6.30.2015

What's Your Malta?


this sunday at church we had missionaries that were home for a couple weeks from their creative access country. he got to share during the service and i was so blessed. he shared about what him and his wife were doing and how they were reaching the lost. it def. brought me back to my Africa days - unashamed and so bold for the fact that people need to hear the gospel. his message was from Acts 28:1-10 and i was very challenged by it and wanted to share some of my sermon thoughts with you:)

if you have a bible it might be helpful to turn to Acts 28 and read the passage for yourself first.

basically to summarize Paul is on a ship with 276 people (Acts 27:37) and Paul is a prisoner because he is preaching the word of God. the ship got stuck and was becoming shipwrecked (vs 41) so the plan was to kill Paul and the others (Acts 27:42) but a centurion who wanted Paul to survive told them to jump off the ship and all of them [crazy!] ended up being alive when they came to this island called Malta.

so Paul is shipwrecked and now freezing cold on a island where he has never been before after fleeing from people who wanted to kill him… oh and he is still a prisoner? does that sound like the christian life you've been told about? lets continue…

Paul instead of just lying down and crying [i think that would be my first reaction that i'm alive] helps make a fire with the native people and is super helpful.  (Acts 28:1-3)

then out of nowhere a viper/snake comes out of the fire and bites Paul. the natives know the snake is deadly so they are watching/waiting for Paul to die  (vs 6) yet Paul casually just throws the snake into the fire and suffers no harm. 
just a bit of humour because i like taylor swift 
the people of Malta first thought Paul was a murderer [karma mentality - what goes around comes around] but after the Lord miracleously  didn't let the snake kill him they preceded he was a god. (vs 6)

now this text doesn't end there. what happens next is just blows my mind of the calling and purpose Paul has on his life to preach the word. 

Publius' [leading man of the island] father became very sick and Paul got to see Publius father, lay hands on him and heal him. then (vs 10) "the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured." how incredible is that.

after this they set sail again and the people of Malta provided all what they needed. (vs 10)

so whats were some of my takeaways?

PAUL! Seriously! You were going to be killed, were shipwrecked, arrived on this random island, got bitten by a deadly snake & then was able to heal and pray for the all the sick people of malta before leaving for Rome. 

reading the text it is easy to see that how God was using the plan to kill Paul to make him shipwreck and being shipwrecked God brought him to the island. the  native people probably wouldn't have allowed Paul to pray and heal the people if the snake hadn't bitten him and the Lord didn't preform a miracle. all of these awful things that happened to Paul brought him to a place where he could be used so greatly on the island of Malta. 

personally, if i knew someone was trying to kill me as a prisoner i would be freaking out. then to just jump out of a ship with a wood plank and try to survive would test my faith….and i could go through the list of how i would probably fail miserably if i was put into this historical account.

another thing that amazes me in this text is that Paul never complained, he didn't question God or his sovereignty…instead vs 2-3 tells  us that he was helpful in building fires with the malta people. 

God had Paul at Malta for a reason and Paul knew to trust God in that reason. maybe you are in a "Malta" [somewhere you didn't plan on being] but do not for one second believe that God doesn't have a purpose and plan for your life in Malta. God wants to use us for his Kingdom wherever we are even if it seems like we are in the total wrong place. Paul was headed to Rome, not Malta but God used Paul greatly because of his obedience.

Are you in a Malta place? If so do you have the calling, purpose and faith Paul had when being shipwrecked? & then what challenges me even more, are you ready and in the right head space to seek out opportunities to witness and serve God in Malta? that's such a hard one for me. i think i'm far enough in my walk that even if i am shipwrecked i wouldn't disown God… but i think i would be ineffective, crying and moping around. Paul didn't. he remember his purpose on being alive. to preach the word. thats big for me. i need to preach the word when i am in a comfortable place and when i am in Malta.

i love God's word and how it encourages and challenges my faith so much. 

if you need prayer for anything or are stuck in 'Malta' i would love to connect with you. madeline_hockley@hotmail.com








6.25.2015

JUNE: CURRENTLY


one of my favourite blogs, that i faithfully read everyday is enjoy it by Elise Cripe. a feature i totally adore is every month she writes a "currently" post. just with updates on her life.
because i view this blog as my online journal i thought it would be neat to look back at these currently posts and see how life has changed and how i've grown. so here's my take on it! thanks Elise for the idea:)


eating fresh and local strawberries and loving life

being trained to be a home group leader for the fall when they launch at Emmanuel. getting so excited about this.

wrapping up our last ministry team in year one of this church job. we are now in summer term and continuing with student ministries throughout the summer. it is crazy to think that once this term is over mark and i will be celebrating year one working for Emmanuel Church.

listening to Jack Hibbs and learning a lot about bible prophecy and the confidence it gives a believer to know that the bible is chalk full of prophecies and seeing them come through.

gaining a bit more knowledge of Revelation studying it at Emmanuel this year and watching this this sermon

loving what Levi & Jennie Lusko are doing through the o2 experience  in Montana. i appreciate the way they talk so openly about life, death, sex and relationships. i really want one day for mark and i to run a free conference like this to worship with people and talk about sex and God's heart for purity. it doesn't get talked about enough.

thankful for my girls nights with my friends. these are honestly what keep my sane and get me through normal fifty hour work weeks.

i want to remember June as a month of opportunity. God has given me opportunities to share His love and gospel with homeless people, sick people, students from rough backgrounds and complete strangers God has so specifically placed in my midst as i continue to learn to be bold for His gospel. thank you Jesus for this growth. keep me humble and give me more chances to share.

my sweet husband who always has the house clean when i get home from my serving shift on saturdays. i am so thankful for mark [but i will probably say that every month - not just june :)]

june has flown by and i am so excited for this summer weather to continue.

lots of love
mads




6.15.2015

Lecrae + VCB



on our way to see Lecrae


at the end of april for Mark's 25th we went to see Lecrae in Toronto. Lecrae is a Christian rapper who is super legit. he's won 2 grammy's and is pretty famous touring around North America and Europe.


at the beginning of June we travelled to Oakville for a worship night lead by Vertical Church Band from Chicago. VCB is in my top 3 favourite bands and their lead singer Meredith Andrews i have adored for years. the band launched from Harvest Church (one of marks and my fav mega churches) so we were stoked that they were touring in Ontario.

i have been reflecting on both concerts lately and just been so encouraged with THE CHURCH. not specific churches or denominations but God's church, all his children working together in the body.



it has encouraged my faith so much just worshipping with other believers from different backgrounds, denominations, cities and walks of life. sometimes in small town Elmira i can narrow minded and have the head knowledge of the greater church but forget how that practically plays out.


attending these concerts has given me such a renewed passion and appreciation for the greater church and just really has encouraged me that i am not alone and there are millions of other believers working towards to same goal

at Lecrae i was so thankful that all these young men had an actual role model. Lecrae took every opportunity to share the gospel and give all the glory to God. he was honest and raw about his brokenness and sin but showed himself as an example of what God can do with a willing and humble heart. i was so thankful for men like Lecrae and thankful my husband has such an incredible role model. Lecrae is def. a light for Jesus in the rap world.


at vertical church band we sat behind a young family with three children. the oldest daughter looked to be about grade 5 and just was worshipping God with her siblings and parents and really meaning it. then a few rows over there was an elderly couple praising Jesus together hands in the air. as i looked around i was so thankful that even though i had no idea who any of these people were, we were family. they are my brothers and sisters in Christ and we have the mission and purpose to advance the gospel. i can't put into words how much that night encouraged me in my faith.

i love worshipping God through songs. even though i can't sing to save my life i love just taking time out of my week and worshipping the God who deserves all my praise and adoration.

now i just need to fly overseas and attend another worship event with people from a different country to continue my appreciation of the greater body of Christ! if only...


happiest of mondays
hope this week will be amazing for you.
mads.


6.08.2015

three years later



i never cry. i feel deeply, am super emotional and sensitive [yes]... but i don't really show emotion through tears

except

when i think of my children in South Africa
photos that were sent in my letter. Aphiwe gr 4 
photos that were sent in my letter. Her mother and Aphiwe

oh my heart.

i received a letter in the mail this past week from Aphiwe. one of my sweet wonderful children that i had the honour of serving and living with for an entire year. 

even typing this blog post tears are streaming down my face and i promise.. crying is not my thing. [not saying crying is bad in any way]

i miss her so much. i miss them so much.
june 2012


2011-2012 changed my life forever. i realized Gods love in such a tangible way personally and got to learn to love over twenty children with a glimpse of Gods love.

i can't believe its been three years. its crazy how fast time goes. but trust me getting a letter from my babe is beyond precious and puts me right back.

Feb 2012 - she always would wear my purse in hopes that I wouldn't leave for the weekend

October 2011- she has such a personality!

i am so thankful she is doing great. i remember everything; praying with her, wiping her tears, having sleepovers, teaching english, tickling her back and of course dancing!

Aphiwe is one of the few children that lived at the boarding house that has a parent. one of the hard things being an "aunty" to these children is that there is no way to contact them. i knew this while living in South Africa that communication would be tough when i left due to the fact that many were orphaned and lived in slum like conditions. but there are a few children still living at the boarding home and Aphiwes mom was so gracious to write me a letter.
October 2011- this is her face. always. i adore it
October 2011 - crazy times.

God, thank you for the opportunity you gave me to be a mother to your beautiful children. thank you for using South Africa as a catalyst to spur this deep love i have for people. wherever my kids are tonight God, remind them of your love. thank you for technology. for the chance to now text Aphiwe and her mother. thank you for sweet letters that remind me of how caring of a God you are.

thank you for using a nineteen year old insecure Canadian girl to impact Aphiwes life. Lord, you know she changed me more than i could have ever impacted her through you. thank you you see this whole world and South Africa isn't far away to you.


Aphiwe, i love you so deeply and i was an honour living with you for a year. i can't believe its been three years and you are now in grade four.

i miss you. 





6.04.2015

What is an Evangelical Christian?


christian. that word can have such a bad taste in people's mouths. people think of something when i tell them i am an evangelical christian. i normally say "Christ follower" to just mix it up a bit in hopes that they don't think of the stereotypical version.

recently, i have heard speakers call themselves Evangelical Christians who just aren't. in talking with people about this i realized i didn't really know a definition of an "Evangelical."

i was sent this and it is online - aka this is not my definition. here are the four founding points.

4 Points of Classic Evangelicalism

1) The Inerrant Word (Whole Counsel of God) as: 1) Authoritative , 2) Sufficient, 3) Effective

2) The Cross: Christ's finished work on the cross- substitutionary atonement through His shed blood for remission of sins

3) Life- Transformation: by grace through faith: 1) Repentance, 2) Justification, 3) Sanctification, 4) Eventual Glorification

4) Great Commandment & Great Commission:  1) Love for God 2) Love for Others 3) Actively and Intentionally Making Disciples

however many people do not believe these four points anymore even though they are calling themselves Evangelicals. this frustrates me so much. i would much rather prefer for people to just be honest and say what they believe.

here is the definition - 8 main points of what progressivism is. this is where some mainstream "Christians" are landing. they don't even believe the bible anymore? Yes, Shane Claiborne you are one of these people. see point one of being an evangelical. Claiborne doesn't even believe the entire bible anymore. Jesus spoke more than the red letters Shane.

i want to stop my frustrations/hurt/anger towards this (ahha maybe along full length blog post?) and just give you the 8 points that progressives came up with and what they believe. i want, for yourself to see the massive contrast to what an evangelical believes in.
remember this what they came up with. not evangelicals. here is their "mission statement"



8 Points of Progressivism 


1.  Following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred. The Sacred is an acceptance of multiple understandings of the concept of "God", including God as Nature, as the Universe, as a shared psychological construct, and/or as community.


2.  Teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey. the Bible is viewed as a record of historical human spiritual experiences and ideas rather than of historical or literal facts with intended absolutes--Modern "Biblical Criticism"

3.  Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people that includes Christians, skeptics, atheists, men, women, Lesbian,Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender. Understanding of communion as a symbol of the church community as the body of Christ.


4.  Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe (actions over words).


5.  Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes.


6.  Strive for peace and justice among all people.


7.  Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth.


8.  Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.


what do you believe? 

i found it helpful to just know these definitions. it equips us when talking to people and is so helpful in my own understanding of why non-christians have such a sour taste when dealing with "christians." i have a sour taste of a "progressive Christian"


6.02.2015

this fitness story

so i had this prayer after listening to a bunch of sermons on making room for God to work.

the summary notes of these sermons was that we pray for God to give us opportunities to make disciples and do crazy things for Him, yet we plan our days and weeks and leave zero time for the Spirit to move. God could be giving me these opportunities but i've already filled my day with everything "i need to do" and are leaving little time.

i def took this to heart. i'm in a season where i am doing a lot of "good things for the Kingdom" but i started praying for something totally new and crazy. i wrote in my journal that i was going to try and open an evening for God to do something different and big. i prayed and waited. and waited. and questioned if i needed more time or more space.

then we had a conversation at my staff meeting. i thought about it afterward but thought that it couldn't work. then, some aspects of my fitness workouts were changing and then my staff meeting conversation ran through my mind again. then i re read my journal and it was like the Spirit was saying - i am answering your prayer - let's go maddie.

gulp. lead a fitness class. no way. not me. i love working out and i love to dance but i adored my fitness schedule already and didn't want to do this. then i remember my heart and prayer when i told God i wanted to clear a night for some crazy opportunity. this was as crazy as i could think of. i laughed and thought OK Lord.

so i decided mid february to launch a free dance fitness class at Emmanuel (my home church, where i work). since i am not qualified i didn't charge and learnt the dance moves via youtube videos and created a playlist. i prayed that God would bless this and even if no one showed up at least i got a workout!

yet i was pretty scared. could i even lead a class? what if no one showed up? what if i failed? yes, thats my fear. failing. i hate failing. yet i wanted to have faith that God would do something so i took the step.

i had a waiver so people wouldn't sue me if they got hurt and for them to know i have zero experience in this but that i thought this is what God was calling me to do and i wanted to be faithful to Him.

i stopped the class now that summer months are here and there is no air conditioning in the church and i went to file my fitness class materials away for these summer months. i stopped and realized the binder was pretty full. i counted those waivers. fifty three. my heart stopped. thank you Jesus. i got to workout with fifty three beautiful ladies over the course of a couple months. we got to praise the Lord while working out together.

my heart is so full and thankful. this is God. all God. He did this. He answered my prayer. and used someone who is so unqualified  to run this fitness class and i am thankful.

i have every intention of continuing in the fall because thats how i prefer to workout and am so excited to see where God will continue to take this. 

we really don't know what God will do when we are available for Him to use us. and like this fitness story i didn't realize the impact till i decided to file that binder. it was a reminder for me to become more aware of what God is constantly doing around us and thank Him more often.

people always say "be careful what you pray for" but i challenge you to be bold - ask God to completely stretch you and take you deeper than you've been before… those are the times where we grow the most. when we are terrified and we have to 100% trust God.

every time I ask God to take me deeper He is beyond faithful to answer. He wants to mould and shape His children into His likeness. i just need to have the time in my schedule.

are you a planner like myself? are your days so full its hard for the Spirit to freely move?

are you feeling spiritually stuck? maybe its time to be bold and be willing to do something so out of your comfort zone for the Lord.

walking this narrow road with you and cheering you on as we ask the Lord to do great things for His glory alone.

xo
mads.

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