Sweet, Sweet Water…and so much more.

I take for granted the fact that I am able to turn on the faucet and take a shower with clean water.

I take for granted that I’m able to fill up my water bottle as many times as I want to throughout the day and have good, clean drinking water.

I take for granted having a toilet that I can flush.

I take for granted having recreational swimming pools in our country.

Here is a screenshot that I took from Charity Water’s website, this is such an amazing organization with people leading it who have a heart for the Lord.

Not everyone in the world has the same access to water as we do in America. In fact, when I look at how much we waste water, it breaks my heart. I think so many times we see statistics and think, “oh, it’s just a number…”

No.

It’s a real human life. A human life that God created and loves because he made him or her in His own image.

It’s OUR job as Christ followers to meet the needs of the poor. God has really been working on my heart, or maybe it’s that I’m finally listening, and He’s been working all along…

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.
Isaiah 61:1-2a

This was the passage that we focused on during the Hillsong Conference this summer, and I know that’s not a coincidence.

My heart is continuing to break for the world, but in the most wonderful way. We must be the difference. It’s more than donating to an organization…it’s a true change of heart. Actions speak so much louder than words. We talked about this quote in my life group the other day, and it has been on my mind since:

“Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words” – St. Francis of Assisi

Yes, we preach the gospel with words, but living it out is key.

This is as much for me as it is anyone reading this.

Last Day of Hillsong Conference

I can’t believe the conference is over. It’s a bittersweet feeling…I’m so refreshed & inspired…God has His magnificent way of grabbing hold of my heart and softening it when it’s started to harden. As Nancy Beach so brilliantly puts it – “conferences are like drinking out of a fire hydrant.” There is so much to absorb and to process…which yes, I’m definitely still in the midst of processing. I’m so thankful for what God has done & is continuing to do in my heart.

Here are pictures from the last day of conference! I’m going to add a few more later on from the closing session, but here are some:

I wore my (well, Michelle’s) cowboy boots – thanks for letting me borrow them my sweet friend! I’ve seen 2 pairs of cowboy boots in the entire continent of Australia – mine being 1 of the 2 pairs. It’s a good conversation piece that’s for sure.

Michelle – Tim McGraw. Australia. In September. I had to take this for you.

Brain Houston

Bishop TD Jakes

This is Nancy Beach…she has been a woman that I look up to for several years now. She is on staff at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago & is involved in the Visual Arts. I contacted her back during November or so telling her that I was going to be attending this conference and I would love to meet up and get coffee with her if she would be available. After one of the sessions on Tuesday, I went up and introduced myself and she said – “Oh yes! Do you want to get coffee this week?” She’s such a gem. On the last day of conference, we got to go the a VIP lounge and meet with her for about 20-30 minutes. We just talked about ministry, the arts…basically life in general. I really do admire her and her passion for the Lord, her family, and the church. I’m very thankful that she took the time to visit with us!

Joel Houston – Brian & Bobbie’s son…He’s wonderful!

Darlene Zchech – she’s got such a sweet spirit!

Brian Houston and his son and son in law interviewed TD Jakes during one session…he’s hilarious.

 

The last part of the afternoon was the breakout that I went to…It was about Creative Leadership and it involved Joel Houston, Ed Young, & Joel A’Bell. Good stuff.

They dropped down this beautiful cross at the start of worship & it was right there center-stage for the entire worship set. That was so powerful, but even more so: at the last song before the message, all of the worship leaders turned and faced the cross. The entire arena was filled with thousands of people worshiping Jesus & what he did on the cross. I can’t even begin to describe the emotion that was felt across the room. I think this next picture beautifully shows it.

This picture above is one of my favorites from the night.

Bishop TD Jakes wrapped up the conference

Funny story. Casey & I wanted to be cheap for dinner, so we went to buy this at a convenient store…for 27 dollars. I know you can’t really tell either, but there were no smaller bowls…these bowls are HUGE. We couldn’t stop laughing, which apparently is a regular thing for us.

TIM TAMS! These are incredible wafer cookie things.

Best. Birthday. Ever.

Today goes down as the best birthday ever for me. Hillsong Conference-Sydney, Australia-worshiping with thousands of brothers & sisters in Christ.

I can’t even try to describe how God is stirring my heart…I’m still trying to process it all. All I know is that I’m so glad Casey and I are here..I believe it’s a divine appointment and a God-ordained moment & reason as to why we are here. I am praying that this entire week we are open to the word He has for both of us.

Hillsong team leading worship

Kari Jobe leading “Hosanna”

Pastor Brian Houston

Pastor Bobbie Houston

Pastor Judah Smith

Nancy Beach

They sang “Awakening” and had dancers during the song. Absolutely beautiful.

Cheers to the most memorable birthday ever.

I cant wait to see what God has planned for the next few days!

We’ve Arrived in Australia!

So, it’s been an adventure already! The 16 hour plane ride was much better than expected. I slept literally about 8 or 9 of those hours! Apparently I was more exhausted than I thought. We watched 2 movies – Dear John, & Valentines Day…and then I watched an episode of the Office. The plane was a 747 – it felt giant. It was a very easy flight, and the flight attendants were precious.

As soon as we got off the plane in Australia, the wheel on my luggage broke! Not just kind of broke, but SNAPPED OFF ENTIRELY:

So, I was the girl lugging a 54 pound suitcase through Sydney with one wheel. But, we got to our hotel, dropped off the luggage, and then went to China town where I found a new suitcase.

One thing we’ve noticed is that food here is much more expensive than the States. We had an omelet for breakfast at a local cafe, and it was $30 for the 2 of us. Thankfully, the hotel we are at has free breakfast for the remainder of the week! Also, the public transportation system is so easy to navigate. Everyone has been friendly, and if you hop on the wrong bus (which we’ve already managed to do – I’ll take the blame for that one!), they’re really nice about helping you find the right bus to be on. A few pictures from the day:

The prettiest clouds.

About to land in Sydney!!

Why hello Opera House!

And the Sydney Harbor Bridge – which is massive.

The delicious breakfast.

This bird is so colorful. There were several of them sitting right by us as we were eating at the cafe this morning & they were taking sugar packets from the waiter’s hands!

I’m pretty sure this is the same logo as Burger King…

They call diapers “nappies” – nappies sound so much cuter than diapers!

Yep. You saw right. $23.84 for Maybelline makeup. No thanks.

Well there you go, a quick update for you! We’re getting ready now and are going to Hillsong Church for the Saturday night service. I’m so excited! This time change is still weird thinking that I’m 15 hours ahead of all of my friends and family back home. Love you all! XOXO.

Woah.

Casey & I leave for Australia for the Hillsong Conference TOMORROW! I cannot even begin to describe how incredibly excited I am for this trip. I believe God has big things for both Casey & I. I am praying that we will both be changed forever after this experience. I would love if you would pray for both of us as we are on this trip. Here are some specific things to pray for:

  • that God reveals Himself to us in such a way that we will be forever changed after this conference & trip
  • safety – we’re going to be spending lots of hours on planes & buses
  • that we meet incredible people at the conference who share our passions
  • wisdom with travel
  • favor with everyone we come in contact with
  • peace for our families & friends while we are gone

I will be updating my blog throughout the course of our adventure and would love it if you would follow along this journey with us!

Dreams.

Hillsong Conference

So it’s always been a dream of mine to go to Australia  – more specifically Hillsong church. The other day I was looking at someone’s blog and saw the link to the Hillsong conference…I decided to go check it out and just SEE when it was and how much it may cost. I went to the website and my heart jumped with excitement. It is this summer…ON MY BIRTHDAY!! 🙂 It’s July 5-9…and my birthday is on the 6th! I looked into flights and stuff…and YA’LL – I think this is gonna happen! I have been praying about it and I really have been clinging to this verse:

Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

I feel like God has placed desires in my heart and placed opportunities in my life and I refuse to skip them and grow up and look back and regret not taking opportunities. Going to Australia is going to be a faith step. It costs a lot of money, but I know God will provide. If it means I have to eat cereal for a year, I’m going to do it. 🙂 I am asking you guys for prayer, as I make this decision to go to the conference. So many of my favorite people are going to be there! Nancy Beach, Andy Stanley, Nathan & Christy Nockels, Tim Hughes, annnnnnd the Hillsong team. It makes me so excited to even think about going. I’m praying! And I’d love for ya’ll to join me in prayer!