Suffering is THIS Not That

I heard a good quote today from my friend and boss, Bob Heppe:

“Suffering is for propagation not propitiation.”

Suffering is for
prop·a·ga·tion [prä-pə-ˈgā-shən]
1. Multiplication or increase, as by natural reproduction.
2. The process of spreading to a larger area or greater number; dissemination.

pro·pi·ti·a·tion [pruh-pish-ee-ey-shuhn]
1. the act of propitiating;  conciliation: the propitiation of the wrathful gods.
2. to gain or regain the favor or goodwill of : appease


2 Corinthians 1: 5-6 puts it this way:

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 

If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.  (ESV)

Turning is easy?

Which is easier to turn – a row boat?

Or an ocean liner?

Years ago, I heard a staff worker of a large suburban church with several thousand members mention that the leadership had decided they needed to start working with the poor. Really?  After 30 years of not engaging with the poor, it might be possible but it’s not going to be easy.

I’ve been thinking about the core values of our new church plant in west London.  Who knows if we’ll ever be an ocean liner, but it’s a whole lot easier to set the direction now when we’re just a little row boat. (Actually, I’m still dreaming of a row boat)

In whatever you are starting, take the time to think through your direction now.

Turning a row boat is easy.  Turning an ocean liner? Not quite.

Police escorts – now and then

Heard it first on the radio and then saw the headlines online:

“Ferdinand to get police escort” – Daily Mail “Anton’s Cop Escorts” – The Sun


and even this one:

“Police investigate death threat against Anton Ferdinand” – The Guardian

I immediately thought of this photo from Norman Rockwell depicting a little girl being escorted into  a New Orleans school in the 1960’s:

No matter what your thoughts are on John Terry, racism is still alive around our world.




What?! Me wait?

Patience is a word I don’t like.

I want things to happen – now. I want people to get behind my ideas – now. I want God to work in the lives of my friends – now.

But life is not like that. God is not like that.

Recently, I was twice reminded of my desire for relationships to work on my timetable. A few years back I met a young man who grew up in Acton and actually became a Christian while at Twyford. After reconnecting with him on Twitter, I suggested we get together for coffee. “Yea – that would be great he responded! But I’m busy right now, how about next month?”

I’ve also become friends with a young couple who live in Shepherd’s Bush as we both volunteer with a local homeless project. After talking with Josephine, I invited them over for dinner. Again – “Great but we’re busy now, how about next month?”

Twice in one week, I was put on hold.  Go away for a month.  A month!  Don’t these people know that I have an agenda!  Yes, I have an agenda but God has an agenda as well.

And His agenda and his timetable as not always the same as mine.

Patience –  a word I’m slowly learning to embrace.

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