Could we start again, Please?

Isaiah 43:18

‘Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.’

Every year on Good Friday this song pops into my head. Click here. It’s from Jesus Christ Superstar. I’m not a fan of the film, mainly because I think they portray it as an imaginary event. But I do like the song. It looks like the moment where he’s being led away by the soldiers and the disciples (in this case a bunch of hippies) are realizing its for real and get scared. They don’t want to let him go or lose him. But I take it more as starting over. Forgiveness. He shed his blood for us and washed us white as snow. But pure white snow gets dirty after a while and we go back and ask to start all over again, everyday. But we also have sins from the past, perhaps a long time ago that burden us or drag us down. We’ve asked for forgiveness, yet still we hang on to them. But the promise is that with faith and a prayer of forgiveness we can truly let go of all that and march toward the prize that awaits us. Eternity with Jesus! 

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, You sent your one and only son to die for us so we can let go of all sin. Past and present. Not letting go of that sin shows a lack of faith in you and is a sin in itself! So, please forgive us – Amen!

Are we in denial?

John 18:17

“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”

It’s that time of year again! It’s like watching a movie that you’ve seen a million times but still hoping that a certain scene won’t be the same and that things change. To this day, I still wish that Steve McQueen escapes in The Great Escape but he never does. Just like I hope that Peter could prove Jesus wrong and not deny him or perhaps only deny him two times! “There, you see, only twice Jesus!” But it was already planned. God’s will played out. What’s the difference in our lives? Absolutely nothing. A work colleague says “I hear you’re a religious type, you don’t believe in all that Jesus stuff, do you?”…”Nah, not me.” (Nervous laughter).  I have said this in the past. Not in recent years but when I was first finding out about the story of Jesus it was difficult to then be open about my beliefs. But, I suppose I must have told someone otherwise I wouldn’t have been asked the question. So, we must try to be faithful to God outside of a 1 hour service on Sunday. In the comfort of our church buildings. And If God is with us, who can be against us? We must not under-estimate how people may see us if we’re Christians. They may notice something different about us, a certain peace or strength that we may not realize we’re showing.  By saying “Yes, I believe in God.”  we’ll probably just be explaining that difference. If our hearts are open to saying it, God won’t deny us the opportunity.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, forgive us if we ever deny you. Give us the courage and opportunity to tell others about you today and forever – Amen! 

Is it my imagination?…

Philippians 3:14

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us

Last week was another week of Andrew fighting his continuous battle to achieve perfection. I sometimes wonder if the image in my head gifted to me from God can actually be achieved on this earth. In fact, I don’t wonder, I know it can’t because I’ve tried to imagine it too many times in too many ways and it’s never realized. There’s too many variables. Too many opinions and personal tastes that can stifle the process and the outcome. It’s not anyone’s fault. God created us as individuals. It’s just the way it is. It’s the same in any job, not just mine. So, as I sit staring at a snowy, slushy, wet and slightly imperfect London I know that I need to strive on with all the patience, kindness, strength, creativity and peace that God can give me. Then at least it will be in His name and of His will regardless of the not so perfect outcome. I’ll perhaps wait to see perfection in heaven.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, give us patience with those we work with. We pray that we’ll show them respect, kindness and love. For we know that if we love them, we love you – Amen!

Can we ever be as ambitious as God?

Ephesians 3: 20

‘Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us’

Can our personal ambitions ever be as ambitious as those that God has for us? I think we sometimes have an image of God as someone who’s ‘been there and done that’. An old guy with long white flowing hair and beard from the ‘old times’. Not someone we can relate to. But He is not separate from us. The Holy Spirit dwells in us (when asked for through prayer) so He is in us. However, if He is not then any ambition we have might be fruitless because its not of Him and maybe not that ambitious at all! Spending 5 years working toward a promotion may seem like a huge ambition, and there’s nothing wrong with working hard to get there but with God’s guidance who knows what ambitious plans he has instead? And that’s the thing. Not knowing. It’s the hardest part because God only lights the path a few steps in front of us, the rest is based on our faith. But when we take into our own hands we have the full beam on. The path clearly lit all the way to the destination where the word SUCCESS! is brightly lit with fireworks going off around it! At least that’s what we see. It may well end spelling something different if it’s not on God’s path. I’m not suggesting it will be a path to destruction. It may well be fine but perhaps an uphill struggle? Against the wind? A feeling that you’re fighting against something? We’ve all felt that. The times that I’ve switched the full beam off it’s felt easier. More freedom with the wind behind me. It can start with a prayer. A simple request to God to guide us in our work and careers, to make the right choices and have the right ambitions. To glorify Him. Then it’s all in his hands. It’s so much easier when you let someone else do the work!

success chart

 

What do I have in common with the guy that’s loading the baggage?

1 Corinthians 12: 4-6

Now there are different gifts, but the same spirit. And there are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them for everyone.

I’m staring out of the window at JFK watching the plane being loaded with bags. It’s a glorious morning and I’ve watched the sunrise over the terminal. As it has , the place has come alive. It’s making me think though. How everything is connected. How all our work is connected. I couldn’t go anywhere if that guy wasn’t loading the bags. Or if someone hadn’t designed the plane in the first place. Following on from my post last week, it’s really just a continuation of God’s work. Everyone working together to make things happen. The guy loading the bags his doing His work to the best of his ability. He looks like he’s enjoying it, laughing and joking with his work mates. He’s been given a skill by God. He’s fast, that’s for sure and he’s careful with the bags.  He looks like he’s a good guy to work with as well. I hope I can be like him in London. No matter that I’m doing a completely different job. He’ll have his problems. Faulty machinery, delayed planes, snow!  I’ll have my problems. Precious editors, frustrated clients, rain! So, we’re the same. Equally created by God. We have a days work ahead of us and through all the problems we can only work as though we’re working for God. As we all can, with patience, humility and joy. Have a great day!

At the end of the day, do you see that your work ‘is good?’

Genesis 1:10

God called the dry ground “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” God saw that it was good.

I was given a book this week by one of our Pastor’s and it’s been very helpful in giving me some inspiration to write. Very timely! It’s by Timothy Keller and the title is ‘Every Good Endeavor’ – connecting your work to God’s work. I’d never really thought about God creating the world as Him working. I have an image of God just sitting there effortlessly creating the world. Of course, I haven’t a clue how He created it but, for sure, He was working. And He was enjoying working. So much that at the end of each day, He said that ‘It was good’. Do we do that? I don’t think I do. I think I’m just relieved to get on the train and leave it all behind….in tatters. But our work should be a continuation of God’s work. How do we know that? Because He allowed us to do things that He could easily have done. He let us name all the animals. He named the stars and could have easily names the animals as well. He gave us the raw materials to make textiles and building materials. He could have done everything we have achieved but He let us do the work. So, why aren’t we as joyful in doing work as He was? I think it’s because we see it as a chore. We don’t connect God’s work to ours. But whatever we do for a living, we are continuing God’s work. Let’s think about what we do and try to connect it back to God. How is our work beneficial or useful to others beyond what it does for us? (Money, self-esteem etc). Once we answer the question we start to see how it is a continuation of God’s work. It doesn’t have to change what we do but it may change how we go about doing it or what we believe the result of our work is, remembering that God can finish things that we start. We may even start to realize that it’s not at all pointless and that indeed, some of it ‘is good’!

This post, courtesy of Mr Keller!

This post, courtesy of Mr Keller!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us to understand what our work is all about and make some sense of its role in our lives. Help us to fulfill and carry on your good work in a way that is joyful, unselfish and of benefit to others – Amen!

Gossip or The Gospel?

Luke 6:37

Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven

I know what the workplace can be like. I’ve found myself drawn into conversations I shouldn’t have and struggled to get out of them or actually played along. It seems that everyone likes to hear a story about someone else. Most of the time the stories or not so nice. It’s normally about someone in a position of power, someone high up in management who’s trying their best to do a good job but isn’t according to the gossip or rumor.

How do we deal with gossip? We can ignore it and walk away or we can use the words in Luke as a weapon. Words of protection and good against evil. The words clearly say ‘Do not judge others’ and ‘Love our enemies’ (Luke 6:27). We can say those words to our work colleagues. You may think or worry that they’ll look at you like you’re crazy but that’s a human concern and worry. If we’re spreading The Gospel and not gossip then surely God will look after us and open the hearts of those listening to us? It’s worth trying so we can sow the seed of Jesus in someone’s heart, isn’t it?

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray for peace in our workplaces and for those of us who are being attacked by careless talk. May you guide us all in how to behave so we may work for the glory of you – Amen!

Is a 2 hour delay a gift from God?

Romans 8:28

And we know for those that love God all things work together for good, for those that are called according to his purpose.

Looking for the good in things that on the surface don’t seem that good is all part of being a Christian. I found out at 5pm today that my 10.15 flight had been delayed until midnight. I wasn’t happy and I grumbled. But as I sit at the airport now I’m realizing that things seemed to go better because of the delay.

I was able to have more time at the church service and not worry about rushing to the airport at 7pm. I was able to spend more time catching up with people who I hadn’t seen in a while and I was able to relax and focus on the message which I may not have done if I was in a hurry. I had more time talking to my wife and I got one more hug from my daughter who I had earlier said goodbye to. Airport security was empty because it’s late and I’m now realizing that a midnight flight to London isn’t a bad thing from a time difference point of view. And, I can glorify God by writing about it.

I don’t know how God works and I will never know how he gave me that time. Can He delay planes? Or did He just allow me to see the good? How many other people benefited but don’t know it? Trying to work it out isn’t possible but I’m going to credit Him the delay anyway. Praise God!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, forgive us when we grumble about things instead of trying to find the good. We give thanks for the gifts you bless us with especially the gifts we don’t ever acknowledge or recognize – Amen!