Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday musing

We've have a bit of a pre-Christmas break so the blog has been quiet.

Lots in the news about war and bombing which Ian Paul has a view on.

I am always trying to learn how to encourage, develop and manage folk better and this was a help-
What amazing bosses do

Rev Barry Kissell had a powerful word for our joint-churches prayer meeting which has encouragement I think wider that just us. This from Russell Moore also struck me deep.

A pal put me on to this initiative to fight porn called 'Fight the new drug'. Fascinating links on how porn impacts the brain, relationships and society. If you have kids, sadly many of them are probably watching porn so you need to read this site.

Some pastors get lonely and yours might be one of them and this offers some good advice. Perhaps, think of a way to encourage your pastor/Vicar as the year comes to a close.

This book about being a pastor caught my eye,

Desiring God has its best books list which will now be coming in thick and fast.

A word to myself on what they need on Sundays. This is my passage for next week which will require some study methinks.

This is a healthy challenge to the C of E in the Guardian suggesting it needs to die to survive.

The Im-perfect pastor should be in every Vicar's stocking especially those who don't think it's for them.

'One of the lifelong privileges of our pastoral ministry in Jesus is learning to see people as people and ourselves as one of them' (p.41)

Friday, November 20, 2015

The difference between managing and leading

'Warren Bennis, one of today's most prolific writers on the subject of leadership, makes the distinction between leadership and management in his book 'On becoming a leader'. The manager, according to Bennis, is pre-occupied with doing things right. That is, the manager is focused on following procedures and gaining compliance from those she manages. It is a role in which the successful execution of established practices and adherence to standard policies determine the effectiveness of the manager. On the other hand, the leader, Bennis argues, is concerned with doing the right things. Rather than simply executing existing procedures and gaining compliance with accepted practices, the true leader will first question whether or not the accepted procedures are the right thing to do. The true leader is one who may determine that existing practices are no longer moving the organisation in the direction of its vision and mission and create a whole new set of procedures and practices. Rather than being content to transact business within the parameters of the existing paradigm, the leader looks to transform the existing system into something more effective. in essence, according to Bennis, leadership is by its very nature transformational rather than transactional'

Leading from the inside out: The art of self-leadership, Samuel Rima, Page 28

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The imperfect pastor

I am spending the week pondering specks and planks in eyes for my sermon on Matt 7.

Also, I've ordered this book because I am one.

Too easily, I fail to see my own shortcomings and offer way to little encouragement to others.

We did an interesting little thing on Wednesday as a team and simply shared one thing that has encouraged us. There is nothing like a bit of good news, however small, to take your eye off whatever might be wrong or not have gone to plan.

Here is a thought as we end the week. Encourage someone. Drop them a line, tell them face to face, give them a call or offer to pray for them.

It works a wonder.....

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday musing

I chatted with a friend about our mutual 'blind-spots' and we wondered what they were and who in our life would tell us about them if they observe them in us. We took away much food for thought and it brought to mind the books of Samuel Rima.

My pal's life verse and biblical hero is Acts 9:17.

Tim Keller's 9-11 sermon called Truth, Tears, Anger and Grace is probably worth a re-listen given the events of the weekend.

Sometimes something catches my eye that looks interesting and I then wonder how on earth I can get hold of it if it's not on Amazon?

This post got me wondering about the state of pastoral care in our church and its relationship to growth.

A friend had something encouraging for me today but worried it would stoke my pride so asked if I wanted to know. I said yes and have since been reflecting on pride which is of course pretty much the root of everything that's not good. As C S Lewis observed:

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man... It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.” 

Twice in last two weeks I have come across this Nietzsche quote and the second time was reading this:
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
I have so many reflections having taken part in Shared Conversations. Who knows if I will share them here but it was a nice change to chat about the issues face to face rather than the way we usually do.. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The only answer?

Andrew White (The Vicar of Bagdad) has just written 'My journey so far' about his life and was last year voted Christian of 2014. I was very struck by this quote by him that I read this week:

"White no longer believes it is possible to make peace with Isis. "You can't negotiate with them", he says sadly. "I have never said that about another group of people. These are really so different, so extreme, so radical, so evil.......The only answer is to radically destroy them. It is a terrible thing to say as a priest. It really hurts. I will do anything to save life and bring about tranquility, and here I am forced by death and destruction to say there should  be war' 

Quoted in 'The Week, 14th Nov, Page 10

Friday, November 06, 2015

What matters

I have been thinking a lot this week about what it means to be born again and, in my reading, one sentence just seemed to walk off the page at me:

'Seeing signs and wonders, and being amazed at them, and giving the miracle-worker credit for them saves nobody. This is one of the great dangers of signs and wonders: You don't need a new heart to be amazed. The old fallen human nature is all that's needed to be amazed at signs and wonders. And the old fallen nature is willing to say that the miracle worker is from God. The devil himself knows that Jesus is the Son of God and works miracles (Mark 1:24). No, Nicodemus, seeing Jesus as a miracle worker sent from God is not the key to the kingdom of God. "Truly, truly I say to you, unless you are born again he cannot see the kingdom of God"

In other words, what matters is not merely affirming the supernatural in Jesus but experiencing the supernatural yourself.'

Finally alive, Page 30

Thursday, November 05, 2015

A bit and a bob

I am completing some extensive reading on human sexuality and found 'The Plausibility Problem' to be such a helpful read.

'When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy. Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted' (C S Lewis 'The Problem of Pain' quoted on p.69)

Tim Keller offers an observation about the gay Anglo-Saxon warrior

We are loving Downton.

This asks the question 'Before I die I want to...'

I spoke on a weekend away and someone recommended 'Seeking God's Face' to me which might interest you if you are looking for a new devotional for 2016.

I enjoyed reading the chapter 'How to pray' in this.

Can you find a better ad that personifies consumer idolatry than this ad? I wanted to save this until Christmas but I'm a sharer so enjoy and feel free to use as part of your Christmas day sermons :)

The C of E wins its court case.

Which job should you get with your personality type. Last time I did the test I was an ENFP.

Perry Noble asks the question 'Should women preach?'. We've rather decided that one in the C of E...

Toby's talk on 'Why did Jesus die?' is a very good one.

Someone pointed me to 'Become good soil' which I had a click around on.

We have 'The New Baby Mothers Survival Guide' in our bathroom for Mrs Cooke's perusal.

I note from these book briefs that Kevin de Young and I are both reading 'A Righteous Mind'. To be a little more accurate, he seems to have read it while I fell asleep reading the first chapter. However, I mean to read it which is I suppose a start.......

If you are a Christian leader, I imagine reading this book is never going to do you any harm.

Saturday blog-sweep

 Some interesting books for pastors The State we're in Attack at dawn Joseph Scriven Joy comes with the morning When small is beautiful