God Will Never Leave You and Here is Why

God Will Never Leave You and Here is Why

Many people fear that God will leave them, but you have a very good reason why this will not happen. God has a reputation to uphold. A reputation of perfect love.

Deep, deep down, I think one of my greatest fears is that of abandonment. That I will be kicked out of the tribe, the family, the grouping, I will be alone.

Like a leper cast out of the town, I will be on the outside whilst everyone else is enjoying community on the inside. The party is going on, but the door is shut and bolted to entry.

Dig into the deep longings of your heart, and I think you will find a similar fear. We were created to enjoy a party going on, not the sterility of an isolation ward. Continue reading “God Will Never Leave You and Here is Why”

The Evolution of Empowered Boundaries

The Evolution of Empowered Boundaries

It can be so debilitating to be told ‘you need to have boundaries,’ but as you grow the heart, a new empowered strength slowly builds within.

‘You really need to have boundaries’

How many times have you heard this said or even said it yourself?

I always feel a little cringe when I hear these words. There is just something about it that sounds legalistic, mechanical, rules bound, and policy-driven.

Nothing of the heart or any internal depth to it.

This is why I prefer ‘Lines of love of respect.’ It seems to connect better to something that is of heart value. Something that is evolving.

It also sounds condemning. Continue reading “The Evolution of Empowered Boundaries”

Self Compassion for a ‘Wretch like me’

self-compassion-for-a-wretch-like-me -mental-health-depression

Been sold the lie that you’re a wretch? Self-compassion absorbs the failures and forgives the self. It says you’re doing ok and that you’re loved.

I have probably sung into my soul ‘a wretch like me’ over a hundred times. The hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ is the most well-known hymn we have.

The writer, slave trading captain John Newton, believed he was a wretch.

In a recent conversation with a young man about a decision that he felt might disappoint some people, he asked  ‘Does this make me a bad person’?

I visited her in the psych unit where she wore a tee shirt bolding declaring ‘Stay away. I’m a bitch.’ Continue reading “Self Compassion for a ‘Wretch like me’”

3 Ingredients of a Safe Church for your Mental Health

Three Mental Health Mind Shifts Needed for a Safe Church

‘Am I doing ok?’ was the question I was most frequently asked when I was a pastor/chaplain. ‘Is this Church safe’ was another. Keeping pace were other limping souls …

  • ‘Am I welcome here’
  • ‘Does God really love me?’
  • ‘I can’t seem to get it right’
  • ‘… keeps telling me that I need to do … if I am going to be ok and be part of this church’
  • ‘I keep going back to my addiction, I feel so guilty, God is angry’

At this point nice gentle Pastor Barry feels like getting a whip, going to certain churches and people, overturning pews, casting out tithing bags and shouting…

‘Stop laying heavy burdens on broken backs’

Continue reading “3 Ingredients of a Safe Church for your Mental Health”

When God has left the building, turning up the volume won’t help: Toxic Faith pt. 5

When God has left the building, turning up the volume won’t help

When God has left the building, turning up the volume won’t help.

At the school where I grow vegetables, it can be very noisy.

I have a group of children that love to help and to get my attention they will often speak louder, and wave hands like windmills.

It can all be a bit overwhelming.

The other day the noise was particularly loud. I happened to look to my left and here was this young boy quietly getting on and picking up some old leaves that we had discarded.

Quietly without anyone noticing he did the work.

We think that if we do more we will get more.

If we turn up the volume, literally and figuratively, God’s ears will be pleased. Continue reading “When God has left the building, turning up the volume won’t help: Toxic Faith pt. 5”

To Heal You Just Need to ‘Forget What Lies Behind’: Toxic Faith pt. 4

To Heal You Just Need to 'Forget What Lies Behind'

Life has a tragic way of repeating itself. It seems at times that we just go round an endless loop of repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Then someone says ‘forget what lies behind.’

One of my favorite classic movies is Groundhog day with a very young Bill Murray.

Weatherman Phil Connors is sent to cover the first day of spring in a small town called  Punxsutawney.  At night he goes to bed and then wakes to the alarm going off at 6 am.

It’s not 6 am the next day, but weirdly 6 am of the same day. He gets the opportunity to live the same day over and over and over again until he gets it right.  Continue reading “To Heal You Just Need to ‘Forget What Lies Behind’: Toxic Faith pt. 4”

The Danger of Turning a Sinner into a ‘Saviour’: Toxic Faith Pt. 3

THE DANGER OF TURNING A SINNER INTO A ‘SAVIOUR’: TOXIC FAITH PT. 3

It’s always dangerous when we subconsciously create a ‘saviour’ out of a sinner. If you stand too close to the pedestal, of a venerated statue, you’ll get damaged by the cracks.

I always cringed when someone would call me ‘Pastor Barry’. If possible I would always ask them to never do this again. I would say ‘My name is Barry, and part of who I am, is I am a pastor’.

I don’t want to be considered as more special, pastoral or have a certain status than anyone else. We are all priests. Sure I may specific gifts and training that helped me to pastor, but in the end, Christ won’t welcome ‘Pastor Barry’ home, instead, it will simply be ‘Welcome Barry, good and faithful servant’.

I also know that this small step of veneration is a little step towards a slippery slope of them making me into a sub-conscious ‘saviour’. It can also fuel pride in myself, and who needs that.

We see it politics, sports, entertainment, business and the church. The extolling of someone to the heights of a type of worship.

It’s kind of like a teenage crush.

Continue reading “The Danger of Turning a Sinner into a ‘Saviour’: Toxic Faith Pt. 3”

Just waiting for an ‘Anointing’ to wash my problems away: Toxic Faith pt 2

Just waiting for an 'Anointing' to wash my problems away

We are all like druggies, wanting that quick fix to kill the pain.

Be it a drug, some porn, a sale, a comfort food, an altar call, a dose of the ghost (Holy Spirit), or a faith formula to get what we want. Anything, just anything to avoid going deep, facing our sinfulness, repenting and making the change.

Maybe they had seen too many telly Evangelists. They told me they had been to multiple healing services and now they had come to me and wanted me to ‘pray the demons out of them’. When I said that I would like to know more about them, they stormed out of the room and asked the passing caretaker to pray for them. He looked kind of shocked and puzzled. Continue reading “Just waiting for an ‘Anointing’ to wash my problems away: Toxic Faith pt 2”