Praying for disciple-makers

“Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men” ~Matthew 4:19

Back on the 31st March in a small hall on the Strand road I witnessed a beautiful sight as various generations joined in unity to pray for young disciple makers. When I say young disciple-makers do not misinterpret this as a group of “elite christians” or only people with certain giftings, if you love Jesus you can and are called to be a disciple maker. Dont believe me? Jesus addressed the verse above to working class fishermen who were likely illiterate, yet He used them significantly for the Kingdom (He can use you in the same way!)

We used the verse above as our stimulus and encouraged groups to write a prayer on a fish and hook it onto the net. By the end of the night that net was full of fish shaped prayers. This wasnt just a pretty prayer station, but a symbol of what can happen when we pray expectantly. As we pray for bold hearts to share the good news of Jesus, the net becomes fuller as more hearts are touched as they encounter Jesus. Does that not just excite you to your very core?

This station was a reminder not only to pray for those who don’t know Jesus but also for more to actively share His truths, for more people to become a “living sacrifice” letting God use them however he wishes. Jesus reminds us of just how crucial this is in Matthew 9:37 as He shares, “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

The command is simple, “Come, follow me”, yet the action can be such a challenge. We are aware there are consequences of being His disciples but the cost is SO worth it. As we walk with God secure in our missional purpose we become increasingly aware of how awesome, how powerful, how all-consuming the love of our Heavenly Father is.

To finish this glimpse into the heart of this prayer station I want to leave my own prayer for myself and disciple-makers world wide;

Dear Father,

You are all and more than we could ever imagine, help us to be so in love with you that we can’t help but share you. We are aware it’s not always easy to follow you, that rejection is a possibility, but help us to rest in your strength knowing that you are always worth it. Lord break our hearts for the things that break yours, make the brokenness impossible to ignore as we step into our calling to make disciples, to spread your light and love.

Amen

love always, Rachel xoxo

Get Out of the Zone 

‘A ship at harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are for.’ This year I told myself I’d step out of my comfort zone…Not realising how far I’d be out of it. Writing is not something I feel confident doing but I know God has given me this opportunity and I should grasp it with both hands. #shipquote 

The Nehemiah night was something I had planned to go to but when I arrived I was asked to take a station.

At the station I manned there were 4 journals which the girls of SSL had written. They addressed 4 major themes: Integrity, stress, the future and friends in school.

Every person there could relate to each account because we’ve all experienced these feelings/situations at some point in our lives. 

Some people chose to pray out loud while others reflected quietly into themselves. The presence of God in the hall was undeniable.

It was really amazing hearing people pray for what God had highlighted through the diaries. But these are the main things that stood out to me from that night.

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. The person who wrote this diary entry described how they find this a challenge. It is scary, but what I took from it was that we shouldn’t be. To allow God to shine through us and for us to glorify Him we need to be honest. Not just with the people around us but also with ourselves. In Proverbs 10:9 it says ‘Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.’

Stress has been something I’ve suffered with for a couple of years (without even realising it) so this diary entry really struck a cord with me. Exams were just around the corner and they were the only thing my mind was focused on. It’s so easy to become so consumed by it all. I acted like everything was fine because that’s what I felt was expected from me. I should be able to handle the pressure. Matthew 6:34 was referenced by the person who wrote it, ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ I always thought I could cope on my own. But the truth is that I can’t. I need God… we all do. He provides us with the strength to keeping battling. 

The cause of majority of my stress and probably most of the world’s worry is the future. The uncertainty of what is going to happen in our lives is daunting but also exciting. From a young age I’ve always felt a calling to pursue a career in veterinary. However I have friends and family who have no idea what they want to do in the future. Going through school having numerous careers conventions and work experience days I can appreciate how many people get confused and stressed about what to do. The pressure of picking the ‘right path’ is immense. I know it’s cliche but do what you love and trust that God will use you in wonderful ways no matter where you end up. God has a plan for us all so who are we to question it? 

Having a great group of friends who accept me for who and what I believe is something I’ve been blessed with. When reading this entry I was reminded of how its difficult to be a good witness. It’s so easy to go with the flow and to say nothing when something has been said that goes against what you think. She wrote about situations many people fail to acknowledge. It was amazing that some just said it. 

Therefore what should we do when we face these life hurdles? Pray. 

The power of prayer has overcome enemies, conquered death, brought healing, and defeated demons. God answers prayers that are in agreement with His will. The answers may not always be yes, but are always in our best interest.

If you take anything away from my post know that praying consistently will allow you to grow and develop your relationship with God. Ask and listen for his voice. Even since this event prayers have been answered so… keep praying!!!! 

All my love, Esther x

Posted in him

Shame // Renamed

As Shannon said last week, we had the absolute pleasure to partner with IJM and Exodus NW in hosting a Nehemiah Night with 4 stations in March.

“Nehemiah never acted without praying, and
never prayed without acting”

The station I had the pleasure of leading was Shame Renamed. The purpose of this station was to pray for young people and the things that make them feel shame. To illustrate this station we used the imagery of having negative words wrote on rice paper and by dropping them into water, the word would disappear. For example, some of the words were unloved, hurt, ugly, worthless etc. All negative, heart wrenching words, but all real thoughts and feelings of young people. The words disappearing portrayed the accepting of the word, but also the acceptance that god has for it and that he covers you, he doesn’t see that negative word you think about yourself. He covers you with hope. 
During this prayer night, a word that kept popping into my mind was hopeless. I feel that god wanted this word to be prayed over so boldly and so deeply that anyone who felt this would know the the hope that god provides. In a city that knows the effects of this word so deeply, I’m so glad that we got to pray over these feelings and negative thoughts that so many young people feel. These words opened up such honest conversations between each group and I love that we were able to address these words in such a comfortable way and involving way.

It was so encouraging to hear the prayers of others for these words and I think everyone in each group was moved by the words each person had prayed. I think the station allowed a lot of people to take a small step out of their comfort zones and allowed themselves to listen to god and what he wanted to say through them for this word including myself.

I’m reading a book at the minute and the quote by mother Teresa “not all of us can do great things. But we can all do things with great love” really struck me. This night wasn’t about doing great things, or about changing the world but my doing these things with great love. By praying over these words with great passion. But by having such a massive passion, being world changers and doing great things but with great love. 

Even if you are covered in hopelessness, in hate, in worthlessness, in shame and in any other words that make you feel not good enough and not loved enough. There is always someone who is praying over you and praying that you would feel the love that god wants you to experience. Jesus welcomes everyone to the table. He welcomes you fully whether you are full of shame or full of love. 

All the love, Katelyn x 

I am Holy 

 A couple of months ago we got the privilege to partner with IJM and Exodus (check them out! – they are both transforming the landscape of what it looks like to humbly live with the heart of God). We got to deliver a prayer night for young people here and abroad. We got the joy of partnering with a God who loves to hear our voice. He loves to hear our hearts cry. 

The station I had the privilege of leading was all about understanding that God loves us so much as who we are. And we have the joy of honouring our bodies and lives to honour Him. 

It was a month later I got the privilege of understanding what this truly meant to me. Here’s my story of how that night impacted my story.  

We can’t add to His blood. His blood is enough. Simple really but in practice oh how complicated my heart and mind makes it. At the very start of summer I met up with one of my best friends from school. She told me that when describing me the other girl in our trio gad described me as holy. 

I’d love to say my into reaction was incredible. That I was chuffed. I wasn’t. I didn’t understand. You see I took holy as religious. Which was probably how it was intended. But God in that sweet moment was trying to whisper something into my heart that I had been ‘too busy’ to listen. 

He was telling me that I was His. That I was holy, cleansed and loved. He was reminding me that the prayer that my heart prays to be of total service to Him was awnsered. He was letting me know that my heart was wholly devoured to Him at that moment. He was telling me I was anointed for service. 

And I in that moment rejected the very thing I had wanted to hear Him say. But God in all His grace and beauty told me anyway. He then had the patience to let me figure out exactly what He wanted me to know. 

I thank God because He uses people from all walks of life to interject in your story. For I was going down a path it thinking I was unworthy for use, without purpose. And that is the greatest lie I could have ever been telling myself. 

So with that I tell you – you have something to bring to the table. You are made worthy through His name. Sometimes all you need is a backwards compliment. 

All my love, Shannon x

Donegal Adventure 

It’s been way too long since I have just sat down at my laptop and just typed. Not thinking about being theologically, grammatically or socially right. On Saturday we went on an adventure. Like a proper one. It’s been WAY to long since we have got in the car and drove. Not worrying about the cost of petrol or the time limit for each of us. Today I’m going to share our little adventure. Hope you enjoy! 

We drove to kilmacrennan which is somewhere past letterkenny – don’t ask me, my navigation ability can only take me as far as the fridge. The husband and wife duo of this tea house made us so welcome! 

I’m still having dreams about that granola – no joke. That’s also homemade yogurt. Which is sort of weird but also super cool. 

The place is so cute. Match it with a sunny Irish day & you honestly can’t beat it. I also hear their waffles are to die for. It’s the perfect place for anyone who enjoys a good specialty coffee but who doesn’t enjoy the price! 

We arrived later that day at Ards Friary because obviously when you see a sign for a monastery you have to go! 

If I’m totally honest me & Joel rarely read the Bible together. I know that’s not the greatest thing to say. The truth is we often talk over what we are learning and reading but after a long day we struggle to open and read more. It was so lovely to have no time limit and also to be able to read the Bible with someone who thinks so diffrently from me! 

We finished our day at Marble Hill with some lunch in dunfanaghy and then a drive a long Horns Head. That place truly gives you perspective on how small you really are & how beautiful creation truly is!  If your in the area and dying for another pick me up the shack is the perfect place. Right on the beach it offers coffee & ice cream. What could be better?? 

I understand that so many of you are still doing exams. But make sure to take a break with the ones you love. Send someone a text today. Even if you don’t feel like it – choose to be present over perfect ALWAYS. 

Love Always. 

Shannon xo

Living a life with Honour.  

-I want to live a life of Honour.-

I’m thankful that I have the ability to honour god whilst in school, and no matter how many times I dishonour him I am still wholly loved by him and wholly forgiven. 

Even mentioning the word school when most of us are done or nearly done is probably the worst thing I could do and I’m sorry, I really am. BUT anyway… school is such a crappy place to be, I really dislike school, I know lots of people actually really like it but I don’t- just my opinion. I think being in school as a Christian is really hard, especially when you don’t have any Christian friends in school. I have a few, but they have their own friends and so do I and that’s okay, and I’m grateful for the friends o have in school that aren’t Christians and also thankful for the friends that are. 

A typical story of being one of the only Christians in school is getting bullied or being left out or just having no other friends, that does happen and it’s so sad. But I have never got picked on due to my faith, I have never got picked on in school because so go to church, I have never had anything said to me because I was reading a book with “god” In the title in the middle of the corridor. I have actually never received any type of discrimination in school because of being a Christian, and I love that. But I think the hardest thing about being a Christian whilst still in school is getting to honour him fully. I often fall into the trap of gossiping and listening in on rumours and talking about others behind their back whilst in school. I often find myself slipping up and swearing the odd time and sometimes maybe making a joke about someone. I think being surrounded by your peers who are living ‘normal’ live and doing what most teenagers are doing kind of gets to you as a teenager who maybe doesn’t drink, who doesn’t want to go out every weekend, who maybe doesn’t want to have sex before marriage. It makes you feel like you’re missing out almost and some would say not living life to the full. 

I want to live a life that I enjoyed. A life where I didn’t regret something I done. A life where I didn’t cry straight after I done something I shouldn’t have or didn’t want to do. I want to live a life where I honour god fully and as much as I humanly can. I want to honour him with my words, my actions, my body and my whole life. If that means not getting drunk, not having sex before marriage, not swearing, not gossiping intentionally about others I’m okay with that. I KNOW that some Christians have different views on all of this and that’s also okay, but honouring my beliefs as I honour yours is amazing and I’m grateful for those people. 

I’m grateful that my friends in school respect my decision not to get drunk or even really drink at all, but also grateful that they still incite me out if they are, I’m grateful that they don’t really talk about things I don’t want to hear or don’t want to be involved in and I honour them for that. I’m so grateful that god has placed such a variety of people in my life, whether they be Christians, atheists, agnostic, Muslim or Jewish etc. And I’m grateful that they are all respectful. 

I’m honoured that when my friends ask me questions about god, I am able to answer them with knowledge, and if I’m not abme to answer the there and then, I can always open my bible and find something on it , or even ask friends who have been Christians longer and who do have more wisdom. I’m thankful that I have the ability to honour god whilst in school, and no matter how many times I dishonour him I am still wholly loved by him and wholly forgiven. I am honoured that our god is a forgiving god and a graceful god and an abundantly loving god. 

Forever grateful that I can honour god by loving him so much that I can  share him and meet people who will only ever experience the love of Jesus through me. 

As our theme of honour comes to an end and as we prepare for our VERY FIRST event, this week, I challenge you to honour god, honour yourself, honour your body and do everything you can to fully understand that honouring him is the greatest thing you can do to pay him back for what he’s done for you.

p.s I’m sorry that “school” is mentioned approximately 14 times in the post, I really don’t want to make your life miserable, it was just necessary.

Love you all with so much love. 

Katelyn X 

Ethical Beauty: why should you go cruelty free?

What does ‘cruelty free’ mean?

A cruelty free makeup brand is a brand that does not test their ingredients or the products themselves on animals. (the fact this is still allowed is so surprising to me!). One of the main reasons why a brand would choose to test on animals is if they are in business with China as it is mandatory that the products are tested on animals there or because in some cases it is cheaper and will make the brand more money!

How do you know if a brand is ‘cruelty free’?

Most of the time it is very easy to find out whether a brand is cruelty free as they will be listed by a program called leaping bunny which work along side companies to help consumers like us find trustworthy cruelty free and animal-friendly makeup brands. You can find their logo on the back of some makeup brands like Lime Crime. They also have an app for Android and Apple that has a list of brands that are cruelty free which is easy to use.

Another way to find cruelty free brands is through a simple Google search, simply search the makeup brand, go on their website, once your there you can find their terms which usually states whether or not they are cruelty free. If you are still struggling, then you can always contact the brand through their customer service options to find out.

Top Animal-Friendly brands-

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills
  • BH Cosmetics
  • Becca
  • Bareminerals
  • By Terry
  • Barry M
  • The Body Shop
  • Charlotte Tilbury
  • Cover Fx
  • Colourpop
  • Collection Cosmetics
  • Dose of Colors
  • Elf
  • Freedom
  • Gosh
  • Hourglass
  • Illamasqua
  • It Cosmetics
  • Jeffree Star Cosmetics
  • Kat Von D
  • Lime Crime
  • Milani
  • MUA
  • Makeup Geek
  • Morphe
  • Nars
  • NYX Cosmetics
  • Ofra Cosmetics
  • OCC
  • Pixi
  • Sugarpill
  • Sleek
  • Seventeen
  • Soap and Glory
  • The Balm Cosmetics
  • Too Faced
  • Tarte
  • Urban Decay
  • W7
  • Zoeva

These are just a few of a wide range of brand options if you want to shop cruelty free makeup! You can find these brands on Cult Beauty,  Beautybay, Superdrug,  Boots and Debenhams.

What to do with your non- cruelty free makeup

When researching this topic, I actually decided to make the change and go cruelty free! I think it’s such an important topic so here is the current petition that The Body Shop is currently supporting which is against testing on animals:

https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-gb/commitment/against-animal-testing

I encourage you to sign this petition to help make all makeup cruelty free!

If you decide to go cruelty free and you realise that some of the makeup you own does test on animals, then here’s a few alternatives to just throwing it away and as a result wasting it.

Some brands that aren’t YET cruelty free include; Revlon, L’Oréal, MAC, Bourjois, Clinique, Avon, Rimmel, Max Factor, Benefit, Maybelline, Estee Lauder and many more!

You could;

  1. Give the makeup to a woman’s centre/ charity ( especially if it is new or suitable for someone else to use).
  2. Give it to your mum/sister/auntie or any friends or family member that might use it.

*extra note*

If you will be attending our very first event (yay) called Honour, I will be doing a simple summer makeup tutorial using ALL animal-friendly makeup products! See you there, Lauren xx