Sharing my delightfully small timber-framed terraced house with my wonderful wife, my two beautiful kids and my 7 stone dog (a.k.a ‘the freak’) as well as not having a permanent church building, means that I haven’t actually had the privilege of being able to use an office/study for over a year now. The vast majority of my sermons (I preached over 100 of them last year!) are prepared on my sofa with my Bible and lap-top next to me, and my little girl climbing all over me, trying to turn off what I’m working on so that she can go on the Cbeebies website! I usually see the funny side of it, but sometimes it’s quite difficult because as much as I love being around my family, I don’t want my church to get second-rate sermons in the name of the Tweenies! So I’ve had to look for a new way of spending time with God and digging into His Word for timely nuggets of truth for my people. And God in His grace has once again come up trumps!
Three minutes from my front door there’s a big field that stretcthes to the very top of Trevethin. At the very top of the field is a bench with the most stunning view ever (well not maybe not ever…but it is awesome!) From the bench you can see all the way down the valley and across the Severn estuary to Portishead, and across the valley to the familiarly rounded hills on the other side. It’s impossible to walk my dog to the bench, or even open my curtains each morning, without being reminded every day of Psalm 121:
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Church-planting is hard. So is being a pastor! There are few days that I walk my dog and pray without feeling the weight of responsibility for the mission and the people that God has trusted to me. But I love that God has given me a daily reminder to lift my eyes away from my situation and towards Him – the God of mercy, strength and hope! He made those hills and has been sustaining them ever since! Why wouldn’t I worship Him for being awesome, or look to Him for help in times of need?
I love that bench! It’s now widely known as ‘Dai’s Office’ by people in the church. The bulk of my prayer, pastoral chats, sermon prep and meetings are all conducted in my ‘office’ on top of the hill (weather permitting!) It’s a seriously special place to me!
My encouragement to you, the reader, is whoever you are and wherever you’re at – always find time and reason to lift your eyes to our Big God of Grace!