Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Will you do ANYTHING God asks you?

As a pastor, I tend to talk a lot about God's will. “Search for God's will”, “Ask for God's will to be done”, “Obey God's will”. I think sometimes people find this difficult. They say “I've asked what God wants, why won't He work things out for me? Why am I still in a mess?”

It can be heart breaking to keep asking the God you believe in to take control and improve a situation when things only seem to be getting worse.

If you are in this situation, ask yourself one question – what am I seeking God's will for? It is your finances? Your relationship? Your employment? Which part of your life is it that needs God's guidance and help?

Let me tell you, if you are localising your prayers for God's will in to any single part of your life, those prayers may never be answered.

God's will for your life is a grand scheme, it does not segment easily. You cannot make you own plans for one part of your life and ask for God's plans for other parts.

I have a scary truth for you today, either God has COMPLETE control of your life, or your life revolves around an idol. An idol is anything in your life which you put before God.

What does your life revolve around? Is it what you want, what your children or your partner wants or needs? Is it what you can buy or how much status you have? Is it just your safety and comfort?

What is the deciding factor in all your decisions? If it is not God, you cannot expect Him to dive in and sort out the mess you are in, you haven't given Him control of your life to do so.

Trust Him. It may be painful moving idols out of their place in the centre of your life, but you have to tell them “God comes first now. Whatever it takes. Whatever the cost to me.” God's plans are higher than your plans, they are plans for your good and the good of others. And whatever the cost to you, it will never compare to the cost Christ paid for you at the cross.

Give Him the right to do ANYTHING in your life. God will sustain you through it and you will be glad that you did.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Half term's a-coming!

This week I have been asked to change my blog titles to be more content orientated in case someone wanted to 'look back' at a previous blog and couldn't easily find the one they wanted. Duly astonished that someone might even consider doing this, but I do bow to superior wisdom.

It is the last week before half term. We have waved goodbye to the toddler group for a fortnight and we have despatched the harvest gifts to their respective charities. At the college where I used to work my former colleagues will be packing their suitcases and counting down the days, and employees of all other descriptions the world over will be snorting “Half what?” derisively.

Yes, my brain still thinks in terms. It's not that I have half terms off any more (or Summer. Or Christmas. Not even Christmas day actually....) it's more the result of being surrounded by youth ministries. But it has got me to thinking – this half of the term is a bit of a milestone! Hooray!

We did Harvest. A large undertaking. We started all the youth work again. It's going well. We have prayed and mulled and sang a lot. We have planned and dreamed and envisioned a lot. We've worked hard, and this is only the beginning! It's been a great half term working together for God, and I can't wait to see the view from the end of the next one. After all everything will be jingle-belled and candlelit by then. And I don't mind working Christmas day really. In fact I can't wait!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Minister Blog 12

Once a month we have an evening “praise and worship” service on a Sunday evening. They vary quite a lot in style, length and content because they are led by somebody new every time.

Last Sunday we had a particularly enjoyable one, led by Janet (thanks Janet!) She brought an evening of contemplating God's goodness, and asked in advance for people to bring contributions.

Personally I was blessed by how much thought people had put into what they were bringing. Encouraging stories, wonderful hymns, a lovely poem, answers to prayer. It was a brilliant example of the church as the body of Christ – each one played their part and God brought it all together in unity.

It wasn't a thunderous occasion, there were only a few of us present, but God has been reminding me that when one or two are gathered in His name He is there. I am very conscious that a lot of people are working hard for God in our church at the minute, and as they persist they hope for the things they have been promised, progress, growth, salvation.

In Romans 5 we read perseverance builds character and character, hope. They have hope because they persevere. So we mustn't forget to encourage and thank our fellow workers in the church – it may give them the extra boost they need to carry on persevering as they press on towards the goal.

Thank you all of you, who are working so hard, even though your progress may not be visible to you yet – God is working, beneath the surface. Keep going, you prove your faith, as you withstand the waiting.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Minister Blog 11

Anyone for a cat update?

This week Spartacus has been let out, allowed to roam free. The problem, we discovered at 8.30pm on Tuesday night, in the dark, is that while he is able to leap onto a bin and get over our fence, into the wide world, he is so small that there is no way for him to get BACK over the fence, should he choose to.

A bit of a night time rescue mission ensued and we now have made a little passage way through the bottom of the fence! But it got me thinking about committing yourself to something, and not being able to go back to what you knew before.

I think this can be a good thing and a bad thing. Sometimes there are sins we leap into that are difficult to get out of , it's difficult to get back to who we were before they happened. But with Jesus there is always a way back. If we really want Jesus to help us out of sin, we must be prepared for it to be costly. You couldn't pull an arrow out of your side without it hurting, but once you'd done it, you could start to heal. It is the same with sin, you do what it takes to get rid of it, for the long-term, then things will start looking up.

Then there are good things we do in life that you don't come back the same from. Taking a 'leap of faith' (or a leap of fence...) can sometimes mean putting ourselves forward for a challenge that we really need to trust in God for. But if God has asked us to do it (perhaps through our prayer or our bible reading), then we can trust him to sustain us.

I'm not talking about silly risks, I'm talking about weighed up, prayed through, talked over, God-risks. Because in fact the safest place to be is 'risking' your own desires, because you're smack bang in the middle of God's will, doing what HE wants. Then you will start to find your desires becoming aligned with Christ's. And yes, you may find you've changed and grown, and you can't go back to how you used to be, but you'll also find it was a risk worth taking.