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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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Success -- səkˈsɛs --

What is success?

As I sit down here today to write, I realise I've been working through this idea a little these last few weeks. Or more to the point, God has been working through it in me.

Today, I feel more content than I have been in months (years?!).  I feel less stress.  Deep down I feel happier and calmer.  My wife has noticed it, my kids comment on it.  All is well with my soul.

So, what's been going on?

I've no huge answer really, like most times, just life experience that I reflect upon and learn from.

For some, in relation to success, they live their lives craving it, looking for it, hunting down any opportunity.  Others, however, are not necessarily looking for it when they might come across it.  They are more afraid of being a failure. Success therefore means very little to them.

I have certainly related to that second group for much of my adult life.

This year, I started working through the BIOY app.  Simply reading the Bible each morning, taking in vast chunks of text (which is needed in order to finish it in one year) has had a noticeable effect.  My reading habit (for the Bible) had become a little careless - too many excuses, I think really! I've certainly noticed a change inside.  So that's one thing that's had an impact on me, for sure.

I was also listening to a talk recently. It shared how a barren couple sensed God telling them to stop asking him for children, and instead thanking him for children!  They now have five kids under the age of five - truly over blessed! It made me think about my writing life.  I often ask God for breakthrough, for success with my writing. Most would look at me and probably say I am successful already with three books published and another two or three in the process of being finished.  But as I said above, it wasn't really success that I was running to, but something else I was trying not to be discovered as (a failure, to be very clear!).

I realise that has always been a weakness, and something God has worked through me these last twenty years. Still, I've not learnt yet to really enjoy or appreciate success for what it is, passed the day or so around the event. Nothing seems to affect me long term, in order to give me some lasting peace, some on going contentment.  Or so it seemed.

Applying what I heard above, the other week I encouraged the church plant to thank God for success in our lives, on an individual level as well as a group. So in my heart, I thanked God that I am a successful author. I prayed out thanks for what God was doing with us all in Tallinn, the lives being changed, the people taking steps towards or with Jesus.  In the midst of darkness, there really is some light breaking through!

I've also had a greater sense of planning this year, of walking into new stuff this year and taking hold of what God has for me.  That's helped to build in a more focussed routine.

At the beginning of the year we shared with the church plant how we felt we needed to spend more time with friends in Tallinn, and less time doing meetings. It's brought real life to us, so that we've been able to spend hours with folks that we've been getting to know, time that we just didn't have to spare when trying to do 'church' as much as we were - of course, the element of building relationships in the community we are called to reach, is the essence of church.

We hold the vision and value of a larger gathering of Hope:Tallinn highly.  One day we'll come together weekly as a group and worship and pray and preach. But not until God has sent us co-labourers.  In the meantime, we are reaching out to those that need God. And in doing this, we are being a success for Jesus in Tallinn, bring Kingdom culture in our relationships with others, as we look to love, serve and just hang out with folks that don't yet have a close knowledge of the love God has for them.

In holding the future of the church plant loosely (it was always in God's hands anyway, really) it has brought huge comfort to me. I guess it was a weight I never intended to bear alone and so it being lifted has allowed life and freedom to return. In thanking God for the success already happening its also brought about a change in me.

As I mentioned last time (I think), the parable of the talents has also really spoken to me. It's where Jesus shared a story about a landowner who gives to one servant 5, to another 2 and to another 1. The one with 5 produces 5 more, the one with 2 produces 2 more, but the one who was given 1 simply buried it because he was afraid of his boss. The guys who'd doubled the investment both were allowed to share in the blessings of the landowner. The guy who had not done anything, his 1 was taken away and he was banished.

In the commentary notes about this passage, Nicky Gumble says that what was given to even the guy with 1, represented 20 years salary. In other words, a huge amount. Enough to put to work, to invest and to produce a return.

It's therefore a related thought with all of the above. The point of the story isn't to be the most talented, but to use what talent you have to the best of your ability. To make it personal for me, as an example, it doesn't actually matter if I'm a 5, 2 or 1 'talent' author - what matters most is what I do with that talent. Do you see? It's really powerful. Both the first two servants got to share in the masters success. I don't think it was a proportionate reward based on their returns. I think it was equal, because Jesus wasn't trying to highlight a hierarchy in rewards based on ability, but a shared blessed of the much based on using what you've been given. Anyone given even 20 years salary has more than enough to get started.

So if I'm faithful with the little when it comes to my writing (I'll let you decide if I'm a 5, 2 or 1) Jesus promises he'll give me much. It's a nice word, isn't it. Much.

So, no more excuses. Regardless of what you don't yet have, use what you've got. And thank God that you are already successful.

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As a funny side note, I've recently implement a number of new marketing ideas in relation to my writing life. One includes putting out a book permanently free (which I've just done). As I write this, I'm #3 in the USA Conspiracy Thriller chart - an unbelievable position given how much competition there is in that market. Just using that little talent...and knowing God will make it much.

If you want to check out my book (and find out details how to get my second novel FREE as well) click on the relevant link. Whilst these two links are for Amazon in the USA and UK (my main two markets), the FREE book is actually available everywhere, on all types of eReader. Just search your favourite database for 'Cherry Picking by Tim Heath' and you should find it.

USA - http://amzn.to/1XxE6Rg
UK - http://amzn.to/1QlHiJS
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