Honouring God and Thatcher

In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches Christians to pray that God’s name would be hallowed (Matt 6:9).  Unlike a recent name I’ve been hearing – Margret Thatcher.  Daily-Mirror-front-page--Thatcher-dies-1820712

A few who are politically conservative spoke in an honourable way about her the past few weeks. But it seems that she was hated by many.  I don’t pretend to understand UK politics of the 80’s, but I do know that the name of Thatcher is not hallowed by many in the UK today.

How could you change the opinion of someone who had a very negative view of Thatcher?  Lay out the arguments about the free market economy? Logically present the issues facing Britain at the time? But what’s the chance of getting a Welsh coal miner who lost his job in 1984 to sing Thatcher’s praises?

Slim and none.

About the same chance we have of getting most people in London to honour God’s name. If our arguments, our great reasoning abilities, even our friendly community and service to the poor is what is going to attract people to God – then we’re done for. It’s not gonna happen.

But Jesus asks us to pray for the impossible.

How we speak about God reveals what is going on in our hearts. Jesus tells us that “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart.”  (Matt 15:18)  Honouring God with our lips takes a heart change because we are naturally in rebellion against our Creator. There is no way we are going to work hard enough or have the right strategy to see God’s name hallowed in our community.

But Jesus asks us to pray for the impossible.

Because God is at work in the lives of men and women, boys and girls. God is at work changing hearts, giving faith and turning around the mouths of people.  God is at work seeing his name honoured across London and across the world.

Later in Matthew, Jesus said,“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26)

Jesus asks us to pray for the impossible (which just might be possible!)

Filming the Film Lovers on BBC

Each Monday before the Homeless Film Club, a group of 20 to 30 elderly folks from around West London gather together to watch a film at the “Silver Screen Film Club”.  My Silver Screeninvolvement has tapered down over the past year, but I still occasionally enjoy sitting around talking over a cup of tea before or after the movie with men and women who are a few years older than me.

Last autumn, the BBC organized a project to help a group of 6th formers create a short video in which they interviewed Silver Screen members along with local primary school kids about their favorite movies.  You can read about the project and watch the four minute result of their efforts here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/outreach/posts/Filming-the-film-loversBBC Outreach

Towards the end, Christoph Boss,  New City’s MAP apprentice, makes a brief appearance but you have to watch carefully to see him!

Quick Book Review: Tribes

Over the years I’ve enjoyed reading various business/leadership books that have helped me in my work with churches, charities and small businesses.  Steve Covey’s “7 Habits”, James Collin’s “Built to Last” and “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes and Posner where early favorites coming out of university.

In the last 10 years, I have been challenged by David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”, “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky and both of the Heath brother books – “Switch” and “Made to Stick”.  From a Christian perspective, “Leading with a Limp” by Dan Allender has been the best book on leadership that I’ve read.

Last week I finished “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us” by Seth Godin.  I had heard about Godin’s other books for several years, but none of them caught my attention.  They just Tribesseemed too focused on marketing for my tastes.  But after receiving an Amazon gift certificate and seeing a positive review from Michael Hyatt, I decided to give Tribes a try.  I’m glad I did.

Here’s a sampling of my highlights:

“Generous and authentic leadership will always defeat the selfish efforts of someone doing it just because she can.”

“Leadership…is about creating change that you believe in.”

“All tribes are made up of partisans, the more partisan the better.  If you’re a middle-of-the-roader, you don’t bother joining a tribe.  Partisans want to make a difference.  Leaders lead when they take positions, when they connect with their tribes, and when they help the tribe connect to itself.”

“True leaders have figured out that the real win is in turning a casual fan into a true one.”

“The organizations of the future are filled with smart, fast, flexible people on a mission.”

“What people are afraid of isn’t failure. It’s blame. Criticism.  We choose not to be remarkable because we’re afraid of criticism.”

“So great leaders don’t try to please everyone. Great leaders don’t water down their message in order to make the tribe bigger. Instead, they realize that a motivated, connected tribe in the midst of a movement is far more powerful than a larger group could ever be.”

“The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.”

“The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.”

“Growth doesn’t come from persuading the most loyal members of other tribes to join you. They will be the last to come around. Instead, you’ll find more fertile ground among seekers, among people who desire the feeling they get when they’re part of a vibrant, growing tribe, but who are still looking for that feeling.”

“The tactics of leadership are easy. The art is the difficult part.”

It’s a quick read – 125 pages with no chapters so it’s easy to pick up and put down.  If you want to lead change, no matter how small, Seth Godin has written a book which will spark ideas in your mind.

Plus, he’s got a great haircut!Seth-Godin-bald-head-profile

Building with “The Builder”

At different times in my adult life, I have worked as a builder. During our time of IMG_2894transition to London, I was able to work on some old run-down houses that my parents bought in St. Louis.  After several months, we were able to bring them back to life.  Because we were the owners of the house, occasionally I would bring my four-year-old son, Kaleb, to the job site with me.

Now Kaleb had a tool belt and a few tools.  I would then give him a job to do.   “Carry those boards over there. Hammer these nails. Sweep this up.”

When the day was over, he could honestly say that he went to work with Daddy. And when the house was finished – he could honestly say, “We remodeled this house together.” He IMG_2111did come to work. He showed up. If nothing else, he made my day a little more enjoyable.

Our battle against the forces of darkness is like this. We go to work with our little tool belt and tiny hammer. We work hard and we tell everyone – “I was in a spiritual battle today.”

That’s right. You are in a battle. But you and I are like a four-year-old going to work with his Daddy to remodel a house.

As Paul starts his description of spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, he reminds us of this fact:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

We should up, we have our tools, we do our best – but when it comes down to it – the battle is the Lord’s!

He is the builder.  We just get to join him at work.  Just like my four-year-old son did many years ago.

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