A quick update…
February 14, 2010, 3:39 am
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So I’m finding it fairly impossible to upload my video blogs. I can’t convey to y’all lucky Americans who have lightning fast internet (and even what you call slow is pretty rockin’) how aggravating the net is here. I’ve got no less than 5 vidblogs that I can’t get live b/c one upload takes around 33 hours!!  It’s incredible.  But, I’m gonna roll with the punches here and make it a priority to post baby blogs on a regular basis.  Nothing profound, just thoughts, insights, or maybe funny things that made me chuckle.

But first, let me take a hot minute and say CONGRATULATIONS to Bridgit for her show last week that the Evening Muse!  I’ve seen first hand how hard she’s worked on that project.  Such a labor of love there never was!  If you don’t know what I’m taking about, it’s a comic book, Vol 1 entitled KINDLE & it freakin’ rocks!  I wish I could have been there on your big night!

(For those of you that don’t know, Miss Bridg was my roommate stateside for the past year and half and the better half of this Blog.  We started it when we lived together and decided to continue it even after we set out on our separate paths! )

Couple of observations:

1. The butter section at the grocery store is ridiculous! I’ve NEVER seen such a large selection of butter or butter alternatives in one place.  It’s like 10 feet of creamy fat paradise.

2. The eggs are NOT refrigerated.  They’re found in the baking isle where you’d find sugar, flour, & food coloring?

3. Huge coffee culture & VERY expensive.  3$ on average for just a regular cupa joe (which by the way they don’t actually have filtered coffee like we do, they’re technically americanos… expressos  with water and they’re called Long Blacks) Even McDonalds has good coffee.  They have a section called McCafe w/ pastries and real expresso. Why hasn’t this taken off stateside yet?  Americans need to revolt!

4. Going to the beach ALL THE TIME.  It’s no big deal.  There are so many beaches to choose from Bondi, Bronte, Coogee, Maroubra…they’re all pretty close and so much a part of the culture here that it’s totally normal to get up to go work then head the beach for a couple hours after before you get into your evening.  Surf culture here is HUGE.  Everyone is so laid back here.  “No worries, mate”, you hear it all the time but see it in the attitudes as well.  I love it.

5. I love all the barefeet.  I see barefeet everywhere I go.  Outside walking, in stores, on bikes…it’s kinda strange at first but just more evidence to the laid back culture here.

6. Internet sucks.  ‘nuf said.

7. Aussies love to shorten everything.  Brekky? (breakfast), Avo? (Afternoon), Snags (Sausages).  If I tried to talk like that at home I’d sound like an idiot.

Pretty fantastic y’all.  More later…



A lesson in the Spirit
January 23, 2010, 7:59 am
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In two days, I’ve learned more about the Holy Spirit than I have in my entire life! It’s been explained by a friend and her personal experience, I’ve read about it in an amazing book called “Ruled by the Spirit” written by Basilea Schlink, and most powerfully felt the Spirits presence within me, moving and changing me.

I haven’t felt right since I came to Australia.  I still haven’t.  At first I chalked it up to jetlag.  Then I thought it might be homesickness.  Or perhaps my flat was so empty that it was difficult to feel normal.  But when I attended Hillsong’s inaugural Frontline Renaissance conference I felt something powerful happen to me.  I’m still trying to understand exactly what.

My friends from home wouldn’t recognize my behavior since I’ve come here.  I’ve almost become a recluse, staying in my flat or opting to go out on adventures on my own or just with my roommate.  I have actually avoided the crowds.  My “normal” self or maybe I should say my “old” self, would have been at every party and gathering, bopping around getting to know everyone! Making a statement on who I was or am or whatever, being the center of attention and loving every minute of it.  But since the moment I arrived I’ve felt strange.  Off.  Like I was missing something.

Then I went to the conference and a Holy light bulb went off! At first there was an alter call for everyone who felt the need to be prayed over.  Brendan Brown gave a short but powerful talk on crawling on your knees toward God.  And I felt something come over me.  I went down to the front of the stage and dropped to my knees and cried.  I cried so hard and so long that I was drooling everywhere. But I didn’t care.  I had released something.  No, probably the other way around, God had released something upon me.  I felt even more foreign than before when I finally stood up with my legs prickling.  I went back to my seat and smiled sheepishly to the girls I was sitting beside, not ashamed but not ready to talk to anyone either.

At that point we had a break for about an hour and a half so I went out and grabbed some Chinese stir fry (which anyone who knows me is strange b/c I can’t stand Chinese but I felt compelled to eat some) and went to find somewhere to eat.  I felt (I’m going to be using this verb a lot now I can tell) like I was supposed to connect with someone.  I KNEW I was supposed to talk with someone! So as I was walking around Hillsong’s beautiful building searching for a group of people I could sit with, I felt something say “Go up and sit at that isolated group of tables upstairs”.  I thought, “but I’m supposed to TALK to somebody! And there’s no one up there?”…{crickets}…{sigh} “Ok, I’m going”  So I go up and pop open my bible and begin eating stir fry with my chop sticks and reading John 13.  I was reading about how Jesus washed the disciples feet and him setting the example of the teacher also being the servant when I looked up and out over the view of the landscape and in that moment I felt my Home.  Not my home at Hillsong or Australia but my home in Him.  I felt washed in his love, cleansed and at peace for the first time since I came here.  I think I would have started bawling, I was already tearing up but when I looked over at the table that had been empty only minutes ago and saw it was now occupied by a woman in a purple sundress.  She looked in her late 20’s, early 30’s and she was eating a cucumber sandwich.  So I turned to her and (with what I’m sure  was a strange look on my face) I said hello.

We proceeded to have a lovely conversation about her walk with Christ and our experiences at church and with our families when another woman walked up who I had met a week before at the City campus.  Her name was/is Janice and she actually works for Hillsong as a PA for one of the church pastors.  I’m not exactly sure how the topic came up but she started explaining the concept of baptism of the Spirit and her experience with it.  I won’t go into details about her story, it was quite long, but it was wonderful to see her perspective on it.  I had my own questions on the difference between a water baptism and baptism of the Spirit.  And she shed light on it in a way I’d never understood before but I began to understand just how powerful it really is.   That it was the Spirit who spoke to me, telling me where to go and what to do.

Then today, I found a book entitled “Ruled by the Spirit” and I began reading it.  A much clearer picture began to form in my mind about what exactly the Spirit is and what an AMAZING gift it is.  Let me give you a small excerpt:

Jesus left behind grief-stricken disciples fearful of not being able to stand against the threats of their persecutors.  Yet He says to them: “It is to your advantage that I go away” (John 16:7)…Now, when He who is the second Person of the Trinity leaves this world, the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, will come to His people to dwell in them.  So Jesus says to them, “I will send you another Comforter” (John 14:16).  In His place another, the Holy Spirit, will now comfort them… Until then the disciples had been able to turn to Jesus at any time with their problems; but now they are to turn to the Holy Spirit for help and counsel.  However, they were not to be separated from Jesus Christ, because He is ever present through the Holy Spirit – the Holy Trinity is indivisibly whole.  The Holy Spirit is at one and the same time the Spirit of God as well as God’s means of making His presence known and glorifying Himself to the world.  He is also the Spirit of Jesus Christ and the means whereby the ascended Lord extends His kingdom in this age and awakens belief in Himself.  By leading us to believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit makes us children of God and leads us to pray “Abba, Father!” (Rom. 8:14-15)

I believe that the Spirit has been with me for a while now, I just never understood it completely (or at all).  But over the past 48 hours God has provided a revelation to me about what He is doing and will do while I’m here.  Strip away the old, empty out the old of the wineskin to make way for the new wine.  His is taking the established structures and mindsets and razing them to their very foundations to build anew something stronger, something more audacious, something phenomenally more powerful for Him to use in the future.

I still don’t feel completely right but now I’m beginning to understand that I’m not supposed to.   That I didn’t come to Australia to find home…I came here expecting only to be changed and change isn’t comfortable and it’s rarely fun.  It’s painful and sometimes scary.  But I’m leaning into Him, and learning just exactly what that means.

I read a poem the other day that made me break down in tears:

He said, “Come to the Edge.”

I said, “I can’t, I’m afraid.”

He said, “Come to the Edge.”

I said, “I can’t. I’ll fall off.”

He said, finally, “Come to the Edge.”

And I came to the Edge.

And He pushed me.

And I flew.

-Guillaume Apollinaire

(1880-1918)



Now that you’re really catapulted overseas…
January 19, 2010, 2:47 am
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Greetings from Sydney!!
January 17, 2010, 12:01 am
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It’s been an awesome and exhausting ride so far…but I know the best is yet to come!!

S



The new place…
December 6, 2009, 4:38 am
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S



Different workings.
November 13, 2009, 5:57 pm
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1 Corinthians 12:6 “There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

I have been thinking as of late about the different kinds of churches in America. Going from Elevation to Center City has really broadened my perspective of how things work in the church. I love both churches and, where I feel called right now to be a part of Center City, I still love and admire the staff and volunteers at Elevation so much. I cannot help but to believe in what they do because I have seen what they have done to change lives, including most powerfully and up-close, my own life.

So in comparing the two I can’t help but to be curious as to which one is the right way to approach church. Center City has become a vessel to help me grow and I am so thankful for the family that I have there. But I don’t think any one church is the correct way to carry out fellowship or the Message, only the way in which they feel called. There is good in any way to bring the Gospel that is truly truly set in the way of the Lord.

This verse just reveals to me that fact. That both churches are working in different ways, but this does not disconnect them. The message is the same. God is there in both churches, they are just different hands reaching out. One is broader and reaches more people at the moment – it is loud and it is boisterous in its awesome confidence in the Lord. And I am glad for it! To step forward in the power of Christ is something that I needed someone to help me do. But Center City is an involvement and a fellowship that I have needed for sometime. And where Elevation was the initial catalyst which I am ever so thankful for and which I’ll never stop being a part of, God is using Center City to grow me and they are personally knowing me and pushing me to serve as Christ has served. It is striving for humility in Jesus’ name, at a level which I have never seen, and is already growing me and the family there around me so deep.

I am excited to see where both churches are going and am so glad I have been a part of both.

-Brij



Up Next…
November 5, 2009, 1:36 pm
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Garage Sale Part Two!  Coming up THIS Saturday 8am-2pm

Why not come and visit?

7200 Alamance Dr.
Charlotte NC 28227

TVs, a ton of game consoles and handheld stuff and games,  monitors, brand name clothes, winter coats, shoes, and bags, books, collectables, lamps, large ceramic planting pots, a patio set with table, umbrella, and four chairs from Pier 1 and a whole lot more…