Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Minister Blog 10

This week I had to handwrite my blog first, while Chris was using the computer to research fridge/freezers. It has been the kind of morning when you have to park in strange places, blow dry your hair in the church office, when loo roll holders come off in your hand, the cat makes a mess, and the freezer blows up. Not to mention the fact that currently, if we flick on almost any of the switches in the kitchen, it short-circuits all of our downstairs electrics. Funny really, yesterday was a great day!

But that's life isn't it? Especially when you are a pastor. The bible tells us that Satan is the enemy of all God's good works. It may seem weird but as Christians we do believe in evil spiritual forces, just as we believe in good. Now I'm not necessarily blaming the devil for breaking off the loo roll holder, but I do think he wants to cause disruption in our lives when we are doing God's work. Big or little, we need to be prepared for his attacks.

I have heard amazing testimonies (sadly confidential!) this week of what God is doing in people's lives. I have seen hearts changed so radically in the last few days, that I almost haven't believed it possible. What the devil doesn't seem to understand is that it is not me changing lives, it is God. We're just here to help out. Attacking us is a desperate stab in the dark, because the devil cannot defeat our God. So, as Paul says in Philippians:

"Rejoice!...The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Minister Blog 9

Here is a youthwork update: There are kids. Lots of lovely kids. Everywhere!

Last Friday we had 3 clubs in one day. The after-school Friday club for 4-9s, the monthly Tweens club for 9-13s and the weekly youth club for 13-17s. It was brilliant! The school kids had a quiz and did craft, the tweens went swimming (for swimming read 'jumping in') and the youth club drank coffee and played games they were probably too old for. Fun!

It's particularly an honour for us in Friday club and in Tweens that we have the opportunity to teach the kids about Jesus, a tradition which is upheld throughout their life at Bures Primary School too. I have been there a couple of times now, getting to know the ropes.

Anyway, thumbs up to all our youth leaders who had given their all by closing time on Friday (10.50pm for some of us!) particularly those who doubled up on more than one club.

We also had some delightful young visitors with us on Sunday for our morning service, and we have had a few more parents, carers and 'little-uns' come along to Footprints toddler group these last two weeks too. God bless all these gorgeous kids! We are very blessed to work with them all.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Minister Blog 8

I have started my theology studies this week. It is just an access module from home but nonetheless it has some interesting reading and questions. However I do find I am overcompensating massively in my responses to simple tasks. Let me give you an example.

Where the question was “who are the people for whom the author is writing?” (about a book on the New Testament), I skimmed through the preface and concluded thusly:

“Thoughtful Christians” [his term] those without formal training but with a desire for deeper Christian knowledge like trained ministers have.

The guide answers looked at the book's title and concluded: it's aimed at Christians.

When asked to consider Psalm 23 I formulated an in-depth poetry analysis, with comments on the use of repeated pronouns, imagery, declaratives and the three-stanza progressive structure. The guide answers theorised, “David was a shepherd, so he wrote about sheep”.

Nonetheless my enthusiasm remains unabated, and I have to say, there were definitely parts of the guide answers that I hadn't considered myself, in my whirlwind of literary fervour, so I am definitely learning! The real blessing of study at the minute is how faithful God is being in piecing together the “story” of God's people in my mind. The bible has so much to give, philosophy, history, comfort and centrally salvation. So for me, it's a real joy to journey deeper into it, with the living God by my side, speaking to me as I do so.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Minister Blog 7

September arrived with a bang! Lots of people at church on Sunday – thanks everyone, it was great to see you! After the service the room was buzzing with activity, everywhere you looked youth leaders were checking over lists, duelling diaries, sorting rotas. Genuinely, it was lovely to see.

I have been very encouraged this week already and it's only Tuesday! Parents back at Footprints (toddler group), people taking up the 2 week bible reading challenge and loving hearing from God, deacons mulling over plans for expanding ministries, it's all exciting.

I love the idea that while God has already put so much in place (and we certainly have enough going on to keep us busy in term time!), He's not done with us yet. I am convinced we have more we can do with our ministries and more ministries we can start – not because I'm ambitious, but because God has laid it on our hearts.

The what and the when are the interesting questions. Ask God and let me know what you think!