How our standard poodle was witness to my failure

Winston H. Churchill is the full name of our standard poodle. (Winston Churchill obviously stems from our British heritage. The middle initial, "H," stands for Houdini which we added after he twice escaped from a wire kennel, leaving the door bolted behind him. No, don't ask!)

Winston before
Winston: before grooming

One of the advantages of a standard poodle is that they do not shed. The disadvantage is that they need grooming. Let me explain what Winston and his dreadlocks have to do with God's Kingdom and church planting.

Six months ago I would have struggled to find the books of Haggai and Zechariah; now my Bible falls open to those pages. God has been speaking clearly and specifically to Tony and me from these books about many of the things we are involved in: our personal lives, the direction our business should take, what is going on with the simple/organic/house church movement. 

To understand these books, it helps to know a little of the history. The first waves of the Children of Israel have returned from 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Led by Zerubbabel the Governor, and Jeshua the High Priest, they lay the foundations of the Temple in an attempt to rebuild Solomon's Temple, destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar invaded. But the local people (not Israelites, but others who have been relocated to their land) conspire to stop the work. For almost 20 years, the rebuilding of the Temple is abandoned. In the meantime, the Israelites settle back into their various towns and villages to rebuild their own houses.

Enter the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. They prophecy to the leaders and to the people telling them that many of the challenges they face, from financial difficulties to crop failures to drought, stem from the fact that they have neglected to rebuild God's temple. When Haggai and Zechariah prophecy the promise of God's presence and blessing  (I am with you, says the Lord (Haggai 1:13)), it is enough to galvanize Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the Israelites back into action. Within four short years the Temple is completed.

The church in our nation  is in rapid, overall decline.  Christianity is fast becoming outdated and outmoded. It's time for us to rebuild the Temple. I'm not referring to physical bricks and mortar here, but to the Kingdom, God's spiritual temple built with spiritual stones. These spiritual stones are people, followers of Jesus (1Peter 2:5).

The Lord has been convicting me over recent days through the book of Haggai and through T4T teaching that I need to be more vocal about my faith. How will we ever see a move of God here if no seed of the Kingdom is sown? If I preach the importance of speaking about our faith, then I must live it too.

As I looked at my day early yesterday morning, the one occasion I was likely to get to chat with a non-believer was when I took Winston for his end-of-winter hair cut. I determined I was going to find an opportunity to share my spiritual story with the lady who grooms him.

I failed. Completely. Someone else was in the store and I chickened out!  (Yes, I know. It's all about listening to the Lord and speaking to those he tells us to talk to.) 

God help me!

Winston after
Winston: after grooming

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://simplydisciple.com Joe Macias

    First, my wife and I have a poodle/lhasa apso mix, and I love when his hair gets extra long! I almost don’t want to cut it because he looks so funny that way.
    Second, I’ve definitely been experiencing a prompting to be more vocal about my faith. Our simple church is currently walking through how to identify people of peace in our lives, and praying for and creating opportunities to invite them deeper into our lives and community, hear their stories, and offer our stories to them.
    Thanks for the reminder!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jefferieschris Chris Jefferies

    Thanks for this, Felicity. Your openness in sharing a niggling failure prompted me to reply, but then it morphed into something different and much longer and I posted on my blog instead.
    http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/2012/03/like-big-chicken.html
    As I mentioned, it morphed a bit. Please don’t take it as a criticism of intentionally sharing our faith. You are right, we are called to do just that.
    In passing (but not relevant) many years ago my aunt had a dog just like Winston and she used to keep all the hair that was clipped off during grooming. Eventually she had enough that she was able to wash it and sent it off to be spun into yarn. She knitted herself a fine jumper from it!
    And Joe, if you’re reading this, it sounds as if you’re right on track with Jesus. Keep on keeping on.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/fdale Felicity Dale

    Joe, I love it when Winston’s hair gets long too. Our problem is that there are many stickers in our yard at this time of year. They are just getting bad, and he hates it when I have to remove the ones tangled in his long coat.
    I’m hearing lots of talk about people being more vocal. My daughter works at Chick fil A which is a Christian fast food chain in this part of the world. She commented in our group the other day that she’s overhearing all kinds of conversations about being missional and reaching out from the people who go there to eat. I’ve a feeling God may be on the move.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/fdale Felicity Dale

    Chris,
    Great blog post, and you know I totally agree with you on this.
    I’ll start collecting knitting patterns!!

  • Paul Maxim

    Felicity. If I did not know God “is at work, and I too am working” your story would have spooked me. This is exactly what God has been showing me. I have been reading Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther and have never got so much out of these books. The timing in Isreal’s history: God’s using Daniel to influence 4 kings, him praying for the coming return to the land, Ezra et all leading the people back…40K+ Isrealites, the hard work & zeal of Nehimiah, not letting up in the face of opposition. Reclaiming the land that once belonged to God’s people.
    At the same time I’m finishing T4T, my wife & I seeking to start a small group to implement an appropiate process here in Metro Wash. DC and being convicted that I have not been sharing Christ as a lifestyle for many years. So now I have made it my policy to mention/acknowledge God to everyone I meet, as far as possoble, so as to not be a hypocrite when i cast the vision to others. And other people I know are also being reawakened to the full obedience of Matt. 28:19-20. Yes, I truly think God is starting a movement.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/fdale Felicity Dale

    Paul.
    I’m greatly encouraged by what you are sharing because what it says to me is that the Lord is doing something of significance in these areas. You’re right–maybe a movement is underway. I love your comment about acknowledging God to everyone you meet. That’s a much easier concept than trying to tell your story (as in T4T) with everyone.
    I’m now going through T4T a second time.