Newsletter 14 August 2020, Episode 58

…it’s who you know

God gave me a delightful and unexpected experience this week. Through a set of unlikely circumstances I found myself connected with a group of men based in Canada and the USA. Wednesday evening saw me chatting to Edi, Jeff, Steve, John and Kit. A collection of spiritual wild men! They asked me to discuss the issue of how the Holy Spirit leads us. I’m not sure how much I contributed to our collective understanding, but my spirit was refreshed.

All of these five men are pursuing the call of God on their lives. They inspired me with their stories of courageously taking steps of faith leading to an uncertain future. After the conversation I bought Kit’s book and downloaded it to my kindle. I am already three quarters of the way through it and might well finish it tonight. It’s a powerful story of what happens when you take your courage in your hands and step into a alien environment seeking to do good.

What is it that motivates us to live by faith? It is not our knowledge. It is not our skills. It is not our experiences. It is not the result of other peoples’ expectations. It is knowing our heavenly father. More specifically, it is deeply desiring to know our heavenly father better. In the desire to know him more profoundly, we allow him space to grow in us.

What did Jesus come to do?  “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV11) He wanted us to know God. 

I was sad this week to hear of the passing of J.I.Packer. He wrote the one book which has had more influence on me than any other except the Bible. I told the story of the significance of that book in my quiet time coaching podcast from this week. I will not repeat the story here. Suffice it to say that reading a book called “Knowing God” prepared me to follow Jesus.

If I am going to make it in the long haul to the next life, it will be at least in part because I grow to know God better. And, I need people in my life who will help me to see aspects of God’s heart and how that can be lived out. Like my new friends in Canada and the USA.

I suppose that is what motivates me to do much of what I do. We can learn how to pray the Lord’s prayer, but the point is to know God better. We can learn how to illustrate a lesson, but the point is to help other people know God better. We can learn how to be more content, but the point is to know God better – he is the one who gives the contentment.

Is this a good moment to assess your desire to know God better? Is this a good moment to reset your heart on knowing him better? If we know one thing, we know that he wants nothing more than for us to know him so that we can enjoy him.

Upcoming projects for the next few days

  • A sermon on Psalm 132 for the Watford church this Sunday, & Psalm 133 next Sunday.
  • Continuing the new series on prayer for the Thames Valley church (based on the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6). Next class based on Matthew 6:11.
  • Class 9 of the series “They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might” (Psalm 145:11) – How to make the most of congregational involvement.
  • A quiet time coaching podcast on “Your kingdom come” 
  • Lunch with my daughter and her husband to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
  • Finishing an article on the mission
  • Editing an article called, “Leader as host, host as leader” based on the idea that leader as host might be a helpful alternative model to the leader as hero or servant

Solution focused coaching

Many thanks to the person who agreed to let me coach them this week. I don’t know how helpful it was to them, but I felt that I was learning a great deal. Let me know if you would like some coaching. Sessions can be as short or as long as needed. 

Until the next time, I hope and pray that you will enjoy the privilege of knowing the one who matters, and not being bothered but what you don’t know.

God bless, Malcolm