Monthly Archives: September 2009

How to Change the World…?

peopleworld

…one life at a time.

I was discussing with a good friend the other day ways in which we should be engaging the world with the Gospel message. It’s a given that in today’s world people don’t want to know what you have to say until they can see you living what you believe. People want authenticity; they want to know that what you do matches what you say. If we look for examples we see that Jesus was concerned with meeting both the physical and spiritual needs of people. Almost every account in the bible Jesus meets a need and speaks truth to people. If we’re to follow Jesus then we too must look to meet needs and speak truth, the two go hand in hand. 

Often we’re reluctant to engage people in our communities because getting involved with people can often be messy. We feel their hurt, we share their pain and often we are stretched in our faith, resources and emotions. Its hard work, it takes time and let’s be honest, it’s easier to just keep to ourselves, our agendas and our needs. 

Humans are all about relationships wouldn’t you agree? So it makes sense that the way to make a difference in our world is by building relationships. But how do we do that? How do we start to build relationships with those we don’t know or haven’t really met? 

There are a lot of courses and information on how to build relationships with people and most of them are really useful and offer great tools. But in the end that’s all they are, tools, and tools are no good if you don’t pick them up and use them. You can have all the tools in the world but if you never actually go and put yourself in situations where you can use them then they are useless. 

If you want to meet needs, help people and introduce them to Jesus, the first and most important step is to simply ‘go’. Training is great, but you can do that as you go. You don’t have to know everything, in fact saying that you don’t know can be very powerful if followed with, “let’s go find the answers together”. That there is discipleship and relationship all in one. 

Want to change the world? Then you have no option but to go and be salt and light to a hurting world. You don’t need all the answers, you only need a willing spirit and a desire to get in and get messy with those around you. 

How do you build relationships with people? Do you find it easy/difficult? What suggestions do you have, please share!

Related post: The Church of Tomorrow

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Faith Like a Child

hold hands

It seems that I’m learning a lot from my daughter lately and I love it! God is using her life to speak and encourage me. Jesus said in Mark 10:14-15 that we need to have the faith of a child if we are to come to God. This got me thinking about what child-like faith looks like, how do I get it and how do I keep it?

I’m not saying that we need to revert to being children but there is something unique about the faith of a child that we can learn from. As I watch Anabelle learn and grow, two things leap out at me as examples of child like faith.

Children believe what you say

Anabelle trusts me because I’m her dad and she believes me without question. She knows that when I say I love her I mean it! She believes that when I tell her the oven is hot, or that the bin is not a fun place to play that I know what I’m talking about. And yes I often have to tell her many times as she learns, but in the end she learns that what I’m saying is true and trusts me.  When it comes to God, He’s asking us to take Him at His word, to believe what He says and that He knows best. Often we have to hear it from Him a few times before we ‘get it’ and trust Him

Trust leads to challenge

As children get older they continue to trust but they begin to question. They want to understand the reasons why they trust and believe what you have told them and as parents it’s our job to teach them how to learn. Our job is to teach them how to find answers to their questions, so they know why the oven is hot, why the bin is not a good place to play and the reasons why we love them.

 God wants us to learn and grow also. He’s designed us to ask questions and to seek knowledge and understanding. We need to remember however that as a finite being there is a limit to how much we can know and understand. There’s a place where our limited understanding ends and we have two choices: throw our hands in the air and say it’s all too hard and walk away, or trust in what we do know about God and leave the rest to faith, trusting God at His word.

I think Jesus uses the example of having faith like a child because of it’s simplicity; seek understanding, ask questions, learn and grow and take God at His word, trust Him with your life and follow Him where He leads.

 What about you? Faith like a child, is it really as easy as that?

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180 Degree Thinking

Storm

“Don’t tell God how big your storm is; tell the storm how big your God is.”
dg4GRT @openarmsintl

“I’m trying to free your mind” Morpheus – The Matrix

 180 degree thinking!

This statement spoke volumes to me (thanks dg4G for the RT on twitter) and it stopped me in my tracks. How often do I get this wrong? How often do I complain to God about my circumstances when I should be viewing them through the lens of faith?

Too often I look at the situation I’m in as if it’s in control of my life. Whatever I’m facing seems to sway my thinking, I fool myself into thinking that this one problem is so big that it’s going to wreck my life! But shouldn’t I be letting God’s ways direct my path? Shouldn’t I be approaching these situations with God’s eyes and His mindset? Our God is bigger than any situation or circumstance and He has promised to never leave us or forsake us, with God for us who can be against us!

Oh that changes our lives when we get it!

We walk with God, He leads and guides us and He will see us through… we don’t need to let circumstances get the better of us, we need to face them with faith and confidence that God will lead us through them. They will still be hard, they will still hurt, but in the end facing them alone will never stack up to facing them with God…

It’s all about how we choose to think and how we choose to react.  Will we look at the world through the eyes of faith, trusting in our awesome God or will we choose go it alone and do it our way?

How do you view problems in your life? Do you see them as a pain, something that needs to be endured because that’s just what life is all about? Or do you see them as opportunities? Are they chances for you to learn and grow and come out the other side stronger for it?

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How Do You “Learn”?

ABC2

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how people learn. I’m planning on going back to study next year and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and grow, but have to admit that I’m a little worried about how I’ll slot back into the studying mindset.

Whether we realise it or not we all have a preferred method of learning, a method that allows us to “get it” and make the best of our learning experience. I know that I have a particular preference for learning new things and wherever possible I try to follow that preference.

To put it simply there seems to be two basic ways to learn:

Learning by absorbing
At its simplest this is done through reading, discussion, lectures, usually the standard classroom setting. We “absorb” information from various sources and write a paper to show we have understood the lessons being taught. We tend to call this the University/College approach.

Learning by experiencing
At its simplest, learning by doing. A hands on approach, learning as you go, being shown how to do something and then applying new knowledge right away. We tend to call this the Vocational Education/Apprenticeship approach.

Both ways have their pros and cons, I’m certainly no expert on learning but for the purpose of this post those definitions are adequate. Both are proven ways to learn and grow, both have led countless numbers into successful careers and fulfilling lives.

However it seems to me that in Western culture we give preference to the University/College approach, we seem to place more value on learning through absorbing than learning through experience. There seems to be this almost subconcious belief that learning through experience is for those that arent smart enough or can’t cut it at learning by absorbing. Sure it’s not for everyone but we need to be careful that we dont place head knowledge above practical experience.

For example, its really important to know how to give CPR, to know all the techniques involved and the timing breaks between breaths and compressions. But if you’ve only read about CPR and never actually experienced giving it, even in practice, then you havent really got a well rounded knowledge of this life saving procedure. I’d like to suggest that simply knowing about something isnt enough, we need to also expereince it in order to have a well rounded and complete knowledge. There needs to be a balance between the two ways of learning otherwise we are in danger of not really knowing anything at all…

What do you think? Do you have a preferred learning “style”? Do you think we are unbalanced in our approach to learning?

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More Lessons from a One Year Old

Anabelle 01Ever noticed how a child seems to be happy most of the time? Life is one big adventure, everything is exciting and a smile, laugh and squeal are everyday occurences.

I’ve been learning a lot from my 14 month old daughter Anabelle, it’s amazing how much a child can teach you if you just stop and watch them. In a previous post I mentioned four leadership lessons my daughter reminded me of. Today I’d like to share one more; Choose to be positive.

Anabelle is such a bundle of energy and excitement, constantly smiling and laughing as she learns, plays and grows. No matter how many times she falls down (both literally and metaphorically) she just gets back up and keeps going. She doesn’t look at the world with a critical eye, she stays positive, she learns from her experience and moves on.

One of my areas of interest is coaching people and businesses to be the best they can be, to help them identify what they want to achieve from life and to assist them to make it happen. The most crucial element in coaching is to help the client to remain positive even when everything seems to fail. Our outlook greatly affects our ability to be successful, We all know the saying “is the glass half empty or half full?”, remaining positive is vital if we want to make headway in pursuing our dreams.

We must make the conscious choice to look for the positives in all situation if we truly want to grow. We need to adjust our thinking to look for the positives, the areas we can learn and grow in our daily experiences. It’s even possible to find positives in total failure if you’re ready and willing.

Watching Anabelle this past week has reminded me to stay positive. Life is an adventure, we should embrace it with both hands and look for the positives to inspire us to keep moving towards our dreams!

What do you do to stay positive when everything seems to fall down around you?

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