Tag Archives: Others

If we listen… by Frances Gabriel

25 Mar

One final guest blog on this week’s prayer challenge, as we prepare to share faith with our friends and family in the week ahead. In this post, Frances Gabriel gets honest about praying for opportunities.

FrancesGabrielIt started with a conversation in the kitchen, off the staff room. A throw-away line (from her) about my hair looking ‘religious, nun-like’ because I had it swept back from my face (bad hair day). And just like that, I’m into a conversation about God.

I pray for opportunities like this.  Well, actually, I don’t, because I don’t always think / remember. But I do always hope that if the opportunity arises, I will have the right words and the guts above all, to answer with the right words. As Peter says in his first letter: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” And then he continues: “but do this with gentleness and respect.”

We weren’t having a deep and meaningful conversation. Break time, with resources to prepare and people to talk to, as well as the obligatory cup of coffee, isn’t conducive to major conversations.  But I dared to admit that yes, I was someone who had a faith (she was amazed that anyone does) and when she followed up with a question about my background, I had a chance.  Not to give a full exposition.  But just a window onto a world that for her, where she is right now, offers a very different perspective from that of a purely secular worldview. I will pray for opportunities to build on this conversation next week.

I don’t want to make excuses.  I would love to have the confidence to just launch straight into a conversation about God.  But maybe what I did was enough.  Maybe the key thing is to be ready and to be listening.  Maybe that’s not earth-shattering – but it’s true nonetheless. If we listen, really listen, to those around us and hear what they are saying, pick up on the undercurrents – we can offer just the right amount that they are ready for.  And although I worry about how people will see me sometimes, yesterday I worried more about how she would see God through me.  But I know that God is big enough to cope with that Himself – all I have to do is speak and He’ll do the rest.

Still scary, though!

Frances Gabriel is a wife and mother of two, works in a school and attends both of her local churches – helping out with kids and music where she can.  She is far too obsessed with Les Miserables right now, regularly sings along to ELO and drinks too much coffee.

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Sowing seeds, by Lynn McCann

25 Mar

We’re in the midst of a deep and profound challenge right now in the God52 community – as we pray for and then share the gospel with a friend or family member. Here Lynn McCann reflects on an important truth that this challenge has helped to remind her about, and on an amazing answer…

LynnMcannPraying for others is about sowing seeds; it’s God who makes them grow. Sometimes we don’t share the gospel out of fear of rejection, sometimes we do and there seems to be no response. Sometimes we do and the person seems enthusiastic at first but then falls away. Sound familiar? The parable of the sower tells us to expect this. Jesus knew that people would respond in different ways, but he also said that some seeds would fall on good soil. Yes! Some people will believe and follow him… that’s why we share the gospel, and who are we to say who will believe and who won’t? Often God surprises us.

Our church is having a mission week this week and when I saw the God52 challenge I was ‘challenged’ as I realised I had been procrastinating about inviting people to the week. I mean, it wasn’t even difficult, all I had to do was invite someone to an event – someone else was going to tell them the gospel. But like so many of us… I was held back by fear.

“What if they say ‘no’?”

I’d forgotten it is God who changes hearts to receive the gospel.

Anyway, a quick prayer ensued and then I took the easy way out and Facebook messaged a few friends asking them if they’d like to come to one of the evenings. One messaged back almost immediately – yes they would come.

This is a friend who two years ago I had invited to a gospel event, at which she had even responded with enthusiasm. But then she stopped coming to church and seemed to fall away because she was angry with God. Her family had suffered a real tragedy and she struggled to understand it in the light of God’s love and grace. So she seemed to have turned away.

I did not stop praying for her though, knowing that God is big enough to make the seed grow. I needed to wait and trust.

As I met her this week her face was full of light. She told me a wonderful story. This is what had happened…

The week before, her dog, which was such a part of the family, became seriously ill. The vet had told them to prepare for the worst.  Unable to console her youngest daughter, she had offered to pray with her.  Devastated they prayed, “Lord, please make our dog well and if you do we will go back to church.”

Well, the next morning she shook with fear as she rang the vet. Feeling certain the news would be bad she made sure her daughters were out of earshot.  The vet spoke to her with tears in his voice… “I can’t quite believe this, but when I came in this morning, your dog was standing up wagging her tail as if nothing was wrong at all!  She’s going to be ok!”

So, here was my lovely friend, back in church, hearing the gospel again. This time with a heart open and grateful to a God who did all the work and never let her go.  Thanks for challenging me, God52.

Lynn McCann is a wife, mum to two teenagers, and an ASD teacher who loves Jesus with all her heart. She blogs at http://includedbygrace.wordpress.com about faith, life, and sharing the gospel with people with learning disabilties and ASD.

What if it doesn’t work? by NinjaaMonk

21 Mar

Over the next two weeks, we’re praying for – and then preparing to share the gospel with – a non-Christian. In today’s guest post, blogger NinjaaMonk reflects on how a similar exercise didn’t quite work out as planned…

As a Christian this really is quite a scary prospect, praying for another person to find God. What if God asks you to do something really big like actually talk to this person about God? How on earth do you do that? How can you explain this feeling you have of total and all-encompassing love?

I’ve known people who have been so close to God that they have walked up to complete strangers and told them that God loves them and they need to find Him. My story is a little bit closer to home.

I have a colleague; he’s an ex-catholic, a nice guy, a man who constantly questions me about my faith and is happy to argue about the existence of God all day long.

I have prayed for this guy on and off for the last 18 months, because he has known God and I’d go as far as to say in his quiet moments he probably would accept there is some validity in God. But right now he has no relationship with God.

And God has tested me with this person, God has pushed my faith and knowledge just to reach out to this guy.

My biggest step came recently when I felt compelled to talk about grace to my colleague, hoping and praying it would have an effect. It did have an effect but not what I was expecting. His response was one of horror at the content of what I said, claiming it was angry, apocryphal (I had to look that word up) and deeply concerning.

I felt totally lost. In my belief God had given me this opportunity as a way to reach him – and it didn’t work. I was convinced my actions would lead him to God. However, we must remember in these moments that it isn’t about us or the other person – it’s about God.

I will pray this week for this man; I will ask God to reveal himself to him, to perform miracles in his life and to open his heart and mind. As I’m sure many of you will for your colleagues, friends and family.

My encouragement to you is this, pray and pray and pray again. Do what God asks you to do for those you know are not saved and leave the response and the outcome up to Him.

Because in reality their response isn’t for you to worry about.

Follow NinjaaMonk on Twitter @NinjaaMonk, or read his blog: http://ninjaamonk.wordpress.com

God 52 – Week Twelve (19/3/12)

18 Mar

CandleLast week was a quiet one on God52. Perhaps that was much-needed. Perhaps it’s because you all instinctively knew that something big was coming. Well here it is…

For the first time, we’re going to do a two-part, two-week challenge. The two elements of it are separate  but as you’ll soon work out, very tightly linked. Over the next two weeks, we’re going to identify and pray for someone with whom we feel compelled to share the gospel. Then – you’ve guessed it – we’re going to find an opportunity to do exactly that.

That might sound excruciatingly terrifying, but here’s the first bit of good news: the week 12 challenge is simply about identifying that person and praying for them.

12: Ask God to draw your attention to someone who is not a Christian, and spend time praying that they would come to know him.

Easy, right? Staggeringly so,  unless you live in the Bible Belt. As you read that challenge, you may instantly know who that person is – a good friend who you’ve been plucking up the courage to talk about God with; a family member; someone you met on Twitter. Or it could be that you know lots of non-Christians, or none at all, and you need a bit of guidance. So pray about it – I’m pretty confident God will quickly draw your attention to the right person.

Try not to think or worry about next week. Instead, simply spend as much of this week as you’re able to carve out, praying for that person – that God would reveal himself to them. That, after all is how people find faith – not through our leading, but through God’s own revelation of himself.

That’s this week’s challenge: pray. Next week, we’re going to take some risks! If that isn’t an incentive to pray, I don’t know what is…

Want to write a guest blog this week about praying for friends, family members or others to find faith? Check out the writing guidelines, then drop me an email!

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood, by Jenny Flannagan

11 Mar

Our final guest blog for this week’s challenge  comes from Jenny Flannagan who asks what being present in our neighbourhood means.

8000 miles from home and I’m in a conference workshop with twenty South Africans talking about why we live where we do.  It’s not a question many people ask in relation to our discipleship but I think it’s a big one. And it fits with our exploration of presence – the places we dwell, put down roots and raise our kids in, these are the places where we begin to understand why it mattered to God to come and live so close to us, why he ‘moved into the neighbourhood.’

It’s a big question for us.  We have friends who live in the biggest slum in Bangkok with their kids, and have done for more than a decade.  We also have friends who live in beautiful big country houses with enormous gardens.  The culture around us tells us which one to aspire to, and expects us to live in the nicest possible place we can afford.  But that doesn’t seem to be God’s priority.

The first time I deliberately moved onto an inner-city housing estate I felt pretty excited about following Jesus into the less pretty parts of town.  But in two years there I don’t think I got to know a single neighbour.  I slept there, and sometimes ate there, but to say I was present, that I had really moved into the neighbourhood, would be an exaggeration.

So in the past few years we’ve made some changes to help us be more present in the neighbourhood, to give us more chance of seeing what God is up to and working out how to join in.  We’ve given up full-time work in favour of part-time, flexible jobs (a luxury we’re grateful for) and adjusted our budgets accordingly.  We have rhythms in our week, like regular ‘neighbour nights’ when we eat dinner with different households in our ‘block’.  Being around in the daytime means we’re more likely to bump into our neighbours and get to know them. As we get to know them, and their different struggles, we work out how to help them, and how to receive help that we need from them.

Back to South Africa and the seminar, and a woman shares how she and her husband and daughter choose to live in the same chaotic township as she works in, doing community development.  I am remembering that a colleague told me that 70% of women in South African townships have been raped, and I realise the cost of this way of life, and how easy my choices have been in comparison.

I know it’s not a competition, but it put some things in perspective.  It makes me ask how willing I really am to ‘move into the neighbourhood’ and trust Jesus (rather than my middle-class values) with the ‘where’; it makes me ask how I can be more present in my neighbourhood, more willing to be distracted and disrupted by the people I live alongside, more willing to love and help.

Jenny Flannagan blogs at www.jennyfromtheblock.co.uk, is part of www.therubydolls.com and tweets at @jennyflannagan.

Doing is inconvenient, by Joel Woodier

11 Mar

Joel WoodierThis week’s challenge has already provided some amazing stories of people meeting needs and bringing hope. This, from Joel Woodier, is no different and reminds us that all this ‘do-gooding’ comes with a cost…

Arriving home from holiday, I wasn’t surprised to find that a homeless man had taken up residence in our lounge; this had happened before. My flatmate Tim was a compulsive carer, addicted to meeting the needs of the forgotten. I mumbled and grumbled as our ‘neighbour’ ate my bread and drank my milk, while his stay subtly extended from weeks to months. Being a Good Samaritan was harder work than I expected.

Talking is easy: I love championing the cause of the needy, expressing sympathy and suggesting solutions. It makes me feel good to talk about how I could love my neighbour. This is what I excel at.

Doing is inconvenient: people don’t seem to organise their problems into my free time, and helping them costs more than my spare change.  Meeting someone’s needs truly does mean taking their burdens and carrying them on my shoulders.

This is a natural part of friendship and most of us don’t struggle to lend money to friends or take them for a coffee when they’re upset.  Often we are subconsciously optimistic that our friends will return the favour. However, meeting the needs of someone who will never pay you back, can feel like throwing your money away; is this sacrificial giving?

..If you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. […] But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything back. (Luke 6:33, 35)

Let’s meet the needs of the good, the bad and the ugly, and give until it hurts, because then, we’ll start to lift the burden off their shoulders.

For Tim, every day was a day to help people; feeding the hungry, spending time with the lonely and doing chores for the elderly. I didn’t live with Jesus, but I lived with one of his best disciples. On 6th November 2012, aged 32, Tim died in a tragic accident. Just hours earlier, he left his colleagues with one last statement of the presence of Jesus. All 60 dirty cups, the cause of arguments and office feuds, were left washed, dried and arranged to spell the word ‘LOVE’. A random act of kindness that echoed profoundly through his workplace.

Dressed in my funeral suit, surrounded by thankful strangers, I made a vow. I promised to take up his mantle, meeting the needs of others, imitating Jesus.

Enough talking, time to start doing.

 In loving memory of Timothy W. Cunningham, who delighted in Christ.

Joel Woodier has lived in Otley, Edinburgh and Australia and is now the assistant pastor at Bethany City Church, Sunderland.

Showing love, one sandwich at a time, by Ruth McConnell

8 Mar

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Our latest guest blog is about something happening right now, as Ruth McConnell explains why she’s got blistered feet, smells and is living in a tent to try and meet a need that she’s seen.

This week’s God52 challenge stood out to me straight away. The practical love of Jesus has always been something that caught my attention, and inspired me for a large part of my walk with God. When Jesus loved people he really cared for them, the whole of them – their soul, body and mind. We see this with how he interacts with people; he challenged social conventions by spending time with women when her status told him he shouldn’t; he had long theological discussions with those who were questioning and he fed the 5000 when they were hungry. No one was too much trouble, or too unimportant for him to spend time with.

When I came to Bristol from a small town in Kent I was shocked at the amount of homeless people I saw who had absolutely nothing. I quickly saw that some of these people, specifically women, would sell themselves on the streets in order to get money. It broke my heart to see it but in this seemingly dark area of Bristol I soon found that I felt at home. The church I go to was heavily involved in a project called One25 and I started to find out more and how to volunteer.

One25 works with street based sex workers. It has an outreach van that goes out giving food, condoms, hot drinks and is the first port of call for many women. Here they get given love in a practical, respectful and non-judgemental way. The women trust the organisation enough, knowing that we will support them no matter where they are at. The streets are very dangerous places to work and these women are regularly attacked. They may see it is an occupational hazard but we show them the opposite.  We run a drop-in service that provides a hot meal, somewhere to have a shower, do their washing, engage in learning basic life skills, access health care and case work support for multitude of needs. Then when they are ready we can help them with rehab choices. (Most of our women are class A drug users and/or caught in abusive relationships or there are other chaotic elements to their lives that make engaging in services difficult without support.)

I once heard the founder of One25 talk about what inspired her to start the charity. She had not long become a Christian and when going along to her church in St. Paul’s (one of the areas in Bristol that is full of homeless people) she had to walk past so many people who were needing so much and had so little. This didn’t make sense to her. How could she spend time learning about a God who loved everyone and not do something about the person on her doorstep who hadn’t eaten for days.

There are times when I go on the outreach van when all I have to offer them is a sandwich and a few Durex. It doesn’t feel enough. They still have to go back out to work, making themselves vulnerable, hoping this guy will be OK, one who won’t beat them and will pay them.We don’t judge. We don’t say, sort your life out and then we’ll talk or even come to church and then we’ll look after you. Some volunteers are Christian and some aren’t. Some women ask us to pray for them and some don’t.  I know that by sitting on that van and giving these women my time, respect and homemade chocolate brownies that I’m being exactly where Jesus would have been. I can tell them Jesus loves them till I’m blue in the face, but if I ignore the fact they’re hungry then am I just showing them a Jesus who doesn’t care about their physical needs.

This week coincides with me raising money for the charity. We’ve been running a campaign that has asked people to give something up for 125 days or hours. I ran the half marathon on Sunday and am currently giving up the luxury of my house and car, and living on £1.25 per day. It’s been hard living in a tent in the ice and rain, and I have been reliant on the kindness of others to supplement my food and provide me with a place to shower. So why I am I doing this? I suppose I’m putting my money where my mouth is and saying, these women matter, they deserve practical love, the same way Jesus said that I matter when he showed his love for me by coming to earth and dying for me.

 

Ruth lives in Bristol and works as a health care assistant in a psychiatric unit for young people aged 13-18.  She is a live music addict who loves adventure, cooking, local ales, coffee and praying over her city from its various hills and parks. If you would like to sponsor her 125hours without the luxury of her car and house then please go to https://www.justgiving.com/Ruth-McConnell1/ 

 

 

Learning from the elders, by Tania Vaughan

6 Mar

Our latest guest blog comes from a wife, mum, writer and speaker who has learned a valuable lesson about not writing off the older generations. In response to this week’s need-meeting challenge, Tania suggests that we can help meet the needs of the older generation by helping them to understand the role they can still play in meeting the needs of others.

Tania VaughanIt can be in the strangest way that you see a need that needs to be met. I was challenged when I overhead two older ladies at a conference talking about the fact that at their age, they no longer thought God could use them; they felt they were past it. If women of a certain age were thinking this then I really felt God telling me I had to look at why that is not true!

I absolutely love Titus 2:3-5:

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine,but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

It’s the passage that keeps me teaching and speaking, although when I first read it I thought God meant He would bring me alongside someone older; I didn’t realise I’d become the older! Titus is instructed to have the older women teach the younger, not about Bible knowledge and theology but about living.

I learned how to manage my home because I have chatted with older women about life; in their day certain jobs were done on certain days and they stuck to this routine, so it never got out of hand. People didn’t run at the first sign of trouble in a marriage – they worked at it, and yes it’s supposed to be hard work, divorce was not the easy option.

It is so important that younger generations are reminded of what it was like to play outside, to play together, face to face not on the internet, to respect others and to value their own purity. All this wisdom resides within our elders.

The fact that you have lived and learned, played, cried, hurt and struggled means you are desperately needed by God. You don’t have to teach it! You just need to be able to talk.

By following Paul’s advice for the older women to teach the younger how to love their husbands and children and how to be busy at home, without it being a stress,  maybe we can make the lives of today’s women just a little bit easier. And the older women won’t be overhead wondering if they are still useful to God.

No matter your age go and find a friend with a 30 year age difference and start learning together. If you are older you need to know how valuable you are; if you’re younger, where better to get some life guidance than from someone who has done it? God placed us in community because we need each other and we can meet each other’s needs.

Tania Vaughan is a wife, a mother, a writer, a speaker and above all else a cherished child of God just trying to be faithful in a mixed up world to the call to share and encourage others in their walk. She blogs at:  www.tryingtobefaithful.blogspot.com

See a need, meet a need

5 Mar

Looks like it’s going to a busy week for guest blogs written in response to our need-meeting challenge, so we’re getting a head start. Here’s the first post – anonymous by request for obvious reasons, and with a little twist of extra challenge at the end… 

We were meeting at a kids’ play farm with our best friends and their little girl for an afternoon of catching up. We hadn’t seen too much of them recently and were really looking forward to a natter, however as the afternoon progressed it was clear all was not terribly well. Over tea and scones we asked what was wrong and a whole great tale came out, involving all manner of life issues from discovering she was pregnant again, to the fact that they had been asking God whether they should stay locally or move up the country to find work that was better paid, to some serious spiritual warfare stuff: it all came tumbling out.

My husband and I had just had a conversation about money earlier that week and realised we had more than we thought following his promotion and some other payments stopping. A happy realisation and a very prescient one as our friends shared real struggles with paying their bills that afternoon. After a meaningful glance at each other we offered to give them £100. Per month.  Until they didn’t need it anymore.

This was not a heroic ride to their rescue: although they had money worries these were really the least pressing of their needs. In fact as I offered the money I was deeply aware this didn’t seem to make enough difference. This was God’s timing, both my husband and I felt that, and as the conversation developed further I found myself saying ‘If you don’t agree to have the money put into your bank account monthly we’ll just find other ways to give it to you like stuffing £20’s down the side of your sofa each time we come round’ I was utterly convinced they should have the money!

I would generally classify myself as a generous person, but even so I feel this week’s challenge keenly; if we weren’t prepared to do this for our closest friends, what kind of friends does that make us? So what about the stranger or ‘alien’ in our midst? Would I be prepared to listen for a need and then fill it for someone I don’t know?  That really would be stepping out into the unknown.

If you’d like to write a guest post this week on putting faith into action or practicing ‘active presence’, please read our writing guidelines, then drop me an email.

What I learned in week six

12 Feb

Well that was interesting. If you’ve been following the God52 journey this week, you’ll have read some fantastic, stretching, honest guest blog posts, and if you’ve been taking the challenge yourself, I’d wager you’ve enjoyed a surprising, if not revelatory experience.

The challenge was -as ever – simple: identify a voice (most people interpreted this as a Christian teacher) which you had previously written off, engage with it, and ask God to speak to you through it. The slight downside with this was it gave everyone permission to publicly air their pet peeves; the stronger upside was that many of us enjoyed a week of being a little more open minded. So on this blog you’ll have read about Calum, who caught something beautiful from prosperity teacher Joel Osteen; Mark, who was forced to wrestle a bit with his preconceptions as a Conservative Evangelical, and Helen and Zoe, both of whom found wisdom or grace they didn’t expect among complementarians. Elsewhere on other blogs, we noticed a number of other people on similar journeys.

For each of these people, the lesson was slightly different, but in every case there seemed to be a lesson. It’s perhaps too easy to refer to Paul’s analogy of one body with many parts, but it would seem that God chooses to work through every flavour, every stream of the Christian church, and he doesn’t seem to be put off by how we feel about them, or how theologically errant we might think they are. Which leads me on to my own experience this week. I decided to confront the thing about which I am perhaps most cynical in the church. I don’t usually talk about this, and I realise that in committing these words to the Internet I am forever writing myself out of a lucrative speaking gig but… I really struggle with Hillsong. I have great difficulties with this church movement, which grew out of what is now a Sydney megachurch, with plants in major cities across the world and a whole industry of music, teaching and conferences now bearing the famous logo.

My issue in a nutshell – that in my opinion, they (and I’m really talking about their leaders here) tend towards a warped understanding of discipleship, which focuses on earthly purpose and success of the individual, rather than the cost of following Jesus.

Since I’ve read it a lot in Hillsong circles, it’s fair to say they’re fond of Jesus’ words in Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” They seem to talk less about Paul’s words in Philippians 1:21 – “for to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”, or Jesus’ own in Mark 8: 34 – “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” The path of discipleship has a cost – for some of our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church, it still has the ultimate cost attached. So I’ve always found the Hillsong approach slightly grating.

But perhaps that says more about me than it does about them. Perhaps it’s my Englishness, my left-of-centredness or my increasing Anglican-ness that finds the idea of God pouring grace abundantly into my lap difficult. Is it for me to decide whom God should bless, and to what degree? That’s a misunderstanding of grace on my part.

So, with that in mind, I downloaded some podcasts, subscribed to a few unlikely twitter feeds, and waited for God to show me how wrong I’d been about Hillsong. And do you know what? He didn’t. I don’t need to go into great detail here, but pretty much everything I read and heard only served to confirm my prejudice. Not what I expected to be writing. Ouch.

Instead I read about pastors Brian and Bobbi Houston and their $600 three day leaders retreat in Hawaii. I listened to Brian preach, linger on Proverbs 11 v 4: ‘Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death’, and completely ignore the first half of the verse. I even met a graduate from Hillsong’s leadership training who only seemed to reconfirm my worst feelings again. I found myself asking God if my heart was so hard that I’d become cynical beyond repair.

Feeling particularly downbeat about my apparent failure, I went for a walk. I found myself praying, and as I did so, my words somehow meandered to a statement along these lines: “God, I don’t really feel like I deserve it, but if you want to pour out your abundant blessings on my life, then please do. If you want to ‘pour a good measure, pressed down and running over into my lap’, then don’t let me stop you. ” I was almost joking.

That was noon. By four o’clock, so many unusual and even extraordinary things had happened to me – all of them fitting into the ‘abundant blessing’ category – that I was being forced to rethink some things. And I’ll be honest – I still can’t get my head around it. I don’t understand why God would want to help my finances, when so many people have nothing. I don’t get why my career should be advanced, or opportunities should be given to me, when I know how fallen and sinful I am.

Do I still think there’s stuff wrong with Hillsong’s theology? Yes. Do I believe that God moves even through that teaching? Absolutely. I am left simply to reflect on this: God is bigger even that I imagined; bigger than my preconceptions; bigger than imperfect teaching. This week I’ve not learned that God speaks through every part of the body, but rather that God is sovereign. He is King. He is greater; his grace and love more perfect than I could possibly imagine.

Not a bad learning point. And all because I listened to a voice with which I still don’t agree. Pick the bones out of that.