switching off

power buttonTechnically today is a day off. But that does not stop me trying to be a good free sample of Jesus, nor does it stop me caring about the people I am pastoring. It’s difficult to switch off.

Today I have watched Dr Who from last Saturday. OOOH, that was good!

I tried watching some American Football I recorded from the middle of last night (you can fast forward through the breaks and it doesn’t last half as long). But I dropped off, so decided not to bother watching the rest.

I tried writing some more of my novel, but using the Windows 7 voice recognition software. That ended up being frustrating because it did not recognise my voice in the real world half as well as it did in the training session… but then in the training session IT was telling ME what to say, so it knew what I was going to say before I said it. The software is not so intuitive when writing a book!

And I went off to the golf driving range and whacked 100 balls. Some of them even went in the right direction for the right distance. If only I could predict which ones it would be…

As well as doing some clothes washing, preparing tea (toad in the hole in one – stray golf ball) I have managed to keep my mind occupied. But when I pause I think about people in the church in need of prayer or support, those visits I need to get around to, next Sunday’s services and the ideas I had which I have now forgotten, and so on.

A friend is having almost the opposite experience. He is undergoing some tests this week (medical, not academic) that will require lots of sitting and lying around. He asked me to suggest some Bible passages on which he could meditate while the tests were ongoing – something spiritual to take his mind off the tests!

I guess the problem for all of us is that there should be no line between our life and faith. Our work is our worship. If we are as integrated as Jesus, our activity is all for God, whether it is putting clothes in a washing machine, whacking golf balls, working behind a desk or a counter or even sitting with tubes sticking out of us. That is (I hope) why many of these bloggages are based on my reflecting on my life. I am trying to look for evidence that God is at work in me as I am at work for him.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

For Nellie’s oldest employee:

In the hospital, the relatives gathered in the waiting room, where a family member lay gravely ill. Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and sombre.

“I’m afraid I’m the bearer of bad news” he said as he surveyed the worried faces.

“The only hope left for your loved one at this time is a brain transplant. It’s an experimental procedure, quite risky, and you’ll have to pay for the brain yourselves.”

The family members sat silent as they absorbed the news. At length, someone asked, “Well, how much does a brain cost?”

The doctor quickly responded, “A female brain goes for £20,000. A male brain costs £50,000.”

The moment turned awkward. Men in the room tried not to smile, avoiding eye contact with the women, but some actually smirked.

A girl, unable to control her curiosity, blurted out the question everyone wanted to ask, “Why does the male brain cost so much more?”

The doctor smiled at her childish innocence and then said to the entire group,”It’s a standard pricing procedure. We mark the female brains down because they’re used.”

… and relax

I is having a day off today. They usually happen on Saturdays for me, but there’s a bonus one this week for having to work all the way through a Bank Holiday last week (Good Friday).

The problem is that I can’t turn my brain off completely from thinking about church things:

Who will run the new video system on Sunday as there’s nobody on the rota?
Conversations I need to have with people in the future.
New staff member we will need because of the imminent departure of a current one.
Who I will visit tomorrow.
How will Sunday services go (I won’t be there as I am going to be at the Baptist Assembly).
Will we have more people join our Alpha course?

Does this make me:
a. control freak
b. stressed
c. both of the above
d. a pastor

I hope that the answer is d. I can’t switch off being a pastor just because I am having a day off. I can’t stop caring about the people linked to our church. I can’t stop being concerned about sharing the good news of Jesus with people. I can’t turn off my desire that people will be able to encounter God in our services.

Jesus' Day OffThere’s a brilliant children’s book by Nicholas Allan. It is called Jesus’ Day Off . The title gives away a lot of the plot, but the significant thing is that even when Jesus is having a day off, people are being blessed. He doesn’t stop caring, blessing and refreshing others even when he is having a day off.

Lessons to learn:
1. Jesus needed time out. So do I.
2. Jesus never stopped being the Good Shepherd, it was in his DNA. I can’t stop being a pastor.
3. There are times when I need to realise that Jesus knew what he was talking about: “Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself”
4. Making notes of things to do means I can safely put them aside and relax again.
5. Must get out Jesus’ Day Off and re-read it… in the garden… with a nice cold drink…

chill

 

Still Not Convinced My Parents... funny fridge magnet
Fridge magnet available at Amazon…

In the big scheme of things, this is rather a petty post. We are having a new fridge today. In fact the blokes are bringing it into the house as I type. It was needed because our old one kept freezing everything – things in the fridge bit, not just the freezer. It was being over-zealous. No matter how much we turned it down (as close to ‘off’ as possible while still being ‘on’) the fridge kept freezing.

It’s a simple thought, but I wonder whether there are things that I am doing zealously for God where he does not want me to overdo it. When has he turned the thermostat down and suggested I ‘chill’ and instead I am still going all out for ‘freeze’? Examples may be the guilt I feel about not visiting enough people in the church, or the sense of responsibility for everything that goes on in the life of the church, or the expectation that I will know everything that is happening.

So, deep breath, relax, sit back and trust that God has got it all under control and does not need me to burn out on his behalf (to change the temperature setting inappropriately).

Bless you!

sabbath

As a family we went to see Africa United on Saturday. If you have not seen it, I thoroughly recommend it. I was so inspired I wrote a ‘thank you’ email to one of the Producers (who happens to be a friend of mine). As great as the film was (if you have not seen it, I thoroughly recommend it) I am not going to blog about that today.

What was great was having time off. My diary has got out of control in the last month and I have found myself working on most days off. That is not good. I have realised this and am trying hard to rein it back in. I was particularly challenged about this when preparing a sermon on the 4th Commandment for Sunday morning – all about observing the Sabbath.

This is not primarily about taking Saturdays off (if Jewish) or keeping Sundays special (if Christian) but about how God has designed us to work for a maximum of six days out of seven, taking the seventh day (whichever day of the week that turns out to be) as a day to rest, relax, recharge and be re-created.

I have just experienced an illustration. I am working on my laptop and suddenly noticed that the battery level was really low. It needs a recharge. So do we! We cannot keep going relentlessly. Burning the candle at both ends is not a bright idea!

So when do you recharge? How disciplined are you about taking enough time off? The startling thing to realise is that this is not an observation or suggestion from God, it is a Commandment.

Gulp!


A man and his ten-year-old son were on a fishing trip miles from home. At the boy’s insistence, they decided to attend the Sunday worship service at a small rural church. The father forgot to bring any cash, so he reached in his pocket and gave his son a ten pence coin to drop in the offering plate as it was passed. 

As they walked back to their car after the service, the father complained. “The service was too long,” he lamented. “The sermon was boring, and the singing was off key.” 

Finally the boy said, “Daddy, I thought it was pretty good for ten pence!”

bluuurrgghhh – there goes another brain cell!

I can feel my brain rotting. It’s nothing to do with the operation, it is because I have been watching daytime TV. I am trying to keep to BBC channels because I do not want to be inundated with adverts encouraging me to consolidate my injuries and claim for debts I received at work (or something like that). I do not want to spend hours of my life being spoken to loudly by people walking diagonally towards me. Life’s too short for that.

But I am still finding myself chasing and complaining about cowboy builders and visiting car boot sales to sell whatever tat I have in my attic. blurrgh (there go some more brain cells). I am hoping to be able to watch some films that we have recorded over the past few days and also some DVDs that we may rent at some stage. Is that a good use of my time? I have read lots of books while in hospital and am a bit ‘read up’ and know that I have to take it easy for the next couple of weeks while my body recovers from what the surgeons did to it, but I can’t shake the uneasy feeling that I am wasting my time.

On the other hand, perhaps I need to see this time as ‘sabbath rest’ for my body and mind. I am considering resurrecting my novel that I have been working on (on and off – more off than on) and seeing if I can get it going again – being creative in the time I have been given. All of these are part of the way we are made – with bodies that can heal themselves, the need for rest and recreation and the ability to be creative. Isn’t God clever?!

Meanwhile I will be preparing myself for Countdown!

I have failed to find a daytime TV joke, so here’s a film joke:

A Director called in three famous actors and told them of his plan to make a film about famous composers.

Bruce Willis thought about it for a moment and said, “I like action movies and Mozart was an all-action composer, I will play him.”

George Clooney said, “I like being suave and cool, I will play the enigmatic Beethoven.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I don’t vant to be type-cast. I’ll be Bach!”