Martha, Martha, Martha!

Martha, Martha, Martha!

A friend asked me who I identified with more, Mary or Martha?

MaryMarthaI don’t know about you but usually, when I hear someone talk about Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42), the focus is on Martha toiling away in the kitchen while her virtuous sister sits at Jesus’ feet. For years I longed to be more like Mary – compelled to do nothing but sit at the feet of my Lord…  I’ve even cried out in prayer, “Lord, make me more like Mary!”

Eventually, I realised that this was the wrong prayer. As believers we are called to be more like Him (2 Cor 3:18), not someone else. And, by desiring to be more like Mary, I was denying who God created me to be.

One day, someone pointed out to me that the Lord did not reprimand Martha until after she complained and told Him to do something about it! In other words, it was her attitude he was addressing, not her nature to serve others. 

In the preceding passage to Mary and Martha’s story, Jesus agrees with an expert of the law that we are to

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbour as yourself.

We worship the Lord when we are true to who He created us to be and we acknowledge this best when we express our worship through our native love language. Imagine if, the moment you gave your heart to the Lord, you had to learn a completely new language to communicate with Him because He couldn’t understand your native tongue…

So, what was Mary’s love language? Most likely quality time.

What was Martha’s? Probably acts of service.

On this occasion…

Was Mary loving the Lord with all her heart, soul, strength and mind? Yes.

Was Martha? Not quite… Her intentions were good and she certainly worked fervently, but her mind was distracted by dwelling on how much easier it would be if her sister was helping her – which means her heart wasn’t completely in it.

On love languages…

Granted we don’t all just have one love language, but we usually have a leaning more towards one than another. In fact, Jesus acknowledges our diverse love languages and extravagantly reaches out to us through all five:

  • JesusServantKingwords of affirmation – He calls us brothers amongst many other things.
  • acts of service – demonstrated by washing the disciples feet… He is the Servant King!
    Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45
  • gifts – He is the giver of gifts and all good things.
    He gave us the greatest gift of all, salvation.
  • quality time – He left his place in Heaven so he could dwell with man on Earth and make provision for us to dwell with Him in eternity
  • physical touch – healing, comfort…

So, who do I identify with most?

DaddyDaughterMartha. I’m like daddy’s little helper who wants to serve the Lord by practically demonstrating my love and devotion. And, like Martha, I am capable of making mistakes… because I don’t always remember to engage ALL my heart, soul, strength AND mind while serving the Lord.

Can I find fulfilment in serving the Lord? Yes. In fact, I get a huge buzz when I am operating in my gifts to serve Him because I know that He is involved and invested in me. He leads, teaches, inspires and empowers me when I serve. Best of all, when I serve Him or others in His Name, I am consciously spending time with Him.

Can I find fulfilment when I sit at His feet and listen? Of course. Spending time together without distractions is essential to developing a healthy relationship.

Is one better than the other? I don’t believe we should compare them.

So, when Jesus says to Martha that Mary had chosen the better way, did he mean it was better to spend time with him by sitting at his feet and listening to him in preference to serving him? I don’t think so. He is omnipresent… and will meet us where our heart is.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

Blessings,

Gayann

 
Read more of Gayann’s stories by selecting her name in the tag list below.

 

 

Martha, Martha, Martha!

NZCN Blogs… Guideline

blog_graphicWhat is a blog?

In technical terms, blog is a combination of the words web and log. Great… so what does that mean?

Well, a blog is pretty much whatever you want it to be: a personal diary, a place to share your thoughts, a collaborative space on the Internet, memos, a place to inform people of breaking news or recent events…

OK… so what is the difference between articles and blogs?

In most cases, none; however, on the New Zealand Christian Network website, we are looking at having both so, we need to define what makes them different. We are currently trying to sort this out these ourselves, but this is how we believe it will eventually work.

NZCN has a structure of networks or taskforces. These are areas of ministry or life in New Zealand in which we desire to influence in society in a way that honours God.

Articles on the website strongly fall under these network categories and are written by either the networks themselves or as a collaboration of discussions by members of NZCN (papers for example). They are not necessarily updated or added to frequently, but they are a collection of articles to inform people about a particular issue or ministry. They are often deep or rich in content and require time for the reader to process.

Blogs can be thought of as quick and often lighter reading when compared to articles – even though they may contain deep thoughts. Oftentimes, they would fall under the notorious category of ‘uncategorized’.

Let me illustrate:

An article is a bowl of fruit salad, some muesli, yogurt, a drink to help you wash it down… whereas a blog is a smoothie.
Same ingredients – different presentation.

Are there any guidelines for writing blogs?

We want our blogs to be short, quick, easy reads that don’t require a degree in theology to understand. The target audience for blogs is the general, wider body of Christ – which can include people in leadership. It is not intended as a place to preach online, rather it is a place to share thoughts and experiences about faith related issues and to inform the body of Christ of various events going on in our country.

As a guide… we’re looking for less than 1000 words. You may find this a challenge, but we encourage you to give it a shot. Somewhere around 500 words is brilliant!

If your blog is on the longer side, we recommend breaking it up into shorter chucks to make it easier for your readers to take in.

  • This can be done with headings, pull-quotes, pictures etc.
  • Make use of other formatting tools such as text colour for headings or bold text for the odd word or phrase you want to draw attentions to but without the fuss.
  • Use italics for titles of articles, books etc. as well as in a closing statement that the reader who you are. This may also include a thumbnail image and links to your church, ministry, personal website etc.
  • Remember to enter your name and any topical keywords into the Tags box in the right sidebar. This will make it easier for readers to find other things you have written as well as related content.

An image at the start of the article (between 200-300 pixels) will help draw people in. It actually makes the reading seem faster because the text width is cut in half, so they are already scrolling down the page and are more likely to continue reading – especially if they see indicators that they are quickly progressing through sections.

CallToActionTry to close your actual blog with a call to action. Ask the readers to respond in the comment section, do something, or challenge them in some way.

Enough said. Please use the comment section below to share some of your pointers with us!

 

Blessings,

Gayann

Gayann_thumbnailGayann  and her husband, Stephen, have provided web design and email communication support to NZCN since 2006. She has home schooled their two children for the past nine years, but was ‘made redundant’ at the start of 2013. Since then, she has taken a more active role with NZCN. Her family fellowships at Grace Church, Auckland – which is part of Newfrontiers.
 
Read more of Gayann’s stories by selecting her name in the tag list below.

 

Martha, Martha, Martha!

Coincidence

coincidenceLife is filled with coincidences. My children still delight in asking me to recount many of the events that have transpired in my life. Be they key or incidental; it makes no difference. They find them exciting and so do I.

“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.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

When I was a preschooler, I met a man from New Zealand. He had brought his family to Canada and worked at the same engineering firm as my father for a number of months. Given their similar stages in life, my dad’s boss suggested our families socialise. I have a few vague memories of their time with us.

Years later, there was a knock on the door; I opened it. “Jelly-tot Bob!” I squealed. “Little-one,” he replied, “you remember me!” Somehow the memory of this happy man was deeply etched in me. Bob stayed with us for a few days and showed us pictures of his family back in New Zealand. I was hooked by the time I saw the second photo.

I was away on a French exchange, during my final year of high school, when my parents sold our house in Calgary. They rang and said, “Bob has invited us to visit his family in New Zealand later this year. If you can get a job and save up enough money for your flights, we’ll pay your living costs while we’re there.”

Bob collected us from the Auckland International Airport mid-October ’84. After a brief tour of the city, he took us to his house in the Waitakere Ranges, where we stayed with his family for the next six months.

“Welcome to my home… My house: my rules.”

Apparently, when Dad first met Bob, he identified him as one of “those Christians” who naturally spoke about the love of his life. Being a determined atheist, Dad took Bob aside and advised, “My house: my rules.” Bob respected Dad’s wishes – and waited patiently for the day the tables would be turned.

Bob proved to be a very ‘connected’ and forward thinking man. Not only was he the founder of Inspirational Tapes, the NZ distributor for ‘Everyday with Jesus’ and exercised  Christian hospitality by taking in numerous people from all walks of life, but he was part of a group of men who initiated many innovative Christian trusts – including one that operated a campground in Pauanui, Coromandel. Bob arranged for me to work at The Glade as a volunteer for the summer, alongside his daughter.  There I met many wonderful people, realised the extent of my situation, the truth of the Gospel and gave my life to Christ.

One of those key people was Viv, a missionary on furlough from the slums of Manila. He too had previously been on the receiving end of Bob and Prue’s hospitality and he advised me to tell my parents about my decision and ask Bob to baptize me in one of his ponds when I returned to Auckland.

Before returning to Canada, God told me he would bring me back to NZ in two years. I felt homesick as I passed through the gates of the departure lounge…

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)

Upon our return to Canada, Dad pointed out that I was 18 and that it was time I grew up. My sister and I rented a basement suite in a house mid-way between the university and technology institute, where I studied architecture. I also found a Bible believing church with a supportive congregation and fantastic youth group to help establish me in my faith.

A recession hit Western Canada as I graduated, but that didn’t concern me because a still, small voice reminded me that two years were up… “I’m preparing the way for you to return to New Zealand.”

A letter from an architectural practice arrived in the mail so, I rang and asked how they heard about me. “Someone showed me an ad in an architectural magazine. It has your name, age, address, qualifications and says you want to work in New Zealand.” I was offered a job and moved to New Zealand two weeks later… I didn’t place the ad.

Coincidences happens when our lives coincides with God’s plans.
In other words, coincidence is a God-incidence

Take another look at 1 Corinthians 13:11. Even as an unbeliever my father would have agreed whole-heartedly with the text, but this is how I read it:

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child.
I believed everything my father said and did…
and suffered the consequences of an abused childhood…
because I existed under his domination.

But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
I saw reality and took hold of life under God’s authority and protection.
Most importantly, because I grew up I forgave my father of his sins against me…
just as My Father (God) forgives me of mine against Him (Matthew 6:12).

Coincidence?

I’d love to hear about some of your “coincidences”. Please, post them below. Your faith will grow and you will inspire others. And share my story with others if you feel it may encourage them.

 

Blessings,

Gayann

Gayann_thumbnailGayann  and her husband, Stephen, have provided web design and email communication support to NZCN since 2006. She has home schooled their two children for the past nine years, but was ‘made redundant’ at the start of 2013. Since then, she has taken a more active role with NZCN. Her family fellowships at Grace Church, Auckland – which is part of Newfrontiers.
 
Read more of Gayann’s stories by selecting her name in the tag list below.