So this week has been spent on two staff retreats.  The first one was led by Ken Newell at Drumalis Retreat Centre in Larne for all our staff in Carnmoney.  The day was structured around three main sessions. REST / REVIEW / REFOCUS.  I’m not really the contemplative type.  I prefer multi-media presentations, smoke machines, lights and loud music!  But these two days comprised none of those things and I loved it.  Ken’s ability to slow us down and encourage us as a team was superb.  He just has the kind of humble presence and authority that makes you want to listen to every word..

“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  Jesus

It is brilliant to receive this invitation from God and be able to pass it on.  The following day the interns and I headed up the north coast to unwind and retreat.  Hollie and David have been a great team this year and we really enjoyed getting some time away to reflect on God’s hand upon our lives.  I stole Ken Newell’s “rest/review and refocus” structure but felt compelled to add an additional R – Ramore Wine Bar !  (tobacco onions for me please..)

These times are so crucial to get perspective and refreshment.  Note to self- do this more often!


Surprised by Scripture: Part 2

What do Russell Grant and King Saul have in common? Up until today I would have answered…. “very little.”
So what’s changed? Today I came across an event in Saul’s life that I don’t think I’ve ever been aware of before.  He’s facing an enemy invasion and is really intimidated by it, unsure of what to do he seeks the advice of Samuel the prophet.  No problem at all, right?  Good idea to get advice from a religious leader, right?  Well it is if they’re still alive!  Samuel was dead and Saul contacts him via some wacko medium.  Interestingly earlier in Saul’s life he had
expelled mediums and spiritists from the land.  Now in a time of panic and insecurity he disobeys a direct command from God about contacting the dead.

“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:31

Seances, mediums, psychics, fortune tellers, magic 8 balls and Russell Grant’s interpretation of your birthday all have at their root a lack of faith in God’s guidance. Christians need to demonstrate trust in Him by avoiding all these practices.

God makes a promise that if taken seriously would put the fortune tellers out of business.

Isaiah 58:11
The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

The LORD will guide you always
Saul should have contacted the living God for guidance – not a dead prophet!