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Love one another

As we looked across the street I saw our neighbour’s door wide open, “that’s strange” I said to Monic. Even stranger, keys were still in the lock and her car was gone.
Worriedly, we crossed the road, rang her bell, but alas no answer. We alerted her next door neighbour and after some discussion we all decided to go in and look around. We checked everywhere and thankfully, all was in order.
Next, we locked up her home, keeping the set of keys. A call was made to her mobile phone, but there was no answer, so a voicemail message was left. Another few hours passed. Later that day we found out that our neighbour had been completely distracted by a pressing matter and had simply left for work and forgot to close and lock her front door.
Thankfully, all was well.
When asked by a Lawyer which of the commandments was the greatest, our Saviour Jesus Christ answered by summarising all of the commandments as follows… β€œThou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Matthew 22: 37-39
I’d like to share three short experiences from this week, all of which happened whilst walking home. Each reminded me about how important it is to “love thy neighbour”.

#1

A few neighbours a little distance from our home were having a terrible argument on the street. It was just awful. There were raised voices, several expletives used by each other, name calling and accusations made. It wasn’t a pleasant thing to witness, before it all calmed down.

#2

Monic and I witnessed an old lady stumble and then fall across the road. Along with 1 or 2 others we quickly ran to assist, providing some tender care until she had caught her breath and could stand once more.

#3

Our own dear neighbour, who is approaching her 90th birthday, who we have grown to love and respect so much over the last 15 years, is becoming quite frail and poorly. She is the most wonderful christian lady and has been an incredible neighbour. Lately it has been quite difficult for her. Her family have rallied around and we too visit frequently to help as best we can. Arriving home the other day, I discovered that she had fallen on the garden path, whilst carrying her washing basket. In a tender moment, I reached down, cradled her in my arms and after a little while helped her back to her feet, clasping her fragile hands in my own.
How difficult is it to follow the Saviour’s admonition to simply π₯𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐑𝐞𝐫? Opportunities to serve and minister are all around us, if we will but open our eyes and see.
Through our own conduct, with warm hearts, tender acts of gentleness and kindness, lets take time to uplift all of those who whose hands may be hanging down and wearying. We too can follow the example of Jesus Christ and honour the two great commandments, by simply loving one another.

Unity

Joe Biden spoke last week onΒ #unity. We all know that in society today, you don’t have to look very far to find disunity, disharmony and distrust.

Consider this story, shared by Barbara Lewis…

β€œA young boy visited his uncle, a lumberjack. At the lumber camp, the boy saw a huge tree standing alone on the top of a hill. He enthusiastically pointed the tree out to his uncle, saying, β€œLook at that big tree! It will make a lot of good lumber, won’t it?” His uncle looked down at the boy and shook his head. β€œNo, son, that tree will not make a lot of good lumber. It might make a lot of lumber but not a lot of good lumber. When a tree grows off by itself, too many branches grow on it. Those branches produce knots when the tree is cut into lumber. The best lumber comes from trees that grow together in groves. The trees also grow taller and straighter when they grow together.”

Similarly, so it is with all of us.

We are better individuals, more useful timber, when we grow together, unified, rather than alone. Unity begins with you! With a common goal it is the glue that holds us all together.

We build unity when we serve others, showing that we genuinely care. Unity is a critical ingredient for harmony and success.

Let’s build unity and live without disputes among us.

Travelling the Road of Life

What a challenging year.
As I slow down for Christmas and reflect upon the last 12 months, I am reminded of one of my favourite old fables. Time and again it reminds me of what really matters most of all. Despite the challenges of 2020, I hope it will give you some clues to your own purpose in life.

The King’s Highway

β€œOnce a king had a great highway built for the members of his kingdom. After it was completed, but before it was opened to the public, the king decided to hold a contest. He invited as many as desired to participate. Their challenge was to see who could travel the highway best.
On the day of the contest, the people came. Some of them had fine chariots, some had fine clothing, fine hairdos or great food. Some young men came in their sports togas and ran along the highway. People travelled the highway all day, but each one, when he arrived at the end, complained to the king that there was a large pile of rocks and debris on the road at one spot, and this had hindered their travel.
The Finishing Line
At the end of the day, a lone traveller crossed the finish line and wearily walked over to the king. He was tired and dirty – but he addressed the king with great respect, and handed him a bag of gold. He explained, β€œI stopped along the way to clear away a pile of rocks and debris that was blocking the road. This bag of gold was under it, and I would like you to help me return it to its rightful owner.” The King replied, β€œYou are the rightful owner.” The traveller replied, β€œOh no, this is not mine. I’ve never known so much money.” β€œOh yes,” said the king, β€œyou’ve earned this gold, for you have won my contest. He who travels the road best is he who makes the road smoother for those who will follow”… Author Unknown.
As you have served others this year, what have you discovered?
It is my sincere hope that as we serve and help others along their paths in life at home, in our families, in our communities, in government and business organisations we will be ever mindful of the greatest servant of all, whose birth we celebrate this Christmas Season.
It has been wonderful working with many familiar folks this year, making so many new friends along the way too. In addition, working with new clients and organisations as well in 2020 has been incredible. To each and everyone, may I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year.

Loud voices

As the flames rage, smoke billows and the embers burn, 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 loud voices argue on……good morning world.

Global Pandemic, economic carnage, climate change, terrorism, disease – need I go on!

The world is in commotion.

Welcome to Planet Earth – 2020

What can I do? What can we do?

Sure, I can make certain that I follow social distancing, recycle my waste and follow the laws of the land.

And yet, this morning, like every morning, somehow I look to the future with hope for a better world, a brighter future.

There are better days ahead. We will get through this challenge. And the next , and the next and the next.

You see, I can choose to make a difference every single day.

An act of kindness.

An act of service.

An act of compassion.

There is always someone to reach out to.

Just open your eyes and look.

It is up to you and me, to make a difference, every single day, one by one.

What will you choose to do today?

What part will you play today?

What “𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭” will you play today?

Every day – I make commitments to myself, my family members, my friends, my work clients and to voluntary opportunities that I love to serve in.

For example, yesterday I had a key “𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭” to play as the facilitator in a global virtual workshop, with 129 participants. I turned up atΒ 6.00amΒ (GMT), ready to guide each participant through the experience. Shortly afterwards my heart leapt when I received this lovely comment – “I must say today’s session was one of the best ever with such a spontaneous audience and so many volunteers! Thank you as always for making it so engaging and delivering it with such high energy!”

I loved playing my “𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭” in the whole experience.

Yesterday, I was also thrilled to play my 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 as a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a coach, a friend, a servant and a leader.

Wherever you are, whatever you choose to do with your life, may I invite you to consider this phrase quoted so frequently by David O. McKay – “What e’er thou art, act well thy 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭”.

Acting your part well simply means that wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you choose to do it to the best of your ability and to be as useful as you possibly can.

How will you choose to play your “𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭” today?

Small things

“Let’s see how far you can reach” said the optician. As it turned out, not very far! “Okay, let’s see if I can help” he continued.

I knew my eyesight had deteriorated and it had been well over 2 years since my last test. Lockdown had delayed my test even further, plus I was now spending so much more time behind a laptop screen every day, I was sure that wasn’t helping.

So the optician went to work by trying lots of different lenses, tweaking them a little here and there. It seemed complex to me, but it was obviously simple for him. Every now and again he’d asked me to read the chart again, and little by little, my sight improved, until finally he said “that’s you now with 20/20 vision.”

What a difference, as I was able to read down to the smallest of the letters on the chart.

My vision changed.

By small and simple things, great things happen.

The world has been turned upside down.

Just like the optician helped restore my 20/20 vision, what small and simple things can you do to help someone in need, at home, at work or in your community?

Slow Ahead

Are your summer holiday plans in ruin? Our hopes of a Norwegian Fjord cruise planned for July with a dear friend faded, as the global pandemic impacted holidaymakers the world over.

And what now? In the current global turmoil, holidays almost seem so trivial.

Waking up this morning to the disturbing news of further rioting in the USA over the death of George Floyd, put into context any thoughts of holidays.Β  Watching the protests and Trump’s response was tragic. Slow ahead or even half astern may be more appropriate terms to use as chaos unfolds in the land of dreams.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said in 1962, “We are simply seeking to bring into full realization the American dream – a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality, of opportunity, of privilege of property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men no longer argue that the color of a mans skin determines the content of his character, the dream of a land where every man will respect the dignity and worth of human personality.”

Currently, there are many leaders sat in the Captain’s chair. Their greatest challenge is to navigate their organisations and governments through stormy waters, into a safe harbour – slow ahead. Working together, building mutual respect, understanding and leading by serving one another is key.

Consider this question – how can I best serve others?

Bored?

Bored? Confused? Fed up? Scunnered? Fatigued? Unhappy? Floundering? Depressed? Down? Gloomy? Flagging? Weary? Sad? Flat?…..

All of the above?

Yep – its tough at the moment, for sure.

This week when it was getting tough, I learned a very powerful lesson (again). It’s a simple thing, that will overcome all these feelings….

What is this straightforward remedy?

Forget yourself and Serve.

Serving others with love, will open the door and flood your life with greater meaning, purpose and joy.

Why not give it a go today! You know you want to! I promise you won’t regret it.

Extraordinary

To be someone out of the ordinary means to be successful, unique, and outstanding.
In these extraordinary times, I feel it in my bones, that each of us – more than ever – need to be the very best we can be. It is all too easy for us to look inward and centre our thoughts on the challenges we may face in our individual situations, it can even get us down. But we must look beyond ourselves – it is vital for our families, our communities and our nation.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Even the smallest of simple acts of service, can make a huge difference in the life of a friend or family member.
𝐍𝐨𝐰 is the time to act. Just like the sacrifices our healthcare nurses and doctors are giving every single day, we need to forget ourselves and go to work!
For a whole week now I have been following the remarkable story of Captain Tom Moore.Β  Approaching his 100th birthday, he desired to do something extraordinary and raise Β£1000 for the NHS.Β  His idea, to complete 100 laps of his garden, with the help of his walking frame. Currently he has just passed Β£12 Million. His one simple extraordinary act, has inspired nearly 1 million people to step up and help.
So, again I ask – what can you do?
We have a world to save, a nation to strengthen, a community to help, friends, neighbours and family to bless. One by One. Lets go to work!