Archive for May, 2013

A Better Way

I’m very excited about a new series of talks that I start on Sunday on the letter to the Hebrews in the Bible.  I’m calling it the email to the Hebrews, because like many of our emails, it seems to me that it has been sitting in people’s Inbox for a long time without being opened.

One of the commentaries I read said it was the most theological book in the Bible which is probably why it often isn’t read, but I have found it to be a book that is full of astounding news about Jesus, and is not at all boring, not that “boring” should ever be considered an alternative word to the word “theological”.

The theme of this series is “A Better Way”, because the idea that the coming of Jesus’ Kingdom of Justice and Righteousness is better than anything that went before it, is central to the whole letter – or email. What is significant about this is that the writer to the email doesn’t criticise the religious experiences of the past. Rather he talks about how important they were, then says … but, there is a better way.

Did you see the video I prepared as an introduction to the series? Have a look here.

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I feel like I’m about to burst into tears all the time. Perhaps I didn’t pray enough, exercise faith enough, oppose the devil enough. I can hardly pray at the moment though. Feelings of spiritual failure haunt me.

Honest transparency accompanied by gentle playfulness makes Sheridan Voysey’s latest book, “Resurrection Year” a refreshing contribution to an understanding of the human condition and the workings of God in the harshness of life.

Former Sonshine fm announcer and Open House host, Sheridan Voysey and his wife Merryn open not only their front door, but the doors of their hearts and minds to give readers a glimpse of their personal grief and the journey of healing through what they called their “Resurrection Year”.

For 10 years the couple struggled with childlessness, battling the issues associated with infertility, including IVF and adoption. “Resurrection Year” traces some of that journey giving the reader an insight into the heart of a couple who have a deep faith in God, yet experience real human emotions of grief, anger, disappointment and doubt.

God, this is cruel—leaving us in this wilderness. We’ve walked round in circles for years—tired, thirsty, and confused. One minute we’ve glimpsed the Promised Land, and the next minute you’ve barred us from entering it.

With the words of a friend ringing in their ears that they should take a “resurrection year”, Sheridan and Merryn left successful careers in Australia to take a holiday in Europe before settling into a new life in England. For them it was not just a case of starting a new life, but of grappling with the issues around childlessness and seeking God’s direction for them in accepting and understanding their place in a world where everything around them reminded them of what could have been.

What are we to be? Who will we become? Will we forever feel sad as we walk past a playground, with its parents and toddlers and games of tag?

This is not a book that ends on a victorious note of prayers being answered, but it does end with a deep sense that the God who encompasses the earth is fully present in the lives and home of those who trust in Him. This is a book that addresses the realities of life through the experience of two people and their journey together through grief and hope. It’s a book that reassures the reader that even when life doesn’t seem to be handing out the answers we expect, God has a gracious way of filling the empty spaces.

Sheridan Voysey: “Resurrection Year. Turning broken dreams into new beginnings”. Published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee.

Available on Amazon today.

OK, I’m not a professional video maker, but here’s my latest effort at a video, this time to promote a new preaching series that I’m starting at church this Sunday.

We don’t write letters too often these days, but often when people get emails they leave them sitting in their inbox until they have time to read them. The letter to the Hebrews in the Bible is a bit like that. I reckon a lot of people haven’t read this letter, but it contains some astounding news that too many people have missed.

It deals with the history of religion, and the way in which everything we read in the Bible actually points to Jesus and a better way of living than you could ever imagine. I’m really excited about this series so I’m hoping that people will take advantage of coming to hear it.

Have a look at the video and let me know what you think.

By the way, did you see my “Waterfall” video?

Conversations of Learning

Posted: May 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just read a great post by Nicky Howe about the Queen as Mentor/Coach. There are some principles here beyond coaching, in relation to the way we deal with people day by day. Rather than trying to “manage” people and relationships, or trying to put people right, there is great value in facilitating conversations of learning.

The mentor/coach’s role, is to facilitate a conversation in which there is a flow from one stage to another, and ultimately from general problem to specific solution(s). To ‘Do’ Coaching is to facilitate a process of learning and achievement. As a facilitator, a coach oversees, advises, and manages the process of learning and of gaining results.  They are responsible for directing the structure, and focusing the conversation to support client learning and achievement.

In six days time, on Tuesday May 28, Sheridan Voysey’s new book Resurrection Year will be released into the world.

I’ve had the privilege of reading this book about turning broken dreams into new hope, and will be writing a review on the 28th – one of 300 people who will be writing reviews as part of the worldwide launch on that day.

It’s a book that is well worth reading and I believe will provide great support to those who will identify with the broken dreams … well that’s enough for now. Watch out for my review on the 28th.

Life is Messy

Posted: May 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Life is messy. Things don’t always go to plan and just when you think you’re on top of it all, something seems to go wrong. You may call it Murphy’s Law, or you may just admit that we are not in a perfect world.

There are various ways of dealing with the mess of life – either we can run away from it with the help of alcohol, drugs or retail therapy, or we can face it with the help of someone stronger and wiser than ourselves. I’ve found that Jesus is the one who is stronger and wiser than me, and in trusting him, I have found that he can help me through the mess of life.

The theory is that the church should be the one place where we can openly deal with the mess and there’ll be people who understand us and can help us through it. The truth is that it’s not always like that, simply because none of us are perfect. But when a group of people who know what a mess life can be like, get together and start to allow Jesus to deal their mess and begin to support each other to follow the Way of Jesus, I reckon we start to see really good things happen.

Messy Church is held on the fourth Saturday of each month at Maida Vale Baptist Church, High Wycombe, from 4.30pm to 6.30pm. As the name suggests, we recognise that life is messy and that church should be about acknowledging this and helping people find a way through the mess.

Take a look at this video to get a picture of what Messy Church is all about.

Letter from an Elephant

Posted: May 16, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Just came across a great blog that talks about a four-year-old coming of age – the time when he was allowed to eat nuts. Creating memories is such an important thing in bringing up children, and finding ways to help children mark important occasions is worth the extra effort.

I’m spending the day with my grandson, so these thoughts have added significance.

http://www.gift-a-blog.net/2011/10/letters-from-elephant-marking-important.html

Thanks Adrian Pyle.

Congratulations to Sara Lohmeyer, the High Wycombe Child Health Nurse on being named Australia’s Nurse of the Year at the HESTA Nursing Awards in Melbourne at the weekend. It’s fantastic to have someone like this a part of our local community.

 

Australians are slow to make changes to our Constitution – and rightfully so, since the Constitution provides stability to a nation.

But the latest bit of news has got me curious.

I was interested to see that a national referendum has been called to recognise local government in the constitution, but we still haven’t got to the point of recognising indigenous Australians.

This is the third time that a referendum on recognising local government has been put to Australians. The 1974 and 1988 votes were unsuccessful.

In the meantime many Australians are still waiting for a referendum on the recognition of indigenous Australians and the removal of the clause which says the States can ban people from voting based on their race.

John Howard proposed a Preamble to the Constitution in 1999 that was defeated and in 2007 he made an election promise to hold a referendum to recognise indigenous Australians in the constitution. Kevin Rudd also pledged bipartisan support. It is still part of both Coalition and Labor policy.

The Recognise website outlines the current situation:

In 2010, Julia Gillard struck a deal to form government with Independent MP Rob Oakeshott and the Greens that included a commitment to hold a referendum on constitutional recognition by the 2013 election. An expert panel was appointed to advise on a model and process. It reported in January 2012.

In September 2012, Labor announced it would delay the referendum, citing concern at low levels of public awareness.

As an interim step towards a referendum, the Government proposed an Act of Recognition in the Parliament.

The legislation has a sunset period of two years, which Liberal MP Ken Wyatt – the only Indigenous federal MP – likened to a “post it note on the fridge” to remind the Parliament to finish the task.

Meanwhile, a grassroots movement of Australians is growing steadily to build the community support needed for a successful referendum.

The post-it note is still on the fridge.