I have just returned from a two week trip to Bethel Church in Redding, California and I thought it would be a helpful exercise to try and identify some of what I have observed and learned during my time there. Obviously it is a long way to go and not inexpensive and it would be untrue to say that I didn’t enjoy the trip for reasons other than visiting the church, of course I did, who wouldn’t. But the warmth, scenery, (occasional) good food and other associated pleasantries of the trip were all a bonus really and so I intend to share about some of what I learned, which was my real reason for going.
How does God speak to us? I’ve had an example recently of one way that this happens that I am still learning from. I’ve just been to a conference. There were a lot of people there, about 2,000, it was a long way from home, Redding, California and it had some quite well known Christian leaders speaking at it, Bill Johnson, Brian Houston and Shaun Bolz. So, for all those reasons and many more besides I had quite a sense of excitement at being there.
As I was preparing to be there in all of the usual ways, packing etc., I was also asking the Lord to prepare my heart and spirit. I wanted to be certain that I had my focus right so as not to become distracted by all of the other factors.
Did you watch any of the Olympics? I did. Possibly more than was healthy but at least it is only once every four years. I loved watching so many people all trying their hardest to achieve their dreams. I empathised, cheered, sympathised and celebrated. Though I watched mostly on my own it didn’t stop me from expressing my excitement at performances such as Andy Murray’s gold, Mo Farah’s double double or the Brownlee brother’s destruction of the rest of the triathlon field. The main thing that surprised me, however, was that I wasn’t that surprised. I admit that I did not expect the UK to come second overall in the medal table but I wasn’t surprised that we did well.