Journey, Leadership, legacy, Life in the Spirit, Life styles, Life Together, obidience, ordination

Ten Years on…

Thinking about the guys being ordained this as and last weekend reminded me that for me and cohort we are coming up to the tenth anniversary of our ordinations (actually mine is in September).

Looking back, the first thing struck me is the number of people I have lost touch with (other than the odd ‘like’ on facebook).
Yet as I think back, a few things struck me about the 10 years was…Thinking of some of the guys I trained with one thing struck me, two guys full of charm, charisma and great gifting both ended up in prison due to dreadful behaviour…
A real shock.
And a real tragedy.
Glittering prospects ended up crashing and burning.
So important to be people of integrity and appropriateness in all our relationships, and to hold ourselves to account with trusted people to have those transparent relationships… Perhaps if my former colleagues had done so, perhaps they might still be in ministry and real people wouldn’t have been hurt and the cause betrayed.
Made me wonder too whether we put too much store on people’s competence, charm and charisma and not enough value on character.
Another thought struck me comes from one of my prayer triplet, who was very doubtful and anxious about future fruitfulness, yet 10 years later he had achieved amazing things and now chair of the committee for mission for the Church in Ireland amongst other achievements.
I guess as I think of my cohort I guess I am reminded of the verse of the bible which talks of God opposing the proud but lifting the humble.
I remember having to write a letter to some emerging leaders as part of my arrow course and I remember writing do keep the most important thing (Jesus) as the most important thing, as it is so easy to get distracted and diverted. I have found that clergy can be like the government ministers in Yes (Prime)Minister who actually go into parishes and Churches full of vision and fire and end up becoming “native” being “house trained” by the congregation acting like the civil service in the aforementioned comedy programme. We want to tell people about Jesus and somehow we end up filling in forms about drains, and trying to pacify arguements over trivialities.
Ten years on I still love Jesus but feel as though I am only managing to hold into his church by my fingertips, the temptation (as with many people my age) is to embrace being ‘post church’ partly due to just seeing how unchristlike churches can be, sometimes behaving worse than the people who aren’t Christians in the world… This shouldn’t be so.
Sadly too often it feels like trying to lead the charge onward for mission only to find some unprincipled parishioner had left down your tyres… How do we challenge and change this culture? The challenge to challenge people who have been here decades and are twice our age, but people need to know that such behaviour jepodizes the community coming to Christ and coming to fullness and to be that salt and light of truth telling is painful, uncomfortable and difficult. We all want to be liked and yet the call has often been to be the grit in the oyster, the bringer of challenge, and to show and tell a different story, one of a different future.
This future is one of hope, and yet being caught in the middle of challenging churches, it is easy to allow our vision of hope to be deminished and to become jaded and cynical. How do we keep our hearts soft, our minds open and expectant for God to act, this is not nativity but rather remembering the greater story of a God who reigns on high and longs to partner with his people to turn this broken and upside down world the right way up for him.
And finally to end all, the last thought I want to share is the call to change and transform is a call to the long hall, it’s not glamourous, often it is hard to get back up after being knocked down and after disappointments, but even so it is worth it.
So to conclude, the challenge of the heart, the challenge to invest in character that lasts rather than charm and charisma that are pretty tempory,
To keep out edge sharp and keep the most important thing as the most important thing, keepin going even when the “home team” let us down and hurt us, and to keep going even amid the on going challenge to still be here and fighting, to still be remaining in the game is an achievement.
I’ll close with a verse that has blessed me over the last 10 years “Do not become weary in doing good for at the right we will reap a harvest if we do mot give up” Gal. 6:9.
Audience of One, History, legacy, priorities, vocation

Make History.

Today, whatever happens will make history.

Yet we are so often under the impression that it is only the big things that make history, but I think everything we do has an effect, and often I believe history is made, history is changed, by the small actions each of us for each day.

The question isn’t whether or not we will make a difference, but whether the difference we make will be for good or bad.

I was at my daughters sports day and it made me think about those people who are individualists and those who are team players, even though she’s only 5 it is really evident.

Are we people consumed with our own journey, our are we concerned about encouraging others on their journey to do well and achieve?

I heard a recent assembly talking about the difference between who wants to be a millionaire and the weakest link. One, who wants to be a millionaire, is about other people helping us to achieve (ask the audience &, phone a friend) the other (weakest link) is about treading on people to get what we want.

The head asked the question do we think of life in terms of “I” or “we” -not bad idea when we vote today?- yet for the Christian our lives aren’t about ourselves our even those around us, but ultimately our lives are about primarily Christ, others and ourselves third, an upside down view of the world, which actually is the right way up!

I was at a funeral yesterday and it made me think about how we are remembered, a good husband, Father, grandfather, friend and it made me think afresh about what legacy we leave behind.

What we will be remembered for?

There is a quote I came across which said, people will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

In fact often our arguments are over minor things, often the issue passes but the hurt remains…

Are we building or are we tearing down?

If we are building, what are we building?

Are we building things that will last, or things that are transitory

The Bible talks of building with Gold, Silver and Costly Stones, things that last forever, as opposed to hay and straw, perishable things that are burned up.

The idea of building something that lasts for eternity.

Advancing the Kingdom.

Changing lives by love and hope, redemption, salvation and transformation…

Partnering with God, living lives that bless and shine out the Kingdom in word action and Gods intervening miracles.

History is Gods story, which he chooses to be written by the saints who follow him…