The net of Peter

These words from a song by Steve Camp are such a constant reminder of our life of faith. Keep struggling in the net….

I’ve done battle with the world today, and again she brought me down

The lady took my pride away, as she claimed her victor’s crown

I’m weak and oh so broken, and upon these words I’m choking

For I’m just another one struggling in the net of Peter

I grow so weary trying to run this race

Though my heart starts out sincerely, all too soon it is disgraced.

Some people place me on a pedestal, but the air is too thin up there you know

For you see I’m just another one struggling in the net of Peter, struggling in the net of peter

When you’re fighting to stay alive it’s easy to get burned, I need you as my constant defender

Be patient with your child, you know I’m slow to learn – that you’re constantly changing the heart of this pretender

As I pray for my protection from the evils of this day,

May You work on my affections, let it be burning me page by page

Oh bury its truth deep in my bones, Let your love remind me that I’m not my own.

That I’m just another one still struggling in the net of Peter, well I’m struggling in the net of Peter

You are my constant defender

With You on my side I’ll never surrender, no no

With You in my life I’ve got victory

With You in my heart there is hope for me

Decision Making or Strategic Response?

In our drive to be bigger, better and more recognised, we have relegated some words from their lofty heights to a level of ‘normal’. The words ‘strategy’ or ‘strategic’ are in this realm. Often when people make a single decision, someone congratulates them on being ‘strategic’…..errrr…hello? They made a decision, this does not necessarily mean that they are being strategic.

Strategy comes from a number of decisions that help you achieve your goal, it is rather like a game of chess. You have to make a whole host of decisions and you must respond continually to your opponents moves, just one wrong decision may cost you the game but the the strategy comes in the twists and turns of the game.

Making decisions does not make you a strategist but every strategist will make decisions.

Apology or conflict avoidance?

Avoiding conflict is not always a bad thing but there is always a battle between ‘making life easy’ and having those conversations that are necessary for an individual’s growth. 

If 2 people fall out, rather than seek to put right behaviour, we will seek to cover over the problem with a well worded apology that carries little meaning. We become satisfied with 2nd best and miss an opportunity for growth. 

If we avoid the behaviour change, we will just store up the problem for a later date. Getting it sorted early is more beneficial for everyone. It may involve an apology but any apology must be one from the heart that carries behaviour change and must never be used to prevent a deeper work of correction and improvement. 

Presentation Dilemma

One of the challenges of any presentation is the use of visual aids, do we use them or not. Today, powerpoint is in constant use and there is rarely an indoor presentation that does not have some form of electronic media to accompany it. However, not everyone is won over by powerpoint and its virtues, usually because they have witnessed more poor presenations than positive ones.

There is one school of thought that says that visuals distract from the message and that the only visual required is that of the message bearer…..you are the visual identity. Others scream for slide decks of quotes, images and text that support the speech bearer. Which route is best? Oratory skill is sadly lacking today and the need for visual is usually because the skill of oratory has been neglected or under developed…truth is, go with whatever helps the message stick with your listeners.  What message do you seek to convey? Does the visual aid support or detract from this message? Answering these questions will help you determine the best approach.

Where has the evangelism gone?

The other day, I was challenged to read a post on Facebook from Dan Kimball talking about the word ‘missional’ and how the word is often used, yet it appears rare that salvation stories follow.
Has the church confused its mission with acts of service? Have we dumbed down? I believe that we should be engaged in acts of mercy/service/good deeds but I am also convinced that these should be accompanied by an evangelistic challenge (recognising that this can take different forms) that sees some accept faith in Jesus.
When we talk about being ‘missional’ – what do we really mean?

Assurance of salvation

latest facebook devotional for Emmanuel Beach Team

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1 John 5:11-12 (NIV)

If you were to buy an autograph or an artefact, it is likely to come with a certificate of authenticity. This is the guarantee that what has been bought is genuine and it ensures that the buyer can have confidence in the item being bought. We often want to know that the results of our work our good, we want to know our destination.

So it is with our faith, how can we know that we are saved? How can we know that we have eternal life? Our certificate of authenticity is Jesus. He guarantees our life, ensures life and it is all assured- Jesus certificate is sealed with his blood and cannot be rescinded. How wonderful a thing this is.

If you have Jesus, you have life. Guaranteed!

flickers of hope….

Hope can be an odd thing. It comes and goes with the wind and can be so transient as to be unbearable. A great example of this (for sports fans) is the current English Premiership campaign – last week, Liverpool were the favourites and there was a huge amount of hope that a 24 year barren spell was at an end. One bad result and another team could now take the title on goal difference……for many hope evaporated. However, there is still a great chance that Liverpool could win – still games to be played and results required for all teams. However, the news and reporters have transferred all their hope to another. Fickle, transient and denying what is possible.

It is the same with life. The smallest of margins can evaporate or sustain hope and we can be like the wind blowing in different directions with all the challenges and changes that come our way. How much easier life would be if our hope could be certain, if it was guaranteed.

In truth, it comes down to what we have faith in, to those things that will sustain us – we discover very quickly in life who and what can be trusted. Trust in those things that will bring hope, peace and happiness. Then and only then will the flickers of hope become a flood.