Reading the news these days is like watching a train wreck in slow motion—except it’s not a train, it’s the whole world. And like a train wreck, as horrifying as it is to watch, it’s also hard to look away. Every day I want an update on the war in Ukraine and the responses and effects on the rest of the world, and every day I know that the updates are going to make me sad when I see all the needless suffering of so many people who are made in the image of God. Of course, it’s hard to know exactly which updates are the truth and which are exaggerated for effect, or what is being left out, or what is going to happen next, but the general outlines of an unfolding tragedy are clear enough.
The stakes are high. Once again, the world is being shaken. We never even had a chance to catch our breath. The bad news just keeps rolling in every time I refresh the news feed, demanding my attention, shouting about fear and disaster, death and destruction and economic collapse. It’s shocking, worrying, tiring, and anger-inducing, all at the same time, and I don’t want to look away.
Continue reading My Head And The Headlines
This is a guest post by my friend Paul Ritchie, who is the pastor of Limerick Baptist Church. Paul’s new book “Is It Unspiritual To Be Depressed?” has just been released by Christian Focus Publications (you can buy it here, or from other online shops). It is a helpful resource for anyone who struggles with depression or anxiety, and for those who are trying to support friends or loved ones. Paul speaks honestly from his own experience, and wisely from God’s truth. I asked him to share a few thoughts about how to genuinely help those who are struggling with depression. Here are his suggestions:
The support group, AWARE, states that in the Republic of Ireland one in ten people are suffering the symptoms of depression at any given time. The figures are likely to be similar in the United Kingdom. That being the case, you can be sure that there are probably more people in your church who struggle with depression and anxiety than you realise. So, how can you help them?
Continue reading 5 Ways To Help Those Struggling With Depression
Music is powerful. While words that are spoken and read knock on the front door of your mind, asking for admittance, words set to music can sneak in unnoticed through the back window and before you know it they’re sitting in your best chair drinking a cup of tea with their feet up and a fire laid. And they never leave. I still know the lyrics to songs I learned decades ago, even though I never tried to learn them at all. The power of music is scary, considering the rubbish that finds its way so often to the top 40 lists. But the power of music can also be a strong ally for the times we desperately need to be reminded of the truth. This is probably why God included an entire song book in the Bible (the Psalms). Sometimes I need that song, sitting in the good chair, singing to me the same words again and again, singing hope and peace into my heart. On that note (pun intended) I’d like to share a few songs that have done this for me recently. These songs are not in any particular order, and I won’t be offended if you don’t like some of them. I just hope you can find something here that will help you like it has helped me.
Continue reading Songs That Have Helped