The Gift of Leaders


St Wilfrid's Devotional Blog - Leaders

Posted on: 28th October 2019

If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.
Romans 12:8

How self-aware are you? There seems to be a craze at the moment, to find out your Enneagram. Have you heard of this term? In light of recent training, let me mention the morphology of the word. Ennea is the Greek word for ‘nine’ and Gramma means, ‘something this is drawn or written’.

The test asks you a long series of questions in which you decide how strongly you agree or disagree with a range of statements.

The nine refers to the different personality types that you can fit in to. They are: The Perfectionist, The Giver, The Achiever, The Individualist, The Investigator, The Loyalist, The Enthusiast, The Challenger, The Peacemaker.

The strap line for the Enneagram is, ‘Nine ways to be normal’. It is a great reminder that God has given us all gifts and abilities. We therefore have a responsibility to find out what our gifts are. But finding a gift is only the beginning. In 1 Corinthians 14:12, Paul encourages the believers to, ‘Excel in the gifts that build up others.’

My challenge for us all this week is to consider the gifts you have, and then find ways that you can use them to build others up. My prayer is that you will realise your own gifts and support others as they find theirs too. In doing this we can build and strengthen each other.

Lord direct us to live life to the full

Praying for Power at Pentecost


St Wilfrid's Devotional Blog - Power

Posted on: 10th June 2019

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8

I love meeting up with people who I have not seen in a long time. Some people hate it, especially if it is a relative who likes to grab your cheeks and squeeze them. The words, “Oh, haven’t you changed!” are regularly used as a recognition that time changes things.

There are other times, when you have been with a certain person or group and it is noticeable by the way you now act or speak. Do you have any of those people in your life who seem to bring out the worst in you? Do others notice it? In 1 Corinthians 15:33, St Paul says, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.””

Are there any relationships that you know that are draining you of your good character? If there are, make a wise choice to change your company.

King Solomon, in Proverbs 27:17 said, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

There are relationships and friendships out there for you that will keep you sharp and focused if you take the time to develop them and allow others to develop you. These mutually beneficial relationships are seen throughout the Bible (Joshua and Caleb, David and Jonathan, Paul and Silas, Paul and Timothy etc…).

But the most life changing relationship you can enter into is with God.

We see from the life of the early apostles that their encounter with the Holy Spirit made a radical change to them. They received POWER. The literal translation is DYNAMITE.

Imagine if your relative turned up to see you and recognised you had received the Holy Spirit in your life! That’s what the early church received and the Holy Spirit is the same now as then.

My challenge for you this week is to read in Acts about the impact the Holy Spirit made to those early disciples.

If you believe in God and have accepted that Jesus died for you, then why not pray, like those early disciples did, for the Holy Spirit’s power to fill you.

What impact do you think that would have on St Wilfrid’s, Blackburn, Lancashire, England, and the ends of the earth?

Love to Serve


Love to serve

Posted on: 28th Jan 2019

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

When my wife and I got married seventeen years ago, Grandad spoke at the ceremony. As a retired Baptist minister, he had officiated at countless numbers of weddings but it was special that he spoke at ours. One of the readings we had was ‘that old chestnut’ from 1 Corinthians 13. I would love to remember everything he said at our wedding, but unfortunately, the part that I remember most vividly was that he had left the tag on his new tie and would be able to return it after the event (which I know he did not do).

1 Corinthians 13 is a poetic piece of scripture that describes what love is. It is often used as an inspiration to newlyweds as to how they can build a strong marriage:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Last week we looked at ‘Love to Challenge’. Maybe there is no greater challenge than being able to replace the word ‘love’ in that passage, with your name. What would my relationships be like if I was patient and kind? What would it look like if you were not easily angered, were not self-seeking or kept no record of wrongs? What would your community be like if those around you always protected, trusted, hoped for the best and persevered to achieve their best?

It was a privilege to know Grandad, Tasker Rhydwyn Lewis, who went to be with his Lord just a few weeks before his 94th birthday. Part of the tribute paid by his friends and family who celebrated his life commented that he had lived this challenge to all he met. From the family grieving over a loss to the joy of newlyweds. Grandad was love. To love is to serve. As a relay runner runs their leg of the race, there comes a time to pass on the baton.

My prayer this week is that service becomes a part of your race that you come to love.

Love to Challenge


St Wilfrid's C of E Academy - Devotional Blog 2019 - Challenge

Posted on: 21st Jan 2019

but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:3

If you could achieve a world record, what would it be? Do you know what Felix Baumgartner did? Or what David Goggins did 4030 times in 24 hours? Compare this to the achievement of Roger Bannister on May 6th, 1954. All of these challenges required great self-belief and determination. They all faced the challenge of something that hadn’t been done before.

What about you? Will you be the person that the history books will be mentioning? Do you love a challenge enough? Your challenge may not become a world record but I hope you are able to find something this year that causes you to grow to overcome it. For me it is the rubix cube. I have managed to solve the 3×3 grid, the mirror cube and the 2×2. My latest challenge is the wonky cube. I am inspired by those who never thought they could run, only to read stories of them having completed 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, then full marathons. For those who think they won’t be able to do anything like that, maybe 2019 is your year to face a challenge.

The apostle Paul sets a list of achievements that would challenge anyone; from the abilities to communicate and interpret all languages, to the ability to understand all mysteries, or be able to overcome all adversities with faith. However, something is above them all. Love.

In all our challenges and achievements this next year, let us remember that without love, they are worthless. The promise is that love is the greatest motivation and reward we can receive. I pray that you will love to be challenge yourself this year, but I also challenge you, above all, to love.

House Identity


St Wilfrid's C of E Academy - Devotional - One Body

Posted on: 17th September 2018

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 12:12

I do not know how you read the Bible, but I love to picture what the writer is describing, or place myself in the narrative as a character or a ‘fly on the wall’. I think both of these are acceptable ways to access scripture and can lead to an interesting perspective. This is definitely true for the passage in 1 Corinthians 12. The writer asks the readers to consider a number of different outrageous scenarios.

Firstly, consider what would happen in the body if the foot ‘says’ to the body, “I am not part of you because I am not a hand.” Or the ear ‘says’, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye.” Does the denial that they are not part of the body mean they are not part of the body? As a body of staff, students, parents and supporters of Saint Wilfrid’s, it may sometimes be easy to devalue or underappreciate the part we play as others seem to take a more prominent role. As we begin to establish our rhythm of the new academic year, maybe we could all take time to reflect on the impact of others and show our appreciation for their part.

Secondly the writer asks us to consider what it would be like if the whole body was an eye or an ear. This encourages me that my contribution to the body is important and I do not need to try and play the part of someone else.

Thirdly, the writer mentions the honour that is shown to the weakest and least important parts. He elevates these parts as the most necessary and therefore the most protected and cared for. As a school body, let us again take time to reflect on how we show care for all our members.

The importance of unity is summed up in verses 26 and 27. As we consider the role the house system plays in the life of Saint Wilfrid’s this week, may we be encouraged by this.

“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honoured, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

Love


St Wilfrid's C of E Devotional - Love

Posted on: 30th April 2018

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
1 John 3:1

The Bible tells us that God is love. So, when we’re in God’s presence, we’re in the presence of love. His love for us is unchanging, never failing, unconditional. We’re told that God lavishes His love on us. ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ (1 John 3:1). And His love shapes who we are, and how we act. It helps us to love others, just as we’re called to do. ‘Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love’ (1 John 4:8).

In 1 Corinthians 13, we’re called to ‘love extravagantly’, and that can seem like a big challenge. Some people seem to be hard to love at all, let alone extravagantly. We can feel like we don’t want to go above and beyond in our love for others. We don’t want to make sacrifices and put others first. We struggle to forgive, and we struggle to be patient. We lack grace and gentleness in our relationships. But we’re called to love everyone. And when we experience and begin to understand God’s incredible, unchanging love for us, we can’t help but share that love with others.

When we think about it, God’s love is extravagant. It doesn’t change, no matter what we do. It’s always there. But it goes beyond that. God’s shown us the ultimate act of extravagant love.

This week consider, how do you demonstrate love? Have you ever been impacted by God’s love? What did/does it feel like?

Sim Card – Everyone is made of mind, body and spirit


St WIlfrid's C of E Academy - Devotional Blog - Sim Card

Posted on: 8th January 2018

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
2 Corinthians 2:11

Each of us look, act and express ourselves in different ways yet we are all made up of similar parts just like different mobile phone makes and models. We all have a shell, our outer appearance. We all have an operating system, our mind that controls what we do. Yet it’s our spirit which is the hardest to explain. Without our spirit we would be like our phone without a sim card, we would be able to function but not be able to fully connect with what takes place around us. It’s who we are beneath our shell and how we act. It’s who we really are.

The bible says it like this:

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (2 Corinthians 2:11).

This verse is a part of the Apostle Paul trying to explain how we as humans can connect with God as our thoughts from our mind cannot comprehend Him, our bodies cannot encapsulate him but our spirit is the thing that can connect with him. It’s how we communicate with him, through our spirit.

This week consider how you connect with your spirit. Consider how you can use this thought of everyone having a mind a body and a spirit could impact how you relate to others around you.

Invisible Things Matter


Iceberg

Posted on: 16th October 2017

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:18

Not being able to see one step ahead of us can be a hard thing to comprehend, both in the physical and metaphorical sense. For our eyes may work but there may be obstructions in the way, it may be dark or foggy, we may have to turn a corner or avoid a blockage on our path. Sometimes we have to learn to navigate situations without having all the information in front of us.

Take the titanic for example. A ginormous ship that had the capacity to make it from England to America with 2208 people on it, the most extravagant of its time. Yet, the choices that the captain made where purely based on what he could see and not what he couldn’t. He could see the tip of the iceberg but not the extent of it below the surface of the water.

The bible helps us understand and appreciate the ‘behind the scenes’ of our lives, it unpacks why we can see some things now and why other things we cannot. In 1 Corinthians 13 v 12 (MSG) it says:

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”

For Christians that passage is helpful knowing that one day we will understand fully what God is doing our lives but for many it poses the question well what am I supposed to be doing now while I’m stood in the fog? The passage goes on to say:

“But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.” (1 Corinthians 13 v 13 MSG).

What can we continue to do while we are in the invisible?

We can trust steadily.

Hope unswervingly

Love extravagantly.

This week, you may not be able to see what’s ahead but don’t let it stop you from trusting, hoping and loving with all your might.

Worship and Our Every Day Pt 1 & 2


News-Blog-Parts

Posted on: 4th September 2017

PART ONE

“25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honoured, every part shares in its joy.”

1 Corinthians 12:25-26

It’s September, which means NEW! New academic year; for some a new place of education, new jobs, new friends, there is lots going on here at St Wilfrid’s. However, there are some things that remain the same. The key one in the Academy being our worship.

At the outset of this term, we want to bring the focus back to what it means to be a part of an Academy that shares a Christian Education where all can thrive. Over the next two weeks we will spend time looking at how we come together in worship as a collective group of people and also why we as individuals are a significant part of that group. In the Academy, we are all needed to play our part and there is a passage in the New Testament of the Bible that suggests the same when it comes to our worship. We can read it in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 but here is just a few key sections of it:

12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ…14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts. 15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.

21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honour…25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honoured, every part shares in its joy.

27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.

It can’t be said much better than that! We are each an essential part of the body that builds the worshipful community of St Wilfrid’s Church of England Academy. If we all remember that over this coming year, what a year it’s going to be!

PART TWO

Romans 12:1-2

It’s week two of our new year and our new term, how are we finding it? Are we running at a sprint? Are we struggling to keep up? Wherever we are at this week we are going to pause, take a moment and think about our everyday ordinary lives. There may be somethings we do that are second nature to us, eating, drinking, getting dressed. There are many things we do that we don’t really remember doing because in the moment they don’t feel significant or special. Yet, here is what the bible says about these things:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:1-2

This letter from Paul (the guy who wrote a lot of the New Testament books and whole lot of letters) was writing to the Christians in Rome, a group of people most likely to have converted from Jewish ways to Christianity though it isn’t certain how the church in Rome began. All Paul is doing here is teaching these people the basics. When we put our lives, every little bit of our everyday ordinary lives, we are transformed and changed from the inside out. It may be a process but our offering can gain reward.

So what does this mean for us? Simply, be open to what God might do in the big and the small. Really give thanks for the things that are insignificant. Raise the level of maturity in our lives and encourage those around us.

It’s week two, let’s consider our worship and how that looks with our everyday ordinary lives.