Out of the Comfort Zone

Continuing on the theme of my last blog (Personal Transformation), just before I decided to leave ICI and go to University at the ripe old age of 27, I received a challenge from a good friend of mine – who was also my mentor. She had spent more than 10 years of her life as a missionary and school teacher in what was then the Belgium Congo (now The Democratic Republic of Congo). Her husband had died after 10 years in Congo and she eventually returned to the UK. She trained and became a Baptist Minister on her return.

During a telephone conversation with her one day, before I decided to go to University, she suddenly said, “David, have you considered full-time service?”. I knew she meant the Baptist Ministry. My response was immediate, coming from that inner voice we all have. I said, “I haven’t been called”. I didn’t know how or why that was the case, but I knew it was God’s guidance. I was Youth Leader at the time in my local Baptist Church.

University was a real challenge. I had not been through the standard matriculation route of A-Levels, and the first year of my Applied Science Degree included Material Science (Chemistry and Physics) and Mathematics to a higher level than my current knowledge. I failed both subjects in the first year exams, and had to re-sit them to qualify to move into year 2 of the course. My summer was spent largely in revision, and praying that I would get through at the second attempt. To my great relief, I did! 2nd and 3rd years were not so challenging and I graduated with a 2.2 Honours Degree.

Susan and I received clear direction back to our place of birth (Middlesbrough) and a group of young people in the Brethren Church in which Susan grew up. It was a large group of teenagers (aged about 14 – 18) who had come through the Sunday School during the previous 5 years. At the same time, ICI (my previous employer) offered me a post-graduate job at its Billingham site, near Middlesbrough. What a coincidence, especially when they would not support me 3 years earlier when I had to leave in order to go to University. They obviously thought that I was not a good bet, academically. But this “coincidence” was, to me, the provision of God for us. I had trusted him in going to University; He had given me back all I had before, and more.

Susan and I would spend the next 2-3 years working with this Youth Group, in preparation for another challenge: Becoming part of the first “House Church” in Middlesbrough. We were involved along with two other groups of people in forming one of the “New House Churches” which were emerging in the UK in the 1970’s. It was an exciting time of establishing something different, moving away from traditional Christianity and traditional church. New challenges were becoming the norm. In practice it meant that constant change was here to stay.




Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren't. Margaret Thatcher
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but God will make us good because he loves us. C S Lewis
Fear is misplaced faith. Kris Vallotton
God has already seen every mistake, every failure and every weakness, and the good news is he's already forgiven you. He is not holding it against you. Joel Osteen
God is not nearly so interested in changing your circumstances as he is in changing you. Joyce Meyer
Pray, and let God worry Martin Luther
Those who never change their mind never change anything. Winston Churchill
What you do (for a living) is not who you are.  Celia Apeagyei-Collins 
 People who write you off when you fail know nothing about history and even less about life. No person ever fully succeeds until they fully fail. Lance Wallnau 
There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.  C S Lewis
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot
You never know how much you really believe anything until it's truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life or death to you. C S Lewis
If you know you are loved, faith is easy. It's easy to trust someone you know loves you. David Forster
Every moment that you spend upset, despaired, anguished, angry, afraid or hurt, because of the behaviour of someone else in your life, is a moment in which you have given up control of your life. Unknown
Remember, you do not have to live today by how you feel, nor by what you think about yourself, nor by what someone else thinks about you. The person who created you thinks you are wonderful, and he waits with open arms for you to agree with him. David Forster
Shift gears from doing something in God's presence to simply being in God's presence. Lance Wallnau
Your future doesn't depend on what is in front of you, it depends on who is in you. Lance Wallnau
Did you know that you are utterly and completely loved by God, without doing a single thing, good or bad. David Forster
no one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good.. C S Lewis
If we are living daily by faith, we will be constantly over our head; Beyond our ability to do this our that. We should all be in that place in some area of our life. If we are not, we will be like an old wineskin; too rigid and inflexible to receive the Lord's new wine. Rick Joyner
For a believer intimacy with God is not an option, it's a necessity. Guidance and direction depend on this intimacy and sensitivity to Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for the latter. Graham Cooke
Jesus reveals the Father to us. He gives us peace and rest. He is not a hard taskmaster. David Forster
The God who creates everything, pursues you. Don't let anyone tell you you're are worth less than that. Louie Giglio
In the kingdom, physical obedience brings spiritual release. Bill Johnson
Don't be surprised if you pray for nearness to God and he sends a trial. Nearness always requires dependence. Desiringgod.org
Our corporate worship doesn't meet a need in God, it meets a need in us. Sam Storms
How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are great servants and terrible masters. Kris Vallotton
There is a lot that is good in your life. Don't take it for granted. Don't get so focused on the struggle that you mis the gift of today. Joel Osteen
The enemy commits identity theft when you believe you must earn what God freely gives. Alison Brown
If you agree with your creator and receive what he freely gives, you will have serenity in your identity and confidence in your countenance. David Forster
If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. David Forster
A satisfying and exciting life organises around an identity focused on Jesus, not the church..  Graham Cooke
Satan cannot impose his will on anyone, he has to have our agreement.  Graham Cooke
Every day adjust yourself to where God is taking you, that is, toward the prophetic vision he has given you. Lance Wallnau
Real faith is not faith in an outcome (of a particular situation or circumstance), it's faith in a person. David Forster
Be in no doubt that God will redeem the losses and mistakes of your past life. David Forster
God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because there is simply no such thing. C S Lewis
Wealth, women and status; these are the major temptations that can draw a man away from God. Each is morally neutral; yet given the appropriate significance, each can control us. David Forster
The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist. Anon
Fear is the enemy of love. The two cannot exist together. We have to choose daily: Fear or Love. David Forster
You are not saved because of the quality of your faith. You are saved because of the object of your faith; The Redeemer! Tim Keller
Revival goes from the bottom up; Reformation goes from the top down. Therefore reformation is institutional and revival is personal. Lance Wallnau
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Albert Einstein
Inner peace is key to experiencing God's presence. Rest is a weapon against the enemy Graham Cooke
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. G K Chesterton
When you are at peace with God, you will be at peace with yourself and with other people. David Forster
You can believe in Christianity in the same way you believe that the sun has risen; Firstly, because you see it and secondly because by it you see everything else. C S Lewis
A little while ago I became old enough to start believing in fairy tales again. This means there are far better things ahead of me then what I have left behind. C S Lewis
Your unfinished destiny is your most potent argument with death. Graham Cooke
I am not focused on what I am not, I am focused on what he is for me. David Forster
Reaching the Heights