Living with Eternal Perceptive – Paul Morris

This months guest blog is from Paul Morris. Paul is the Teaching Pastor at Hope Church, Rotherham and Junction 28 Church, Derbyshire.  He has served in Church leadership for many year and has a heart for international missions and has visited a number of countries including Sierra Leone, Kenya, Macedonia, Tanzania and the USA. He has been married to Victoria for over 30 years and they have three children Aaron, Jordan and Bethany



Matthew 6: 19-21

2 Corinthians 4: 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


It’s a sobering and often ignored truth that our life here on earth is but a tiny speck on the timeline of eternity. The difference between a human lifespan and eternity is almost like trying to compare a drop of water to an ocean. In light of this the Bible encourages us to live with an eternal perspective on our lives.

Many of Jesus’ parables remind us of the importance of keeping an eternal perspective, such as the parable of the rich man who stored up things for himself, the parable of the hidden treasure in the field, and the parable of the ten virgins. All of the time whilst on earth Jesus was pointing people to the truth of eternity, eternal living, a life that will go on into eternity – because we are eternal beings. Jesus taught that we need to invest into what is going to last forever and it is plainly obvious that it is teaching that we cannot and must not ignore.


But to you and me, what does having an eternal perspective mean, what does it look like in our daily living? It means having a whole change of the way we view our lives and existence which then impacts on our actions, our thoughts and our decisions.

Up to the point of our salvation we are governed by a culture that teaches us that life is all about the here and now…it’s all about me and what I can get, what I can do to benefit me and what I can achieve to better my life. It’s a mind-set that is basically selfish and self-satisfying, a mind-set that focuses on the 60, 70, 80 or so years of expected living


However, having an eternal perspective looks like a person who has had a revelation that points them to what is lasting and to what is free from earthly distractions that now causes them to live differently. It looks like a person whose whole life is functioning on the principle of Matthew 6:19 onwards “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. What was Jesus saying to us? He was saying, don’t fall into the trap of viewing your life as just what happens in the number of years you may have on this earth, don’t make the focus of your life the things the world tells you are important, don’t put all of your time and energies into things which are going to pass away.


Let me ask, if you examine your life right now, what is the focus of your life? What are you putting your entire God given resources into? Are you striving, with all that you have and are to get that ultimate career move? Are you working every hour that God sends in order to buy that dream house or pay for that holiday you must have this year. Are you doing all that you can to prepare that nest egg for retirement? None of these are wrong in themselves but it’s the emphasis that’s wrong – it’s the laying up of treasure here on earth instead of in heaven.


So, you may wonder, what treasure can I lay up in heaven? What about investing some of your time into people’s lives – a conversation, phone call or a visit? What about investing your money into the Kingdom of God – giving to the poor? How about going on a mission’s trip with an intention to minister into people’s lives? How about getting involved in local mission?


Here’s a sobering question – ask yourself, is what I’m doing with my life right now going to bring reward or regret in the light of eternity?


So much of what I’m talking about is linked to the mind and to what is the focus of our minds. Your mind determines your attitudes and actions and if not renewed as the bible instructs, it will always focus on the temporal, with here and now and not with eternal.

The apostle Paul tells us to guard against our minds becoming comfortable with the world – Colossians 3: 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. He also said in Romans 12: 2 Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… He was trying to highlight the importance of not becoming swallowed up in our thinking with the world’s attitudes and influence and accepted standards which are opposite to the standards of righteousness and holiness of God. We must be careful how much we allow the world to influence us lest it drags us into having just a temporal distorted view of life


Paul takes this same revelation to a higher level when he teaches that actually we should be living with a conscious perspective of ‘not even belonging’ to this world. He says in Hebrews 11: 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. In Philippians 3: 20 he says, But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Does this mean that I should live some weird nomadic existence, having no contact or involvement with ‘the world’? No of course not, Jesus said of his disciples, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.


Here’s a danger I want to bring to our attention – sometimes, it’s not that we’ve never had an eternal perspective by which we are living our lives but it’s that we lose the eternal perspective we once had – we didn’t mean to, but it just creeps in and before we know it our eyes, our vision, our purpose is back on the temporal. The enemy will always seek to get our eyes off the eternal in any way he can but we must constantly check our perspective. Here’s what can happen when we take our eyes off an eternal perspective: Psalm 73: 1-3 Asaph took his eyes off the Lord and put them instead on the wicked. He noticed the prosperity of the wicked and wondered if his devotion to the Lord was really worth it. He enters into a period of struggle with his faith and beliefs however the turning point comes in verse 17 “Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. What happened? Maybe as he started worshiping it all changed, maybe a scripture reading or a sermon spoke to him; maybe it was an encouraging word from a friend. An eternal perspective is restored because he declares in verse 18-19 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors.


Here’s an acid test to determine whether or not you are living with an eternal perspective: the bible clearly tells us that on any day, Jesus can and will return to this earth for his own people. How do you feel about the Lord’s return? Maybe your reaction might be: “I want him to return BUT…” After I’ve reached my ultimate career goal, after I’ve got married, after I’ve experienced all life has to offer or after I’ve got my dream home that I’ve been saving up for. What those reasons are actually saying is “I don’t want Jesus messing up my life…” The truth is when you are totally in love with someone; you want to be with them!!


So, in the cold light of self-examination, what is your perspective? 2 Corinthians 4: 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Are you focused on this world? Are you attached to it? Or do you have a sense of the fact that you’re only passing through this life and that you’re heading for an eternal home?


Your life is an investment. What are you investing in? What are you sowing your life into?



Praise through the Pain

The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. Great is the LORD in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name— he is holy. The King is mighty, he loves justice— you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right.  Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy. Psalm 99:1-5

Many of you will know I have battled a debilitating illness since 2009, that was diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis in 2010. This condition greatly effects my day to day life and has tried to eat away at all aspects of my life including physically, emotionally and mentally. Although God has greatly strengthened me and continues to do so I can not remember a day when I didn’t experience pain and limitation. Despite all this I’m a worship leader and though I have had the great honour of leading thousands of people in worship around the world I am first and foremost a worshipper. I have a heart to see the presence of God invade lives and places but I have an even greater heart to see God lifted up, to see Him given the glory as the rightful King He is!

When I speak about praise and worship I’m not talking about the allocated slot during a Sunday service or conference, though as a worship leader I love this outward expression of worship & the times we get to engage corporately. I’m speaking of a lifestyle, the way we act and live on a day to day basis. Either honouring God and all He is or not.

Over the years many people ask me, ‘How can you worship, with all that you’re facing, with the pain and even the disappointment of not experiencing total healing?’ but my answer i, ‘Yes it is hard but it’s not about me.’ The thing is, if I base worship on how I feel rather than who He is then I have never really understood what worship is. Worship is always about Him & never about us, it is based on His worth! It’s about His ability not ours, His strength not ours or indeed lack of, His character not ours, His capability. Just Him, Him, Him, its all about Him!

It’s funny because though worship is all about Him it actually has an incredible effect on us, again this is not why we do it but it’s just what happens when He shows up. We get touched, empowered, equipped and strengthened. It’s as simple as when we make room for Him He comes and when He comes He does what He does.

The Best Christmas Gift

Having shared the journey of pregnancy on social media, as a way to let many of our friends know where we are at, we have received some messages asking us to share the story behind our little gifts. Questions have been asked like, ‘Why are they miracles?’ or ‘What are you thanking God for?’ and so on. We thought we’d share our story here.

We are fast approaching 10 years of marriage. Wow! Now that in itself is something to celebrate in this day & age. Our marriage has always been God ordained, we both had encounters prior to dating where God highlighted the other to us as the one we would marry. No matter what we have faced in that time; disappointment, life changing illness & great loss, God has remained the centre of our lives, marriage & ministry. He is the glue that holds the whole thing together. As I write this, looking at our twins, I know this is going to involve us being vulnerable but here goes…

As a young newly married couple having children was not on our agenda & in fact was not even in my(Claire) plan for my life. I didn’t really want children, I enjoyed the freedom of just being us two and being able to travel whether on holiday or ministry was great. However a few years into marriage we thought I had fallen pregnant. I had done a test and was waiting for what felt like a year but in 2 minutes we saw a negative result. It’s amazing how much can go through your head in 2 minutes… ‘Our life is going to change’, ‘I didn’t want kids’, ‘Can we do this?’, ‘Will we be good parents?’ Filled with fear and uncertainty the negative result that should have brought relief actually brought disappointment & upset. I was confused but realised a huge change had taken place in my heart at some point without us even knowing it. That in itself was an amazing miracle. Having a family and being parents had become our hearts desire. Not long after this we decided to plan to start a family but we didn’t make it common knowledge that we now wanted children & certainly not that we were trying.

Through the years that followed we faced many things in life including Rich being severely ill with multiple sclerosis but really nothing more disappointing & heart breaking to our hopes as negative test after negative test. We continued to believe we would have a family but as the negative tests continued it had a negative affect on us especially me. Our heart break was very secret, only a few very close friends even knew we wanted a family. When you get to a certain age people just presume you don’t want kids & even make jokes about it not realising the pain it causes, but you get to a place where it’s easier to let people think you don’t want children than share your heart when it seems there is no breakthrough.

After a number of times thinking we could be expecting & even sharing that with close friends, the whole family thing got too much & I began to doubt. I had gone from never wanting children to wanting two children to being happy to just be able to have one to doubting we would have any. In ministry we had seen many miracles. We even prayed for people who couldn’t have children and they now were parents. Yet as days went on by my belief was being replaced with doubt. I would say to Rich, ‘Do you think we will ever be parents?’ and his response was always, ‘Of course we will!’

My thinking had always been we didn’t want medical intervention, IVF or other treatments. I had nothing against these things but I just wanted this to happen naturally but after 6 years of holding onto the fact that God is good, that He wouldn’t have changed my heart just to disappointment me & holding on to His word, ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.’ (Psalm 37:4), we decided to get a medical referral.

So we waited…

It took a while but at the end of last year or beginning of this we received the news we were on the list & had an appointment. Filled with nerves and uncertainty we just waited for the date to come round. In the meantime we continued with life & ministry then on Easter weekend as I preached at a conference I stopped mid flow and gave a very clear word, ‘There is a couple here who have been struggling to conceive, you’re not even sure you can have children but God says I can cause life to flow even into that situation’. I continued preaching not even thinking anything other than the word being strong. The following week we suddenly & quite out of the blue thought I might be pregnant, to be honest I wasn’t holding out hope. We did a test and fully expected a negative result and yet God blew our mind. It was positive, POSITIVE!

As we sat full of tears & disbelief we had this overwhelming feeling that the word at the weekend had been for us. We didn’t need that appointment, no medical intervention. As weeks and months followed we were blown away even more by the goodness of God. At our first scan the sonographer exclaimed, ‘There’s two!’ Rich filled with tears, I filled with tears and the sonographer joined us and filled with tears too. At scan two, a matter of weeks later, we were filled with emotion when we were told, ‘You’re having a girl and a boy’. Wow! A perfect family, a perfect blessing! I mean ‘a beyond belief’ totally amazing, life changing, miracle. Two gifts from heaven!

We also realised, as we looked back, that this was God’s perfect timing. Sometimes babies are conceived into an environment of rejection, shock, uncertainty and negativity. Yet these two were conceived in a time when they couldn’t have been more wanted and loved and in a time they could bring so much joy! From day one they have brought so much joy to not just us but to many many people as our story of being married 10 years not knowing if we could have a baby to now having a perfect family touched the hearts of friends and strangers. Despite the pregnancy being in the high risk category & a few medical scares during the 8 months & then Jude being ill after birth we have remained in such peace. Even midwives said how calm and relaxed we are for first time parents. We had an unshakable peace because God’s hand had been on this whole thing from the start and He wasn’t about to just lift His hand off.

So our miracles are truly gifts from God. Their names have great meaning  Jude – thanks & praise God. Graci – blessing, favour & thanks.

We want to encourage you today to hold onto hope, don’t give up on your dream even if it seems beyond impossible. He often steps in & shows Himself as God, maybe even shows off a little, just when we are about to quit!

The Cost to Carry

As our lives have already changed so much over the past 8 months since we found out we were expecting, ‘carrying’ is something that has been on my mind. We couldn’t have been happier to find out that we were expecting, then to find out we were expecting twins and then the great news of having a girl and a boy.  It couldn’t really be more perfect. Having been married over 9 years we weren’t entirely sure we would ever be parents naturally, we have kids we love all over the world but naturally we just weren’t sure it would happen. So having received our miracle we had to get things ready and over the last 8/9 months our lives have already greatly changed. Immediately my plans to travel to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ghana during 2016 had to be cancelled. In our home the room we had been preparing as a guest room for our friends and visiting ministers had to be rethought as now we were expecting two babies the small room would no longer be suitable as a nursery. Our focus changed and rather than looking for flights, planning itineraries, studios and other such things we began looking for pushchairs, cots, car seats etc. I went from designing websites, banners and flyers to designing animal pictures and nursery wall art. From spending hours and days travelling, preaching almost every weekend in a different city and laying hands on hundreds of people to suddenly needing to rest a lot. The thing is when you are carrying something it changes you. I’ve heard it said ‘growing tiny humans is so tiring’ and wow is it true! Carrying our babies has not only changed my focus but also the way I eat, sit, sleep, walk and certainly look. I often think of Mary and how carrying, not only a baby, but Jesus, The King & Saviour changed her and cost her. 


This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18


She chose to accept the mandate of carrying Jesus despite the ridicule, the gossips, even at the chance of losing her future husband. She carried the Saviour of the world in very difficult circumstances. This whole season has made me really meditate on the fact that it really does cost to carry. And for us to carry Jesus in our daily lives and into our communities and the dark places it will cost us. Just like pregnancy it will stretch us, cause us to change our habits, to change the best made plans, change our shape and change our lives. Recently Rich and I made some plans, they were good plans that would have brought some fruit, everything was set in place and ready to go. We woke up one particular day and as usual we gave our day to God but as the day developed our plans were no longer relevant as God revealed His plan, which was completely different to ours. We had to change everything and because of this we have to continue changing things in our lives and making way for what God said. It hasn’t been easy, it’s meant doing things I haven’t necessarily wanted to do to begin with but already we can see this will produce more fruit and though it’s costing us it’s going to be worth it. We could have done the good but God wants us to do and be part of the best. The cost of carrying means it must be His way, His plans and His timing.


Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.


The beauty of this whole season of cost we have in pregnancy is we get an incredible reward at the end of it, our amazing children. It’s much the same with the cost of carrying Jesus, the reward of seeing Him cause life to happen, be released into the areas we carry Him and allowing Him to stretch us, far outweigh anything it may have cost us. So be encouraged ‘the cost to carry’ is more than worth it. When the pain of being stretched, ridiculed or misunderstood seems too much, focus on the great reward and incredible gift of life being birthed.

Journey’s END or JOURNEY’S End – Angie Lendon

This months guest blog is Angie Lendon. Angie is a Worship Leader, Songwriter and Speaker with a passion to usher in the presence of God through worship and to see peoples lives transformed by worship and the presence of God. A gifted teacher and inspirational speaker Angie has ministered in many local churches around the UK.


 A few years ago whilst planning our annual holiday we were discussing where to go. France seemed like a popular choice but my daughter Anna was unsure. We’d had a brilliant holiday in the South of France a couple of years previous. We drove to keep the cost down and it took us a significant number of hours to arrive at our destination. For Anna this was the worst part of the holiday. She wanted to be there and spent the whole time focused on the destination. If you ask her about the journey she cannot recall much except that it was frustrating and took forever!!

This whole conversation got me thinking about our walk with God. When God gives us a vision it is all too easy to keep our focus on the vision and we forget to take time on the way to savour the journey.

God will use this time to develop and mould our character. There are lessons to be learned along the way that will be of great value when we “arrive”. Jesus had the greatest vision of all but He still had to grow and learn before he entered His destiny. David learned to fight off lions and bears in preparation for killing Goliath. He sharpened his musical skills while tending his flock in readiness for the days of choosing musicians for the temple.

You see the thing that we need to understand here is that we see only a small part of God’s plan whereas He sees it all. When I get frustrated at the slowness of things moving forward God will gently but firmly remind me that HE is doing immeasurably more than I could ever hope or imagine. Just because I can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

The danger of being so wrapped up in the destination is that we miss the beauty of the journey. On the road to Emmaus the two followers of Jesus very nearly missed the fact that He was with them. It wasn’t until they broke bread together that they recognised Him. So much time wasted when they could have been rejoicing in His presence asking Him questions and enjoying His company. I know I am guilty of wasting time fretting about things when He is always ready and willing to spend time talking and encouraging me.

The bible tells us that many are called but few are chosen. It takes stamina and patience to walk the narrow road. There are no easy ways to complete it. To try and cut corners and avoid challenges is to walk in a desert that is dry and shrivelled. But to walk the narrow road is to live on the edge with Jesus. To experience a great adventure. Always being led by the shepherd. Being guided by His “rod and staff”.

Joseph understood all about the journey to his dreams. It took long and difficult twists and turns that would test the strongest of believers. However Joseph knew to stand on the promises of God. He retained his integrity and did his best in whatever situation he found himself. I’m not sure that I could turn my hand the way he did when thrown in jail. but you see Joseph took every experience as a lesson learned to be used when he arrived at his destination. When his brothers were begging at his feet for mercy he had the compassion having been in that very situation himself.

Let’s be aware that every experience that we walk through is a tool for future success. They are lessons God teaches us that we can use at our destination.

My advice: take time to smell the roses. Let’s keep our eyes open even when it gets a little bit scary. We don’t want to miss a thing!!