Explore tomorrow: Jane and Alan Hutt

Last year Jane and Alan Hutt visited Explore and we loved them.  Jane and Alan set up and run The Beehive in Kenya, where Kay and Jessica work.  In today’s service, Jane and Alan talk about the Beehive and Family, another of the five Explore values that we’re studying.  11.15am, Ottery St Mary Parish Church.

If you wish to give to The Beehive, you may do so by following this link. It allows you to give a one-off gift, or set up a monthly amount.

Maria Gilpin: Fashioned By

Maria Gilpin singing a stripped back, live version of her song Fashioned By.  You’ll find the full version on her EP ‘Giving It All‘.

Maria is a singer/songwriter and worship leader from Portadown, Northern Ireland. She has a clear and powerful voice tinged with an Irish accent a lot. The arrangements are fairly sparse and beautifully played, allowing her voice to shine.

Henry Cloud: ‘Responsibility to’ and ‘Responsibility for’

I’m enjoying a book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  Here’s a helpful distinction:

We are responsible to others and for ourselves. “Carry each other’s burdens,” says Galatians 6:2, “and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.” This verse shows our responsibility to one another.

Many times others have “burdens” that are too big to bear. They do not have enough strength, resources, or knowledge to carry the load, and they need help. Denying ourselves to do for others what they cannot do for themselves is showing the sacrificial love of Christ. This is what Christ did for us. He did what we could not do for ourselves; he saved us. This is being responsible “to.”

On the other hand, Galatians 6:5 says that “each one should carry his own load.” Everyone has responsibilities that only he or she can carry. These things are our own particular “load” that we need to take daily responsibility for and work out. No one can do certain things for us. We have to take ownership of certain aspects of life that are our own “load.”

The Greek words for burden and load give us insight into the meaning of these texts. The Greek word for burden means “excess burdens,” or burdens that are so heavy that they weigh us down. These burdens are like boulders. They can crush us. We shouldn’t be expected to carry a boulder by ourselves! It would break our backs. We need help with the boulders — those times of crisis and tragedy in our lives.

In contrast, the Greek word for load means “cargo,” or “the burden of daily toil.” This word describes the everyday things we all need to do. These loads are like knapsacks. Knapsacks are possible to carry. We are expected to carry our own. We are expected to deal with our own feelings, attitudes, and behaviours, as well as the responsibilities God has given to each one of us, even though it takes effort.

Problems arise when people act as if their “boulders” are daily loads, and refuse help, or as if their “daily loads” are boulders they shouldn’t have to carry. The results of these two instances are either perpetual pain or irresponsibility.

Lest we stay in pain or become irresponsible, it is very important to determine what “me” is, where my boundary of responsibility is and where someone else’s begins. The Bible tells us clearly what our parameters are and how to protect them, but often our family, or other past relationships, confuses us about our parameters.

In addition to showing us what we are responsible for, boundaries help us to define what is not on our property and what we are not responsible for. We are not, for example, responsible for other people. Nowhere are we commanded to have “other-control,” although we spend a lot of time and energy trying to get it!

Taken from the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

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Bob Goff: Creepy People

Here’s a section from Bob Goff‘s book Everybody Always, which we thoroughly recommend:

We don’t need to be who we used to be; God sees who we’re becoming—and we’re becoming love.

My friends and I finished what we were doing at the restaurant and took the windowless van back to the airport. We pulled into the rental lot looking a little windblown, and the attendant stared at us with a puzzled expression. “It looked like this when we got it,” I told him nonchalantly. Walking away, I tossed the keys to him. I felt like the guy in the movies when he throws a match over his shoulder and the car explodes behind him. Pro tip: If you do throw the match, make sure you don’t turn around and look when it blows up. It wrecks the vibe.

I was disappointed everything was stolen, but I figured it would all work out. What I didn’t realize was how hard it would be to get back on an airplane to fly home with no identification. I got to the front of the security line, and the guy with a badge asked for my ticket and ID. I reached in my pockets and turned them inside out. I had nothing. I shrugged my shoulders pathetically and said, “Man, it all got stolen. My luggage, my wallet, everything.” I felt like Jason Bourne.

The TSA guy wasn’t very sympathetic. I could understand. He was just doing his job. He asked if there was any way I could prove who I was. I shook my head, then suddenly remembered—I had written a book a while ago. We Googled it, but I forgot the cover only had balloons on it. (I made a mental note to put a huge photo of myself on the cover of this book just in case it happens again, but I bailed on the idea when I saw what my face looked like on a book cover.)

All of this raised a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. How do we prove who we are? I don’t mean who our driver’s licenses say we are or what our careers suggest about who we are or who we tell other people we are or who they tell us we are. Jesus talked to His friends a lot about how we should identify ourselves. He said it wouldn’t be what we said we believed or all the good we hoped to do someday. Nope, He said we would identify ourselves simply by how we loved people. It’s tempting to think there is more to it, but there’s not. Love isn’t something we fall into; love is someone we become. Continue reading “Bob Goff: Creepy People”