Welcome!

This is the website of Claire Musters, freelance writer and editor. Please feel free to look around – check out ‘About’ for more details of Claire’s publishing career.

Watch this space for some personal blogs from Claire on subjects ranging from juggling a writing career with young children to what life is like now her record-producing husband has become a full-time pastor!

Thanks for visiting the site – hope you enjoy it.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Church: God’s design for caring community

church-people-clip-art-614926

Churches are really unique places aren’t they? There are very few other places where you will find people from all sorts of backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, stages of life coming etc together regularly. I personally think the more varied a church is the more it is a wonderful picture of God’s grace and design.

However, the diversity within churches does bring a unique challenge. Jesus prayed to His Father: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23).

Reflecting on this is pretty humbling. Jesus is basically saying that the way in which we model unity speaks to the world the truth of the gospel. And how do we become unified? Through showing love and care to one another, choosing to lay down any petty squabbles in order to see the best in one another.

In a church full of variety there are going to be those that we are naturally drawn to, as well as others that we find difficult. I think part of God’s wisdom in this is that our own rough edges and foibles, which are such a part of us we don’t really see them, can be taken off as we rub up against those that are different to us. Indeed Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

To read the rest of this post please click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Discipleship, Worship as a lifestyle

The incredible power of the gospel

Puppets2What do singing puppets, friendly face painters, church members praying with passers by and a visiting evangelist preaching the gospel have in common?

Well that’s what a recent Saturday looked like on our town’s high street. Our church had evangelist Jonathan Conrathe come and work with us for the weekend. We had plenty of gatherings at church but we also set up in town during the day on the Saturday. My husband was involved in the puppets, which always draw a crowd, and my daughter and I were face painting.

Those types of activities are almost ‘safe’ evangelism – we are ‘doing’ things so don’t have to put ourselves on the line too much (although it was good to have some fruitful discussions with parents, who were so much more open because their kids were happily entertained).

What struck and challenged me most about the time, however, was how people responded to the gospel being preached. I was amazed (and then repented of being amazed) by how Jonathan simply gave the gospel message and people responded to it there and then on the street and we had the privilege of praying with them.

Listening while face painting I can remember thinking a few times “I could never say that” and “Isn’t that rather politically incorrect – can you say that on a British high street?” Don’t get me wrong, Jonathan preached with grace and clarity, not damning fire and brimstone. And when he called for a response there were those whose hearts had obviously been touched who wanted to make a commitment to Jesus.

The experience of being on the high street that day caused me to reflect on how the gospel certainly is timeless – and it also holds an unfathomable power. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

To read the rest of this post, please click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Discipleship, Leadership, Worship as a lifestyle

Five reasons why we need to repent more

prayer-13-04-2

The words ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’ seem somewhat old-fashioned don’t they? I’m often told to change them when I’m editing Bible study notes, as people don’t relate to such terminology these days.

It is true that sin and repentance are concepts that seem to go against the grain. Our individualistic society feeds off the thought that ‘I’ should focus on myself – and that ‘truth’ is simply what I believe and how dare anyone challenge that. But that smacks of a hardness of heart – whereas we are called to be softened and malleable in God’s hands.

God has been talking to me a lot recently about how vital our need to say sorry is. I’ve come to realise that repentance actually holds the key to unlocking so much freedom within us as Christians.

We need to say sorry both to God and to others. We need to have the grace to allow others to say sorry to us and forgive when necessary.

It is true that, as Elton John says, ‘sorry seems to be the hardest word’. However, here are five compelling reasons to put in the effort.

1. It reveals a humble, honest heart.

God wants us to be humble enough to acknowledge when we are in the wrong, rather than trying to cover it up. When we come to Him with honesty it shows integrity; we aren’t trying to pretend we are better than we are. Saying sorry and asking for forgiveness demonstrates our continued need of a Saviour. We can’t do everything in our own strength – repenting when we trip up shows that we recognise this and are leaning on God.

I love spending time in the psalms – David is one of my biblical heroes. So much strength, wisdom, depth of feeling and a worshipful heart, and yet he wasn’t perfect. He stooped to an all-time low in his episode of covering up his sin with Bathsheba, but, when the prophet Nathan confronted David his immediate response was ‘I have sinned against God’, and he wrote Psalm 51 to God soon after. Here’s a snippet:

Have mercy on me, O God,

 according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

 blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity

 and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,

 and my sin is always before me…

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

 wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

To read the rest of this post please click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Discipleship, Worship as a lifestyle

Learning to enjoy the journey

woodland pic with path

I am the type of person that wants to know what’s coming. I want to be able to plan everything ahead of time. I have been learning that this is often a characteristic of the way I deal with fresh revelation from God: He teaches me something but I immediately want to know everything to do with that and how it will pan out in my life over the coming months and years.

But often God deals with me gently by reminding me that this life is a journey – I may have just realised something new but that doesn’t mean I have it all wrapped up. He longs for me to explore, to delve deeper and just enjoy the whole experience of learning rather than having to be an instant expert.

I often have a similar experience with my writing. I have a sense of trepidation when I start tackling the planning stages of a new book or Bible study notes. I can procrastinate for a little while but then, when an idea starts to form, I can feel frustration that I don’t know how the whole concept will look like once finished.

I may get a bit of inspiration about particular chapters or days’ readings, but feel lost and impatient that there seems to be a gap in part of the overall writing scheme. I feel like I must be in control of it all, must have a plan, otherwise it won’t work.

Do you ever feel that way?

And yet…

To read the rest of this post, please click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under On writing, Worship as a lifestyle

Understanding our authority in God

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:18-23)

Those are Paul’s words to the Ephesians – particularly poignant when reflecting on them soon after Easter. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in heaven, above all things, is also for those of ‘us who believe’. What does that mean for us today though? When we read that we have the same power and authority of Jesus how do we work that out in our everyday lives?

I have always found the ‘name it claim it’ approach difficult – it makes me hugely uncomfortable as it seems quite self-centred rather than humble and servant-like. I’ve also seen too many hurt people after circumstances haven’t changed as they expected them to – or they’ve been told the reason things are still the same is their fault.

However, while attending a conference recently, I was faced with the question I’ve put in the title of this piece and it made me ponder: have I misunderstood, or unintentionally stopped standing in, and using, the authority that being in Christ has provided me with?

To read the rest of this post, please click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Discipleship, Worship as a lifestyle

Why scrubbing loos is a good idea

cleaning_the_toilet_s

What is it about the human condition that makes us look around the people we come into contact with day to day and compare ourselves to them? It is something we have to work really hard not to do, which means the comparison culture inevitably infiltrates our church communities too.

I’m sure we’ve all had those moments: times when we’ve see others in a role that we wish we had and felt slightly jealous. Perhaps we even feel entitled to that role – or think in our minds that we could do a much better job than the person currently doing it.

 Or perhaps we end up in the mindset that thinks we have to contribute to the service each week – by bringing another word or reading another portion of scripture out. Why do we do that? A desperate need within us to connect with God, or a deep-seated desire to look more holy than those around us?

I think we need to ask ourselves those difficult questions regularly about our motivations for serving within our church communities. None of us is immune to selfish ambition and desires, but it is much easier to nip them in the bud early rather than letting ourselves get carried away with them.

Indeed, in Philippians 2 we are told: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (v3-4).

Jesus had some really harsh words to say about those people who put on a show of holiness in church: “Everything they do is for men to see” (Matthew 23:5) and “Woe to you … you hypocrites!”, which he repeats in verses 13, 15, 23, 25, 27 and 29. With that amount of repetition I think we can see Jesus really wanted to get his message across!

Speaking about the teachers of the law, it was the difference between their public show of purity and piety and their everyday lives that angered Jesus the most. Indeed, He instructed His disciples and the crowds “you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach” (v3).

Ouch.

Harsh words or the simple, honest truth?

To read the rest of this post, please click here – where the reason for the title will become clear ;)

Leave a comment

Filed under Discipleship, Help I'm now a pastor's wife!, Leadership, Worship as a lifestyle

More than Writers site

I am really excited that today the first of my regular contributions to the Association of Christian Writers’ blog has gone live. The site is called More than Writers and already I have gleaned a wealth of encouragement and challenge from the bloggers this month. Please do check the site out – and comment on my post today if you want to, which is all about learning not to compare ourselves with others :)

comparison is the thief of joy

Leave a comment

Filed under Discipleship, On writing