Unchanging

Having been back in Birmingham for nearly two weeks now, the roller-coaster experience of my year working with Oasis has well and truly started. Already, there have been ups and downs; times of great excitement, planning and dreaming for the future, tempered with the realities of personal struggles and the difficulties of adjusting to a brand new situation. In that, it was truly wonderful to be able to get some time this week to pause and refocus on what’s important. For a couple of days, I was able to join my Mum and Dad on holiday in North Devon – a 4 hour drive away, but definitely worth every minute. The company was (of course!) excellent, but more than that, the experience of being able to hit pause on the rush of starting a whole load of brand new things in Birmingham was just invaluable. In the past, on family holidays, we would often spend the time building sandcastles and ‘sea defences’ that would eventually wash away. For some reason, a foot-high wall of sand never proved enough to keep the tides at bay! Yet, in the years since I had last been there, so little had really changed. Certainly, a few of the shops were different and perhaps something of the cliffs had slipped into the sea, but the timeless quality remained.

Barricane BeachWoolacombe

The sheer beauty and scale of the natural world, so starkly illustrated by the Woolacombe coastline, brings with it a genuine sense of perspective. Though I might change, He won’t. Though my situations and locations and feelings might change, He won’t. An unchanging, eternal God. One who was here long before the coastline was formed and will be here long after the sea itself has ceased to exist either. Psalm 90, Verse 2 puts it very simply:

Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
       from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

So as I return to Birmingham again, and prepare for the influx of students about to come and join the city once again, I rest anew in the one who is unchanging, and return refocused and refreshed. My past, present, and future is wholly secure in Him. Look to Him, gain some perspective, and continue on knowing that I am loved by the one who reigns from everlasting to everlasting. Father, Saviour, Lord.

Regards,

Richard

A New Chapter

In just a couple of days time, I’ll be moving back to Birmingham to start a brand new chapter of my life. It’s a thought that thrills me and terrifies me in almost equal measure! Here’s a quick breakdown of what I’m doing as of September:

1) Taking on the role of Pastoral Trainee with Oasis Church Birmingham
– As this is a brand new role, it’s somewhat of a step into the unknown, but will include discipleship, speaking/preaching, working with Students, Alpha, Sunday morning logistics, and loads more.
– I’ll also be heading to Milton Keynes for a couple of days a month for the Leadership Foundations training course.

2) Working part-time for a well-known Supermarket

3) Moving to the beautiful city of Birmingham to live year-round!

As you might have noticed, I’ve not managed to get into a routine of regularly updating this blog over the past year or so. With the start of something totally new though, I’m going to give it another go, and try to make this a key way of communicating how the year is going to anyone who is interested in following or supporting me with prayer – which would be very greatly appreciated! Expect sermon summaries, book reviews, random musings, prayer requests and the like, and please do give me a nudge if I’ve been quiet for a while.

There’s so much to look forward to about the year ahead, and I honestly can’t wait to get stuck in and start encountering the challenges and opportunities for growth that are to come. As I start this new chapter, I’m reminded of a verse in 2 Corinthians:

For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Right now, it feels like there’s so much ahead. So many things to get started on, so much to be hopeful for, and it’s all there just waiting for me to throw myself into. Yet, before any of that, comes the realisation that none of it is for me, or about me, or because of me. I’m a jar of clay. My best efforts in working for Oasis, in growing my character and giftings, in engaging with secular employment, in making this city properly home; each and every one is fragile pottery. It’s only ever about the One who lives inside me. Through my weakness, through my brokenness, let His light shine. Before I throw myself into the new adventure that lies before me: Pause. Centre on Him. And here we go!

Regards,

Richard