Ti-Yong: Blog or Book?

When China began copying alternative models for industrialisation in the 19th Century, they adopted a policy of ‘Ti-Yong’. Which means ’Essence’ and ’Form’. They intended to keep the Chinese Essence – their identity and character. But change their Form to match the approach to development used by the foreign countries.

In the same way, I think my blog is going to undergo a Ti-Yong transformation.

I have really enjoyed blogging these last couple of months! (Like a lot!) It’s been helpful way to reflect on my week in the Sunday Summaries. To consolidate my Personal Bible Studies with the Monday, Wednesday and Friday posts. As well as regurgitate the various tips, tricks and hints I’ve learnt that week about productivity and motivation etc.

However

As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m also writing a book at the moment. I finished my first draft back in July and gave it to a friend to read over and feedback.

In that time since, I’ve taken up blogging to fill the writing void. It’s been so encouraging.

When you work on a book, it’s very private, there is no immediate feedback and there are few (if any) people who encourage you along the way. With blogs you can change topic to match whatever you feel like writing about that day/week, whereas a book involves sticking with the same theme for a long time. Plus, you can’t make money (albeit pennies) with every chapter, like you can with blog posts.

So thank you to everyone who has read, commented, liked, any post I’ve written. I have been so encouraged!

I got the feedback, on my first draft a few weeks ago and have since really struggled to make much progress with the editing/re-draft because my morning slot for writing is filled with blogging.

So I’ve done a pros and cons…and here’s my decision:

My decision,

I will continue to blog, however, I will no longer be aiming for daily posting.

Since I’ve benefitted from the Sunday summaries, I’m going to keep doing that. I hope you will want to stick around at least for the weekly catch ups.

I’ve also decided that my Bible Study posts are going to change. Instead I’m going to post a picture of my final draft notes. See tomorrow’s post. Which means, I’m going back to Genesis 1:1-2-3. Hopefully, this model will be more sustainable in the long term.

I regards to Tuesday Tools and Thursday thoughts…I think this will be more sporadic and low priority.

Finally I will continue to post notes on Systematic Theology.

In short…

The blog will remain active. But the style of several of the posts will change. I hope you will still be interested to read and visit, follow my story etc.

But I have decided I will focus my writing attention on the book as a priority.

I’d appreciate your prayers. Editing has turned out to be way more challenging than writing, and I have so much to work through. Please pray that I can think clearly, write brilliantly and persevere in the hidden/secret place.

Best wishes, Paul

Nuanced Initiative

Earlier this week I shared a post about the importance of taking initiative. I would recommend reading it, here. However, over the last couple of days I’ve been thinking a little more about initiative and I wanted to add this nuanced post-script.

Talking about taking the initiative is very empowering, it’s very popular and “go-getter” speech. But there are a few important caveats that we need to remember.

1) Initiative doesn’t negate listening to God

The Bible is filled with stories and characters who were so keen to “take the initiative” that they ignored the process of listening to God. We see the downfall of King Saul begin this way, so keen to take the initiative that he refused to wait for Samuel. We see the Israelites, led by Joshua making a hasty alliance with the Gibeonites without enquiring of the LORD. Even one of Jesus’ disciples took the initiative to “defend” Jesus against the Roman soldiers by slicing off an ear! Not a good idea.

Yes, let us take the initiative, especially in areas where God has led us to move. But let us be quicker to listen to God before we act.

2) Initiative doesn’t mean automatic (immediate) success

Just because we act, because we move first, or we move boldly forward, does not mean that we will be successful. (Even if we’ve enquired of God!) This isn’t talked about much, but is so important.

Remember Stephen, who preached the gospel, who did all the right things and was still stoned? Remember Joseph who took initiative to flee from Potipher’s wife – and who was still falsely accused? Remember the early Church, scattered and persecuted? Remember our Lord Jesus, who was without sin, who was crucified?

No, obedience to God, and initiative doesn’t always magically produce “success” (at least how we might define it). In our obedience and initiative, we must take the attitude of the three faithful men who said:

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it…BUT EVEN IF HE DOES NOT, we want you to know…that we will not bow to the image of gold” [Daniel 3:17-18]

3) Initiative taking in one area, doesn’t mean you can relent in other areas

We all have strengths and weaknesses. It will be easy for us to take initiative in some areas of life, more so than in others. Just because we’ve taken the initiative in exercise, doesn’t mean we don’t have to care about our relationships etc.

Final Thought

I’ll come into land with this thought: God encourages initiative. This is why He selected 12 disciples to lead the Church movement forward. This is why repeatedly throughout scripture God is trusting men and women to co-labour with Him, to be His hands and feet, to represent Him in the world.

Early resolutions for my time with The Navigators

1st of September 2016….I start my new job today!!

navs

So I thought it would be really good to think about and lay out some resolutions. One of the preachers that I give a lot of ear-time to is John Piper, partly because I find myself so stretched by his sermons in my walk with God (not just intellectually!) and also because I see in his ministry such amazing points of grace. (e.g His willingness to release his books for free on pdf, just communicates a heart for building people up). Anyway, one of his talks has been so helpful for me, especially in terms of “working out” my faith.

He talks about the connection  between our resolves (our good intentions, aspirations, goals, targets) which we set ourselves and God’s glory. Because of this talk, and also probably because of the wiring of my personality, I am a BIG BIG fan of resolutions. I am learning a lot recently about how we live out these resolutions (not in our own strength but God’s, motivated by the Graces we have received from God, following and imitating Christ).

My first resolution is that I want to Walk with God (Gen 5.24)

  • Praying – talking to God, making space to literraly walk with God, round the block or a park, to share my heart with Him and to hear His heart.
  • Devotional life – continue with BRT, but also being flexible as to where God is leading me in this.
  • Journaling – one of my favorite ways to record what God has done, and how I am relating to Him.
  • Seeing God’s hand in the everyday – I see this working out through taking time to reflect each evening (or at least as many as I can), to ask where was God in today, what is He teaching me.
  • Church – to recognize God has put me within communities of believers and wishes to grow and use me within this context. I want to play an active role in my Church community.

My Second resolution is that I want to make the most of every opportunity (Eph 5.16)

  • To bless/serve – flowing out of my recent studies of Abraham and his commission to bless other people
  • To learn – I have an amazing opportunity to grow in my understanding of God through the theological training I will receive, but I also want to work this out through reading as much as I can, listening to sermons.
  • To trust – as of today I am at 50% of what I need to raise financially, and whilst this will get me through at least to beginning of November I also recognize I have a great tendency to worry about these things. I need to pray that I will see this as an opportunity to turn to and rest in Him rather than finances.
  • To proclaim – Particularly to the lost, I want to practice how I approach strangers to share the good news, as well as friends. I want to see God’s power working through me as I proclaim, something I feel I have not taken much advantage of before. I want to practice proclaiming through writing, preaching and ordinary conversations.
  • To love unconditionally – not showing favoritism to people who are attractive, cleverer, popular, more similar to me, but showing God’s love as freely as He has shown it to me.

My third is that I want to use this opportunity to build really healthy habits into my life:

  • Relationally – be willing to meet new people and practicing hospitality
  • Physically – exercising regularly, eating well, healthy sleeping patterns
  • Honoring God in my work by turning to Him for regular resting, and doing everything as unto Him.

God I admit my absolute inability to live out this resolutions without Your Power, please enable me. May my life, and my work, reflect more and more of Your glory through these resolutions. I also surrender these to You and ask You to have your way and take any away that do not fit Your plan for me. Amen