by Laurie-Ann Copple
We shared a special commissioning time and teaching about honour with our Avian Park girl teens. It was also Chrizelle's birthday, although we didn't know, otherwise we could have made birthday cake in advance. I shared this talk, we had a Bible study on 2 Cor 5: 11 & 15-21). And then as Tony led prayer for each girl, and we all joined in with that prayer, I had prophetic words for each of the leaders (but not the guests). The guests were given a blessing prayer instead. Before we started, we sang "Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord," and I shared of an impression I was given of Jesus placing princess crowns on their heads as we were commissioning them. So Jesus was right here with us.
Here's my talk:
I’ve been praying for you girls for months now. We need to have a special time where we pray over you and commission you. It’s like Jesus has taken you from the ordinary people and set you apart to be his girls.
One thing first though – God loves all people, but he chooses to work with those who say yes. You have said yes and have heard the call of Jesus. Jesus says “Come Follow Me!” Jesus said this to me and I became a short-term missionary that went to countries like Kenya, Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland, Pakistan and Mozambique. Then he called Tony and me here into South Africa. He gave us dreams, visions and words. So I want us to pray over you all later. This is a very special holy time.
Now I know that you aren’t perfect and neither are we. God takes us as we are. But we need to remember to ask Jesus to keep cleansing us from sin we do, and our old ways. Jesus is loving but he is also holy. So we need to keep our hearts soft to him, so he can take out the things that aren’t him. This is a good thing.
So we represent Jesus to those who do not know him. We do this with grownups, children, people in prison, people in the hospice and even here where we live. So when we are with them, sometimes we need to remember “What Would Jesus Do?” (Tony show his bracelet).
We represent Jesus like we are his ambassadors. 2 Corinthians 5 talks about us becoming ambassadors for Jesus, like a diplomat is when they speak for their country. An ambassador speaks for and represents their country. Tony and I are like ambassadors for Canada here in this village. You can tell that when you come into our home by seeing the Canadian flag on the front window. To be an ambassador is a GREAT HONOUR. You represent Avian Park when you’re in other parts of Worcester. But even more, you represent JESUS.
BIBLE STUDY (where the girls shared what they believed those verses meant)
Here’s some good Bible verses about being ambassadors for Jesus. Let’s read 2 Corinthians 5: 11,and 15-21. How about we take turns to read the verses?
11 We know what it means to fear the Lord. So we try to help people accept the truth. God knows what we really are. And I hope that in your hearts you know, too.
15 Christ died for all so that those who live would not continue to live for themselves. He died for them and was raised from death so that they would live for him.
16 From this time on we do not think of anyone as the world does. It is true that in the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks. But we no longer think of him in that way.
17 If anyone belongs to Christ, then he is made new. The old things have gone; everything is made new!
18 All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between us and himself. And God gave us the work of bringing everyone into peace with him.
19 I mean that God was in Christ, making peace between the world and himself. In Christ, God did not hold the world guilty of its sins. And he gave us this message of peace.
20 So we have been sent to speak for Christ. It is as if God is calling to you through us. We speak for Christ when we beg you to be at peace with God.
21 Christ had no sin. But God made him become sin. God did this for us so that in Christ we could become right with God.
Laurie-Ann again: So we also are made new, and Jesus continues to make us new. You don’t have to be perfect to let Jesus make you a leader, but you have to keep close to him. Pray as you start your day, and definitely pray before you go out to your Bible studies with Mailbox club. The Holy Spirit will help you.
So before we go into ministry time with you, let’s learn about honour. We need to learn how to give it in all you do.
To honour something is to see it has great value. Like say, my wedding ring. It’s special – not just because it’s gold, but because it’s a symbol of my marriage to Tony. So I need to treat it with honour and respect. I need to treat Tony with honour too. There’s only one Tony. God sees each of us as very, very special. When he looks at us, especially when we’ve accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour, he sees Jesus in us. God honours us by making us better.
When we have honour in our lives, God blesses us. He makes us honourable. That means we are full of honour, truth, and we mean what we say. It means that we treat people like they are very special. That’s part of what honour means. It starts with honouring God.
We honour God more than anything and anyone. He made us. He loves us. He is worthy of all our love and worship. He loves to give us good gifts, every day, just because. Some of us don’t even see all the good gifts, from good friends, good weather, some loving family and so on. Even if our life is hard, he always has good for us. (I’ve been sick this week, but I’ve been given a really good and kind doctor, right here in Worcester. I’m thankful and I honour Father God for giving me a doctor that I love).
We honour our parents. It says in Exodus 20 to honour your parents. It’s the first commandment with a promise. When you honour your mother and father, “you will live a long and full life in the land.” God also says in Exodus 21 that “anyone who says cruel things to his father or mother must be put to death.” Thank God we have Jesus who takes away our sins. We can go to God and say sorry, and he’ll help us to honour our parents. When we honour our parents, and our spiritual parents, you make yourself ready to receive honour and blessing. It’s part of the Lord’s blessing. Part of that blessing is long life.
We honour our leaders in church and the community. We also honour our elders, or older people. They’re not perfect but they are there to help you. Pray for them. We honour our pastors and they bless us all the time. We honour older folks and learn from their stories. Often they are very wise. If you ask them to help you learn, they could say yes!
We honour those we minister with. For Tony and me, that means the kids in the kids clubs. It means the men we see in the prison, it means the kids we teach in our school. It means we honour the principal in the school we work in, and the other leaders we work with. Even if we don’t agree on everything, we honour them, and love each other. Always be nice.
And we honour and love you. You are in our prayers all the time – both as a group and each of you girls. We are proud of you. You’ve made some mistakes during your time here, but we’ve forgiven those. We want only the best for you.
But let’s give an example. You’re now going into other people’s homes to minister for Jesus. You are to honour the hosts of those homes. Even if it’s your own home – your mom, dad, tannie or ouma is there. Honour them. They are your host or hostess. Treat them with kindness.
Jesus always had his disciples go into people’s homes to minister to them. They would speak peace to the house they came into, and a blessing on the family. I was asked to do this when I went to Pakistan. Families would ask me to bless marriages, babies, homes and businesses. I was always full of wonder when they asked me to do this, but it was Jesus’ blessing, not just Laurie-Ann’s.
So when you go into other people’s homes for ministry, honour them. And if you’re with another girl together, honour each other. You are a team.
So Honour is something that is intentional. You honour someone on purpose. Jesus wants us to honour each other. The Apostle Paul asks us in Philippians 2:3 to honour and esteem each other. We need to remember that, especially if another person is having a hard time.
When we first came to Worcester, we looked for a place to live. I found this house online and we made an appointment with a rental agency. So we came for a visit with our rental agent. Right now, this house has a Canadian flag. It’s like you are in Canada when you come visit.
At that time, there was a family from South Korea here. In that culture, you have to take off your shoes as a sign of honour and respect to that family. If you don’t, you not only hurt the feelings of the family, but you may deeply offend them. So we honoured them and took off our shoes. They were kind and let us walk around the house, looking into rooms, although we didn’t go into their cupboards or drawers since they were private. In Canada, we understand that doing that is not good unless you are invited.
When you go into other homes, and even more into other cultures, honour becomes even more important. I made a mistake with a lady pastor from Japan. We were good friends until one day I brought over another friend and I forgot to take my shoes off. She was so upset that she never spoke to me again and I became very sad. I made a mistake by dishonouring her and her home. I will always remember that lesson.
In our home, we also ask that we be shown some honour, especially since we have honoured and loved you. Sometimes some of you have gone into our drawers or moved things. We understand that you have a different culture where a lot more is shared. We want to share some things, but not all things, since we need them. So here’s an example. My phones are now off limits – not because I don’t like your selfies. You can use your own phones and wifi while you are here.
But I allowed the use of first my regular phone and tablet and then my other phone until I found some things were broken or used wrongly. My tablet was taken across the street to the neighbours to take pictures of their motorcycle. We don’t even do that. That’s someone else’s house. That’s private. So, no more tablet.
I found that someone sent a Whatsapp message on my phone to Father’s House ministry board, and they thought it was Tony. The person said, “hey.” I had to explain about that, and I was advised to not let anyone use my phone.
Then last time, one of you used my phone and put their own Facebook account on my phone. That was bad enough – but by accident, I was locked out of my own account with a changed password. I was eventually able to fix it, but it wasn’t easy. My phone is my phone. It was one thing to take pictures, but this means no more phone. Now that girl, who we love and forgive, has to use her own phone now. It’s just part of the consequences. I wasn’t shown honour, but I forgive. Before I move on, I can say that I could have chosen to be angry and go into her Facebook account. When I went to radio school, when other students left their Facebook accounts open on a school computer, other students would make a joke and post nasty words coming from that person. I could have done the same with that girl’s account. I know the devil certainly whispered into my ear to do that. But I chose not to do that. On purpose I said, “No, I will not dishonour her, and I forgive her. Locking me out of my account was an accident. I choose to honour her and NOT write nasty things on her Facebook page.”
Sometimes honour looks like choosing mercy, forgiveness and not to dishonour someone. To dishonour is like a curse, if you see it God’s way. To honour someone is to give a blessing.
And in the best way, to give honour, is like to put a crown on someone’s head. So when someone gives you honour, it’s like they are putting an invisible princess crown on your head.
And we choose to do that with you. We love you, we are proud of you and we honour you. You are going to be amazing leaders in Mailbox Club. So we’re going to pray for you now.
After we shared, these are the core parts of the words I received for the girl leaders who were there (Chantelle and Bella were away).
Antonica - Will be known for her kindness. It's kindness that will lead people to God
Macayla - Will be known for her bravery like Queen Esther. God will use her spunkiness to reach people others may not reach.
Chrizelle - Will be known for gentleness and wisdom. She has been crying out to God to know about things - of the kingdom of God and generally. She has already known about the fear of the Lord being the beginning of wisdom, and is thirsty to know more.
Jamelia - Will be known for greater creativity. She will also be a big sister in the Lord to many younger children. Holy Spirit wants to bless her deeper in more creativity in writing, drawing and dancing.
Marsha - God wants to give her JOY despite any difficult circumstances, and more healing for her heart.
If you are reading this talk, please offer up a prayer for these girls.
Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple (usually Laurie-Ann)
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