Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Have friends by being a friend!

The more sociable you are, the happier you are.  As you age, it gets more difficult to find friends and meet people on a regular basis than when we were children. Those who seek out friendships and rate this as important, also rate themselves as being happier. 

Individuals who isolate themselves fall more easily into depression and stress. Introverts need friends just as much as extroverts do, and friends can help take the edge off of loneliness and sadness. Even if you are not a natural extrovert, make a point of building friendships in order to contribute towards your mental health and happiness.

People who rely on others to lift themselves up tend to be less stressed and depressed. Having a close friend you can talk to about your problems can serve as an important aid in releasing negative feelings. Confiding in a friend tends to reverse feelings of loneliness, and most friends offer words of comfort which affects you in a positive way, knowing that someone cares. 

Being the one your friend asks for encouragement has positive benefits too, as it enforces the belief that you are needed and important. Having a happy friend heightens a person’s happiness, yet having a sad friend doesn’t affect you in equal proportions. This means that the benefits of friendship always outweigh the drawbacks. 

Everyone collectively gains benefits through friendship, no matter whether you or your friend start out happy or not.

Happiness is contagious. When you are around someone who is positive, life feels better. It doesn’t matter how stressed you might feel when you are alone; getting together with a good friend is therapeutic. 

Make a choice to spend the majority of your time with people who are committed to a positive outlook on life. Encourage friends who need encouragement, but spend most of your time with those who are uplifting to your emotions. You will find yourself feeling more and more that way as time goes on. 

Be the positive friend who encourages others as well. As the positive energy rubs off on you, so it should then rub off on those around you. Make a choice to encourage your friends, and to leave them feeling better than before they saw you.

The Bible says:  One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)


Friendships are important in regards to happiness. When you are a good friend who also chooses good friends, the benefits multiply. Choose friendship, and enrich your happiness in a great way.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Leadership and growth targets

Churches in Britain and the US are  looking to the concept of "leadership" to show the way to reverse decline.  This is demonstrated by the larger number of conferences and published research on how to grow churches John Lindell is the Lead Pastor of James River Church in Missouri is commenting on an upcoming church leadership conference. He say: "a church’s growth is dependent on the growth and effectiveness of its leadership.”

In a recent article in Christianity Today the leadership of the Anglican church were criticised for trying to lead" 


"The bishops Church of England bishops must stop acting as CEOs 'chasing growth targets' and return to being shepherds of their flocks, clergy are being told. The Church's increasingly 'organisational and bureaucratic' approach leaves clergy feeling 'guilty' if they don't meet growth targets, a priests' support group was told, as the CofE desperately tries to halt decades of decline."


Speaking to an audience at the charity Sons & Friends of the Clergy, Professor Martyn Percy, who also teaches in the theology faculty, said that bishops "need to stop being the CEO of an organisation that is chasing growth targets". 


But these comments are way wide of the mark.  Bishops are leaders, the word means supervisors, and it is encouraging to see them act as such. The church needs leaders to drive the church in the way that Jesus commanded.  Jesus set a growth target: in fact everyone everywhere is called to repentance (Acts 17.30) and Jesus tells us, the church, to disciple and baptise people. Then the success of this is reported over and over again by reporting conversion numbers (throughout Acts). The mission continues and setting growth targets then measuring success afterwards is, as I have just shown, the Jesus way as taught in the Bible. Thank God the leadership in the Church of England getting  in tune with what the Bible teaches.






Thursday, November 16, 2017

Greggs the bakers – advent of a silly sausage.

Back in 1222, St. Francis got permission from Pope Honorious III to set up a manger with hay and two live animals—an ox and an ass—in a cave in the Italian village of Grecio. He then invited the villagers to come gaze upon the scene while he preached about “the babe of Bethlehem.” Since that time Christians have regularly represented the scene of Jesus's birth. Jesus Christ's birth in a stable is an important part of Christian belief.

This week, Greggs the bakers issued a calendar which shows a nativity scene with three wise men gathered around a pastry, a sausage roll,  instead of Christ.  Christian Twitter users said the advert was disrespectful to their religion.

Greggs has apologised for the image, saying it hadn't planned to upset anyone.
"We're really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention," the firm said in a statement.
Christians will forgive and forget this offensive picture.  It is a pity that the developers of the Greggs calendar images could not see why it would cause offence. In fact the Nativity is so important the should never have considered replacing Jesus with anything.
It shows that you matter so much to God that he underwent a rescue mission to come get you. He came to Earth as a little baby so that one day he could die on a wooden cross for your sin. The Christmas story reveals your value. God loved you enough to send his very best — Jesus.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Remembrance day: remember the past, prepare for the future.



Today we remember. This video is a call to remember and a call to action. Remembrance day is both a day to remember the fallen in war and to give thanks to them and to God, thanks for their service and sacrifice.
But what do we do with the peace? King George VI Broadcast on 8th May 1945 a speech which hints at an answer and is a call to action: this is how he ended the speech:
"There is great comfort in the thought that the years of darkness and danger in which the children of our country have grown up are over and, please God, forever. We shall have failed and the blood of our dearest will have flowed in vain if the victory which they died to win does not lead to a lasting peace, founded on justice and good will.

To that, then, let us turn our thoughts to this day of just triumph and proud sorrow, and then take up our work again, resolved as a people to do nothing unworthy of those who died for us, and to make the world such a world as they would have desired for their children and for ours.

This is the task to which now honour binds us. In the hour of danger we humbly committed our cause into the hand of God and he has been our strength and shield. Let us thank him for his mercies and in this hour of victory commit ourselves and our new task to the guidance that same strong hand."

Saturday, November 4, 2017

How to be happy

Studies have shown that yes, having enough money to meet your needs and those of your family does bring happiness. People living in poverty are generally less happy than those whose needs are met. Being able to pay for your bills and having enough to get by financially will help you succeed in feeling happy.  Having more money than you need, however, will not bring you extra happiness. Money and happiness are not proportional. Someone with enough money to buy a large house and several cars will not necessarily have more happiness than another individual with exactly what they need. There is stress that goes along with having money. Whether you have a little or a lot, you likely know about this stress. There is the stress of knowing you need to spend what you have wisely, as well as the fact that people with ulterior motives are drawn to those who are financially wealthy.
Everyone has a life purpose. There is something about you that makes you a unique gift to the world. If you have not discovered this about yourself yet, your self-esteem will suffer, as will your happiness. There are many questionnaires and books dedicated to discovering your life purpose. Consider investing your time to learn more and find what makes you feel most fulfilled in life. Being happy is not a frivolous desire. It is important to know how you are wired and what it takes to be happy with yourself and your life. You will find this by finding your life's purpose.

But if you are a unique gift, question arises: who gives the gift?  The Bible says Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.  (James 1:17) Knowing this provides the rationale for this route to happiness, it  comes from God.  It is a happiness that lasts.   In fact, it can even grow stronger in adversity.  Happiness through Jesus is a contentment that fills the soul, even if the eyes are filled with tears.  True happiness is not based on success or failure, wealth or poverty, fame or obscurity.  As we journey with Jesus we will learn that living out our purpose in life brings happiness as a welcome effect.





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