Tag Archives: Jesus

The Open Door of Lockdown?

My kitchen has smelt particularly aromatic recently as I have, amongst other things, attempted to bake bread, hot cross buns and marmite biscuits (mmmmm.) The first two have required yeast to make them rise. Yeast is incredible stuff.  A small amount kneaded into the dough doubles or triples its’ size. Watching it grow is pretty exciting!

My original plans for Spring did not involve much baking. Then Covid-19 took hold and, although life is still very full, it is also very different. Much of my life is lived on-line via Zoom and MS Teams meetings. However, I have a strong sense that God is giving me this opportunity to ‘do life’ alongside my neighbours, both blessing and being blessed by them!

At the start of this year, my husband Andrew and I held a party for the people in our part of our street. It was a great evening and there was a sense that God was up to something. We made various plans to follow up with another event and then ‘lockdown’ happened!

But what does it mean for us to be the church here in our street at this time?

On Easter morning, I popped a card (with email address) through each letter-box. I also delivered Easter eggs to every home. On my rounds I saw Jenny in her garden – she had been at our party. Jenny mentioned something about lunch and I explained that I’d been dim (not uncommon), left the chicken out of the fridge overnight and it had ‘gone off’.  By the time I returned home, there were two chicken dinners in takeaway boxes on our doorstep! Wow! Jenny blessed us so much on Easter Day!

I had several emails over the following days saying how people had been surprised and thrilled by the Easter eggs. One lady said that it had brought tears to her eyes. It was a small gesture and yet had made so much difference – perhaps much more so at this time than usual?!

Also, over the past couple of months I have painted pebbles with bumble bees, ladybirds, flowers and rainbows. On each pebble I have also put a word of encouragement such as ‘peace’ or ‘hope.’ (I write my house-number of the back of each one.) I am only half-way through our street but, little by little, everyone is receiving a pebble. People seem to really like them!

On Thursdays, like many of you, my neighbours and I go outside/lean out of our windows and clap for our key-workers. Once the applause is over, I have the joy of chatting to my closest neighbours. 8.05pm Thursday evening has become a precious time.  My neighbours have laughed and cried from their windows.  I have laughed and cried from the pavement. The Holy Spirit has clearly gone ahead and is at work in people’s lives. As I wander back each week to my house, I wonder……’God what are you doing?’

Then I remember that I don’t need to know what God is doing – my job is to knead the dough and let God provide the increase. My job is to be the church and to let God be God.

I believe passionately in the priesthood of all believers. I also believe that every believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit. It ‘blows my mind’ when I think about how the same Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you and me calling us to be the church, wherever we are.  It should ‘blow your mind’ too! This is not just about church ministers, but about EVERY believer being filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit to be the church wherever they are.  The sheer potential of the body of Christ as we are scattered across our villages, towns and cities is incredible!

I long that every believer would be equipped and released to be the church. I long that every disciple would know that the same Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in them!

I have a hope, not just that my baking will rise, but a much more important hope – that the church would recapture her passion for Jesus and would rise up and be the church…..kneading the dough, trusting God for the increase and ‘staying on mission’ – no matter what!


Jibing At Sea…


Monique is an accomplished sailor from Brittany. She set out from the Canary Islands over 2 years ago and has since been sailing around the world. She has called in at various ports along the way and during this time has, amongst other things, learned to surf, skateboard and sledge.

The world has too few well known female rôle models, so I am pleased to be able to say that I am in awe of Monique.

I am particularly in awe of her because people said that it wouldn’t work out. After all, she started her journey as an inexperienced sailor on a 39 foot yacht heading out into the vast unknown! People said that she just wasn’t cut out for that sort of journey or that sort of life. They said that she would find it far too stressful and that she would be much better off spending her life doing something ‘normal’ and more in line with her natural talents and abilities.

I know they say that you should never meet your heroes, but I would like to meet Monique…..

because Monique is a chicken…a hero chicken….

….a hero chicken who has been travelling round the world with a human called Guirée Soudée. Soudée has found, contrary to many peoples expectations, that Monique has been the ideal sailor companion for him. Whilst only eating rice and corn (plus the odd fish) she actually provides him with freshly laid eggs at sea. In addition to this, Monique provides him with company, entertainment and, says Soudée, ‘Compared with people, she doesn’t complain at all.’

Sometimes, we box ourselves in. We tell God that he can’t use us in this or that way because we are just not cut out for it. Perhaps we think that we are not experienced enough, gifted enough, eloquent enough, knowledgeable enough, old enough, young enough or whatever. Maybe we think that we are just too shy or perhaps too mouthy!

God can work in and through anyone in any way he likes!

God may assign us a task that is far beyond our power or resources to accomplish. Perhaps only then will we turn to him for the power, the knowledge, the skill and the resources that we need. Let’s stop focusing on our talents, abilities and interests to determine God’s will. Instead, why not seek God himself and just watch and wait as he equips us for whatever assignment He is wanting to accomplish in and through us.

When we tell God what we can’t do, we are actually saying more about our faith in God (or lack of it) than we are about our own abilities. Either God is all powerful or he isn’t. If He is all powerful, then we do not need to question our ability, strength or resources to complete His assignments. He will equip us to accomplish all He calls us to do.

Be like Monique…….I’m sure she never questions the call on her life or her abilities to fulfil the task.


*Tacking more than 180 degrees to avoid a jibe (usually in harsh conditions) is sometimes referred to as a ‘chicken jibe.’

Easter Poem



The Word gave up his majesty

To show us true humility

To dwell amongst humanity

And die upon a tree

His death that seemed a tragedy

It broke the chains and set me free

He took the blame instead of me

With what can I repay?


Buried to bring new creation

Rising to grant full salvation

Binding he that brings temptation

And trampling death and hell.

My heart cries out in jubilation

To Christ who is my vindication

To Christ who’s made my reparation

There’s nothing left to pay!


(Lindsay Caplen 2016)

Ear-wigs & Leaders!


A couple of weeks ago, I was ear-wigging on a conversation about an upcoming leadership role within a big church organisation.

‘They should have this background or that experience; they must have this qualification or that competency, along with a firm grasp of X, Y and Z’ came the people’s replies….

All suggestions were carefully recorded and many of them were very good.

One of the few woman in the group chipped in….

’I think we should be looking for a person of godly character.’ 

 ‘But, that will leave us in danger of appointing someone who is just too nice.’ said one of the men and the woman’s comment was swiftly ignored.

Well, the woman had been silly to suggest it. Of course, someone nice would never work out in that role! It was a role that would require someone prepared to ruffle a few feathers from time to time; it would require someone with the courage to speak honestly and challenge where challenge is required; it would require someone willing to take the people of God right outside their comfort zones………………….and someone of godly character couldn’t do that, could they?

I mean, Jesus would never have ruffled any feathers or posed a threat to the status quo would he? He was just too nice….it was being so nice and inoffensive that led him to the cross, wasn’t it?

Godly character and being nice are not the same! How did we come to domestic our faith so much that being anything other than ‘nice’ might affect our polite sensibilities? In so doing, we have often rendered ourselves potentially incapable of leading anything more revolutionary than a jumble sale or a tea party!

When it comes to leadership, a person’s competencies determine what that person can do. Their commitment determines what they will seek to do and their character determines what they will do.

Of course we need people of character and, specifically, of godly character!

Maxwell states that ‘Leadership is not something you do, it’s something you are….being must precede doing….to achieve greater results you must be a person of great character.’ (The 21 Most Powerful Minutes In a Leaders Day, Page 99)

Amen Maxwell! I don’t always agree with you, but leadership character perhaps now matters more than ever! As society increasingly rejects authority based on position, the church needs to offer the highest form of authority…an authority that comes from the transforming power of God working in and through a person/s – a power that gives an integrity and authenticity to all a leader is and does.

Yes….of course, all leaders are flawed, but leaders must be committed to becoming more and more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and dedicated to a much ‘higher calling’ than ‘people pleasing’ will ever be. That will be costly!

What about skills and competency? I am sure that when the Apostle Paul gave instructions to Paul and Titus to appoint of the basis of character, he was not suggesting that competence was unimportant! Indeed he almost certainly assumed that appointments would be made on the basis of a certain level of skill.  So, of course skills and competency are necessary, but a commitment to Christ led character development is a far better predictor of potential spiritual leadership ability than skill level.

Whilst skilful leaders are highly desirable, competency without character will eventually be undermined. The price of appointing on the basis of skills or gifting or even experience rather than character will always be too great, particularly in Christian leadership.

Final thoughts: I could go on about the core of a leaders life being one of love and integrity….about how that foundation is the wellspring that gives rise to empathy; lack of blame; humility; emotional mastery; accountability, confidence in Christ and calling; courage to take risks and the focus on the whole picture, but I’ll save that for another time.

I could also talk more about the high cost of leadership and the fact that many leaders will need to go through periods of trial, testing, broken-ness and personal sacrifice before they really start to realise their God given potential, but again I’ll leave that for another posting.

Finally, I sincerely hope that the people upon who I was ear-wigging make the right appointment….a man or woman who will probably spend a lot of time on their knees before they even accept such an appointment and then, who if they sense themselves called, will make themselves utterly available for God to work in and through in whatever way he chooses!

Imagine the impact on the Church, society, the nations and the powers and principalities if Christian leaders and those who follow them submitted themselves to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in this way!

Ladies, gentlemen, boys and girls – we have a responsibility! 

So, you want to be great for God?

A New Year thought that I believe really matters…for me at least! Over the past year, I have heard a number of people say that they want to give their lives to achieve great and significant things for God. That’s probably very worthy. However, it could potentially smack of wanting to be promoted to a position of importance in the Kingdom of God. Surely, the greatest, most significant thing that any of us can do is to humble ourselves before the Lord, seeking to be totally available and obedient to Him. That will help to ensure that our desires are Christ centred, not ‘us centred.’

The Methodist Covenant Prayer reads:

I am no longer my own, but yours.

Put me to what you will,

Rank me with whom you will;

Put me to doing, put me to suffering;

let me be employed for you

Or laid aside for you, exalted for you

Or brought low for you;

Let me be full, let me be empty,

Let me have all things,

Let me have nothing;

I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things

To your pleasure and disposal.

And now glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours.

So be it.

And the covenant now made on earth

Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

It’s not an easy prayer to pray, but it is a prayer of deep humility and a prayer of utter abandonment to God….and isn’t that where we should be? Whether we may be laid aside or exalted…..God is still God and His love for us does not differ one iota whether we are busy doing things for him or whether the most we can manage is to just let ourselves be ‘beloved of the Lord’!

Certainly, we can be sure that when God is looking around for those to whom he can entrust leadership, he will be looking first and foremost for those who are both available and obedient.