Tag Archives: freedom

New Year Resolutions 101

Change can be a weird thing, it can cause us anxiety and stress and also be exciting and exhilarating. I often feel the challenge to make new years resolutions, but this year, I was inspired by a Facebook post that suggested to its reader, that it would be a good idea instead to not make resolutions, on the grounds simply that we don’t need the pressure!

There is a lot of wisdom in not over burdening yourself, in not piling on the pressure. Its well known and documented that such pressure over time leads to bad health not forgetting along the way, some level of social and familial isolation.

Perhaps rather than making resolutions that are unattainable, sit down by yourself and prayerfully consider if there is anything in your schedule  that can be culled. Alongside that consider what is it that has helped you be the person the Lord is calling you to be more consistently like, and spend time this year investing in those things.

It can be good to aim at something, to set a goal, with achievable steps. However equally freedom can be found in, not setting yourself yet another action point, or another thing to remind yourself off that you haven’t quite done yet.

So I guess you know what is best for you, trust your instinct and in a God who has led you so far and loved and loves you regardless of goal setting or not. Nothing can ever separate us from his love, heights, depths, resolutions, sin, untidiness, poverty or riches.

Finally to the observant you will notice that their have been some changes in design to the blog and along with that I will post occasional pictures and videos along with the regular post content. I felt that I needed to change things up a little and hope you appreciate it.

See you next week and happy new year

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Disappointed in God

Moses was adopted by the Pharaoh having been found in a basket in a stream, in his search for identity and trying to win favour with his birth culture, he killed a guy for being a bully, and then was an outlaw for 40 years.  He sees a burning bush that doesn’t burn up which is kind of weird, and here he meets with God for the first time.

God makes a big deal about how Moses needs to go back to Egypt and get the pharaoh to set the people free. This is just the beginning of Moses’s problems, and disappointments, which led him to break the originally chiselled priceless Ten Commandments, then having calmed down, Moses had to go back and ask God to make some more!

Equally the disciples were pretty disappointed with God. In the Torah (Jewish Scriptures) it is told of the Messiah to come. And there was every real hope that the Messiah would kick out the Romans. Which as it turned out Jesus was not that kind of Messiah!

I also get disappointed with God, I’m disappointed that England didn’t get very far in the Rugby World Cup! I’m disappointed that God doesn’t show up nearly often enough in the lives of broken people, I stare at disbelief at what is going on in the world and feel an affinity with all those around the globe, for whom their disappointment with God, has lead to doubt and ultimately disbelief.

In all our disappointment we lob at God, these worlds are echoed in the words of the Pharisee in the new testament. Who shouts at the cross Jesus is nailed too. ‘Come down, if you are the son of God’! We all know what happened next.

What does God do, well he loves us, us who are wrapped up in life disappointments and pain. He puts people around us, he offers us a community to be part of where we can thrive, and learn more of the God we still perhaps just believe in. Disappointment though is part of what makes our faith real and living, we don’t blindly believe a set of edicts, but are free in our faith to say or leave, to shout at God, or ask him continually to open the eyes of our hearts that we might see as God does.

Disappointment in God is more about us than God, more about humanities decision to be a disciple or not. Ultimately like Jesus’s disciples, Moses saw God do amazing things through him, the parting of the red sea, transform a staff to snake and back again, food in the dessert, and so much more. There is noting like being in the place where the Lord wants you to be. There is a sense of renewed identity and purpose even if the place where the lord has placed you is hard.

May God Bless You

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Slave (to the schedule)

Help me, I am bound, shackled to a monster, who tirelessly whips me with the corse edges of dates, the barbs of endless entries in my schedule, it mocks me and tries to shred my professional veneer. Even Siri (the voice of my schedule and Apples automated personal assistant) joins in with its chirpy voice:

“You have 15 appointments today.”

Then adds, as if to pour heated coals on my head.

“That’s a lot”!!

The bible tells me I am free, that I am only a slave to christ, in whom I find rest, contentment and purpose.

Therefore, I have a dream, that the diary will no longer shackle and define me, that we will know what it is to be liberated when we have taken back control and tamed the beast the diary can become. That there will be a partnership between humankind and our diaries. That isn’t about who has the power so much, but how life is managed and enriched, that the joys as well as work commitments can intermingle in harmony on its pages and in our hearts.

I have a dream that my kids won’t complain when daddy’s got another meeting or working late, or is two busy to play or too stressed to be able to. But instead he and the diary together maximise those precious moments with my young children and family, moments that matter more to them than I can imagine.

I have a dream that within the relentless schedule of life, mapped out in the diary, that there becomes room for spontaneity, where there is the discovery of the still small voice of God, or the awe moment when a view takes you buy surprise or simply the spontaneity  of kissing the one you love firmly on the lips.

My previous post retreat is not surrender struck a nerve with lots of people, so I thought to encourage you, that we do not need to be slaves to the schedule, as hard as that might be. As I said to a church member on sunday, sometimes taking a break in the schedule to make things calm down can take a few weeks to be implemented. Taking a break can’t always be achieved straight away.

Five years ago when I became a minister, in the Methodist church, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be like those ‘other ministers’ who run around all day and hear the fateful words from congregations “I know your busy but…?”. This naive notion didn’t last long. The schedule is a battle ground, to win space, achieve time with family, times for spiritual nourishment and more besides. I believe that the battle can be won, because frankly the cost of losing the war is too high. What is the cost? Well, that maybe different for you and I, for me largely, it’s loosing touch with family, what my kids are up to, not knowing the funny story or sad moment I didn’t have time to hear.

So go with God. Win those battles, find that harmony, you and I are and need not be slaves, but free people.

breaking-the-chains-10

An Alien In My Head!!

I watched the film “Host” yesterday, which is a film about an alien invasion, where humanity is pretty much wiped out. The aliens take over by inhabiting our bodies. They control our bodies, but our consciousness remains mostly subdued, enter our heroine who fights back, against the alien entity! However the inhabitation results in world peace, an end to poverty and global warming! Bear with with me, my non sci-fi friends.

The movie, got me thinking about the nature of freedom, which is often perceived as a fight against all kinds oppression be that political, military and perhaps when we are younger our parents will, and lastly maybe in the future aliens. (Sorry last mention of aliens, promise lol)

I wondered if I would share my body with an entity, that would ultimately make me safe when walking down a dark alley, which would allow me to fully trust my fellow human being, rather than being sceptical, and wondering if I was being tricked in some way.

Perhaps you are shouting at the screen right now, there is no reason I would share my head space with another being, even if that resulted in some kind of utopia, my freedom doesn’t have a price. I felt that too. And then realised whether it is that reaction that underpins, how many react to God.

A God who Christian’s believe fills us with his presence, and his word, and guides us. After all scripture reminds us we are temples of the Holy Spirit. You will have noticed however, that having Gods presence inside us, hasn’t lead to world peace, a uniformity of faith, theology or Christian living; issues around sex and gender are just examples of this.

Why might we fight for freedom or so called, because we want to be free to choose our way, subsequently many have thrown off this God based perceived shackle God can offer us a different kind of freedom, a freedom in relationship with God, a big picture freedom, of blue sky’s and neighbourly love, and eternity. Is that not worth giving up a bit of our choice, our freedom for? Instead of fighting, listening to what God is saying to us as he speaks to us through the natural and manmade things in our lives, calling to us in a cacophony of ways.

Lord God may for today I choose not my desires but yours, even if they seem strange to me, for you are a God who calls me to love self as you see me, and others as much as you love me.

Amen


ps thank you for all your likes on my recent
Posts on Easter weekend, the character introduced you too their will return!

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