Community, comparisons, Individualism, normal, precious, Unique

Everybody is normal until you get to know them.

Normal?

what’s normal?

Yesterday I spent the day with the teenagers from Church, just hanging out at Brean Leisure Park with umpteen terrifying rides to cause your blood pressure to rise!

Yet in hanging out, you realise afresh just how unique each of us are.

I hate it when people get ‘lumped together’ with certain qualities or faults attributed to us ‘en masse’ -happens to the young and the elderly all the time.

I was recently in a meeting where the conversation moved to reaching the under 40’s, I got so frustrated with the conversation (mainly carried out by people in their 50’s/60’s) that I eventually said. “we aren’t aliens, or a different species, but rather the people you meet all the time, kids, family, just out and about don’t patronise us with this idea that ‘one size fits all'”.

It often strikes me as a odd paradox that we are so obsessed by being individuals and yet we dismiss people, and sometimes whole people groups, with sweeping generalisations.

Sometimes as Church and as Christians we loose the individual in the generalisation, “God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have ever-lasting life”, a global truth but also a personal reality and revelation. Christianity is both universally true and also personally true.

we are keen that our own uniqueness is recognised, but also need to fight for the uniqueness of others to be recognised too, yet we can only do that when we ourselves recognise that in each other.

A celebration of our diversity is what enables the body of Christ to achieve all that the heart of Christ longs for, every part -every member- valuable, and without them playing their full part the body of Christ is diminished and poorer for its absence.

we all are unique both in our gifts, talents, skills and abilities, as well as in our brokenness, struggles and fallen-ness.

we all have our own history and journey which actually no one else now about us, and our journey for all of us is unique to us.

It is interesting as I know many people that want to be known, but not interested in knowing other people. They want people to appreciate them and sympathise with their difficulties, but yet seem uninterested in other peoples lives.

Others are very good at pastorally care but struggle with being known themselves, caring with others but find personal disclosure and vulnerability hard.

Yet as whole people before God we are called to know one another, to share with one another our lives -the good and the bad- and to be known. we flourish best when we are known, just as other people flourish best when they are known too.

However, getting to this place is not easy -especially for us introverts!- but it is worth it, it is so much easier to live in a polite and superficial world where everyone keeps everyone at arms length and Christian communities dies from lack of authenticity.

Yet authenticity requires tremendous bravery and courage, and sometimes and unswerving commitment of love and grace too.

This community will only flourish when we remember before Christ our own fallen-ness and need of him.

Each of us too carries many things, the hurt and baggage, the rejections and the disappointments, the brokenness and the pain… but we are not called to carry them alone, in fact we are called to carry one another’s burdens, a picture of interdependence, and yet many of us don’t really know the secret pain and struggles we carry inside.

It is an immense privilege for another human being to let us into the most sacred and precious things they are carrying (as indeed they are often the things we carry most tightly) and so we need to hold this valuable vocations seriously and deeply before God.

And for us it is something very deep and sacred to let other people into our vulnerability and what is deeply personal.

This call of Christ to be his family, living out our lives experiencing this love and also returning this love, is an incredibly costly call. Easier to blend in and be just another face in the crowd and another bum or the pew, yet that is not, and never was, the plan of God for his community on earth. It is a risky and brave calling, and when it works it is truly a fore-taste of heaven, and sadly when it fails it is incredibly and unbelievably painful.

Yet even knowing that this is risky, vulnerable and difficult to achieve in a fallen and broken world, yet let’s not give up on the dream, let’s not all become beige, lets not allow the faces in the crowd to blur together, but embrace the call and cost of a corporate life lived together for cause of Christ.

Let’s reject normal. No one is normal. we are all unique.

A bit broken, and a whole lot brilliant.

Fallen and fabulous in so many ways.

we are a celebration of God’s diversity in his world, and called to recognise this too in one another, seeing the glory not just in similarities but in difference, a key component in Christ’s mission to his world to bring it to himself in redemptive love.

He needs you and no one else will do.

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comparisons, obidience, vision, vocation

Eyes On The Road…

Where your eyes go the rest of the body follows, that is why people put blinkers on horses to stop them being distracted from what is all around them and keeps their eyes focused on the road ahead of them.
I wondered how often we get distracted by looking to the left or the right of where we are being called that pulls us off track and even a few degrees can end up on the long term pulling us miles of course.
In the Bible at the end of John’s Gospel, Peter asks Jesus “what about John?” jesus told him to mind his own buisness and worry about his own calling and journey. The problem is we compare our calling and race with those around us, the problem is when we focus of the other runners we end up running in the wrong lane, comparisons are the theif of joy.
James Laurence (an author, evangelist and leadership guru) said that the problems with comparisons   is we run other people’s edited highlights we our blooper reel, it’s a false comparison which normally only causes us ourselves harm.
So, keep your eyes on what you are being called to, keep your eyes focused towards the prize, don’t get distracted, don’t look at those around you the wrong way.
Yet I am calling and challenging us to have a wider view, playing our part, but seeing the breadth of what God is doing around us, where do we fit in the wider picture of Gods Kingdom, have the wide view, see and seek what God is doing in the city.
Too often Christians are focused on their little bit, but have no concept of how their little bit works with the other little bits of those around us, which actually creates a disunited team, we all want to hit the goal but not everyone is called to be a striker.
When I first arrived in Kingswood, I put on a course about sharing our faith, as did the Church next door as did the Salvation Army up the road, yet none of us were currently doing Alpha… Crazily by our own blinkered vision we doubled up the work load and could have freed us up to something else.
I often wonder that we fill our time with good things, but because our diary is full of good things, we miss the great and the extraordinary. It annoys, angers and hurts me to see how often churches put so much time effort and resources it to Competing against each other when we should be complimenting each other. Jesus calls us to seek first the Kingdom of God, to see is all thrive together, together is always better than fracture, factions and disunity. In the Psalms we are reminded that God promises “where there is unity God commands a blessing”.
We often misread the passage in Corinthians to think it is simply about our own fellowship of congregation, however, I think it is actually refering to the body of Christ -the Church- in the city.
Sometimes we are too close and need to step back and see the big picture of the call of Christ missing by being too blinkered. I am reminded of the story of a great conductor conducting a wonderful orchestrar, during their rehearsal he stopped them and said “where is the picalo” the vision of the Church is like that orchestrar where everyone should be contributing to the beautiful and wonderful harmony of the music, each part, no matter how small, adding melody and beauty. Yet narrow-mindedness, sinful competitiveness, and just thoughtless disobedience just creates discord, jarring and ruins the beauty of the harmony that God seeks.
Tommorrow we will think a little bit more about the dangers of looking back rather than having our eyes focused on the prize ahead.
My message for today, is to play your part, but see yourself as part of the wider part of the local team of God, let’s compliment not compete, playing the part we are called to play not the part we think we should play, after all a skilled violinist probably isn’t so good on the tuba, when they do what they are called to they shine and everyone benefits.
Where your eyes go the rest of the body follows, that is why people put blinkers on horses to stop them being distracted from what is all around them and keeps their eyes focused on the road ahead of them.
I wondered how often we get distracted by looking to the left or the right of where we are being called that pulls us off track and even a few degrees can end up on the long term pulling us miles of course.
In the Bible at the end of John’s Gospel, Peter asks Jesus “what about John?” jesus told him to mind his own buisness and worry about his own calling and journey. The problem is we compare our calling and race with those around us, the problem is when we focus of the other runners we end up running in the wrong lane, comparisons are the theif of joy.
James Laurence (an author, evangelist and leadership guru) said that the problems with comparisons   is we run other people’s edited highlights we our blooper reel, it’s a false comparison which normally only causes us ourselves harm.
So, keep your eyes on what you are being called to, keep your eyes focused towards the prize, don’t get distracted, don’t look at those around you the wrong way.
Yet I am calling and challenging us to have a wider view, playing our part, but seeing the breadth of what God is doing around us, where do we fit in the wider picture of Gods Kingdom, have the wide view, see and seek what God is doing in the city.
Too often Christians are focused on their little bit, but have no concept of how their little bit works with the other little bits of those around us, which actually creates a disunited team, we all want to hit the goal but not everyone is called to be a striker.
When I first arrived in Kingswood, I put on a course about sharing our faith, as did the Church next door as did the Salvation Army up the road, yet none of us were currently doing Alpha… Crazily by our own blinkered vision we doubled up the work load and could have freed us up to something else.
I often wonder that we fill our time with good things, but because our diary is full of good things, we miss the great and the extraordinary. It annoys, angers and hurts me to see how often churches put so much time effort and resources it to Competing against each other when we should be complimenting each other. Jesus calls us to seek first the Kingdom of God, to see is all thrive together, together is always better than fracture, factions and disunity. In the Psalms we are reminded that God promises “where there is unity God commands a blessing”.
We often misread the passage in Corinthians to think it is simply about our own fellowship of congregation, however, I think it is actually refering to the body of Christ -the Church- in the city.
Sometimes we are too close and need to step back and see the big picture of the call of Christ missing by being too blinkered. I am reminded of the story of a great conductor conducting a wonderful orchestrar, during their rehearsal he stopped them and said “where is the picalo” the vision of the Church is like that orchestrar where everyone should be contributing to the beautiful and wonderful harmony of the music, each part, no matter how small, adding melody and beauty. Yet narrow-mindedness, sinful competitiveness, and just thoughtless disobedience just creates discord, jarring and ruins the beauty of the harmony that God seeks.
Tommorrow we will think a little bit more about the dangers of looking back rather than having our eyes focused on the prize ahead.
My message for today, is to play your part, but see yourself as part of the wider part of the local team of God, let’s compliment not compete, playing the part we are called to play not the part we think we should play, after all a skilled violinist probably isn’t so good on the tuba, when they do what they are called to they shine and everyone benefits.
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Church, community of grace, comparisons, grace, Humanity, Luke 18, Pride

A Community of Grace.

Last couple of weeks at All Souls the word humility and grace have come up a fair bit in the talks, and that’s cool, as they are great words….

Which brings me to this passage… one I love, but I find so so challenging every time I read it.

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

13 ‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

14 ‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’
Grace might be amazing, but it is hard at times.

Hard to receive forgiveness for things we feel bad about.
Hard to forgive others when we feel aggrieved (I struggle with this one myself if I’m honest at times).
Hard to build a community of grace that is also holy, one of those weird gospel paradox we have to wrestle with.

I think that the heart of understand grace is realizing we ourselves are sinners, we did nothing to earn our salvation it is a free gift, totally unearned.

It is human nature to do comparisons, -actually both ways, both are equally destructive.
“I’m not as good as XXX”
or
“At least I’m better than YYY”

Yet someone-elses ‘success’ doesn’t make you any less loved.
Nor does someone else’s failure doesn’t earn you brownie points and more divine love.

There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more.
There is nothing you can do that will diminish God’s love for you.

The problem with the pharisee is his pride has blinded him of his need of God, it is easy to maximise someone elses sin, whilst minimising our own, yet as some theologian once said, before the cross the ground is flat, we all come needing grace.

Sometimes we need to experience Grace to share grace.

Just as in the parable of the workers in the field, we all get the same reward of eternity with Christ whether we have been Christians for 5 minutes or 50 years.

It is only when we ‘get’ Grace does this not feel unfair.

The tragedy is (as we heard on friday) the number of “Lost Sons” who are actually like the older brother in Luke 15, who is keen to point out to the Father the failings of his brother, because he didn’t realise the extent of how much his father loved him… “You are always with me and all I have is yours” is how the father replies to him.

Grace felt unfair to the older brother as he didn’t know how loved he was by his father.

Grace is tough because people get what they don’t deserve and sometimes we don’t feel that is fair… well until we slip up and then we are so glad of grace!

I used to have an accountable relationship with my friend Jon in Bournemouth, and I was going through a tough time and did some silly things, and told Jon expecting him to kick my sorry butt (which I fully deserved) but he lent over and put his arm around me listened, (he even) bought me another pint of fosters; which has remained one of the most beautiful moments of my life. His grace and loved actually was the spur I needed to sort myself out. Grace, it’s beautiful. I want to see more of it.

As Paddy reminded us yesterday we let pride blind us to our own faults but point out the faults in others; echoing Jesus words about specks and planks.

I love the line about the woman who washes Jesus feet, those who have been forgiven much, love much…
She knew her need of Jesus’ forgiveness.

Grace and holiness can walk hand in hand, but only in the shadow of the cross of Christ.

Andy

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comparisons, New, Old Ancient, Uncategorized

The Mine, the Business School and the Emperor in the Buff!!

Imagine a mine and a business school.

Both are filled with treasures.
One is ancient.
One is new.
The Mine is our Christian heritage, our scriptures and our Church traditions and great history, the stories of saints and testimonies from ages past. It is  a rich heritage full of God’s interaction with the people and culture of the past.

The gleaming business school next door is filled with the best thinking of the great minds and research into the human condition that humanity knows. Filled with riches of understanding of sociology, anthropology, psychology and understanding of wisdom from the world of business.

Too often I think that as Church sometimes we forget that God has gifted  us with BOTH the business school AND the mine, probably those reading this message will probably lean one way or the other, and I know my thinking has been shaped by both, and I know that through both people have come to know Christ.

To the miners amongst you, I’d urge you too look in the business school, and you may discover new wells of resources, inspiration and catalysts for blessing, renewing and transforming… And to those within the business school, I’d urge you to go down the mine, meet the Church at Antioch, read up on St. Francis and some of the other amazing people of God on whose shoulders we stand.
Whatever our normal spiritual diet, I’d urge you to realise that the ‘menu’ is actually bigger, broader and better than just the section with which we are most familiar.
God has littered his world a rich variety of opportunities and practices that can enable us as the Christian to have our hearts refreshed and renewed in him and by him; there is many great things we can learn from both the “business school” and “the mine” but yet I would argue that too often as Christians we have tried to find the ‘silver bullet’ of Church growth, the one strategy that will make life the world and everything work…

Both ‘the mine’ and ‘the business school’ have tried to shoe-horn people into a ‘one size fits all’ methodology of life…

Too often I have seen people re-living the powerful imagery from Samuel, where David is forced to wear King Saul’s Armour -which was too large and too cumbersome and just simply didn’t work for David as he is sent out to fight the giant Goliath… Do we  try an fit ourselves  into something that doesn’t fit us because we think conformity is what God is  calling us too… whereas I think the reverse is true, I think the more we follow Christ we become the person we were called to be, which is normally more beautifully individualistic and unique.

A business school expression is “thinking out of the box” but as I read the Bible and engage with God, I have come to realise that perhaps there is no box!

God is not in a box.

God doesn’t give us step by step instructions, rather he ‘ordains our footsteps’,

“whether you turn to the right or two the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way walk in it”
-Guiding us every step of the way, rarely do we see the over-view of the finished product before we are  called to step out of the comfort of the boat.
For some, because of this, they haven’t moved at all since conversion, I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me their conversion story, but looked distinctly awkward when I have asked what is God doing in your life now at the moment, or recently, or even a story from the last five/ten years…

I worry that at times Christians have sold Christianity as a ticket to heaven when you die, and  sadly to many Christians have put the ticket in their pocket, and sat in the boat had gallons of pleasant cups of tea and waited to die.

The Christian life is meant to be, er, LIVED.

The marriage imagery is strong in scripture, anyone can be legally married -i.e. have a marriage licence-  but marriage isn’t just a paper licence but a way of life lived out. Christianity is not just being able to pin point a date you ‘prayed a prayer’, but about an on-going authentic relationship Christ through the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not someone we can bottle, or even predict, Jesus says to Nicodemus in John 3, ‘the wind goes where it will, so it is true of the spirit’, we are called as I wrote before to follow an unpredictable God, I  wrote before about the early Christians talking about the Holy Spirit as  the ‘wild goose’ where the expression ‘wild goose chase’ stems from, uncatchable, unpredictable and untameable (but a lot of fun… the expression has been corrupted to mean something futile which was  never  its original use).

You see, you are called to run YOUR race, yet the problem with us as human beings we are into the comparison game, wishing we were more like someone else…

At the “Awaken Mission” three years ago,  with this awesome evangelist Greg Sharples’ came to help, I remember really thinking “I wish I was as good at evangelism stuff as him” and yet I really felt God say  to me that if God had wanted two Greg Sharples’ he’d have arranged for Mrs Sharples to have twins! I’m created to be me, and called here as me.

Looking across the lanes we are running in, with -nearly always- negative comparisons, debilitates rather than empowers.

In the last chapter of John’s gospel Peter asks about John’s future and Jesus tells him to ‘mind his own business and follow Jesus’.

You see the only person we are called to be focusing on is Christ.

And the only person we should want to be the person who Christ is calling us to be, who is actually the person we were created to be in the first place!

We are called to follow him not as clones but as differently and uniquely shaped individuals, with our own relationship with God and the world around him, God is not into reducing our individuality, but rather releasing and celebrating it; ideologies whether old or new normally end up with creating us and the groups we worship in and form Christian Community with often end up looking quite similar, whereas when we look at Jesus disciples they were pretty diverse, a team which featured a religious Zealot and a Tax Collector must have not been an easy place to minister from.

Jesus, says “my sheep know my voice”, yet too often I worry that Christians haven’t learned to follow the voice of God, but rather ‘just follow the other sheep’, this is okay until a wolf gets in and manages to lead the sheep into places they weren’t meant  to be.

I do believe that Churches should be led, but I don’t believe that any leader should be followed blindly. It’s okay to ask questions and have different opinions.

I believe that the call to turn this broken world upside down, is partly due to leaders gathering people around a collective spirit-inspired-Christ centred vision, but actually is called to lifestyle of obedience in both the big things and the small (in fact especially the small, as it is in those small choices we make everyday that I believe we can often make the most difference).

Do we even think that God might have an opinion on what we buy in the shop (because he does) or what we watch on the telly or down load on the internet, it is about a lifestyle of saying yes to God in EVERYTHING…
Yes, EVERYTHING!

I’ll close with the famous story, of the emperors new clothes… where the emperor is ‘made’ clothes by two con-artist ‘Taylors’ who say that only the wise and discerning can see these amazing clothes, and no one would admit that they couldn’t see them, until the Emperor went into the street in buff and a young child was brave enough to say what no one else had the courage to say, ‘the Emperor had no clothes’.

Too often we don’t say “this isn’t working” -“I’m not feeling it!” and we don’t have the courage to push through and get our relationship with God working for us.

It is  a call to a spirituality which works for us, which God is calling us to go deeper with, not about taking something off the shelf which we feel is what other people want us to be like, nor is it following the diagram and instruction of some self help book, but rather an adventure with the Christ who promises to give us life and life in all its fullness and abundance.

So to close, the cross of Christ and his liberating love for you, allows you, in him, to be free to be you… So go on Live the Life you were created for.

Free to be you.
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call, comparisons, vision, vocation

Let’s go up the Motorway to see this thing that has happened…

I’ll be honest I’ve quoted Mother Teresa’s line about people crossing the world to recieve a blessing but not crossing the road to be a blessing a number of times, and there  is so much truth in that statement, but recently I have been challenged by the first part of the quote.

Would I fly half way around the world to receive a blessing?

Would I  of my own volition have got into a car and gone to Reading or Cwmbran?

I used to have a very smug and slightly superior attitude of “God can come to me” I’m not going to some Church somewhere  to pick up a blessing, God’s everywhere so why do I have to make the effort…

It was a mix of pride, cynicism, jadedness and some heart-protection from disappointment.

I was listening to Pastor Yenka last Friday say exactly those words, I used to say “God can come to me”, but God was calling him to go and see what God was doing else where, calling him on a journey, often we need (even just for a short time) to sometimes come away from the familiar to hear, find and encounter God.

Sometimes, we need to connect afresh with the passionate as they fire us up.

Thinking, as the primary school kids move from being the big fish in the small pond, to being small fish in the big pond, it is constantly good for us to go to hang out with the people who are going to stretch, challenge and inspire us, those who have learned, travelled and gone deeper in various parts of the Christian journey.

Yet too often we sit in front of the telly like Victor Meldrew thinking “I’m okay as I am” whilst dunking our digestive biscuit into our tea and we think of our Church and our Christian life as “okay as it is”, and yet God reminds us there is more, so much more of him and from him.

I worked at St.  Michael le Belfrey in York, years after David Watson’s death, but heard  a lot about his revival in the 1970’s (although he never used the word revival) and he used to say that people turned up at St. Mike’s and realised they were a screwed up bunch who didn’t have it altogether but God was doing wonderful things amongst them, and people were taking back to their Churches that in God there is more, much more.

The song that really has resonated with me over the past few years here in Kingswood is “there must be more than this” the cry out of God for more of him.

I believe that our evangelism so often is ailing and failing because our faith is often so dry and parched, where our energy is used up fighting battles about trivialities whilst communities go through hell and to hell… We need to find those places which will revive and refresh us, that will revitalise us and restore us, and maybe that is Bethel California or Hillfields Friary, let’s be respectful about our brothers and sisters desire for more of God.

We need to remember that what we have experienced is not all that there is.

We need to remember too that God is not finished with us, with his Church or this nation yet, and whilst we have breath in our bodies we should be (to quote Rowan Williams) finding out where God is at work and joining in.

People often ask “is this transferable” which is entirely the wrong question, because this is putting all the thought into the current thing we are looking at, a better thing to ask is “what are you wanting to tell and show us here?”

Ultimately we are not chasing the manifestation, the hands of God, but we a chasing him himself -his face- and he is always wanting us to seek more and go deeper with him. I think our desperation for more of him brings joy to his heart. I think he loves seeing Christians getting into the cars and heading up motorways because they long to see themselves transformed and Christ made known.

So, lets say, God we want to hear from you, we want to go deeper, we want to see you transform your Church and our nation, the lives of ordinary people, and we want to pledge ourselves to that cause… and lets seek him as hungry people longing for the bread of life.

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5 Fold Ministry -Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph. 5), brokenness, comparisons, Humility, inter-dependance, Leadership, Life styles, Pride, vocation

Too Much Testosterone…

“Which of the five-fold ministries are you?” I was asked this morning at morning prayer.

The Five Fold Ministries, are “Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teachers”, it is a fascinating question!

Are we all just one of these?

Can we be more than one or is that greedy?

Do I operate in all five on different occasions?

Or is that just vanity thinking I could be incompetent?

Then I thought a bit more about each of these and think these words can mean vastly different things to different people?

I’ve blogged before about how I worry that I see too much of Christian leadership lacks humility and has a smugly superior swagger, something I don’t see in the ‘first shall be last’ Leadership, often looking more like Alan Sugars boardroom than Jesus washing his disciples’ feet in the upper-room.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase “hurt people hurt people” which is true we are all broken people and often our brokenness has jagged edges that cuts both ourselves and those who come close to the area of that brokenness.

Yet too often our brokenness doesn’t just manifest itself in sitting on our own in a coffee bar crying into our latte, but in all sorts of behaviours.

I was talking to someone who said something fascinating “I don’t think I am arrogant, but I know I am deeply insecure”, but the insecurity often shows itself in massively competitive ways.

We often forget that a wise person once said “comparison is the thief of joy” and yet particularly the apostle, prophet and evangelist can end up engaging is a silly one-upmanship, which actually discourages all of them, talking themselves up and others down, because they want to appear successful.

Yet as Mother Teresa said “we aren’t called to be successful only faithful”.

It is a bit like running a race, if you can’t run forward when looking back.

The Pastor often can be guilty of ‘needing to be needed’ they need me, the danger to run in as a ‘Saviour leader’ where we want to come in like James Bond and save the day, forgetting that we already have a Saviour that doesn’t need replacing. The danger is for those of us with a Pastors heart is that we can fall into the trap of thinking “I’m important because I’m needed” rather than knowing we are valuable simply by being a beloved child of God.

Again, the teacher is often guilty of the same ‘needing to be needed’, yet like all teachers the kids graduate, they want to not just know about stuff they actually want to be doing it themselves. The teacher can fall into the trap of thinking “I’m important because I know stuff you don’t” and yet it often is a matter of time when they over-take us and they know stuff we don’t and suddenly our roles become reversed and we become the pupil.

If you are the Apostolic type, how do you react when someone else has a better and an easier idea?

If you are the evangelistic type, how do you feel when someone else discovers their gift and has great chats about Jesus.

If you are prophetic, how do you feel when someone else has a ‘spot on word for someone’.

If you are a Pastor, how do you feel when someone goes to someone else and not you?

If you Teacher, how do you feel when your pupil teaches you something?

The interesting thing I think is what we ‘ought’ to feel and what we ‘actually’ feel can be two very different things.

Often our insecurity ties us down and limits both our gifting and our effectiveness and fruitfulness in that gifting.

The heart I believe of ‘losing the testosterone’ is knowing our true identity in Christ, knowing our dependence not on our abilities but on his provision and grace, knowing that we are unique and our calling is different from those around us.

It is about an understanding of being part of God’s team and about building a Kingdom not our own empires, it is about Christ at work in us not just through us.

Let’s see ourselves as precious and part of the wider team of God, where our gifts and our weakness combine together with other peoples’ gifts and weaknesses to create something beautiful.

The heart of much of our problem is our self-sufficiency, this idea that ‘we can do it on our own’ which is actually not only unbiblical but a fallacy.

We need one another, and they need us, we are not created for independence but interdependence.

The question actually at its heart is asking about how we can work together where we maximise our strengths and minimise the weaknesses so that we can see the most fruitfulness of the glory of Christ in the lives of those we serve.

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