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Embracing Hardship

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Here is a link to the audio of a sermon I preached on Sunday entitled 'Embracing Hardship'. It is based on 2 Corinthians 4. I had so much to say, having recently been through a time of hardship myself being diagnosed with cancer almost a year ago - although I managed to skip some bits out that were on my notes to deliver a sermon about 25 minutes in length.

Do have a listen, there are insights into why we go through hard times and how we as Christians should respond.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback - please use the comments section below.

Thanks.

Click here to go to the Sermon Audio page. Then select 'Embracing Hardship' and click play.

The Illusion of Control

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A couple of days ago I was researching non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (cancer) online on the Lymphoma Association UK website. I read things I already knew such as  - the type of lymphoma I have can not be cured; it will come back again and it will be treated again; people with this type of lymphoma are very likely to live for many years (although supposed to be reassuring this statement did not fill me with much joy! I want to live a good, long life!).

Since being told I was in remission and the chemotherapy coming to an end after six cycles, life has begun to return to normal. I feel well - no longer nauseous or weak or terribly fatigued. No longer feeling out of my depth and completely out of control. No longer blogging about the most recent setback or hospitalisation. I have started to do the things I did before I was diagnosed. I have now returned to work full time. Ministry opportunities are opening up and I am travelling around the UK about once a month to either sing or to speak (…

Leading Well Behind the Scenes

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A Well-Oiled Machine? You may have heard the saying sometimes used to describe successful businesses and churches as a 'well oiled machine'. The question I want to ask is: What would happen if there is no oil?

The machine may look great from the outside. It may appear to have everything it needs to perform its function well, but if the mechanics on the inside are not working properly (or don’t exist at all) the machine is not going to be able to achieve its purpose.
Hotel Nightmares Over the past weekend, I was away in another part of the country attending a relative’s wedding. We booked in to a local hotel run by a family. The room was spacious, lovely furnishings; the room was clean and provided everything we needed as a family to make our stay comfortable.  At first I thought this was going to be a great weekend. However, when we went down to the restaurant for our evening meal on the first night the cracks began to show. These cracks were not physical, but more in the way…

The Key To Christian Leadership Success

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When it comes to learning about leadership, I get quite excited. Not only because it is something I see God clearly moving me towards an ever deeper expression of in my own life, but because it is part of me becoming more like Jesus. Following his leading and direction for me in what I am supposed to be doing but more than that, responding and changing on the inside into who He wants me to be.

I have attended leadership seminars and devoured many Christian books about leadership. I have also looked at the lives of those whom I consider to be great Christian leaders, especially those who live their lives openly and humbly in obedience to Jesus.

There is one common theme that emerges from them all which I believe is the key, the foundation stone of good Christian leadership.

Regular Personal Prayer That common theme is regular, personal prayer. It may be surprising but it is so easy for leaders to be too busy leading and doing for there to be time to just connect with Jesus. To ask His…

Continued Treatment and Recovery

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I haven't been able to post in a while - sorry to all my dedicated readers. It's quite nice to be able to say that life has been rather busy recently (back at work, an 8 week old daughter, music and church things picking up) as opposed to being wiped out on the sofa and able to do nothing!

It has been good getting back to 'normal'. Even now i still have to stop myself and remind myself that I am just coming out the other side of a big battle with cancer. It still feels as if it has not happened to me and was all somehow a bad dream.

Recovery Recovery has been interesting so far.  Mentally all I want to do is 'Get on with things'. My mind wants to press on as if nothing has happened, as if my illness has been an inconvenient blip on the landscape of my life that i can now forget about - although I can't forget about it, so instead it acts as a constant reminder that life is short and needs to be lived to the full, right now!

My body has been saying: easy do…

Master Song List Review

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I spent half a day with fellow worship leader going through all the church songs in our folders.

It is helpful having a list of 'go to' songs when selecting which songs to play in church. However when that list gets way too long after a few years, it is helpful to go through it and review. Even though we love some of the songs, if we haven't done them in years, should they still be on the 'go to' list? I would say no.

This is how we went through the songs, sorting them into the following categories:

- New / Soon To Introduce Songs These are a list of songs that are still new to our church, or songs then we aim to introduce in the near future. The idea here is to select between one and two songs from this list every week to help the church get to know them. However this section will need updating regularly so that some songs don't get over done!

- Other Songs To Keep
These songs make up the rest of our 'go to' master song list. We try to keep a range of …

Speeches, Reading Books and Four Hundred Miles

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The last couple of days has seen me getting back to doing a few things I was doing before I got ill - a couple of milestones alomg my road to recovery.

On Monday I drove up to Blackburn to give an after dinner speech at the FGB (Full Gospel Businessmen) chapter there. I shared my testimony about the events of 2016 as chronicled here in this blog - living with faith and cancer and how God has been and continues to work in and through my life.

I stayed the night with my brother-in-law and fiance who live in Manchester and made my way back home on Tuesday morning. It was cold with foggy patches. This makes the windscreen get very dirty and I ran out of screen wash on my journey home. Luckily I was only a couple of miles away from the next services, so was able to sort it out!

At the end of my round trip of just over 400 miles, I started back at school for three hours on Tuesday afternoon to begin my phased return.

It went well. I am helping with the Year 3 class as they are the largest …