FOMO & Wondering if God cares where you work.

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Maybe its the changing in the weather or just a time in our lives, but it seems everyone around us is upping sticks, moving abroad or changing careers. And if they haven't done so recently, they are thinking about it.

There seems to be something contagious about change. When you see those around you pursuing new horizons and trying to route out their course it breeds, and spreads through small groups of friends and communities like wildfire.

For some years now I have had the pleasure of spending quite of time around students going through university. Seeing them pick courses and electives for new semesters and ultimately graduating and heading out into the world of work is also really inspiring.

However whether it is friends changing careers, heading abroad or graduating and going out to seek a career for the first time - there seems to be a question that permeates through all of them - does is matter where I work? Not just - does it pay enough or will I be looked after, but does it matter to God?

One thing that the internet has done us is massively extended a disease known in the TwitterSphere as FOMO. The Fear of Missing Out. Now we have so much Haccess to all of the job possibilities out there. Linkedin and Twitter give us new unprecedented access to every job level and career option going. Recruitment agents are having a whale of time, sending inMails to everyone who remotely could match a job description, and in my industry I can certainly testify to 90% of these being way off base.

This change in how we approach our careers choices seems to be helping perpetuate this FOMO way of living. Should I switch roles, companies? Should I move for more money or happiness? What should I do to feel fulfilled? And what does being fulfilled even mean? Will God be happy with my choice or should I do something more "kingdom focused"?

In Corinthians 3 we read:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:17, 23 NIV)

Don't miss the emphasis here - Paul says that in whatever you do do it in the name of Jesus.

We as Christians - scratch that - as humans, have a really bad habit of trying to put things in boxes. We love to categorise and organise. We have been doing it since the time of the temple, when we built places to contain the glory of God and appointed people as Priests to mediate that glory to the people. In doing so we today invoke thousands of years of history thinking that some jobs are somehow more holy that others, or more worthy than others.

Pastor. Missionary. Charity Worker. Full Time Christian Whatever.

There is no such thing as full time Christian service. We are ALL full time. We are all Christians. We all SERVE. This is our calling friends. This is what we are here to do. In whatever we do - bring glory to him. The only ones who should be suffering from the blight of FOMO is those who haven't yet met him - not us.

I am not saying here that it is not important to think things through. To pray for God to guide the big choices in life, or that in certain circumstances. However to do any of this effectively we must first understand that we are all called to play our part in this - whether we spend our days pushing prams, preaching from pulpits or punching prices.

I was recently researching for a sermon I was writing on this topic and came across this story about St Augustine - who when asked about how to discern God's will for our lives he answered;

Love God, and do as you please.

This friends, is good news. Let's get on with it. Whatever.

Church, Twitter & Trinity [Audio & Slides]

A couple of weeks ago now I had a great opporunity to share some of my recent thinking on social media for the church - how it affects our attention, our understanding of truth and of relationships - with the wonderful people at All Saints Church, Peckham Below is the audio and slides of that night! Enjoy.

James Poulter @All Saints Peckham - Sociality by jamespoulter

Sociality ASPeckham 220511

400 Years: The King James Bible - Still going strong! (Infographic)

It may not be your Bible of choice, but the King James Version has been around the block a few times, and despite the lack of red letter sections, bibliographies or an intensive concordance, it has stood the test of time - 400 years to be precise. To mark the occasion YouVersion, makers of the world's number one Bible app, is challenging people across the globe to simultaneously read the Bible in 400 seconds to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

Participants have just 6 minutes, 40 seconds (or 400 minutes) to play their part in history and read one of the most influential and widely read books in human history. Anyone who signs up for the challenge will be instructed to read a small section of the Bible at 5pm on May 2nd, 400 years since the Church of England published the King James Version of the Bible.

To register for the event, participants will need to visit http://youversion.com/kjv400 sign up, and they'll see the scripture they've been allocated to read on the site. They have also put together this very cool infographic - which I share for your statistic addiction pleasure!

Disclaimer: YouVersion is a client of Lexis PR - for whom I work - however as a Christian and avid personal fan of the App I share this with you!

Holy Saturday: Why I love hindsight

From the darkness comes a light, I hear your voice and this is my awakening

Today is Holy Saturday, the quietest, maybe saddest day of the year. Well 2000 years ago, on that day of mourning and silence it was. Filled with nothing but the emptiness of a missing Saviour.

The disciples and much of Jerusalem had been expecting Jesus to come in - the triumphant king who was going to overthrow the rule of the Roman's. Instead they had his tattered clothes, pieces of wood drenched in tissue, blood and sinew and a cold hard tomb.

Today when we think of Holy Saturday I think we lose the impact of just how it must have felt for those who had been following Jesus around for 3 years, listening to him teach.

Today we have the beautiful viewpoint of hindsight, the ability to see past the emptiness of Holy Saturday to the glorious and triumphant return of the King on Easter Sunday.

We live in the light of The Empty Tomb.

Hindsight often get's a bad wrap, so often we talk about situations that went horribly wrong, we use words like "if only we had known then that..." - but today - well I'm glad that we know that both the Cross and the Tomb are empty.

Finding Space

I write this from the place I do most of my writing, the Starbucks on Baker Street (up by the station), just a few blocks away from church (St Marys). I usually would be sat here with Holly but in her own words "ditched me" to escort her mum and god daughter home. It was that phrase - ditched, that got me thinking. To Holly and to many others the idea of giving someone two hours to do nothing in particular can be a negative, but not for me. I think we could all do with ditching ourselves once in a while, partiulaly if you are like me a coffee junkie city type with a schedule that has a mind of it's own. It's somethig that I have been thinking about for a while, the fact that we have gradually let a subtle form of consumerism creep into our lives that makes us feel that if we don't allot a task to a empty spot of time that somehow, we are not living life to it's fullness.

Maybe we aren't individually to blame for this, in fact I am not sure that blame lies at anyone's doorstep, but collectively many of us seem to have duped ourselves into a busyness that consumes so much of our time that we rarely get a moment to realise just how busy we have become.

Workplaces, family life and sadly the church has not helped in this. The 9-5 is a myth, extra curricular activities for many occupy more time than the curricular, and we in the church have got our meetings down to a fine art, so much so that it just seems wrong not to cram ever evening of a week with another one.

We seem to as a society become so good and developing, editing, polishing and delivering content that we have lost sight of the reason we developed it in the first place - that reason, I think, is connection.

We saught to create courses, classes and creativity thinking that by giving people something to do, connection and community would just burst out, but somehow there is still so much disconnection, isolation and busyness. Maybe our content got in the way of that connection ever forming in the first place?

So what can we do? How do we get back to a place where we can connect at a truely human level? Well I think it's by opening up some space, in our spirits and in our diaries to just... be. Because how will we ever hear the footsteps of God walking with us if the sound of our own thundering to the next meeting drown his out?

So may you next time you get ditched, dumped or deserted, allow yourself, give yourself permission, to have some space, to reconnect with the one whose diary is always free for a chat, and who set the rhythms of the universe in motion.

Inspiring leadership

Thought you may like this quote I came across today on leadership from JackWelch the former CEO of General Electric- He said that there are times that come when a leader

"cannot be this thoughtful, in-the-corner guru. You cabot be a moderate, balanced, thoughtful, careful articulator of policy. You've got to be on the lunatic fringe."

We all know that sometimes there comes a point when things have been processed into oblivion and you as a leader have to take charge and make the tough decisions. Decisions which affect the lives of those around us and the futures of those we lead.

The past two weeks at the church I attend here in London we have been exploring this theme of leadership through the eyes of the apostle Paul as he handed over leadership of his early church to Timothy - you can hear the sermons here.

As John (our church leader) so helpfully explained, the mantle of leadership is on a constant cycle of passing on the younger generations, the men and women who will lead the church/office/country in years to come. I find myself in such a position now, as I seek to train and lead in some capacity a team in the work environment, and also find new places to lead and explore in a church context.

On the work front as I seek to train a team of highly credible and swithed on individuals, I begin to feel pangs of what I like to call the Moses syndrome- the symptoms of which are highly unpleasant, however they manifest themselves differently in all of us. You may know it yourself, that feeling that you are called and chosen for a task, but in many ways feel wholly inadequate to take it on.

When Moses found himself upon mount sinai and heard God himself tell him that he would lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, i think two things were happening in his head. Firstly he felt crushed with the weight of the task ahead, and secondly he was being confronted with a calling from God, an undeniable calling.

This is difficult to comprehend, as we read in Genesis Moses wrestled mentally and spiritually to get his ear in the place where he could walk into the courts of the Pharoah and command him to let his people go. However any leader who has ever felt that call to lead will at some point or another feel that pang of moses syndrome, as they face what seems to be their own mount Sinai moment.

The crunch of all this (as John so helpfully illustrated last night) is that we who are called as leaders should be able to stand with out heads held high when we acknowledge our gift and call to leadership. We do not need to apologise for this, and it is in no way un-Christian or boasting. Because the point is our leadership (or perhaps the best kind of leadership) is to SERVE. It is only in servanthood that our leadership life can truly thrive and grow.

So whether you are leading a team in the workplace, the church, the factory, the home or the hospital, seek to serve those whom you lead. No one likes to be led, but we love to be served.