'For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord….'

Archive for life

Hope does not disappoint…

Uh oh!  Just when you thought it was safe to read blogs again in 2010…….not another reflective post about the changing of the decade!  Ok, I admit it.  I am feeling all soft about the New Year and what it might hold.  But gimme a moment to persuade you of a hope-filled 2010.

I have no idea what 2009 was like for you…….but I can gaurantee it comprised a confusing mixture of the following : mundane work; great fun with loved ones; moments where you felt rejected; times where you felt you could burst with joy; days where you wondered where God was; and so on and so on……..

Life is not straightforward.  In fact, Jesus spoke plainly about this being so (John 16:33).  And our response?  Well, if your emotions follow the ups and downs of life, your reactions will also be mixed.  You will be relying on how you feel, and respond accordingly.  Living life in this way is exhausting!

But there is another way to respond…..logically.  In his letter to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul tells it how it is in Romans 5:1-11 , laying truth out for us so we are without excuse in understanding the extent of the mercy of God.

So whatever 2009 brought, treat yourself to an eternal perspective.  It’s what God would want you to do, and it’s why He puts lasting and robust joy in you by His Holy Spirit.   Someone once told me, ‘happiness depends on what happens to you.  Joy, however, is a steady assurance of a future hope, so live your life accordingly.’  Deal.


For busy pastors…

Let’s face it.  However you’ve scheduled your busy life (especially if you are bi-vocational like me), you gotta give time to reading the paper.  It’s called staying ‘culturally abreast’ of things, and it’s very important.

The last thing you want to be is an ill-informed but well-meaning chap.  Why not be informed alongside well-meaning?  Easy.  Read ‘The Week’.  No, I’m not being sponsored to give their readership some added profile……..I’m just saying what works for me.

Some years back whilst doing NF Leadership Training we had a lecturer (who shall remain nameless) who unfolded the machinations of his weekly schedule to us.  As a full-time (hate that phrase – we’re all full time!) pastor/elder, he used the practice of dividing his week up into 21 sessions (3 per day – morning, afternoon & evening).

He figured that ‘working’ in more than 14 of these sessions was tantamount to ‘pushing it’ in terms of your health (let alone your marriage, family etc!), and also that some of this time should be given over to ‘cultural study’.  This ‘sessions’ idea…..well, that’s a whole new blog post I shall tackle sometime soon.

But the beauty of this publication is that it dips into the entire spectrum of news reporting (all the broadsheets & red tops rolled into one), thus granting you a flavour of opinion (politcal or otherwise).  It simultaneously keeps you entertained and up to date when thinking about relevant touchpoints in the culture around you (vital for preaching!).  The best way to buy it is online, which means you get a hard copy through the post AND the facility to read it online.  Perfect.

For busy pastor types

Of course, if you are bi-vocational, far from thinking it would be easier to imbibe the realities of life ongoing, it’s actually even more important to set aside time for such an exercise.  We are probably (don’t shoot me!) busier than our fellow elders who enjoy the privilege of operating all week for their churches, and we are therefore potentially more susceptible to dropping the ball when it comes to staying up with it.

Excuse me while I just put the kettle on………… I’ve got some reading to do!