Showing posts with label seeing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seeing. Show all posts

11 August 2011

X-treme Camps - A meeting

< The problem | No later items >

When I visited a home in Bedford, I didn't expect to have an answer to my prayer for guidance and help dealing with some troublesome young people in St Neots!

Father has some surprising ways of organising things. Sometimes an apparently insuperable problem is dealt with by an unexpected revelation or an unplanned meeting. So it was for me.

Pete teaching survival skillsI'd been invited to Rupert and Uli's home to join them and some friends in a meal, and a time of prayer and praise. It was a warm, sunny day and I was the first to arrive; they suggested I take a drink out into the garden and that is what I did. While I was waiting there a man I had not met before walked in and we began to chat.

We introduced ourselves and he told me his name was Pete, we quickly warmed to one another and I began to tell him about the recent events in St Neots. (These are described in the previous part of this story, but in essence some young people had driven a couple out of their home by stone throwing and other abusive behaviour.)

As I explained I mentioned that I didn't even know who these young people were. 'He stopped me in my tracks by saying, quite emphatically, 'You will do'.

Pete continued by explaining that for a number of years he'd been running an annual summer camp for youngsters in the Bedford area. The camps are aimed at youngsters who might not otherwise have a chance to live in a tent, experience open countryside, try their hand at things like raft building or survival skills, or take part in competitive team activities. There are also short sessions where they can learn about caring for other people in the way Jesus taught us to do, discover what it means to follow him, and understand why he wants us to love one another.

This was an exciting development for me. It wouldn't help deal with the recent problem of stone throwing and intimidation but it might help head off similar anti-social behaviour by the next generation of teenagers. As I drove home later that evening I felt the next step would be to share the news with Jim and Sean, the two guys I meet regularly each week in the St Neots/Huntingdon area.

There is a useful lesson in all of this. If we see a need in the community where we live or in our own lives, even while we are wondering what to do about it our Father in heaven may be preparing a solution for us. He does this a lot, preparing the way for us to walk in later. If you read the gospels you'll see many examples in Jesus' own life and if you read Acts and the letters to the churches you'll see the same thing happening again to the early believers.

There's a pattern here, so next time you are struggling with a major issue in life, stop for a moment and think. Wait for him to prepare the way for you and see what he will do. Often it will be something unexpected and will arrive unannounced. When you see it, rejoice and give thanks. But don't be so distracted by the original problem that you don't recognise the answer when it arrives!

This of course is only one way that the Almighty communicates with us, by showing us. Watching and listening are important ways of discovering what he wants us to do.

< The problem | No later items >

05 November 2010

THOUGHT - This, not that

I responded to a post on 'Simply Church' a few days ago, the post had piqued my interest for two reasons. Firstly, the topic being dealt with has been in my mind a lot recently, and secondly it reminded me of the meetings we used to have in the 1970s.

The 'Simply Church' blogAs I started to write I felt the Holy Spirit taking charge of my thoughts and the words just flowed. That's always a good sign!

The 'Simply Church' post was called 'Who is in control when we gather?'. Follow the link to see the original post and the comments. I duly sent off my response and later had an interesting reply by email. As I wrote back the Holy Spirit took control again and words appeared almost without any effort on my part.

The Spirit is always ready to lead us if we will just let him. But first we need to turn to focus fully on Christ. The Holy Spirit is after all the Spirit of Christ, he is Christ in us (the hope of glory)! (Colossians 1:27) When Jesus is full and central in our hearts and minds then we may begin to see what he is doing and hear what he is saying. He reveals the father to us (John 14:7) so that we can shout out Abba (Daddy) (Romans 8:15) and run to him with arms outstretched knowing he will pick us up and whirl us around.

Jesus said, 'I only do what I see the Father do (John 5:19), I only say what I hear him say (John 12:49-50).' Frankly, if that was good enough for him it should certainly be good enough for us. We really do need to stop what we are doing, keep quiet, watch and listen, and then do and say the things we are shown.

As I wrote he gave me a list of short phrases along the lines of 'this, not that'. The more I think about them the more helpful they seem to be. In particular they are challenging me and reminding me, not my way Lord but yours, not my will Lord but yours, not my words Lord but yours. I'll just list them below, then expand one or two of them.

  • Life, not structures
  • People, not things
  • Community, not organisation
  • The Spirit of Christ, not our own reasoning
  • Love, not deeds
  • Stillness, not busyness
  • Hope, not despair
  • Acceptance, not rejection
  • Grace, not offendedness
  • Gentleness, not strength
  • Service, not leadership

It's a list that could go on and on and on. Those things are not really opposites, some of them are but it's not as simple as that. For example, the opposite of life is death, not structures. But structures are apt to cause a sort of death or at least a paralysis.

There is no real opposite to the concept of 'People', and if there was it wouldn't be 'things'. But the things in our lives sometimes prevent us reaching and touching the people around us. This is especially true for the precious things we cling to (events, ideas, hobbies, memories, chores as well as possessions).

And how many of us have become frustrated, even angry, about organisations yet have an unfilled space in our hearts for real community?

Maybe the best way to summarise it is to say that we need to avoid everything that stifles our ability to walk arm in arm with Jesus.

I'd be interested to hear your response so go ahead and comment. In particular it would be good to see comments that suggest more 'this, not that' pairs. And also it would be good to see some comments that expand more of the pairs. What do they say to you? How do they challenge you?

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