Newsletter 11 September 2020, Episode 62

Beauty, memories and challenges

Once again, I must say a hearty “thank you” to all of you who have been praying for my family. As you might know, my father fractured his femur. He came home on Wednesday evening. My mother went to A&E on Thursday morning. We joked that they were swapping places. As of the time of writing, my mother is still in hospital. It does not look as if it’s a life-threatening condition, but we’re not sure. I am very grateful for your prayers, and your messages of encouragement. I felt them deep in my spirit.

This week has been a mixture of beauty, memories and challenges. Helping my parents with their health issues has been a challenge although, of course, a privilege. Getting up at three in the morning as part of my mother’s medical emergency was not much fun. But then, later, watching the sun come up (as in the picture above), hearing the birds sing and smelling the freshness of the air reminded me that not everything is wrong with this world. The beauty and the beast are together in this age, and will remain so until our Lord returns.

I themed my sermon for the Watford church this Sunday around the two rooms in my parents’ house which have had the biggest effect on my life. I recorded a sermon video which will go out on Sunday. The links are on the website. Those memories were special. Memories of studying, working, practising musical instruments and reading my bible as well as writing letters – love letters to my girlfriend (now my wife) Penny.

These experiences reminded me of the value of perseverance. And remind me of the grace of God. I was such a mess as a teenager and young adult! And yet, God patiently guided me on my erratic path to finding him. More on that in the sermon.

Walking the house, the garden, and the local footpaths brought back to me the generosity of God in that he was working on me all those decades ago more than I realised. And then the penny dropped. Of course! He is still working on me in a way that remains hidden from me, and that I will, by faith, come to appreciate and be grateful for in years or even decades to come.

My part at this point in my life is to seek what he’s doing and cooperate with him the best I can. At the moment he is allowing a great deal of challenge into my life. I am significantly overwhelmed with trying to do my best for the Thames Valley and Watford congregations as well as my family. But is this all bad? Such overwhelmed-ment reminds me that I am “poor in spirit”, and that is not a bad place to be. That is the spirit which draws me closer to my God.

One of my frequent petitions on my prayer walks in Kent this last few days has been to accept what is happening with good grace. That is, praying to be grateful for the challenges. They are not coming my way because God is neglectful. They are not happening because he is malevolent. They are with me because God is shaping me into something better. Someone better.  Someone with a better heart, and a better connection with my heavenly father.

What are your current challenges? Where is the area of greatest overwheldmed-ment? Might that be exactly where God is present? If so, how could you become more aware of and grateful for his presence even in the midst of the challenge?

Upcoming projects and events for the next few days

Preaching on devotion and perseverance from Acts 2:42 for the Watford Church this Sunday, 13th September.
Publishing the fourth and final class in the series on prayer for the Thames Valley church (based on the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6). Next class based on Matthew 6:12-13.
A quiet time coaching podcast on “lead us not into temptation”
Going on holiday!

Solution focused coaching

Many thanks to another person who agreed to let me coach them this week. Let me know if you would like some coaching. Sessions can be as short or as long as needed. I am currently looking for someone to help me with setting up a website for my coaching. Thank you to everybody who has already contacted me, but if you know someone or you would be interested in helping me with this please get in touch.

Penny and I will be on holiday for the next two weeks. One week in the Bristol area visiting our daughter and son-in-law amongst other things. And then a second week in North Wales, near the area where we had our honeymoon 35 years ago. We will stay in touch, and I will do my best to post a few bits and pieces on the website. Depending on time and Wi-Fi availability there might be a newsletter next week. We’ll have to see!

Until the next time, 

God bless, Malcolm