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    • Donate | Living Leadership

      DONATE TO OUR WORK Giving is partnering in our vision Living Leadership depends on the generous gifts of people to sustain and develop its ministry. We are grateful for every gift received and we thank God for your partnership with us in the vision of training, supporting and resourcing leaders for the sake of the gospel and the health of the Church. Do you wish to make a one off donation or set up regular giving? One off donation Regular giving ONE OFF DONATIONS TO LIVING LEADERSHIP The simplest and most cost-effective way to give a single gift to Living Leadership is through PayPal Giving Fund. They claim your gift aid (if you are a tax payer) and send 100% of your donation plus the gift aid they claim to us. There are no hidden costs. Alternatively, you can donate directly to Living Leadership by either: ​ using your online banking or banking app using your first initial and family name as a reference. a) Bank Transfer Please to request our bank details. contact us ​ payable to 'Living Leadership'. Please to request our postal address. b) Cheque contact us ​ If you are a UK tax payer, please . Gift Aid your donation ​ DONATING REGULARLY TO LIVING LEADERSHIP Our regular donors are vital partners in our work and we're thrilled that you have decided to join our work in this way. Please contact us for our bank details to enable you to set up your standing order. We would also love you to sign up to receive our email updates . ​ If you are a UK tax payer, please remember to . Gift Aid your donations

    • Terms of Use | Living Leadership

      Terms of Use Views expressed in documents in the Resources section and blog of this website are the views of the authors of such documents and may not reflect the views of Living Leadership, which cannot guarantee either that the advice contained herein complies with UK or other legislation or that it is wise, appropriate or recommended for any specific situation. ​Living Leadership expressly disclaims responsibility or liability for any or all consequences whatsoever, direct or indirect, that may arise from decisions freely taken by individuals to act on actual or purported information or suggestions contained or implied herein. The views expressed are offered with the limited intent of suggesting ideas and stimulating reflection. They are not intended to prescribe action and should not be interpreted prescriptively or as a substitute for professional advice. We encourage readers to seek properly qualified advice where such advice is needed. ​ ​ Living Leadership accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for linked websites or anything contained in them. Living Leadership cannot be held responsible for any changes to or inaccuracies in web links it contains. Living Leadership reserves the right to make changes to anything on its site, without notice and at any time. Any material downloaded or otherwise obtained through the use of this site or any linked site is done at the user’s own discretion and risk and the user is solely responsible for any damage to their computer system or loss of data that results from the download or use of any such material. Disclaimer ​ (1) INTRODUCTION This disclaimer governs your use of our website; by using our website, you accept this disclaimer in full. 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    Blog Posts (61)
    • The Knowledge Room

      I’m in my Mind Palace. (See previous post) I’ve strayed into the Knowledge Room. It contains a lot of books, as you would imagine. I could spend all day in here. It’s like the Tardis – much bigger on the inside than you might expect. But that isn’t the half of it. I enjoy the accumulation of knowledge. Always have. I have a degree in Christian apologetics, so for three years, I spent hours in the Knowledge Room, organising the shelves and reading lots of books. Here are some of the subjects I particularly enjoyed: The Mind/Body Problem Sovereignty/Free Will The reliability of the New Testament Hermeneutics – my favourite topic Law and Grace Perhaps there are some on that list that you also enjoy. I dedicated myself to acquiring as much information and argument as I could. I believed that the acquisition of knowledge was a good and holy task. And I still do, to a certain degree. Knowledge, I believe, girds the faithful heart. It enhances faith. Note how often the New Testament writers use the term, ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (Christ, God).’ Why? Because knowledge is a good thing. But what do the biblical writers mean by knowledge? Clearly, they don’t simply mean information. Knowledge of God in the New Testament is related to an experiential connection to God. This is why Christ states in John’s gospel, Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17.3) The great gift of eternal life isn’t ‘living for a very, very long time,’ it’s intimacy with God, knowledge of God. Good apologists know this, of course. They know perfectly well that information and argument is not the same as intimacy with God, that both are covered by that word ‘knowledge.’ Yet a problem remains. For while we may distinguish between knowledge as intimacy and knowledge as information, we’re still left with the challenge: why are we engaged in the latter – the acquisition of knowledge? Some argue that it is about love. Loving God with our minds by gaining knowledge. Indeed, there are many reasons why Christians should love God with their minds, but for the apologist, its primary purpose is this one: The defence of the faith. 1 Peter 3.15 – a rallying cry – is often quoted. Give an answer – an apologia – to those who ask. To do that, information and argument are essential. And that’s fine, as far as it goes. But beware. Is knowledge (information and argument) primarily concerned with the defence of the faith (1 Peter 3.15)? Sometimes I think apologetics should come with a spiritual health warning. First, it can tend towards pride, which is fatal. Those in student ministries, where apologetics takes a prominent role, need to be careful. Lots of extremely well-informed students who can dismantle their opponents with ease, well, that isn’t necessarily a good thing. But there is something which is more serious. I’m not sure that loving God with our minds is primarily about defending the faith. Yes, it has its place, but knowledge has another more important purpose. Come back into the Mind Palace. Apologists who enjoy the Knowledge Room can get lost in there. Another book on consciousness? Don’t mind if I do. Some more C.S. Lewis so you can discuss the Argument from Reason with your room mate? I’m in. All fine – up to a point. The problem is, the Knowledge Room is really designed to encourage us to go down to the room at the end of the hall. To the Soul Room. Before you venture down there, however, let’s take a closer look at the Knowledge Room. You think it’s just a room full of books? Nope. That’s a monumental mistake. In truth, it is a wonder to behold. It is far, far bigger than you could possibly imagine. Come on in and take a seat. It’s made of leather, so you feel a bit like J.R. R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis during their days at Oxford. The bookshelves are lined with every kind of book you could imagine. They contain as much fiction as non-fiction, for stories are a deep well of knowledge. Get up now and go to the broad, heavy curtain which covers the entire wall at the end of the room. Pull it back and kneel in wonder. Before you lies a scene which stops the heart. Spiralling planets and stars stretch into infinite dark space. The vision fills you with awe. The room is not the Tardis at all. It is the universe. There is more knowledge in this room than your tiny mind can take in. You are a speck of dust, so small your size can hardly be measured. This is what the writer of Job is conveying in chapters 38-40. The writer of Ecclesiastes is also wrestling with this deep truth. We humans, we seek to understand God’s ways, and we seek meaning and significance. Yet, we are not – and never will be – like God, the imago dei notwithstanding. We discover knowledge, it is revealed to us, but we are not in the category of Creator (see Job 38). There is only one true God, whose creative being is the source of all knowledge. And for that reason, we discover meaning through accepting our limitations. The appropriate response, then, is to submit before God’s glory and his perfect will. For in the end, we know by revelation. He gives only as much knowledge to us as he sees fit. Some things – and their number is boundless – we will never know, nor can we know. We are not God. The purpose of that vista you’re looking at? It’s supposed to send you running down the hall to the Soul Room. That’s what it’s for. It’s designed to send you to your knees in worship. And that’s as it should be. Knowledge causes me to stop in wonder at what is revealed to me. Yet when I become aware of how little I know, I worship all the more. And that takes place in the Soul Room. The intimate space. It’s where our hearts belong. We're constantly updating our library of articles: New this week - Discover Nathan's story of addiction and recovery in the third of our articles on Addiction. Read more >

    • Rest through pain

      Editor’s Note: The following is a post by one of our new Associates, Jim Crooks. It’s the first of a series of posts from ‘seasoned servants’ – people who have served the Lord for many years, and whose experiences of God’s grace and presence have much to teach us. First, a little about Jim. He writes, Before retirement in 2012, I had a long career in education, spanning decades. I have been principal of a couple of FE colleges, in Northern Ireland and then Scotland, and I have various qualifications in Coaching and Mentoring in Leadership. I retired in 2012, six months after my first wife, Elzbeth, died from cancer. In that year, I became responsible for the development and delivery of a church-based bible teaching course called the Joshua Programme, run by Tilsley College in Motherwell. In January 2016, my life took a different turn. I became the pastor of Tayside Christian Fellowship in Perth. I have primary responsibility for the teaching and preaching programme and for pastoral care in the church. I am also the founder of the North and East of Scotland Church Leaders Network, running biannual seminar programmes since 2013, focused principally on brethren-origin churches, of which there are over ninety in the area. Since December 2017, I have been married to Laura. I have one son, Andrew, who is married to Susanna and they live in the Faroe Islands, where they raise my three grandchildren. Here’s Jim’s post: My back is really sore. It has become quite debilitating, and the visits to a back pain specialist have had little impact. Having said that, when I receive a massage, I experience wonderful relief, but sadly that is short-lived. Why is my back sore? I’m told the damage was probably caused in my rugby playing days, but that was a significant number of kilos ago. The net effect of this is that my diversionary activity on my day off - gardening - takes me much longer. However, I still love to go out into the garden and get those seasonal tasks done. It takes me twice as long (at least) because I have to stop and rest. It’s important to let my back stretch – always forwards, never backwards. To deal with the pain, I’ve developed certain coping mechanisms. You might consider them a little unusual. For example, when I’m weeding, I find it a lot easier if I tackle the job horizontally. Up close and personal with those troublesome weeds. Once I’m down, it’s easier to stay down. So like some wounded soldier, I drag myself along with arms, hands and toes, making slow progress around the garden. When my neighbor first saw me using this technique, he was a little shocked. To my recollection, I simply looked up and began a normal conversation with him, as though lying prone on the grass was the most natural thing in the world. Why wouldn’t it be? He already knew I was a pastor, so he thinks I’m a bit odd anyway – now he’s sure of it! Before you think I’m just writing an amusing anecdote I do actually have a point. Here it is: I get the work done, but it does take longer. To get it done, I need to rest. Regularly. God wasn’t diminished by work, and when he’d finished, he wasn’t sitting there, exhausted by his exertions. He was providing a model for us because, as Pablo Martinez says, ‘He made us human beings and not human doings.’* It’s taken me sixty-one years to get to the point of recognising the absolute necessity for rest. I thank God for teaching me through pain, that whilst I can remain very active, I need to pace myself. I need to rest. It isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. In my case, my back pain has taught me a lesson that has been staring me in the face for years. It’s right there in the Scriptures. We all need rest. What will it take for us to learn our lesson, so that we don’t forget it? Or ignore it? God speaks to us in different ways, doesn’t he? I pray that he speaks clearly to you. St. Paul had a ‘thorn in the flesh.’ He prayed for God to take it away. I don’t do that. In any case, it would be a ‘thorn in the skeleton,’ since they would need to fuse my vertebrae! Instead, like Paul, I remember that His grace is sufficient. Of course it is. As far as the pain is concerned, I just ask Him to help me bear it. And I take twice as long on my weeding. On my belly. Let me leave you with these wonderful verses: Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt. 11.28–30). * Take Care of Yourself, Martinez, P. Hendrickson Publishers, 2018. Editor’s Note: I sympathise with Jim a great deal, since I also live with chronic back pain. Perhaps one day, you’ll also find me rolling around my garden! To get reminded of new blog posts each week, sign up to our mailing list and let us know you are interested in "podcast and blog updates" ICYMI: We are also busy updating and re-releasing our library of Articles. View the latest articles here. Recently added: Singleness and Reality

    • Inside the Mind Palace (Part One)

      Ever heard of the Mind Palace? Arthur Conan Doyle apparently called it a ‘brain attic.’ In fact, it’s an ancient memory technique invented by the ancient Greeks. Cicero used it to help him memorise his speeches. In Sherlock, our eponymous sleuth uses the Mind Palace to store all his memories. His brain is so big, he remembers . . . well, he remembers everything he’s ever seen or heard. You can imagine him, can’t you, wandering down passageways and going into room after room, each one filled with shelves. On each shelf, there’s an image or an object which triggers the memory. I think this metaphor is fantastic. I wish I had a memory like Sherlock’s. So I’m going to steal it. The metaphor, not the memory (sadly!) I’d like to put it to another use. I think a Mind Palace is an excellent metaphor for our mental lives. It’s where we go when we temporarily shut out the world, and live inside our heads. In fact, we visit our palaces whenever we ruminate on things. Mull over. Cogitate. Think. It’s also where we pray. That room I’ve decided to call The Soul Room. Our mental lives are extremely important. They drive our external, physical lives. What goes on inside our heads, when we think and pray, is really the most important thing about us, because our souls – and in particular our hearts, wills, spirits (three words – same meaning) – govern the physical lives we live in the world. To the degree that we are able to exercise agency. So why am I talking about this subject on the eve of a national lockdown (for those of us in England)? Because potentially, lockdowns give greater space to our mental lives. Unable to meet with people physically, leaders often have more time on their hands. For some, this is a gift. But not for those who are running, running. Ever wondered why busy people are so . . . busy?! Busyness is often driven by fear of the Mind Palace. There are an awful lot of rooms in there which the busy person would prefer not to enter. It’s not surprising, really. Come on in. Down the passage lined with doors, we head for the Soul Room. For some reason, however, we end up stumbling into a room marked Worry, Fear and Frustration. Its shelves are full to bursting. So much to occupy our thoughts. Further down the hall, there’s Lament and Regret. Next to that one is Unresolved Conflicts. For some people, that one is quite big. For others, there’s a room which they’d prefer to destroy. It’s called Damaged Family Relationships. Near the end is one called Unanswered Prayer. The busy leader knows about these rooms, which is why busyness acts as a shield. But now we’re in lockdown. Now there is time to enter your Mind Palace and spend some time in there. Now there is the opportunity to go straight to the Soul Room. Don’t allow yourself to be waylaid. Go straight there. When you arrive, don’t be put off by two discouraging signs which you put up on the wall during previous visits. They’re marked ‘Not Long Enough,’ and ‘Not Doing It Right.’ These are lies which must be rejected. In fact, why don’t you just take them down? And don’t ever put them up again. There is no ‘long enough.’ There is no ‘doing it right.’ Take a seat in the Soul Room. A comfortable chair. Enjoy just sitting there. Don’t do anything. Just sit. Leave your phone in the kitchen. For once, don’t go through a list. Forget ACTS. Forget the lists. Don’t have a plan. Just enjoy being with your heavenly Father, who loves you. Or picture yourself talking to Jesus. Read some Scripture. Meditate on some verses. Perhaps do a lectio divina. Slow down. Really slow down, and joyfully ‘waste’ time in the presence of your Creator. Be refreshed. We're continuing to update and expand our library of articles to help you in your walk with the Lord and your ministry. New this week: Genevieve Jennings lays out nine helpful "principles of life" for single people. Read more >

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