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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Friday, February 18, 2011

For I Know the Plans I have for You....

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I was reflecting on this verse today as I sat at my desk, working remotely from St Petersburg, my mind wondering for a moment (as it tends to do in these times). How true it is that generally in hindsight God gets the most credit, but in the here and now we can too easily think He is having zero input into our lives.

Take the word prosper. So often is it just defined as financial wealth, but its more than that. So much more. God would have us prosper in every way - to thrive, to succeed, to be successful people - in every way too.

Take my life, as an example. Looking back just ten years ago I was doing the year team, in Stockport, having moved up about six months before. So I was about half way through that year. I had met Rachel, we were together now, probably just about bought the rings, though we are a few weeks of our engagement in March and 6 months from our wedding.

The move itself had been a step of faith. God had said Russia and Salvation, and then seemed to show me that Manchester was the next step in this process. So I'd left my career in London, in the financial word. I'm now about the same age as the guys I worked for. Then, the world would have said "Why are you leaving? Don't you want to get rich?" I guess the world would have expected me to be earning now the kind of salaries they were earning then....six and usually high seven digit amounts. Millions.
And then I think of stock market crashes and global melt-downs, and I wonder....would there even have been much of a career? Are they even still in business?

And what of my life since? Ten years ago today I was unmarried, not yet engaged. I had no job. I lived with a family from the church in Stockport. My worldly possessions could fit in the boot of my car.

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD

Then I had little idea of the wonders that God had in store - my beautiful wife who just is a rock for me. My two beautiful daughters who bring me so much joy. They have really completed our family. Moving to Russia, living in St Petersburg. Learning to speak Russian, raising our girls here. Being part of a great church. Working into many more nations.....

When God say's things like that recorded in Jeremiah, we really need to listen in the present, and not just reflect on the past. God say's to you today that He has great plans for you these coming years, and they are plans to make you thrive, to be successful and to bring you fulfillment. Isn't that exciting!

I'm amazed when I look back on these last ten years - I regret none of it, as hard as it was at times, because it has made me into someone I would never have been if I'd done it my own way. I'm a different person to back then - yes older, certainly wiser and a little more experienced, but I'm different because God has allowed me to thrive by leading me into seasons, however good or bad they are at the time, where I'd grow in those times and come out stronger on the other side.

And believe it or not, I'm still quite young - there's so much more to come. I look with excitement to these next ten years. Where ever you lead me Lord, I will go. I know your plans are to bless me. So into your plans I commit myself, what ever they look like.

Why don't you pray the same....and then, some time down the line, drop me a line to tell me how things worked out. That would be nice.

Blessings, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Treasure Hunting Update - 5th Feb 2011

So, I've just got back from Hope Churches latest hunting session.

It was a much smaller group this time - just the three of us - but God's works well in three, doesn't He!

Time was a little limited as well for one team member, so we hit the streets quickly. I had written down 'Brokenness', and also that 'we'd need compassion'. So I was looking for lots of broken people, be they emotional hurts or physical.

Janna & Johan then got speaking to a homeless man. I hung back, watching for others and praying. Speaking three onto one would be too overwhelming. This was all around the 'Metro', another of our clues.

I tried to speak to two people in the mean time - one guy reading a book in the midst of a wet snow storm. I said to him the book must be really good to be standing outside reading it. He seemed less amused. End of conversation. Another guy with a strong limp walked past, maybe it was a broken leg. He didn't want to talk either when I caught up with him.

A lady selling phone SIM's, with a stick, did allow us to pray, though not over her, just as we were walking around.

Back to the homeless man. They spoke with him for about 10 minutes, maybe more. I learnt after the hunt that he clearly was emotionally - broken. He cried as Janna shared God's love with him. Janna even then prayed a prayer of repentance with him, which he prayed also. So praise God! Johan said though that he seemed less impressed to find out we were from a pentecostal style church....but that's over to God now.

Another guy would have nothing to do with us....smoking and drinking as he was....stating he was Christian because he was Russian and Orthordox...

While hanging around that area some more, clearly one old Russian lady had been watching me.....not really talking to me, she was walking off saying I was an American agent - eg a spy. I've been asked if we were terrorists before as well.
In response this time, though she wasn't going to listen to an American spy, whatever he had to say, I just said I'm not American.....funny how my first reaction was to state I wasn't American as to state I wasn't either a spy!

Janna recognised a lady in a food stand that she'd spoken to on a previous hunt - she now had a copy of a tract in Kazac, so was able to give it to her.

So God alone knows who we were and weren't to speak too. We didn't find our Slava's, or Paul's, or Lena or Fred or Clark. Maybe they walked past us. Maybe we were just in the wrong place.

I long for the day's when we have dozens of people going out on these times, not because they have to but because they get the chance to! I long for the days of seeing proper miracles happening through these teams, and people giving their lives totally to Jesus on the streets. I long to see future church planters found, worship leaders and pastors, found on the streets in our hunts and having their lives radically transformed through the power and life that is ONLY found in Jesus.

So 3 or 33 people, this is why we go out. We need to start somewhere. Better to start today while we are still learning, than in a tomorrow that will never come.

We go out next in 4 weeks - 5th March. Lord, I pray for a great crowd to join us then and that you would prepare now those people that we'll meet and speak to, those miracles that we will pray for and those souls that you will save.