If it ain’t real, it ain’t worth it!

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Recently when we were away in the UK, we stopped to have a bit of lunch and bought some pasties (if you are not sure what one of those is, why not look it up on the internet?)

The company had the logo like in the photo – “If it ain’t real, it ain’t Cornish” Well they are the “Real Cornish Pasty Company” (no, this post is not sponsored by them but the pasties were delicious!!)

Two brief points of explanation…

‘Ain’t’ is slang English for ‘is not’. Cornish means from the county of Cornwall in south west England.

Today as I write, it is ten years to the day since moving to the Netherlands from the UK. There is so much that Helen and I are grateful for as we look back over the past decade. Thank you to the Lord but also thanks ICL, it has been good being on the journey together.

There is also so much that we have learnt in the easier and the tougher times (there have definitely been both!).¬†One lesson is the importance of being ‘real’. I don’t write that just because it happens to be a core value of ICL. Rather I write it since I believe it!

It is so easy to get caught up in playing ‘image games’ even within church circles. For instance to be struggling on the inside but outwardly put on a ‘christian smile’ and quote the ‘right Bible verses’! Now there is nothing wrong with smiling (try it!) and the Bible is powerful as the word of God for our lives. But if we are using it all as a pretence, then that is not being real!

In the past ten years there have been periods when we have struggled with various challenges. Yes the Lord has been faithful and brought us through but it has  been really tough at moments. Hurray for His grace and the church community!

Real of course includes putting away pretending, it includes vulnerability and even surrender. ‘In what way?’ you might ask. Well why not take time to reflect on that?

Is there someone you need to open up with about anything? Be wise in who you speak to but who could you trust to be honest with?

As part of Christ’s church in the Leiden area, we are called to grow together into maturity and that has to include authenticity.

As an international congregation made up of those from many different countries and diverse backgrounds, we need to be genuine, including facing at times that there are cultural challenges to truly growing together.

Paul in his letter to the early church community in Ephesus writes if a call, “that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13)

Such maturity requires genuine faith, being real!

What might it look like to be truly ‘real’?

In our families? In our prayers? In our gatherings together? In understanding one another and wanting the best for each other, as we follow Christ? In sharing about our faith with those outside of ICL? In how we approach living our lives in a beautiful yet fractured world?

If it ain’t real, it ain’t worth it! What do you think?