by Roy Todd

Let’s suppose that life for you is pretty decent 90% of the time. How do you measure this? Well, let’s say you have reasonable health, a good community around you, potential, prospects, opportunity, a roof over your head and food on your table…plus a whole lot more besides. Sure, there are some challenges too…and no-one is exempt from these. Yet, if it’s true that life is fine 90% of the time, then it begs the question – why do so many people carry negative vibes 90% of the time? It doesn’t make sense. I might even go further and say…it lacks integrity!!! See, being negative is often mistaken for ‘just being honest’. But it’s not the same. The two are very different.

Negativity is manifested through things like…cynicism, suspicion, gossip, complaining, nastiness, insecurity, backbiting, poor behaviour, mean spiritedness, a sense of entitlement, complaint & criticism, joylessness and a refusal to celebrate what’s good in others. Negativity feels better about itself when it is putting others down.

Proverbs 11:27 sheds some light. It says ‘If you search for good, you WILL find favour; but if you search for evil, it WILL find you’. In other words, you WILL get what you’re looking for. So…what are you looking for?

It’s all too easy to get caught up in negative culture. How many offices are filled with gossip? How many work places are steeped in a culture of complaint? How many times have you seen snide comments on social media that are unfair and unjust? Yet so often, we just go along with it because we assume these negative vibes are normal. But for a person of faith, this is NOT normal. Faith can never thrive in an atmosphere that is negative…ever. Nothing will ever get accomplished in a negative culture either.

Truth is, God has called us to be different. This means he wants us to challenge the ‘norm’ by showing HIS norm.

If I could get alongside you and encourage you in this season of your life, then I would strongly advise you….BE POSITIVE. It doesn’t mean you won’t have challenges and tough times. Of course you will – and faith never denies these when they occur. But being positive means keeping perspective – and checking your attitude in the midst of challenging times. See, you can’t always control your circumstances. But you CAN control your words….always.

Words are powerful because they set the atmosphere over your life. Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “The tongue has the power of life and death”. This means you have the power to speak life and hope – or doom and dispair. It is completely your choice. The challenge for many is habitual negativity that is stuck in a rut and which needs to be seriously challenged and adjusted. My encouragement to you is…ask God to help you. As a natural melancholic, I know I need God’s help.

Be positive. Be an encourager. Speak well of others. Don’t just blurt out the first negative thought that comes into your mind. The bible encourages us to ‘take every thought into captivity and make it obedient to Christ’. It will radically change the vibe in you and around you…and that’s exactly what our world is going to need more than ever before. 

church leicester

by Roy Todd

Have you ever found yourself feeling lonely and abandoned? If so, well…you’re actually in good company. The bible is full of characters who experienced just that. One of them is the apostle Paul.

Today, Paul is celebrated as a hero of the faith, and rightly so. The former persecutor of Christianity became the man who wrote two thirds of the New Testament. His accomplishments for the cause of Christ are formidable, including pioneering churches all over the then known world and giving intellectual gravitas to theological principles. What a legend.

Yet despite his ‘success’, Paul was a lonely man. He often found himself isolated and misunderstood. For example, his most encouraging friend Barnabas left him in disagreement because of the latter’s cousin John Mark (Acts 15). On another occasion, Paul writes about his dear friend Demus who forsook him in order to pursue a selfish agenda (2 Tim 4:10). These are just two incidents of many. 

Paul was clearly hurt by disappointments like this. He was human after all. Yet, there is never any sense of him moping around in self pity. He simply got on with serving God and fulfilling his calling in life, such was the measure of the man. You’d have to wonder if those who deserted Paul might not have done so if only they’d realised the magnitude of Paul’s influence both in time and eternity? Of course, hindsight is helpful…but foresight is far better.

I am personally grateful for the people in my life who’ve stuck by me when others haven’t, especially in times which were challenging and lean. Faithfulness is a virtue that is grossly underrated in 21st Century living. So many people just seem to give up at the first hurdle they encounter. Yet those who remain committed are rare…and more of an inspiration than they can possibly imagine. They know the worst, yet believe the best. They stay the course and live selflessly for God’s purpose.

If you ever feel abandoned and lonely, then resist the temptation to spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself. Throw yourself into the service of God. Turn your pain into purpose. The most fulfilled people are those who live for a cause that is bigger than themselves. Life is too short to be bitter & offended. Make every day count. Remember, what happens today echoes in eternity. 


church leicester

by Roy Todd

Life is a series of seasons. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us of this truth when it says ‘To everything, there is a season‘. The problem for many people is that they get lost in transition. You see, seasonal changes are inevitable, but they’re rarely clear cut. They can even look uncertain at times. For example, it doesn’t suddenly stop being winter one day and then turn into spring the next. Transitions are far less pronounced than that. Just when you think spring has sprung, winter reappears again and hopes can feel dashed. The same is true in life.

Resist the temptation to despair when it feels like things are not working out for you. What looks apparent is not the real story. In the seeming chaos and upheaval, God is at work. There’s a shift happening in the atmosphere. You’re moving into a new season, even if it doesn’t seem obvious. It can be messy, inconvenient and can even feel a bit unsettling. But that’s ok. Stay the course and dare to keep trusting God. The transition will pass and you’ll eventually find your rhythm again.

Yet how many people have given up too soon? How many people have misread their situation and assumed that it would be better to bail out? Sadly, what then tends to happen is an aimless journey of wandering begins – without meaning and lacking vision – it eventually ends up in a pit of deep resentment. If only they’d held their nerve a little longer. The transition would have passed. There was a new season of opportunity ahead, but it was missed by yielding to fear.

Whatever you do, don’t miss your God given purpose! Life is too short to live in bitterness and disappointment. Seasonal transitions are part of the tension we have to manage. That’s just life. Every day, you get a little older & every morning you wake up, life has moved on a bit more. Instead of fearing change, embrace it. Trust God through the times when you’re not quite sure what’s going on. It’s ok for everything not to be ok. What matters most is that God has your back. Don’t get lost in transition. Be found in Jesus. That’s how you overcome (1 John 5:5).


church leicester


It is said that Thomas Edison tried over a thousand times to invent the lightbulb. After 900 failed attempts, a ‘friend’ suggested to Edison that he should accept failure. ‘No‘ said Edison. ‘I’ve just been successful in finding 900 different ways how not to make a lightbulb.‘ Shortly after that, he invented the lightbulb.

While a mediocre mindset sees failure as the end, excellence views it as the beginning – an opportunity to learn some more. The latter understands that perfection is a mere delusion, at least as far as fallen humanity is concerned. Moreover, God is NOT searching for perfection. If this were the case, we’d all be in very serious trouble. Actually, He’s looking for people who will embark on an imperfect pilgrimage, trusting His ultimate goodness in a world that can feel harsh and uncaring. That’s why it takes real faith to believe in God’s hope, especially when things can seem pretty hopeless at times.

The paradox of mediocrity is that it sees itself as the perfect standard by which everything else should be judged. It imposes strict limitations and then contemptuously sneers at anyone who dares to rise above it’s self made ceiling. At the core of its thinking is a kind of prideful pessimism which believes people should accept the perfection of average, dismissing anything higher as pompous and arrogant.

The reality of excellence is very different. By contrast, it recognises that it is not the same as perfection and never pretends to be so. Furthermore, to pursue excellence in life takes great humility, profound selflessness and outstanding courage. You see, this journey is about far more than ourselves. It’s about the future. It’s about living for something that is bigger than us. It’s about helping a new generation rise higher and go further than we ever did. What a travesty not to give them a better chance. Sadly, that’s exactly what the perfectly average thinking of mediocrity does. It holds people down.

In your life, never insult God with small thinking. ‘He is able to do more than we could ever ask, think or imagine‘ (Eph 3:20). No, we’ll never be perfect, at least while we live on this earth. So it’s better to live an imperfectly excellent life than one which is perfectly average. 

Don’t compromise. Be a bit cheeky and dare to aim high. Whatever happens, never stop believing God…ever. 


church leicester


The definition of “delusional” could be this; ‘thinking that when I stop, everything else stops‘. But this is not how life works. Wise people settle in their minds that the world goes on, no-matter what. Sure, it can feel unfair and even brutal at times. However, the card you’re dealt is what you’ve got. You can either wish you had something better OR do the very best with what you have. The latter is always the smarter option. You’ve got to stay in the game if you want to win!

What tends to happen when people give up in life is that they consign themselves to the sidelines and become mere spectators. Then they watch on with a sense of nauseating horror as things progress without them, utterly mystified that this could actually be happening. Often, it’s at this stage that bitter resentment digs in and begins to metastasize, starting in the heart. You see, the unspoken expectation was that everything would cease when they stood aside. This is not what happens. There will always be someone who steps up to the mark to have a go…always. If you don’t walk through the open door of opportunity that is before you, somebody else will. It’s a ruthless truth….but true nonetheless.

In the Old Testament, there was a prophet called Elijah who had to face this challenge. As gifted as he was, he was also prone to bouts of insularity. In 1 Kings 19, he decided to retreat into the reclusivity of the desert and give up altogether. While he was there, God spoke to him and gently reminded him that if he should decide not to continue serving, God had 7000 other people in reserve from which a successor could quickly be chosen. It was an incredibly gracious, yet deeply sobering word to the man of God. God’s purpose will never be hindered by the withdrawal of human cooperation. It will always come to pass, and the onus is on us to run with unshakable conviction.

Whatever happens in your life, don’t be a quitter. Keep going. Stay planted. Hold your nerve. Maintain a servant heart. Tough times come and go. So it’s best not to make a permanent decision in a temporal storm.

Think about Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’

Keep going!


churches in leicester

by Roy Todd

Someone once said that Christians are an Easter Sunday people living in a Good Friday world. Our faith has to manage the present tension of earthly facts and the future anticipation of heavenly truth. Lets be honest, this isn’t always easy. 

The thing about life is that it can be filled with moments of high exhilaration as well as deep exhaustion. The mountain tops are inspiring and enthralling – but the valley experiences can be gloomy and menacing. With the latter, there are the questions, the doubts, the frustrations and the demoralisation, all of which can be hugely influential in defining our faith. When we feel the harshness of earth’s toil, we have a choice. We can either allow it to make us bitter or better. Truth is, as much as the pain of life can feel uncomfortable and even at times unjust, in a strange way, it signifies life and purpose. 

I’ll never forget reading the story of a leprosy doctor who was returning from a medical trip abroad. As he sat in his hotel room waiting for a flight home the following day, he suddenly felt numbness in his leg. A cold shudder went down his spine as he realised how potentially significant this could be. You see, one of the first signs a person has contracted leprosy is the inability to feel pain. In a moment of desperation, the doctor proceeded to grab a pen and gash it into his leg. But still, he felt nothing. He want to bed that dreadful night with an awful sense of worry and shattering despair. However, when he awoke the next morning, a felt a sharp ache in his leg from yesterday’s wound. It was the most wonderful sensation he’d ever experienced in his life. It meant he hadn’t contracted leprosy after all. The pain proved it. He was alive and well!

When you feel pain, it means you’ve got breath in your being. It makes you more human. It helps you relate to a whole world of people who are experiencing their own hurt. Yes, pain can make you bitter…if you let it. But it can also make you better. Instead of permitting it to grind you down, why not have the audacity to build others up? Allow it to define your faith for good, not bad. Avoid the victim mindset too. It’s never helpful. Your pain is part of your story. Dare to use it to become a better you, not a bitter you.


church leicester


Wise people profoundly understand the difference between flattery and encouragement. It is perilous to mistake one for the other. Whereas flattery seeks to quickly buy influence, encouragement works to slowly build trust. 

Unfortunately, many people succumb to the charms of flattery’s fleeting vice before finally realising they’ve been duped. It poses as a loyal friend and lavishes you with over the top gestures. But as it feeds your insecurities and tells you what it thinks you want to hear, it’s hollow grandstanding is a cynical distraction while it takes advantage, pursuing it’s own selfish agenda (whatever that might be).

Flattery is the fake imitation of encouragement. It has no interest in anything other than itself. If your heart can be easily flattered, then your life will be easily shattered. So it is better to clearly identify it for what it is so you don’t waste years picking up the pitiful pieces of relational carnage it always causes. You see, behind flattery’s false exterior lies a cold, calculating & uncaring heart which gets it’s kicks from trading people against each other.

Encouragement is so very different. It is genuinely caring and authentically loving, not issuing empty words which it thinks you’d like to hear – but journeying with you over the long haul, helping you become the best you can possibly be. It is not driven by any need to appear popular either, but instead is willing to engage in the tough conversations which challenge you to get better. There’s an honesty and specificity with encouragement that sees potential in people which they often don’t see themselves. It follows this up with love, care and commitment, investing it’s time in championing others.

Encouragement’s most telling characteristic is it’s track record. It has a history of faithfulness whereas flattery has a habit of fickleness. It’s always wise to carefully observe this.

In a world of discouragement, one of the best things you can possibly do is to get yourself planted in an environment of real encouragement. That’s why healthy local church culture really matters. If any community in the world should be building genuine trust, it’s God’s house. For all our imperfections, this is what we’re passionate about creating at the Junction Church in Loughborough and Leicester. We do real, not fake. We do encouragement, not flattery. 


church leicester

by Roy Todd

If you ever find yourself entertaining the idea that the odds in life are heavily stacked against you, the way to resist this kind of defeatist thinking is to have the audacity to dream big. Don’t submit to the idea that your life is without purpose. Nothing could be further from the truth. But meaning is forged more than found. This happens in life’s gritty realities.

Here are ten examples of people who battled against the odds and impacted their world. 

1. Even though he became profoundly deaf, Ludwig Van Beethoven still continued to create incredible music and is recognised as one of the world’s greatest composers.

2. As a child, Thomas Edison was told that he would not amount to anything in life. Yet he went on to become a brilliant inventor of numerous patents, including the light bulb. 

3. Edmund Hilary was unsuccessful seven times before finally succeeding, becoming the first to conquer Everest. 

4. Rosa Parks stood up to racism by resisting the custom of surrendering her seat to bigotry, becoming an iconic symbol of the struggle for civil rights in America. 

5. His life was dogged by failure. Yet at 66, Winston Churchill became one of Britain’s most successful Prime Ministers. 

6. After years of research and hard work, Alexander Bell eventually succeeded in inventing the telephone. 

7. His teachers said that he was “mentally slow”. Yet Albert Einstein went on to became one of the most brilliant scientists in the world.

8. He lost both his legs in a flying accident in WW2. Yet amazingly, Douglas Bader went on to become a squadron commander and then a successful business man.

9. She had terminal cancer and was given just a few months to live. Yet despite ill health, Jane Tomlinson cycled thousands of miles and raised over ₤1.5 million for charity. 

10. He was born in a stable amid numerous attempts on his life by the authorities. Yet after his execution by crucifixion, he rose from the dead and changed the world. His name is Jesus.

So…no more pity parties. No more victim thinking. If these ten people (and countless others) battled the odds and impacted their world, so can you. God can use your life to make a difference. It’s time to start believing it.


church in leicester

by Roy Todd

Are you ready for a shocking confession? Ok, here goes. All my life, I’ve never really felt like I’ve fitted in. I don’t mention this to garner nauseating sympathy or to adapt some kind of victim status. No, it’s just an honest reflection about how I’ve always felt.

At school, I was never really the sporting type. While all my mates were playing football, I was in a music room practising classical piano. When I went on to pursue further music studies, I always felt different because I was a working class boy among a bunch of artistic upper/middle class students from far wealthier backgrounds. Then when I had the opportunity to take music further, I left it all behind and departed for England to study theology. This was to the absolute shock of my music tutors who were completely bewildered by my strange decision as they’d had high hopes for me as a musician.

When I arrived in England, I always felt different. Having an Irish accent didn’t help in this regard. Repeating every sentence twice during conversations became routine. As an Irish guy living in England during the so-called ‘troubles’, I sometimes felt like I was on the receiving end of more than a hint of suspicion too.

After graduation, while other people my age went on to pursue careers and earn lots of money, I went into ministry (against some very strong advice). But I wasn’t just a ‘normal’ church minister. Oh no. I became a poorly paid itinerant speaker for a regional network of 60 churches in the north of England. After four years, I began to travel nationally and then internationally, with doors opening all over the world. At one point, I seriously considered moving to America where there was no shortage of speaking invitations. But something inside of me felt unfulfilled by this idea. So to the complete surprise and even dismay of many of my colleagues & friends, I ceased travelling and decided to plant a church in Loughborough. Even this was different – pioneered from scratch, meeting in a Cinema and with a vibe which was quite different from ‘normal’ church. The story could go on….Yup, I’ve always felt like I never really fitted in.

Yet in a strange way, it’s amazing to look back and see how God has influenced this for good. You see, at the heart of everything I’ve ever done has been a genuine desire to serve God. I haven’t always got it right. But when the heart is right, God has an amazing way of guiding us to where he wants us to be. In a sense, when you decide to follow Jesus, you’re not meant to fit in. You aren’t called to be ‘normal’ either. Besides, what difference has ‘normal’ ever made? Of course, this doesn’t mean going out of your way to be weird! It just means that you have a perspective on life which lots of people don’t understand. That’s ok.

Romans 12:2 says ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world‘. In other words, no-matter what’s going on around you, it’s always better to serve God than just fit in with the crowd. Remember, people who just ‘fit in’ don’t make a difference. But people who have the courage to follow their God given convictions do. So there…being ‘different’ is ok after all.


church leicester

by Roy Todd

Everyone loves the idea of being part of a healthy & vibrant church. But remember this: great churches don’t just happen. They need to be carefully crafted and cultivated on the values of God’s Kingdom. Without this intentional focus, the best case scenario might be mediocrity. Worse still, toxicity develops where growth gets crushed and negativism rules the day.

Our heart for the Junction Church is to ensure healthy culture pervades everything we do. Leading church is a bit like a gardener weeding the soil so the plants can bloom. Yup, it can be thankless & inconvenient at times – but this is a small price to pay compared to the joy of seeing people flourishing in an environment of faith and becoming everything they can be.

Here are 5 things that kill healthy culture:


This is the mistaken idea that healthy culture just happens. Nothing could be further from the truth. A culture of assumption eventually leads to a fruitless environment where nothing gets done and blame abounds. The way to protect against it is thoughtfulness & careful communication. ‘How can I serve?” is always a good question.


Healthy culture will always ask ‘how can we get better?’. Meanwhile, a culture of complacency says ‘This is great. We’ve made it’. With the latter, the moment we think we’ve ‘made it’ is the surest sign yet that we haven’t. Complacency is the silent killer of great culture.


It was Paul Scanlon who said ‘Church is a bit like a bus – people get on and people get off.‘ Healthy culture is profoundly relaxed about this. Unhealthy culture isn’t. So during times of coming and going, the latter becomes distracted rather than maintaining a focused commitment on the long term. Point is, if you build healthy culture, more people will come. It’s inevitable. Always beware of weapons of mass distraction.


How many offices are smothered by the toxicity of gossip? How many relationships have been undermined by careless whispers? Guess what….gossip knows no bounds. How many churches are filled with the stench of internal politicking? Wise people protect against it. It’s an endless cycle. Sow gossip, reap gossip. Sow encouragement, reap encouragement. At the Junction Church, we’re going for encouragement.


This is best demonstrated in the story of the prodigal son. When the son returned home, his elder brother refused to celebrate the Father’s grace in his younger siblings life. He felt threatened by him. This illustrates a culture of entitlement that panders to selfishness and refuses to celebrate others. Healthy culture is the very opposite – filled with people who serve faithfully but who are willing to be flexible so others can shine too. They know their identity is in who they are in Christ – not in what they do. When everyone gets a revelation of this, everybody wins.