When a problem comes

There is an action to take that will immediately alter its size.

Share it with someone, and, as grandma said, it will be halved.

Or don’t share it, and you’ve now doubled it.  The original problem, and the new problem – the fact you can’t talk about it.

Take it from someone who’s been slug-like on the uptake on this – the longer it takes you to get, the bigger it will cost.

PICK UP THE PHONE! (or go for coffee, whatever works for you ;-))

Galatians 6:2 if you need a verse.

 

(H/T Seth)

Stunningly Unloving Advice

It’s great to work day in and day out in a large institution where 80% of the people involved are teenagers.  An open window on to humanity. Here’s what I’ve seen:

They’re absolutely amazing…

and unbelievably awful.

Don’t misunderstand me.  It’s not at all that there are some awful ones, and other amazing ones, and we can draw two columns and assign each their place.  No.  Not a bit of it.  They are all awful, and all absolutely amazing, all at once.

They’re incredibly creative, and worringly corrupt. Outrageously lazy, and also diligent leaders. Tremendously talented, and still prone to tantrums. Cruel and caring. Rude and repentant. Gifted and gross. Inspiring and exasperating. Proud and petrified. Lust fuelled and love formed. Brilliant and boring. Beautiful and boisterous. Defiant and delightful, at times delightfully defiant. All at once.

In short, they’re very human.

Us adults are exactly the same. Maybe some areas of our character are a touch more cultivated, and we’ve certainly got more competent at the art of the cover up but we’re all inescapably human.

So, although sentiments like, “Just be true to yourself” and it’s relations, contain some truth and make for great pop lyrics.  Given as a primary guide to life it is stunningly unloving advice.

Which bit of myself do you want me to be true to?

A roomful of 14 year old boys lead by their feelings could be heroic, but it could also be horrendous.

The same with 44 year olds.

We are dark and lovely.

“Repent and believe” is what love came and yelled.

Today, again

Shake off your weariness. Permit hope to flirt with your heart a little bit. Come once more to your wise and gracious King.  A Father who loves to hear from you. Present again your petition: that that wrong thing, would be made right.

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.”

‘For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”’

And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’  Luke 18:1-8

Encounter in Ireland

Seemed almost too ridiculous at the time, so I pressed pause on writing it down.  But now, a few weeks later, it did indeed really happen, and it still feeds my hope today…

We were in Coleraine town centre, shadowing Scott and Ryan, sharing Jesus at the Door with people.  One of the staff of the church was wandering through the town with his wife and he came over to chat to the guys.  I had only been there a day and we had never met each other before.

“This guy’s really prophetic” Ryan says to me, and they shared a story about how he’d ‘known’ the particular name a woman had tattooed on her arm without having seen it, and how this had impacted her in a powerful way for Jesus.

“Would you pray for me?” I asked, laughing.

“Sure” said this softly spoken, unassuming American.

He said a couple of sentences which wouldn’t be appropriate to share publicly, but that caused me to cry in the middle of this street, given their accuracy and the nerves that they touched.  He then proceeded…

“You’re a writer, and you haven’t seen breakthrough yet.

You’re out here trying to dig another well.

You’ve got a three year old son haven’t you?  He’s going to reach people others don’t reach and have a ministry of mercy, he’s going to to be proud of your faithfulness.

I think you’ll be used for healing, and I keep hearing ‘South Africa'”

I was sobbing by this point, so couldn’t confirm with him, but you reader may well know – I write, and at the moment to a handful of people.  I helped start a community called The Well, and now, although I never thought about it in those terms, I’m on to the next thing.  And the money shot – Lucas, my son, is indeed 3.

So this guy was five from five (three I’ve shared with you), in the most remarkable way.  And the more ‘general’ things he shared around those facts perhaps impacted my heart to an even greater degree.

Come back in a few decades to see any confirmation on Lucas’ ministry, healings I’ve been involved with and whether South Africa, which I’ve had zero to do with till this point, comes true.

So yes, I do believe in the prophetic ministry today.  I think the scriptures call us to it (1 Corinthians 12:8  being one of numerous examples), and I’ve seen it again and again over 17+ years now.

So, if you’re sceptical, my plea would be 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good”.  Be open to this.  I saw it, and it caused me to lift up Jesus and walk in hope.

And if this is something you’ve already signed up to – could this story spur you to a fresh seeking?  A further embrace of, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1

A broken woman once met Jesus and she went away singing,

‘Come meet the man who told me everything I’ve ever done.’  John 4:39

 

 

ps, later found out the guy’s name is Nick Fox, and he and is wife are back to the States to church plant later this year.  Should be gNick Foxood!

005 – Don’t Think, “OT = Abolished”

As you’re shadowing me you might be tempted to think, “He’s come to abolish all that stuff in the Old Testament, start afresh, do something completely new.” Don’t! Nothing could be further from the truth!  I’m not abolishing it, but fulfilling it!  It’s like a promise kept, a foundation built upon, or a frame that’s been filled. It’s not being sent to the rubbish bin, but kept as foundational to all that’s happening.  It will actually be around long after the ground you’re standing on has faded away – so have a think about where you want to fix your feet.

Matthew 5:17-20 as part of the SAS Project