Yesterday I had really lovely day. I went out shopping with my mum. that might not sound like much unless you know our history. I appreciate what so many others take for granted because for one reason or another I did not have that experience. now I have allowed God to restore me it is one of the good things I can have that once I could not have.
How was this possible?
A few things came together to make this possible. Here are three of the most important of them.
- He healed me as a person. I could not do this without God setting right the issues that had arisen as a result of my experiences as a child. He also healed me of the issues that had arisen due to some unhappy experiences as an adult.
- I had to recognise that I was not so much of a worm that I could not have good things. Believe it or not that is a huge issue for many individuals and Christian fellowships. We can’t do _____ because of _____ and _____. When you look at the reasons given they just do not hold water. The whole truth and nothing but the truth is something quite different.They are false beliefs aka fears. We can’t put on this event as no one might come. OK if you don’t do that what will you do? Just have a contingency plan in case no one does come and do a lot of work building relationships and raising awareness of what you do and what you stand for so people are more likely to come.
- We had both agreed on a fresh start and to leave the past behind and just go forwards. It has not always been easy but we are seeing results as things have just got better and better.
How does this relate to restoring the church?
Here is something else that happened in the past few days. I was in church and during the discussion I said that I had some of the pieces of an idea but just could not find the last couple of pieces to make it work. Included in that idea was a way of restoring people by providing training or supported employment. In other words it would include a means for those who would struggle in a normal working environment to do something worthwhile.
Someone in the group said they offer that kind of training so therefore we don’t have to bother. My response was that as the church we should know more about restoring people than so and so. The implication being that we could do the job and do it better than so and so.
It is my belief that there are many weak and sickly churches out there that need healing and restoration. For some of them the experiences of the past have left them scarred. They might not recognise it but they are in desperate need of feeling the touch of God to heal their wounds and make them all that they could be. Some have even said God we want you to move on the earth but we don’t want to allow you to do that in our church.
The thing that has struck me again and again when I have said here is an idea for a church focused project is the response “We can’t do that. We need to leave it to the professionals” You could possibly interpret this as saying, the church is a worm and it needs to let other people do things rather than get involved in doing them itself. Harsh words yes. The wounds of a faithful friend may hurt in the short term but they bring about healing in the long term.
Demolishing the excuse of we are not professionals
How did they become professionals? As far as I can see in most cases it boils down to
- training in theories and best practises i.e. learning how to do things in a classroom
- learning on the job while being mentored
There is not an impenetrable barrier. It is a case of those with the ability and aptitude doing the preparation. They could then be salt and light in a secular setting or use their professional skills in a church based project. It is a long term plan but it works.
On the other hand, in many community care scenarios there needs to be a supporting cast. Those who make it possible for the professionals to do their work. There are times when the church throws away the opportunity to be the supporting cast. Then there is that idea that ministers do it all. Ouch no wonder there are burnt out men and women all over the place.
One area where the church often plays an important role in society is preparing children and young people for adult life. How many schools have links with local churches? The children come and visit the church or someone from the church goes to the school. Sometimes someone from the church does a talk for the whole school or takes a class. The church becomes part of the supporting cast of the school.
The church is often part of the supporting cast for parents as well. There are the after school clubs and the holiday clubs that provide safe places for children to go. They instil positive values as well as provide fun and introduce them to the bible.
Can you see that this “we can’t because we are not professionals annoys me? OK it might not be possible to offer a full blown professional service but isn’t there something that you can do? Being a friend in many situations is a good start. Getting experience, doing the training helps as well once people know what they are called to do for God.
Is God saying we can and should while we are saying we can’t?
I have a horrible fear that this happens more than we realise. We can quite easily get in God’s way by saying that something cannot be done and that it definitely should not be done that way. How do I know this? I have done it myself and found myself in a dreadful predicament as a result.
I was in a situation that I could not get out of until I abandoned my own way of thinking and let God deal with the situation His way. I believed that the way He wanted to deal with the situation was wrong. But once I told Him He could change my situation how He wanted He was not going to let my protestations get in His way.
Say you want something and you give God the ability to make it happen as He wants it to happen. It is only then that things can happen. We have to want it or God cannot make it happen. Think about it? If God has given us free will and God refuses to violate this of course this is going to be the case.
If this is the case then it is our stinking thinking that is getting in the way. Remove that and replace it with a sturdy faith that believes God can do anything and things will change. Well it did for me. I am so thankful that finally I did let him take control and change my situation the way He wanted to do.
Making a fresh start
There are times when you need to put the past to one side and start again. There are times when the idea that people like us don’t do it that way puts the brake on what God can do. There are times when the good ideas of the past no longer apply. In other words start with a blank sheet and say what now God.
It can actually be quite uncomfortable putting the past behind you. There are times when losing something you have come to rely upon feels as if you are being ripped apart. Yet we are told that we should put aside every hindrance and run the good race and that we run the risk of losing our family when we follow God. It is not easy but if it is of God then He will help you through the process. There are even some people who can say God organised a divorce for them and then carried them through the process.
Strangely the first thing is to recognise the need for a fresh start. If part of this is to get close enough to God to let Him heal you then you are in a good place to win the race. After that it is work with Him to achieve what He wants to achieve and stop letting your free will get in the way.
Basic yes. Simple well it can be surprisingly hard to forgive people and to change our thinking. Rewarding yes.
I really enjoyed being out and about with my mum. It should be like that with God. Enjoying spending time with Him and doing things with Him. After all it is a relationship based on love.
This reminds me of something. What makes made the church attractive in New Testament times. It was the love shared one for another. A love that helped their neighbour as well. I cannot imagine anything has changed.