Welcome! It's wonderful to see you here!

I'm a passionate writer - and therefore spend most of my time writing thriller novels. But I also live an interesting life in the nations. This blog is here for that aspect of my life - our life - I live with my wonderful wife and two daughters.

I believe in encouragement. I live for obedience. I believe in learning from our experiences, and this blog exists for both of those, and more.

So that you stay connected, getting every new update, please add your email address to receive all updates directly, or follow the RSS feed.

I was part of the leadership team in St Petersburg, Russia - which planted Hope Church in 2009.(www.hopechurchstpetersburg.com).
In March 2012 Hope Church sent my family to plant into Tallinn, the Capital of Estonia. I therefore lead this small but growing church plant team. Here is the website for Hope Tallinn (www.hopetallinn.ee)

For details on our journey here, read the series called Adventures of Faith which is linked for you on the right hand column, just below. That details our original journey to Russia and then onto Tallinn 4 years later.

Author for fiction novels - Cherry Picking (2012), The Last Prophet (2015), The Tablet (2015) and The Shadow Man (2016) are available on all major bookselling sites. Please visit: www.timheathbooks.com

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Reflections on 30 Years - Part 4

As I say farewell to my 20s tonight, not that they stop being a part of me, I've been thinking about the differences and changes that I face compared to 10 years ago when I was going from a teen aged 19 year old into my 20s.

Back then, we were still a few months before the new millennium, and all the potential horrors that could have brought - thanks techno guys for all the work you did, so that no computers were harmed in any way at all...did you get paid for that work....cause you did! lol...

At 20 I was in Kent, living at home. At 30 I'm living in St Petersburg, Russia.
At 20 I was still single. At 30 I'm married for nearly 8 years.
At 20 I didn't know first hand about fatherhood. At 30 I've already had nearly 4 years of wonderful training.
At 20 I was working in Stock broking in the city. At 30 I'm a language student, forming part of a church plant team here in the city.
At 20 I had little leadership opportunities, in a large church, but I had huge ambitions. At 30, within the small church plant, I'm being me, ambition is gone and the future can be as big as God makes it.
At 20 my parents were still married. At 30 they are not.
At 20 my siblings were not married. At 30 they are.
At 20 I lived at home. At 30 I own a home, which is Let out, and rent in the city here.
At 20 I knew no Russian. At 30 I'm getting better.
At 20 I played lots of sports. Sadly, at 30, it's not so much.
At 20, my boyhood team Chelsea were outsiders but every ones second team. At 30, well, you know.
At 20 I think I knew a lot. At 30 I realise I didn't.
At 20 the future was bright. At 30 its just so, if not more so.
At 20 God had just spoken to me about Russia. At 30 I've lived here for a year already.
At 20 I was yet to move to Manchester. At 30 I'd lived there 8 years.
- On that note, its clear I gave my 20s to Manchester, as God had directed, getting there as a 21 year old and leaving as a nearly 29 year old. Are my 30s for Russia?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reflections on 30 Years - Part 3

Three days of being 29 left...but its only another day older really, so I'm honestly not bothered.

It has given me a great reason to write again though and reflect (in a good, what-has-God-done-in-me type of way).

Something I mentioned in the first part, was something I called, in the spare of the moment, Dating God's Way. I guess it isn't really quite that, in that it's no Bible study but what I was referring to was how God worked in me in this area. If its a model to others, I don't know. I hope it's an ideal for many though, and it would be wonderful if one day my children were to follow the same path. I know I will need a lot of grace if they don't....but God's got plenty to help me with!

You see, largely through how God made me, I grew up quite clear on things. School was for learning, youth was playing (though I now see in adulthood its also vital), church life for growing in God.

I'm a black-and-white thinking person. I really have no grey. Honestly. So within this thinking, there came a natural (maybe God given?) decision to only 'go out' with the girl that I was to marry. Other than that, I couldn't (still can't) see the point. Is there a point? Ask anyone who has ended a long relationship (or short one) and they tell you of hurt, anger, bitterness.

No thanks!

"But", I hear you say. "How will you ever know who's right if you don't 'play the field'?" Or "Isn't that a little narrow minded thinking, avoiding hurt and therefore staying single?"

Well, all I can say is that in my life these questions aren't relevant.

You don't, for example, need to go to a banquet with 1000's of puddings and need to taste everyone in order to know which one you like best - you look around, and there you see it! Why would you want anything less perfect!

So for someone, that when he turned 21 had never had a girl friend, nor even kissed a girl, you'd imagine my chances of 'finding love' were limited. Because, of course, doesn't all this experience of 'playing the field' make you better suited next time around to really find the partner for you? How would a novice ever start at 21!

Well, within my later teenage years, I also knew this feeling inside that God had placed, that confirmed within me that I would get married in my early 20's. I knew it. Fact. Total. It was there and I hadn't put it there.

And because I had no 'experience' in dating that could humanly back up such a conviction, it must only have therefore been God.

The closest I seemed to get as my teens turned into my twenties was that I 'enquired of God' about two women who I wondered if they might in fact be 'wife' potential. They were indeed wife potential, but for different men, praise God. I had not told either of them of my thinking, the conviction just wasn't that strong!

And yet, just after my 21st birthday and only a matter of weeks into the Frontier Year Project, there was this girl that seemed to appear. Her name was Rachel. We started writing to each other (we were based at churches about 200 miles apart from each other) and within about 3 months it was clear that things we changing.

I remember, with Rachel aware of my conviction about only going out with someone I'd marry, writing in a letter that we were now 'going out' and therefore it was effectively a proposal.

Two weeks after my 22nd birthday, we were married. In my early twenties. Just like God had said.

This, the guy that had no 'experience' with girls. But, married nearly 8 years now, what's the issue?

How many teens and twenties say to people "I love you" to people they'll never marry. How many of them actually know what love is?

Praise God that I've only said those words to the woman I've married - all glory to God for that, it wasn't my doing at all.

So, is this God's way? Is it Biblical.

Clearly, this is what God did for me. As a model I highly recommend it. Get on with life, get stuck into the things of God, and leave your marriage partner up to God - He'll tell you who they are, in time.

I used to pray for my 'wife' from as young as 19. I remember it clearly. I recommend that as well. Because, and though it does happen, for anyone that age, it is true that their future husband or wife is 'out' there somewhere, alive, living and as yet unaware of you. But still to pray God's blessing over them, to ask God to protect them and direct them. Very healthy things to pray!

I don't want to speak for God though. This is the story of what God did with me. I can obviously recommend it. As a principle I think it's healthy.

And not only with relationships. God knows the desires of your heart - give these things up to him, and all things are possible. They really are.

I'll close this entry. I thank you God for my darling wife of nearly 8 years. Thank you that I trusted you in this. You know it wasn't easy for me at times - far from it. But you helped me through the tears and have done something great, for your glory. So thank you God! Amen.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Reflections on 30 Years - Part 2

As I continue to reflect on these last 30 years that have formed my life up to this point, I write this second section back in the country that God has sent us to, having started this series in England.

My blog, which I first started on Windows Spaces and then had to change to this one on arrival in Russia last summer, was always called 'Hearing My Heart' for a reason, because I wanted it to be a place where my true self is voiced. And therefore, by reflecting on the events that have made my life so far, as I approach my 30th birthday next week, maybe this series more than anything will really voice my heart - the things that have formed me, the moments that have shaped me, the struggles that have stretched me and the times that have surprised me.

I've had many times (and more so recently than in earlier life) where I've spoken at the front in meetings, both within churches and at other places. If I've shown confidence in what I've said, it will have been because I would have believed in what I was sharing.

I'm told, in these moments, I appear to be confident, cool, collected....as always, appearances ARE deceptive. Within these times, outside of bringing something directly that I know God has spoken to me in the form of a prophecy, I feel very vulnerable. Within a leadership role, I hated opening up the Sunday morning meeting, the anchor role. Horrible! Yes, maybe it seemed I could do it - but inside I was dreading it. I honestly don't think it's within my gift mix anyway. I'm far happier bringing a prophetic word or even tying together a number of words that have been brought at that meeting. I feel on safer ground there. But to open things...!

But I bet most people wouldn't even have known that of me. Which is probably why no one said "Well done Tim, you did well with that" to me after such events, clearly assuming I didn't need to know something I knew myself. And yet, I didn't know.

Then again, maybe they didn't think I did a good job and that's why no one said anything.....

And there the thoughts start! Where they come from, I'm not sure. But that has been my thinking for too many years. Having not heard encouragement, my natural (maybe everyone is the same?) mind assumes that its because I've done something not quite so well - so I try harder.

I do realise that it started for me in youth. I don't remember hearing many 'well done's' and so developed a perfectionist streak that I'm now aware of, though still working through! By not being praised for the things I did well, even a gentle encouragement, I assumed I was in fact doing things wrong and therefore must try harder, must work harder, in order to gain some encouragement in the future...which then, didn't come either. And so the cycle starts again.

One thing I've tried hard to learn from this is that I've always said I want to be an encourager. I love encouraging people and see (from first hand) the power that comes from such a simple phrase as "Well done, you did great - I really liked it when you..."

I've said it for some time that encouragement is one of the most under-used gifts around, including within the church. I also see it as an underlying, foundational gift - an essential gift. Yes, there are 'bigger' gifts - evangelist, preacher...but without hearing encouragement in the gift the person is using, how will they ever grow within that gift.

No, encouragement IS the releasing gifts for all these other bigger gifts to flourish. And the Bible tells us to 'encourage one-another daily' so I think it agrees about the vital role that encouragement plays within our growth.

So I encourage you to tell those people around you that they are doing well - maybe they need to hear it as well. Even if they are just doing the same thing they've done a hundred times.

Encourage, encourage, encourage...!