Monday, 30 January 2012

Does Your Church Provide Pastoral/Counselling Care?

Having been helped immensely by the care infrastructure from my own Church, it kills me to see someone I love very much need professional help and the Church he is in just doesn't know how or where to start to provide it.

I think pastoral care is a primary responsibility of any Church.

Acts 20:28 ESV "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood".

Sometimes the care from the NHS is too limited to resolve the issues and some individuals cannot afford private counselling.

This got me wondering if the majority of Church's have understood the need to support their congregation in this way, or if they are unaware of the needs and are neglecting their flock in this area.

I wonder if you would spare a minute to go to the  facebook question link, and if you are inclined, share the question with other Christian facebook friends. it would be interesting to find out a general idea of whether Church's are geared up for this or not.

It is really on my heart at the moment because of the close nature of the person who is needing help.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Thank You God For Carrot Cake

On facebook a couple of times this week, my sister posted up what was at the top of her 'gratitude list' for that day.  Things like her son's Lego toy not destroying the washing machine, and being able to spend time with her hubby. This got me thinking over the past week could I have written a daily gratitude list?

And all my mind can focus on is a thoughtless comment that was made to me earlier in the week. 

How easy it is for me to stay in that place of hurt and bitterness and resentment and anger, and how difficult it is for me to recall the great things. Like, coming away from my guitar lesson with a plate of carrot cake, or spending all day with my best mates shopping for retro outfits for a party, or selling our clapped out banger of a car for the right amount we needed to pay for the new granny-mobile we just bought.  All these things happened this week which were great!

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (NIV) 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Whatever has happened this week to pee you off, don't retaliate.  Do something good for someone else. Be happy, happy, happy! And keep praying. Continually give thanks to God, this is what He wants you to do.

Oh Paul, you make it sound so easy.  

It's much more fun to get mad and have a rant, it's more interesting to listen to someone tell you who's annoyed them, than who gave them carrot cake, or so the enemy would have you believe. 

In truth it drains you of energy.  It tires the people around you who show compassion, but would probably rather you just shut up and offered them a piece of carrot cake.  It propels the small lies you already believe about yourself into gigantic stories of fairytale proportion, and the Devil wins.

I am going to consciously pray to erase the negative memories of the week and obviously I'm going to go and have a piece of carrot cake.

What's on your 'gratitude list' for this week?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

How To Be A Supportive Wife?

“Are you still holding on to your integrity?  Curse God and die” Job 2:9
What a great supportive wife!  But hang on a minute, she was spared when the rest of his family were slaughtered.  She had been through all the family trouble with Job except for sickness, and when he got sick, she caved in and said that. 
Maybe it was out of love and she didn't want to see him suffer, she had definitely come to the end of her tether though and couldn't see that things would ever improve.   
Job calls her a foolish woman and says “should we accept good from God and not trouble?”  I myself have said to my husband, "you’re wasting your time.  D’you really think that job you applied for are gonna call you back, we both know they’re not.  Give up."  How could I be so negative?  Because I’ve got used to him never hearing back from applications and interviews?
Yes, God has been good to us and we aren’t quite on the scrap heap yet, we have our health and our marriage is just about surviving, but the period of very low income has been hard to bear.  We have both rejoiced in the good times and we both have to weather the bad times, and know that God is a God of fairness and justice and we will never know in this life the rhyme or reason of the paths our lives take, but we can know that eventually our blessings will be uncountable, more than we can imagine.
It's time to stop doubting and start trusting "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted" Job 42:2

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Wiki's Down, But The Truth Will Still Out.........

Wow! I had just read this "A number of high-profile websites are taking part in a 24-hour "blackout"" and then immediately my lappy blacked out!  It's happening I thought, they're watching me, how did they know I was on-line? Oh, no, I just needed to plug the charger back in.

Anyway I was going to bring you a highly informative post about Saint Cliff Richard and just how far his relationships with Una Stubbs and Sue Barker really went, but as you probably know Wikipedia has gone on strike so I'll just have to make the information up.

Cliff and Una met while making a film about a bus that went on holiday.  Cliff at the time was 43 and Una was 17, they tried to keep their relationship a secret but they couldn't hide the chemistry.  Nor could Cliff hide the fact that he was actually Melvyn Hayes father, something he still denies to this day.  It was this that Una felt she couldn't handle, being just 17 and becoming step-mum to Melvyn was just to much to bear, so they parted ways soon after the bus arrived in Llandudno for it's holiday.  As far as I know the bus is still there.

Thirty years later with Cliff now being 73 he started dating Sue Barker, their love of tennis brought them together and they enjoyed many a happy game together, some have speculated that the relationship didn't get past Love - 30, but I can tell you it got to Deuce and then Cliff, sly old dog that he is took the Advantage.

But Cliff, bless him, has been proud of his faith and always shares of his love for Jesus at his shows, but now at the grand old age of 107 he has remained true to his song title and remained a 'Bachelor Boy'  God Bless you Cliff.  And who needs Wikipedia?

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Hope & Help

I was inspired to write this after the two sermons last Sunday, which reminded me I had hope for the future
Psalm 25:3 "No-one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame"
And also, that although it may have looked like things weren't improving, God had been there helping me all the way
1 Samuel 7:12 "Thus far the Lord has helped us"

God's words are in purple, my responses are in pink.

Where have you been?  Nothing has changed.
The struggles are still here, when will they end?

Really? I haven’t been with you?
Let me remind you what has changed and what I have been doing for you.

You used to not eat, because you felt permanently sick
But now I eat plenty

You used to feel trapped and alone
But now I feel free and have company

You used to feel scared in public
But now I enjoy the show

You used to not be able to talk to me privately
But now I can talk to you privately and publicly

You used to worry yourself into terror about the future
But now I know my future is with you

You used to be bound by the fear of religion
But now by your grace I am free of those restraints

You used to think you couldn’t love me
But now I know I love you

You used to feel shame and guilt
But now my hope is in you

You used to think I wasn’t with you
But now I can see this far you have helped me

Sunday, 15 January 2012

That Interview.......

The most anticipated podcast since William Lane Craig vs. The Chair

Had a listen last night and I hope I was open minded, because I have enjoyed Mark’s sermons and I love Justin’s show.  It was nice to be exposed to a realer side of Justin when the tables turned because obviously on his show he shows complete impartiality.
Justin asked if he could talk about more than just the book, which Mark said he was happy with, so he can’t really then complain that parts of his ministry were discussed.  Justin told Grace to be free to chip in at any time, she only responded once at Justin’s invitation.  Mark has said he found Justin to be disrespectful towards Grace, but I actually feel it was Mark who was disrespectful towards her.  My husband and I in no way have a marriage we could write a guidance book about, but if we had written a book together and were being asked about it, I would expect him to invite me into the conversation or mention my input and lead me into talking about it. Having said that I would feel I could have a say if it needed it without invitation!  So I concluded from that, Grace is either uber shy, or uber submissive suffering from ‘I will not speak until spoken to’ little woman syndrome.
Marks problem with men and make no mistake he thinks this is ALL men, not some who suffer from this, every single man is inherently lazy, sex-crazed, un-committed etc. and that is why only a macho Pastor like him can get through to them, they simply will not engage in a church that isn’t led by an action man.  He then contradicts himself though by saying that the men in Seattle are Arty types, business men, upper city men etc. So I was unsure why he was concerned with the possible congregations outside his own church, because obviously under his guidance there are no knuckle draggers in his church.
Considering the interview primarily was for an article on the book, I do think Justin didn’t give as much time to that as he could’ve, but he was almost led away from the subject of marriage by Marks attack on men, which obviously is going to lead on to further questioning.
I also think Justin could’ve been a bit more positive with his answers to Mark at the end, I know it must’ve been pretty intimidating suddenly having the shoe put on the other foot, but I assume he knows what he believes and he did come across a bit uncomfortably in his answers.
So, will I read the book? No, for me personally I think it would do more harm than good, but if anyone else wants to, go for it!
Will I listen to Pastor Mark’s sermons again? Yes, I can’t ignore the fact I have probably been blessed by them more than I have been outraged.
Will I listen to Justin’s unbelievable radio show anymore? No………….Joking I am, I love that show!!!!!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Pastor Mark Driscoll, What A .........

“Let’s just say this: right now, name for me the one young, good Bible teacher that is known across Great Britain. You don’t have one – that’s the problem. There are a bunch of cowards who aren’t telling the truth.” Pastor Mark Driscoll

Why does Pastor Mark think we need to be able to name a well known Bible teacher?  I can name dozens from my Church or area or my favourite podcasts, and I expect you can too.  Doesn't mean we will have heard of who each of us are talking about.  They are fantastic teachers none the less.

Me thinks he is getting a little too obsessed with his 'celebrity status'.  I really wouldn't pursue it if I were him, over here you only have to walk into shot behind a newsreader on location to be assured a place on a 'celebrity' show.

Increasingly the things Pastor Mark is teaching are becoming uncomfortable to listen to - not because he is hitting the truth, but because he is just being a loud mouthed arse.  His "God Hates You" rant, need only be taken in the context of those three words.  God has no capacity to 'hate'.  God is love, he actually is the very form of love, not he loves, his being is love.  If something is black, it cannot also be white. So if God is love, he cannot also hate.

And as for the marriage book, get a room, close the curtains, and do whatever it is you want to do.  I am not naive to think that there aren't couples who need guidance in this area, but this is surely best coming from a confidential counselling session, not an Amazon over-hyped best seller.  But seriously, if you're both happy with it, and no-one else is involved, do you really need Pastor Marks blessing to do it?

Going back to his quote about cowards not telling the truth, I tend to be more impressed with a teacher whose only interest is in preaching God's word and inviting the listeners not to blindly believe, but to also check for themselves that what they have heard is true.  Nothing cowardly in that.

The onus on getting to the truth is with the listener, something that wouldn't hurt being pointed out to Pastor Marks congregation.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Hope Comes Full Circle

At the beginning of the week you might have picked up I was feeling really down, I don't like to talk about it much, but yes, I am happy to announce it over the world wide web!

Anyway, I had thought there is no way I will be going to Church on Sunday morning, I do not want to sit through another service with tears in my eyes feeling like crap, so I had no intention of going.

As the week went on I opened up to my friend and we went out on Friday night for a drink and it was great; I talked, she listened, she joked, I laughed, we ordered, the bar delivered, you know how it works. 

Saturday I knew I could call on her if I needed, but I was glad to be feeling a lot better so I got on with the day (there were a few tears in the morning  because I hadn't managed to get all the laundry done, that wouldn't usually bother me, but I felt I'd let the kids down).

Later in the afternoon I was 'playing' my guitar and decided to look up some worship songs, I have to say I'm not a big fan of worship music other than in a Church setting, it just seems kind of cheesy, but I wanted to try and lift my spirits and practise my guitar at the same time so I came across this song To You O Lord which I really enjoyed and wasn't too difficult to play........

All this leads to today, where God (as if I should have expected anything less) fitted the pieces all together.

So, I did go to Church because I was feeling a little better and thought it would be good to go; right choice.  The visiting Preacher who had been given no subject to speak on stood up after our leader had done an introduction on hope and was pleased that it tied in entirely with what he wanted to talk about, so he really felt he had picked the right subject for this morning - so do I. 

In part of his message he spoke of Psalm 25;3 "No-one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame" This was so good to hear and be reminded of because a lot of my mindset has been to feel shame and guilt.  I was hooked on every word he said and was so glad I had not kept to my decision to stay home.

I realise this probably seems a bit of a rambley post, but remember the worship song I said I had found on Saturday?  Well it wasn't until I got home I realised that I had been singing the very Psalm that was given to me this morning....things were starting to click into place, I could see God moving through my very day, the hope was starting to shine through.

For the rest of the day today I slept.  In the evening I sometimes help out with our youth group, which is on at the same time as our evening service, which I never go to.  So I went up to the youth group, it started off fine, we were watching a DVD, then the projector packed up & after a few minutes of faffing around it was decided we would finish watching the film at the leaders house.  I didn't really want to do that and there were loads of us to try and fit in his lounge, so I said I would just go home.  As I went to leave church, I realised the evening service was going on, I was going to leave but then I went back and decided to take the opportunity to go to the evening service; right choice - again.

The preacher spoke from 1 Samuel about how the Israelites had had years of trouble with the Philistines but God eventually rescued them.  Samuel had taught them to put God first and get rid of anything getting in the way of worshipping only Him.  He set up the stone of Ebenezer as a memorial to show that even in their times of great trouble God had been with them and he said "thus far has the Lord helped us" 1 Samuel 7:12

So in my long-winded post what I am trying to say is God put me where I needed to hear his word today and there were many connections along the way.

From this morning, I take away a message of hope.  And this evening a message to remember the times that God has already helped me so far.  Both from services I didn't intend to go to!

And the icing on the cake? Because I didn't have to stay for the youth group I was home in time to watch Sherlock!

Friday, 6 January 2012

UK Fellowship Friday Blog Hop

I agree with Rhoda over at Living To Please God, there just aren't that many UK Christian bloggers, so I love the fact she has created a Blog Hop for just that purpose!

It's great connecting with bloggers from all over and I have been touched many times by those who have said they're praying for me - amazing!

So come on UK bloggers, don't be shy!  We want to hear what you have to say as well, so join the Blog hop add your post to the list, somebody might be needing to hear exactly what you have on your mind.   It could be a testimony, reflection, or challenge. The only other requirement is that you live in the UK.

If you join below, please either link to this post in a text-link, or get the code at the bottom of the link up, so your readers can find the other blogs in the Blog hop.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Predictable January Depression

Do I really have to be this predictable to have a massive come down at the beginning of the year? I was fine over Christmas, had a great New Years Eve party and everything, then reality hits and life smacks you in the face.  I can't stop sleeping, I have feelings of anxiety, I'm pretty much walking around all day with tears in my eyes! But I'm alright really.  I know what's getting me down and there's nothing I can do about it, it's just another year in the life of..........

I often imagine living someone else's life, but I know I'm fooling myself to think it would be any better, I'm not naive enough to believe I'm the only one with 'problems', and if I told you what they were you'd probably laugh and say "you think you've got problems, you should hear mine"!

I get it, life sucks.  But it's not supposed to suck, it's supposed to be wonderful and beautiful and peaceful and romantic and fulfilling and awe inspiring and rewarding and ...........some days, just some days, it is.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Bad Day Today

Bad day today, cried & slept my way through most of it.  My eyes now resemble that of a Panda that's had an allergic reaction to a bamboo shoot..........or something like that.

Great start to the New Year hey?

I nearly ran away today,
I nearly left my home,
I wanted to run away today,
I wanted to be alone.
Lord let me run to you today,
let me leave my home,
I want to be with you today,
to be with you alone.

Monday, 2 January 2012

This Is Me!

When I first started this blog, I decided to make it anonymous, mainly because I didn't really know who I was at the time.  I think I am still finding out.

Also I wasn't sure how deeply I would share, but I think the anonymity makes it too risky for me to be too open and this isn't necessarily the place to do that!

I couldn't resist talking about my baptism and posting the video which obviously revealed who I was anyway, duh!

So now you know (if you were ever that interested).  My name is Naomi, I'm 38 and getting used to living the way my face tells people I feel. (I'm pretty good at smiling and laughing my way through, when I feel like crap and my standard phrase is "I'm alright!")

So looks like 2012 is going to be a year of being me and not being scared to show myself - be gentle. God Bless and thanks for those of you that stop by and read and comment, it's really encouraging and always welcomed.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

My poetry is probably on par with my singing and guitar playing; I like it, but it’s not great!

Anyway, haven’t written one for many years. In fact, the last one was probably New Years 2009, which I remember as being quite maudlin, but I can’t find it anywhere.

At the beginning of last year I did want to meet my maker, and I’m glad that eventually I did – not in Heaven though, in my heart.

In the year of 2011, I didn’t quite make it to heaven,
I had wanted to but didn’t try very hard.
I think God had other plans, to hold me in his hands
And graciously he dealt me another card.

That left me filled with hope, and I felt like I could cope
With whatever came towards me in this life
Be it debts unpaid, or plans I make un-made
I am ready now for any kind of strife.

So hit me with your worst, I know I am not cursed
I will never be in the place where I once was
It has all been taken care of, by the one who knows every hair of;

Jesus Christ, my Saviour on the cross.