Author: Simon

Small Group Testimonies

 

I love hearing stories of how God is working in people’s lives. It’s inspiring, confidence building, faith filling! It’s why Christian biographies outsell other Christian literature by an incredible amount – we love to hear how God is working.

Sometimes it’s easier to see it in others than ourselves, but we all have a story of what God is doing .. even if we can’t quite see it clearly.

This is why on 17th October we are committing around 20 minutes of our Sunday morning to hear from you. We looking for 3-5 people to share with the rest of the church about your “ongoing transformation”. We’d particularly like to hear how God is using the small groups to impact your walk with the Lord.

It doesn’t have to be a bible study.

You don’t have to use long words

You don’t have to have three points.

“I don’t know what God is doing right now …. but I trust Him” – can be more powerful than any sermon.

Would you pray about being one of the 3-5 people who share on that Sunday morning? We’d love to hear from as many different people as possible. If you feel challenged to share please do contact us so we can schedule you in.

What’s Next After Romans?

As we coming to the end of our study through the Book of Romans I though I’d give you some idea about what is coming up on a Sunday morning between September and May. I’ve had a couple of questions about what the preaching series will be and whilst things are always subject to change this is what is drafted in:

24 October 21 – After 18 months in this wonderful letter we will complete the book of Romans.

31 October 21 – Testimonies. This Sunday will be given over to others to tell us how God has been working in them as we’ve been going through the Book of Romans, 1 John and as we complete the small groups. Please be praying about sharing 5-10 minutes – the more people we have the better.

14 November 21 – We will start a four-week topical series called “Uncomfortable” which is about the awkward but essential challenge of Christian Community.  Rather than attempting to find our dream church, we must embrace the uncomfortable and difficult parts of the Christian life in order to grow and experience gospel community.

12 December 21 – we will start our Christmas series and this year the teaching topic concerns the songs of Christmas. We’ll look at Zachariah’s Song of Faith, Mary’s Song of Trust and Simeon’s Song of Hope. At the moment we are not planning on having a Sunday Service on Boxing Day. As already advertised, we’re planning on having our Carol Service on 24 December, our Christmas Day service on 25th and so to give everyone some much deserved rest there will not be a Sunday Service on Boxing Day. This of course is open to change but this is the draft (daft?) idea so far!

9 January 22 – beginning 2022 we will start a series through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, following by a series on the Lord’s Prayer in Luke.

Our Easter Services will cover John 9-10 as we ask the Question: “The God You’re looking For?”

29 May – we begin a greatly anticipated verse-by-verse study through the book of Revelation.  This series will take us through to March 2023. There are some great reasons why we need to study the book of Revelation and you can see some thoughts here

Throughout 2022 we will also have various speakers going verse-by-verse through the Gospel of Mark. 

We hope that this excites you to study God’s word and see what He has to say to us. Please do keep all of the speakers in your prayers as we seek His face and Word for our church and lives.

 

Why we need the Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation, for most of us, is an illusive book. It’s strange. It starts off ok .. but then only after 3 chapters it is difficult. Difficult to understand. Difficult to interpret. Difficult to apply to life.

and yet … there are some great reasons why we need to study this book. Firstly, we believe that every book of the Bible .. indeed every word of the Bible has come from God. Jesus quoted the Old Testament Bible when He said “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). So the Bible is God’s Word to us which means that there must be something in it for us to know and understand. God is not the author of confusion – He brings creatively and order out of chaos – He means to communicate something wonderful and precious to us. This includes the book of Revelation. So we need to study the book of Revelation as much as we need to study the Gospels or another other one of the books that we love.

We also need the book fo Revelation because it saves us from both the error of ignorance and the error of pride. I’m sure you’ve encountered both types of people. The first avoid the book of revelation because it’s difficult and so therefore really have no understanding of the truths that God wants to communicate through it. But then there are the others who are overly obsessed with the truths, that they miss the application and become prideful in knowledge. (1 Corinthians 8:1). So we need the book of Revelation to help us be balanced and prevent us from being ignorant or prideful.

Another great reason to study the Book of Revelation is because it gives us hope. The great hope that Christians have is that one day the hope of perfection and Christlikeness will be finally realised. I mean .. if you haven’t read the end of the story .. spoiler alert .. Jesus wins, Satan is thrown into a lake of fire, God’s people are finally united to Him and paradise is set up for us to live in. Ok, who is NOT excited about that!? This is the longing of our hearts and in the book of Revelation we get a glimpse of this truth and it ignites our hearts in hope.

I’ll let you into a (no so secret) secret … the book of Revelation is not primarily about the Rapture, dragons, Beasts, the Mark and the AntiChrist. We do the Book a GREAT injustice if we come to it looking for answers to which Jesus has said we can’t get (this is called pride btw!). We need the book of Revelation because from Chapter 1, all the way through to chapter 22, the pages are saturated with Jesus. Its first vision is of Him. The letters to the seven churches are from Him. The throne is His. The Lamb (a title that appears nearly thirty times in the book) is Him. The One worthy to take the scroll is Him. The One who conquers the Dragon is Him. The One who protects His people is Him. The One who finally brings heaven to earth is Him. it’s all about Jesus.

So, as announced, early next year we’ll start a verse by verse study through the book of Revelation on Sunday Morning and I invite you to start reading and meditating on the things in there so that your heart is ready to receive what the Lord has for us.

Covid Update – September 21

It’s about time we sent out yet another Covid-19 update to you but rather than go over things we’ve already said (you can read that here), there is one thing that everyone needs to start doing as a matter of habit so that we don’t have to start asking you to wear masks and book seats.

The most effective way for us to continue meeting – without restrictions including wearing face masks etc – is that everyone takes a Covid test on Saturday or Sunday morning.

The reason for this is that if everyone who is coming to church has tested negative within 24 hours of meeting, the risks of meeting are dramatically reduced. This is far more effective than wearing masks or staying 2 metres apart.

We don’t want to put in place lots of extra precautions – and we won’t need to it if we know there is a good chance Covid isn’t in the building. We can only do this if everyone is testing on Saturday or Sunday morning. This is still the best way to protect others.

If you have tested, and you are negative, you also know that when we meet on Sunday there is little danger of anyone contracting the illness. This means you can sing and you can fellowship without  worrying about the extra rules.

Of course that isn’t to say that testing is fool proof, there is still a risk, but the risk is greatly reduced (but around 70%). So what we’d like to say is that let’s all pull together to keep Covid away from our doors – the best way to do that is to test on Saturday or Sunday morning – if you’re negative come and enjoy the fellowship. If you’re positive, enjoy online church and let us know you’ve tested positive so we can pray for you and, where needed, help with anything practical.

Join a Team

We simply couldn’t make our Sunday Morning gatherings happen every Sunday without the help of our incredible volunteers. Serving teams are great ways of meeting new people, learning new skills, and contributing to the life of the church.

We believe that serving each other is part of God’s plan for our lives: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

So whatever gift you’ve been given, we think there’s a place at Calvary Chapel to use it. Plus, you get to join a community and meet new people along the way. Take a look at these teams and click on the link a the the bottom to sign up. Once you’ve done that you’ll get added to the team (s) and the rota will become available in your area of ChurchSuite.

Set Up
Arrive 9am, set out chairs, signs, tables. Ensure Covid Risk assessment is implemented. Full checklist provided.

Pack Down
Put away chairs, signs, tables. Full checklist provided.

Connect / Welcome
Arrive by 10:15am. Welcome people to church and connect them to other people and ministries. after service. Ensure Covid attendance for all (training provided)

Worship
If you are musical and love to worship, Joe Sutton would love to get to know you. Arrive 9am.

Sound & Video
If you love all things AV, this is the team for you. Whether you’re a pro already or would love to learn more, we would love to have you on board. Arrive at 9am.

Children & Youth
If you love working with kids, or feel like a big kid yourself, the Family Ministry team could be perfect for you. The curriculum is provided and there is minimal preparation to do. Arrive by 9:30am.

Prayer
We believe that prayer changes lives. This is such an important aspect of our spiritual life as a community, so if you’re passionate about praying for people we’d love to have you on our prayer team.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN A TEAM

Pray for Afghan Christians

The picture above is Afghanistan. Not the picture you had in mind of a war torn country? Well bear in mind that you only get it hear what the media want you to hear. You’ve all seen the news this week of Taliban advances in Afghanistan. What you probably have heard less about is how the country has undergone quite a transformation in the last 20 years since the Taliban ousting, where thousands of people have come to know Christ. Now, however, our Christian family is in a dialemma – do they stay and suffer persecution, or leave? One Afghan Christian is reported as saying:

“Listen, God has placed us here; He will sustain us, He will get us through this” – Afghan Christian

You can read about the situation that is facing Afghan Christians in this article by Katey Hearth at Missions Network News and listen to their news briefing here:

At the bottom of the article there was ways in which you can pray – so let’s get praying!

Autumn Small Groups

This autumn we want to encourage you to step up and refuel your walk with Christ by coming along to one of our new small group discipleship groups. Putting our regular Life Groups on hold for autumn, we have 4 different groups for you to join, with another 4 groups starting in November.  We’re asking you to sign up to a group so we know who is coming along! Here’s the details and ways to sign up:

September to October

Parenting Conversations – weekly on Tuesdays. Online only. Starts 14th September.

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about raising children! Ok, not quite! This group is for parents who want to learn from other parents who have gone before them. In an informal setting, watch conversations between parents about parenting. We’ll be discussing questions such as “how do we overcome the fear of failing at parenting” and “What are some ways to help your child to cope with success and failure?”

Click the link above for more details and to sign up.

Empowered – weekly on TBC. In Person only. Starts TBC September.

Empowered is a positive, practical and helpful small group that is designed to help you share the good news about Jesus in everyday life.

Click the link above for more details and to sign up.

Living By Faith in Fearful Times – weekly on Wednesdays. In-person only. Starts 9th September. Limited space.

We get to choose whether to live in fearful days or faith-filled days. But how? What can we learn from the saints of old who lived in uncertain times, much like our own? Join this small group for a 7-week journey through Hebrews 11. Click the link above for more details and to sign up.

Christianity Explored – weekly on Thursdays. Online only. Starts 9th September.

this group is an informal seven-week course for anyone who wants to think about the meaning of life.  You don’t need to know anything about the Bible and you won’t be asked to pray or sing. You can ask any question you like or you can just sit and watch. This group is online using our online platform at live.calvarysoton.co.uk and is great to ask your non-Christian friends to meet you online and do together.  Click the link above for more details and to sign up.

 

November to December

Hearing from God– weekly on Tuesdays. In person only. Starts 2nd November.

This small group is all about reading and applying the Bible in a way that is relevant and manageable. Essentially we’re saying, like Eli, “Speak Lord, your servant hears”. Working through a series of practical exercises you’ll be supported to foster healthy habits that will help you to grow in your walk with God. You’ll learn to mediate on God’s Word, reflect on past victories and challenges and increase your faith in a God who speaks”

Click the link above for more details and to sign up.

Empowered – weekly on TBC. In Person only. Starts TBC November.

A second opportunity to join the Empowered group. This is the same group that ran in September.

Empowered is a positive, practical and helpful small group that is designed to help you share the good news about Jesus in everyday life.

Click the link above for more details and to sign up.

Living By Faith in Fearful Times – weekly on Wednesdays. In-person only. Starts 9th September. Limited space.

A second opportunity to join this group. This is the same group that ran in September and covers the same material.

We get to choose whether to live in fearful days or faith-filled days. But how? What can we learn from the saints of old who lived in uncertain times, much like our own? Join this small group for a 7-week journey through Hebrews 11.

Click the link above for more details and to sign up.

Discipleship Explored – weekly on Thursdays. Online only. Starts 4th November.

Discipleship Explored helps followers of Jesus turn up the gospel soundtrack to their lives. It goes beyond simply teaching the right moves – go to church, pray, read the Bible, share the gospel – and focuses on the music which drives discipleship: the love of Christ. The greatest love anyone can ever know. This is an eight-session small group through the book of Philippians and is ideal for believers at any stage of the Christian life. This is an online small group that contains live video discussion as well as documentary-style film presentations.

Click the link above for more details and to sign up.

 

Creation Fest 2021

I visited Creation Fest last Saturday, just for the day (I know .. Cornwall and back in a day is long!). This year it was decided to just run a weekend festival and as I started to write down some summary thoughts I came across this article by Emma Fowle at Premier Christianity that really said everything I wanted to say .. only much much better. Here’s a link to the article.

Next year Creation Fest is moving to a four-day festival but with camping available a day either side. We’re going to put a team of volunteers together so please do start praying about being part of that!

 

 

 

Covid Update – August 21

Last weekend we started getting back together and we started with a wonderful church away day. Tomorrow is our first in-person church service and we are very much looking forward to seeing you. There are some things that have changed since we last met together and whilst we don’t want these things to either worry you or get in in the way of our worship and fellowship we do feel that they are things you need to know. The plan has been put together with input from around a dozen people, as well as reading advice from the Church of England, FICE and Baptist Union. I’ve also included some “reasons why” to help you understand the thought process a little better

ONLINE GATHERINGS

  • Our Sunday Morning Service will continue to be streamed online at https://live.calvarysoton.co.uk.
    • This is now a permanent fixture for three reasons:
      • 1) the pandemic showed us that many people watch who don’t attend our fellowship. We’ve had people from all over the world tune into our broadcasts and we want to continue making this response available.
      • 2) those who are unable to attend our in-person services, whether it’s because of illness or because they are isolating, this is for you with our love. We want you to feel that you are part of our fellowship.
      • 3) it can be a daunting thing for people to walk into a church only knowing one of two people. We want you to use this platform as an opportunity to say to family and friends to “watch from a distance”. Invite them to watch our broadcast on Sunday before they commit to come along and actually meet people!

IN-PERSON GATHERINGS

  • Hand sanitiser will be available and we ask that you use this as you enter and leave the building.
  • Face masks are no longer required by law.
    • We’re not insisting that people wear masks but if you want to wear a mask then please do feel comfortable to do so.
  • Social distancing is no longer required by law.
    • Given that our hall is big enough for us to spread out, we will not be asking you to book seats.  When you arrive tomorrow you will see that the hall has been rotated 90 degrees so that more chairs can be laid out. Please spread out.
  • If you see someone wearing a mask, please also assume that they want to socially distance and so please do leave one of two chairs between them and you.
  • Singing is allowed. Some people may feel more comfortable wearing a mask to sing but again this is your choice.
  • Possibly the most effective way for us to continue meeting is that everyone takes a Covid test on Saturday and Tuesday.
    • This is so that you know you’re covid free when we meet on Sunday and there is little danger of anyone contracting the illness. If you test positive on Saturday please don’t come to church but watch online. Testing on Tuesday assures you that you have not picked up the illness from the Sunday gathering. If we all commit to the regular testing (at least on Saturday) we know that, as much as we possibly can, covid will not be present on Sunday morning. Testing is a recommendation rather than a requirement.
  • If you’re in the group of people who have been told by their GP that they are vulnerable or if you are experiencing covid symptoms please think twice about coming along. We love you but you should be sensible and tune into our live broadcast instead of coming along.
  • Test and Trace will be available – please use your phone to check in.
  • Kids activities will mostly take place outdoors in August. We have marquees in the garden in case the weather is wet but we really want to do as much outdoors as possible. Please ensure your child has applied suncream before attending church.
  • There will be no tea and coffee served but you are more than welcome to bring your own.

Our entire Risk Assessment can be found here

We’re Coming Back

That’s the big news! On the 8th August, we will be meeting again face to face at Great Oaks. There will be some more detail coming out in the next few weeks but the great news is that we’ll be back soon.

For those of you who are asking … we will be meeting back as normal as we possibly can. Although there won’t be any legal requirements we will have some recommendations and some minor alterations to the service. Otherwise, cast your minds back 15 months and it will be pretty much the same.

Covid Update – July 21

We’re getting ready to come back – that’s the big news this month! In-person gatherings are due to start again soon and we kick it off with our church away day on 1 August

We’re changing some things around over the next few weeks so here’s a quick run down of what’s coming up:

ONLINE GATHERINGS

  • Our Sunday Morning Service will continue to be streamed online. This is now a permanent fixture. For those of you who cannot make our in-person services, this is for you with our love. To access this you will need to use the same website address: https://live.calvarysoton.co.uk.
  • Online only events – over the coming weeks and months we will hold online-only events such as this one – this is a great way to invite family and friends to “watch from a distance”
  • Life Groups will continue to meet via Zoom. Everyone is welcome so please search the events calendar for the Life Group to join and come along and see us.

IN-PERSON GATHERINGS

  • There is some uncertainty about when we will be able to gather again for our Sunday morning service but we’re working on it! Our hope is that we will be able to meet again on 8th August but we will update you closer to the time.
Calvary Away Day

Church Away Day

Join us for our church away day on Sunday 1 August at Minsted Village Hall (SO43 7FX)

This is an opportunity to rest, fellowship and learn more from God’s Word. This is particularly timely as social distancing rules are relaxed and we look to be able to meet face-to-face. We’re not only going to have great fun, we’re also going to be asking the question “What does God want our church to look like next?”. We’re missed the fellowship and so our day will  have a good amount of this too! There will be two main sessions, both with children’s activities. Here’s a tentative outline of what the day is going to look like:

9:30am – Arrival. Tea, coffee, cold drinks and breakfast pastries will be provided.

10:00am – Worship

10:30am – Session 1 – “Taking Stock of Covid” (Nehemiah 1-2:16). Children’s activities provided

11:00am – Tea, coffee, cold drinks provided

11:30am – Session 2 – “Rebuilding Life” (Nehemiah 2:17-3:32, 5). Children’s activities provided

12:00pm – Small group study, prayer & activity

12:30pm – BBQ lunch (please see sign up sheet for details)

1:30pm – Take part in a variety of indoor and/or outdoor activities

5:00pm – Afternoon Tea (please see sign up sheet for details)

6:00pm –  Worship & Communion

6:30pm – Close

Please sign up here – this is so we can gauge numbers.

Picnic in the Park

We’re excited to be meeting together for a fellowship time of picnic and games for the whole family. We”ll meet by the car park at Riverside Park (Manor Park Road). This will be 27 June, after church.

  • Bring your own picnic and participate in team games
  • Bring any kind of game that two teams can play against each other.

We’ll finish the day with our favourite church rounders – rounders!!! 🤩✨\

Because we are limited to 30 adults please sign up here

A new way to gather on Sunday

Hello church!

This past year we have learned to worship, serve one another, and meet the needs of our community in all kinds of new ways. Many of us have felt the loss of being physically present together. Others of us may have found some unexpected benefits to our new ways of gathering – online services have actually “opened doors” for some: those who are physically disabled, have to coordinate rides to get to church, introverts, family or friends who were not previously a part of our church community, and seekers who now get to see what our church is all about. We have found some unexpected light in the darkness of this season of disruption.

The church has always been bigger than a building. Church is about learning to follow Jesus in community. We believe our online ministry will be more like a front door than a back door to our gatherings. Even so, there are many things we still miss about gathering together: the hellos, sharing of news, organic discussion about the sermon, and praying with and for one another.

We’ve tried many different platforms for engagement, and we are excited to share that we have found a way to make our online gathering even better, more engaging. A number of us have tried it a few times, and we think it is a great way to deepen engagement with each other. It’s easy to use — if you’ve already mastered videoconferencing, you’ll find this about the same level.

The platform is called Altar Live. Imagine bringing the Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom all into the same platform, designed for churches. Here are the things we’’ll be able to do:

  • Watch church with other people! You can pick up to a group of 4 people with whom to “sit,” and have a watch party. The group of you can view the livestream together, see each other, and talk among yourselves. If you prefer to watch on your own and just see who else is around, that is fine too! Utilize the private mode to
  • Freely mix and mingle with others in a social lobby. After service, find friends and acquaintances, pick a table, and have a casual conversation over video conference. Then “get up” and go to another table to talk with others. Yes, it’s okay to leave one conversation and drop in on another.
  • Find a prayer partner. One of the things we miss most is the chance to sit quietly aside with someone to pray with or for them. We’ll assign some folks to be available for prayer, and you can just find them in a designated table on screen and have a private space for prayer.
  • Welcome newcomers. We think this platform will make it easier for many of us to invite a friend or family member to “come to church with you” in a way that is easy, non-threatening, and where you can be part of the experience with them. We will also have a virtual Welcome Table where your newcomer friend or family can ask questions and learn about next steps.

And there are many more parts of the platform we are excited to utilize as a community.

Our first event on Altar Live will be Sunday 13 June. We are sending instructions out on how to set up an account (it is easy), and where to connect online

We’d like your opinions

A few weeks ago we sent our email asking for your feedback about the church. About half of the church has already provided feedback which is awesome but we’d like more. The more the better.

Why do we need your feedback?

We are aware that church is probably going to look and feel a bit different for several years ahead. We are also aware that the church is 18 years old this year and we’ve never really done a wholesale evaluation of how we are doing.

Paul wrote to Timothy and said to him: 1 Timothy 4:15-16 – “ Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

These two verses offer a context for evaluating how church is operated and what we view as “success”. Paul’s stated goal is not perfection, but progress (v.15) and that a consistent and thorough evaluation of ourselves and our Church leads to the furtherance of the gospel (v.16). In short, are we making progress in the gospel?

What we are doing

There can be no doubt that this process requires courage because we must be willing to consider and confront the most brutal facts of our current reality, whatever they might be. We must 1) Create a climate where truth is heard

2) Get the data

3) Never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, with the discipline to confront & make the changes, however difficult they might be

How we are doing it

Before we do anything we’re listening and asking lots and lots of questions. We’re taking the answers before God in prayer to ask Him to open our eyes and give us vision.  Then, once we’ve heard from God we’re moving forward.

So, items 1 and 2 above are where you come in. We’re not only asking for survey results but in future weeks we’ll be asking some people to feedback in conversations. Your opinion is super important as the church leadership prayer and plan. If you haven’t already completed the survey please go ahead and do so in the next few days.

The link to provide feedback is here: https://s.surveyplanet.com/8Hl_09hBZ

 

Life Group Notes for Sunday 25 April – 1 John 3

Life Group Notes for Sunday 25 April – 1 John 3

The big idea from the message: We are saved to adoption. We get to call God our Father! This should change the way we love others.

Outline: All Christians should live in three arenas:

  1. what we are (v1)
  2. what we shall be (v2)
  3. what we should be. (v3)

Disussion questions:

  1. How great a love did the Father bestow on us? Outside of salvation, give examples in the Bible of how God loved people.
  2. What about you, outside of salvation, in what ways has God shown love to you?
  3. What are the privileges and blessings which are ours as the result of our adoption?
    1. Read the following passages to define these things.
      1. Romans 8:15. Galatians 4:6.
      2. Ephesians 3:14-15, Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16.
      3. Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18.
      4. Hebrews 12:6-11, Philippians 1:6
      5. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Isaiah 66:13. Matthew 23:37.
      6. Romans 8:19-23, John 15:13-15.
      7. Romans 8:17
  4. How does this text speak to our attitude towards orphans? How can we make a difference, in the name of Jesus, to demonstrate the Father-love of God?
  5. What do you think of fostering and adoption as a practical outworking of this text?
  6. How can we pray for your walk this week?

Learn the Ropes

We are looking for a few people to be trained in doing the Live Broadcast on Sunday mornings. If you’re interested you’ll be partnered with someone who is already doing it, you’ll watch and learn “on the job” and eventually (after a while) you’ll be part of a rotating team. If you’re interested we need to hear from you. Please drop Simon an email.

What is making you so noisy – part 2

In my previous post about Pslam 131 suggested that the problem of a noisy mind is a prideful heart. You can go back and read it here if you can’t remember.

David says:

 1 O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

  1. This is about David but it is also about Jesus. God who became Man is thinking out loud for us.
  2. The psalmist is speaking to God (v1-2) then leads us by the hand and speaks to us (v3)
  3. This is about learning peace, a peace that is learned in a relationship

Last time I looked at the biblical view of peace and how David seems to suggest that the reason peace often escapes us is that deep down we’re trying to make sense of the world around us with our own eyes. The questions we ask don’t get an answer – at least not one that we’re very happy about. Questions like:

  • I want control. But I don’t seem to have it. Why not?
  • Comfort, ease, convenience. I want it but I want more of it. Why don’t I have it?
  • I want to feel good. About myself and about others. I don’t feel good therefore God is withholding this from me. Why?

It’s easy to get into that trap of questions that are based on me, myself and I. Increased stress anxiety and worry tend to mount up. Of course, I’m going over some of the things that I wrote about last time so let’s move on …

The issue of noise isn’t only about what I think about myself. Pride .. pride has a way of looking at myself .. but also looking at others too. This is what David writes about when he says “my eyes are not raised too high”.

Pride is not only about me. It’s also about you.

I must look down on you in some way in other to lift me up (or give me the sense that I am lifted up). This means that I have to establish my superiority in some way.  Let me give you an example … talking over people … this screams “I HAVE SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT TO SAY THAT YOU!!!”

Pride.

Of course, some people just wear this on their sleeve a lot more than others but we’re all guilty in one way or another of passing judgement on others.

A prideful heart says, “I’m right in myself.” – my heart is not lifted up

A judgmental heart says “I’m right compared to you.” – “my eyes are not raised too high”

If you are prone to grumble about others and criticise others the chances are you are suffering from “noise”.

That’s the second phrase in Psalm 131. Next time we’ll look at the third phrase:

I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.

1 2 3 48