Jul 26, 2010 • By David Murray • 1 Comment
When we pass through trials, we tend to focus on the medium-term, which usually increases anxiety and worry. The bereaved widow worries about how she will cope in six months time, or who will look after her in five years time. The parents of a severely brain-damaged baby look ahead and worry over life-or-death decisions about the baby’s medical care. The discouraged pastor projects himself forward one year or five years and wonders how he can go on. A stressed-out mother panics when she imagines herself still running after four screaming kids next year, and the next year… The devoted husband watches his darling wife dying of cancer and hears a baby crying in the background.For me, the antidote to medium term worry is to focus shorter and longer. I focus shorter by focusing on today. I get on with today’s tasks and responsibilities and make tonight’s pillow my major horizon. I refuse to think about tomorrow, next month, or next year. I have duties today. That’s my mountain to climb and, by God’s grace, I will climb it one small step at a time. But, from time to time, I also want to focus longer. I want to look beyond the short-term and the medium-term and look towards the eternity-term. I try to remind myself that, for Christians, there is a day coming when all trials and afflictions will be over. The widow will never feel lonely again. Disabled children will think, feel, relate, communicate, and move in glorified bodies. Burnt-out pastors will be ministered to by the Lord Himself. Stressed-out mothers and bereft husbands will have all their tears wiped away. As Paul said, the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed.
Jul 22, 2010 • By David Murray • 1 Comment
Looks like we might need a new -ism. How about blonde-ism or hair-ism. As reported in The Telegraph, a study of 13,000 Caucasian women by David W. Johnston of Queensland University of Technology in Australia concluded that blondes earn 7% more than brunettes, an effect as large as the wage boost from an additional year of education. (Maybe we didn’t need a scientist to tell us that.) Further, the men blondes marry earn an average of 6% more than husbands of women with other hair colors. Previous studies have shown that employers wrongly consider attractive workers to be more productive.This follows on from last year’s research on “heightism” that showed how tall people get larger salaries, higher status, and more respect. (Being 6’3″ I must admit I quite enjoyed reading that.) Each extra inch produces an extra $789 in salary, seemingly. The researcher, Timothy Judge at the University of Florida, resorted to evolution for an explanation:
Perhaps society is not consciously aware of the importance we place on height. If the status accorded to tall people has evolutionary origins—when height signaled strength and power—these same psychological processes may exist today; just in our subconscious.
Of course, the Christian knows that all our prejudice, bias, and favoritism have their roots in our own sinful human hearts. Our times and our hearts are no different to those of the prophet Samuel’s day:
But the LORD said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance (face), or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
What a challenge to all our pre-judgments, and what an encouragement to the pre-judged.
Jul 22, 2010 • By David Murray • 0 Comments
If I was to pick one thing that had enriched my spiritual life and pastoral ministry most over the last 12 months it would be the exposure I’ve had to the pastoral blogs at the Gospel Coalition. Day after day, I am stimulated, inspired, corrected, rebuked, and encouraged by the short practical blogs being written by pastors from a variety of backgrounds, all in very different ministry situations. Although I’ve never met any of these men, I have a strange (mysterious?) “fellowship” with them through their blogging. Here are just a few articles that I’ve enjoyed over the past couple of days.Have a look at this challenging post on shepherding our children from Brain Croft, senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church, who blogs at Practical Shepherding. I know I could not keep up the standard Brian sets in this article, but the principles he outlines can be applied in ways that are more realistic for our circumstances. If I could even do once a month what Brain suggests, then it would still be worth doing. Two great posts by Justin Buzzard, a church planting pastor in Phoenix, Arizona. The first encourages pastors to Go where your men work. I tried a bit of this in my two pastorates, but I wish I had done more. It was definitely worthwhile. Again, maybe Justin sets the bar a bit high for most of us, but even if we can’t do this weekly, once a month would still be a good aim. (Justin blogs at The Buzzard Blog). Justin’s second post is Live FROM feedback, not FOR feedback. I especially liked the way Justin highlighted that it is the feedback of our heavenly Father that we should be living from. Lastly, all pastors should read Jason Helopoulus’s painful post on the inability of most pastors to listen well, and how to fix that.
O, yes, and one more lastly. Have a read of Britt Merrick’s The Beauty of Suffering, a deeply moving account of what he has learned from his six-year-old daughter Daisy’s battle with cancer. And please add Daisy to your prayers.
Jul 21, 2010 • By David Murray • 0 Comments
Download here.In episode 12 of The Connected Kingdom podcast, Tim and I discuss technology. We talk about Tim’s one-week-fast from technology and my new film about how to train children to use technology to God’s glory. It is called God’s Technology and I’ll be releasing more news about that in the next few days.