What is going on?

split screen by thehutch
split screen, a photo by thehutch on Flickr.

Do you ever get a day where all sorts of things are happening around you but none of it makes sense? It can be quite off putting, especially when you have a personal clarity and everything else that others throw in seems to be ‘skewed’ to you but so clever to them.
Life can be like that, there is unlikely to be a seismic shift that changes the landscape, you just have to knuckle down and accept it, hard though that seems, or get out and do something different.
It may appear wise to think outside the box but the box still exists, where possible you have to enlarge the box so that the bigger world you dream of is attained or remain content and do nothing. That is organisations and the life they espouse. Don’t waste time fighting, if necessary spend time changing, even when the journey seems long and hard, even when you feel that you do not fit, even when you feel alone. In time, it will be worth it, stick with it, be patient and, in the meantime, fight for what is right and what is just. Seriously, it will be worth it.

You are not alone

Sat on a train travelling to a conference an pondering on a few things from the life of Elijah.
I have regularly spoken on 1 Kings 18 and 19 but only today have I noticed that Elijah used the same expression in both strength and weakness. In 18:22 and 19:10, he refers to being the only prophet left – one leads to a major spiritual battle were Elijah stands for God in the tumult, a place of strength, yet in the 2nd instance the belief that he is alone leads him into a cycle of depression.
Elijah was not alone but it does raise some interesting thoughts for me. One day our understanding may lead to great victory whilst the next it may be our downfall. Something to ponder.
The great news is that Elijah was not alone…7000 others. Wow.
Even better to know that ‘we are not alone’…God has preserved others who have not given in to false gods…not alone. All this happened in Gods knowledge and presence – God is at work, whatever the day brings! Hallelujah

Bible verses that sting me (part 1)

As a Christian, I seek to listen to and understand what the Bible is teaching and make attempts, though not always successful, at putting its truth into practice. There are some verses that trouble me because they challenge me. Two such verses are;

if anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18)

Those verses hit me right between the eyes! Imagine that, sharing my possessions with people in need. Using the things I possess to help and support others. How willing am I to do this type of thing? It is not something that is easy, in fact it is probably something that I should be more willing to do, but my selfish nature does not allow it.

There have been some occasions in my life where I have been good, on one occasion insuring my car for a time so that a neighbour had transport when her car was unusable. It was right to do but the surprise for me was that it was members of the church who had the greatest objection. They were horrified that, as the Youth Minister, I would be so free with my possessions and not more protective. We obviously had not shared enough from 1John in our church!

What about our money? What about our homes? Our computers? Our mobile phones? Our treasures are in heaven, not on earth, where moth, rust and decay settle in, yet we can be so hesitant. God’s gifts are given to be used in His service, not for us to hoard and control for our own ends only. A truth that is far easier to hold in theory than in practice. I have all the excuses, all the reasons why I should keep hold of things for myself but justifying them is more difficult.

I long to live out these things in a better way, thankfully it is a journey and Gods grace is sufficient to help me through my failings, meanwhile, these verses continue to challenge me to the core.

losing our religion

After being involved in faith based ministry for a number of years, it has been a priviledge and a joy to see the excitement and enthusiasm of many different people engaging with others and seeking to serve, support and develop their community.  Releasing the passion and watching people take wings is heartwarming and gives me a buzz – even better when you see the rewards of changed lives that follow.

The difficulty I face is how we then ‘support’ these new and fresh ideas, with the idea of sustainability and growth.  Usually we begin by getting someone administrative in to work alongside the visionary, then we seek charitable status, then we seek to market things better, then we seek to duplicate and before we know it – we have a business.  The founding heart and passion is somewhat diminished, if it still exists, and there is far too much time then wasted on fundraising strategies, managing organisation and policing ‘the system’.  What has gone wrong?  Simply?  We have jumped into business and marketing principles and lost the reason why we started – Faith!

Sometimes I wonder if there is a better way – some days I just wish it could be found.