Travelling the World for the Glory of God (Part 2)

Here we continue our discussion of five ways we can glorify God when on holidays. You can find the first post, including the first three points here.
To recap, We have looked at how be intentional in glorifying God on holidays through:
1. Time spent enjoying God’s creation
2. Time spent reflecting, and
3. Time spent resting.

We coninue with:

4. Time spent in communion with the Lord

Whether your dream escape is a week on the beach with nothing to do, an adrenaline-packed outdoor adventure, or exploring big cities finding the best coffee and museums – holidays have down time. This could involve the hours spent on planes or buses (or waiting at the airport…), sitting down after setting up camp after a day spent hiking, or those endless afternoons by the pool. The nature of holidays is that they are different from your day-to-day life, in which family, work or study consume large portions of your time; on holidays, your time is yours to commit to whatever you choose. For this reason, one of the things I get most excited about when going on holiday is the time I have to spend with God. I can read the Bible, pray and have the time to read books that aid my walk with God that I wouldn’t have as much time to when at home.

Now of course this isn’t always  easy. We once went on a cruise where we had heaps of luggage allowance, and spent our days on the ship sitting in the lounge with unlimited free drinks, Bible and commentaries in hand. There were few logistical barriers for us spending time with God in that circumstance. But that is quite different to a 12 weeks backpacking holiday where you want to carry as limited luggage as possible, and every flight is overnight at the end of a long day, and the last thing you feel like doing it reading.

For our upcoming trip, on our budget flights out of Australia, luggage was expensive, so we have only 15kg each. And many of our flights are long and overnight, and we experience 6 different time zone changes throughout our trip, so we will be tired a lot. Therefore, we have had to be creative in the way we prepare for our opportunities to read and grow and spend time with God when we are away.
What we have found useful so far is:

1. Set aside intentional rest periods – No plans, just time to spend reading and discussing, so we don’t feel the pressure to fit this around our full itinerary. You could even plan in an hour at a nice cafe or the local park to spend reading and praying at.
2. Invest in some Christian audiobooks – This is my new favourite thing! We signed up to audible, and have bought some great books to listen to, and which will be perfect for tired plane trips when your brain isn’t up to reading, or for car/bus/train trips together.
3. Photograph your paper devotional or get a devotional app – Books are heavy, if you have a daily devotional you are using, reading one page a day on your phone isn’t too bad. Otherwise you can use an app (such as this one).
4. Take a book you read alongside the Bible and use a Bible app – I am still trying to find a way to fit my Bible in my luggage, but unfortunately my Bible is quite heavy. But I know that I struggle to read my Bible app like I do my real Bible; it’s convenience can become an excuse in not reading it because ‘I could read it whenever I want’. My favourite books are these God’s Word for You  books – they guide your reading with great exegesis, explanation and application. One of these alongside your Bible app is a great way to go (and is lighter than a Bible)! And as a bonus, you can also get some of these on audible.
5. Take your Bible anyway – If you are struggling to read your Bible, maybe taking it with you is the motivation you need. Knowing you have taken up that space and weight might make you more motivated to make sure you use it – with the prayer that you do so joyfully and can delight in God’s word.

5. Time Spent Serving

Now this point seems to stick out like a sore thumb. “I thought I was going on holiday to have a break from working” I hear you proclaim. Well the truth is, when on holiday, we don’t have a break from being a Christian. We are not called to stop loving others as part of our resting. And so when we are on holidays, we are still called to serve others and to serve God, just as we are in our day-to-day lives – and this can actually be such a joyful part of travelling.
Of course when on holiday, you may need to be more creative than normal in the ways you serve. You are not at your usual home church, often not surrounded by people you know, and it is hard to have people over for dinner or babysit or cook meals for people. But you if you are travelling with others or visiting friends whilst you travel, it is a great opportunity to love and serve these people, whether by planning parts of the itinerary, cooking for people or shouting drinks or dinner; there are still many ways you can be intentional in serving others.

You will also most likely come into contact with people you don’t know in your travels, and have the opportunity to serve them in one way or another as well. We have recently been thinking about the culture of tipping in the USA, and coming from a country that pays their staff properly, we think the concept is completely ridiculous (and rather frustrating). But we have been challenged that maybe this is an opportunity to faithfully serve others, to be joyful in the opportunity to be generous to people we don’t know, for the sake of God’s glory.
More often than not, being unable to see a way to serve those around us is not because there is no way to serve them, but because we aren’t looking.

I hope and pray that these few ideas might be of encouragement or challenge to you, for whenever your next holiday may be.

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Heart Questions: A Privileged Role in the Kingdom

You are not needed by God. I am not needed by God. God is all powerful and all sovereign, He is perfect in his character and has always been, long before the creation of the Earth. Yet here we are, living out our lives to share the gospel  and make disciples, spending each day aiming to glorify God in all we do, pursuing knowing Jesus and make Jesus known. We do this despite not being needed. Why?

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Reflecting on The Judgmental Heart

No one really enjoys sharing their weaknesses, let alone their sins. Even if we understand the great benefit that can come through sharing and confession to others (for both ourselves, our fellowship, and even for others learning from our mistakes), it can feel humiliating. We are often ashamed of our sin, discouraged by our failings, and now more than ever through social media, we can really portray ourselves how we want to be seen, having it all together in a ‘perfect’ life – so why would we want to tarnish that by sharing how short of the mark we fall?
As I explored a bit in my first reflective post Reflecting on Reflecting, I think that vulnerability and, alongside it, openness and authenticity is a vital part of Christian growth and community, so I want to share with you one (or some!) of my recent  failings and what I have been reflecting on it.

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Stand Firm: Preparedness in the Gospel of Peace

” And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” (Eph 6:15)

When thinking about our preparedness for a spiritual battle, being ready for war against Satan and evil, ‘peace’ is probably not the first word that comes to your mind. In fact, when I first sat down to look at this verse in Ephesians in order to write this post, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say. The Belt of Truth and Breastplate of Righteousness are rich and deep, but at face value are also somewhat self explanatory- they make sense in the scene of battle. But shoes of peace – maybe not so much. Does it mean we should be pursuing peace? Or searching for peace? Or if we wear these said shoes we will have peace despite a raging battle around us?

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Stand Firm: Protecting Your Heart with Jesus’ Righteousness

If I was to ever be sent into battle and was only allowed one piece of armour (a ridiculous hypothetical situation I know, but bear with me), I think it would be a tough choice between a breastplate to protect my heart and lungs, or a helmet to protect my brain. An injury almost anywhere to the body can be life threatening if you lose enough blood, but ultimately without a functioning heart or lungs (or brain to control them) you have a death sentence. Hence in battle, protecting these vital organs is essential for survival. So today we continue our series on standing firm by looking at the breastplate of righteousness, and how righteousness is a fundamental part of our battle against Satan’s schemes.

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Spiritual Emergencies – Responding to a Trauma Call

Today I witnessed my first serious trauma admission in the Emergency Department. When a trauma call is made, it is ‘all hands on deck’. As soon as a call comes through from the paramedics, the team starts preparing—the room, the equipment, the medications. Everyone knows their roles and there is a set protocol of what needs to happen to stabilise the patient. Specialist teams are on standby, so specific skill sets are available if necessary – an anaesthetist for managing the airway and ventilation, neurology and neurosurgery teams for looking after the brain, and surgeons in preparation for managing the sustained injuries. Trauma is unexpected, it can be messy, and outwardly, it is often very clear what is going on—if a leg is cut open and bone is sticking out, you know that there is a fracture and probably a lot of blood loss.

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