the baby and the bathwater

May 4, 2008, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

on: with respect or regard to

In a week where I been teaching, leading worship, listening to others teach, hanging out with friends who are great theologians & worship leaders & speakers, being involved in a community project ‘The Noise’ throughout Cheltenham, but mainly listening to God, I have been trying to articulate what He has been saying to me.

Thought I would share them with you. They are my own quotes, so please only blame me if they are rubbish.

On Theology: God’s generosity is greater than our theological understanding: His presence with us says more about His desire to reveal Himself to us than our ability to explain why He does.

On Experience: Our experience and our theology will come together if we keep seeking His presence and keep seeking His truth.

On Fire Tunnels: The similarities between a fire tunnel and Simpson’s Hit and Run level 4 are remarkable.

On Platforms: I probably disagree in part with everyone I share a platform with. The fact that I trust them is why I still do it.

On Generosity: Generosity doesn’t fit into a business model. One generous giver can blow our budgets to pieces. One outpouring of God’s Spirit can make our structures irrelevant in a moment. Come Lord Jesus.

On Treasure: When God asks us to treasure something, He means that we should spend it wisely and spend it all.

On Songwriting: It’s not good enough to be ‘not incorrect’ when writing a lyric.

On Mystery: Knowing that we live with the mystery of God should compel us to find out more about Him. Dive into the cloud, don’t just sit and admire it from a distance.

On Leaders: The fact that people follow you doesn’t mean you are right. It just means that you are a leader.

On Fears: My fears are an expression of my dependence on God, not of my lack of faith in Him.

On Revelation: What God doesn’t do reveals as much of his nature as what he does do.

On Gifting: Never assume that the person who operates in gifting most effectively is the best one to teach about that gifting.

On Being Impressed: The sight of a few hundred local church people involved in community projects this weekend was strangely more impressive, and definitely more humbling, than 2000 leaders gathering for a conference during the week.

On Faith: A sick person who allows their dwindling life to be lighted up by the Hope that is Jesus Christ exercises a very deep faith.

On Bible verses: There are 31,103 verses in the bible. Read each one in the context of the other 31,102.


10 Comments so far
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Hi Neil

I love lots of these, especially the fire tunnel one, but I’ll just comment on one:

On Being Impressed: The sight of a few hundred local church people involved in community projects this weekend was strangely more impressive, and definitely more humbling, than 2000 leaders gathering for a conference during the week.

The church people doing God’s work in the community give us a view of what God is doing all the time – reaching out with love, healing, hope, compassion etc. Of course that’s exciting as well as impressive and humbling.

The church leaders weren’t there to impress or to humble anyone. They were there to have a much needed break from being in charge, to sit in the congregation and receive for a change. It’s not impressive, but it’s still a good thing. What matters is not what happens at the conference as such, but what happens afterwards – do all those leaders go back to work having been envisioned or refreshed or empowered or something else good? That’s what might be impressive and humbling if we could see it.


Comment by Ruth

Of course I agree. I wasn’t trying to make a judgment on whether people were trying to impress, or attaching any value or worth to either a conference or a community project.

It was really a personal reflection on what had made the biggest impression on me. I guess I’ve seen so many big conferences down the years – all with huge worth and value – but I just haven’t seen many things like this last weekend.

Comment by Neil Bennetts

Inspiring post Neil…

Just tagged you for a meme…feel free to participate (check out posting on my blog).

Comment by Andy

I’m thoroughly inspired by such a concise yet profound series of Godly disclosures.
‘Revelation’ is a wonderful gem and I have made it into a wallpaper for my desktop now.

Comment by CPM

Thanks cpm. really appreciate your comments.

who are you?


Comment by Neil Bennetts

Oh I am Chris.
My inlaws go to Trinity so I visit from time to time and enjoy it a lot.

I just started a job as a worship director and it is the biggest learning curve of my life.

Comment by CPM

I wanted to pick out a couple that particularly resonated with me, but I think I’d end up re-quoting the whole post.

On helpful blogposts – this one.

Comment by thebluefish


great to hear from you. make sure you introduce yourself to me next time you are up in cheltenham! we can talk worship leader stuff.


Comment by Neil Bennetts

On Revelation – a fascinating thought, Neil. Especially as you have just come back from spending time at a conference where we were all directed to look at what God is doing, not at what God is not doing. And I somehow find the emphasis of Bill Johnson’s teaching and your observation, whilst apparently mutually exclusive, or at least confusing, to be actually paradoxically simultaneously both attractive and godly.

On gifting: of course. The one with the teaching gift should teach. George Bernard Shaw: “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.” Well, not quite the theology I’m looking for, but close enough. St Paul has it a bit better…

Comment by Marcus G


Great to have your comments – and to read your blog too!

Of course the leaders conference triggered some of my thoughts. And I agree in essence with what Bill Johnson was saying, especially in the context he was talking about – i.e. if this is Jesus’ ministry then we should find out what he is doing and invest our energies in that.

The harsh reality, though, is that the people we pray for don’t always get well; brutal dictators still dictate; disasters still happen… We should be big enough as people to try and get our heads and our hearts around such things as part of our journey of faith – Even John Wimber, when asked to go and pray for someone who was unwell, would seek God and ask ‘is it this person’s time to die?’ he didn’t automatically assume that a healing was what God wanted. We just need to make sure that we do not replace faith with formula.

Comment by Neil Bennetts

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