Most productive?

When do you feel most productive?

I feel most productive when I am one on one with people. When I can sit and talk, or walk and talk with others, I feel I am in my sweet spot. When I can listen, ask questions and encourage them I feel God can use me to bless them. It is this one on one time that is a big reason that God put me here on earth. Often I go away feeling blessed and like I have used my God given gifts to help others.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10 NLT

Ministry reflections

In the past week I have been on holidays and have been reflecting on the ministries I have been involved with over the years.

Over the last 30 years I have been involved with youth groups, led Bible study groups, Pastored a church, been an Elder, a lay preacher, been on the prayer team, helped with emergency food parcels and headed up a para church ministry.

In all of these roles my heart has been to care for and encourage people and to help people grow closer to Jesus. It may have been delivered in a slightly different way because of my job role, but the focus has always been the same.

At the moment I am working in the role of Chaplain. It is something that I have never done before in an official sense. But I guess no matter where I have worked I have been the “unofficial” Chaplain of my workplace. I have often listened, encouraged, had spiritual conversations and prayed for people as the need arose.

Although I did enjoy being a Pastor of a church, I do really enjoy being a Chaplain more. I get to talk to and encourage people, listen to their struggles and pray for them. And in the role I am in I am with a lot more non Christian people. I can share God’s love and light in a real and practical way. This is something I really enjoy too.

Make it your ambition

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NLT – Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. [12] Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

I really like the simplicity of above verses. It is simple and straight to the point. There are three things to do and two results.

Paul says make it your ambition to…

1. Live a quiet life.

2. Mind you own business.

3. Work hard with your hands.

These are simple instructions we can all follow. Paul wanted there to be no reasons why people in the city would not come to Christ, so he encouraged the people to live good lives.

The results would be…

1. That those outside the church or faith would respect the believers lives.

2. That they would not need to rely on others to live if they worked hard and made their own way.

Paul understood that those outside the faith watch believers and see if their lives match up with their words. They want to see that someone’s faith is real and it effects the way they live.

Living our faith out in a way that is attractive to those outside the faith is very important. As I said in church last Sunday, I don’t want people to be surprised that I follow Christ, I hope it is obvious to them.

So let us follow Paul’s words today and live a quiet life, mind our own business and work hard with our hands.

Another solitary place

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about my solitary place where I go to pray. It was up on a Peak overlooking our town. Today I thought I would share an image of one of my other solitary places I have – on my bike.

As I have shared before, I have been cycling for more that 35 years. I really enjoy getting out in God’s creation to just ride. It is partly about fitness, partly about getting alone time and partly about stopping to spend time with God in prayer.

Today I just rode slowly around town on my single speed bike. I checked out the sport at the local park, had a look down the main street to see what was going on and paused at our local lake to sit and pray. This is the picture above.

For me I find cycling like this very relaxing. I can just roll my legs over slowly (10-20kph) and enjoy the scenery. Yes a level of fitness is involved, but as I get older it is more about stopping and taking time out to have a mental break too.

As someone who has worked as a Pastor, Chaplain and Companion Carer, I talk to a lot of people. I also listen a lot too. And being quite introverted, I find I need to build in to my schedule some solitary places and hobbies to recharge my mental energy.

How about you? Have you got any special places you go to? Or have you got hobbies that help you recharge your energy? My two places are walking up a Peak and riding around in God’s creation. Both things keep me mentally, spiritually and emotionally fit.

Be blessed today,

Life giving words

Proverbs 12:25 TPT – Anxious fear brings depression, but a life-giving word of encouragement can do wonders to restore joy to the heart.

Life giving words. I really like that thought, that we can speak life to those around us. I really like that we can bring encouragement to people who have anxious fear or depression.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it hard to talk to people who are really anxious, fearful or depressed. It is hard to know the right words to say and how much to say.

One of the best things I learned is that when talking to an anxious or depressed person is to listen more than I speak. Someone once told me we have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we speak. It helped me a lot!

Often if I am with someone who is in this space I will just listen and let them know I am right there with them. I am here to listen and help. I focus on this first and then try to offer life giving words at the end.

Numerous times as a Pastor or Chaplain I have been with people in this place. Life has just gotten on top of them at the moment and they need a listening ear and some encouraging words.

I have learned to slow down and not try to fix the situation and to just be present. Be there 100% to support. Listen and then try to offer a few life giving words of hope. Often this is all most people need.

There is so much power in our words. Words can heal and bring hope. And as the verse above says, “a life-giving word of encouragement can do wonders to restore joy to the heart.”