What a Beautiful Young Man

Today we gathered and celebrated the life of Ainsley Adams. Such a beautiful young man who suddenly passed away recently. But what a person. What an impact he made on so many people. An outpouring of sadness of course, but even moreso, an outpouring of love and appreciation.

4 things were clear today about this incredible young man as people gave tribute and shared their memories…

He lived life in the moment. Wherever he was, that was where he wanted to be.

He loved people. He was genuinely interested in people, always asking if you were alright.

He has left a legacy. That smile. His enthusiasm. His happiness for life. We will miss him.

He loved Jesus and his church. His faith for God was real and clearly evident. We take comfort in the hope of Jesus and that now he has received the ultimate reward of meeting his personal Saviour face to face.

My last time of seeing Ainsley was a Sunday night, in Church, hands raised in the worship and then heading to be prayed for, or asking for his family to be prayed for.

During the service today we asked how should we respond? How should we live in response to how Ainsley lived? Maybe it’s to learn to live our own life with that same sense of contentment, to be happy in the moment and to live life simply with a genuine faith in God.

What is your response?

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5 Ways to Staying Healthy in My Role

Reflecting again on those things that are important to me that I believe help me to stay healthy in my role ~ as a husband, as a Father, and as an Executive Pastor in my local church.

Keep reading the Word of God. Every morning, be it 5 minutes or longer, I was check out the scriptures. Sometimes it’s part of a devotional I may be doing, other times it just picking it up and reading a portion. Either way, it is food for my spirit and just one key way in which I maintain my spiritual health.

Keep praying. And not just for myself. Each day I have specific things or people that I pray for. This has been a disciplined approach otherwise I would just pray for me all the time and I really don’t think that is right. I journal my prayers to help keep me focused cause my mind can easily drift, plus I have a record too of all that God has done for me.

Time with my family. They may not consider lounging about watching the television as anything special but often our just being in the same room is enough to keep my soul refreshed. We may play a game, watch a film or go out somewhere, that’s not the most important. To keep me healthy it’s about being with the people who the most special to me.

Doing a good days work. I love helping to build local church. It’s definitely where my heart is and I feel that I am in the right role. I like to know that what I am doing is making a difference and helping to bring the vision to pass. My soul is stronger and healthier when I have permission to be in my role, am empowered to lead and to help get stuff done, either just me or with others.

Getting a good nights sleep. Work hard, play hard and then sleep well. Enough said. If I don’t have enough energy for what God is calling me to, the person to blame is usually me. I’m not going to let tiredness from late nights be the reason God doesn’t use me.

One thing you notice as you read about successful people is that they not only had ideas and dreams but they were also willing to learn and discipline themselves to see those ideas and dreams actually happen. It was usually the simple things that would bring the greatest reward.

What would you add to this list?

Just One

This is not a new thought, but I have been reminded recently about the power of the one.

Who is the one person that you can encourage today?

Instead of waiting for someone to encourage you, be the one who brings encouragement to another

Who is the one person you can pray for today?

Instead of waiting for someone to pray for you, be the one who prays for another.

Who is the one person you can invest in today?

Instead of waiting for someone to invest in you, be the one who passes on some wisdom, an insight, some learning, something that you know to another.

Who is the person you can…come alongside, help out, support, give to, learn from, include, forgive, give a smile to, comfort, listen to, do something for, love?

Instead of waiting, often impatiently for others to be all of these to you, lets be the ones who decide that regardless of everything else, we are going to be the ones that make a difference.

Zoned Out

You know what it’s like. You’re in a meeting, then the combination of the warmth of the room, the level of the conversation, the topic being discussed and suddenly, without even realising it, you have zoned out. Let’s be honest, it happens to us all and if you’re anything like me, when you have zoned out your mind starts to wander and you begin to think about way more important things like food or some sporting event you have a vague interest in.

It’s going to happen and it’s probably alright, for a short time. Some might say that to close off all other distractions and wander can lead to a sense of clarity, genius moments perhaps.

However, in my time as a leader and a Pastor I have observed on too many occasions people who seem to live in a constant state of zoned outness. Life is passing them by and they don’t even realise it.

Have you zoned out?

Have you zoned out from your God-given destiny?

Have you zoned out from living life on purpose for the cause of God?

To zone out means to miss what is happening around us, to lose an awareness of the immediate. It’s as if we have gone offline, we have uncoupled ourselves from life and are headed somewhere else. I’m all for a distraction, a laugh, something to take my mind of the important stuff but not to live that all the time.

I think there are some things we would do well to zone out from. Sin. Laziness. Unkindness. Gossip. A lack of care. Unforgiveness. Controversy. Religion. Wasting time.

When it comes to the things of God I need to zone in. Life is not meant to be lived according to what I think is right. I need an increased awareness of what God is saying not to just not try and miss it altogether.

When it comes to the promises of God over my life I need to zone in. I don’t need to be worried, overwhelmed, fearful or lacking confidence. I need to focus on His word, meditate on it and the promises contained within it, all of which are for me, and that I can they are ‘yes and Amen’.

When it comes to fulfilling the call of God on my life I need to zone in. Love God, love people, love His church. When I zone out I do not perform well, I am not living out of my full potential. I need to zone in, to know who I am in Christ. From identity will come activity. From knowing I am His, how I do what I do will be different.

Only what we do for Christ will last. We only get one life so maybe it’s time to wake up, get back in the room, focus our attention on what God is doing right now and zoning in, getting ready, making ourselves available to play our part and enjoying the adventure along the way.

Unique

I remember reading in the book Axiom by Pastor Bill Hybels the question ‘What life are you waiting for?’ This is the only leadership life I get, it is my one and only shot at following God the way I feel him prompting me to. This isn’t some pregame warm-up. It’s the game, and the clock is ticking.

Maybe it’s time for me to make my unique contribution to the world around me. To put to use the unique gifts, talents and skills that God has deposited within me. To be the uniqueness that is me. To not settle with being a copy or imitation of others but to have awareness of the person God has created me to be.

Being unique may not come easy. It takes some courage. It takes a measure of faith. It relies on some sacrifice. It is a mix of God-given ingredients with a good pinch of the Holy Spirit and a stir or two to get the power of God working in my life.

Don’t fight the uniqueness. Embrace it. Personality, gifts, experiences, values. They all make me, me. They all make you, you.

The adventure awaits, but it’s our choice to get in on it.

I’m trying my best. How about you?

Quit IT

I have written this post out a few times to ensure that I make it read well. Yet I don’t think there is any other way to say this other than in what may seem a fairly blunt manner.

Quit!

It’s time to quit.

Winners quit the right things. So to move on and get past something maybe it’s time to quit so you can start winning again.

So, let’s quit IT. Whatever IT may be.

I’ve got lazy, again. So I’m going to quit IT.  My levels of procrastinating have risen once again and are stopping me from fulfilling the dream of getting a book written so I am committing (again) to 2 things I love to do ~ read and write. 15 minutes of each every day for the next 100 days.

I wonder, what do you need to quit? What’s possibly in the way of what you believe God has for your future?

Quit complaining. Sometimes, if we are honest, this complaining has gone beyond healthy criticism. It’s just become finger pointing. Perhaps it’s even got personal.

Quit being a spectator who just loves to be critical. Much like the football supporters who never plays, yet loves to shout out opinions from the stands on the best way to play the game. Instead, get involved and become a participant in what God is doing.

Quit waiting for the perfect time before you will step out in faith. Things will never be ‘perfect’. God makes something out of our willingness and our obedience and that doesn’t rely on perfection but on Him.

Quit with the Christian pride and not allowing God to deal with some stuff because you think there’s no need as you’ve been a Christian for so long.

Quit missing out on all that God has for you.

Quit allowing an offence to get in the way of your relationship with God and with His family.

Quit not being in Church. It’s time to come home and reconnect with you family.

Quit saying you don’t have enough time. I love this article by Jon Acuff about saying you are too busy.

Quit those habits, quit the attitude, quit the apathy, quit the blaming, quit forgetting, quit quitting and complete that project.

Whatever IT is that keeps getting in the way make a good decision today and quit IT. Hunt IT down, deal with IT and then get on with living that life which you desires so much to live.

What is IT for you? 

Grow Up

I’m sure there are plenty of times when people have wanted to tell me to grow up. I’m sure of that because there have been times when I’ve wanted to say it to someone else.

I need people in my world to tell me that from time to time. People I respect, people who want the best for me and want to see the best from me. I won’t take it from just anyone especially if I don’t consider them to be someone who models the art of growing up themselves.

Growing up is about becoming mature. It’s not about becoming old and therefore, boring. For me it’s about always learning, watching my attitude, giving my all to the things I have to do. It’s about heart.

It’s about avoiding making excuses, being lazy or just plain rude. It’s about not getting in a grump with someone when they make a small mistake, or acting superior towards them because I would have done it better.

Growing up is not about perfection but we are meant to. Growing up is normal and if it isn’t happening right we would have a check up and get some help in correcting it. Mayb we need the same level of awareness when it comes to growing up in spiritual matters too.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭48‬ MSG)

Eagerness or Excuses

In scripture we find a verse that tells us ‘if you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land‘. [Isaiah 1:19] 

Unfortunately the culture of today is often more unwilling and disobedient. We want to work less for more pay. We want to pay less tax but gain more benefits. We want to receive without contributing. We want a great future without all the effort.

John Maxwell tells the story about a young man asking a millionaire about his secret to success. ‘How did you make your millions?‘ is the question from the eager young man. ‘Hard work’ is the reply. After a moment the young man asks another question, ‘Is there an easier way?’

We want it and we want it now, yet I’ve learned that God doesn’t really work like that. We may have an eagerness for the things of God yet we seem unwilling to exert any effort on our own behalf. We expect God or someone else to do all the work.

We are willing but not obedient. Which means we don’t get to enjoy the good place we really want to be in. We are eager for the future plans and purposes of God but have a long list of excuses as to why it just can’t happen. And that makes me sad.

I am guilty of this myself, more times than I care to remember. Laziness. Procrastination. Ignorance. Pathetic excuses like ‘I’ve got no time’, yet I find time for some stuff that must make God laugh (otherwise He might cry).

Eagerness + excuses usual equals unfulfilled dreams, plans and purposes.

Willingness + no obedience equals not ending up in the good land that God has for me.

An unwillingness to pray means God cannot answer. One thing I know the best way to have prayer unanswered is to not actually pray. An unwillingness to act means the project, the dream, the idea will never happen. To many say ‘God said’ but then never follow through with any movement of their own.

God doesn’t need to change, we do, I do. The question is whether I am willing to. Can I, with Gods help and the Holy Spirit within me, overcome the daft reasons and obstacles so I live out His best for my life? The answer of course is a wholehearted yes, but only if the willingness is followed by some action, if the eagerness is not followed by excuses.

I would love to know what you think…