Sunday, September 23, 2018
Who do you let encourage you?"Are you drinking much at the moment?”
“Yeah.”
“Me too......It’s good for you.”
“Yeah, you need a bit.”

A couple of guys were visiting our “Drop In” lunch, and sat just outside the door, drinking coffee while I washed the dishes. For some people, our small Drop In space is more about having a place to be still than getting a feed. It’s a place to escape the problems of the day for an hour or two, with friendly conversation if you feel sociable, or a sleep on the couch if you need it. As I listened to the guys encourage each other in the art of pretending to enjoy alcoholism, I realised that our attitude to our struggles is defined by with whom we choose to share. It is easy to find someone who will let you off the hook, and help you find excuses for not trying to change. However this sort of friendship is no more friendship than a doctor is doing his job by leaving a skin cancer alone. “What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words” (Proverbs 18:21). I wished that I could have been a part of the conversation that was happening outside the Drop In door, but I hardly knew the guys, and they had not invited me to offer an opinion. They had chosen to sit outside by themselves, and were not really looking for a different point of view.

At Missionheart we are privileged to be invited to listen to stories of struggle, to pray with someone and to see God work healing and hope into their life. It is a joy to spend time with people as they work through issues; God is amazing and generous. However, when someone chooses to stop talking to the people who are supporting them, and avoids us, it is always a sign that they do not want to hear anymore about letting God be in charge. They know that we will tell them the choices they are making are destructive. They know we will offer to listen, and to help, and to pray. And they know that God will surely make it uncomfortable for them to remain in destruction.

When I find myself searching out someone to back up my excuses I know it is time to pray. Often, all it takes is for me to be honest with God about my problem, and He shows me the way through. When a friend invites me to be a part of their life, I hope to remember the consequences of my words, and speak preservation into their life.

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The other week we explored the idea of focusing on things worthy of our attention, and not hanging out in the toilet. Thanks for all the feedback - to those I offended and who were able to take a stand and chose to become ex-toilet dwellers - well done, I'm proud opf you, keep it up. For those who are wondering what this ex-toilet dweller stuff is about - please let me briefly explain. Sometimes because bad stuff happenes in life we find ourselves having to deal with it (lets call it a visit to the toilet) a great problem arrises however when this becomes our focus in life - all we focus on is the crap, the unfairness, the mistakes and failures, and our wounding or loss. (Let call this toilet dwelling). Although these things need our attention they are not to be the major focus of our life, and defiately not the entire focus of life (lets see this as staying in the toilet and playing in it. This is not healthy living - flush and get out - who wants to shake hands with the toilet dweller?). Philipians 4 tells us to focus on things worthy of our honour and praise. Yes we face problems and pain and need to visit the toilet, sorry for dragging out the allegory, but we are not the some total of our mistakes and failures or of our pain and loss. We were created for greatness and fearfully and wonderfully made. There are things to celebrate, things worthy of giving our lives to, people needing to know of the hope and love and kingdom of our forever king - Jesus... What are you investing your life in? Don't be a toilet dweller. Get up, press the flush button, wash your hands and step out into what you were made for, enjoy being who you really are - it is good - how do I know? Well as an ex-toilet dweller let me say life is better out here - I spend the minimum time necessary in the toilet and the maximum time I can elsewhere. Your are fearfully and wonderfully made, created for good works, life and joy. If you don't believe me - ask God... I dare you! 

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