About Ben Askew
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Last week as we worshiped, read the bible and prayed each day at Resource Base I sensed God speaking about deception and obedience to his word.
At one point Andy Wilson shared a reflection on Genesis 3 and challenged us to discern where in our lives deception might be happening as he spoke I was reminded of two things.
Firstly what Henri Nouwen said in relation to prayer: “A life without a quiet centre easily becomes delusional.” Spending time with others in prayer connects me with Jesus the way, truth and life. I am earthed in him and the delusions of grandeur, control, self-salvation are exposed as lies. I am drawn to the quiet centre and there I find rest for my soul.
Secondly I was reminded of a strange reading that we had the day before. 1 Kings 13 is the story of how a prophet brings God’s condemning word against a bad King, Jeroboam. The prophet has been told by God to not eat or drink (presumably on his way home) or return home the same way. Then this prophet is tricked by another prophet (probably jealous) into eating and drinking. Our prophet-hero then gets killed by a lion – God’s judgement on his disobedience and the naughty prophet finds his corpse lying on the road with the lion and the donkey he was riding on standing by. Interestingly verse 28 presents a kind of tableau picturing a corpse on the ground and a lion and a donkey standing beside it with the comment “The lion had neither eaten the body nor mauled the donkey”.
The story is sad, disturbing, upsetting and profoundly prophetic. As I have read it I find myself seeing a few things in it.
1) Watch out lest we become people who cause others to fall (in Genesis 3 terms – I can be the serpent!) I bet the naughty prophet wouldn’t have tricked the good prophet if he had known the consequences. We need to guard our hearts against deception not only by others, but ourselves. As Nouwen pointed out – we are prone to being delusional. Let’s grow in self-awareness.
2) If God has called you to do something (given you his ‘word’) then obedience to it has to be all the way to the end of that assignment. This means you need to watch out for temptation and deception that can come from unexpected sources. I think this is vital for us: follow through the assignment God has given you – if you are part of a mission shaped community, starting one, hearing God’s call – then follow through.
3) The prophetic tableau in this story of the corpse, lion and donkey communicates two choices that are presented to us as we follow through God’s word. You can be like the donkey, obstinate, proud trusting in your own way, making your own decisions (and ending up like the corpse). Or you can be like the lion (representing the lion of Judah) trusting in God’s word. I choose trust. I want to be a lion not a donkey! You?
Have you seen our latest video? Chris and Kathryn tell us about the Links story:
As we’ve talked with some of the new leaders over the summer the question that’s come up a couple of times is “what shall we do together?” The answer is quite simple – when you get together do Up, In and Out. As you get your rhythm going, as you try to live out your kingdom calling, simply make sure that when you get together there are regular rhythms that help you build relationship – UP to God, IN with each other and OUT to the world. You could do all three in one time together (eg. eat together and share stories of your week – In, worship, read the bible and pray together – Up, plan a way each of your community could bless someone around you in the following week – Out). You could also focus on a particular direction in different gatherings (as Chris and Kathryn mention in the Links video above).
Perhaps your community is re-booting after the summer and you are wondering what to do. Perhaps you are thinking about getting a new community going and aren’t sure how to start. Simply make sure you have a good mix of Up, In and Out together.
What do you think? We’d love to hear back from you. Why leave a comment and tell us what your current Up, In and Out pattern is or tell us a story about an Up, an In or an Out activity that worked really well.
We’ve hit August! Some of us will be heading off on holiday or to a conference or two, others will be carrying with our every-day commitments as usual and looking forward to a break later in the year. Others will be wondering how to occupy the kids while we carry on with as much of our work as possible!
Summer means different things to lots of us, but as a church we tend to use August as a time to slow down and rest with one another, this is especially true for those who lead MSCs, we want to encourage each other to clear some of the usual community activity and have some fun together.
This year round we’re getting into August with considerable change: Allsorts has come to an end, at least one other community is moving towards multiplication, there is all sorts of movement involving people and team. Some of us will feel like we want this to all be resolved before we rest, we may not get what we want. We may need to slowdown, wait and accept a bit of uncertainty.
All of this makes making sure that we stay connected with each other all the more important. There are lots of ways to keep in relationship with Kairos people – phones, texts, social media, gatherings, and good old conversations! In particular there are the 9am Communions and Summer Gatherings – great opportunities to keep in touch.
As Autumn goes on I think things will look clearer and a number of MSCs may well emerge, we want to be ready for this and so are once again creating space for prayer. During Launch Week (30th August – 2nd September) we’ll gather to pray at 7am, 9am, 12noon, 4pm and 8pm, we’d love you to join us.
Enjoy the next few weeks! Rest, connect with one another and with God.
Have a good Summer!
The first, and maybe obvious thing I have noted more over recent times, is that everyone has an opinion on leadership, whether it be politics, sport, community or church, everyone has an opinion on what a leader should be, and even more what they should do.
Expectation is often a key influence upon any leader, but the challenge/question is, where does that expectation come from? People’s expectations are often different from God’s, but do we make space/time to hear god’s voice and hear his expectations above others?
When we look at the incident where Jesus was with Mary and Martha, Luke 10.38 to end, Martha reacted out of her own perspective, where Mary was putting herself at the feet and listening to Jesus.
Leadership is often about having the ability not to react, to stop, have a sense of peace, listen and then respond. Responding is different to reacting.
Our Kairos questions are always what is God saying and what is our response, because God wants a response and not a reaction.
Summer can be that time where we have space to stop, reflect, gain some peace, and listen, enabling us to move to a place of response.
So let’s be people who don’t react simply out of what they see, as Martha did, but people who respond out of all that God is saying to us, and demonstrate a leadership model that the world could certainly do with right now.
by AndyWilson. You can read more of Andy’s thoughts on the Roll The Rock site.
It’s a bit of a cliche to say that change is a constant, but it is true. Change is not a Church thing, a Kairos thing, or a mission thing. Change is part of life. Having said that, there do seem to be seasons where the rate of change quickens, for some of us and our MSCs this is one of those moments.
Some of us tend to see change as exciting, an opportunity for adventure. Others of us will see it more in terms of a threat or a loss. In truth, most changes are a bit of both.
Here are four things I’ve realised I do, and where I think they fit on the learning circle.
Observe – Look Back
Dan H reminded those of us at 9am prayers yesterday morning to remember the good things God has done in the past (you can read more of his thoughts on this here). Joshua had the people of Israel place 12 stones by the Jordan to remind them of God’s goodness. What has He done in your MSC that you can look back at and gain courage for the new season?
We’ve led several MSCs (I think our current score is 7) in different places over the years. None of them were perfect (looking back involves learning from mistakes), some of them ended messily, but in each there was fruit, growth and discipleship. As we think about change and movement in our lives I’m finding that remembering those communities and the friends who were part of them has been very encouraging.
Reflect – Wait
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7
When change hits it can be so easy to go into default modes of panic, fix or fret. Resist these and wait. Take the time to listen to God, to reflect and pray.
Waiting doesn’t need to be passive, it can be about asking God – what about this? It can be quite active (think about a waiter). Waiting can involve seeking – looking for where God is and listening carefully to discern what He is saying.
Discuss and Account – Connect
Change can lead people to be isolated, especially if they don’t really like or understand what is going on. When an MSC changes that can lead some to drop off the radar.
Make sure you connect with others, make sure you keep your connection with God. Keep an eye out for each other.
Plan and Act – Decide
Too much change can be bewildering; which way do we go, how do we respond? As I’ve thought about some of the changes we are facing as a family I found it easy to get stuck, to worry so much about the right decision that I don’t do anything.
So often the stories of change in the bible involve an encouragement to choose. Think about Joshua asking the people who they will serve before he dies (Joshua 23), or Jesus commissioning the disciples at the end of Matthew. There are decisions to be made and things to do. Encourage one another to make confident decisions for discipleship and for God.