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Review: Ready or Not 31st March, 2018

Posted by Scotty in Life.
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61ZJaCwz1cLLet me start by saying that if you’re a twenty-something, I highly recommend this book!! (Though, as is often the case with a book like this, the true value of the book is in its exercises)

I’m always on the look out for books that aid people in their discipleship. Having spent the majority of my ministry years investing in Young Adults, I get particularly excited about resources that help those in their twentysomethings make sense of life, which is why I was excited to get my hands on Ready or Not: Leaning into Life in Our Twenties by Drew Moser & Jess Fankhauser. (You can find Drew & Jess over at: understandyourcalling.com/)

The book addresses the question, “What are my twenties for anyway?” and guides you in examining your life for indications of where God has been and work and what that reveals about your future.

Ready or Not is a beautifully practical book that takes a comprehensive look at vocation in its many dimensions. It’s nine chapters are: Vocation, God & Us, Past & Present, Dimensions & Rhythms, Spirituality, Work, Family, Church, Community. Each chapter ends with exercises and discussion questions to help engage the content of the chapter. The exercises call you to examine and reflect on each arena of life digging in to the ways God has been at work preparing you for your unique work.

One of the gifts of the book is that the exercises have a wider relevance that twentysomethings. Due to the focus on vocation these exercises will benefit people in all stages of life! I reckon this is a book that a person could return to every four to five years for reevaluation and deeper reflection on God’s work.

The exercises cover a range of topics, and you’ll get out of them what you put in. To give a further picture of the breadth of the content covered, some of the exercises tackle:

  • Conducting an audit of how you spend your time.
  • Reflecting on a selection of names and attributes of God
  • Taking (suggested) personality tests, taking time to reflect on and integrate the results, with an eye to what they reveal about your calling
  • Evaluating current spiritual practices, and creating a plan for healthy spiritual rhythms.
  • Examining our current job/role, its fit and our attitude toward our work.
  • Creating an expanded family tree—they encourage us to consider “family” as wider than just blood!—and considering our contribution to our “family”
  • Reflecting on your church involvement, spiritual heritage, and church preferences.
  • Researching the rhythms and needs of your community.

Though a simple read through the book would be beneficial, the true value of a book like this is in doing the exercises. I firmly believe that taking the time to prayerfully engage the exercises and discuss your findings will be a transformational experience.

I’m glad to have a resource like this available.

I’ll end with a quotes from each chapter that resonated with me (to give insight into the content of the chapters):

Chapter 1: Vocation 
“The richness of vocation is that it requires hearts and lives attuned and responsive to God in all dimensions of life” (8).

Chapter 2: God & Us
“If the things you do are normative to you but distinctive to others, pay attention. You’re getting a glimpse of who God created you to be (30).

Chapter 3: Past & Present
“An intentional, guided reflection of your past should help inform, clarify, and refine your calling” (47).

Chapter 4: Dimensions & Rhythms
“Rhythms can imprison you through mindless repetition. They can become ruts in your heart, mind, body, and soul. But when done well, rhythms can also nourish you” (71).

Chapter 5: Spirituality
“Contemplation is a radically simple yet perpetually elusive spiritual practice. It is the practice of focusing one’s life on God in the here and now” (86).

Chapter 6: Work
“Go where you’re sent, stay where you’re put, give what you’ve got, do so until you’re done” (111, building on Jill Briscoe).

Chapter 7: Family
“Your twenties are a time when you can draw a wider circle of family, when you have expectations but hold them loosely, knowing that families form and grow in many wonderful ways” (139).

Chapter 8: Church
“Church is more properly experienced through the lens of investment, not consumption” (153).

Chapter 9: Community
“Being a neighbor is something entirely different from merely having neighbors. Being a neighbor requires action, responsibility, care” (181).

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Review: A Journey to Victorious Praying 4th August, 2017

Posted by Scotty in Life.
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41Xh8id9hRLI have come to hold certain expectation of books by Moody Publishers: They consistently cling to Scripture, walk systematically through a topic without scrimping on the foundational truths, and are scattered with practical challenges.   A Journey to Victorious Praying: Finding Discipline and Delight in Your Prayer Life lives up to those expectations.

With elegant simplicity Bill Thrasher walks through a number of issues central to the topic of prayer. He lays a solid biblical foundation, while sensitively addressing some more challenging topics like issues that hinder our prayers, or why God doesn’t answer prayer. I am particularly appreciative of his understanding of the role of weakness in prayer.

The book consists of 30 short chapters—which could easily be used as a 1-month, a-chapter-a-day devotional tool. The chapters are split into nine sections:

Section One: The Help of Your Weakness
Section Two: The Help of the Holy Spirit
Section Three: The Help of Companionship
Section Four: The Help of Scripture
Section Five: The Discipline of Prayer
Section Six: The Importance of Prayer
Section Seven: The Help of Fasting
Section Eight: The Waiting of Prayer
Section Nine: The Power of Praise

This book would be a great starting point for exploring the topic of prayer.

Below are a few of my favourite quotes:

When concentrated times of Bible study and Bible teaching such as seminary education are not done in a spirit of prayer, it can be very dangerous spiritually. One can get so used to talking about God that he neglects the habit of talking to God” (p92).

Most of our lives are overextended, and we fail to grasp that if our service does not flow from an abiding relationship with Christ, it is the fruit of our flesh and not the Spirit” (p114).

Many of us continue to make the mistake of trying to compensate for our lack of communion with God with increased social and spiritual activity” (p131)

It is God’s Word that explains to us how to be open, dependent, and responsive to God’s Spirit. Although there is a subjective side of the Christian life, without God’s Word one loses an objective standard. God’s Word is the fuel that keeps the fire of prayer and worship burning in the soul of the person yielded to the Lord” (p226).

New Journal Time! 26th December, 2016

Posted by Scotty in Life.
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I love this feeling. The journal I just finished contains entries from Dec 7th 2013–Dec 26th 2016. This new one starts today and should last till 2020!


Previous Journal: Life Arts ENYA 

New Journal: Earthworks A5 Triquetra

House Hunting in Birmingham 20th August, 2013

Posted by Scotty in Life.
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Forgive me for the serious lack of blogging over the past months.  It’s been a very busy time between the reading and assignments for my degree, the fundraising, and preparing to move.  Now that things are settling again, I’m looking forward to diving back into the blogging world to share all the things God’s been showing me.

We live in Birmingham (England)!?!?!

On Thursday 8th we loaded up a van.
On Friday 9th I drove it to Birmingham (5hrs), unloaded it, and drove back to Glasgow to spend our last night there.
On Saturday 10th we cleaned the flat and moved out.
We spent a couple of days with my parents, then
On Tuesday 13th, we moved to Birmingham!

Today is a week since we arrived in Brum.  We are staying with a wonderful couple, Tom & Judi, who offered to house us while we search for a place of our own.  They have been outstanding hosts!

We’ve spent the week recovering from the move, viewing houses, meeting our team, and familiarising ourselves with our new stomping ground.  We have a BBQ tomorrow evening where we’ll meet the rest of the people who serve the Birmingham area with The Navigators, and then this coming weekend is a conference where we’ll meet the rest of the staff from around the UK.

We have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks as we continue to house hunt, fundraise, plan curriculum for the coming year, spent time with the team, as well as familiarising ourselves with the area.

We’d appreciate your prayers as we look for a house.  At the moment we have to choose between space and location.  We’re asking God to make a place available that has both!

We’re excited to be here, and ready to be put to use.

We are exactly where He wants us and excited to share the things He’s been teaching us.

arial-campus(Aerial picture of the University of Birmingham Campus)

 

We’re moving to Birmingham!!!! 6th June, 2013

Posted by Scotty in Calling, Life, Ministry, Travel.
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ukmap_birminghamWe’re moving to Birmingham!!!

I’ve not blogged in AGES, but that’s because there have been A LOT of significant things happening in the background. Here’s the brief update and we’ll give you more information later:

Firstly, we’ve just finished a major transition and have joined the ranks of The Navigators. They are an organisation I’ve respected for a number of years, and have always had an interest in being more involved. I am excited to move into an environment that is all about discipleship. We’ve already been having some great conversations with other workers within the organisation, and I just love rubbing shoulders with other people who are as passionate as us about this foundational aspect of the Christian Journey.

Secondly, we’re moving to Birmingham (England, not Alabama!!). When we first started talking with Navigators in December, they asked if we’d be willing to move to Birmingham. Initially, we were very reluctant, but as we prayed and our conversations continued, God confirmed to them and to us that this is what He wants. And so it’s looking like we’ll move down there at the beginning of August to dive in to the work they are doing in the city.  Birmingham puts us in close proximity to leadership team, central for a lot of their training, with easy access to a number of key ministries around the UK. This is even more helpful because…

Thirdly, I have begun doctoral studies in Discipleship. After looking at a very specific discipleship-focused degree for the last couple of years, I have finally embarked on that journey. As you know, I love to read and think and write about discipleship, and want to work out ways to assist the Church to become more effective at making disciples. As part of my new role with Navigators, I have been asked to undertake some large research and writing projects…. Which will end up being the body of my doctoral thesis. The doctorate fits beautifully alongside our new roles and will give some added structure to the projects I’ll be working on for Navigators. Not to mention the ways it’s already sparked thoughts for a thousand other blogs on discipleship!

Since chemo God has been refining me, cleansing my heart, honing our calling and bringing more focus to our lives and ministry. It’s always rewarding to see God brings things together and we’re looking forward to seeing what He does in this next season!

I’ll post more soon, so watch this space!

Merry Christmas!!! 25th December, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Life.
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Nativity Scene by dashinvaine

This is just a quick note to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

We’re spending Christmas with the family on the West Coast of the States and will be back blogging soon!!!

20121225-073218.jpg

BIRTH: Ella Joy Burns 17th August, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Life.
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Allow me to introduce you to the newest addition to our family, Ella Joy… born August 16th @ 7.35pm (8lb 0oz).

She sure kept us waiting. Contractions began at 1am Wednesday and she didn’t come till 7.35pm Thursday. Mon is a trooper!

Thanks for all your prayers.

Whether cancer, labour, or something else… God will bring JOY out of your suffering.

Due Date: THIS SUNDAY!! 10th August, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Baby, Blessings, Family, Life, Married Life.
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It’s hard to believe that 9 months has passed! The baby’s due date is this Sunday (12th August). I love how amazing my wife looks…

No idea when baby Ella will come… but any day now!

Perspective Change Comic 11th February, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Life.
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A perspective change always helps.  Especially when it comes to dealing with hardship.  This comic says volumes… I just wish I knew who made it so I could give them credit for their work.

On the Up: Day 50-51 13th January, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Cancer, Life.
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Today was my PENULTIMATE injection!  What a wonderful feeling to sit at the hospital knowing that at that time next week, I’d be waiting on my final piece of chemo.  (Monica just walked in and said “What’s that grin about?”  My answer… “I just realised that this time next week I’ll be DONE with my chemo!)

As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, it makes such a difference when the steroids are done.  I feel soooo much better today.  Usually, too, after getting the injection I have the mild flu-like symptoms for the evening, but today I seem to have gotten away without them.

It definitely feels like I’m “on the up”.  The team came over for breakfast this morning and I didn’t have to sleep to recover!  The antibiotics have finished and the cold I had is gone… so no coughing and sneezing and runny/blocked nose.  I’ve still had a bit of the acid reflux preventing me from sleeping properly but I’m fully expecting that to settle in the next day or so.  And already, just a couple of days away from the steroids my bloated pot belly is starting to feel less like a pregnant woman’s stomach.

I can’t believe it.  This time next week, I’ll be done.  They showed me my tumour marker levels today… all back to wonderful numbers.  Now I just have to wait on the date of my February scan.  The key nurse commented today on how well I’m doing.

“Usually at this point men are exhausted and struggling.  How well you are doing is clearly a reflection of your perspective and your outlook on life.”

Once again GOD WINS!

Looking forward to updating you over the next couple of days.

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