With Every Act of Love

Our Senior Minister came across this song, which is surprising, as his general musical taste is awful (Genesis/Phil Collins anyone….?) We use it last Sunday as part of our Follow series (from Northpoint), where we were looking at What We Wear…which, as you can probably imagine, is more than being just about clothes…

Collosians 3: 12-14 says:

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

So compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love. Beats jeans, T shirt and trainers (which is my usual daily outfit…)

The lyrics to this song are just amazing, I am going to check out more of his material. But it is the bridge that to me is the most powerful:

God put a million, million doors in the world
For his love to walk through
One of those doors is you

What are you wearing?

I am one of those doors. And so are you. But I’m not too proud to admit I don’t put on my compassion outfit regularly enough, or my kindness hat. Harry Potter had a cloak of invisibility which I was envious of, but I have a cloak of humility that too often I’m too arrogant to wear. And while I consider my self a gentle and considerate person, I know there are plenty of times my “patience trousers” wear thin. And I won’t mention my “love” outfit here for fear of it being misconstrued…but if all above and beyond was approached With Every Act of Love…well, as I’ve said before, the world would be a better place.

So clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Then with every act of love, be one of the million million doors that God put on the planet.

What could you change about your outfit today?

Do Something!

Do you ever get weary from all of those talking head programmes, those analysts on the news, the sports “experts” who pull apart the match/game/tournament and tell you exactly how it should have been done, if you’d have done it this way, why it was completely wrong to put “” in goal? Admittedly some of them may well be experts in their field, but they always always spend a lot of time talking about it, but never actually do anything about it!

Over the next couple of Sundays at EBC we are looking at our World Mission, Toy Box this week, and Sierra Leone next week. We have had long term projects with both of them, and ToyBox is probably a well known charity, so let’s look at our friends in Sierra Leone.

I’ve posted about my friend Abs before, as well as Regent Road Baptist Church, so do look back and read about them. We have partnered with RRBC to build a church and a school in Tombo, a fishing village some way out of Freetown in Sierra Leone. The church is completed, and despite the current Ebola crisis, construction on the new school continues and they hope to have it completed soon. Now we at EBC are in the middle of working through a building project, and it’s been slow going. Admittedly, there are many more planning regulations to adhere to and apply for, as well as a difference in the funding…building costs are very different here than they are in West Africa! Incredibly, now the Tombo project is nearing completion, RRBC are looking towards their next plant!

Before their current project is finished, they are already looking ahead to the next need, where to plant, where help is needed!

Step out of your comfort zone!

It can be relatively easy to maintain the status quo, keep things ticking over and do the 9 to 5. It is even easier (and I am just as guilty at this) to criticise and fix from a distance, just like the TV critics.

“Why did they do that song?!”

“I’d have never worn that shirt to deliver a sermon!”

“Who planned that service…I’d never have trusted “” to speak, I’d  have done it this way”

And so the question must be….why didn’t you then?

If you can deliver a really good talk…why don’t you? If you are gifted in worship music, why don’t you join the band? If the church is asking for money for it’s new project why don’t you give? If you have spare time to give, what are you doing with it?

The Matthew West video says it all really:

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

This is also the week that Band Aid 30 have released a new version of Do They Know It’s Christmas, and along with the positive press and big sales which are contributing towards Africa, there has been the almost predictable cynicism. I watched an interview with Bob Geldof on Sky (it was doing the rounds on Facebook), and the thrust of the interview was “why should we pay money for this when you millionaire rockstars don’t pay your taxes…if you did, we wouldn’t need charity singles”. Now I don’t know how much Bob Geldof, or Bono donates every year to charity, or how they pay their taxes, but I’m sure they do. And I know this single will raise significant money for Africa which will help fight the Ebola crisis. And Sir Bob and the rest of Band Aid 30 (and 25, and 20, and the original) are using their gifts, time, and very public presence to actually do something.

Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

What can you do today? Do something!

 

Legacy

Spoiler Alert: This post has ended up talking a lot about death, (sorry), but hopefully you won’t feel morbid after reading it. 

When John D Rockefeller died in 1937, the story goes at the funeral a bystander asked his accountant how much he left behind in his will. And the accountant answered: “He left it all. He didn’t take a thing with him”

We are on this planet for but a short time, and while we are here we make choices as to what we do, where we live, who we live with and where our money goes. And sometimes we plan this in advance…I have friends who have their five year plans, their goals for the year…I even have a friend who achieved their three year plan in six months! And then there are those of us who sort of drift along, happily seeing where life takes them, and just enjoying the ride.

Now I don’t want to be an advocate for either approach, as I think a balance of both is a good thing, and everyone is different. But we can’t escape the two much quoted things, death and taxes. (Although plenty seem to be trying very hard to avoid taxes these days)…I digress.

Remember me…

What is your legacy going to be? After you’ve lived your three score years and ten, what will you be remembered for? Were you a good friend? An entrepreneur? A philanthropist? Movie star? Bad neighbour? Absent sibling? Did you leave a large bank account, or debts? Were you missed by many friends and family, or was your funeral a quiet affair…possibly even a celebration for all the wrong reasons? Maybe you’ll live your life, and that will be it, and in two generations time “insert your name here” will be forgotten.

At the moment I have at least three legacies in the form of my children, and maybe grandchildren one day. While the work I have done will not necessarily be remembered when I’m gone, I am sure the training, input and time I’ve put into rehearsals, writing and Sundays will have made a difference to some, which in turn may have helped change the course of their lives, and those around them. And while I may not write like Shakespeare, or Bronte, or J.K.Rowling, there is always a possibility some of my work will exist and be used in years to come.

I´ll probably never hold a brush that paints a masterpiece
Probably never find a pen that writes a symphony
But if I will love then I will find
That I have touched another life
And that´s something
Something worth leaving behind

Compassion

As The Beatles famously sang, All You Need is Love. Love makes the world go around. Love lifts us up where we belong. And while love won’t pay the bills, make breakfast and get the washing done, it makes the biggest difference in life. Work, relationships, creativity: adding a big dose of love to any of these things will make the world of difference.

We used this song by Lee Ann Womack some time ago when we were looking at caring; a series entitled The Incredible Power of Compasssion. When you love someone, when you show love however big or small, it makes a difference in peoples lives. And while it may not always look as discernible as painting or writing a masterpiece, while it may not be exhibited in a museum or played on the radio for years to come, while it probably won’t ever earn a Wikipedia entry, touching someone else’s life is definitely something worth leaving behind.

What is your legacy going to be?

Melt

I am of an age where The Spice Girls were my generation, I own some of their albums and the limited edition tin box with the movie, and I can honestly and categorically to this day still say Sporty Spice was my favourite. Not because I have a thing for shell suits and leisure sportswear, I don’t have any tattoos, and general fitness (let alone high kicking in tracksuit bottoms) is not something that you’ll find me doing anytime soon. Actually a friend of mine was an engineer at one of the studios when they were recording their first album…and he came home that day to say “there’s this bunch of girls recording this week…they’re called the Spice Girls…and they’re rubbish! Never going to go anywhere!” Some 80 million sales later, I think it’s safe to say he won’t ever work in A&R…

Farewell, Sporty

Anyhow, once the Spice Girls went their separate ways, they inevitably released their own solo albums, with varying degrees of success. But now some 20 years down the line, Mel C is the only one that continues to carve a musical career…something she’s done pretty successfully as well. Several album releases, her own label, regular touring, and even a critically acclaimed stint as Mary Magdalene in the updated Jesus Christ Superstar…in my humble opinion she was Most Talented Spice.

I also own all of her solo albums, because they are actually all rather good. And as she’s developed her own sound, set up her own label and taken control of her career; her sound and songwriting (and she does do her own writing) have settled into a distinct and personal rhythm which I personally really rather like. This track is taken from her sophomore album, Reason, and it’s another fantastic track called Melt.

Give a little bit of love for your people
But save a little bit of love for yourself
Have a little bit of trust in the way you feel
And see your heart melt

Send a little bit of hope down the airwaves
Find a little bit of gold, it might help
You’ve got to have a little bit of faith in everything you know
Then let your heart melt

Everyone needs compassion

This past Sunday we had Jamie Fyleman from Tearfund talk to us about their work overseas, and specifically a project that we have partnered with them on in Uganda. It is amazing the difference a small amount of money, a bit of time, and knowledgeable direction can make. Tearfund aren’t about spending lots of money to support people, they are about getting people to understand how they can make their own situations better for a sustainable future. Knowledge is power. Tearfund, like so many organisations are making a difference, and they know how and where to focus their efforts. The problem of course is money, and in our current climate it is more difficult than ever. And I think that we can suffer from charity fatigue; as we have a 24 hour news cycle broadcasting all that is wrong in the world, it is all too easy to zone out, to focus inwards, and to take care of our own needs. But if we can share just some of what we have, be it time, money, or even volunteering, we can make a real difference…we just need to let our hearts melt.

What one thing can you do to make a difference, today?