church loughborough

WHY WHITE MIDDLE CLASS CHRISTIANITY NEEDS CHANGE –

by Ps Roy Todd

The racist murder of George Floyd last week was shockingly evil. Sadly though, this is just one of a long litany of such horrific acts over the years. There shouldn’t even be the slightest hint of hesitation in calling it out, especially among church leaders. Silence is not an option.

Yet when a white church leader condemns such an atrocity on social media, there is the danger of thinking that an expression of outrage alone is sufficient. It is not. In the UK, white middle class Christianity can be very good at expressing verbal solidarity from a distance toward those it perceives to be oppressed. But while such expressions are well intended, the challenge is that they can be mere tokenism, even patronising to our black brothers and sisters – and quickly forgotten as life cruelly moves on.

The time has come for real change, not mere words. If white church leaders are serious about doing something meaningful and demonstrating a better way, then there needs to be a total willingness to move out of the comfort zone. It’s time for leaders to get on with the quiet work of raising up a generation which reflects the brilliance and diversity of modern Britain. This means far more than including a few photographs of people of colour on a church website. Instead, some serious questions need to be addressed. For example, why are so many church leadership teams 100% white? Why? Do people of colour even feel welcomed, valued and included in church? How many church leaders are actively spending time with and investing in the potential of people from a range of cultural backgrounds who are part of the congregation, not just those who are white?

All the finest words in the world pale in comparison to the gritty work of championing a generation who will make a difference. It takes time. It involves listening to the experiences of others. It means understanding that not everyone is like you. It means recognising the gift of God in people’s lives, taking risks, creating opportunity, cheering others on and equipping people with confidence to change their world. This is the kind of leadership that affects REAL change. White middle class Christianity needs a cultural revolution, and this starts with leaders.

Just before the lockdown, I spent an evening with a group of young men from a range of cultural backgrounds. I asked them to share some of their experiences in life. The stories they told were a revelation – at times deeply disturbing. Yet the dignity and grace with which these young men carry themselves shines through in their demeanour. Each of them is gifted by God, and all of them has a part to play in the life of the church I lead. Just spending time and listening was like a tonic to my soul, far more than any encouragement I offered them. They make me a better person. I am amazed at this rising generation. If you’d spent some time with them too, you’d realise they are a major reason to have hope for the future. 

After the events of last week, I’m committing myself to working even harder to champion this generation and see the UK Church reflect what God is doing today in modern Britain. This means being totally intentional about encouraging the God given giftedness in people of colour. It would be a travesty not to.

White middle class Christianity needs to do more than just call out the evil of racism. This alone is not enough. The Church needs to BE at the forefront of embracing cultural diversity in our nation. Afterall, this is what happens in God’s kingdom! But for this to happen, some serious and genuine soul searching needs to happen, and the comfort zone of white middle class Christianity needs to be left behind.

Below is a recent Sunday talk I gave to the Junction Church.

 

A WORD ABOUT WORRY
by Roy Todd

About 18 months ago, I found myself feeling extra-ordinarily anxious. This wasn’t just the normal kind of anxiety that you might experience when you’re nervous about something. No, this was different. I’d never felt anything like this before in my life. Normal tasks caused me to be uptight. Little things became significant concerns. I was on edge. The curious thing was that if you’d seen me, you would never have known my struggle. I didn’t look the nervous type. But inside, this thing was a big deal.

One day, I went to see a doctor about it. This is not the kind of trip I’d normally take…call it ‘male pride’ if you will. But I was pretty desperate. Within five minutes, the young medic was able to identify what was going on. I’ll never forget the letters he uttered “P.T.S.D.” – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

See, earlier that summer, my wife became seriously ill after giving birth to our daughter. The two week hospital drama was an almost surreal experience. Every day during those 12 long nights, I was in ‘fight’ mode – I mean that in the best sense of the word. I was fighting in prayer. I was fighting the good fight of faith. I was fighting to support my wife. I was fighting to speak positively in the midst of the negative medical reports. Then after two weeks of ‘touch and go’, one day, the senior consultant expressed amazement at Lydia’s progress – and announced that she was free to go home. A week later, we moved into a new home (long story) with a three week old baby. All seemed well. 

In the subsequent weeks, I threw myself into fatherhood duties and serving my church. Life was great. So much to do and to accomplish. But I hadn’t really taken the time to process the enormity of what had just happened during the summer. How could I? Life was moving at 1000 miles per hour. While my mind was more than delighted to move on, it was as if my body wasn’t so willing. There’s a really helpful book on the psychology of trauma called ‘The Body Remembers’ by Babette Rothschild – worth a read. But how are you meant to rest when you’re a new dad and you’re pastoring a growing church plus you’ve got a billion other responsibilities? The point is…these questions are an irrelevance as far as the body is concerned. If I didn’t take some time to stop, then the body would stop for me. It needed to recover from the ‘fight’. Thankfully, I was able to identify my issue just in time. I dread to think what might have occurred if I’d just ploughed on. 

Over the next weeks and months, I found myself gradually getting better. Sometimes, the old anxieties returned with a vengeance and it felt like I was back to square one. But little by little and day by day, I got better. Even still, there are moments of inexplicable anxiety that I have to deal with. But I’m learning to lean into God like never before when these moments occur.

I’m no medical expert. However, the one thing I’ve found most helpful during this season has been perhaps the most underrated miracle cure in the world….R E S T. During those times of anxiety, I’ve learned to create time to rest – even moving my diary around so it can happen. It’s only when I’m well rested that I can manage the tension of worry and find perspective. I would go as far as to say that rest is a spiritual thing. Jesus himself invited us to rest when he said ‘Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REST’ (Matthew 11:28).

Rest is an act of faith. It is not complacent – but is a statement of trust in God’s grace. Ultimately, this is the resting place of those who follow Christ.

If you find yourself struggling with worry, I want you to know that you’re not alone. Anxiety is no respecter of persons. No-matter how ‘strong’ you think you are, no-body is THAT strong. It’s in those times of struggle that we need to learn to lean in and make our resting place in God. He is our shelter.  He is our fortress. His name is our strong tower. The Bible tells us that ‘The righteous run into it and they are safe’ (Prov 18:10). This has certainly been my experience. May it be yours too.

BE POSITIVE

BE POSITIVE
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 loughborough

Hey Student!

So…you’ve got your A Level results. You now know what uni you’re going to. Your heart is racing at a million beats per minute because you’re excited and nervous all the the same time. You got it all going on, right?

Yup…it’s all true. These next few months are set to bring a massive change in your life. The move to university is nothing short of stratospheric! Moving away from home, making new friends, learning to do life without mum and dad always being close by, starting your new course…..there is an insane amount of stuff to take in…and that’s before the month of October even finishes!

No doubt you’ve heard lots of ‘tips’ on how to survive at uni, most of which are really helpful. Then there’s the ‘heads up’ stuff about what to watch out for, like how to keep yourself safe, how to budget, how to stay alive (btw, the latter is REALLY important, ok!!) There are lots of great articles and blogs out there which I don’t need to add to.

HOWEVER…..if you would permit me to give you just one piece of advice before you head off to uni, then I’d say this – ‘Get planted in a really great local church.’

I’m not merely suggesting you find a church to attend on Sunday’s. No. I mean…get yourself PLANTED in a really great church. What do I mean? Well, this is all about immersing yourself in a community that draws out the greatness in you. After all, that’s God’s heart for your life. The idea of being planted means developing strong roots. This is how you will TRULY grow.

Since we first pioneered the Junction Church, our heart has always been to create a home away from home for students. So we’ve developed a culture which is safe enough for students to feel loved – but daring enough to create opportunities for risk. See, the problem with a lot of the stuff we hear today about ‘discipleship’ is that it’s far too theoretical and risk averse. The unwitting message it sends is… ‘get your life sorted out and then start following Jesus’. But this isn’t messy enough for me. See, if faith is a journey, then you’ve got to get moving, even through the sludge of life. That means doing stuff – serving, getting involved, playing your part. Yes, you’ll mess up. Yes, you’ll get things wrong. Yes, you’ll make loads of mistakes. But in a loving environment, there is a lot of grace for you. This is where you find out how God’s love for you is constant and real. This is where you grow in faith and confidence. This is the kind of gritty atmosphere that will draw greatness in you.

We offer loads of stuff for students here at the Junction Church. In fact, you’ll rarely hear us even refer to you as a ‘student’ because here, you’re simply part of the family, not an outsider. We host Sunday lunches, mid-week life groups, leadership development, in depth teaching on theology, worship community, daily devotions, social action projects, hang outs in homes around the area and a whole array of other stuff too. Here, you never have to do life on your own. We are absolutely passionate about championing you to become everything God has called you to be. It’s the very heart of who we are.

So, if you’re coming to Loughborough, Leicester or Nottingham, do yourself a favour and be sure to check us out. If you like the vibe, get yourself planted and we will cheer you on all the way.

So that’s my one piece of advice. Get yourself planted. That’s how you’ll flourish. (Ps 92:13).

church loughborough

WHY I STOPPED SAYING

‘The BEST is yet to come!’. Who coined this phrase? Many preachers have claimed it as their own. But my understanding is that it was originated by an old English preacher called John Wesley who said ‘The best is yet to be‘.

Whatever it’s origins, I’ve stopped saying it. No, it’s not because I don’t believe it anymore. Nor is it because I’ve given up being positive. The reason I ceased saying it is for the sake of my sanity. Let me explain.

You see, too often, our hopes for the future can drown out the highlights of today. This struck me very strongly recently when I was reflecting on our journey at the Junction Church. Back at the beginning, the idea of hundreds of people meeting across three campuses was just a dream. Today, this is a reality…and it’s growing. Yet the visionary part of me kept forgetting to celebrate today’s blessings. I forgot what it felt like at the start. Instead, I was thinking of reaching more people. I was pondering more locations. I was looking at all the things we have yet to see. Nothing wrong with incessant optimism. But for life to be truly appreciated, we need to afford ourselves the space to slow down and breathe. 

It’s like planning to eat at a fine Michelin star restaurant. When you arrive and the meal is eventually presented, you relish it. You eat it slowly. You enjoy the occasion. You don’t just gobble it down with an optimistic grin that says ‘the best is yet to come!’. What would be the point of that? Yet sometimes, that’s just what we Christians can be like. We forget to LOVE the journey because we’re so fixated on the future!! Chill!!!

Ephesians 1:3 says ‘we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ’. Notice, this statement is present tense, not future tense. In other words, we are blessed right here, right now. We’re living it and breathing it and eating it and sleeping it!! Perhaps our challenge is that we just don’t see how blessed we actually are?

My vision for the future is as strong as ever, My dreams are crazier than ever before too. But I’m also determined to enjoy life more. Dreams are healthy. But drivenness is not. That’s why I’ve stopped saying ‘The Best is yet to come’. This statement, whilst sounding noble and right, can actually rob us of joy. 

For me, I’m living in God’s best right now. And tomorrow, I’ll be living in God’s best too. That’s my journey. If you’ll open your eyes, you’ll find that it’s yours too. Enjoy!

Check out the Junction Church Loughborough, Leicester & Nottingham.

church loughborough

FATHERHOOD 
by Roy Todd

Paul wrote to a deeply divided church in the city of Corinth. His letter was born out of fatherly love for a community he’d pioneered and planted. He warned the Christians that there were ‘many instructors, but not many fathers’ (1 Cor 4:15). In other words, Paul was pointing out that there was no shortage of clamouring voices who love to air their opinions and promote their ideas. But the crisis for many believers was the lack of spiritual fathers who could speak loving wisdom to sons and daughters in the faith.

That same crisis still exists today. We have an abundance of voices which speak loudly and forcefully. But spiritual fathers are so different. 

When my wife was ill in hospital after she gave birth, I held my little girl in my arms all night and settled her on my chest. This wasn’t an arduous task. It was an act of love. She’s not my experimental project to find out if my ideology works. She’s my everything. I’m her dad and I love her.

Thing is…the world is full of people who love to throw out clinical instructions from their ideological high ground, often from the platform of social media. But the reason for the depth of division in our society today is that so many feel abandoned. Heartless rhetoric rings hallow. The system doesn’t care either, and hasn’t for years. On top of this, there are multitudes who find themselves swimming against the wake of family dysfunctionality, often dealing with issues related to fatherhood, or the lack of it. As a pastor, I get to see this stuff up close and personal. Yet society seems unwilling to honestly address the REAL issues which affect REAL people. And then we wonder why we’re in such a predicament?

That’s why we need fatherhood like never before. Fathers raise sons and daughters. Fathers champion their kids. Fathers are protective and caring. Fathers journey with their children through good times and bad, helping them navigate life and just being there. Fatherhood is not a job. It’s a high call. 

Here at the Junction Church, our heart is to see a generation rise higher and go further. That’s why we’ve set the bar high. That’s why we take risks. That’s why we’re creating the kind of culture we’ve got. It’s time for spiritual fathers to step up. Our world desperately needs it.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH, LEICESTER & NOTTINGHAM.

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IN PURSUIT OF THE MIRACULOUS 
by Roy Todd

Ten years ago, I wrote a book called ‘In Pursuit of the Miraculous’. I reckon I could write a follow up based on the past two weeks alone! It has been nothing short of miraculous.

It all started when my wife Lydia gave birth to our beautiful baby daughter Sophia Hope at 11:27am on a balmy Monday morning in mid August. All seemed to be going well at first. However, later that evening, Lydia had a faint whilst she was on a short walk to freshen herself up. The medical people initially put it down to sheer exhaustion. But the following day, she had two more similar episodes, the latter of which resulted in a complete loss of colour from her face. As I held my little daughter in my arms and watched my wife slump to the ground surrounded by nurses and doctors, an uncomfortable lump formed in the back of my throat that I could hardly bear to swallow. It was an unbelievably shocking situation, the gravity of which I was more than aware of. I will never forget the feeling of absolute vulnerability as I wondered whether my little girl might lose her mum. It was heart breaking to see.

Further tests showed that Lydia had developed internal bleeding during which she lost 3 litres of blood. They carried out two blood transfusions, none of which were successful. In fact, her blood count afterwards was even lower than before. Furthermore, her blood pressure continued to drop dramatically while her pulse rate raced dangerously high beyond 150 bpm. These were all the signs of continued internal bleeding. That night, the consultant told me in no uncertain terms how serious the situation was if the bleeding should continue. The medical team then proceeded to administer two more blood transfusions. ‘The next 12 hours are critical’ were the parting words of one consultant.

It was around this time that I sent out a message asking people to pray. So many agreed with us for a miraculous breakthrough. We were certainly in miracle territory. I personally called out to God and laid my hands on Lydia’s head, believing for complete healing. This was no time for nice prayers. It was the cry of a broken & desperate man claiming healing over his wife’s life. I remember feeling a powerful sense of God’s presence in that moment.

The next day, Lydia began to slowly stabilise. Her blood pressure rose, her pulse rate dropped and her haemoglobin levels were higher. These were all signs that the internal bleed had stopped. It truly was a miracle. God had answered our prayers.

Over the next few days, there were a few more drama’s including threats of further internal clotting and a lot more calling out to God (those stories are for another day). However, time and again, God answered. Eventually after 11 days in hospital, all her levels normalised and we were allowed home. That was an emotional journey for sure (ok, playing disney tunes didn’t help!).

Archbishop Temple once said ‘When we pray, coincidences happen’. I am in no doubt whatsoever that God did a series of miracles in my wife’s situation in August 2018. I don’t understand it all, but I just know that God was at work.

Having had some time to reflect on what happened, it has not dented my confidence in God. The very opposite is true. There’s a growing conviction in my heart to believe like never before for God’s miraculous power in others. With him, all things are possible. I totally believe it.

To all those who stood in agreement with us, thank you. To the medical team who cared for us, we salute you. To Jehovah Rapha who intervened and heard our cries for healing, we honour you. God is real.

LOUGHBOROUGH

LOUGHBOROUGH

We offer two Sunday morning services in Loughborough - 9.45am and 11pm. These all take place in the Main Hall at De Lisle College. Find out more here.

LEICESTER

LEICESTER

We meet every Sunday at 11am in Leicester Preparatory School, 2 Albert Rd, Leicester LE2 2AA. We have great worship and outstanding teaching. Find out more here.

NOTTINGHAM

NOTTINGHAM

We meet across a number of venues in Nottingham. The newest is in Arnold, every Sunday at 6:00pm. This takes place at the Junction Church, 22 Furlong Street, Arnold, NG5 7AE. Find out more ( including our plans for the future) here.

church nottingham

DON’T BE A CHURCH CYNIC!! 
by Roy Todd

There used to be a TV show called the Muppets. One of the puppet acts featured was a couple of old curmudgeons who were theatre critics. They were constantly carping and sniping at every performance they watched and they could never bring themselves to say anything kind about acts other than their own. 

Sometimes, the Christian world can seem a bit like those two old disapproving muppets. Instead of modelling a generous and grace-filled culture which celebrates others, it often feels pretty cold and mean spirited. All the ‘expressions of unity’ in the world are nothing compared to the uncomplicated simplicity of warm encouragement and genuine appreciation. It’s not rocket science. But it really matters.

One of the biggest challenges facing Christianity in the UK is largely unobserved in its own ranks. Its called CYNICISM. This is a habitual way of thinking which is far more comfortable criticising than celebrating. I’m not sure it’s fair to say this is a distinctly British problem, but it is undoubtedly an issue for the wider Church in our nation. It doesn’t take long to pick up on its vibe in conversations and social media interactions. 

Cynicism is usually wrapped up in the language of pseudo intellectualism and illusions of spiritual superiority. It is contemptuous of anything it perceives as different. But the tell tale sign of it’s lurking presence is the constant negativism which lies at its core. It much prefers to find fault than search for what is good. This ultimately leads to a sense of pessimism which contaminates local church life and is a killer of faith. What then follows is a downward spiral of doom, gloom, insecurity and eventually, the self fulfilment of its own fears. This is one of the major reasons why so many churches are dying a slow and ungracious death. The toxicity of cynicism is a contagion which smothers life. Leaders would do well to be alert to its subtle danger.

Whatever you do, don’t be a church cynic!! Check your heart to see if it has found a home in your life. If the very reading of this blog post stirs a reaction in you which is resentful and irritable, then this is a good thing. You’ve just been alerted to the existence of cynicism in your life. 

The Church should be the very antithesis of worldly culture. Instead of accusatory and disapproving sentiments, the vibe of every local church should be positive, warm and encouraging. This is the shock to the system that is so desperately needed today. Merely talking about ‘love’ is as meaningless as explaining that water is wet. It needs to be articulated in a way that is real and authentic. Cynicism is no friend of true love. Thats why the alternative needs to be experienced. More than ever, people need to see what real love looks like. It is everything which cynicism is not. Here’s a good prayer to pray: “Lord, help me live your message. Amen”

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH NOTTINGHAM HERE.

church loughborough

WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? 
by Roy Todd

If the BBC managed to get the Cliff Richard story so catastrophically wrong, it begs the question…what else are they getting wrong? To wittingly tarnish a person’s character because of crass & inaccurate ‘reporting’ is far beyond unfair. It is a blatant abuse of power. No amount of compensation can ever salvage the reputation of the accused. 

Cliff Richard is a high profile example of what many lesser known people have had to endure because of misreporting and bullying by the press. Most victims of media injustice are powerless against such gigantic organisations as the BBC. Those who peddle accusatory stories without presenting absolute and irrefutable evidence know they can hide behind the protection of the corporation – unaccountable and unconcerned about the collateral damage their cheap headlines create. What is deeply disturbing is the way media rivals have been closing ranks in defence of the BBC, with cries of ‘press freedom’ as their justification. Such defensiveness would strongly suggest a more widespread issue. Anyone who cares about justice will be concerned by this.

It is one thing for the media to speak ‘truth to power’. Problem is, the industry itself has become far too powerful. Can you think of any national institution that wields more clout? And far from conveying ‘truth’, it often feels rather more like peddling opinions than reporting news. While there are many brilliant journalists out there who operate with upmost honesty, it is not beyond the bounds of reason to think that some journalists might have personal vendetta’s they are pursuing. What about the possibility of rich and powerful lobbyists pushing their particular agenda’s through the media too…and paying for the privilege? If it is true that these kind of things go on, then what is the extent of it? Who knows?

One thing is for sure. The idea of a self regulated and unaccountable press is something which can no longer continue. Too much damage has been done to too many people’s lives.  It seems to me that this privilege has been thrown away by a culture of contempt. The media must be profoundly transparent about how issues are covered, just like any other public organisation. This is especially true of the BBC, a corporation which is afforded multiple millions of tax payers money.

Truth is, the media needs to get back to being factual & boring. We should never be aware of the personal opinions, suspicions & biases of journalists, not even the faintest hint. Politicians, yes…because they are accountable to the electorate. But reporters? No. Impartiality is the basis of a healthy media. Sadly, the media’s ‘freedom’ has been used irresponsibly by some who have flexed their position to gain influence which goes way beyond that of an ordinary citizen. For too long, the industry has set itself up as the moral guardians of a nation. Problem is…this kind of ‘morality’ is hypocritical, self-righteous & fundamentally flawed…as the recent Cliff Richard court case has proven. Trust has been eroded, perhaps even beyond repair.

It is amazing to think that not one single BBC employee has yet been held to account for the Cliff Richard travesty. Quite astonishing. If this were the BBC reporting on another organisation’s misdemeanours, can you imagine the relentless outcry that would ensue? Yet, notice the strange quiet around the beeb. The story is fading away. They’ve gotten away with it. Not the victim though. He is left picking up the trashed pieces of his life. 

Distrust is the price of dishonesty. Instead of trying to defend the indefensible, the media would do well to reflect carefully on what has led to the current predicament. Integrity matters. This is what builds trust.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

p.s. Below is very moving interview with Cliff Richard filmed after winning his court case against the BBC. Yet, notice how the interviewer subtly seeks to defend her profession mid-interview. 

church nottingham

WHO WILL LISTEN?
by Roy Todd

Sometimes, it feels like the world is becoming increasingly judgmental and disinterested in understanding. When an accusatory culture rules the day, it creates a toxic environment where negativity and division flourishes. No doubt the thoughtless (and even abusive) use of social media has largely contributed to this vibe.

Yet in the midst of all the craziness, there are people – real people. No, not the caricatured stereotypes labelled by dogmatic idealism. Just down to earth, everyday people, each with their own story to tell. Truth is, everybody has one. But who will listen?

Some are able to articulate their stories better than others. But it’s our story that has led each of us to the point where we currently find ourselves in life. Our upbringing. Our circumstances. Our flaws. Our mistakes. Our joys. Our sorrows. Our disappointments. Our successes. The list goes on. These all form part of our story. 

If only we took the time to listen a little more instead of throwing accusations. If only we sought to understand the experiences of others instead of judging them. If only we tried a little harder to see beyond the narrow idealistic argument to the grit of a path which has been walked before. Then maybe, just maybe, we’d measure our words more carefully and extend a little more grace. We all need it.

One of the greatest contributions each of us can make in our world today is to resist the pressure of merely running to the beat of the crowd. History teaches us how catastrophically dangerous this is. In a world of confused noise, wise people take time to think for themselves. One of the most helpful ways we can do this is to exercise the gift of listening. No-matter how much we feel we know, all of us have much to learn. 

Above all other voices, what about the one that matters most? Who will believe his report? When God speaks, it’s usually quiet and still. It takes discipline and reflection to discern his wisdom, especially in the midst of a thunderously rowdy world. Yet his word is the one that is eternal consequence. Dare to stop. Dare to think. Dare to LISTEN.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH NOTTINGHAM HERE.