Wisdom Exposed

I stand amazed at the unfathomable complexity of God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge (Rom 11:33 [Phillips])

…to those who are called… Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24)

God’s wisdom is awesome.  Intricate and imaginative, resourceful and resolute.

And I am convinced that the genius of his wisdom lies not in that he knows in advance every detail about the future, existing (as is often assumed) completely outside the sequence-of-time within which we live.

What would be impressive about a god who merely watched the future unfold automatically, according to a pre-set program?  We have industrial machines that do that every day!

Yes, God has his settled purposes.  And yes, he foresees a great deal; and can plan for multiple possible scenarios.  But his wisdom is revealed in that way that, with tenacious patience and relentless love, he pursues those purposes for mankind, and for this earth, within the constraints of time, creatively incorporating the free choices of humans and of angels.

Do we feel uncomfortable speaking of ‘constraints’ on God himself, as if that somehow makes him weak?  Far from it.  The biblical narrative reveals a sovereign God who elects not to impose. God chooses to constrain himself, in order to make space for true relationship with his creation.  I suspect he made this choice long ago, when he first spoke creation (space-time) into existence.  He limits himself so that we can partner with him.  And if you doubt this, just pause to consider how he limited himself, in and as Jesus.

The deep wisdom of God utterly confounds the powers that oppose him.  “None of the rulers of this age understood [God’s wisdom]; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Cor 2:7) Coercion, control and domination is all that they understand, and all that they strain to do.

But the wisdom expressed in self-giving love is stronger by far.

And this matters.  Some days it seems like there is pain and brokenness all around me – situations that make me want to scream that ‘this is not the way God planned it, nor how God wants it to be’.   And I believe my outrage is endorsed by the Spirit.  Yet in those moments, with tearful hope, I learn to refuse the temptation to despair, and to offer my aching heart as prayer to the Father-of-all-wisdom.  He comforts me with his love, but more than this;

He finds undreamed-of ways to bring beauty out of ashes.  That is the heart of his wisdom.

Malcolm

A Rhetorical Question

Worship songs can, quite rightly, make you… …pause.

As I stand in worship, I’m glad to joyfully declare, with the rest of the congregation:

“Who can stop the Lord Almighty?”.

The assumed (and correct) answer is “no-one”.  And in asserting this I know I am echoing a refrain that runs throughout Scripture; in the Psalms and the Prophets, and in the New Testament too.

And yet there is an equally clear theme that permeates the whole of Scripture:

“Who can stop the Lord Almighty?”  Well, in a sense, I can.  And I do.

And so do you, and so does every free-will being in creation.  Much of the time.

In one form or another, this apparent paradox has occupied theologians throughout most of church history.  It seems like we are obliged to stand in one of two camps:

Either the Lord Almighty is never thwarted – which raises impossible questions as to why the world remains as tragically broken as it is

Or

The Lord is perhaps not so ‘Almighty’ after all – which shatters our biblical conception of God. (And also ruins our worship songs.)

I’d dare to suggest two factors that can help with this dilemma:

Firstly, it depends on what we assume by the word ‘almighty’; there is (quite literally) a world of difference between having the unquestioned power to impose our will, and having the loving wisdom to choose not to do so.  Ask any parent.

Secondly, much depends on our perspective; the time-horizon with which we typically operate is seldom sufficiently far-reaching and long-term.  Like young children, we can barely think past today.

I emphatically believe, not least on the basis of Jesus’ own words, that the day is coming when ‘the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah’; when God’s will is done on earth as in heaven; when the triumph of the crucified-and-resurrected King is revealed in brilliance for all to see, and when all injustice and evil (and the evil one) that has distorted this creation are finally eradicated.

“But this is not that day”.  Yet.

And during this ‘overlap of the ages’ the sovereign Lord of all wields his power, not by means of irresistible coercion, but by sacrificial love; love that undermines & overcomes the principalities that currently dominate.  This power, so unlike any human (or demonic) conception of strength, is:

Deeply wise

Creatively resourceful

Unremittingly patient

Fiercely loving

and Utterly determined

Determined to bring his purposes to their appointed climax in partnership with, and working through, the people he has sacrificially redeemed.  He will not circumvent us, though knowing how fickle and failing we often are, I sometimes wish he would.  Learning how to host, and how to wield, his incomparable power is central to our calling.

Who can stop the Lord Almighty?  Ultimately no-one.  One day God will fully accomplish his purposes for this earth.  Only pray that our response makes this possible in our generation.

Marana-tha – O Lord Come!

Unspeakably precious; desperately broken; life at both extremes Mark 7:14-23

In our understanding of Scripture, as in much else, we tend to gravitate to one extreme or the other.  (Or, if we do hold a ‘centre ground’, it tends to be a ‘muddled-middle’, achieved simply by diluting the more sharp-edged truths at each end of the spectrum.)

And in doing so we often end up missing the point.

Hence we make much of Gen 1, but downplay Gen 3.  Or vice-versa.  And the result is that we do violence to the narrative of Scripture in general, and these comments of Jesus in particular: “From within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.”

So we rightly declare: “I’m made in the image of God, and therefore infinitely precious.” (Gen 1)

And then slide all-too-easily to:

“So I’m basically good; ‘That’s the way God planned (me), that’s the way God wants (me) to be.'” 

Or…

We truthfully confess: “I’m deeply fallen, fundamentally spoiled and infected by sin.” (Gen 3)

And then sink hopelessly to:

“So I’m basically worthless; unlovable by God or anyone else.  Or myself.”

But Jesus is uncompromising, and insists that we fully embrace both truths.  Yes, we are deeply precious to God.  And yes we are deeply spoiled.

Yet we remain deeply loved, by a Love will not allow us to go untransformed.

Our Father declares that we are ‘worth it’, but not because of anything we’ve done; in fact despite the things we’ve done.  If we look within ourselves, hoping to find something that merits his love, we will look in vain.

Yet he loves us.

And if we presume that at least the underlying motives and deepest feelings of our hearts must somehow be pure then we have not understood Gen 3, or Mark 7.

Yet he loves us.

His love will progressively heal us, but it requires that we accept the diagnosis.

See also; Adam’s sermon ‘The Problem with Religion’, click HERE to listen to the mp3

 

From the leaders of the churches in and around Yeovil

As followers of Jesus we are committed to loving our neighbours. This is foundational to who we are called to be; a community of diverse people who reflect a God whose sacrificial love reaches out to each person, irrespective of nationality, belief, behaviour, or any of the other differences that so easily divide us. His love is unconditional, freely offered to the apparently ‘deserving’ and the allegedly ‘undeserving’. That is why grace is amazing.

Whatever the politics, and whichever side of the debate people are on, we encourage our whole community to seek to disagree well, to be kind and to hear each other rather than fear each other. We also pray that in the local, national and international arena, wisdom, justice and mercy will be at the heart of any discussions. Regardless of how we voted in the recent referendum, as Christians we are committed to loving those from other nations who are here. We declare emphatically that they are welcome. We are resolved to show the same compassion towards them as we seek to show towards all other members of our community. They are important in God’s eyes, so they are important to us. And we will stand alongside them, and against prejudice, discrimination and hatred.

Jesus consistently welcomed strangers and valued those whom others disliked.

He still does, and we stand with Him.

France trip – Millie Chant

A few weeks ago the Create team had the incredible opportunity to go on a mission trip to France. Over 10 days we travelled around central France visiting churches and communities, playing music and leading worship, prayer walking through towns and meeting so many encouraging and inspiring people all fighting to bring the kingdom of God to France. We got to know Christians who have incredible lifelong visions for starting churches in their area and beyond, who are discipling and growing new Christians and bringing them together in fellowship. We met people who have found what they are most passionate about in life and are using it to show others the glory of God, giving him the fruits of the things they enjoy doing. We met young Christians on fire for God despite having to travel miles to reach their nearest church, and know little to no other Christians their own age. With the YCC France Prayer Team we visited towns with no church and prayed for God to reveal himself to the people living there, and visited towns where the exciting future of the church is only just beginning to take shape.

As a team we were challenged to step up and step out for God, to bring who we are as individuals and serve in ways that we didn’t know we could. Whether that meant pursuing intentional conversation where communication was difficult, getting up on stage to lead people into worship, sharing who we are as a Create to those who haven’t come across a team like us before, or helping to pack up every day. We were all pushed out of our comfort zone and encouraged into doing things we hadn’t done before, and that was so exciting. It was such an awesome experience to share with each other as well, and so great to hear how God had been speaking to and inspiring each of us when we shared with each other. We were able to encourage each other in our achievements and build each other up as we grew closer and stronger as a team throughout the week.

I don’t think there is anyone on the team who could say that it wasn’t a significant period of time. It was a time of growing as individuals and as a team, and we learnt so much about what it means to serve God and serve others. We experienced what God was doing somewhere that wasn’t Yeovil or our home towns, and realised that we took the fact that we can reach so many people in our community for granted. We were inspired to do all we could to help those people achieve what God had put on their hearts for their communities, the same way that God put it on our hearts to reach the people of Yeovil when we first joined Create. We will be continuing to pray for the incredible people we met in France, and we invite you to do the same. If you would like to know more about what we did during our time in France feel free to come and talk to a member of the team, we would be more than happy to chat with you!

At the end of a very bad week


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If God is good, and God loves us, and God doesn’t ‘make’ us ill, and God always hears our prayers, then why do bad things happen?

There have been books written about it and probably a zillion sermons preached. Long talks and tears shed and hearts wrung out around kitchen tables over the illness and suffering that we see around us in the world, and the collision that it causes in our hearts when the promises we read in our Bibles don’t seem to stack up against the realities of life.

I feel it when I read about refugee camps being bulldozed, and young girls in Rotherham being groomed and sexually assaulted by men who should know better. I feel it when I read about the little girl who died from meningitis, and I, along with many other parents, sign our names on a piece of paper and pray we never go through that sort of pain.

I feel it even in my everyday. Not the big things, not in people dying or real trauma even, but just the everyday less-than-perfect. People hurting. Issues at work that I can’t put right. Words spoken and pain inflicted and this longing that somehow – somehow – things should be better.

If only the Bible were a more complete how-to manual. Step-by-step instructions. Do this, then say that, and 1-2-3, hey presto! Healing comes, forgiveness flows, injustice is righted and wrongs overcome.

Instead, we are sometimes faced with unpredictability and fear and a sometimes-sense that we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing or praying, questioning if anything will ever change, anyway?

The problem is, that although a 100 per cent results guaranteed, how-to manual on effective prayer techniques would be very useful at times, He never is and never was our genie in a bottle. That’s not to say that God is sitting up there in heaven, randomly selecting when to hear our prayers and when to not, like some sort of celestial game of Russian roulette to keep us on our toes.

But perhaps, when Jesus admonished the crowds in Galilee for always demanding signs and wonders of him, he touched on something that relates to us now as well as it did then. Will we – can we – believe in God when things don’t always go our way?

The hard-to-bear truth is that I don’t know why some prayers appear to be answered and some don’t. Perhaps I never will. But I do know that God is good, and that He created our world perfect. That He walked and talked and dwelt with us there until we chose to disobey Him. And in doing so, opened up our world to good and bad, to death and decay, and since that time we’ve lived with the consequences we see around us every day.

And I know that one day, that pain and suffering won’t be there anymore: that God has already set the wheels in motion to end death and illness and suffering forever. And I know that while I don’t understand why prayers sometimes go unanswered, I have a God that feels the pain of my suffering, too.

Hebrews 4:15 says: “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand,” because He too suffered, saw suffering, experienced pain. And yet endured, that one day there would be pain no more for any of us.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying: ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said: ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'” Revelation 21:3-5.

 

Emma Fowle guest post for Evangelical Alliance

Emma is a freelance writer and blogger from Cornwall, click to see her blog Emma Fowle

Addicted? Mark 3:7-12

The crowds came from all around the area to hear him, to see him, to be touched by him. News about him had spread far & wide. He was famous, celebrated, popular, ‘recognised’. Even by the spiritual powers.

Yet Jesus himself was… nonplussed; unmoved; content to put a bit of space between himself and the adoring crowds. Maybe he recalled an earlier temptation: “I will give you all the glory of these kingdoms if you will just…”

Applause is so addictive. And so dangerous. The desire to be known, to be noticed, to be esteemed, especially by those that we esteem. We can claim that it is just a part of ‘advancing the kingdom’. Maybe. But not always His Kingdom. And churches carry the wounds of those who couldn’t tell the difference. To remain humbly receptive to both the approving and the challenging comments of those we trust, while remaining quietly but utterly secure in the love of the Father, this is a narrow road, and less travelled.

Jesus knew what it was to be wildly popular, and deeply unpopular – sometimes within the same week. On a hillside or in a boat, time away from the crowds helps to break our addiction; time with the one who’s love for us does not rely on our performance.

And the unclean spirits rightly fear and flee before those whose security they cannot manipulate.

Not answering – Mark 3:4

Jesus said “Is this a day to save life or to destroy it? But they wouldn’t answer him” (Mk 3:4)
There’s a time to stay silent, to not respond, to refuse to answer. There’s a time to be quiet… (Ecclesiastes 3:7). And often we get it wrong. We speak when we’d have done much better to stay silent, but we can’t resist making ‘that comment’. Prompted by pride we fail to restrain our tongues, and often regret it later.
But not always. When Jesus asks a question of us we do well to try to answer, however weakly. Because in challenging us with a question Jesus is presenting us with a chance to grow, to learn, to change. And to refuse to answer, to stubbornly remain silent (as the Pharisees did) not only betrays a hard heart, it solidifies that hard-heartedness. For some who were watching Jesus, as he encountered the man with the deformed hand, this was a pivotal moment. They could have responded to his question, and acknowledged (perhaps sheepishly) that their petty Sabbath regulations had led them to an absurd position. But their pride wouldn’t allow them. So they refused to answer, and their refusal hardened them – with deadly consequences.
Hardness-of-heart is always what develops when we refuse to answer Jesus when he addresses us. “Today, when you hear his voice, don’t harden you hearts…” (Heb 3:7)

Ministry Update – The King’s Place

During the year we have agencies bring their clients up to the King’s Place to use the voucher scheme, giving those moving into accommodation, kitchen packs, linen and clothing if needed.

We had one story where a man put his clothes and possessions into storage, and when he came to move into a flat, found that everything in storage had been sold, we were able to provide clothing for him as part of the voucher scheme. During last year we had 86 people use the King’s Place Voucher Scheme through 2015.

Broken down, into items given out last year at the King’s Place,

873 bedroom items, approx value £2602.96

1235 kitchen items, approx value £1440.95

347 items of clothing, approx value £860.47

 

Mat

Being Human – Mark 2:23-28

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is Lord, even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)

What does it mean to be human?  What is humanity meant to look like?  When Jesus calls himself ‘Son of Man’ – which was his preferred way of referring to himself – he was not merely adopting a convenient title; he was in effect saying “I am the model of what it means to be human; I am how Adam and his descendants were meant to be, to speak, to act, to live.  I am the archetypal human as God intended.”  And he was deliberately echoing Daniel 7, where ‘one like a son of man’ (i.e. a human being) was given complete authority and glory, and a kingdom that would never pass away.

Jesus is not merely the perfect expression of who God is (which we have seen repeatedly) but he is also the perfect expression of what humans are meant be…and what, as re-born and resurrected men & women, we are destined to be.  His glory & authority he intends to share with us, restoring us to the role for which we were created in the beginning.

And during this ‘in-between age’ we are being shaped to fit that future high calling (for nothing corrupt can be carried into the age to come).  We are called & empowered to live in the here-and-now in a way that is consistent with that new humanity which is our future destiny.

Which may all sound wonderful, but rather detached from the nitty-gritty of our normal lives, where daily we struggle to cope with scores of situations – and scores of people – that we find so hard.  Yet that is precisely the point; how else will we grow in grace except through circumstances that require grace.; how will be learn patience if not through situations where great patience is called for; how will be develop our capacity to forgive (as we ourselves have been forgiven) without being confronted by scenarios where forgiveness is deeply needed.

Each day the Spirit seeks to walk us through encounters that he can use to teach us, and develop us to be ‘truly human’.  Let’s not try to skip lessons.

Ministry Update – Yeovil4Family

At Yeovil4Family we are looking back on 2015 with thankful hearts as we remind ourselves of all that God has done.  His very nature is faithfulness. Choosing thanksgiving reminds us of what God has done in the past and gives us confidence and hope as we face new situations that are unresolved.

So; we say thank you for…

  • A SMOOTH TRANSITION as we ended our contract with South Somerset District Council and began working on our own again.  We are continuing to receive referrals from all over South Somerset as organisations and agencies, that have seen the value and impact of our work, seek our input.
  • TRANSFORMATION IN MANY FAMILIES LIVES.  We continue to see families making positive steps forwards.

One of our Mentors recently spoke about having visited an old family they used to work with just before Christmas.  They were so encouraged by the family’s joyful response to their turning up on the doorstep; the husband called his wife who was out and about, to come back home and see who had come to visit.  This family had had various difficulties when Y4F began working with them and the Mentor had walked alongside them through various difficulties.  Things, as with all of us, were not perfect now, but they were doing well and spoke about how much of a difference the support they had received had made to their lives.

One of our Link Workers reported having recently bumped into a lady from a family she had historically worked with.  The Lady greeted the Link worker from the reception of the restaurant she was having dinner at.  The fact that this person had taken on employment and was obviously taking pride in her appearance again was a huge encouragement to the Link worker as life was very complicated and troubled when Y4F became involved with this family. Five children, one son with   major anger issues, bad health, housing issues and Debts. Employment had seemed a million miles away.  

During this brief, unexpected encounter, there was a glimpse that hope and transformation were at work.

For all this, we say thank you.

  • A CENTRE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARD AND AN INSPIRE AWARD RUNNER UP

We were delighted to be nominated and then win one of 2015’s 8 Centre for Social Justice Awards.

The Centre for Social Justice is an independent think-tank, established to put social Justice at the heart of British politics.  They believe that the surest way to reverse social breakdown—and the poverty it creates -is to build resilience within individuals, families and the organisations that work with them.  The CSJ awards are to celebrate some of these innovative organisations.

Liz Earle from the charity ‘Live Twice’, our sponsoring organisation, presented the award.  It was such a fantastic experience for us to go to London as a team and celebrate together.

We were also really pleased to be awarded Runner-up in the Inspiring Project category from Evangelical Alliances ‘Inspire Awards 2015’.  Rachel and Adam Dyer travelled to London to accept the award.

All these things are a testimony to God’s unending goodness and faithfulness and so we look forward to 2016 with expectancy and with faith that we will see Him do great things amongst us!

Age-old blasphemy – Mark 1:40-45

Age-old blasphemy 

“If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean” (Mk 1:40).  “If…”  Why the suggestion of doubt?  Everything we see in the life, teaching and example of Jesus is that he is absolutely willing, and he emphatically affirms this to the leper.  And Jesus perfectly reflects the Father. To suggest the opposite – that it is in character and nature of God to habitually afflict with sickness (or that he is indifferent to ‘natural’ disasters, or generally sponsors evil) – is to utterly misrepresent God and make him out to be a monster.  I’d dare to suggest it is essentially blasphemous, for it takes the name of God, and associates this name (ie his character) with things that are quite the opposite & wholly alien to him.  Perhaps (as per Adam’s teaching) this is why Jesus was indignant. 

It was the primeval sin of mankind to embrace the serpent’s lie that somehow God did not love us and was not really committed to our welfare, but instead was devious and deceitful, and concerned with his own hidden agenda.  (See Gen 3) 

But God is love, and “love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor 13:6).   

To affirm this does not satisfy all of our searching questions about the existence of evil in our world, or our agonizing struggles when we see such evil impacting us, or those around us.  Or why, from our perspective, our prayers at times seem ineffective.  But I will not attribute evil to God.  I will affirm that God is good, and gracious and loving.  And when I see suffering and encounter evil I will not turn to Jesus and say “If you were willing…”.  

Rather I will declare (perhaps with indignation, and perhaps through tears) “…an enemy has done this.” 

 

Vulnerability and the Machine

Vulnerability is something I know something about.  Don’t we all? When I first heard Brene Brown was a Vulnerability and Shame Researcher I thought it was a made up job.  I thought the journey I was on with vulnerability was a one woman show.  To hear that millions of people feel the same? To learn that someone actually studies this and it’s a crucial part to thriving? That’s an eye opener for me.

I write a blog where I put myself out there in the public domain again and again.  I’ve been on a journey where I’ve had to let the opinions of others be like rain drops off a duck’s back.

When I feel vulnerable its like I am cornered, not in control, open to personal judgement.  So the machine takes over,  spurting out the one liners, positive all the time, don’t ever say how you’re really feeling.  To let the real you out? That’s harder. So be the machine, be a robot, fit in.

I feel it as a blogger, and more as a woman but never more so than as a mother.

The definition of vulnerable is to be: exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

So why are we being encouraged to be vulnerable in church? Why is being vulnerable seen as a good thing?

These are questions I am asking myself and I’m not sure I know the answers to, because even though I don’t think vulnerability is a weakness, I do think it can make us ‘feel’ weak.  Don’t you?

I know that there have been times when I’ve given information out to someone only to have them use that information against me to attack me later.  Has that ever happened to you?

So how can we be vulnerable and feel the fruits of that? Firstly I think there are two types of vulnerability.  I think there’s good vulnerability and then there’s the please “use your common sense” type.

For example babies are totally vulnerable, they need constant care and attention.  To leave them open to attack or harm is negligence.  Don’t get vulnerability and negligence mixed up.

Another example could be a man or woman walking home on their own late at night, or jumping off a balcony into a swimming pool below or drinking a whole bottle of gin in one go.  This is not the kind of vulnerability that is good for you.  I’ve learnt this the hard way.  Use your common sense, don’t do things that will harm you.

The second type of vulnerability is what I call “you make me brave”.  This is the type I’ve been learning about and it uses the motto “tell the truth, even if your voice shakes”.  tell the truth

 

I watched a Jonathan Ross show awhile ago and Florence and the Machine were on.  Florence Welch is the lead singer and although I appreciate the songs they sing I’d never really been a fan of theirs.

I noticed Florence didn’t have any shoes on as she stood there and sang her song, confidently and beautifully as always.  It was only when Jonathan went over to help her walk to the sofa for the interview afterwards that I realised she’d hurt her foot.  She’d done the whole performance with a broken foot!

As she sat there with the other celebrities it became clear very quickly that she is not your usual celebrity, meek and quiet in her speaking voice she timidly spoke and said, “this is my first interview on tv”.  I felt an immediate connection to her, she was out of her comfort zone, sat on the sofa being interviewed injured and hurting with a broken foot and shaking like a leaf.

I applauded her in my head (and heart) because she was being brave.  I applauded her because she was vulnerable. She was hurt and she performed anyway.  Her voice shook but she spoke anyway.  I felt a connection to her because she showed her real self.  It was brave and beautiful.  It’s a choice I’m trying to make every day in my own life.

In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown quotes a Theodore Roosevelt speech, sometimes called “The Man in the Arena” which he delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris on 23/04/1910.  I think Florence was in the arena and I want to be in the arena too.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. , whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

man in the arena

Look at Jesus (who knew vulnerability on our behalf), sent into the wilderness (the arena) for 40 days and 40 nights AND He was hungry before being tempted, have you ever made a decision on an empty stomach?.  Most people would fold out of sheer hunger.

Jesus was vulnerable to attack and to harm.  He was vulnerable to weakness, to throwing in the towel and saying “Yes I’ll take my kingdom now”, he was vulnerable to ending it all, taking the control back.  Jesus stood firm.

Thank you Jesus for standing firm.

It is because of His vulnerability and bravery and his willingness to go to the cross that we can be vulnerable and brave today.  I believe He had his armour on, I believe He was covered in prayer AND I believe he added wisdom to the balance.  It is because He was tempted and stood firm that He knows our vulnerability on a human level and understands our struggles with failure.

Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

Whatever God has called you to in a given situation, chances are you may have to be vulnerable, check in with Him about what He wants you do and say, being real is to be vulnerable, in essence.

Use common sense, He has given us a way to be vulnerable and wise, put on your armour.

Put on the full armour of God.  God wants you to be vulnerable, brave AND protected from the enemy who would have us stumble and fall.

Ephesians 6:10-18 The Armour of God

10.Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Imagine yourself actually putting on the armour, one item at a time.  Pray for God’s protection over your heart and mind. Imagine God’s angels surrounding you.  Grab yourself a mentor to counsel you and pray for you.

Finally it’s ok you know, you don’t have to let every single person you meet into every single part of your life.  Talk to people that you trust.  I have a mentor and I have people that I know I can go to when I need say ‘no, I’m not ok’.  These are people who know me well enough that even if I say I’m ok they know I’m not, it’s all about relationship.

I’m still working on being vulnerable, on being real, it’s a journey.  I’m not ‘real’ 100% of the time.  Are you?

I’m aiming for the arena though,  I’m aiming to be brave, I’m aiming for imperfection and I’m intending to use my common sense, and to be protected.

Be vulnerable and ‘tell the truth even if your voice shakes’, and remember you don’t have to do it alone, grab a mentor and take Jesus with you wherever you go.

 

 

 

 

Yeovil4Work Ministry Update – Pat Gillett

Yeovil4Work2

 

Hi Everyone,

“MERRY CHRISTMAS… whoops too early ? No not really. Lets think…. how are we going to get the kids presents this year – the credit card is already full?

OK I’ll get ANOTHER job …that’s to go with the one I’ve already got..  gosh you’ve already GOT a job ? Lucky you !!”

Mark came to the Job Club one day with personal circumstances that had the potential to blow his life apart…

Sharing his circumstances was the start of getting him to believe in the power of HOPE…

Mark applied for a cleaning job, he was promised a lot of hours to see him through coming off benefits .. great you say… NOT SO…He found that it wasn’t just him who turned up to do the cleaning, he had to share the hours with two other blokes, sometimes three… which meant sharing the money too!

So Mark went to the boss and said… “Hey you’ve seen my work, it’s good, I’m motivated, fast and thorough…if I can’t earn enough then I shall have to go somewhere else, please give me the work I need to earn enough for my family”…THIS STORY HAD A HAPPY ENDING! The boss gave him the whole job!

NOW HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD HAS BEEN POURED OUT IN OUR HEARTS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO WAS GIVEN TO US…Romans 5:5.

DO YOU HAVE A STORY YOU CAN BRING TO THE JOB CLUB TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS?

YEOVIL4WORK  FRIDAYS 9.30 – 12.30.

Pat

Yeovil4Work