Lessons from the classroom: don’t ‘guess in’ your life gaps

Mind the Gap notice London Underground
Are you ‘minding’ your life gaps or jumping straight in?

There are many different tools teachers use to assess learning, when I used to get tired of straight marking, I would pull out one of these tools from my ‘tool kit’ one great alternative was the ‘clozed activity’.  I would type out an ‘ideal’ essay, delete key content and structure words throughout the essay so that the students were left with an ideal essay which had gaps that the students then needed to fill back in.  The great thing about this activity was that it helped me to find out who knew their stuff, but it also helped the students learn what goes into making the content and structure of an ideal essay.

The process always highlighted different types of students in the classroom:

  1. those who knew their stuff and comfortably filled in the gaps – they were obviously more likely to do well in the subject.
  2. Those who didn’t know as much but were willing to pay attention, learn and put in the graft to get their grades.
  3. Those who didn’t know and who didn’t care, these students were most likely to find ways of simply ‘filling or guessing in’ the gaps and as such they often ended up with poor grades.

Why the interest in teaching all of a sudden?

Well, when I woke up this morning I thought to myself “what can I do today” ie. “what can I get busy with so that I can fill up the massive gaps in my life time and space?”  I quickly picked up my thought patterns and begin to reassess myself, I asked myself this question:

What would be the point of me ‘doing something’ just to fill in my gaps when when I have no idea what to do and even if I did, I have no idea how to do it? Continue reading

Moving from Carnal Work to Divine Rest

tranquil waters and grand moutainous planes.

In the previous post entitled Moving from Imperfect work to Perfect Fruitfulness, I looked at the concept of creativity and divine fruitfulness coming as a consequence of letting go of our carnal mindset and allowing the Holy Spirit to renew and transform our mind, this is part and parcel of the transformation that takes place as we move into and begin to enter into God’s Shabbat (Promised Rest). For a fuller understanding of what rest means and how it links to creativity and fruitfulness please see this post. This current post takes these concepts further.

Shabbat Shalom is probably my favourite phrase in the entire world, the bible generally translates these two words as ‘rest’ and ‘peace’ respectively but this does them absolutely no justice at all. Shabbat (where the English Sabbath is derived from) refers to God’s divine rest, it has always been God’s intention for mankind to permanently reside in a state of rest (Eden was the most restful place that ever existed for mankind) however, with the fall of Man and the Curse of sin mankind moved from a state and place of rest to a state and place of toil, hardship, striving and struggle otherwise known as work.

The concept of Shabbat (a true and divine experience of rest) is extremely difficult for humans to fully grasp simply because it is in opposition to the carnal mindset, we hold fast to the inheritance of the curse that man must work to survive (see Genesis) until it has now become the status quo. Anyone seen to not be ‘working’ by the sweat of their brow for their daily bread is seen as crazy, lazy or both. But is it really God’s intention for us to be struggling and striving in order to live? I definitely do not believe so. Continue reading

Moving from imperfect work to perfect fruitfulness

Why did God rest on the seventh day?  Is it because He was tired from all His work as some people have suggested?  The bible doesn’t say this at all.  Such an explanation suggests that God created the seventh day so that He could ‘recuperate’ from all of His hard work, there are many issues with this theory but I won’t go into them here.  If God wasn’t tired and didn’t really need to rest, why did He? And why did He choose to rest on the seventh day at all, why not start again on day one?

I love the explanation highlighted in the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) based on the Hebrew text which explains that God rested so that creation could begin to produce and create of and from itself (Genesis 2:3).  God stopped working on the 6th day so that creation could start its own work on the 7th!  Think about it this way, when a parent wants to teach a child to make something quite complex and difficult what does the parent do?  A good parent would first of all show the child exactly how to create it and give the child instructions before giving him/her time and space to have a go for their self.  This is exactly what God did, first He created of and from Himself, then He gave creation (‘Be fruitful and multiply’) and mankind (Genesis 1: 28) specific instructions before allowing creation to begin to create of, in and for itself. Continue reading

Thoughts on re-evaluating life purpose

A place of peace

I’ve been thinking, I mean really thinking… thinking about myself, my life, what I have to offer and what I have to give.  On my last post I was told that I had no clear vision, I both agree and disagree.  Actually God gave me my vision this year, something very simple yet so deeply profound to me that it almost takes my breath away.  It’s not just a vision for me but a vision for all of God’s children which is about entering into His Peaceful rest (Shabbat Shalom).

A place of peace

God has created a place of rest and peace for us all

I am taken back to the recent article that I wrote on being On-Purpose, and I ask myself am I being ‘On-purpose’ with my moments of being?  I have come to a few realisations:

  1. Just because I can, it doesn’t mean I should – I feel best when I’m busy, so I try to make myself busy with ‘good things’ such as trying to help others.  But in my busyness I take myself out of my God-given purpose, I use my time the way that I think it should be used and not the way in which God wants me to use it – bad move.
  2. I’ve been spreading myself too thinly – it’s hard to be everything to everyone and if I’m honest with myself and God that’s what I’ve been trying to do.  I do thank Paula Millar for making me think as she has put it, it has been affective in doing that – so if you want someone who will challange you and make you think try Paula.  I am not a fountain of knowledge, the only knowledge I have is the knowledge that God has given me to fulfill my calling and destiny.  My energy is best served focusing on the tasks that are most relevant to this.
  3. It’s OK to have times of stillness and quietness – notice how I say stillness and quietness.  For those of you who know me from my other blog, you know that God has been taking me through a lot of healing body, soul and spirit.  Everyday I learn new areas that God wants to make whole. He is making me more self-aware and although a very painful process absolutely necessary for the work He has called me to do which is to help those who are broken enter into His Shabbat Shalom.  Ironically, I like to be busy because it keeps my mind from uncovering old wounds, like a defense mechanism I guess but it is counter-productive.  My challange is to allow myself to rest (be still and be quiet) so that not only can the ground that I will work be prepared but so that I will be too.  Stillness is about not moving, not pushing, not working and not striving and quietness is about gentleness, softness and a decreased pace in our work.  I have a recent testimony on this that I would like to share, go to the end for the link.
  4. It’s OK to change and adapt – I think most people have a fear of change, it makes us uncomfortable because we feel lost at sea and it makes others feel uncomfrtable because it makes us more unpredictable in their eyes.  But actually change and adapting to change is necessary, because we may need to alter our footsteps to find and come once more on the path that  God has set out for us and as we grow and walk more in God’s wisdom this will inevitably cause more change in and around us.  Staying the same due to fear and complacency is not safer it is dangerous, so godly change is good – read my previous post on godly change.

Continue reading

How to build mutually beneficial Linkedin connections (Part 3)

mutuslly beneficial relationships

When I sat back and thought about what to write in this blog post it crossed my mind that cyber-relationships are very similar to face to face ones in that we go through a 3 stage process of actively seeking potential connections,  learning how to make ourselves attractive in their eyes so that they desire to connect with us and lastly putting in the work to maintain the relationship once we have connected with them.  So far in this short series on building mutually beneficial online connections via Linkedin and other social networking platforms, we have looked at the first two stages how to find mutually beneficial connections and how to attract them, last but not least this post aims to focus on how we can build and maintain these relationships once we connect with potential others. Continue reading

Tips and tools for promoting your christian blog or website (part 1): The Advantage of Tribes

This is a series of posts that will specifically look at ways for Christian business owners and bloggers to promote and grow on and offline.  The first in this series is a guest post by Pastor Sherry on a form of advertising called Tribe Syndication Association or TSA.  As a member of a tribe, Pastor Sherry is in a strategic position to share more about Tribe Syndication and how Believers can use the theory behind it to grow.

The Advantage of Tribes
By Pastor Sherry

God is a God of variety!  We can see that in all His created works – the birds, the flowers, the stars, and in each human.  He works with each person in our individually journey, and leads us from where we are to where He wants us to be.

His purpose for us is not only to be who He created us to be, but to also share that creation with others.  As He leads us we learn of Him, and can share those lessons with others.  We’re not all on the “same page.”  We are not learning the same lessons at the same time, nor in the same way.  But the way God leads each of us can be beneficial to others of His children.  We may be sharing on the same topic, but each of us will share it differently, according to our own experience and expertise.  Someone may resonate with our message when they cannot another’s.  That makes each of our voices valuable in God’s kingdom.

As children of God who blog, we each have something to say for Him that can touch the hearts of others.  And in this world of internet and blogging, it’s easy to give to others the message God has given us.  Write it and click “upload/publish” – that’s all we need to do!

But that very ease creates a glut of online information.  There is soooo much “out there,” that those who need to hear God’s message through us may never find our site. Continue reading

Are you switched on to yourself?

Have you ever been really excited to go to a talk or a conference about a particular topic, only to get there and find out that the speakers talk about everything else other than what was expected? How did that make you feel? Frustrated, angry, annoyed, like you wasted your time in attending in the first place? Probably all of the above right? But how do you feel when you go to a meeting, conference, event and the speakers you hear are everything that you expected plus a cherry on top? Elated, surprised, invigorated, motivated, encouraged, charged up? Wow, what a contrasting set of emotions with the only difference being that the first set of speakers were ‘off-point’ whilst the second ‘on-point’.

Now think about yourself, your life, your work and ask yourself this question: “am I on or off-point?” How can we even tell whether we are or not? Difficult questions I know but if we imagine ourselves as a speaker or even better still the whole event, what type of lasting impression do we leave on ourselves, on others, on God? Are we wasting valuable time, do we feel frustrated and let down by ourselves our lives or do we feel invigorated and motivated to do and give more?

I’ll stop with the questions and get to the point of this blog post. Continue reading