On Finding Gold

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At the end of our Oregon road trip we popped across to Bethel Church in Redding – an 8hr drive, we’ve got this road trip thing down. We love Bethel’s worship and teaching and often tune in.

A few friends asked us ‘So… what’s it like at Bethel’

We were so blessed to be in touch with the pastoral team through our friend who arranged for us to receive prayer from the Bethel pastors. Of course they took it to another level and saved us seats, a parking space and blessed us with a gift bag of books and cds – reviews and book clubs to follow 😉

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We were prayed for during the course of the day by several of pastors who immediately felt like friends, who loved us, encouraged us and called out dreams that had only been whispered in secret places.

We heard Carol Arnott speak on Sunday morning and Bill Johnson on Sunday evening. During Sunday evening we saw over 60 physical healings – of injuries and sicknesses, many of which had been around for years. We saw freedom from pain… and feathers floating.

All this time the ‘man’ didn’t run around praying for people, nor did people run to the man, no glory was given to anyone except God. It was very low key and almost understated in terms on man’s involvement. The involvement came when Bill encouraged those in the congregation to pray for one another or in his words ‘church family you have a job to do.’

I love all of the above – there was so much we took away from Bethel, mostly the genuine culture of honor, which is fostered among ALL the people. You might know the book ‘Culture of Honor’ written by Danny Silk. He writes that ‘Honor means relating to someone according to his or her God given identity… Honor looks for gold in people’.

Danny Silk writes that honor – accurately acknowledging who people are – will position us to give them what they deserve, and to receive the gift of who they are in return.  Honor relinquishes the desire to control, accepting risk and trusting freedom.  Honor leads with love and creates zones where people feel safe and important.  Through honor, masks come off, walls come down, and hearts come out.  People’s gifts are revealed, affirmed, and released. Life flows through honor.

He also writes: A controlling God, who is usually represented by a controlling church leadership, is just not good news. How can church leadership create freedom and not more rules? How can we bring out the best in human beings and keep it at the surface even as we deal with their problems and shortcomings? Can we empower others and release them to live from their best natures and from the truest reasons they are alive?

Imagine if we all grasped hold of this truth and were able to say:

‘I carry something that no one else carries. I must develop and release my gifts into the Church and the world and do my part in bringing Heaven to earth’

Does it feel like a difficult, risky task to verbally identify someone’s identity through honor? Possibly for some – our own insecurity might prevent it, underlying judgments that the person does not deserve it, maybe? Fear? Don’t know what to say? Start with ‘you are loved…’ and go from there.

That’s what I carry from Bethel to Willow Park. To see the gold in people of our community, our city. ‘In a culture of honor, leaders lead with honor by courageously treating people according to the names God gives them and not according to the aliases they receive from people’

YOU are loved!

Michelle x

On the Road

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This time last year Phil and I walked the Worcestershire Way. You can read about it here. This year we are road trippin’ Here’s my road trip musings – part uni exercise – part fill in my non-social media peeps. This trip was planned for last August but life postponed it until now. This time we made it – minus 2 of our kids who are, as I write, feeding hungry people on Venice Beach.

Phil finished work at noon on Sunday and drove 8 hours from Kelowna to Olympia on Sunday afternoon. Rain pelted relentlessly, winds blew fierce and puddles deluged our Jeep, they’re hardy little things the Jeep. Thank you Chrysler.

The kids traveled dreamlike with gadgets and DVDs, one after the other. Not forgetting of course car bingo, which took them all the way over the bridge in Kelowna. Note to self, start playing the game on the Coquihalla where visibility is non-existent and the game is a tad more challenging.

The border is always a challenge for us; I demand silence in the car, behaving like we are doing a drug run to Mexico. ‘Any food in the car’ asks the officer ‘Just some cucumber’ I stammer. ‘Did you know you’re in the oversized vehicle lane’ she asks. ‘We are so, so sorry, we didn’t see the sign’ I feel like I could cry. She laughs. ‘No worries guys’.

Cue Phil to become best friends with our officer. ‘No, Phil’ my inside voice says ‘Quit while you’re ahead’.

The Ramada hotel in Olympia is our first stop. Landing in at around 10.30. Kids are happy for the 24-hour pool and decide swimming races with Daddy are in order. I judge from the hot tub. Winner.

Josiah begins talking about the endless buffet breakfast at 11.30pm and resumes the same conversation at 7am. Josiah enjoys a breakfast for kings (involving gravy, so wrong) then a nice 3-hour drive to Astoria through Seaside onto Cannon Beach. The clouds clear as the rain finally gives way to blue skies. This helps this white-knuckle traveller no end, I am a terrible passenger as many know. I try to let go, but my imaginary steering wheel seems to work so well, as do the brakes.

So after a few days here are my Cannon Beach highlights :

We had no idea Cannon Beach is a honeymoon destination and should have booked adjoining rooms with our littles, join in the spirit of the place. Loved up couples everywhere you turn. Bless. For now, we sleep in queen beds side by side watching High School Musical 3. Fabulous.

Haystack Rock is a 235-foot sea stack on Cannon Beach, sometimes claimed locally to be the third-tallest intertidal structure in the world and is the most photographed landmark on the Coast.

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Each day we enjoy a treasure hunt of driftwood, shells and tide pools. As the tide goes further out and we enjoy this marine garden of sea anemone, star fish and sand dollars.

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Sunset on the beach. Enough said.

IMG_1077 DSC07680 IMG_1081Indian Beach, in Ecola State Park.Wrapping around Tillamook Head, between Seaside and Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park stretches along 9 miles of coastline. Stunning. Seriously. It’s March.

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The town itself has a very laid back feel. ‘Do you have wifi?’ ‘Err, no, aren’t you on vacation’? Opening hours ‘around 10ish if we feel like it’ – lots of trinket shops, art galleries and antique shops. It always makes me smile when I browse antique shops in North America and basically see my Nan’s living room. I could buy an oceanfront apartment through selling her knives and forks around these parts – and maybe a few pieces of Aynsley china cottage garden.

We do love Cannon Beach – and can see why it becomes a fave place to holiday. Who knows, it might become ours… but there’s more to explore!

Our road trip continues, a short stop in Portland (nice vibe) and a visit to the largest new and used bookstore in the WORLD, Powell’s City of Books. We found our way out (eventually) then drove for hours on the I-5.

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We planned on seeing the Redwoods but bypassed them this time and found ourselves in Redding, Cali.

More to tell as the story unfolds… HAPPY SPRING!

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Love, Michelle x