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.

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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 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...!
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