BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
Shutting out the noise
By Andrew Greenhalgh, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral
Do you know this poem?
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
It’s the final verse from Invictus by William Ernest Henley.
It’s one of those soul-stirring poems that are much beloved of sportsmen and women, motivational speakers and film directors.
It sounds good when spoken over some quietly emotional classical music at the end of feel-good films about overcoming adversity.
There’s only one problem with it.
It’s not true.
I am not the master of my fate. Or the captain of my soul.
That would be God.
If there’s one thing I have learned in my 48 years on this planet (I know, I know, I don’t look a day over 47 and a half) it’s that I need to put God in charge of everything.
Yes, He wants to grant us the desires of our hearts, but He knows a lot better than we do about what’s best for us.
That’s a side issue.
What I really wanted to write about is what we allow to get into our heads.
Invictus sounds good and isn’t blatantly non-Christian. But the fact is, it’s a very worldly way of thinking and goes against what we should believe as Christians.
The world has very different values to God’s.
Not only will the world tell you that you’re in charge of your fate, but that your happiness is more important than anything else, and that having sex before marriage is not only acceptable but important.
It’s all what I would call a load of bobbins.
The fact is, though, that we are surrounded by this kind of stuff on a daily basis. Social media is packed with it and whole films and TV series are made about it.
But that doesn’t make it true.
The important thing – for me, at least – is to make sure that I don’t listen to it.
I know how important it is for me to keep an eye on what goes into my head. I’ve had to stop listening to any kind of music with swearing in it because I know that that language then creeps into my vocabulary.
Doing that is relatively straightforward – there’s an explicit filter on Spotify which I make very good use of.
It’s not so easy with the kind of stuff that the world has decided is fine but actually isn’t.
How do we turn on an explicit filter for the world? That’s not so easy.
Cutting ourselves off from the world would be one route but then we wouldn’t be able to bring others to the Lord.
The answer, as ever, is God.
We need to ask Him to help us recognise the nonsense that we all get bombarded with on a daily basis and reject it for what it is. Nonsense.
That’s not easy either, but with God’s help nothing is impossible, right?
Andrew Greenhalgh with his wife Julie
Nicki and Dave on how walking the streets and praying for our neighbours can lead to some unexpected opportunities to spread God’s word.
Gerry on how God promises to build our foundations with sapphires – and that if we trust and acknowledge Him, He will make our paths straight.
Danielle on giving thanks to God in every situation, whether things are going well or when it seems bleak.
Chantal Robertson on how the most important part of being a Christian is being on fire for Christ and in relationship with Him.
Dawne Cooper on how we’ve got a God who is greater than all the troubles we face in the world and who is above it all. Take Heart!
Andrew Greenhalgh on how God wants to hear ALL our prayers in detail – not just the “big” or “important” ones
“I am a creature of habit, I do not like change. I like to know what I’m doing and when I’m going to be doing it. I am an organiser and when I lose control of the events unfolding around me I lose my peace. Not good!”
Helen on Queen Elizabeth II and praying for our leaders – whether we like their ideas and agree with their policies or not.
Denise Griffiths on how our scars, whether visible or not, are not a sign of brokenness, but of God having healed us.
Andrew Greenhalgh on making the most of every opportunity God gives us
Yvonne on the lessons she learned from going to Newday for the first time – as the Jubilee 2022 sous chef!
Newday 2022 is over – hear what our leaders had to say about this year’s event.
A youth leader’s take on Newday and its power
Arlo on obeying what God prompts us to do even when it’s something we don’t want to do.
Chantal Robertson on how God knows best even when our plans are derailed and we can’t do what we had wanted!
Chris on celebrating our heavenly Father every day – and rejoicing in the fact that our celebrations will always be outstripped by his blessings on us.
Danielle asks us “Are you listening to the Lord?” and to pray for our young people a few weeks ahead of their trip to Newday this year.
“Everything that I relied on here on earth had gone and the life I thought was all set out in front of me melted away.”
Tracy, Benjy and Hannah were baptised on June 12, 2022 – here are their testimonies.
How Life Groups (or Home Groups, or Cell Groups) can change your life.
The Friday Tots team on how the new adults and tots group has been a huge answer to prayer.
Andrew Greenhalgh on doing what we were called to do – and doing it for the kingdom and His glory.
Gerry Mellors on the joy of knowing that God is in charge and that it is Him, not us, who has the master plan.
Nicki Frodsham on The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – and why we are called Jubilee Church Wirral.