What are those people trying to say to me?

Blencathra

I have a bone to pick with those people over at wordsmith.org what are they trying to say to me. Yesterday it was ‘effete’; today it’s ‘scut’. Are they just trying to arm us all with insults or are they trying to tell us something?

I may have been feeling effete the other day, but I’m definitely not a scut.

Feeling Effete – Feeling Joyful

Another glorious sunset

Sometimes life conspires to make you feel a bit low. That’s me today. I try to broaden my mind so subscribe to wordsmith.ord word of the day; today’s word is effete:

effete (i-FEET) adjective

1. Worn out; no longer fertile or productive.

2. Weak, ineffectual.

3. Marked by decadence or self-indulgence.

4. Effeminate.

I have also been to the doctors this morning because I have a number of aches and pains. I am currently suffering from a sore ankle, lower back and shoulders. These things make me feel old (I’m only in my 30’s). While there we get into the classic conversation.

Doctor: “Let me look at the ankle first. That look like a form of tendenitus, it needs resting. What exercise do you do?”

Me: “Tennis once a week and walking most days, I try and get my 10,000 steps in” (the 10,000 steps a day is a big initiative in the UK encouraging people to be more aerobic)

Doctor: “Well I’m sorry Graham but you are going to have to give it a rest for a month. Now lets look at your back. Well your biggest problem their is your posture.”

Me: “Yes I know I don’t have good posture, that’s why I try and walk daily because my posture is good when I walk and that gives everything a break and a chance to straighten out.”

Doctor: “You also need to loose some weight”

Me: “Yes I know I do, but it’s a struggle which is why I try and exercise regularly”

Doctor: “Yes”

Me: “Is there some kind of exercise I can do which my ankle will be OK with but will still be aerobic”

Doctor: “No not really”

That’s about the point that the conversation break down because we are clearly in a cyclical argument. Doing exercise is a problem, not doing exercise is a problem. I’m clearly effete.

However; the Bible says that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” so I’m not going to sit and wallow in my effete because I know that I am rich beyond my wildest dreams and that makes me joyful. Now I know that some of you who know me might find that difficult to believe but I am, really. Actually the other day I was in Tesco and God showed me something and it was all I could do not to burst out laughing.

The Power of the Corporate Event – The Relationship Event

Arches

I have just watched one of the videos from u2log.com (Into the heart) and was nearly in tears seeing a boy joining Bono on the stage. Why is that?

  • Is it because I was jealous? No
  • Is it because I thought the boy was special? Sort of
  • Is it because I was empathising with the boy? Definitely.

There is something inherent in the human nature that bonds us together. I don’t know this little boy, he’s from somewhere around Chicago I suspect, but that’s all I know about him. But I have far more in common with him than not, we have a bond of humanness. This boy could easily have been my own son, Jonathan, or even me when I was younger. Both of us would have been buzzing from the experience, as I am sure this boy was.

The whole u2log is a real testament to the way in which modern blogging can bring together communities of interest in a new way, but really only reflecting our human need to connect and relate. We were made to relate.

Evening Walk by the Canal – Some Thoughts

Millennium Ribble Link

Last night while Jonathan was playing football, Sue, Emily and Myself decided that would enjoy the beautiful sunny evening and take a walk from Preston Sports Arena (where Jonathan was at football), down the Canal towards the Ribble Link, do a little circuit and come back.

There is something very special about these times. Walking and talking in a beautiful setting does me so much good. It was great. Emily was skipping along and just enjoying the sites, the sounds and the smells.

Sue and I saw the rubbish and the graffiti, Emily didn’t. She saw the little wild flowers and the grasses blowing in the breeze. It reminded me of a great book I once read Mister God, This is Anna. In the book the little girl sees the good in everything and radically changed the lives of those around her. She didn’t change any of the circumstances, she changed them. Emily was just the same last night, she revelled in the good. She delighted in the mallard ducks and their chicks. And she changed Sue and I.

Millennium Ribble LinkJust at the entrance to Ribble Link is this statue. it’’s come in for quite a lot of comment locally because the man actually looks a bit like he is urinating into the canal lock that is there.

But I love his face, it’s so characterful. He really looks like he is contemplating all sorts of things. Faces are amazing things and an artist can speak so much through a face.

I am personally quite shy of looking into others’ faces. Something in it means that I have to connect with them. It’s like I am able to see into them, and worse, they are able to see into me. But really that is what the human spirit is about, connecting, relating. Without connections we are nothing.

As a Christian I believe that God wants to come and connect with us. He wants us to look into His face and in so doing see inside Him, and he inside us. Lots of people approach the Christian faith from a rational point of view. Some of them wrestle with God to the point that God reaches them, others don’t. Personally I didn’t wrestle with God, He came and He met me. God didn’t change my circumstances, but He did change me.

Millennium Ribble LinkI include the picture of the feet, just because I like it. Big feet look strange and show us the size of the individual above.

Work Productivity Assessment

Blue Bell Wood

As part of my ongoing assessment of how I spend my time I am undergoing an assessment of where I am most productive, in the work context.

My goals in Connecting with the Purposes of God do not include a goal for work because I believe that work is an expression of my mission statement across all of my three purposes:

  • Devoting my time to discovering the mystery of God’s purpose through study, prayer and mediation and in so doing discover God’s purposes for me as an individual
  • Devoting my time to my wife and children and in so doing discover the purposes of God for the family
  • Devoting my time to the service of others and in so doing discover God’s purposes for the Cross of Jesus Christ

I have to work in the context of these, not in the context of work. Work needs to be an expression of something else, not an end in itself.

So by assessing my productive I am also assessing how the work place impacts on my ability to interact with my family and others.

Another view on the story that someone sent me.

IMG_1647My friend Lee left me this comment on one of my posts (you know the one with a story of a professor who talks about the things that fit into a jar):

Nice message. It’s only too easy (maybe more so for men) to have only 2 contents in the jar, pebbles and sand. Instead of golf balls I may fill my jar with only a few tennis balls as any free time is spent with my immediate close family, I need to make an effort to visit my parents, brother and sister, and further extended family. People I sometimes come across in my work life make me forget that I actually work to live and don’t live to work!

Lee and I work in the same organisation so I am going to avoid talking about specific people, but how true he is. Work is about work for so many people, they are focussed on work and little else. But I believe that there is so more to life than that. I have been trying to formulate my thoughts over a few posts, these are all under the “My Time” category.

Working for Others

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As part of studies in to my mission statement I recently listened to a sermon from Knox County Vineyard in which the Pastor references studies about happiness during retirement for people who volunteer.

It’s one of my objectives to “Devoting my time to the service of others and in so doing discover God’s purposes for the Cross of Jesus Christ”. I’ve not set myself this objective in order to get a happy retirement, I have set it because I believe that it is the call of the Christian to serve others. But it’s interesting to note that God honours those who connect with His purposes (even if they don’t know they are).

Someone just sent me this…

Someone just sent me this, it kind of fits with my current thoughts.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar…and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He asked the students if the jar was full.They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly, and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full; they agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things: your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favourite passions, things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter–like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else: The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just filler.”

One of the students raised his hand and enquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

Connecting with the Purposes of God in my Personal Life

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Having defined a bit of a mission statement for my time; how would do I assess my level of achievement? Well that’s quite an interesting thing to do. Because it would be completely wrong to try and assess the number of minutes spent doing each thing. Because I actually don’t want to measure myself on doing, I want to measure myself on connecting.

Connecting with God’s purposes is not something that you do, you have to be something to connect with God’s purposes. But, having said that, there is a doing element to it. You generally do not connect with God’s purposes by sitting around and waiting for them just to come along and hit you.

So in my personal life? Well in school terms I think it’s a C-, which in English schools would be a pass, but only just.

I mange to spend time on my own considering God’s purposes. Reading the Bible to see what God has done for others, trying to understand the eternal truths held within. But there is a sense that there is more to do and that my nature of ‘just enough’ is prevailing.

Anyway it’s late, so I’ll go away and ponder some more.

Every minute spent is an investment

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How do I invest my precious time and do I invest it in the correct way. It’s a huge multifaceted question. The start of the question has to be another question and that is “what am I here for?” From a Christian perspective there are a number of way of phrasing it, the one I like most is “connecting with the purposes of God” but that’s more like a vision statement than a mission statement. So if I was to derive a mission statement from that vision statement what would it say.

Vision statement: Invest my time to connect with purposes of God.

So what are the purposes of God? Well, as with so many things in the Christian life, some of the things the Bible tells us explicitly other things God leaves as a bit of a mystery for us to discover. There is no doubt that one of God’s purposes it to reveal Jesus through Christian people. But the ways that God wants to do that He leaves as something for us to discover. There is no doubt that God wants to transform lives by revealing Himself to them. But the way that God wants to do that He leaves as something for us to discover.

So is it possible to derive the vision statement into a mission statement? Well I’ll have a go.

Mission statement:

It is my mission to invest my time in a way that connects with the purposes of God by:

  • Devoting my time to discovering the mystery of God’s purpose through study, prayer and mediation and in so doing discover God’s purposes for me as an individual
  • Devoting my time to my wife and children and in so doing discover the purposes of God for the family
  • Devoting my time to the service of others and in so doing discover God’s purposes for the Cross of Jesus Christ

I believe that by investing my time to discovering the mystery of God’s purposes I will myself become changed through the journey. The reason I believe this is that I also believe that God doesn’t create these mysteries as a cruel game. God creates these mysteries because he wants to connect with us in relationship. He wants us to invest our time in knowing Him. The mysteries of God’s purposes reveal something of His character and in taking the journey to discover those mysteries we connect with that character in a way we could never do if it was simply given to us on a plate.