I have been reflecting and talking a lot recently about seasons and cycles in people’s lives. In Ecclesiastes 3, the writer talks about there being a time for everything. These words seem to resonate for me at the moment…
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; A time to break down, and a time to build up”
It seems that God often uses change as a useful tool for our formation.
• Where does our trust lie?
• Upon what foundation is our faith built?
• Are we willing to go and follow God’s lead without having to have an explanation of the outcome?
I think of Abraham who was asked to leave everything he knew and travel to a distant land upon which he would be given fresh instructions. He ‘plucked up’ and left, so to speak. He travelled and he ‘planted’.
This is my time to move and start something new and fresh. I have a sense and some indication of what God is doing in the here and now but what is to come is still to be revealed. I only know that God says, “Go and start anew”.
My ‘anew’ is an incredibly exciting adventure with J.John at Philo Trust. I break down my set ways of living in Ealing and build up in Chorleywood with Philo. I also get married to the beautiful Charlotte and become a father to the lovely Sam.
So much change and so much unknown. I draw strength upon an incredible God who never compromises on His love for us. He is generous and tender and His Grace is wholly unfathomable yet reachable for us all by Jesus’ love.
I also draw strength upon my friendship with J.John and my utmost respect for him, his ministry and Philo team. I have worked intermittently with J.John and the Philo team over the last seven years and they have never failed to demonstrate love, grace and professionalism at the highest level at every event. I have much to learn from them all.
I finish my time at St Paul’s Ealing with much love and affection for the staff and members of the church. I have built up some great and deep friendships with many people there and, as I finish my curacy, I remember how nervous I was on my first day. The congregation, in their generosity, never commented as I learned and sometimes, to great hilarity, made the odd gaff. St Paul’s was the perfect place for me to grow as a leader and sharpen my skills as an evangelist. It will be hard to leave the comfort and security that they have provided for me there.
I want to work at Philo and share my passion and love for Jesus with others. I want to encourage, support and equip leaders and I want to embrace technology in such a way that we become pioneers and innovators for others, rather than followers.
God calls us all to change, everything living is growing or dying. Change keeps us young at heart and not set in our ways.
Jesus promised us an easy yoke and a light burden. We often put things upon ourselves that are quite heavy to carry. I hope to inspire others to know what season they are in and to walk and rest in it; to help them travel with a light heart and trust God beyond anything they ever dared.
Don’t get me wrong – I have experienced the ups and downs of life; I am still on the same journey as others, playing the hand God has given me. I want to hold the cards lightly. My new son-to-be, little Sam, reminds me of this by his love for life and his ability to get covered in mud at the slightest opportunity with wanton disregard for the effort we make to get him clean before he goes in the car.
So I join Philo knowing it is a sunrise rather than a sunset, and the words of a friend come to mind. He was doing a talk about how we resist change and his point was that timing is so important and vital, as is our perspective if we are to embrace anything that offers us a chance to step into our potential. He said, “There came a time when it was more difficult for the rose to stay closed than it was to open.”
I want to be encouraged by Jesus’ example of daring to step into his potential and trusting God.
I am looking forward to the adventure which has only just begun.