So just how did the story begin … ?


When we end one chapter we begin another. When we end a story we start another. The journey to preaching a sermon has been long and winding road (!!).

So the first sermon preached on Sunday 10th April was not the end – it was just another beginning. But one celebrated with friends and family who touched me deeply by travelling from near and far to “be there”.

I did my bit by turning up. He did His bit by moving me away from my “preaching notes”. And then He did His thing.  I just went into God O’clock and tried not to “look down” …
i.e. think too much about my notes “over there” and out of reach … think too much about was I on track – or was I losing the plot …

My own thoughts after the service? I had let God down. I had got in His way. I was deflated. And like a good trooper I kept that to myself and smiled and chatted and did all the stuff one does. But inside … ?

And then I listened to this recording as I made it into a podcast. And listened to it again.  And then again – this time with my sermon notes in front of me – the ones He had moved me away from after a couple of minutes.  And as I compared the recording to my notes – I saw and heard something amazing!  I had not lost the plot, gone off track, let God down … none of that!

He had simply moved me away from my notes so He could some neat editing. He had taken out some of the “me stuff” and added some the “Him stuff”. And it was “Him stuff” that made sense in that service – in that moment – with those gathered there. WOW!

I know the theory – I can say the words about “love is always the answer” – and I believe them.  I know them to be true.  But on Sunday evening He showed me what that really means.  He gave me “the practical”:

If you stand up in His name (and if you allow Him to speak), He WILL put words into your mouth.  He DID put words into my mouth (and take a lot away that I had intended to speak).  He finished on time.  He finished wonderfully.  Oh – and something else … He never stops loving (not even for a millisecond)!

So here it is – the beginning of another chapter, another story …

God Soft Hands Jesus very own podcast!

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(Just click here to open the podcast link)

Thank you.

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8 thoughts on “So just how did the story begin … ?

  1. Paul, you know I’m a very irregular commenter on Just me being curious, though I read your pearls a lot more often than I comment!
    I feel moved to write my thoughts about Sunday evening and your past two blogs.
    A lasting thank you for Sunday’s service. I said that I would like to talk at greater length with you about how what you were saying fitted in so much with our recent days in Romania. But there will be time for that later.
    I think the role of distributing bread and wine is one of the most amazing experiences, isn’t it – the real kernel of our faith: privilege beyond what we deserve; complete vulnerability; serving – never covered by all those words however carefully we try to prepare them. It’s hardly surprising that is often given as one of the compelling reasons why folk want to get ordained.
    Actually for that reason I really appreciated the sermon coming after communion. Perhaps it spiritually cleared the air or something which made your words (sorry, God’s words through you) all the more helpful.
    The truth is I started writing this when I had read up to the fourth paragraph of today’s blog. I was going to say perhaps you weren’t “losing the plot” but actually gaining it.
    Now I’ve read on and see I don’t need to say that – because he has already tapped you on the shoulder!
    You’re right, the doing is not what it’s all about. But if you are loved as much as we all are and if we try to love back then we do need to tend the sheep and that can involve us in some doing – as a means to an end.
    Certainly in Romania I found myself doing things that most certainly do not come naturally! Giving a testimony in a church meeting, praying in homes with some amazing people who are amongst the poorest in Romania and holding the hands of a man a bit older than me who lost many of his friends when he had to have both legs amputated a couple of years ago. Truth is, I didn’t DO any of that. It’s really not me. Dare it be that the only way God gets many things done is by working through us? Just a bit like doing the voice over of those amazing words “This is my blood shed, for you.” God bless you, brother.

    • Keith – WOW! and just for good measure: WWWWWOOOOOWWWW! 🙂

      Thank you!
      “You’re right, the doing is not what it’s all about. But if you are loved as much as we all are and if we try to love back then we do need to tend the sheep and that can involve us in some doing – as a means to an end.”

      I wonder why we go at it back-to-front so often: doing rather than loving. Because duty is a wearisome way of life. Love is not. Duty discharges, love recharges. Duty wearies, love cheeries (!!) And then love “does” through self-sustaining love – given and received – and enjoyed!!

      “Dare it be that the only way God gets many things done is by working through us?”

      The more I spend in His time and space, then more I see eleven. And that stops me as much as all the wonder of the universe and omniverse: E L E V E N ! ! !

      What sort of “membership” is that – what dynamic is that? What chance did that have of ever getting off the ground! Eleven!! Just eleven! WOW!

      (and now my brain is off to another omniverse! 🙂 )

      • I think we go at it back to front, because doing is a diversionary tactic, rather than the more costly loving. Loving gives more: doing can just be token.

        Eleven, or the round dozen is pretty good when you think about it. In business meetings have 3 or 4 and it’s all a bit exclusive; have 20+ and it’s unworkable and just naturally breaks up into smaller groups. Our team to Romania was 12 (admittedly including three toddlers, but they did their own ministry as well!) and God was so present in every breath we took.
        The sort of intimacy that there was on Sunday evening was, in part,that the number there was around ( well a bit over!) 12.
        Interesting stuff!

        • “Loving gives more: doing can just be token.”

          I was chatting last night: what makes the difference between a “Christian” and a “disciple” – and lots of words followed. But I am left with this confusion: if you do not wish to be a disciple, why gather each Sunday singing praise, affirming belief, offering worship – giving your life to the Lord … unless I am missing something important.

          Because that “gap in expectation” seems to drive an awful lot of habitual comfort and complacency – accepted and offered complacency. And I cannot find that as one of the commandments in the bible.

  2. Hello Paul, I love that I can hear the sermon on the podcast! It was almost like being there along with the photo of your lovely church. Firstly, your voice draws me in. Your voice is filled with animation as you describe and tell the scripture from John. Your passion for God is honest and is a “relationship not a religion.” 🙂 Unconditional love. What a blessing you are to your church and family. What a blessing to me and those who know you through WordPress. I have downloaded the podcast and am so happy to know I can listen again and again if I like. Oh, and I have to mention your ability to stay focused while the little ones are in the background! Right on!! Hugs…Brandon bear hugs, of course.

    • Dale and Brandon – what a wonderful addition – THANK YOU!! I am not sure of being a blessing – so thank you for that as well! And the podcasts – I mentioned that to Phil re adding others – reaching outside of the walls and doors – allowing others “to know I can listen again and again if I like.” We have a loving God who cannot but overflow with Love! ((hugs))

    • Great is Thy Faithfulness! One of my Dad’s two favourites hymns! And both of them I was allowed to include in the service (the other is To God Be the Glory) 🙂

      Thank you Cate ((hugs))

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