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Flexibility September 17, 2014

Posted by thehutch in thoughts.
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Flexibility is such an important requirement in any team leadership role. Without it, the team will become an automaton that may well achieve a level of success but may never reach its full potential. Most team leaders remain flexible until they are put under strong or exceptional pressures, rather like an elastic band, when at full stretch their flexibility becomes non-existent.
This is a danger for all leaders and requires a level of self awareness that allows them to draw back, reassess and to begin again. Remain flexible and your leadership will be enhanced, your people will appreciate your willingness to adapt and everyone benefits.

What do you fear? September 9, 2014

Posted by thehutch in personal.
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For many of us, we run from our fears and seek to avoid them. What if we chose a different route and move towards them instead? Where would we discover the greatest growth?
Perhaps we need to look at things in a different way, take up courage and move in a different direction.

Temporal Arteritis September 8, 2014

Posted by thehutch in personal, Uncategorized.
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Temporal Arteritis, otherwise known as Giant Cell Arteritis, is a disease that can regularly cause blindness unless treated very quickly. If diagnosed quickly, eyesight can be saved and the treatment is not difficult, the hardest thing is quick diagnosis.
Symptoms of giant cell arteritis may include headaches, jaw muscle pain while eating and vision loss, sometimes this may be accompanied by weight loss and prolonged tiredness. Getting immediate attention is important because it can lead to blindness or severe visual impairment but the treatment is as simple as taking steroids although there may be need to take them on a long term basis, even years.
I have only recently become aware of this because of a family member who had the symptoms but it was not diagnosed by medics as quickly as we would have liked and it looks as if blindness is the consequence. The same happened for a neighbour and it seems as if it may be more common than I realised. It is always worth a visit to a GP if you have worries…..getting checked is always better than ignoring it, otherwise your life could be transformed…not always for the better.

What if…? September 4, 2014

Posted by thehutch in ponderings.
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What if…..;
we are wrong and those we oppose are right?
we have made the mistake and not the other person?
we have caused the problem and not our friend?
we did not respond well and their response was because of me?
we are creating greater problems and not resolving them like we believe?
we are talking at others and not listening as we perceive?
we don’t have the whole picture and just a part?
we are giving answers to questions that are not being asked?
we need to change?

Yes, what if…..?

Seaside Resort September 2, 2014

Posted by thehutch in photographs.
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Quotes for a Thursday August 28, 2014

Posted by thehutch in quotes.
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“Transformation is the inevitable result of the incarnation” – Joel Edwards

“Cities and churches can display all of the outer trappings of success but still be lacking in the sight of God when it comes to the marginalised” – Sean Benesh

“Your core values are influenced not by what you see, but how you see” – Paul Manwaring

“Keeping promises is a hallmark of integrity because it demonstrates that we can be trusted to do what we say we will do” – Graham,Huntsman, Blanchard

Gone soft in our evangelism? August 27, 2014

Posted by thehutch in ponderings.
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I wonder if the rise of courses like Alpha and Christianity Explored have encouraged Christian evangelists to lose some of their cutting edge in ministry? Before these courses, and others like them, it was not uncommon to hear those involved in evangelism make a direct call to either accept or reject Christ. Whether in the open air or from a church pulpit, there was a time when a call to stand, move forward or collect a tract would demand a physical and public response to the message of salvation that had been preached. Today, it appears that this is less likely and that there is usually an invitation to a course or a conversation, rather than a direct challenge to make a decision immediately.
This summer a question was asked of me; “have we gone soft in our evangelism?” The question was directly related to the lack of direct response when people shared the gospel of Jesus with others and the perceived reluctance to ‘seal a deal’ when talking to those interested in salvation. Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit but there may be occasions when we have held back from asking for a response that would help underline the Spirits work. This may be down to a host of reasons such as fear, nerves, uncertainty and so on, but does it point to a loss of cutting edge? Does it suggest that we have ‘gone soft’?
Personally, I do not believe that we have gone soft but I do believe that we have sometimes taken an easier path by allowing courses (and their leaders) to do the work that we could be involved in. If we are truly unashamed of the Gospel of Christ then we would not be nervous of a negative response to the question, “do you accept Christ?” Asking such a question of others should be the responsibility of every christian and not just a select few, we must not abdicate our responsibility to be witnesses and we should not fear the responses we may receive from others by asking such a direct question.
This said, it is not always easy to be direct in a multi-faith and multi-cultural environment that requires sensitivity and political correctness but if we live for truth we can accommodate this and still be direct with others.
My experience tells me that people are far more open than we believe, more willing to listen than we have been told and happy to give an answer to the questions that we have. Let’s not be afraid but full of courage.
Finally, let me ask you, Do you follow Christ?

Loving one another in the online world August 26, 2014

Posted by thehutch in ponderings.
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After being a little absent on the social networks these last few weeks, it has been interesting to review things that are happening and seeing the responses of people. One of the things that has caught my eye is the amount of vitriol that can come from the keypads of Christians when somebody appears to step on some of their own strongly held doctrinal viewpoints, or another ‘champion of faith’ is brought into question.
It is right that we contend for our faith and that we are careful to guard our doctrine but too often we have allowed ourselves to slip in to a barrage of abusive behaviours to others. Disagreement is a part of life, differences of opinion are to be expected but the line is surely crossed when we begin personal attacks that are, at best, abusive.
“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” is the verse that springs to mind – words that Jesus used as he predicted his betrayal and just before his conversation with Peter regarding Peters own denial of Jesus. In the darkest moments, love one another….it is the thing that marks out God’s people from others. Surely if we are to make an impact for the gospel, we should bear this in mind in the way we communicate with one another….even more so in the public forums that are available to us. Recently, many have gone beyond saying ‘You fool!’ (see Matthew 5:21) and that leads to destruction – let’s be people who are strong, yet loving, courageous, yet gentle and let’s love one another so that we may see many more enter the Kingdom of Heaven as a result of our witness.

We still haven’t found what we are looking for! July 24, 2014

Posted by thehutch in thoughts.
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A little like Alice in wonderland, who did not know what road to take, we still haven’t found what we are looking for because we are not entirely sure what it is we are wanting.
So often we can begin the search for something without doing the necessary preparatory work. We are not sure what we want but will ‘know when we find it’……often this means that those nuggets of gold are missed because they are wrapped in a different veneer or are different to what we perceive. Searching without thought will take longer, will have many more hurdles and will frustrate others, yet we keep on searching knowing that once in a while, as we roll the dice, the sixes will come. The search is more luck than judgement.
Searching with the right preparation may save untold time, heartache and frustration. It may also mean that you are more successful because you have spent some time working out what is really wanted in the first place. Preparation time is never wasted….often it is a time saver. Keep looking but look with purpose, with reason and with ideas in mind…..searching may then become a little easier.

Growing Faith July 22, 2014

Posted by thehutch in youthwork.
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The cries of a new born baby are often followed by words such as “isn’t she beautiful, she is perfect”. A few weeks later, the understanding of perfect may be somewhat different as sleepless nights, countless nappy changes and cries that demand ear plugs demand attention. Years later….the word perfect is rarely heard.
It can feel much the same as we seek to nurture our teenagers in faith. There may be moments when we see a teenager who makes great strides on their faith journey and there are moments when it feels as if we are walking in reverse. How do we nurture our teenagers in a life of faith, are there keys that will unlock the door to success? What could they be?
Relationship – As any child grows, they need the care of an adult and the friendship of others. Our teenagers need to have faith modelled by the wider congregation and friendships that will help them take hold of the eternal truths of the gospel of Christ in a changing culture. These relationships can sustain through difficult seasons and can help sustain others as we work together.
Affirmation – So many teenagers are being told what they do wrong, how much better things may be if they were encouraged for what they did right. Encouraging people changes their outlook and affirmation helps to reinforce a positive identity that nurtures growth and fruitfulness. All people value praise, it cheers the heart and inspires people to greater things.
Celebration – parties for birthdays or Christmas mark out special occasions. We all need those milestone markers that chart our story and it is no different with our faith. There is a need to mark key moments of the faith journey, most notably in baptism and confirmation but also in the more regular events and festivals where we can have reminders of the journey that we travel.
Time – you do not learn to walk in a day, growing in faith takes a lifetime. We need to be patient with our teenagers and provide ample space for them to explore, experiment and to encounter the life of faith for themselves. Providing time and space could be one of the greatest gifts that we give to our young people.
There is no magical solution to growing faith in our teenagers but there are keys that may unlock the door to a lifetime of faith that encourages others to join the Church. And just maybe, we ourselves may encounter something of God’s grace and may look at our young people, at whatever stage of the journey, and say…..”wow, perfect!”

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