Losing perspective on life is an easy mistake that even the best among us can make. There are all kinds of perceptions which can conspire against what’s true, causing us to miss the reality of what is really going on.
A loss of proper perspective usually results in an over-exaggeration of a challenge – or – a failure to recognise the seriousness of the current course. Either can be very dangerous and will eventually lead us to destinations we were never meant to visit. Over the years, I’ve seen people make rash & foolish decisions based on false perspectives. Too many times, those same people ended up living in deep regret because only afterwards did they realise how badly wrong they’d got it. Misunderstanding, insecurity and suspicion all create sinister illusions when the eyes of our heart fail to see God’s grace on the horizon.
So how do you maintain some kind of proper perspective on life, especially in the more challenging times? Here are four thoughts…
1) Watch out for tiredness
Sounds simple, right? But this one is big….REALLY BIG. Not getting enough sleep will cloud your judgment and blur your focus. It is imperative we learn to rest well. The lack of it can be catastrophic, both mentally and physically. Be sure to give this some serious attention.
2) Guard your heart
You are the gate keeper of your heart. No-one else can do this for you. YOU decide what goes in. YOU decide what stays out. So guard it ferociously. Get around those who build your confidence rather than pull it down. A healthy heart will help you maintain a healthy perspective on life. The company you keep is crucial here.
3) Recognise the danger of isolation
Isolation is fake. There, I said it. It makes YOU the centre. It teaches you bad habits. Thing is…the perceived vulnerability of community is nothing compared to the real danger of aloneness. Sure, there are times when you need your own space. But all the time?? No, that’s not healthy. It’s also how you completely lose perspective on life. Don’t cut yourself off from reality. Never good. Ever.
4) Make God’s grace your refuge
Have the courage to believe the best. Then never stop believing it, no-matter what. This is not just about being positive. It’s about seeing God’s grace in every situation. That’s the grace which saved you. It’s also the same grace which others need too. When we learn to extend a little grace, it helps us gain God’s perspective on life. Suddenly, everything makes some kind of sense.
Whatever you do, don’t believe the first thing your emotions tell you. They’re SOOO fickle. God’s word is true. That’s the perspective that really matters.
The relational dynamic between the Old Testament prophet Elijah and his successor Elisha is always fascinating to observe. Elijah was a charismatic firebrand. His servant Elisha was an introverted thinker. Yet when Elisha knew he had a chance to pursue God’s call on his life, he ran at the opportunity…literally (1 Kings 19:20).
The idea of running denotes determination & commitment. You see, there are some things in life which require us to move fast. The privilege of serving God’s purpose is one of them.
It’s interesting to note that it wasn’t the mentor Elijah who ran after his student Elisha. It had to be the other way around. Elisha refused to rest on his laurels or become complacent with a sense of arrogant entitlement. Complacency is a dreadful hindrance to divine destiny. Elisha certainly couldn’t be accused of being apathetic. No, he ran after the man of God with focussed intent. By honouring the past, he was paving way for the future. This is critically important when it comes to fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.
There’s a time to wait patiently, but there’s also a time to run vigorously. The latter means taking initiative, embracing inconvenience, committing to the long haul and refusing to be distracted. To the very end, Elisha pursued Elijah, not taking his eyes off the goal. At the moment when Elijah was taken into the presence of God, Elisha carried on the mandate and accomplished even greater things.
So what about you? How much do you want God to use your life? Are you running for it? Really running? There is no need to wait before you serve. No need to pray before you do it either. What God’s Church needs today are people who get on with it, passionate about running to get the prize of the most high call.
We’re excited about what is happening in the Junction Church. In just five years, the church has grown to become a thriving community made up of over 30 nationalities, dynamic Sunday services in Loughborough & Leicester, and around 20 Life Groups which meet throughout the week.
If you’d like to listen to our most recent Vision Day talk, here it is below. Further down the page are the bullet points of everything it covers. Want to get involved? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
VISION DAY UPDATE
Some key developments over the past year
– The Junction Church has grown by over 25%
– New campus in Leicester city centre which is doing really well
– Summer Madness (social action programme)
– First album released
– 350 decisions to follow Christ
– Dozens baptised
– Campus coordinator employed for one day per week
– Church suite (app) launched last January
Some of our key ministries in the Junction Church
– Brotherhood (men’s ministry)
– Sisterhood (woman’s ministry)
– Junction Kids
– MVMNT youth
– Equip (teaching ministry)
– Worship team
– Media Team
– Young Professionals
– Reach Team
– Prayer Team
– Encounter Team
– v3 conference 2017 (11-12 nov)
– christmas 2017 (all Sundays in December)
– easter (Fri 30th March – Sunday 1st April)
– hillsong conference (wed 25th – fri 27th july)
– v3 conference 2018 (sat 10th – sun 11th nov)
Key vision goals for 2018
– grow healthy leaders
– grow healthy life groups
– grow healthy sunday services
– grow healthy community
– grow healthy culture
– grow healthy teams
– grow healthy ministries
– grow healthy resources
– grow healthy campuses
– grow healthy church
Key vision goals over next two years
– employ people to serve in church
– junction church academy (internship) (sept ’19)
– new mid week life group in Nottingham (sept ’18)
– transition Leicester to sunday morning (sept ’19)
– pioneer sunday The Junction Church Nottingham (sept ’19)
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).
Before we planted the Junction Church, I had a dream of a community where incredible musicianship would be provoked and amazing songs would be produced. You see, I seriously reckon that church ought to be the most brilliantly creative community in town. So I guess part of the reason for this blog is to do some provoking!
For me, music is a passion. Growing up in Belfast, I studied classical piano at the school of music. This was one of the greatest institutions in the city, inspiring creativity during the weary days of ‘the troubles’. It wasn’t easy to get into it (which gave it a certain prestige) – and the standard of teaching was absolutely first rate. Whilst there, I went on to develop a keen interest in jazz piano, and that fascination has never gone away. I love music today more than ever. When it’s bad and ill-disciplined, I’m appalled by it. When it’s really good, I SO appreciate it!
Music is an art that stirs the heart, creates moments and gives expression to emotion that goes beyond words. In a sense, it’s a universal language. Imagine your favourite movie without the sound track? Wouldn’t be the same, would it? That’s the power of music – it changes the atmosphere.
In the Psalms, King David encouraged great musicianship. For example, in Psalm 33:3, he says ‘Sing a new song and play skillfully‘. This pretty much sums up my dream for music at the Junction Church.
Here are 10 keys (excuse the pun) for great musicianship:
1) Take interest – this stems from having passion, which is the child of inspiration.
2) Practice much – if this isn’t happening, then the musicianship will never be taken seriously.
3) Be disciplined – learn how to patiently flow with music rather than trying to force it to happen.
4) Listen to the vibe – this is especially important when playing as part of a team. Listening creates great music.
5) Be selfless – the greatest musicians understand the power of subtlety and not drawing attention to themselves.
6) Develop your craft – for music to be performed with skillful ease, it needs to be carefully crafted behind the scenes. That takes W.O.R.K.
7) Challenge yourself – learn to play proficiently in every key, especially the more uncomfortable ones.
8) Be teachable – every musician has something new to learn.
9) Master one instrument – stop trying to be a multi-instrumentalist. Be excellent at one instead of average at many.
10) Do it for God’s glory – let this always motivate the why behind the what.
Later this year, the Junction Church in Leicester and Loughborough is hosting our first ever conference. It’s called V3. This stands for Vision, Vibe & Values. The dates are Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th November 2017.
V3 is totally designed with you in mind. Our passion is to inspire you to be uncompromising in your pursuit of God’s purpose for your life. We’re bringing in some world class speakers who are friends of the house, people who we know will speak prophetically into your destiny & into the future of our church.
The conference itself will become an annual fixture in the Junction Church diary. At the heart of it is a desire to be both creative and gritty – inspirational and practical – contemporary and biblical. As our church continues to grow and we dare to venture into new territory, V3 will become a key focal point, a time when we come together as a church to remember WHY we do what we do.
It’s easy to forget that the Junction Church is less than 5 years old. We don’t have a long history of families who’ve been connected with us over many decades. YOU are the history of this church. That means we have the incredible opportunity to influence future generations with authentic faith, courageous hope and real love. This is our time!
Point is, we’re far more interested in looking forwards than backwards. We dare to dream big and we make no apologies for it. It’s not about mere lip service…we’re already doing the business, influencing cities, carrying hope, challenging pre-conceptions about God & making a real difference to people’s lives. But we honestly believe there are far greater things yet to come.
That’s why we can’t wait to host V3 this November. Better still, we’re pumped about seeing you there! Since places are limited, why don’t you go ahead and get yourself booked in today. This is going to do you SO much good!!