site.

Have a listen – you’ll be blessed.

Quote of the Month

And finally, some brilliance from Bill Johnson of Bethel Redding:

“When our passion for God fails to find its expression in joy, it will often find expression in legalism.” Bill Johnson 

I hope you find some great things to read, watch and eat on this post.

Have a great week friends!


PS. Due to when the Review Crew due dates fall, you’ll be getting 3 days of nature study posts from me between 7th and 9th, then a science review on the 10th.  But then your inbox will have a 6 day break until the 16th.  I hope you don’t feel swamped!

This post contains affiliate links.

Sounds of Worship – meanderings in making my sound

Sounds of Worship

Music is my great love.  I’ve always had music around me constantly, even before I was a Christian, and have always been desperately drawn to expressing the creativity of our Creator God through sound.

Ability-wise, I learned classical piano when I was young to Grade 5, I taught myself the guitar in my early 20s, and can sing a little above average.  I have some natural talent but not tons of it.   There is always someone else around that is much more capable to lead worship, even in a small group of friends, and my own songs would most likely not make the cut onto any worship album.  I have a realistic estimation of my ability so you will probably not catch me gracing your screens anytime soon!

It’s only been as an adult I finally have gained some confidence – or perhaps I just mind much less what people think these days.  But now I have a growing family and more than enough to do with my time than practice for the hours it will take to cultivate what little natural ability I have!  And to what end if I was to pursue that?  What does the Lord really want me to do with the sound that is within me? I’ve felt for a long time the Lord wants me to lead worship, yet I have zero desire to do this on a stage and/or in the form that most are used to.  I’m a little different.

So what do I do with this overwhelming desire to make beautiful and creative sound in worship?

Here’s what I’ve seen unfold in my life so far, which I’d like to encourage you in also.

You can affect the atmosphere, be it a regular church gathering or any time that people come together in His name.  You can change the environment by releasing your sound into that place.  Whether or not someone hears your worship, or whether it’s especially tuneful or ultra gifted, you were made to worship!  God isn’t looking for the most talented singers or musicians to bring glory to His name. 

‘Rend your hearts, not your garments’ (Joel 2:13). 

And these:

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name”.  – Hebrews 13:15

So in making my sound only for Him alone, does this mean I’ll never express worship publicly for others to hear?  Or write songs that someone else will sing?  I really don’t know.  But whether or not that was to happen, I still have a sound to make as I become more free in who the Father has created me to be, and it’s my own sound, unique and beautiful to my Father in heaven, and worthy of being expressed.  He’s listening and He enjoys what I offer Him.  My worship is for an audience of One.  There’s nothing quite like coming together in unity with my believing friends in times of worship and bringing glory to Him.

I love to watch others sometimes, and see the different colourful expressions of worship – someone who doesn’t sing but who drums his fingers on the back of a chair; or those that dance; and those who sing beautiful harmonies naturally to every note; or simply those that close their eyes and smile as they sing quietly.  It’s a sweet sound to hear what a group of friends will make together.  I especially love to hear indigenous sounds of worship, communities of passionate Jesus followers, worshiping in their own language, style, sound, and uniqueness.  My heart wants to explode with joy!

Naturally, it does helps to have someone who can sing in key and play in time to lead others in worship!  But your sound in worship is no less worthy, beautiful, unique and needed than a worship leader with the guitar and voice.

What is your sound?  Do you play an instrument, whatever your skill level?  Do you hum, whistle, sing, clap, recite poetry, dance or perhaps create something beautiful on a blank canvas?  There are other ways to worship, but there’s nothing quite like making sound!

Let me encourage you today to release your sound on the earth.  There’s no-one else who can express it quite like you.

“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;” – Psalm 98:4

Some beautiful people making their sound…

{Linked up at Teaching what is good, and Capture Your Journey}

The Story of the ANZAC


Coming up this week is an anniversary in our nation that I’ve come to hold dear to my heart. Anzac Day commemorates the day that thousands of young men poured onto the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey, on 25 April 1915, in an eventual failed attempt to take the peninsula for the Allied side during World War I.

Ironically, what was arguably our greatest military defeat, has now come to be something which has formed the basis of friendship between our nations. The famous Turkish hospitality continues to be bestowed on Kiwi travellers and the mutual honour and understanding that passes between us is something quite unique.

Shawn and I visited Gallipoli 13 years ago while serving on the mission field in Europe and spent the entire day visiting the large sprawled site and soaking in the story told on that soil. Our Australian tour guide told the story with such obvious knowledge and passion. We contemplated the relevance to our own lives and that of our nation with the place. The following year, since we were only 5 hours drive away, we simply couldn’t miss the opportunity so returned for the Anzac Day commemorations and joined with thousands of other mostly young travellers.  Many of these young pilgrims, like ourselves, were hungry to know how this story formed part of their own identity as New Zealanders, and in knowing this part of our identity, what difference would it make in how we now live?

So why would the story of the Anzac hold such significance for me and many others?

Quick history lesson: In 1915, our relatively young nation was still considered part of the British Empire. The army corps, serving in Egypt in 1915 prior to Gallipoli, were nicknamed the ‘Bronze Giants of the south pacific’. Despite our obvious difference in physical stature to citizens from the mother country, and about one generation had passed since our nation had been ‘officially’ started at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (1840), our identity was that of British subjects. By the end of the 8-month long campaign, and the end of the Great War itself, our nations people emerged with an identity of their own – that of New Zealanders. The worthy qualities still known about us to this day were forged and made famous in the trenches – that of mateship, courage, sacrifice, valour, good humour, and endurance. These values have become known as the ‘Anzac spirit’ or ‘Anzac legend’.

Anzac cove with website

Anzac cove on the Gallipoli peninsula, the beach where the Anzacs landed 25 April 1915.

The most significant part in my own journey is that of God’s redemptive story currently unfolding, and what my/our part is in partnering with this. He takes what was meant for death and destruction, and brings life and healing. He brings forth beauty from ashes. He takes what appears lost and downtrodden, and crafts something significant and beautiful.

Years ago in our old hometown, we met up with a friend who had been at a prayer gathering that weekend. He passionately shared how the Lord had moved on his heart with the words ‘redeem 1915’. He asked the question ‘what would 1915 look like redeemed?’ Our faithful friend has shared this message for years now across our nation, and many have been inspired to investigate what it might look like for them to be part of writing HIStory. (Listen to a great message on this here).

From that day visiting our friend’s motel room, the Anzac story took on a new purpose in my heart, and the impact of previous year’s visits to the land made even more sense. These years since, we have been holding this before the Lord in prayer and dreaming how this 98-year old story could look like redeemed. How can the believers in our land arise and pour out into modern land of Turkey, inviting His presence, His hope, and the living message of salvation found in Him alone?

poppiesA few years back I wrote down a stream of thoughts on what I believe this could look like, pages of it from memory. It’s the kind of dreaming that only God can do through us – the ridiculously impossible! I’m feeling today that I need to pull those notes up again and read what my soul-searching with Him produced.  I could do with a freshened up dose of inspiration. 🙂

For those of you elsewhere in the world, can I encourage you to ask yourselves, what is it that the Lord has destined within your people that is meant for life?  What is the unique expression that lies within your land that, when dedicated to Him, will give Him glory and draw many to His Light? Do you live in Los Angeles: the city destined to take His message into the world? Or New York: the gateway city to the rest of the nation. Or London: a hub of heritage, and of gathering and sending out. Is your people group drawn to a specific creative expression, or does it display an inventive or innovative spark?

See through the eyes of faith. His fingerprints are on His created world, even at times where they may seem tainted or covered. Uncover and rediscover a glimpse into your nation’s purpose. You’ll be amazed when you incline your ear to Him!

I pray He gives you eyes to see what partnering with a redemptive Father God can produce. And that you’ll be inspired to join with what He has on His heart!

And that my friends, is what I believe to be the heart of the Anzac story. Redemption. Life. Him.

For historical information on the story of the Anzac, here are some sites to look up:

Home Educators, you might be interested in this great resource as well.

canakkale anzac cove memorial

Spoken by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1934 and now displayed on a memorial at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli:

“Those heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives, you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours. You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears, your sons are now lying in our bosoms and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they become our sons as well.” 

Sing Your Song!


The whole world is singing a song.  Have you heard it?

The wind is whispering it in the trees.  The rain is dancing it on the rooftops. The whole of creation is singing it out together: “God loves us. He made us. He’s very pleased with us!”.

It’s the song that’s been sung since the beginning.  The song God created everything in his world to sing.

It’s the song without words.  It’s the song you were created to sing too.

We forgot our song long ago, when we turned and ran away from God.  But Jesus has come to bring us home to God – and give us back our song.

So go on – sing your song!

This beautiful quote is from “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing” by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago.  It is quite easily the best devotional book for children (and adults) I’ve ever come across.  I love the invitation to imagine, to hear the Lord’s voice speaking all around, and to see the beauty of the Lord’s fingerprints in His created world.  This is what I desire to be at the heart of my children’s faith journey through their childhood – the freedom to find their song, experiment with expressions of worship, and to make their sound with joy and thanksgiving.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth! Come before him, singing with joy… He made us, and we are his. – Psalm 100:1-3

My Favourite Worship Album of 2012

Hans album coverCan I tell you about a fantastic worship album that has blessed us tremendously?  I can’t help but get excited when the sound of heaven collides with the sound of our nation.  I love the indigenous sound that I’ve been hearing come from our beloved nation in the last couple of years.  But this is one worship album has me doubly excited, as behind the talented name on the front, there is also somewhat of a collaborative effort that has gone into it from some of the best people ever.

‘On the Back Hills of Bethlehem’ by Hans Kraenzlin, was largely written in the stunning Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, but features musicians from around the world, including award-winning Polish producer Pawel Zareck. The result is a unique blend of sounds and melodies, and something within the music comes to life in a way that causes my own spirit to leap.

Like with any worship album such as this, Hans’ own journey comes through in his music, and you can’t help but respond to the invitation to draw nearer to the Father and enjoy His presence.  Hans’ story of encountering the Father, woven with honesty and beauty through the music, is one available to us also.  We too can yearn for Him in a way that fills us with unquenchable hope and joy.

There are so many amazing worship albums produced these days.  So why do I love this one (besides the obvious fact that we love Hans and would pretty much cheer on anything he does)?

Well… I feel drawn to know the Father more intimately through these songs.  I feel my heart becoming freer as I give myself over to the dance in my heart.  I feel stirred to intercede and declare the goodness of God over the earth.  Most of all, I feel the irresistible urge to drink in His JOY and release my own sound on the earth, the sound of worship within me.  Simple really.  Not only do I get to pour out my affections upon Him, but I also hear Him respond to me in a way that I feel like His beloved child.  Thank you Hans for this incredible gift.

Visit http://hanskraenzlin.com/ to buy the album via i-tunes and listen to samples.  You’ll be blessed!

Here’s some other links: