Wednesday, 24 October 2012

re:think – life skills at re:generation church

Last night was Life Skills (re:think) at re:generation church (every Tuesday @ 7.30pm: It was a truly thought provoking and inspirational session.

The night kicked off with an amazing Tajik woman who came to share about the incredible work that God is doing in Tajikistan through her and her husband’s joint work with Scripture Union ( They are putting themselves in danger, reaching out to the Muslim youth and families in Tajikistan, and spreading the Gospel.

I was really challenged by the amount of freedom of religion and speech that we have compared to the people of Tajikistan and how poorly we are using those freedoms! (this really tied in with the next section of the evening, which I will get into in a bit).

She asked us to pray for three very specific things, so it would be great if you could join us in praying for the following three things for our brothers and sister’s in Tajikistan:
1.   protection and safety for themselves, their family and all their volunteers.
2.   safety and courage for the children and young people who have heard about God from them, but are too scared to become Christians due to the potentially fatal repercussions from family and friends.
3.   completion of their camp on their newly acquired piece of land, on which they will finally be able to hold Christian camps, pray and preach the Gospel (not freely allowed on other premises).

The next part of the evening was a very thought-provoking talk on gossiping by Alicia. She has kindly forwarded me her notes, which I have adapted below. Please take the time to read this and seriously ponder on the gravity of the scriptures that she has included to illustrate her points. Before I get onto Alicia’s notes, I also just wanted to share two very relevant quotes that were posted on facebook today by two other friends of mine:

Jamie (@JamiePoch) wrote:
I once read the following paragraph in a book by Catherine Marshall called A Closer Walk. It had a significant impact on my life. See what you think...
One morning last week He gave me an assignment: for one day I was to go on a 'fast' from criticism. I was not to criticize anybody about anything. For the first half of the day, I simply felt a void, almost as if I had been wiped out as a person. This was especially true at lunch...I listened to the others and kept silent... In our talkative family no one seemed to notice. Bemused, I noticed that my comments were not missed. The federal government, the judicial system, and the institutional church could apparently get along fine without my penetrating observations. But still I didn't see what this fast on criticism was accomplishing -- until mid-afternoon. That afternoon, a specific, positive vision for this life was dropped into my mind with God's unmistakable hallmark on it -- joy! Ideas began to flow in a way I had not experienced in years. Now it was apparent what the Lord wanted me to see. My critical nature had not corrected a single one of the multitudinous things I found fault with. What it had done was to stifle my own creativity. Criticism is a poison that infiltrates friendships, relationships in our businesses, and even our own families. Like a wrecking ball to a condemned building, our criticism destroys the spirit of those who are scrutinized.

Michael (@jellyoats) wrote:
#GodPosts: Your WORDS will tell others what you THINK, but your ACTIONS will tell others what you BELIEVE.


Gossip and a tainted tongue

Statistics on UK Gossip Magazine are ambiguous – ranging from £24m – 8billion. Although the statistics are unclear, the popularity of these magazines are not. If gossip affects the world around us then it must have an impact on us, right?

The Bible’s perspective on gossip?
When doing a ‘key word search’ on a Bible app, the word ‘gossip’ has very negative connotations, sitting alongside words like pride, untrustworthy, liars, God-haters, murder, insolent, arrogant, greed, hate. {Romans 1:27-31}

The tongue has the power to steer a soul off course: 1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. Those who are never at fault in what they say are perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by human beings, 8but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water?” {James 3: 1-12}

Where does gossip grow from?
“For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” {Matthew 12:34}. Often, it stems from pride, insecurity, arrogance and dishonesty. We need to bear in mind that words have more authority than we know. Think of the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”… Is that saying really true? No: self-esteem issues and insecurities are not born only out of physical abuse!

Imagine someone, complete stranger, walks in and has an opinion of you based on a lie. Or relays a story in your life and it so far from the truth, how would you feel? A good example of just how devasating gossip can be (particularly when it is based on a lie) can be seen in this video of the McCann family at the Leveson Inquiry:

We should speak words that have intent/purpose:
§  Good effect: “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewellery” {Proverbs 25:11}
§  Bad effects: Life damaging – causing paranoia, anxiety, insecurity. Ruin reputations - breaking stigmas can be difficult.

Practical tips in resisting gossip:
§   Build one another up (Ephesians 4:29)
§   Break the chain (think of the game ‘Chinese whispers’)
§   Disagreement (Acts 15, Paul & Barnabas model how to respond)
§   Boldness to stand out from the crowd (Psalm 101:5)
§   ‘I am really concerned about ‘W’ so I am going speak about it to ‘X’, ‘Y’ & ‘Z’ ’. The pastoral way of doing things – (1) prayerfully approach the person, (2) have a private conversation with the person, (3) escalate the issue to someone in leadership.
§   Change friendship groups (Proverbs 20:19) – delete people on facebook, stop following people on twitter, sit in different places in class, hang out with them less, confront what was said
§   As people, we will always have an opinion about a person, situation, organization, but consider for once that maybe your opinion isn’t valid.
§   Dealing with the deeper issues – gossip can be borne out of a place of insecurity, arrogance, etc
§   Be reconciled (Matthew 5:23|4)

We are called to be people of truth:
§  Each of us are called to worship in Spirit and in TRUTH (John 4)
§  For I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception” {Proverbs 8:7}

Speaking Truth has a direct Impact on our Spiritual Walk:
Who may worship your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? 2Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts” {Psalm 15:1-2}
31Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teaching. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” {John 8:31-32}


Help to break the chain of gossiping and bullying by making a change in the way YOU speak and act towards others today! You will be amazed at the effect that you can have on others around you.


Ronell x

“No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues” {Bertrand Russell}

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