Thursday, November 09, 2006

To Lead is to Serve

So, there are big changes in the American government, with the Democrats now taking the lead in the House of Representatives and possibly also the Senate. Suddenly a Republican President is going to have to work together with others of a different political perspective. But isn't that a good thing? Doesn't it make sense that politics should include a wide spectrum of opinion and the checks and balances of having to share power?

I am increasingly convinced that effective leadership must include the ability to carry along with you those who disagree with you. The kind of autocracy where the leader does just whatever he or she thinks is right and expects others to toe the line is surely out of place in Christian leadership anyway. It simply cannot be right to ride roughshod over others opinions and refuse to listen to the warnings of people we should respect, even if we disagree with them.

There is a lot of talk about the place of authority in the New Testament church, but it should not be overstated. Apostles started churches in some cases, then left them to get on with it pretty much straight away, with an occasional visit or letter, if at all. Elders were always in the plural so that nobody was allowed to be a petty dictator, and were required to show character rather than gifting during the selection process. Deacons were real servants, whose hearts were moved by the needs of the people whom they served. In all this, the real example is Jesus, who laid aside all his reputation and glory to become a servant and washed his disciples' feet.

Maybe those who claim that President Bush is now a 'lame duck president' should consider that possibly his best decisions lie ahead.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

New House New Start

It has been a hectic few weeks. As well as me being in hospital four times in six weeks, we have also moved house! They say that moving home is very high on the stress factors list and I think 'they' are right! Anyhow, at last we are in and enjoying living in this bijou little converted barn type cottage on the west coast of Guernsey.

One of the 'Welcome to your new home' cards we received said that 'a new home equals a new start'. Amen to that. It will be really good to begin this next phase of our lives over again without cholangitis, pancreatitis and any other kind of 'itis.

Part of the joy of the new start is that it is right at the heart of God's plan for us. 'If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come' (2 Cor. 5:17). God is in the business of renewal and making a new start. I need that for medical and physical reasons at the moment, but I have also experienced it in the past for emotional and spiritual purposes. It seems important to realise that our best days lie ahead of us. Making a new start means letting go of what might be safe and known, but is holding us back from all the very best.

We had lived in our last home for ten years, and it was hard to let it go. Now that we are settling in here it just all makes sense. This is the next step in our journey. The last one was good, but this one is for now. The next one is in God's hands and we will trust Him for that. Till then, it's just good to be home.