Does That Suit You?

A friend of mine was concerned.

He was asked to facilitate a session standing in for someone else. My friend’s concern was how to facilitate the session in the typical way that the absent facilitator would do it. The concern was understandable, after all, my friend didn’t want to upset a routine that people got accustomed to and he certainly didn’t want to draw attention to himself by veering off script.

However, as we conversed, it became clear that the worst thing he could do would be to facilitate it just like the other guy. It just wouldn’t suit him at all. Thankfully, as it transpired, my friend was able to be both considerate to the needs of those attending the session and still be himself in his delivery.

Despite his best intentions to just go unnoticed in carrying out the task and not draw attention to himself, his confidence, competence and comfort in delivering in a way that suited him left a great impression on those who took part. Such was the positive response that the original facilitator invited him to take more sessions.

There are a lot of outstanding things that people are doing in their own way and because it’s so effective, others look to turn one person’s style into a system and format and expect folks to fit that particular style. It’s evident in schools, it’s evident in offices, it’s evident in hospitals and it is evident in churches.

It can, however, be suffocating as people mistake a decent method for one person at one time, as a universal approach for all places at all times.

It is delightful when we recognise people for how God has specifically equipped them to function and rather than expecting them to fit our mould, we give them the space and the platform to serve in that specific way God has given.

This is why we celebrate a diverse group of people in scripture who displayed the brilliance of God in different settings that still expressed their God-given character and personality functioning in their unique calling as God directed. It would be a shame if we acknowledged that in the life of the called by God only to hinder that in the various formats and systems we put together.

This is not an invitation for selfish and self-gratifying pursuits where we can do whatever we like whether people like it or not. This is the pursuit of what God has specifically called us to be in service to Him for the benefit and blessing of others. He who made the best clothing for our parents, knows how best we can be clothed to be effective in what we do.

That’s why from time to time it’s good to look at what we are putting on ourselves and carefully consider – does that really suit you?

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

When A Revelation Leads To A Reformation

For those of you looking for a piece on Martin Luther and the last book in the Bible, this is not that kind of article.

2 Chronicles 34 outlines an impressive chapter in the life of the nation of Judah. The new king Josiah lives up to the standard of David, one of the few kings to live up to it. It started well at an early age and stage after stage he continued to pursue God wholeheartedly.

One of the most impressive aspects of his reign was what happened when the book was revealed to him. The book read and the findings lead to him renewing an even greater zeal of national reformation to bring God’s people back to proper wholehearted devotion to God as He instructed.

While I don’t dismiss out of hand the possibility of a national fervour for the things of God, something of great importance for the church of the Living God is to realise from time to time, how we need to have the Word revealed to us again to make the necessary changes. Oh for the heart like Josiah to get rid of all the competing gods so as to establish the worship of the one true God as supreme over all.

2 Chronicles 34 – It’s a chapter worth considering …

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Moreover Blessing & Even Though Love

Moreover Blessing

It was something Authrine reminded me about. She was talking about how God responded to Solomon’s request. So I went to read 1 Kings 3 and loved how Solomon put himself at the mercy of God to just get the wisdom required to operate in his position as king. That degree of humility was something I took very seriously. No way I can carry out any of my responsibilities without that degree of humility – that knowledge that without God I am going to mess it up big time, but walking in line with Him, I can be thoroughly faithful in what He calls me to do.

God’s response to the prayer was the really exciting thing. The writer describes how Solomon’s request pleased the Lord. I love that thought. That thought that God smiled at it, as if He nodded his head because that was the kind of engagement he was looking for. Then that word in the NIV version popped up in verse 13 – Moreover. It got me excited to see God delighted to the extent that whereas Solomon asked for one thing, God gave Him so much more. That word moreover – suggesting it was time for God to show again He is a God of more than enough. As a man’s ways were pleasing to Him so He poured out a Moreover Blessing.

What I also noted carefully was how that bonus blessing was based on maintaining that humble desire to stick close to God. Things would go well for Solomon just as long as he remained committed to this relationship through obedience. It was sobering because it reminded me of that tendency to look for something from someone and as soon as the thing came the someone was either dismissed outright or became significantly less important. Yet here God emphasised how it’s all about the focus on the relationship. It’s not about the goodies we get from God – it’s about embracing the Giver as of far greater value than the gift.

The big deal was being in line with the heart of God and delighting Him to the point that we enjoy His Moreover Blessing!

Even Though Love

There’s brotherly love. It’s a great love among family, it is about those ties that boasts of a depth far deeper than casual and convenient acquaintances.

Yet, there is something about the love of God in Jesus Christ that still humbles me tremendously. What kind of love keeps trusting the people you will bring closer to you than anyone else even though they will misunderstand you, leave you in the lurch when it matters most, denies you three times and in one person’s case even betray and sell you out? What kind of love keeps going even though the wife you died for and longed to beautify time after time brings your name into disrepute?

No wonder it’s referred to as an amazing and divine love. That kind of even though love. A love that Paul evidently had in mind when referring the church in Corinth to it. This kind of even though love lifts us above the bitter resentment that lingers after hurt. This kind of even though love pours out liberating forgiving mercy and grace to others even as we are grateful recipients from an amazing Saviour who loves us even though

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Faithful to the Mission

When I am asked to do something within my strengths and in line with my passions there is something about me that gets tunnel visioned. It’s as if I block everything out except endeavouring to excel in that area. It can be remarkably useful and also remarkably off-putting to others. As well as that, however, in time past I have placed a great deal of pressure on myself during and after the activity.

It’s not unusual for me to be heavily morose afterwards and needing to be left on my own to recover from that activity. Go ahead, say it, “That’s weird, CD.” It was the way it was for me for a long time. In some ways it worked, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a way of engaging with the things you love and look to use for the benefit of others.

One massive thing that has changed for me in recent years is a more considered approach to the whole process. My favourite time in that process continues to be the preparation stages. What I am learning to appreciate all the more is how important God wants me to see the need to rest in Him throughout the entire process, not just the preparation. That is something that helps me truly endeavour to trust God all the more through everything.

What that has also made me aware of is how great it is feeling I was faithful to the mission. Doing what needed to be done in the way it should have been done and leaving it there. Leaving it with God, who after all initiated the mission, so is more than able to see that mission accomplished for His honour and glory. It’s really just to enjoy the privilege of playing a role in that process.

It doesn’t negate the benefits of reflection and reviewing things. It just saves those around me the time having to deal with the hours of me being morose. The bigger picture is as well it keeps the focus on what matters – the mission.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

A New Month A New Season: Dryden Update

Thank you, Lord. July is over.

I did not dislike July. Quite a number of beautiful things happened over the month. Flicking through the blogs written over the month, I like quite a lot of what I wrote. Yet July is still a wilderness month in the summer. Never been a big fan of the summer and of July. Just a long month in every way with nothing to mark it out as a month to look out for – in my experience.

So for all the blessings I enjoyed in the month, I am very glad it’s over. And in a real way, the seventh month acted as one of completion and rest before a new month kicks off and I am particularly excited about the month.

Gotta be honest, the big reason for the excitement is the return of the football season. All the fuss around how things will be as the teams get ready to negotiate another set of fixtures and all that, I love it.

In more important things, though the thought of a new season for a game I love coincided with a thought about encouraging believers to cherish and embrace their call to service. Even as Jesus served and left an example for His followers to serve, there is something inherently out of sync in the life of a believer if they aren’t joining Jesus in serving others. It’s a concern of mine that this aspect of life in Christ is either neglected, minimised or left to refer to things that happen in the ‘worship service’ like ushering and the like. Folks from that type of Christian perspective won’t have a problem with that at all, but looking at how service was inherent in the life of God’s people in the time with Israel, how Jesus served and how service looked in the early church it often comes across as very different to how we get it and how we do it.

In any case, not just blogging and bleating about it, the verve is there to engage in and support others in getting involved in serving. A new season of service, if you will. Setting folks up to look at the bigger picture of serving and then identifying where they fit in that picture as we recognise what Paul told us all along that actually we are His workmanship created for good works in Christ that He has already prepared for us. That’s an outworking of the glorious salvation message we have received of the grace that makes us alive. We are saved and now we serve. It makes all kinds of sense – now it is about time we got on with it.

So those kind of things are keeping me going at this time of my life. I am enjoying writing a lot and want to get to do it a bit more often. I love my family a great deal at the moment and love the thought of doing family a bit more often. I love the Word of God and love the thought of engaging in it a bit more often and sharing findings with the saints as and when the opportunity arises.

Jesus is Lord and that is a beautiful fact. One of the things that meant a lot to me in July was appreciating that streamlining at times is a useful exercise to ensure as always I only do what God wants me to do and don’t get lumbered with well meaning baggage that takes up space and time that could be better invested in just doing what He wants. So for all the plans, schemes and dreams, I realise that it is good to be lead by Him to know what He wants and walk along the paths He sets.

So, with that stated, here’s looking back at July with thanksgiving and holding arms open with the broad Dryden grin in anticipation of the wonders August has in store. Thanks for taking the time to catch up with what’s going on with the man CD – keep me and my family in your prayers!

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Talk About A Reformation

My mentor mentioned the fact that this coming October would see the 500th anniversary of a significant moment in the Christian religion.

For the first 18 years of my life, despite being brought up in a church environment, I had absolutely no idea what the Reformation was about. It was never talked about in any great detail in the church circles I navigated. It was only in leaving my home to go to university that my exposure to the wider Christian world got me in contact with this rather pivotal time in the faith.

I am certainly not defining myself as an expert on the subject, but I do find it intriguing especially the repercussions it had for studying scripture, considering salvation, being church and the numerous divisions that came from that moment.

Considering different elements of the Reformation got me thinking about whether one is needed in this day and age. While many go looking for revival, which in itself can be a commentary on Christian culture in that area, the matter of reformation is not always considered, yet that’s a pity because it might just be as useful a conversation to live out.

Of course, then there’s the question of what I mean by a reformation now and what it would look like. Thinking about those things in the light of a project I might have mentioned and some very exciting developments taking place in my life, makes the question all the more relevant.

All that to say, don’t be surprised if talk about a reformation crops up again on this blog. Meanwhile have a think yourself about the issue.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

… To The New

What keeps me going among other than is what I am going towards.

It’s like no matter how many times I read or hear of being a new creation in Christ and the old passed away and the new has come and the new heavens and earth and the New Jerusalem – the newness of it becomes all the more startling and appealing.

In it all, however, the most compelling element is the one who leads from the old to the new. He is the New Adam, He ushers in the new covenant in His blood. Though He was in ages past, He makes all things new in His light.

It is not about having a discard for the proven and true of times that have gone before. It is about the clear focus of what I am pressing towards. He who calls me from the Old, gives good reasons to keep focused on the new. As long as that focus is clear, even in troubling times and moments of indecision, I can find hope and rest in Him.

Hanging on to what used to be, works for some even if the outcome is eternal loss. Clinging on to the One who promises the new and embodies it works for the faithful, even if there is a temporary loss.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden