Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Becoming a Rev?

An update for all you Bures Baptist fans.

On the off-chance that you’ve been reading my blog since I began it, you will be aware that I took up the post of Lay (unaccredited) Pastor of Bures Baptist Church last June. Since then, with God’s help I’ve been muddling my way through.

Well, today I had the second part of an interview that started in May last year, with the Baptist Union, to see if I could be recommended for ministerial training. I’ve been doing some theological study from home, but this would be ministry training. Training that might eventually make me a real “Rev”!

I’m happy to report that the panel were satisfied this year that it is my calling and they will be recommending me to study at Spurgeon’s College! This is great news, and providing my application to the college is successful I shall be happily beating a path through the library and the lecture theatres to a dog collar sometime soon. (Figuratively speaking. I don’t think I actually have to wear a dog collar...).

It’s an exciting thought being in a training programme alongside other new pastors like myself, although I’m sure there’s a lot of hard work ahead of me! Thanks to everyone who prayed for me and for the interview.

In other news: We had to cancel youthclub this week because the rascals damaged a car in our car park last time (respect our neighbours youthies!), we’re joining in with the big service at the Parish Church on Sunday which begins the village’s celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee, and we have an awesome new monthly newsletter out, which this time has a great feature on our Footprints Toddler Group. Just another week in the life of an unaccredited-but-maybe-one-day-will-be-accredited-lay pastor... 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

What's the right thing?

I love it when God makes things blindingly obvious. It’s great isn’t it? “Every bible verse I’ve read today and this week’s sermon and the guy on the radio, and my wife, two friends and my pastor all seemed to say the same thing – perhaps God is trying to tell me something...”

However more often than not situation is more like “What is God saying? I can’t seem to figure it out.” How do you choose a path when you don’t know which way to turn?

If you’re asking yourself ‘Why isn’t God making this clearer?’ It could be for a couple of reasons.

1)      You’re being a needy friend to God.

Sometimes we can start to have a ‘take take take’ attitude to God and it can become difficult to hear from Him. It’s when we are being like a needy friend, always asking and demanding, but never giving anything back. That’s not the relationship God wants with you. Yours prayers can’t always be “please”. He’s not Santa Claus, He’s your companion.

When did you last set aside time just to hang out with Him?  The Psalmist tells us to “Rest in the Lord”. That’s different to reading Him out a list of your requests. When you value God enough to just spend time with Him, you will hear His  voice more clearly.

2)      You are learning to trust.

When Jesus’ disciples were on a boat and a terrifying storm overtook them, it seemed to them that because Jesus was sleeping downstairs, He wasn’t in control and they were all going to die. So they hassled Him, they woke Him up, and He chastised them for their lack of faith. Of course, ‘asleep’ or not, He was in control all along.

Are you hassling God to stop ‘sleeping’ and help you, when really you should be being patient? You know He’s in control, but you’re starting to lose your nerve. Trusting that God will step in and change things when the time is right can feel like a huge gamble, but it is waiting, not receiving that requires faith.
Maybe God is deliberately keeping quiet on this issue, to develop your faith and trust in Him.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Love Is Blind

Recently I watched a strange dating programme. It was three couples having all their dates in pitch black.

After a compatibility test and three ‘dates in the dark’ each person has the chance to see what their date looks like for ten seconds and then they have to decide whether they want to see them again.

The sad thing was, even though two couples who had had a shaky start both came out wanting to give it a go, the couple that had got on best in the dark were completely derailed by seeing each other.

And that’s how we are sometimes, isn’t it? We can’t seem to get beyond appearances, even though we try.

But Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged”.

Jesus isn’t in the dark about who we are, He knows everything about us and yet He loves us completely. Whatever our shape or size, our personality or our history. You are His precious child and He loves you unconditionally.

How will you respond to this kind of love? Just pick and choose the things you want to believe about God and leave the rest in the dark? Walk away from Him and never experience the relationship He offers you?

Why not do what none of the people on that dating show managed to do, open your arms and embrace Him completely.

When you embrace God, you learn how to embrace others without judging. When you realise how much He has overlooked in your life, and that He instead chooses to call you ‘perfect’, how much more will you be able to forgive the flaws of others?  

No blog next week blog fans, so I’ll see you in a fortnight!