Tuesday, 31 January 2012

But I Don't Wanna....!

The first of this winter's snow is starting to sprinkle and today I had to do something I wasn't keen on doing. Going out in the cold.

We don't do “cold” very well in my family. We are chilly people. My favourite place to sit in my grandma's house as a child was always by the radiator, where she continually warned me I would 'melt my spine.'

However I suppose extreme cold IS preferable to extreme heat because at least you can do something about it! I forced myself to stroll to and from the church today instead of driving to 'get my circulation going' (ever my mum's solution to the problem). Sometimes you just have to throw yourself out there and face the music.

There are many things in life that we face that we just don't want to do. Some of them are unavoidable, some of them are just a good idea and we have to find the motivation.

Is there something you are avoiding doing at the minute because it just seems a pain to start?

  • Reading your bible?
  • Making time for prayer?
  • Talking over a difficult issue with your partner?
  • Exercising?
  • Looking for work?
  • Studying?
  • Using your gifts in a ministry?

As I write this (sitting in a scarf and two jumpers with a hot drink and the heating on) a friend of mine is slowly walking past the window in the freezing cold. She's 95.

Do you think that maybe I'm slightly pathetic? I do. Everybody has to do things they don't fancy all the time. And once I'm out there I warm up anyway! Will it be the same for you – once you get started on the thing you're putting off, perhaps it will get easier from there?

If you're doing it for God, you can be sure He will work with you and give you the strength you need to do it. Jesus said to his disciplesWhoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing...You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14)
So why not ask for His help this week, check it's what He wants and jump in and do it?

Cold is, after all, beneficial. It keeps the milk fresh when I forget to get it in, it scares the spiders away into hiding 'til Spring, and it allows the beautiful snow to come.

Do let me know if you're braving it and 'facing the cold' in some way, I'd love to pray for you.  

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

'Passive Networking'

It seems to me that the Lord has got the idea in his mind that He'd like this unity thing to actually happen. 'Passive networking' is when you're wandering around, going about your daily pastorly sort of business and keep coming across lots of Christians from other churches and organisations and start making links with them without intending to...

At Fresh Streams Conference this year I met the future President of the Baptist Union (who is cheering up my facebook news stream no end), the lady who basically runs Christians in Science, a LOT of great pastors from all over the place, various members of the conference leadership, some mega prophetic prayer people, a couple of interesting youthworkers. I have contact details for a good number of these. Didn't. Even. Try.

At unity services this week I met about 30 wonderful folks from Churches Together and a lot of splendid Anglicans. I went to or took services, that's all.

A whole housegroup of Christians I didn't know before have turned up in my road.

I've been to my usual ministers meetings this month and keep finding more and more ministers there.

Someone once told me being a pastor was lonely. At the minute it seems more like being surrounded! And I love it. Having spiritual, loving, prayerful churches worshipping around us, all around our area, somehow feels like being protected, like a wall of defence. We're not alone, we're not vulnerable – we're covered by allies and they are worshipping Jesus Christ.

God's call to this nation is emerging, it's bright and it's beautiful, it is coming through God's spirit and through his people.

Don't miss your chance to be a part of it. Get on your knees and pray for old Blighty! She needs our help.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

First Assembly

When I took on this job I was left a large youthwork legacy, and one aspect of that was an opening in Bures C of E Primary School to come in and do assemblys every other week. Having been gently inducted into the ways of the school and introduced to all the children last term, today was the first day I went in to do an assembly.

Praying about these assemblies, I was aware that this demographic was very different to what I was used to. Small primary schoolers, sitting in rows, singing Christian choruses and smiling lots couldn't be further from own teaching experiences, with 16-18 year olds. Some students you were lucky even to get their heads off the tables! But somehow I'm more comfortable with that...

However I roped in our youthwork co-ordinator, Liz, with all her youthie smarts and we decided to try a collaboration with a local youthwork organisation called Future Vision. They run Open The Book (dramatised bible storytelling initiative) all around the area and came on board with us. God's guiding us to them has been such a blessing!

This morning the Future Vision rep, Lesley, turns up with a screen depicting the stages of creation, animal masks for the children, bird puppets, a bucket of dirt, flowers on sticks, a big felt whale and much more to help us to tell the story of creation! Needless to say, it went down really well. Thank you God and thank you Future Vision – we love you!  

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Too late for panto?

I have been learning today about the book of Kings and a lesser-spotted prophet called Micaiah. Micaiah is now a bit of a hero of mine because of his flagrant sarcasm. You can look him up in 1 Kings 22 trying to sort out King Ahab, who was a whining, Jezebel-dating, baby-burning type of guy. Micaiah also winds up a lot of other prophets, one of whom is so cross he gives him a stout slap on the cheek – hooray! Micaiah is so not fazed by any of this.

It is a bonkers, almost farcical, story which descends quickly into disguises and poetic justice and I am sure it must have been a campfire favourite in the ancient storytelling tradition of the Jews. Try reading it in The Message version.

It also features the good king Jehosaphat, who ruled the neighbouring kingdom of Judah at the time, who seems like a jolly decent chap with at least half a brain and some dignity to go with it. Maybe I'm still in panto-mode, but all this battle and wit and good verses evil just seemed like good fun to me today. Don't think me too ghoulish, we are meant to see the irony in the gory end to the story, even if you wouldn't call it out-rightly humorous...


1) When you're in a position of influence, don't lead people astray.
2) When you hear God speaking to you, don't pretend you don't and just charge ahead anyway.
3) Don't be cocky if you don't want to get slapped.

Right. That's the new year's resolutions sorted then.


Happy new year everyone!