Tuesday, 18 November 2014

5 things I've learned about being in church leadership

five years ago today on sunday 16th of november. i met jesus

ive been a christian 5 years
and in leadership for almost three of thouse
Here are the 5 most important things about church leadership I've noticed in that time

1) it's a massive privilege 

Being in a place of influence in a church is amazing. And that privalige is not lost on me. Looking out at a congregation of people you have grown to regard as family. And realising that they trust you is one of the most humbling feelings I think I wil ever experience

2) it's not about status 

Having the role of a pastor of a church and a badge with your name on it dose not make you a leader it is how you live that out in your charicter and your integrity that matters are you the same person on a Sunday night preaching as you are on a Friday night out with friends ?

3)to lead , you need to be led.

Real honesty accountability is so important here. Find somone you trust and make sure it is there job to keep you in check spirituly. Let's face it , would you trust an overweight personal trainer ? The same consept applies 

4)it would be easier without the people 

Working for Christ means working for his people. That's not always easy, but it's definitely worth it in the end 

5) it's a calling

Did you ver hear the joke about the girl who thought she had a better life planned out for herself than God then accidentally ended up going his way in the end .. HAHAHAHA so funny. 

Seriously if your called into ministry gods gonna have his hand on it. 

And whilst you may not be called into ministry every single person is called into mission. If that's to feed starving orphans .. Praise God . If that's to be the most Christ filled accountant ever. Amen 

Your mission feild is where your standing right now. 

Lots of love 
Lauren
Xxx



















Sunday, 16 November 2014

being a "spiritual wingman"

 *sermon given 16/11/2014*

So I’m preaching on something called intercession today.

 And I spent a little while trying to think of a less complicated way of saying intersection.

 So it’s praying for your friends and its pointing them towards Jesus. It’s having our friend’s backs when they're struggling as a Christian. Then I got it...

"Spiritual wingman / wing woman" that’s basically all it is.

Who here has ever watched how I met your mother?

So for those of you who don't know there is a guy called Barney and he is always trying to set the main character ted up with a date. And in an effort to introduce ted to these girls Barney plays a game called "have you met ted" where he constantly puts ted in the position where he is face to face with this girl. Giving him the opportunity to ask for her number.

Now intersection is a bit like that in that our aim when we are praying for our friends is to constantly put our friends in the position where they have the opportunity to find out about Jesus.

the thing is its very much in jesuses nature to answer "you do it" as in , ok you have a heart for your friend. go searv them . go be my hands and feet in this situation. take my love to them. 

 That might start small like a friend asking you what you did over the weekend and you just mention in passing that you came to kingdom overflow. Or if perhaps you’re closer to this person and they say "oh I’m having a hard time right now” you ask if you could pray for them or invite them to church.

The bible is full of some really great stories of intersection but the one I have decided to talk about is one that I love because I think it has four of the coolest spiritual wingmen in the bible. This is a very famous biblical story in mark 2 1-12. It’s says this

2 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.3 some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!

Now think about how packed our church gets at Christmas and Easter time. And this is a big building. Now imagine trying to fit that amount of people in your house. Now think about if JESUS showed up at your house in person just to hang out and preach the word. Could you imagine the complete chaos of trying to fit everyone in. well that’s basically what’s going on here when the four friends show up.

I don’t know if you have ever tried to carry a sleeping toddler when they are so fast asleep that they just become like this dead weight. Well when someone is paralysed they are that dead weight but adult sized. So this wouldn't have been easy for these four guys. But what I think would have been more exhausting was the weight of him spiritually on them. Have you guys ever had to carry a friend through a tough time spiritually and emotionally? It’s exhausting and emotionally draining. You know why that is, it’s because guys we are just not designed to carry people spiritually the same way Jesus is, we can’t bare the weight of their problems as well as our own.

Now I imagine these four guys saying to the paralysed man. We are almost there. You’re going to meet Jesus. Then turning the corner into the little street where Jesus was and seeing the massive crowd and being like "you have GOT to be kidding me”. They have promised this friend that they will take him to meet Jesus, they want to stick to that promise

 So the four guys immediately start looking for a way to get this guy to Jesus because not only did they promise him but he is simply too heavy to carry any longer both physically and spiritually. They are entirely focused on getting there friend in front of Jesus and at this point failure is just not an option.

then one the guys has this pure genius plan to push through this crowd get up onto the roof and dig a hole in this roof and lower him down like some ninja in bank heist movies where there are motion sensor on the floor like , what ? This is how desperate these guys are to get this guy to the foot of Jesus. I don’t know about you guys but I think I’ve got some pretty fantastic friends. I am ot sure they would commit vandalism for me though.

These poor guys get up on the roof with the paralyzed guy. Now the thing that struck me was. They hadn't managed to get into the house so they wouldn't have known what room Jesus was in. they had to lean in to the roof and listen out for him. And I think that is the KEY point about intercession. Your main job is to listen out for Jesus and when you hear his voice. Remove as much of what’s between your friend and Jesus as possible. And that exactly what the four friends did them here Jesus and start just ripping at this roof like crazy people.

At this point in the story I would have loved to see Jesus’s face as bits of mud and stuff started falling on his head. Because if stuff started falling on my head right now and someone interrupted my sermon I would first be super confused then I would find it kind of rude that they didn’t wait until the ministry time to ask me for prayer

But nowhere in this story do we see Jesus get mad at these guys and you know why I think that is. I think it’s kind of similar to what Jesus dose for us he carries us to the father via the cross. Breaking down every barrier between us and God. He rips the metaphorical roof in our life. The veil which separated the holy place in the temple where Jews thought God was in the temple. Literally ripped when Jesus died releasing us into Gods presence.

Now we get to my favourite bit. Can you imagine how awkward the paralysed man is when he gets in front of Jesus like "hi, very sorry to interrupt your sermon and this is extremely aqward. Sorry about the slight vandalism but kind of need your help here Jesus"

 The way Jesus responds takes everyone by surprise especially the Pharisees. who were like the religious big wigs of the time who were waiting for Jesus to trip up so they could arrest him he doesn't start by saying "get up and walk" that’s not jesses priority for the man. He sees the paralysed mans heart and realises there is a much bigger problem spiritually for him to attend to

One thing I’ve noticed in my five years as a Christian is that Jesus fixes things from the inside out. As a lot of you know I have several health problems which god is either healing or teaching me to use for his glory. But you know I never got healed from any health trouble until god had come into my biggest problem which was my heart and my need to feel acceptance.

You see the biggest miracle Jesus will ever do is on the inside. We as humans long to see our friend heal of all sorts of things but sometimes Jesus has a bigger miracle to do than the one you where praying for. Im sure you have had that feeling when you have prayed for someone and noting happens and you feel that pulse of disappointment in the pit of your stomach.

That’s how I felt every time I prayed for my granddad for the last six weeks of his life.  But guys I was praying for the wrong thing. I just wanted him to wake up and start making sarcastic comments about the room service in hospitals. But that’s not what Jesus decided to do. Jesus decided that on Tuesday the third of February he was going to make himself SO evident in that place. I was reading the gospel of Luke at my granddads bedside. He wakes up more than he has been awake in months and says “don’t you worry about me. I’m going to be fine” I can’t explain how I know this but I just knew that that was my granddad saying he had found Jesus. Two days later on the fifth of February he went to meet him   

So that’s why Jesus deals with what’s on the inside first. The outside physical stuff is secondary.

Getting back to the bible passage. Like I was saying. The Pharisees are looking for a way to make Jesus look like a criminal. And Jesus has just given them a whole heap of ammunition by forgiving this guy’s sins that according to them is not his job. i am Paraphrasing here but what they thought was something like “oh no he dint just do that”. But they don’t want to cause a drama so they don’t say anything. Jesus however is totally game. And knows what they are thinking. So he leaves this paralysed guy laying there in the middle of a crowd all confused.

Side note: the four guys who brought the paralysed man are still watching this through the hole in the roof probably with that same disappointed feeling I just spoke about  

He goes up to the Pharisees and in a much more eloquent Jesus like fashion says “oh yes I did, watch me do it again”

Another side note: the four guys who had just about hit breaking point and where probably trying to figure out how they were going to get there friend back home look back at Jesus like Hu? What’s going on here?

So Jesus now appears back in the paralysed guy’s line of vision and says “take up your matt and go”.  Bam its not until the point where Jesus has been working with this guy so long that the four friends give up hope of ever seeing him healed do they start to see the fruit of all the work they have put into getting there friend in front of Jesus.

But that’s the thing about being a spiritual wingman or woman we very really see anything for the work we put in. everyone’s walk with god is so personal and so individual that we often don’t see even 5 % of what Jesus is doing in someone’s life. The four people who chose to sacrifice their  time and energy did finally get to see him healed and do you know I would have loved to have seen their reaction when they got to walk back home not carrying there friend but walking alongside him.

But having a heart for intersection will more often than not hurt it will be exhausting and sometimes you’re not going to see a miracle like the four guys in this story did. But I can assure you that Jesus sees you when you have an authentic heart to see him breakthrough in your friend life and he will honer that. It just might not always look the way you hoped it would.

  


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

spirit lead me where my trust is without borders ..

anyone who has gotten anywhere near a christian worship session in about the last year will have heard this worship song 


(play this while reading if you like)

the lyrics go a little something like this

"you call me out upon the waters 
the great unknown
where feet may fail
and there i find you in the mystery 
in oceans deep" 

the song basically talks about how those of us that are christians are called to put our self in a position of complete trust in god. we LOVE singing about it. actually doing it on the other hand is a whole different concept. its hard its scary and often you feel like your fumbling around in the dark

leaving the relative comfort of the only church i have ever know to start actually serving him amongst people that haven't known me since the age of 15 and are not likely to pick me up dust me off and say "its ok you can get it right next time" when i mess up. is terrifying

but yesterday this song came onto my ipod playlist when i was on the train home from uni. and i was suddenly extremely aware of what the lyrics where saying.  ive been singing this to god for over a year. 

I ASKED FOR THIS 

what is the point in asking god to shake things up and for opportunities to step out of the boat (if you don't get that reference one off jesuses bff's genuinely walked on water check out matt 14:22) if your not going to take them 

so im taking my opportunity

im going through the training process for guys and st thomas's hospital at the moment and by the 2ed december i am going to be working there full time as part of my university course.

the way this has come about means that it is so clearly God ordained that i would be foolish not to.

lots of love 
lauren
xxx




Friday, 24 October 2014

Dear friend ,50 reasons i hope you stick around

(this post is one ive been working on since two of my good friends decided there weren't enough reasons for them to stick around anymore with in the space of a week. sadly this post comes to late for them but i hope someone somewhere reads this and realises that there are infact over 50 reasons for them to keep going.)

dear friend , 

i know right now you think it doesn't get better , i promise it dose. but in the mean time here are 50 reasons i hope you stick around 

1) your not done yet

with life , with friends, with family .. trust me there is so much this world needs you for.

2)your family/friends 

i bet you can think of at least 5 people whose world will never be the same without you in it and who would give anything for you not to feel this way right now 

3) " you don't want a permanent solution to a temporary problem" - hannah hart



not my quote but i wish it was. everything is temporary the way your feeling , the problem your faceing it will all pass at some point and im sure you want to be around to see that.

4)chocolate

my friend , do you want to leave a world where mistrals exist .. come  on

 

5) kid president 

this little dude restores my faith in humanity with every video he makes.



6) laughing

at some point , your gonna laugh , like really laugh so much it hurts your ribs. think back to the last time that happened to you 


7) grace helbig. 

shes hysterical



8) your wedding day ..

someday your going to meet the guy/girl of your dreams and your gonna do the whole wedding thing. again , another thing to look forward to


9) kids

the logical order of things once your married. kids right ?. that tiny human needs you and will look up to you in ways you cant even imagine right now. but thats never going to happen if you don't keep putting one foot in front of the other and get through this right now

10)  graduation.

if you haven't graduated high school / collage / uni yet just think about how far into your course you are and how much work you have put into it. now just imagine the sense of accomplishment you will feel when you get that certificate. if you already graduated , you did it . see you can acomplish stuff look how far you have come

11) your pets


         

  
12)  quitting now would be letting it win

and your rocky freaking bowboa dude . you cant lose . your a winner

13) pizza hut

we live in  a world where you press a button  and people give you pizza . you can littraly even stay in your pjs and get pizza






14)  sunsets .. (i know its cheesy but look ..)




15) netflix 

this is pretty self explanatory.  but combined with nubers 4 ,13 or 16 .. possibly even  number 11 if there in a cuddly  mood. you will see why it made the list

16) ice cream



any flavour you want . as much as you can handle.

17) great british bake off

even if you just watch it for the innuendoes , its brilliant

18) christmas and  thanksgiving (if your from the other side of the atlantic)

so so many great things about the holidays. pick your personal fave

19) proving someone wrong

that moment when you get to sit there and watch someone eat humble pie

20) that moment when you first realise you have a crush ..

in instantly revert to a clumsy giggling bag of hormones. we've all been there and its awesome and adorable to watch from the outside as well

21) that other feeling when you finally get to kiss them

even better than realising you like them .. if you haven't experienced this yet. trust me its worth sticking around for

22) watching a baby try lemon for the first time

random , funny. you should youtube it

23) that one bare that waves at people ..


  

 24) that one awesome dude that does brilliant parodies





25) greys anatomy got good again

greys anatomy has become worth watching again .

26) viral youtube videos ..

you never know when the next funny youtube vid will be out.

27) this kids reaction to going to disney


28 ) come to think of it , DISNEY.



how that isn't on the list yet i don't know.

29 ) the fosters




30) there are still good people in the world

you just got to find them

31) high school is just 5 years out of a whole lifetime

and if you stick around thats an average of 90 years .. think about it

32) your not doing the world a favour by leaving 

right now you might feel like you're doing it for everyone else's benefit. that is not the truth

33) that moment when your crush/ significant other looks at you like your the only person in the whole world 

another one worth waiting for if you dont know what im talking about

34) cheeseburgers 



because calories are yummy

35) this does not eliminate the chance of life getting worse it just stops it being able to get better

very true statement

36) the world can't afford to lose you and robin williams. it just cant 



37) hot chocolate 




38) friends reruns 



even a possible reunion movie !

39) the harry potter series




40) hollidays 

think of the last holiday you went on where you could chill out on a beach or whatever you get up to on holiday

41) sarah milligan

 

42) russell howard

  


 
43) this 




















45) i for one would love to here the rest of your message



46) lilo and stitch





47) this quote from walt disney



48 ) the fact that i still think about these two every day 






just incase you still dont think you would be missed


49) it truly does get better

50) ive been there 



and i promise its worth battling through

lots of love
lauren
xxx











question , questions

As a theology student , questions are kind of my "thing"

I've always , always been an inquisitive person. One of my first words was "why" and I literally went through a faze of pointing at everything and asking "what that" I guess I was born to be theologian 

One of the things I live the most about being at Saint mellitus is that we are encouraged to ask the questions we always wanted to trip Sunday school teachers and youth leaders up with but never dared utter them because we though we might get throw out of the room for being such a "fake christian" And questioning God 

This dose Of Course leave you wide open to doubt. and i would be lying to you if i didn't say some lectures have left my theology completely flipped upside down.

but in all reality thats kinda the point of this three years. theology isn't some neatly packed linner thing and it has very few definitive answers. as one of my lectures once said

"if you leave a lecture with more answers than questions then you clearly haven't understood the lecture"

its about realising god will always be way way out of our comprehension in this life. and then realising that he loves us enough to still make himself knowable.

sometimes you just got to stop and say "wow" because thats all the words you got to describe it. and honestly thats enough.

lots of love
lauren
xxx

   

Monday, 13 October 2014

Dear 30 year old me

So I've written a letter to my 13 year old self on this blog before. But I thought I would try it another way round. I'm going to write to my future self, kinda like a time capsule to look back on. 

Dear lolly , 

How it going in 2024 ?. So your 30 that makes Alf 21 Hoely crap you guys are adults !! 
How is your brother ? Did he ever figure out what he wanted to do ? I hope so I'm sure if he found somthing he loved he'd be awsome at it

Where are you living right now. England ? Canada? Or somwhere compleatly unexpected 

Please please please tell me you have at the very least been on mission to help orphans in Bulgaria ! Or did you even go as far as forfilling your dream of adopting one of them.

Speaking of kids. How many do you have ? Do you have any atall ? .. Actually family wise. Who did you marry? Are you married ? 

I have So many questions 30yo me about where you are and what your doing. But I also have some advice that at the moment you love and I don't what you to forget 

1) you are the most happy in your own skin you have been up until this point in time. If your unsure of yourself nowadays for any reason. Please remember that feeling you had aged 20 like you where on the edge of your adult life about to take on the world for jesus 

2) I beg of you don't have slipped away from God but if for whatever reason you have. Remember where you come from and how you got this far if that isn't a testament to christs love for you I don't know what is 

3) I'm sitting here 99% sure your surprised at how quickly your reading this blog post again. Please promise me you have tryed to make the most of the 10 years between writing this and reading it again 

Lots of love 
Lauren 

20yo - 13/10/2014
Xxx




It's not just the leaves that are changing around here

So the last few weeks have seen some pretty significant changes around here.

First and foremost the weather has become desidedly good for one of England's best know games. Dodge the downpour. Yes autumn is here and it has brought with it a butt load of rain. But we don't mind because for all Saint mellitus students that means that retreat weekend is just around the corner #exitment 

I also don't think I've blogged about the new addition to the family. He's called Leo. He's a 6 month old rescue kitten and he is the definition of a good snuggle buddy. Early winter mornings are going to be way harder to handle now that I have to desterb this little guy to 



O yheeeer there is one other thing .. I'm changing jobs !

Like how I threw you off the scent there ?

So you may have detected a hint of uneasiness about my work las time I posted about it. The truth is I have had a niggaling feeling I'm not where God wants me to be for a while now. It's not the people , it's certinly not the youth ..

It's a god thing

I tryed to block it out for ages but when I finnaly gave in and looked for a new job. My new placement fell into my lap

I will be shadowing the Chaplin at the evangalina children's hospital at guys and St Thomases hospital

I am so exited to start this new chapter in my life and can't wait to tell you guys about it

Lots of love
Lauren
Xxx