I never thought this would happen, but God has his plans. My second ever sermon and the first in my church is now online.
Today marks the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a place which is known world wide for the atrocities that our Jewish brothers and sisters faced during the Second World War. Atrocities that I didn’t know the depth of fully until I visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on my first visit to Israel a few years ago. Reading through the account of the holocaust in that place made me feel physically sick, I knew from my history lessons at school that it was a massive operation but I had no clue of the depth of it. No clue of how far it went in terms of the dehumanising treatment the Jews had to endure.
Sadly in today’s society we are again seeing the rise of anti-semitism. It takes different forms, whether it’s through the BDS movement or jihadi attacks in both Israel and Europe, this is what they are and to call them anything else forgets the beginnings of moments in history like the holocaust.
Today is a day we must remember, especially in the current cultural climate, and stand side by side with our Jewish brothers and sisters. As a child of Christ I have an even greater responsibility to stand with Israel and show them the love their Messiah has for them.
There are some posts you dream about writing, posts you’d love to write but never think you actually will. This is one of those posts.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about change. Changing the way I approached something has lead to exciting guidance and a big change in my career.
It started with a conversation with two very good friends of mine. One asked how work was, then followed it up with a query about what I really wanted to do. The other laughed, asked me a question, set me a challenge and then held me to it. That question lead me to writing the last post about a change of approach, a change which, thanks to Gods guidance is leading to a leap of faith.
What’s the leap?
On Friday 3rd August I worked my last day in full time employment and spent my last day living in sunny (!?) Slough. The following day I moved to Cheltenham, again. A place I attended university and a place that I love being in.
With that move came a change of employment. I am no longer a rat running a race, but instead a man working as a business owner. I’ve finally taken the leap into self employment. Relying on the Lord to supply me with enough work to put food in my stomach and to pay the bills.
For a long time it’s been my ambition to work for myself, even while I was studying at Uni I knew ultimately I wanted to have my own design studio. It nearly happened straight after Uni after a little encouragement from my tutor, but I knew it wasn’t really the right time. There was a lot I still had to learn, well let’s face it there still is. I’ve now been in full time employment for 5 years. I’ve grown a lot, I’ve changed a lot and I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve experienced working for a small company and I’ve experienced working for a larger company. Both were good experiences that taught me many different things, but underneath there was always this desire to have my own company bubbling away.
I’m delighted to say that has now happened. I’ve had a little holiday, moved to a new (old) place and am at the end of my first week of self employment. It’s exciting, a little daunting but feels like the best decision I’ve made. Except that I didn’t make it, God showed me the door and I pushed it. Now I’ve got to continue pushing doors, keep faithful to Him, and work as hard as I can.
In the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to introduce you to a new name and a new website. Of course this place will still exist and I hope to increase the level of writing, and hopefully build on some friendships that I’ve established through my blog over the years. It’s an exciting adventure, I hope you’ll join me on it!
For the last few years I’ve been praying about something. I’m sure many of you have as well, but this particular thing has occupied my prayers for several years. I’ve been praying about it in the same way for pretty much the entire time, asking for guidance and direction in relation to the thing. During that time the urge to do that thing has grown. One could say its developed into something close to a permanent longing, something that left me unsettled because I’m not doing it and I’ve never really known why.
A recent conversation with a very good friend left me feeling challenged. He asked me a question and laughed at my response because it’s been the same response I’ve given him for the last few years.
My response of course was to question why he was laughing at me, I guess feeling like he wasn’t taking me serious. His response was one which caught me off guard. Instead of answering why he was laughing, he simply asked me how I had been praying about this thing. I told him and after a moments pause he responded with a challenge. Why don’t you pray about it in a different way?
He commented how that as I have been praying for guidance this thing had grown in to a passion and longing, that is to say something more than momentary desire, then maybe I’d had that guidance and it was time to challenge it.
So for the last month I’ve been praying more earnestly and in a different manner. Instead of requesting guidance about the thing, I’ve been praying: Lord, I think you want me to do this, please show me if I’m wrong.
The results have been breath taking, surprising and exciting all at once. A change of events has begun that, I believe, God is using to lead me into doing this thing I’ve been praying about for the last few years. I’m a little apprehensive, but the over riding feeling is one of excitement. This post is not an announcement, yet, but maybe more of a watch this space…
And keep in mind that having a daily “quiet time” or “devotions,” without communing with Jesus, won’t keep your soul alive. Mere reading and studying won’t do it. By itself, new information about God—glorious as it is—won’t keep our hearts soft and our souls breathing. We need the person of Jesus himself whom we find in and through the Scriptures. Our souls long for a living connection with the living God-man. We were made for this.
David Mathis in Study the Word for More Than Words.
And yet, the fear of failure is paralyzing. It’s the great deterrent to our starting things, to our taking risks. It is, as Godin explains, the dirt that buries us in the status quo program of the world around us.
Jonathan Parnell summing up Seth Godin on Desiring God.
God’s method of awakening love in human hearts has always been to first reveal Himself as the One who loves us. Our journey in love begins with and is sustained by the revelation of His love for us. The natural progression of our growth in love begins with knowing we are loved.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2 v 11
Happy Christmas everyone!
As Christians, trusting in God is something we all must do and for the most part we find it relatively easy. Going about our day to day lives, to work and back, etc. it can be very easy to trust God. We pretty much know what is coming when, and whether we can afford to pay for this, that or the other. With the odd exception most of the time things seem to be running smoothly. It’s easy to take for granted that God has a plan for us and we must follow it and trust Him.
As most of you know I graduated from university at the end of June and since then have been hunting for a job. It’s not been easy and many times I’ve been on the verge of just going for any old job, as opposed to one in graphic design. But, I’ve stuck it out. I’ve kept trusting that the Lord will provide me with the job he wants me to be in. It’s become increasingly difficult to do so, but I have to do it.
Two weeks ago I took a bit of a leap of faith. I moved into a house in Slough, along with two of my housemates from uni, with only enough money to cover the monthly rent and some unpaid work placements lined up. In the week running up to the move and sorting out the details of the house, I began to get quite uneasy. It could’ve just been because things were getting real and there was no backing out of it, but what ever the reason I was scared. I had to fully lean on God, in a way I have never done before, to provide for me and in the days leading up to the move I began to develop a growing peace about the situation. Yes, I was still nervous about moving into a house with no guaranteed income to pay bills and buy food, but at the same time I knew that God would provide for me everything I need. That was the most important thing. That I knew I would be supplied with what I need.
The week before we moved in I received a phone call telling me I had been shortlisted for a graphic design job and that I had an interview. So at the start of the second week in the house I went for it. On that day my daily bible notes had a reading which helped me a great deal.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important then clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6 v 25–27
It helped me realise that even though my worries were legitimate, I didn’t need to focus on them as much as I appeared to be. Instead I just needed to trust in God and to trust that He will provide for all the things I need. And well he has. Today I started my first position as a graphic designer in a design studio, and I believe He provided it for me.