Tag Archives: Storms

Joy vs Happiness

Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain! – Habakkuk 3:17-19

Happiness is an emotion so many strive for each day. People do things that make them happy. They try to surround themselves with people who make them happy, eat things that make them happy, listen to music that makes them happy and read books that make them happy. Yet life isn’t always happy. In fact there are times in life that are downright unhappy!

For the writer of the book of Habakkuk he looked out of his window and saw conditions that were far from happy. Recession had hit, wealth had gone and the harvest had failed. For the person who filled their life trying to find happiness, this sight who have thrown their world upside down. However, for the writer of Habakkuk this was not the case. You see this man had something called joy!

Joy is not happiness! Don’t ever confuse the two. Happiness is an emotion, a condition, a feeling! Happiness comes and goes. Happiness goes out the back door when sadness knocks on the front door. So for the one who fills their life striving for happiness, the arrival of sadness brings death to their pursuit. However, joy is not an emotion, nor is it a condition, it is a permanent fixture in one’s life. It is the very fruit of a life that seeks God not self. This fruit does not fall when storms arrive, it does not rot when conditions change and it does not flee when your world comes crashing down!

The reason for this is that joy comes from the Lord, the eternal, sovereign, awesome Lord. What the Lord gives no-one can snatch away and when God gives joy the conditions of the world around you can have no impact on the fruit that is produced through a life that seeks God.

Are you a happiness seeker or a joy producer? One leads to real contentment, the other to many days of emotional heartbreak! Seek God and allow the fruit of joy to be produced!


Self Made Millionaires

There are two types of millionaires in this world, self made and inherited.

I love to hear the story of a self made millionaire. Someone who went from rags to riches. Someone who through sheer blood sweat and tears made a name for themselves.

The reason for this I think is the way I was raised by my father. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up. I never received an allowance and we were always the last to get any new gadget. For example we didn’t get a VCR player until something called DVD’s were coming on the market.

As a child I would often resent the fact that I didn’t get what other kids got. I didn’t like the fact that if I wanted any money I’d have to go out and earn it. I realized that if I wanted to be a millionaire, I’d have to be a self made one.

After paying my way through college, paying for my first car and insurance and paying for my own wedding I started to realize the value of how I was raised.

I would look at my friends who had been given plenty as a child, they were not stable. I noticed others who had been given large down payments for their first home, or daddy had paid for their lavish wedding and seeing many who collapsed under the weight of problems when things got hard. I started to thank God that I had missed out on the free hand-outs because even though I didn’t have as much as others I knew I could survive through anything, even the loss of a job, home or support.

So when we made the decision to plant a church it came as not surprise to me that we wouldn’t get the free handouts some planters get. Did I want the handouts? Oh yes. Was it best for the course of our church to get those free handouts? Oh no.

You see planting Generation Church required more blood, sweat and tears that I’ve ever experienced. However, as I look back at our first four months of existence I’m starting to realize that there is a true grit in our church, and that is to fulfill the mission and vision of God at all costs! In the beginning it was just plain tough, but now we are starting to see a little bit of momentum. Those days of sweat and nights of tears we sowed are now starting to reap a harvest and I am so excited for the days ahead. They won’t get easier, in fact I know the larger we grow the harder it becomes, but we’ll know that those early days of working through college, doing a paper round, saving for a wedding, and self funding a church plant will be the foundation that no storm will be able to shake.

So if you’re one of those people like me who realizes that if you want anything in life you’re going to have to work for it, know this. Know that God sees those days, months and years where all you sow is blood, sweat and tears. He see’s that you watered them with countless hours of prayer and He will cause the growth!

No storm in life will be able to shake you!

The Perfect Storm – Part 2

This week I have been blogging about what to do when the perfect storm comes in your life. There are three positions you can take, but only one will enable you survive the storm. Position 1 & 2 you can see here, but today it all about how the successfully negotiate that storm, so here is position number 3:

3. Ride the storm!

When a perfect storm comes your way there is only one approach you can take that will enable you live through it to tell your story and that is to ride the storm. By riding the storm I mean go along with the storms flow. It the storm is blow to the left, steer to the left, if to the right, steer to the right.

I am an avid golfer. Coming from England I understand what it takes to play golf in adverse weather. When the wind blows there are two thoughts that must be in your head at you play each shot, swing slower and play with the wind, not against the wind. The hard you swing in the wind the further your ball goes off course, the more you play against the wind the less your ball makes progress. So use the wind for your advantage.

The same goes in life. Roll with the waves, sail with the wind. When the storm passes you may be a little of course, but you will have survived and be in the shape you need to get back on course.

This past week, Generation Church went through a mini storm. By Friday it was clear our worship team was going to be depleted to just a drummer and electric guitar player. No vocals, no lead! Sickness & vacation had hit our team. While you can plan for vacation, you can’t plan for sudden sickness. We had three choices, fight it, ignore it or ride it! We decided to ride it! It wasn’t easy, but Sunday morning came and we had a full worship set, our worship leader Raquel (my wife) made a miracle recovery and we had a great worship set. We made contingency plans, but we didn’t fight it, we rode it, and the result was a miracle, literally a miracle! I’m sure if we had tried to fight it we probably would have failed, if we had ignored it, there would not have been a miracle, but we rode it, listened to God and let the storm take us where it needed to go, the result, a miracle!

So if you are going through a storm in your life, don’t swim against the waves, don’t let the waves roll over your head, but surf those waves and show that storm it will not break you, but you will tame it!