I Was About To Jump In

December 1, 2016
I was about to jump in with both feet when someone stepped in and gave me some extra information that changed everything. I was about to speak out of frustration when someone encouraged me to take a gentler tone. I was about to make a decision when someone spoke up and shared a different option. I was about to give up when someone showed up to strengthen and encourage me. I was about to hit send, say no, say yes, confront, shrivel up, quit, stay, leave, reconsider, pay, hang up… when someone stepped in and gave me a word, an option, a question, or a viewpoint that I needed. 
This is the power of team. 
This is the genius of friendship. 
This is why we are better off together. 
Don’t do it alone.

Recently I had to make one of the biggest decisions of my life.

It was one of those decisions that I just knew some people would love and other people would dislike. I knew some people would be delighted and other people would question why. I knew that some people would see my perspective, while others would not understand.

Maybe you’ve had to make similar decisions or are facing one now. For me it was the decision to leave my position as associate pastor of the church that I’d been at for 15 years, and move to a different church only 2 miles away that was searching for a senior pastor. We made the decision and made the move – but it wasn’t easy. Many people were supportive and encouraging, but some found it hard to understand and accept.

I am by nature a people pleaser. I hate conflict. And so to make a decision that I knew wouldn’t please everyone and would actually create some upset was really difficult.

But I don’t for one second regret making the decision.

One of the things I’m learning in life is that you can’t afford to get stuck by other people’s expectations. Other people will have an opinion about you and about what you should be doing. Many of those opinions will be well intentioned, even full of warmth and love. But ultimately, the only opinion that matters is God’s. If you have to make a decision that you know others will find difficult, you should try your utmost to be wise and sensitive. But you cannot afford to become paralysed by worrying about what others will think.

There are 4 reasons that I have total peace, even though others might not understand…

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Feelings And Faith

August 24, 2016

Feelings are great.

I want to be a person who feels. When we stop feeling, we stop caring. And when we stop caring, it’s called depression.

I wish my feelings were only of the positive, uplifting variety. Joy, wonder, peace, inspiration, satisfaction, determination, insightfulness, creativity, contentment: these are the feelings I like. They are my favourite feelings. They are always welcome.

Of course there are the other feelings too. Anxiety, guilt, frustration, confusion, inferiority, jealousy, weariness, temptation (let’s not even go there…) These pesky feelings are less welcome. In fact I’d quite like it if they never showed up at all. But they do.

The trouble with feelings is that they can be such fickle little things. They can be so elusive. Just when you think you know how you’re going to feel, your feelings decide to change – without even consulting you. And it’s no use wanting to feel a certain way. No matter how much I want to feel happy, I can’t make it happen. Have you ever gone to bed feeling happy, and woke up feeling sad? How does that happen? Those fickle feelings.

Feelings are always going to be hanging around. We need them, and more importantly, we need to learn from them. They can be great teachers if we take the time to understand them. I have found a few things helpful in learning to deal with the highs and lows of feelings:

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Overflowing With Hope

July 27, 2016

If you listen to the coffee-shop conversations, the political debates, the social-media arguments, and the news headlines, you can hear a kind of hopelessness in our world. People have lost their confidence in tomorrow. They have lost the sense that our world could somehow get better.  People are angry. But anger is usually just fear in disguise. 

Hal David and Burt Bacharach wrote “what the world needs now is love sweet love.” It’s a classic tune and I won’t argue with the sentiment. But I think what the world needs right now is hope – real hope.  

And real hope comes from the source of true hope.

Romans 15 v 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Everyone is full of something. But imagine trusting God so fully, that the result is a life filled with hope. And not only filled, but so filled with hope that it overflows in your life. 

That kind of overflow can have a profound impact on the lives of those around us. Instead of joining in the never-ending negative conversations, why not seek to be a channel of hope to others? Why not start today?

I’ve just confirmed that I will be playing at CreationFest in Cornwall on Sunday Aug 7th at 1pm. Hope to see you there!

More details at www.creationfest.org.uk

A Bigger Story

May 13, 2016

We are invited to live in a bigger story.

But to live in that bigger story we must become bigger people. 

The smaller story is always easier: Take the path of least resistance. Do what you’ve always done. Stick with what you know. Medicate the pain. Bury your head in the sand. Copy someone else. Live for little pleasures. Make it about you.

The bigger story is always more challenging: Attempt something uncomfortable. Try something new. Believe things can change. Address the pain. Find a solution. Create something beautiful. Live for a grander purpose. Make it about others. 

Ultimately it’s the choice to live in a bigger story that will make you a bigger person. You’ll find yourself expanding deeper, wider, higher, and further than you ever thought you could. 

What you were given in this life, is up to God. What you do with what you were given, is up to you. Locked up inside you is a treasure chest of talent, energy, gifting, and perspective that this beautiful broken world desperately needs. You only need to be brave enough to step forward and let it out.  The small story or the big story. Which will you choose?