Half a Story

Half a story is not enough of a story.

It’s unfair on the listeners, readers or viewers. A one-sided story is not enough for people to be able to decide where they stand or what their response should be. It paints a picture coloured from only one person’s viewpoint. It is true as they saw it and in the telling of it but it’s not necessarily got the right depth, the narrative may be somewhat thin, it needs another angle.

It needs the other half of the story.

We like half, especially when the half we tell is the half that makes us look better and therein lies the danger. Better to not tell a story at all if we are not willing to be completely honest in the telling. The greatest story tellers are the ones who don’t just cover their backs but who can be open and vulnerable too.

Recently, there have been a number of occasions where I have read with interest as people recount an experience or certain circumstances to which, while I read, I am thinking of the parts that have been omitted. Then reading comments from others  that are a response based on a story that isn’t the whole story, is just frustrating.

If we are going to be tellers of a story then lets tell it all.

Honest, open and transparent. The part where we got hurt. Blame others if we want but lets also include the part where we hurt ourselves. We may have been right and they were wrong. Sometimes though, they were right and we were wrong. Lets paint the right picture so that those invited to comment can do so based on all the information.

If I only want to tell the half of a story that is best for me then here is my advice – don’t tell the story at all.

Getting on the Guest List

You don’t always need a commentary to understand what the Bible is saying. Sometimes you just need to read it. Psalm 15 is one of those times…just read it & then live it out.

The Message version puts it so well…
‘God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do you get on the guest list?’

How?
1. Walk straight
2. Act right
3. Tell the truth
4. Don’t hurt your friend
5. Don’t blame your neighbour
6. Despise the despicable
7. Keep your word even when it costs you
8. Make an honest living
9. Never take a bribe

Simple, eh? Or maybe the hardest things.
Not sure what my score would be…thankfully I have the Holy Spirit to help me. To change me.

How about you?

How Strong Are Your Principles?

Interesting the words that Job uses during the dialogue with his ‘friends’.

He stands his ground.
He does not compromise despite their well-intentioned comments.
He certainly doesn’t blame God.
He will not admit to wrong that he knows he has not done.

Job 17:9: ‘But principled people hold tight, keep a firm grip on life, sure that their clean, pure hands will get stronger and stronger!’ (Message)

Hold tight – to your words, to your thoughts, to your principles. Easy to know God in the great times but faith enables us to hold tight through the tough times too.

Keep a firm grip – don’t let go of the knowledge that Jesus said he came to give us life, an abundant life. In circumstances like that which Job was experiencing, you need to be determined to ‘keep a firm grip on life’ and not give up.

Get stronger and stronger – staying humble before God, holding on to your principles, keeping hold of God will make you stronger even in times of weakness. ‘Let the weak say I am strong’, God is our strength in times of weakness…the challenge is remembering this.

Make The Right Trade

In my search for breakthrough I love that what I get to do is a part of it.

I am still relatively new to this Pastoring lark – Xcel Darlington is only just over 1 year old. Maybe I’m still in the honeymoon period but one thing I am sure of…I am in the place God wants me. Just need to get better at what He is calling me to. (Guess we can all relate to that).

But here’s my thought. Being in the right place with God beats everything else. Even with the stresses and strains going on in life, being in the right place with God can make everything seem right. That air of contentment. That knowledge of knowing that you are giving God your best. Are you giving God your best?

THIS IS IT…BETTER IS ONE DAY IN YOUR COURTS THAN A THOUSAND ELSEWHERE.[Ps 84:10]

Would I really trade 1 day for 1000?
Would I really trade 1 day for 2.74 years?

THAT IS SOME STATEMENT.

Would I rather be a doorkeeper in the House of God than be anywhere else that the world might offer?

You know what, I am probably guilty of saying ‘YES’ to easily to these kind of statements. Crossing the line marked YES but then looking for the option to back track. I am realising that you are either IN or you are OUT. In-between, sometimes, lukewarm, so-so, possibly, maybe – I’m not sure God enjoys hearing those sentiments.

I want to be where the action is. It can get a little heated at times. Being a doorkeeper can get somewhat scary at times but what a rush. Feel the adrenaline pumping. Why would you want anything else? There is no substitute.

Being in the right place with God means you are covered. FOR THE LORD GOD IS A SUN AND SHIELD; THE LORD BESTOWS FAVOUR AND HONOUR; and here’s the think that keeps me on track for my breakthrough, for the breakthrough of growth that I want to see at Xcel Church Darlington…NO GOOD THING DOES HE WITHHOLD FROM THOSE WHOSE WALK IS BLAMELESS. [Ps 84:11]

Help me stay blameless Lord. Help me keep my integrity. Help me stay in the right place with you. Can’t afford to move away…I might miss out on the honour and the favour. That’s where the action is.

Are you in the right place?