The biggest problem I have faced with the concept of Lily’s Place is not explaining it what it is but explaining who would benefit from it. Explaining what it is simple. It is a one stop shop that people facing hard times can come to and find help. A place where they can find everything they need to recover apart from actually putting a physical roof over their heads.

The hardest thing has been finding people who are willing to work with me to make it happen. You see this is not a one woman idea. It always has been a concept which needs to draw in other people who have similar outlooks but want to help people in different ways.

It is not just a team but a tribe or even a clan working towards a common goal of helping people. People who may come into the orbit of Lily’s Place and then recover enough so that they become helpers, then restorers of people and end up leading projects that change the lives of many many people.

Lily’s Place is for  both chickens and eggs

The idea of which came first the chicken or the egg is something that been used to bamboozle creationists for a long time. The actual answer is really quite simple. Chickens were created were on the point of lay. In other words, they were created with the egg inside them. They could then lay the egg shortly after they were created.

Looking at things from that perspective was extremely helpful. To get Lily’s Place off the ground it is necessary to involve those who are able to set up projects that are able to help them. They will then lay the eggs i.e. start the projects that they already know they are called to start.

It was very similar to what I had done. I started by thinking of one project but then asked God what He wanted the business I set up as a result of starting that project to do. The morning after I posed that question I woke up with a dream of Lily’s Place.

Who should flock to Lily’s Place?

Lily’s Place is not designed to be trapped in a church. It is designed to be focused on a business that takes Christian principles into the world. The idea is to draw people in so that they are trained and enabled to be the hands and feet of Jesus. In fact, I had the idea of developing an incubator centre for small businesses many years before I had the dream of Lily’s Place.

I would love to connect with people like me. Here are some descriptions that will help you work out if you are like me.

You wear the right t-shirt – one that says I have been there and I want to help you find the way out

The reason why I started this whole journey was that I wanted to do something to help those still going through what I had come out of. OK, how do I describe that or maybe I should say how do I list all the things that have happened? The best summary I could come up with was facing the challenge of a destructive marriage, followed by a divorce and starting again and along the way facing serious issues in terms of family relationships and finances. All of these things were aggravated by a series of mental health crises but unfortunately, some of the advice given by church leaders in relation to the mental health challenges was destructive rather than constructive.

I have tried to make that as brief as I could because when I have tried describing what did happen in any detail I have ended up in some kind of wilderness unable to describe any further points of connection. The thing is I learnt the hard way that people need help and the right sort of help to come through whatever challenges they might be facing. I also learnt that it is it is hard to truly understand what people are going through until you have been through it yourself.

The best guide for a journey is someone who has been that way before. The community around Lily’s Place can say I have been there and have come through the other side. They even have a t-shirt that says I am willing to be your guide and will help you get through the hard times. It does not matter what the problem is but they must be wearing a t-shirt that tells others they are willing to help.

You have a God-given idea

God given ideas are often crazy or ridiculous. They are so big that they seem preposterous or unrealistic. People often struggle to know where to start the journey towards a dream or vision. What they can do seems way too small in the face of what is needed. If you are going to get anywhere near fulfilling that dream God will have to add a lot of His super onto their natural. Yet they are willing to work with him to make this happen.

Included in that God given idea are things that you can do to achieve that dream. It could be to teach others or to develop a practical helps ministry. Whatever your plan is it is tailored both to the problem you are trying to help people with and your own giftings and abilities. You are just putting into action the good deeds that God has prepared you to do.

You are willing to start in Jerusalem before taking on the entire world

This is one I found tough. I so wanted to tackle the entire world. I saw time passing me by and worried if I would ever get anywhere near my destination. The harder I tried doing things that did not connect with others the more disillusioned I became.

It seems that by starting small you are giving up so much. Yet it can be what you need to help you learn the basics before you move forwards towards the next step. The prototype seems like giving up on your dream yet without it you will not know how to take the next step with your dream.

The other aspect of this is that it is easy to start small and stay small when they should be growing or spreading. Their vision is so small that they cannot see that more could be done.

You are willing to change your thinking so that your thoughts are in line with God

That is actually harder than it seems. Many of us are unaware that our ideas are out of step with God. We have learnt things from our families and been taught things in church that are not 100% in line with God’s ways of doing things.

Our so called godly ideas can actually work against God. For example, for years I thought that all divorce was wrong and that I had to find a way of making my marriage work. When I in utter frustration screamed at Him to get me unstuck so that I could serve Him better that scream became a catalyst for a divorce. I then realised that although He hates divorce there are some situations where it is the least worst option so He makes sure that it happens. Part of the answer to my insistence that He got me unstuck was helping me through the divorce that I believed at the time was wrong. It is now very obvious why it was needed but it seems so against biblical teaching.

It is not just that but there are progressive revelations of the scriptures. There is a substantial part of the gospel accounts that show a whole set of ideas that Jesus taught. Not just Jesus though. Peter, Paul, James, John the writer to the Hebrews all added further interpretation to the Old Testament. Once the basic teaching was in placed God did not stop helping his people understand new ideas. After all, Martin Luther gained a whole new understanding of scripture which then encouraged him to take a stand for what he believed in and sparked The Reformation, i.e. decades of political and religious turmoil where many old ideas were overturned.

There is something called the present truth within the church. What people mean by this is the latest understanding of passages within scripture. So you get a way of praying known as approaching the Courts of Heaven. If you have not heard of this do a search on YouTube for Robert Henderson Courts of Heaven and look for any videos of his teaching. It is a specific format or protocol of prayer. It should not be a surprise that it starts with repentance but it then uses a specific way of asking God to make a decision in your favour that spiritual powers like angels and demons have to abide by.

This is a new interpretation of old truths that have always been in the Bible but are now pulled together to make a specific teaching. It is an interesting new revelation on how to pray and one that can bring about great changes in certain situations. However, the problem is that as Jesus and the writers of the New Testament discovered that not everyone likes these new ideas. Some people reject them. Others struggle to appreciate them. While some pick them up easily and run with them.

There are new interpretations of many different things such as attitudes towards money or business or how Christians can impact society. Those in the community around Lily’s Place need to be willing to seek out God’s truth from His word and change their thinking in accordance with it even if that new revelation of truth challenges the things that they were once taught by the most learned of people.

You don’t quite fit in the business world

Not everyone is comfortable in the business world. They don’t like the idea that money dictates so much of what happens, for good or bad. Some struggle with marketing as it can be very manipulative with the various techniques used to encourage people to buy. Others do not like marketing as it can seem boastful or they know that some make such an effort to present such a good face to the outside world that have created a false image. Others find just making money or even having money a challenge.

You struggle with some of the attitudes in the church world

Not everyone is happy with the emphasis on numbers in the church. The truth may be that if more people do not start coming to a particular church that it will close but that cannot be the entire motive for doing things. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, there is the idea that lilies are well-dressed and don’t have to worry because God takes care of them.

Not only that but nearby there is the idea that if we meet the needs of others then our needs will be met. Or as I interpret it if we help others get what they want e.g. a new pair of trousers then God will do something to meet our needs like send a visitor in our direction.

Your idea of supporting the community goes further than just tots and carers or the children’s midweek group. It could serve any or even every age group from babies to the elderly. It could be targeted at either men or women even both. It includes things that meet practical needs like money management and things that meet the need for companionship.

You are happy to see a Christian community built around something other than a church

There are people who see the church as little more than a performing circus where people go to be entertained. Obviously, it is not like that all the time but it is like that enough of the time for it to be a concern.

The community around Lily’s Place is comprised of people who attend a number of different churches but who work together to build what God wants them to build. It could be a business or a community centre or a café.

It is a community that learns together and maybe worships together but is not a traditional church. It is unique and shaped how God wants it to be rather than struggling to fit in with the expectations of a traditional church.

You want to see a world that is becoming more and more like God would like it to be

You want to see a world where people have such a good character that there is no reason to be concerned about criminal activity or there is no need to be concerned about hurtful words of any description.

This is the ultimate Good News. OK, it is good for the individual to be saved but that is not the be all and end all. There is more to the Good News than that. There is the whole idea of the community being transformed so that it is a good place to live. A place where God’s Kingdom has truly come down to earth. In other words, a place where the oft repeated request for your Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven actually becomes a reality.

P.S. If this resonates with you sign up for the journal and we will be able to stay in touch.

P.P.S. If Facebook is your thing check out the Lily’s Place Facebook group.


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