Category Archives: Christen’s Thoughts

Gary Oates at Light Lunch

It is a privilege to be able to host Gary Oates at our October Light Lunch, (28th October 2015)

Gary_Kathi_Oates_MDGary and his wife Kathi have been in ministery for over 30 years now and have planted 5 churches. But the last seven years have been hallmarked by a breakthrough in the supernatural and prophetic since they both went through profound encounters with the presence of God some seven years ago.

Gary is ministering across the UK and it is fantastic to be able to secure his time… we expect the prophetic and breakthroughs for health and circumstances, so please try and join us, and invite a few friends for lunch and ministry input October 28th.

Watch Gary’s interview with Sid Roth for some background on what to expect.

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India-Israel Partnership Gala

News about a Gala evening being hosted by a Light Lunch regular!

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Join Jerusalem Channel Co-founders Peter & Christine Darg,
Exploits Ministry Trustees Dr. Tony Stone and Barbara Dingle and special Israeli guests!
For our:

Gala Israeli-Indian Ministry Partner Evening in London
‘Called to the Kingdom for Such a Time as This’

Sunday 20th September
6 p.m. welcoming drink at The Taj Hotel Buckingham Gate
3-Course dinner £40 per person
Dress: Lounge Suit<>

For bookings and further information email exploitsministry103@yahoo.com

Or ring 0843 557 4077 or 07770 348061.

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Introducing HeartLife

Or… how to create the right environment to grow yourself and the people you  work with and for…

Don’t worry I won’t try and cover this whole subject in a single post, this is just the introduction but keep coming back and we will add “layer on layer, a little here a little there…” as Isaiah would put it!

Heartstyles team

You see, someone, (I’ve seen this attributed to various people, including Leo Tolstoy and U2’s Bono) once said “you can only change the world to the degree your willing to be changed yourself”. Actually I just said it… but it sounded like it should be a famous quote and Tolstoy did

say”everybody thinks of changing the World, nobody thinks about changing themselves” and Bono once sang “I can’t change the world, but I can change the world in me”… so perhaps we can agree on the connection between the inner life and our worlds we inhabit.

Anyway, some years ago now I connected with a couple, Stephen and Mara Klemich who where developing a business development tool based on the truths of being human they had discovered as part of their journey of Faith with Jesus. Now I’ve met a lot of people with a sense of a big calling from Jesus, some seem to have a desire to have it more than they seem to have the call itself, but Stephen and Mara  had all the marks of genuine substance to what they believed Jesus had asked them to do. Stephen had many years of top level executive coaching and Dr Mara Klemich had worked as a top level psychologist in a number of specialist-fields.

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So for a while I worked with them as they developed what has become Heartstyles in the corporate world and HeartLife in churches and Christian charities. Click the two titles above to go to their respective home websites.

For information it is definitely worth downloading the online case study of how Heartstyles transformed Pizza Hut in the UK.

Heartstyles Grid

In a nut shell, Heartstyles works by starting with a simple measurement of every persons activity and fits it into a simple four spaced grid. The combination of measurement and “indicator” allow the individual to see how their behavior is either effective or ineffective in dealing with(growing) both themselves and others.

From this starting point each individual is taken through a process than can create real heart change, not just managed dysfunction… heart change becomes our natural state for the long term, managed behavior always slips as we get tired or just can’t be bothered…

And as this happens we find ourselves where I started this post, the world in me gets changed… and by that change the world around gets changed too.

Jesus Centred Life Course

Obviously you can explore the Heartstyles and Heartlife sites and over the Autumn of 2015 and 2016 Heartstyles will form a backbone of our teaching programme at Light Lunch and First Friday Breakfast. Or if you want to go a bit deeper with Heartstyles you can join me one Saturday a month in Westminster for the Jesus Centred Life Course where we will take participants through a personal process, or even contact me directly about bringing Heartstyles into your business or church.

I’ll also be posting regular blogs exploring related themes and insights as we work through this process with the West End Wednesday community.

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Salt in Secular World.

In our sound-bite society wisdom seems to have been reduced to pithy retort, so it is no surprise that every week I read tweets and comments that assume you are backward or down right duplicitous if you believe “religion ” is good for society or humanity as a whole. Pop wisdom “knows” that “no religion” means “nothing to kill or die for, a brotherhood of man”; and they know that real love is laisez-fair while religion is always wanting to get involved where it’s not wanted.

But the truth is very different if you take the time to look for it. Academic analysis of wars shows time and again the underlying causes of wars,  even ones labelled as “Religious” or “Sectarian” are normally initiated for baser reasons (i.e see “The reason for wars, Stanford University) . And what is celebrated as  “live and let live” is more often than not an excuse for “live and let die”. Love gets involved, whether given by an atheist a Christian or Hindu, it is by definition interfering.

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Drawn from Philip and Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, which chronicles and sites cause for 1,763 wars.

This post doesn’t have the room nor the reason to explore the well documented truth that in fact the nations prosper when the Gospel grows in them (see “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy”).

But truth is often more complex and multi-layered than can be conveyed quickly and so of course I risk contributing to the fog of of unreasonable debate with this post… So let’s be clear … I’m not enshrining absolutes here, there are hurtful and hypocritical Christian’s and there are caring humanist, I’m just proffering a perspective that  deserves to be considered. And that perspective is that when  Jesus’ life and death  is enshrined and honored in our people, institutions and systems the prosperity and the well-being of those affected by the same is improved.

Strangely when we endorse an idea we find in Christ but divorce it from Him things often get worse. So Tolerance becomes totalitarian in its control of dissenting voices. Equality empties the differences in diversity of any intrinsic  meaning or value.

muggeridgeThis happens at the macro level as one times atheist, journalist Malcolm Muggeridge observed quoting a previous thinker…

“[Pascal] was the first and perhaps is still the most effective voice to be raised in warning of the consequences of the enthronement of the human ego in contradistinction to the cross, symbolizing the ego’s immolation. How beautiful it all seemed at the time of the Enlightenment, that man triumphant would bring to pass that earthly paradise whose groves of academe would ensure the realization forever of peace, plenty, and beatitude in practice. But what a nightmare of wars, famines, and folly was to result therefrom.” ―  The End of Christendom

But it also happens in day to day life too. Which is where it becomes relevant to us.

As I try to live out my faith, it is not sufficient to simply employ “Christian principles” in the workplace. Honesty, integrity,  fairness are all good and noble ideals found in the teaching of Jesus. But divorced from Him they become a sense of my own moral superiority over my co-workers, even humility can make you proud!

“Ideas” are profoundly powerful in shaping our actions. But personal experience, and I believe history itself, shows us that the ideas themselves are not enough. It is Christ in us that is our “hope of glory”, the salt that cleanses and brings out the flavours of a good life, the leaven that raises the mix and makes it edible.

It is in bring the person of Jesus into our work with us that we will have our biggest and best impact.

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Back after time off for illness

thumbsupAll those of you who are regularly part of the Light Lunch, First Friday, West End Wednesday community will have picked up that back in September I suffered and unexpected stroke which knocked me out of action for a couple of months. But I’m pleased to report that I’ve recovered remarkably well, I suspect the prayer play it’s part in that.  So I’m now nearly back to full time work again, driving, speaking, teaching, mentoring etc.

Which means I will be back for Decembers events, both the First Friday breakfast at Bar Remo on December 5th and then for our Carol service lunch on Wednesday 17th. So really looking forward to seeing you all then.

Christen Forster

 

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Abraham PLC (Promised Land Community)

Abraham and familyAbraham is acknowledged by over half the world’s population as the Father of Faith; Christians, Jews, and Muslims of course, but several of the world smaller religions too, such as Yazidism, Bahai-ism and Rastafarianism. Abraham is one of the most important people in history and yet most of us hold to a very flat and unrealistic images of him. I find myself imagining a lonely nomad wondering the desserts in richly coloured nightwear with a community of extended family and servants, a few camels and a flock of sheep.

But then you read about how Abraham rallies 318 of him fittest men to pursue, and defeat the armies of four kings. Four kings with an army that had just trashed five city states and where trafficking their inhabitants North and into slavery. Abraham’s nephew Lot was a captive. So clearly my image of Abraham is too cosy.

If Abraham had 318 fighting men then he was head of a community, a household of well over 1000 people with many thousands of of sheep and goats.

In modern terms we could think about Abraham as the CEO of an SME (Small to Medium Enterprise), Abraham’s household was not a nuclear affair, it was a complex wealth creating venture that could both threaten and bless the settled communities it dealt with. Abraham had to negotiate cross border deals and the rights to natural resources with a range of different officials and cultures, Genesis 23:3-20.

Interestingly the English word “economics” comes from the Greek word “oikonomia” which means a “household”, because large households where the Limited Companies of the ancient world. They where the building blocks that created the commercial success of a region.

So how does thinking about Abraham as the owner/director of a significant company change what we understand about him?

Well first we need to lose the idea of Abraham leading a simple life sitting by dessert streams watching his sheep. Every day would be busy, and Abraham had responsibilities for every layer of the lives of those who worked for him, from wages to worker disputes to even to marital arrangements.

So when Abraham took time to seek The Lord or to offer sacrifices, it wasn’t from a place of indulged interest in spiritual things. It was a necessity to make good decisions on behalf of large community of dependents.

Now that community would have been pluralistic, reflecting worship practices and deities from the various cultures Abraham had collected people from. Abraham had to create a spiritual environment that protected and was healthy for everybody, while at the same time following the very precise and sometimes counter-intuitive requirements of the God who had called him.

As we look at Abraham through the lens of business executive we find all sorts of examples and models that can be applied by and for those called to lead and direct commercial enterprises in the modern world.

We see Abraham interceding for a parallel and to a degree symbiotic industry, Genesis 18:23-33. You see archaeology has shown us that Sodom grew rich by harvesting and exporting the bitumen that bubbled up to the surface of the Dead Sea in bronze age.

Abraham had to trade in an immoral environment, which meant that to increase his work force he sometimes had to buy slaves from the nations around him. But when he did, Abraham was to include them in the mission, promise and family God was building through him, see. Genesis 17:13.

Fundamentally Abraham was tasked with blessing others as God blessed him, Genesis 12:3. Commerce done the right way always blesses the communities is both serves and relies on.

It is my conviction that if the modern/western world is going to rediscover business as blessing rather than as just control and power, it will need a multitude of SMEs led by CEOs who walk in and with the Faith of Abraham. A new generation of Rowntrees, Cadbury’s Samuel Lloyds and the like.

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