The Silence of Saturday

26 Mar

“You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos,
From the chains of a lesser law You set me free.

In the silence of the heart You speak,
In the silence of the heart You speak,
And it is there that I will know You
And You will know me” – Audrey Assad

“Communion with God in the silence of the heart is a God-given capacity, like the rhododendron’s capacity to flower, the fledgling’s for flight, and the child’s for self-forgetful abandon and joy.” – Martin Laird


A few months ago I lost my faith.

Not my faith in God. But my faith in words, in human language. My faith in my thoughts and my feelings. My faith in my experiences. I lost my faith.

God was still there in mysterious splendour, in gentle humility, in magnificent beauty, in peacefully constant faithfulness. I just couldn’t find the words to describe him. How do we describe the Infinitely Indescribable? How is it that the Great Unknowable makes himself known?

In this place you tend to question a lot of things. Why do I do this? Why do I believe this about God? Why does a church gathering look like this? Am I just going through the motions?

God was still there. Shining on like the sun. Patient.

I have spoken much about surrender on this blog. The importance of going all in no matter the cost. Publicly and privately I have cried and wept, I have danced and flailed, shouted and sung, laughed, knelt down, laid down. I have gone on that journey of opening my heart to the Lord. Choosing to surrender in any way that I can. In the loud or in the quiet. I wanted to give my all.

The problem with all of the above is that they involved me doing things. Tim choosing to dance. Tim choosing to sing. Tim choosing to lay down. Tim choosing to shout. Tim doing whatever he can to surrender himself before the Lord.

I’ve come to realise, maybe even in the last week, that there is an invitation to a deeper surrender. A surrender not so much focused on doing but a surrender of being. A surrender of silence.

There is not much that the Bible tells us about Holy Saturday in the Bible. Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for Jesus’ body and lays it in a garden tomb. Luke’s account states: “It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:54-56)

Everything stopped for the Sabbath. A holy pause. A silent moment where hope is seemingly dead. How did the disciples feel? How did they cope with the inner turmoil of the events that proceeded this silent Sabbath? The man they had followed for three years was dead. His body lay in a tomb. They had given everything – they had left all they had to follow him. They had believed when others doubted. They had become his friend. They knew him. They had seen the miracles, the signs, the wonders. Through him they had seen God. Yet now he was dead. Hope gone. Hope in the ground. Hope behind the stone. How did they feel? What grief did they experience? What questions ripped apart their very being?

And the response to their questions, their bitter pain, their devastating disappointment, their anguish and torment? Nothing. Not on Holy Saturday. Silence. Emptiness. Nothingness.

There’s not much the Bible tells us about this Sabbath because there is not much that the friends and followers of Jesus could have done. Sabbath… stop, rest, pause. Silence.

There is nothing that they could do.

There is a deeper place of surrender that does not revolve around what we can do. This is the surrender of silence. It is a surrender where we acknowledge that there is nothing that we can do. Instead we respond to the invitation to embrace the silence of Saturday. We acknowledge our questions, our doubts, our fears, our insecurities, our emotions but we are not defined by them. We let the confines of human language fall to the floor and we are simply still. Whereas my journey of surrender thus far has been dictated by internal thoughts and feelings, which have then led to external action, the surrender of silence simply stops and is still. The former is valid and important and I am not discounting what I have learnt and how I have grown to know God. He has loved my heart. However, the latter is beautiful.

The surrender of silence is a place where we learn to simply and profoundly be. The journey before was full of noise! Brash, bold and boisterous. What is more precious than sitting before Limitless Love and not needing to do anything other than silently be?

Have we truly learnt to surrender until we know how to be still? There is an inherent silence to surrender. A silence found in the deepest reaches of our hearts.

In this place we learn that there are no words, no thoughts, no feelings, no actions that can define us. There is only the love of the Infinite Father. This is a surrender that is no longer based on what I can do. It centres on who he is. Yes, I have my questions, my fears, my doubts, my insecurities, my frailties… but they are not my identity. They are not who I am. All that matters is him. Fix your eyes on the one who is Perfect Love.

There is a silence on this Saturday. Our precious Saviour lays dead and there are more questions than answers. Words cannot describe how we feel, the thoughts that rush through our heads, the pain we’ve experienced, the loneliness we’ve felt, the grief, the torment. We know not what to do.

Embrace the silence.


Acknowledge the questions, the doubts, the thoughts and feelings and move on into the realm of silent peace where we can gaze into the eyes of our heavenly Dad.

Holy Saturday is an invitation to surrender. It is an invitation to be still. It is an invitation to peaceful, beautiful silence.

“You can have it all Lord,
every part of my world.” – Brian Johnson

Thank you to Richard Rohr and Martin Laird who, through their writings, have provided words and inspiration for this journey when I had no framework or words for myself.

I Am The Way: Vision & Calling

9 Mar Reflection Image

Reflection Image

During Lent my church is posting a weekly reflection on Facebook around our ‘I am the Way’ Easter theme. Here is a repost of the one I was asked to write this week on the topic of ‘Vision & Calling’. It was originally posted here.


There’s a lot of song and dance about vision and calling. There’s a lot of fuss; a lot of noise. You hear it all the time: I don’t know what I’m called to do. I can’t see where I’m heading. God hasn’t told me what to do. I don’t know what my vision or direction is.

I hear it in my own life. It’s endemic in church culture. I hear it in the attitude of the 18-30s I work with. I’ve heard it from older people and I’m hearing it from some teenagers. A modern entitlement to a personal and specific ‘call’ or ‘vision’.

In some ways, it is quite right to focus on vision. Without vision the people are unrestrained (Proverbs 29:18). They wander aimlessly in many directions. If the church is a body, it won’t get very far if its limbs are pulling in different directions. We become sheep who have forgotten they have a shepherd. We don’t get very far.

I am a sheep in that crowd. Time wasted pondering my life’s calling, formulating the perfect, grand vision and missing the point. It becomes all about me. My vision. My calling. Me, me, me. I am a sheep who has forgotten the shepherd. An aimless wanderer, never truly committed, waiting for something specific, something clear, something shiny, something for me. In the song and dance, in the fuss and the noise, perhaps we dismiss the visionary words of Jesus: love God, love everyone, make disciples. Maybe he was pointing us to a vision and calling that isn’t just about me, me, me.

The writer of Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus as He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). That’s the way to live. We spend a lot of time obsessing about vision but forget what this truly means. Vision is what our eyes see. Am I looking at myself? Or will I look to Jesus? Not just a casual glance, but a fixed stare. Fix your eyes on Jesus. The Good Shepherd. The head of the body. The one who is the author of all life. The one who perfected it all. The pioneer of our faith. The completer, the finisher. The beginning, the end.

What is He saying? What is He doing? Let’s get involved with that.

Our vision is Jesus. Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Nothing more, nothing less. Our calling is towards Him. Fix your eyes on Him. He is the way.

Embracing the Journey: My Story of Worship

4 Mar


I have a story to share. It is a story that began 16 years ago. It is a story that began when I was 10 years old.

It’s funny which moments you remember from childhood but I remember two moments of a certain week in the summer holidays. The first was this: I was at New Wine in one of the children’s groups when Holy Spirit showed up in my life for the first time. It was quite an overwhelming experience – the only other clear memory of that day was my sister who was two years younger came to meet me so we could walk back to our tents together and I basically shouted at her and ran off because I was overwhelmed by what had happened! A hilarious first move for a 10 year old who had just become a Christian. Thankfully my parents explained to me what had happened and encouraged me in the early days of my walk with God.

A few days later the team had invited Scott Underwood, a worship leader, to speak to the children. That, in itself, it turns out was pretty generous as this man was a well known worship leader and author in the Vineyard movement. Anyway, I don’t remember any of the session but I do remember at the end there was an invitation to anyone who felt God might be calling them to lead worship. I was only 10 years old but for whatever reason, I felt compelled to respond. We went forward to the right hand side of the stage and I remember Scott Underwood praying for us.

After the session I recounted to my parents what had happened. Now, my mum has since said that when I told them the story they laughed to themselves – this was a small boy stating he was going to lead worship… a small boy who had never shown any interest in music, had practically failed playing the recorder and couldn’t really sing. They didn’t really think it could happen. I don’t blame them!

The good news is my parents are fantastic and have always invested in us. This time they bought us an electric guitar. The only problem? I didn’t play it. It collected dust in our downstairs hallway. I had a go here and there but never really got into it. To this day, I’ve never really played that guitar.

A few years into secondary school I got significantly stuck into the music scene. I loved music. All my money was spent on CDs. Music spoke to me in a way nothing else did. I was inspired by it and challenged by it. I met God through the lyrics and the sound. It expressed what I felt on the inside but couldn’t find the words to describe. When I was 15 I borrowed an old acoustic classical guitar and taught myself some chords. It was a ridiculously hard guitar to learn on with a really wide neck. I still couldn’t sing but with a small bit of input from an older guy from church I taught myself the basics.

I kept going, never really investing in learning in any meaningful way, but trying to pick up a few songs here and there. I started trying to write some of my own (most are awful). Along the way I found that I could actually sing.

I kept playing in my room. Since I was 10 I always had an intense passion to be in the presence of God. I worshipped my heart out in my room whilst I was at college and then at university. I went through some hard times but I felt close to God when I sang. I poured my heart out before him, strumming and singing to myself. Me and the creator of the universe. Looking back it was like King David in a lonely field. I give Him my all. I learnt to lay down my life before Him with a sacrifice of praise.

I never played in front of people but people who didn’t know me very well kept giving me prophetic words about having a worshipping heart and leading others. I rationalised that this wouldn’t be in a music way as I wasn’t good enough for that kind of thing. I couldn’t sing properly, I couldn’t play guitar properly. It’s a heart thing, I thought.

I did Form (discipleship / leadership year) and ended up involved in our ministries for 18-30s at my church in Sheffield. Somewhere along the way, leaders who I trusted started saying I should lead worship. They were gentle but forceful. They were patient as I was very opposed to any thought of me being at the front of church, let alone playing guitar. I was nowhere near good enough to play the guitar in a church!

My leaders encouraged me and started giving me opportunities. My parents bought me an electro-acoustic guitar. I started leading in small groups with students and young adults. I was asked to sing at a friend’s wedding and played a song I had written. More importantly I kept pouring my heart out before God in my bedroom. I worshipped Him in a quiet and secret place. I wasn’t great at the guitar, I didn’t have the perfect voice but I knew He loved to spend time with me.

The first big opportunity I had to lead was at a worship event called His Presence. The organisers rang me a day before saying the person they had to lead couldn’t make it and could I play. Erm…?! I led with another guitarist (also called Tim) and my sister on keys. It was the first time I had played plugged in. It actually seemed to go well. I still didn’t think I was good enough. I kept putting off joining the worship team at church. Nicole Brown asked me a number of times. I avoided the opportunities. I wasn’t good enough.

Throughout this time I would speak to my mum on the phone and she would always remind me of this prophetic promise that a little boy received at New Wine when he was 10 years old. Every time she spoke of this it sounded as though she was convinced God has spoken. I did not believe in myself but my mum believed in me. More importantly, she had come to believe in the word from a loving Father over my life.

Over the last two years I have had more and more opportunities to lead worship. I finally joined the worship team and Nicole has always been generous in helping me to learn. As everything I’ve learnt was self-taught it has been a steep learning curve! Since September 2015 we have been having Worship Nights at our church and Andy Stone (church leader) has basically forced me to play with him! He saw something in my heart, encouraged me and believed in me.

Since the beginning of this year I’ve had the beautiful opportunity to lead worship with my lovely wife-to-be. Honestly, this is a dream come true. She has a stunning heart and an equally gorgeous voice. Her desire to pour out her praise to Jesus is contagious and inspiring. I have been very fortunate to meet a girl who I get to sing with. I have been very fortunate to meet a girl who believes in me – who sees things written on my heart by God and stands with me to say them come to pass. All praise to Him!

Finally, last Sunday morning – Sunday 28th February 2016 – I led worship at church during our Sunday gathering. 16 years since a boy heard an impossible word. 16 years of getting to know the heart of the Father in an empty bedroom.

Am I an amazing guitarist? NO! I still struggle to play in time! In fact, last Sunday was the first time I had led with a drummer and it was a new challenge. I am still learning. But this is what I have realised: God has given me the heart. I may not have the skills that others do, I may prefer to revert back to the same four chords, I may struggle with tempo, I may not have the best singing range… but I have the heart that God put in me a long time ago. 16 years ago in fact. It’s a heart that grew in a similar way to David, in the quiet places, alone in a bedroom. It’s a heart that has been encouraged by the generosity of my parents and amazing leaders. It’s a heart that was invested in year after year by New Wine. And it’s with that heart that I am able to lead worship.

Let it be a sweet, sweet sound.

I’ve often written about the process of discipleship and I hope that this story encourages you to hold on to the promises God gives you. In this instant culture we expect quick fixes, immediate answers and instant breakthrough. This is not the way of the kingdom: “Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” (Mark 4:27) Sometimes (and I’m going to argue more often that not) it is a slow burning journey to the promised land. Patience is a valuable gift. Little seeds take a long time to grow. We can do things to nurture them but it is a mystery how they grow. Some seeds take many years to become tall trees. Make the little decisions along the way that invest in your heart. Get to know His heart. There is no logical reason for me to have ever led worship in a church service. It is all through the grace of God, combined with the little decisions to get to know Him in the secret place.

Last Sunday felt like a culmination of a long journey. It is a time to give thanks for all God has done. But it is a journey that is only just beginning.


#allin worship

31 Jan

“In one moment we find ourselves rejoicing in the dance, arms raised with heads lifted high. In the next we are bowed low, not because someone suggested it would be an appropriate response, but because the fear of God has filled the room.” – Bill Johnson

Processed with Rookie

Here’s a story: King David made a mistake (he made quite a few of them I’ve noticed). There was a consequence to this mistake and lots of people were dying. You can read about it in 1 Chronicles 21. There’s this huge angel waiting to destroy Jerusalem and it stops at a bit of land owned by a guy called Araunah the Jebusite. David realises his mistake and gets instruction from a prophet to go and build an altar on the land where the angel has stopped. Simple. When David gets to the land, he offers to pay it in full. However, Araunah says that David can have it for free! Not just that – the king can have whatever he likes for the offering too… oxen, threshing-sledges (lucky Dave) and wheat… whatever he needs! David’s response is remarkable: “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that cost me nothing.

I will not offer something that has cost me nothing.

What does a life of #allin worship look like? It involves cost. David was not prepared to bring something before the Lord that had not cost him. Throughout Scripture we see other people doing the same:

  • Abraham obediently takes his promised son (the son on which all the other promises stood) to offer him to God as he realised that worshipping God was a bigger priority than pursuing the promises that he had received. He was willing to give it all (Hebrews 11:17-19).
  • Joshua lingers in the presence of God, long after Moses has left, sacrificing his time to be with his Creator (Exodus 33:11).
  • David dances and leaps (pretty much in his underwear) before the ark of the Lord in such an undignified manner that it offends one of his wives (2 Samuel 6:14-16).
  • A woman comes to Jesus with a bottle of an incredibly expensive perfume, pours it all over Him and wipes His feet with her tears… much to the scorn of the onlookers that label the act as an extravagant waste.

Whether it is family, promises, time, prestige or expensive gifts, the Bible is full of examples of extravagant displays of worship. Worship is more than singing. It is more than Sunday morning. There is something about the presence of God which draws people in to a place of wholehearted abandonment. There is an invitation to go deeper, to go further, no matter the cost.

Psalm 73:25-26 contains such a simple yet incomprehensible statement, which the band Loud Harp summed up in their song ‘The Nearness of You’: “My flesh, my heart my fail – whom have I but You?” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! What a stupid, stupid, stupid, ridiculous thing to say. Yet it has captivated my heart. My flesh – my very body – may fail! My heart – that vitally important organ pumping that vitally important liquid around my vitally important body – may fail! But God is my strength. He is my portion. Whom do I have but Him? Essentially, I may well be dead, but God is more than enough. He is everything. More than being alive. Where else would I go? Ridiculous. Yet captivating.

#allin or nothing.

I began 2014 with a desire to explore what would life look like to go #allin. I knew there was something more than my current level of thinking; I knew there was something more than what I was experiencing. Is this desire not the foundation of what the Psalmist is talking about? Moment by moment I’ve glimpsed it. I don’t even think I am close to knowing it. I don’t think I am close at all. But there is something drawing me in… I have to dance and I don’t care what I look like. I have to let go and I have to flail and move around to the rhythm of His heart. I must give Him everything I can. I have to bow down. I have to lay before the Creator of the entire universe and not know if I’ll get up. I have to shout. I have to laugh. I have to cry. I have to give everything I physically can and I know there are consequences. I know people have looked at me and said I look ridiculous. I’ve heard people say that I’m over emotional. I’ve felt the disdain and the embarrassment when people say my laughing or crying is stupid. I’ve poured out, I’ve exhausted myself. In public, in private… something has captured my heart and I cannot turn back. I am desperate for a life of #allin worship.

The Heart Response.

The truth is that the physical is just a fraction of what I could offer in my heart. All the examples above only happened because of an initial heart response. Indeed, it’s easy to the do the physical out of compulsion, out of obligation, out of routine. This is not my intention. I don’t care if you laugh or cry. I don’t care if you sing loud or dance wild. I don’t care if you kneel or raise your hand. David would not give to the Lord something that belonged to someone else. Your journey will look different. It will cost in different ways. I don’t care what your extravagant expression will look like. All I care about is the invitation from the most loving of Dads who created every single thing and actually holds us together right now. He is inviting us to join in the great dance: Father, Son, Holy Spirit and you. He says that we are significant to the point where He gave Himself for us. He gave everything so He could be united with us forever. It is from that place that I have to give everything. I have to go #allin. Nothing else can satisfy.

There have been times where I don’t want to worship. I’ve lived in hopelessness. I’ve lived in the place of no dreams. I’ve lived in the place of loneliness. I’ve not seen healing in my life or the life of my family. People around me have gone through devastation. I’ve cried out for the promises God has spoken over my life yet still lived in emptiness. Sometimes when they’ve come, they’ve disappeared just as quickly. I’ve not been able to pay the bills. I’ve had an empty house and an empty heart. I’ve feared the consequences of giving everything. I’ve worshipped when I’ve not felt anything. I’ve had more reasons that I don’t want to worship than fingers to count. But His extravagant love is so clearly displayed in Jesus and Him crucified that I have to keep making the choice. This is the heart of worship. There is a cost. It demands everything. It demands an extravagant response. It demands #allin worship. It demands our whole hearts. But it is oh so worth it.

“I’m coming to You with a bottle of perfume / and I will pour it out no matter what the cost.”

Will you go the distance?

Will you take the plunge?

Will you jump?

Will you give everything?

Will you risk your life, what people think of you, your material possessions?

Will you let go of fear and abandon your whole heart?

Will you be reckless?

Will you go #allin?

Will you go #allin in the pain of life?

Will you go #allin in the abundance of His graceful provision?

My flesh, my heart may fail – whom have I but You?


I believe that this blog concludes the #allin series. Maybe I started where I finished, but my heart is forever changed. If you’d like to read a few other moments from this adventure that will last a lifetime then please follow these links:

– #allin or nothing (Jan 2014) –
– #allin love, #allin compassion (Apr 2014) –
– #allin surrender (June 2014) –
– #allin resurrection (August 2014) –

#allin resurrection: embracing the journey from Friday to Sunday

16 Aug

The life of a Jesus follower is one of crucifixion and resurrection. It’s death and life. Friday and Sunday. In the early hours of 2014 I wrote in my journal:

“Lay down.
Let go.
Stand up.
Take hold.”

If you know me (or have read my blogs), you will know that laying down and letting go have become an intrinsic part of my life. Just read my last blog about surrender. This is an essential part of discipleship: willing to die, willing to pick up that cross and let go of the things that hold you back from encountering the fullness of His love. God has definitely taken me further on this journey of #allin surrender over the last few months. However, I have come to realise that I am not so good at standing up and taking hold of all the promises that God has spoken over my life.


Jesus set the standard of what a life of #allin surrender looks like but if He had stayed in the grave then we would still be there too. He laid Himself down, let go of divinity and united Himself with us. But if He stayed in the grave then death would not be beaten, it would still have a pretty painful sting and we would still be subject to all of the burdens of death and darkness. Jesus did not stay there! And we cannot either! Good Friday is not at all ‘good’ without the resurrection life that Jesus embraced on the Sunday. When you lay everything down and surrender your life to God, He meets you there and brings you to new life. He does not leave us on the floor. He meets us there. He puts good things in front of us. Psalm 23, after a voyage of death through the shadow valley and a meal in front of enemies, says “surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” Surely! Surely there are good things to come! John 10:10 states that Jesus “came to bring [us] life, and far more life than before.” (JB Phillips). What a promise!

The nature of resurrection can be nothing but #allin. You cannot stay half dead. Lazarus came out of the grave and people had to remove his grave clothes (John 11:44). You don’t need to remain in the stench of the grave and you’re no longer required to wear the rotting grave clothes of the past. You’re either a new creation or you’re not. So many people walk around in the grave clothes of past regrets, carrying around the stench of the burden of unfulfilled dreams. Jesus’ grave clothes were folded up and left in the grave (John 20:7)! It wasn’t a partial resurrection, it was #allin. He left all signs of death in His tomb. If we’re going to embrace Jesus’ #allin resurrection we must cling to that journey from Friday to Sunday. We have to lay everything down but still allow Holy Spirit to resurrect and call forth from within us the beautiful and significant God-given and God-ordained gifts that flow naturally and gracefully from the place of our oneness with Jesus. In Him we have been raised to new life. There’s an abundance of glorious freedom and joy that rests on that truth. The journey from Friday to Sunday is embracing and allowing our mind to be renewed by Holy Spirit. The old has gone and the new has come. You and I are new creations! Come on!

It is time to stand up and take hold of all that God has called us to be. Here’s the truth: you are amazing and you are made for amazing things! Jesus picked you out and chose you before the foundation of the world. Just read Ephesians 1:4-5! It’s time to embrace resurrection life, the complete fullness of life, and step into all that we are called to be. Many people reading this will have promises and dreams that have been cast aside or stolen but I feel as though it is a time to take hold of these promises and dreams and become all that we are called to be.

This has been my heart in August. There’s still an element of surrender as all the good things come from Jesus – I always want to have that in mind and only take hold of what He puts in front of me. I want to be willing to lay it all down as He guides at a moment’s notice. But it is time to take hold of who God has called me to be. I don’t want to miss out on the things right in front of me that God has placed there. For too many years the thief has stolen and distracted us away from the things that God has placed in front of us. It is time to take hold of them! What does that look like for you? For me, it’s remembering who I was created to be and letting that reality partner with His prophetic promises. It’s deliberately and intentionally taking hold of the opportunities to walk that destiny and reality out in the every day moments of real life.

Here are some of the truths I am taking hold of:

  • I am a son. I have the best Dad who knows my needs.
  • I am a leader. Holy Spirit guides me and I can guide those around me. I can release what I have learnt to people as they follow me.
  • I am a prophet and I can speak life, truth and destiny into people’s lives. My life points to a loving and incredible Father.
  • I am a worshiper, a singer, a writer, a musician. I am creative and whatever I create can change lives, atmospheres and situations.
  • I am a teacher. I have the mind of Christ and I have Holy Spirit revelation that I can unlock in other people.
  • I am a man, a father, a husband. I love with compassion, sacrifice and purpose. I release destiny to others. I live in community not in isolation. I encourage and build up those around me. I am extravagantly generous with every resource I am blessed with.
  • I am a fire starter. I live in His presence and therefore where I go people will be healed, delivered and set free. I will go to different parts of this world and bring life and love.
  • I am an intercessor. I see what is on the horizon and I call it into being. I stand in the gap for people, especially those overlooked and ignored.
  • My life is marked by passionate pursuit of His presence, adventure and fun, laughter and joy. I am a man who has resolved to fix His eyes solely on Jesus. I will not look to the right or the left.
  • I am who He made me to be. I will be a person who embraces the cross with #allin surrender and I will be a person who embraces everything God has placed in front of me and experience resurrection life.

This is who I am.
Who are you?

This is who I am. Who I’m called to be. I don’t mind that I’m not walking out these values every minute of every day yet. No, instead I resolve to not miss any God-given opportunity to step into my purpose and destiny! I refuse to let fear steal anything that God has called me to be. I will not dwell on past mistakes and regrets. I will continue to grow and recognise that we’re called to a process, but I will take hold of every little thing that God has given to me. I will not beat myself up when I miss an opportunity*, I will not give the enemy a foothold. I will gladly take the next opportunity and I will live in the fullness of life that Jesus bought for me through His death and resurrection. I will not live solely from the surrender of Friday but I will hold it in tension with and will make the journey to Sunday.

This is who I am.
Who are you?

You have been raised to new life. It’s time to take hold of it and all the adventure and possibilities that come with it!

Who is with me? Who will embrace the life to stand up and take hold of all that they have been called to be?

  1. Do you find it easier to lay things down or take hold of what He has put in front of you?
  2. What is God calling you to take hold of at this time?

*I wrote most of this blog on the 14th. The following day I had a terrible time in a particular situation. I was stressed. My decision making process was more influenced by the thoughts of other people than what God thought of me. Yes, I was caring about what people would think of me. I wasn’t being the Tim I was made to be. I definitely was not taking hold of everything God was calling me to be. It is a process. There’s something freeing in that reality. When we’re caught up in the brambles of life He searches us out, picks us up, brushes the dust off our clothes and takes us home (Luke 15:1-7). It’s always a new day in the Kingdom of God. Stand up. Start again. That’s part of the journey. That’s the path to #allin resurrection.

If you’re wondering where the #allin hashtag came from you’ll need to read this blog I wrote. I’ve also written a blog about #allin compassion here and #allin surrender here.

#allin surrender

20 Jun

“Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.” – C.S. Lewis

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Ever sung any of the following lyrics?

  • “Lord, I give you my heart, I give you my soul, I live for you alone.”
  • “Take the world, but give me Jesus”
  • “Strip everything away, til all I have is You, undo the veils so all I see is You”
  • “I’m giving you my heart, and all that is within, I lay it all down for the sake of you my King, I’m giving you my dreams, I’m laying down my right, I’m giving up my pride for the promise of new life, And I surrender all to you, all to you.”
  • “I’m falling on my knees, offering everything, Jesus you’re all this heart is living for”
  • “Be the fire in my heart, Be the wind in these sails, Be the reason that I live, Jesus, Jesus”
  • “Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me”

Full marks if you recognise all these lyrics. Here are the lyrics of some great, great songs! I love these songs and I love the heart behind them. But sometimes it is so easy to sing these lyrics without thinking about the inherent cost and sacrifice that is contained within them. These are songs of surrender. I’m sure you can think of other Sunday songs that contain a similar heart cry – to give Jesus everything. I’m sure you can think of similar prayers that you have prayed. What I am realising is that there can be a disconnect between the words that come from our lips and the actual action of surrender. It’s easy for me to sit and pray “Lord, I give you everything, take my anywhere” and for nothing to change in my heart. How many times have I prayed “take everything” but held on to every single thing that was holding me back from the depth of the Father’s heart? Wow, I am so very challenged just writing that sentence.

Here is a simple truth: surrender is not a fuzzy feeling we get singing these lyrics or praying these prayers on a Sunday. Surrender is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday abandonment. Surrender is giving Him control of every single dimension of our life every single day of the week.

Surrender is realising He is the king and He therefore has absolute control. Surrender is laying down our control at the feet of Jesus. Surrender is giving Him everything that you have, everything that you could be, everything that you desire and dream about… it’s allowing Him to take it all – even if you never see it again. That’s #allin surrender. That’s the heart of a disciple. I am learning this every single day. And it is sometimes very painful because I really want to hold on.

Surrender is largely opposite to the mentality of our culture. Our society says fight for everything and be in control. You are entitled and you should battle for what you deserve. Surrender, therefore, can often be seen as a weakness. You don’t want to see an army going into battle with the mindset of surrender. You don’t want to see the England football team lay down without even trying! How countercultural is it that Jesus goes against this. The majority perspective is to fight for your promotion, hold on to your security, get to the top. We should not worry about the people around us. Don’t back down, seize every opportunity, win. Is this not one of the undercurrents of our culture? There is not much value placed on surrender, on going lower, on letting go of control. However, despite this surrender and sacrifice are core values for the Jesus follower.

Jesus states in the Amplified version of the Bible:

“If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].” (Matthew 16:24)

Jesus is clear. The cost of discipleship is death. It is laying everything down. Surrender is death every day of the week. Death to my desire, death to my passions, death to my dreams. When He calls you, it is a call to die. It is disregarding and losing sight of myself and my interests and it is pursuing Him above everything else. And you know what? Death is damn painful. It hurts. My dreams are amazing. He put them there! I really want to see lives transformed, I want to see things grow, I want to see people come alive, I want to get married, to pursue the heart of Jesus alongside a girl, I want to be secure with somewhere to live, enough money to pay the bills… it is painful surrendering these things. None of them are bad – but am I going to pursue these things above Jesus?

On Tuesday morning during a talk at Form, Jesus specifically said to me, “will you give up everything to follow me?” He’s said it before, He will say it again. On a Sunday morning it’s often easy to pray that prayer. “God, I’ll go anywhere, I’ll do anything.” But when you put it in the context of letting go of my dreams, the deep desires of my heart, it suddenly becomes harder. Let me be honest, there are things that I want that I sometimes want a lot more than I want Jesus. A lot more. Still! And so that is why I got down on my knees and I cried. I cried longer than I’ve ever cried before. Some of the aforementioned hopes and dreams came to mind and I painfully laid them down. Is this what taking up a cross looks like? Is this death? Is this #allin surrender?

#allin surrender is a process

I’m not telling this story to draw attention to myself – I’m telling it as dying is all I feel qualified to talk about at the moment. This is my story every day at this time. And that’s the truth – the reality of a life of surrender is that it is a continual process. God is moving in my life at the moment, removing all that hinders love so that only He remains. The reality is that I still need to let go of some things. A lot of things. There are still things that I am pursuing above Jesus. There are still things where I cling desperately to control. Surrender is a process that lasts a lifetime.

But it is a process that is worth it. It costs everything, but there is nothing that is worth more than the priceless privilege of intimately knowing Christ Jesus. He is beyond worth – His love is of infinite value. In the process of kneeling before Him, heart laid open with all my dreams, tears and snot pouring out, I knew His love so close to me. My dreams were put there by Him, but He wants to lead and guide me. He wants it to be a relationship with Him first and foremost. His will, not mine. Will you give up everything to follow Him, to cleave yourself to Him in the most close way, even if you never see those dreams and passions realised? It is hard, but it is worth it. It is the call of Christ. Come and die. He is the God who prunes us back in order to see us produce fruit. Not just fruit, but fruit that lasts – fruit with eternal value (John 15). This is what CS Lewis was talking about! We have to let every part of us die before that part can bring resurrection life. Nothing that has not died will be raised to life. It starts with surrender. That’s why Romans 12 urges us to be “living sacrifices”. We are to live from the sacrificial altar of #allin surrender – it is a place of refinement, death, sacrifice, but also a place of holy fire and therefore a place of intimate connection and closeness.

The ultimate surrender

The context of surrender is that Jesus has already done it. We do not have a dictatorial king who harshly gives us dreams and then snatches them from us. No, we have the true king who in all His splendour humbled Himself to the point where He surrendered everything, first by becoming human and living as us and then by surrendering His life, forever uniting Himself with us on the cross. That is #allin surrender. He set the standard. There was no greater price, no greater surrender. His desire for us was worth dying for. His desire for you means He would do it all again. In that context, surely giving up everything to follow and be with Him is so unbelievably worth it? He has made a way! We surrender in His strength. We pick up our cross, disregard ourselves and cling to Him. God, we want to chase after You with everything we have. We want to lay aside all that holds us back and fix our eyes firmly on You. Where You go, we will follow.

Keep nothing back.
Surrender everything.
Go #allin. It’s worth it.

Who will join me on this endeavor?

  1. Is your life a life of daily surrender?
  2. Are there any areas of your life where you need to surrender today?
  3. What steps do you need to take to surrender?

I put together a soundtrack of five songs of surrender on my music blog. Listen here.

If you’re wondering where the #allin hashtag came from you’ll need to read this blog I wrote. I’ve also written a blog about #allin compassion here.

#allin love, #allin compassion

25 Apr

If you’re wondering where the #allin hashtag came from you’ll need to read the last blog I wrote.


You probably haven’t heard this story before.

A man is travelling between two places. He’s just a normal guy, nothing extraordinary, no different from me or you. He’s just travelling from A to B. But on the way he gets jumped. The criminals beat him and take everything he has – clothes, money, everything. He’s half dead and left on the side of the road. He can’t move by himself.

(Ok, I might have lied, you’ve probably heard this story a million times.)

Our friend is in desperate need. Fortunately, the way he was travelling is a well trodden path and it’s not long before someone comes by. And through his eyes, swollen by the bruises, he sees potential hope in the form of a priest. Here’s a man from the temple, a man from the same culture and religion. But as soon as the priest notices the man, he crosses over to the other side of the road. Our travelling friend grimaces in pain and closes his eyes. He can hardly breathe; his ribcage sears with pain. The heat is unbearable for anyone, let alone someone in this condition. He is desperate.

There are more footsteps and our dehydrated and dying traveller opens his eyes again to see a Levite, someone set aside for religious duty. The second man is in just as much hurry as the first and when he reaches our friend in distress, he has a quick look and then he also crosses the road! Again, here’s a man from the same religious background, travelling the same road, walking the same A to B path. But there’s no time to stop.

Both these men were well-versed in the Scripture. They knew God (or thought they knew Him). They undertook religious rituals each day and were part of the established religious elite. However, when an opportunity presented itself in front of them in the form of a beaten traveller – an opportunity to love someone from the same religious background – they chose to cross over to the other side of the road. I don’t know their reasoning – was it because helping the man would lead to ‘religious uncleanliness’? Was it because the man was from a different social background and the two passersby believed themselves to be superior to him? Was it because they didn’t want to waste their money or effort on the man? Was it because they were in a rush and they just didn’t have enough damn time? Or maybe they just couldn’t be bothered?

Whatever the reason, it’s got me questioning – how often do we, the church family, do exactly the same?

  • How many Sunday mornings do we spend avoiding conversation with certain people because they’re awkward?
  • How often do we flee from opportunities to love people because they are different to us?
  • How often do we miss our chance to make a difference because we don’t want to inconvenience ourselves?
  • How often have we avoided sitting next to someone at church because we don’t like their personality?
  • How often have we groaned inwardly because a really needy person or a really difficult person to talk to has sat next to us?
  • How often do we not have enough time to care?
  • How often can we just not be bothered?

#allin love is practical love.

Thankfully for the man left on the side of the road someone did help. The person who helped was a stranger, a foreigner. He was a man from a different culture, a man with different religious beliefs, a man considered to be an enemy. But he stoops down low, bandages the wounds with oil and wine, gives him his own donkey and takes him to a place where he can rest and recover – paying for that accommodation out of his own pocket.

I don’t have enough fingers to count the amount of times I’ve missed these moments where love could have shined so very brightly. Whereas the Samaritan man realised that love transcended borders, beliefs and backgrounds, I don’t think I’m always quite there yet.

I’ve had various people come to me over the years and talk about seemingly hopeless situations. They had been robbed and were badly beaten on the side of the road. Their bruises were depression, their throbbing pain was a lack of self-esteem, their broken bones were a lonely emptiness. And I’d listen to these people sincerely, sometimes even helping a little bit, but at a distance. And, without realising, I’d palm people off with a great line: “oh, sorry to hear that, I’ll be praying for you.” Sometimes even in a text message. Now, I know there are some amazing prayer warriors around. Prayer is fundamental, but it was so very easy for me to say that. It was my equivalent of having a quick look and then crossing over to the other side of the road. I might have prayed a quick one liner, but what does the lonely person need? Friends, family, community. What’s the hopeless person need? Authentic hope found as we walk through the hardships of life in community. So often that has been me crossing the road. What’s your equivalent?

This is not the love that Jesus modelled!

The love that Jesus showed IS MORE than a text message. It’s more than our judgemental thoughts. It’s like that Samaritan who went beyond the call of duty for an enemy. It has a practical element that meets people where they are with what they need. It’s not half-hearted, it’s not reluctant… it’s #allin. Fact. I’ve been on a journey learning about this for the last few years.

Jesus got alongside the people that the rest of the population thought were a waste of space. He touched the lepers, He stopped and went to tea with the hated tax collectors and He spent time with prostitutes and valued them for who they were. He picked a bunch of uneducated fisherman as His inner circle of friends. He gets down and washes our feet – He serves us even though He is King.

#allin compassion is gut wrenching.

When it comes to love, Jesus went #allin. He didn’t settle for ‘love’ at a distance. He didn’t cross the road to get away from the ‘difficult’ people. No, Jesus had compassion. It oozes from the pages of all four Gospels – just look how many times it says “Jesus looked at [the person] and had compassion”. What’s compassion? Two definitions from the dictionary:

  • “deep awareness of suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it”
  • “a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it”

Do we have deep awareness for the people around us? Do we have that desire to alleviate distress and misfortune of our brothers and sisters around us? Jesus did. Even more interesting is that the Greek word that the Bible uses for ‘compassion’ is splancthna, which literally means ‘bowels’. That’s right – Jesus’ compassion was a deep pain in the gut. It wasn’t pretty. It was gut-wrenching. I know people say that love is not a feeling and I’m not saying that we should all aim to be Myers-Briggs personality type ‘feelers’, but love has to move us. Jesus’ heart broke for the people around Him – He experienced pain inside His stomach – a deep longing, a gut-wrenching compassion. When Jesus looked at people, He felt something. A kick or punch in the stomach that drove Him to the outcasts, the untouchables, the hated and the rejected.

When we turn away, He does not turn away.

Oh God, I want to love like you. I want to go #allin. I want to love like this.

My question is this: are we going to be a church full of priests and Levites who are close enough to see, but don’t have enough love to stop? Or are we going to ask God to release a deep compassion within us so that we can love our brothers and sisters around us?

What would happen if we got this right within the church? No more half-hearted “Sure, I’ll pray for you” texts, no more avoiding the easily avoidable, no more conversations behind people’s back, no more whispers in the corridors, no more malicious rumour, no more empty conversation. But instead… real, gritty, authentic love. Meeting people where they’re at. Giving them time. Meeting their needs. Loving them. Because in a way, that’s revolutionary – a place where #allin love and compassion reigns; a place where everyone is loved and valued for who they are; a place where needs are met. And maybe that spills out onto the streets, maybe we become known for love rather than hate and judgement, maybe that’s the catalyst for transformation. Is that what the church family could be?

It’s worth a try.

You can see why Paul said that without love we’ve got nothing.
Because without love, we’ve not got a thing.
God, teach us to love like you.

#allin love, #allin compassion. Or nothing.