Go Ahead and Say It: “I Failed”

From the book It’s Not My Fault by Henry Cloud and John Townsend:

The first step to moving past failure is to call it what it is. But all too often those negative meanings we apply to failure shame us so much that we become afraid even to look at failure as reality. We become afraid even to say it:

“I failed.”

“It didn’t work.”

“I blew it.”

“Oh my gosh…did I ever not know what I was doing!”

“I mucked it up.

“I didn’t have a clue to what I was doing. Have I got a lot to learn!”

What is so hard about that? It is actually empowering and freeing not to have to hide from failure, but to embrace it and admit it. Watch the people who do. Check out the winners who laugh about their failures. They are relaxed and comfortable because they have got out of the image protection business. And, they are so endearing. The people who own and talk about their mistakes as their mistakes are much more connectable and easy to identify with. They are not hung up in the useless business of trying to impress themselves or others. Instead, they are into results. People like this are so refreshing, and the good news is that you can be one of them.   Continue reading “Go Ahead and Say It: “I Failed””

Living Hope

december 3, 2019

Here’s a line from a song we’ve been singing at Explore.

The full words are:

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Continue reading “Living Hope”

Explore tomorrow

An Allsorts Sunday this week, so no 11.15 service Sunday 25 November, but a Bible Study 4.30-6.00pm at Colin and Annette’s.  

How has the Bible Timeline series been a blessing to you?  Bring along one question you now have, and together we’ll see if we can help one another!

Bring some cake, we eat and have a hot drink from 4.30pm and then study from 5pm.  Children are welcome.

Brad Jersak: Consent

In his book A More Christlike God, Brad Jersak talks about the idea of ‘consent’.  It’s really made me think.  He refers to forced marriages and child-brides, which is repugnant to our western minds.  It causes him to wonder about the image of God as a Bridegroom.  Does he compel and coerce relationship with us, or does he patiently invite and romance?  And what if you decline?  God won’t make you say ‘I do’;  but if you don’t, what about the ultimatum?  Doesn’t the Bible itself threaten us with retributions?  ‘Please accept my proposal, my beloved… or I’ll throw you in a lake of fire.’  Where’s the freedom in that kind of ultimatum?  Where’s the consent?

He tells a very thought provoking story and then comments on it:

“Imagine there is a fabulously wealthy king who looks out of the window of his castle one day and, in the distance, sees a beautiful Cinderella-type peasant living in the slums. His heart is ravished and he thinks, “This is the  perfect bride for my son, the prince.” Unlike other kings—wicked worldly kings—he cannot just abduct her and make her a slave-concubine of his son. He must genuinely invite her to take the hand of his son voluntarily. So, along with his entourage and his son, they make their way out of the palace into the squalor beyond the moat, searching hut to hut and through the markets until they find her. The offer is made:

“Young lady,” says the king, “this is my beloved son, the prince of this kingdom and heir to all that is mine. I humbly beseech you to come out of your life of poverty and oppression and to join my son in holy matrimony, enjoying all of the benefits that come with a princess’ life.” The offer seems to be too good to be true. All she needs to do is consent to the proposal.

But there’s a hitch. The king continues, “There is a deadline. If you don’t say Yes by such-and-such a date, we will arrest you, put you in our dungeon, where torturers will fillet you alive for endless ages, supernaturally keeping you alive such that your torment is never-ending. Moreover, after the deadline, your decision is irrevocable. No repentance is possible. The dishonour of your rejection is too great to warrant any second chance. The consequences of refusal are without mercy and utterly irreversible.”

As the king, the prince and their cohort leave, the prince turns and says, “Oh yes, please hurry. And always know that I will love you forever and for always … but only until the deadline.”

Is this our gospel? If it were, would it truly be a gospel that preserves the love of God, the freewill of humanity and the mutual consent inherent in and necessary to God’s invitation? I don’t buy it any more. Without going into great detail here, might I suggest that because God, by nature, is the eternally consenting Bridegroom, there are two things he cannot and will not do:

  • He will not ever make you marry his Son, because an irresistible grace would violate your consent. Your part will always and forever be by consent.
  • His consent will never end, because a violent ultimatum would violate your consent. Divine love will always and forever be by consent. Emphasis on forever. “His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136). “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jer. 31:3).

I don’t believe the divine courtship involves wearing you down with his love until you give up. It’s simply that he’ll always love you, with a love that even outlasts and overcomes death (Song of Solomon 8). The Bible at least hints (Rev. 21-22) that the prodigal Father will wait for you, invite you and keep the doors open for you until you’re ready to come home. He’ll wait for you forever. ”
― Bradley Jersak, A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel

51hgxvim0cl-_sx332_bo1204203200_

I’ve been given a hope and a future

I've been given a hope and a futureI've been blessed beyond all measure

I was blind, now I’m seeing in colour
I was dead, now I’m living forever
I had failed, but You were my Redeemer
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

I was lost, now I’m found by the Father
I’ve been changed from a ruin to treasure
I’ve been given a hope and a future
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

Explore tomorrow: The final Sunday of The Bible Timeline!

Tomorrow at Explore it’s the climax of the Bible Timeline!  Steve our vicar uses Revelation 21 to discuss our future hope.  We have much to enjoy and much to look forward to.  The service will include Communion and end with a bring and share lunch.

1280x1280

Next week at the Bible Study we’ll be over-viewing the whole Bible story and trying to identify the significant markers and link Bible stories, characters and passages to them.  How has the Bible Timeline been a blessing to you?  Bring along one question you now have, and together we’ll see if we can help one another!