a bath with the plug missing

baby inside white bathtub with water
Photo by Henley Design Studio on Pexels.com

I am like a bath with the plug missing.

Last month (my first month back at work full time) I was busy. Too busy. One of the indicators of how busy I am is how few blog posts I write. That’s a problem because the bloggages are based on my musings and reflections and if I don’t write a bloggage it may well be because I have not had the time and space in my mind to do as much reflecting as I would like.

I am like a bath with the plug missing because I am constantly needing to be refilled and refreshed. If I don’t allow the taps to be running fast enough then I will quickly become drained.

So, this month I have resolved to leave more space in my diary for my brain and soul. It’s all very well being busy: helping people and doing your job, but if there is the possibility of me becoming drained then I am not going to be much help to people and may struggle to do my job.

How about you? How are you refreshed and refilled?

Be blessed, be a blessing

autopilot

Computers apparently take the fun out of everything. That seems to be the message that we get from motoring programmes because invariably when they are testing a car around a track the presenters turn off the computer aided traction control systems. This is followed by lots of tyre smoke, high-speed cornering, power slides and whoops of delight. I am not sure what it says about me but I have a traction control system on my car and I am terrified that the idea of turning it off. I am blessed by the cruise control however.

Flight 1549 on the Hudson, picture from http://www.guardian.co.uk/

Computers are also very good at flying aeroplanes. Autopilots enable an aeroplane to fly on a predetermined course and altitude without deviation, and auto land systems can even land an aeroplane successfully. I am glad that these systems exist on passenger aircraft but they would be no good for the Red Arrows! and they cannot adapt to emergency situations. When US Airways flight 1549 struck a flock of Canada geese and needed to make an emergency landing it needed the skill and experience of Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger to land it spectacularly on the Hudson River enabling all 155 occupants to evacuate safely.

This morning I am preparing the next session in our “Expedition Through the Bible” course that I am leading at our church. This week we are looking at how we interpret what we read and is part of it I will be explaining how I prepare a sermon. The process of trying to explain the process of sermon preparation has made me realise that when I approach a passage I am on autopilot: my preparation processes happen automatically and without me thinking too much about them. That does not make it a fair process, any more than the ability to drive without having to think too much about what you are doing makes that bad. But it has been helpful for me just to pause and reflect on the process that I go through in order to try and ensure that I am not relying solely on a tried and tested routine and excluding God from some aspects of that preparation.

I guess that same principle applies to all aspects of our lives. Something is we do automatically, without thinking about it, without involving God and it.  It is worth pausing sometimes and reflecting on how we are living to make sure that we are not excluding God from any aspect of our lives. And yet when we pause and reflect we will find that involving God makes a difference. It is like turning off the traction control system on a car or the autopilot on an aeroplane. Suddenly it is a little bit riskier, a little bit more dangerous, more faith filled, less conventional. But instead of us being behind the wheel or the yoke we relinquish control to God and strap ourselves in beside him!

Be blessed, be a blessing.

 

 

bloggage forecast

Barometer gone haywireFor the first three days of this week I will be attending the Eastern Baptist Association’s Ministers’ Conference. I always find it a blessing when I attend these conferences – sometimes as much for the conversations between sessions as for the sessions themselves. This time we have some people I am very much looking forward to hearing God through – Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, and ‘freelance community theologian’ Ann Morisy.

The reason I am telling you this, my dear bloggists, is not to make you jealous or to thumb my nose at you (metaphorically or literally). It is to alert you to the possibility that this week’s bloggerel supply may be different to whatever counts for normal. I don’t intend to be sitting in these sessions blogging away about what is being said. And I don’t know whether there will be opportunities for me to reflect to you what I have received during the course of the conference. Equally it is possible that there may be more opportunities than normal and I may serve you a series of bloggettes on which to snack during the day rather than the larger bloggages that I usually dispense.

This seems like a good moment to restate why it is that I spend time writing this bloggerel and posting it on t’internet. Initially I blogged for entirely selfish reasons: first and foremost because the discipline helps me to reflect on my life and faith. I find that God speaks to me as I write, or that writing down what he has already said to me helps me to understand it more. I also enjoy a laugh, chuckle or occasionally a groan and the bloggages give me an excuse to look for a joke that may be relevant, or to think humorously about something. And, if I am honest, I also find the gentle increase in the numbers of visitors to this blog simultaneously secretly gratifying and slightly bad for my ego in the same way that cream cakes are for the waistline.

All but the last could be carried out in private, of course, through a journal. But I am a man of the 21st century and the cyber world beckoned to me irresistibly. So I started posting online and heard from some of you that occasionally some of my bloggerel has been helpful to you too. For me that’s an added bonus, a blessing, a joy. So I now add to the reasons a more altruistic thought that God may bless someone through what I write, just as he spoke through inanimate objects like a burning bush and spoke through an apparently stubborn and disobedient donkey.

My prayer as I write is that this will not simply be a place where you visit and receive some blessing occasionally, but that it may inspire you to reflect on your own faith and life. You need not post it on a blog, but if you find that my ramblings have inspired you to think about your own relationship with God, or encouraged you to continue to try to be a good free sample of Jesus, then that thought blesses me more than anything.

So thank you for blessing me with your visit.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

How many Baptist Ministers does it take to change a lightbulb? Change?

How many Baptist Church Meetings does it take to change a lightbulb? Six – mostly dedicated to talking about how good the old one had been.

How many Youth Ministers does it take to change a lightbulb? Who cares, anyone fancy pizza?

How many young people does it take to change a lightbulb? It wasn’t us, we didn’t break the old one.