"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

Showing category "Reflections" (Show all posts)

The joy of giving

Posted by Anne Witton on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, In : Reflections 


This morning I was interviewed as part of some research on charitable giving at Northumbria University. I was asked about which charities I give to, how I give and my motivations, which was a great opportunity to reflect.

I haven't always given to charity and for me it's been a process of growing in my faith, trusting God more, appreciating what he's giving me, and realising that what Jesus said is true - it really is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20: 35).

There are a number of thi...

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Life in the Fast Lane

Posted by Anne Witton on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, In : Reflections 


I have just had quite a busy two months, what with a work trip to Paris, running training in Birmingham, speaking at two conferences in London, doing a Master’s assignment, going to Granny’s funeral, completing the 3 week summer school intensive for my Master’s in Gloucester and visiting family in Manchester. I’m now home and supposedly having a bit of a rest, but I’ve realised how hard it is to stop.

I have a wooden block by my bed with the verse ‘Be still and know that I am God...

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Are we efficiently miserable? Relational breakdown vs the Kingdom story

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, June 4, 2018, In : Reflections 



Sometimes it’s hard to see what the goal of human progress is. As technology develops, we’re doing things quicker and more efficiently than ever before, but at what cost?

We’re bugged by constant reminders and notifications. We have advanced technological systems to keep us in line and ‘on track’ but what’s it all for?

We seem to be advancing technologically at the expense of human contact and community. We've lost the ability to relate to strangers. We can now perform mos...


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Rest

Posted by Anne Witton on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, In : Reflections 


This post is based on a talk I did at the Student Life Hub on the subject of rest.

What is rest?

  • Are resting and relaxing the same thing?
  • Is rest an active or a passive thing?
  • Does it mean doing something or is it about cutting things out?
How do you like to rest? 

Maybe you like to sleep, watch Netflix, do crafts, sport, music, get out in nature, meditate, read, or do some gardening…

I’ve been trying over the last year or so to be much more intentional about what I do with my downtime so that...

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A heart of flesh and a heart of stone (Ezekiel 36)

Posted by Anne Witton on Saturday, March 31, 2018, In : Reflections 

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Giving what is most precious: Lessons from a young boy and his Easter egg

Posted by Anne Witton on Thursday, March 29, 2018, In : Reflections 


When I was younger, my family and I were often on holiday over Easter. Mum and I had a tradition that we’d always go to the Easter service at the local church, which I really enjoyed.

One Easter, we were on holiday somewhere in Wales and I was sitting in the pew next to a young boy and his mother. As is traditional at many churches on Easter day, all the children were to be given a chocolate egg at the end of the service. The little boy next to me clearly knew about this custom and was eager...

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Why I agree with the atheists: 9 reasons I’m pleased that Christendom is crumbling

Posted by Anne Witton on Thursday, March 22, 2018, In : Reflections 


You may have seen a recent Guardian article with the headline “'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe.”

Lots of vocal atheists are hailing this as good news, and there are 9 reasons why I agree with them.

But first, a (very short) history of Christendom. Christendom can be defined as simply the global community of Christians, but that’s not how I’m using the term here. Bishop Curry in ‘Farewell to Christendom: The Future of Church and State in America’...

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Loving God

Posted by Anne Witton on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, In : Reflections 


“Jesus replied, ‘“Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
(Matt 22: 37 - 38)

What does it mean to love God? Maybe some of us would struggle to answer that question.

When I was younger I used to be taken by my Gran to see my great Auntie Nellie. I used to love going there because I knew that at the end of the visit I would be given 20p spends. Did I love Auntie Nellie? The truth is that I didn...

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What's wrong with the world?

Posted by Anne Witton on Friday, February 2, 2018, In : Reflections 


The word ‘sin’ isn’t used much these days is it? We talk about making ‘mistakes’ as if it’s accidental. We talk about ‘inappropriate’ behaviour (a bit like wearing ‘inappropriate’ shoes for a night out). We talk about ‘misconduct’ as if someone wasn’t paying attention in deportment lessons and has been presenting themselves is a sloppy manner. We say ‘oh well, nobody’s perfect’ to excuse lying, selfishness, being deliberately horrible to people, holding grudges...

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4 reasons to memorise Scripture (and 6 apps to help)

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, January 15, 2018, In : Reflections 


In the 'olden days', most children went to Sunday school where one of the things they would have learnt is to memorise Scripture. These days, many of us are growing up with a poor knowledge of God’s word and relying on our Bible apps on our phones. And yet memorising Scripture is vital. Here are 4 important reasons why:

(1) Warfare

We can become complacent and forget that we’re engaged in spiritual warfare and yet the Bible says ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you’. Je...


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Bamboo toothbrushes and justice for the poor

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, January 1, 2018, In : Reflections 


Christians - especially evangelicals - are sometimes rightly criticised for being environmentally irresponsible and simply not caring enough about living sustainably on the earth. It’s hard for church to be attractive to my ethically aware friends when they’re confronted by hundreds of disposable plastic communion cups. And I must admit that for a long time I thought of environmentalism as an ‘optional extra’ rather than an integral part of my obedience to Jesus.

It’s clear right fro...

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BCE: Is it really time to erase Christianity from history?

Posted by Anne Witton on Sunday, October 29, 2017, In : Reflections 


It seems there’s more and more pressure to erase Christianity from history to avoid offending those of other faiths or of a secular worldview. 

A recent investigation by the Mail on Sunday found that more schools using BCE and CE instead of BC and AD to avoid offending those of non-Christian faiths. 

This strikes me as ridiculous for three reasons:

(1) The terms BC and AD are hardly used in a proselytising way. They’re just a convention in the Gregorian calendar and I’m sure that lots of p...

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How can I love people I don’t like?

Posted by Anne Witton on Thursday, October 5, 2017, In : Reflections 



It’s hard to love everyone. It’s almost impossible to like everyone. Yet, there are ways that we can develop a more Jesus-like heart towards those we find difficult.

God has been challenging me about loving my enemies.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
Matt. 5: 44 - 45

I used to rather piously think I didn’t have any enemies. Perhaps it’s true that there’s no one who’s trying to k...


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God’s moral law

Posted by Anne Witton on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, In : Reflections 



It seems that we’re living in a post-truth world, surrounded by fake news in a post-modern culture of extreme moral relativism. How many times have you heard someone say, ‘Well that might be true for you, but it isn’t true for me.’ or ‘This is my truth’?

A difficulty with moral relativism is that right and wrong become simply a matter of opinion. There is no intrinsic rightness or wrongness and no substantive or qualitative difference between 'Don't drive through a red light' and ...


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Philip and the Ethiopian: Lessons in evangelism

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, July 31, 2017, In : Reflections 


I recently preached at Kelvin Grove church in Gateshead and my text was Acts 8: 26 - 40. I’m not going to recreate the sermon here or go into the background and exegesis of the passage, but I did want to highlight 4 things we can learn about Philip’s approach to evangelism:

(1) Relying on the on the Holy Spirit
Clear that Philip relied on and was directed by the Spirit (v.26, 29, 39). He was open to going where God told him to go in the power that God gave him, and we need to do the same. W...

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The C word: Why is celibacy so misunderstood and undervalued?

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, July 3, 2017, In : Reflections 

Celibacy is like a dirty word in our culture - something to be ashamed of. People don't know how to react when I say I'm celibate (but it ranges from embarrassed silence to pity, to disbelief, to thinking that there must be something seriously wrong with me, to being intrigued or impressed). It may be misunderstood in our culture, but celibacy is liberating, demanding, exhilarating and above all, a gift from God. 

Part of the problem is that our society equates intimacy with sex and treats sex...

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Letting God Drive: Pain, prayer and the Holy Spirit

Posted by Anne Witton on Sunday, May 21, 2017, In : Reflections 


I suffer from Bipolar Disorder and have to be careful about my routine in order to keep my mood stable. I definitely overdid things in the first few months of this year, which led to me feeling burnt out and struggling with low mood. The doctor signed me off work so that I could rest and recuperate and my colleagues and friends have been very supportive in recognising this need to regroup.

The first few weeks were very difficult and I didn’t feel capable of much, but I very clearly felt held...

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Wholehearted From the Start - The Gospel

Posted by Anne Witton on Thursday, February 9, 2017, In : Reflections 


Last weekend I had the opportunity to speak at the Agapé MOVE conference - a celebration of 50 years of ministry in the UK. It was a brilliant weekend and an opportunity to praise God for the gospel transformation he has brought to so many lives.

A number of people have asked for copies of my talk so here it is.

Download the audio (MP3 - Duration 20 mins)

Download the transcript (PDF)

Download the PowerPoint

Transcript below

Wholehearted from the Start

Many of us here have had our lives transformed...

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Repentance 101

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, January 9, 2017, In : Reflections 



I have been challenged recently that I’m not repentant enough in my walk with God. Sometimes I find it too easy to just say a blanket ‘Sorry for all the bad things I’ve done’ without really thinking about it. But I want to be better at being honest with God about specific areas of struggle and allow the Holy Spirit to change me to be more Christlike.

I searched for some stuff to help and couldn’t really find any step-by-step prompts that I could work through every day, so I decided...


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Allowing our Father to clean up the mess

Posted by Anne Witton on Thursday, December 8, 2016, In : Reflections 
Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."



The other day I saw a little boy running along and he tripped and fell flat on his face. He was covered in mud and gravel with blood all over his knees and snot and tears all over his face, but his Mum scooped him up and hugged away the pain, getting covered in blood, snot, mud and tears in the process. He wasn’t embarrassed that she saw him in that state. He didn’...
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Amazing grace

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, November 7, 2016, In : Reflections 


This term has been really busy so far and it's got to that point where we're all feeling pretty tired. I've been finding it really important to remind myself that God is the one who sustains me and that I can't do ministry in my own strength. It can be very tempting to think that once God has done his work of salvation, it's then up to us to live up to his standards and become better people.

Most of us would probably agree that we don't need to prove ourselves to God or earn his love, but we c...
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Who matters?

Posted by Anne Witton on Friday, October 28, 2016, In : Reflections 



Here’s a quiz for you. You don't have to actually answer the questions.

Just read it straight through, and you'll get the point.

  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  2. Name the last five winners of the Sports Personality of the Year.
  3. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  4. Name the last five Entrepreneur Of The Year winners.
  5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
  6. Name the last decade's worth of Premiership winners.

How did you do?

The ...


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4 Thoughts on Evangelism

Posted by Anne Witton on Sunday, August 14, 2016, In : Reflections 


At church today we were reminded that as saved children of God we're all on mission. Our church banner says "Word, Community, Mission" to remind us that sharing our faith is an integral part of living as Christians in our world.

So here are 4 thoughts about the privilege and responsibility of sharing our faith:
  1. Evangelism stems from our own walk with God.
    Peter of Rheims, a French Dominican friar, said "Anyone who is not burning will not be able to set anyone else on fire."
  2. We're all qualified fo...

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How long does it take to become a mature Christian?

Posted by Anne Witton on Thursday, May 19, 2016, In : Reflections 


In today’s culture, we so often want quick fixes and instant results. We’re told that attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. The window of opportunity for catching someone’s attention in a YouTube clip is 5 seconds. We buy on credit because we don’t want to save up. We get impatient if we have to wait more than 5 mins for a bus. So often we want something instantly without having to wait at all.

In contrast, maturity is something that develops over time and with perseverance....
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Priorities

Posted by Anne Witton on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, In : Reflections 



I used to work at Northern Rock as a mortgage advisor. Once I had a customer who had a £300,000 mortgage and obviously had a good job, nice car etc. and he was haggling over £2.70 that he didn’t think he should pay. It got me thinking about priorities and how sometimes we have such a warped view of what’s important. Everything in society tries to tell you that your worth as a person is measured by your bank balance, your salary, the car you drive, your marital status, your children and ...


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Love each other - John 15

Posted by Anne Witton on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, In : Reflections 

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Lessons

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, August 31, 2015, In : Reflections 
Today I wanted to share with you a lovely poem written by my friend Lindsay Reid from her collection 'Certain Joy':

Lessons

I saw in Him a light that was unfading,
I saw in Him such power that demons fled,
I saw in Him a truth beyond all knowledge - 
Oh teach me Lord, I said.
He bent and poured some water in a basin,
Washed His disciples' feet. They don't deserve
Such treatment Lord!
I told Him but He answered
First you must learn to serve.

I saw in Him a future shining brightly,
I heard in Him a voice ...
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Why Ben Folds made me cry (And other reflections on emotion)

Posted by Anne Witton on Thursday, July 2, 2015, In : Reflections 



I’m quite an emotional person and find that there’s something cathartic about a good cry. And I don’t just cry when I’m upset. I sometimes cry when I’m angry or frustrated, or every when I’m bowled over by joy.

I went to see Ben Folds performing with the Northern Sinfonia at the Sage last year and it was so jaw-droppingly sublime that I found tears of happiness rolling down my cheeks. I felt alive!

When I became a Christian, it was drummed into me that feelings may or may not foll...


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The Prodigal Son [Guest Post]

Posted by Anne Witton on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, In : Reflections 
One of my friends and mission partners, Susanna (or Constable as I call her, rather ridiculously!), has recently written a very thought-provoking reflection on the prodigal son and has kindly allowed me to repost it here. She writes from the point of view of the church and the LGBTQ community as that is her area of ministry, but I think it's applicable to anyone who has felt less than welcome in the church, for whatever reason. It captures the spirit of how we're trying to connect with studen...

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New Staff Training Retreat - Heroes of Faith

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, January 12, 2015, In : Reflections 
Last week I was at the lovely Shallowford House for the New Staff Training Retreat, along with the other first year staff and interns. It was a great time of learning together, praying and having some retreat time to seek the Lord.



One of the things that we did was look at the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, so it was fitting that that was the passage I'd chosen to do my devotional on when we arrived.

Here's what I shared:

Hebrews 11 gives an account of men and women of God who have accomplished ...

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Enjoy the silence

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, November 24, 2014, In : Reflections 
"Be still and know that I am God"
Psalm 46: 10

Our world is full of noise. Everywhere we go there’s background music, ‘special offer’ announcements on the tannoy, big screen sports and stuff clamouring for our attention. I was waiting for Abby at the doctors the other day and the TV was on showing Jeremy Kyle with people shouting at each other. What an unrelaxing environment to sit in when you’re already feeling ill! In the summer, they even put huge screens up in public spaces outside ...

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An antidote to worry

Posted by Anne Witton on Wednesday, October 8, 2014, In : Reflections 


I have just returned from a brilliant Christian conference where I got a chance to hang out with some amazing friends and be challenged by some excellent teaching.

The focus of the Bible talks was the Sermon on the Mount, and one of the sessions that really spoke to me was the teaching on worry in Matthew 6: 25 - 34.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clo...

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Reflections on a broken window

Posted by Anne Witton on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, In : Reflections 
Yesterday I got home from a great team prayer meeting to find that the lounge window had been smashed. It looked very much as though someone had shot it so my first thought was "I wish I had one of those laser things they have in CSI so I can trace the trajectory of the bullet." Then I realised that I live in Gateshead and not Las Vegas, so I carefully examined the crime scene for forensic evidence of avian damage but could find no blood or bird carcass.



Then the reality sank in that it would ...
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