Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Summer Advice

Just a quick update for you all. I hope you are all enjoying the holidays. No blog last week because I was on holiday and none next week because I will be at Greenbelt Festival! All fun and frolicks in the sun.

Chris and I enjoyed a relaxed break away visiting friends and family last week, I hope you're all getting the chance to rest a bit this summer. Apparently our speaker last week did a good talk about compassion for burnt out Christians, so in keeping with his theme, I too encourage you to take some rest and let others do likewise!

I am hoping Greenbelt Festival will be a good source of spiritual refreshment for me. There should be lots of challenging talks, great music and ridiculous comedy, usually in a laid back, friendly atmosphere, so I'm really looking forward to it. Let me encourage you all to do a bit of this yourselves if you can. It may not be a festival, it may be an inspirational book, a conference or a retreat, it may be a trip to a different church. Whatever the method is, treat yourself to a little spiritual refreshment, some spiritual food which is different to your usual diet. Particularly if you are serving and 'giving out' a lot, it's really important to make sure you're still 'taking in' too. Get some nourishment!

The day after Greenbelt I have my interview for ministerial training at Spurgeon's College, so please do keep me in your prayers as I prepare for that. I am deferring my entry to September 2013 (a little time to get our heads around our new arrival in December!). Please pray that I respond as best as I can to their questions/tasks and that the college arrive at the right decision, whatever it may be.

Lastly, I advise enjoying the weather while it lasts and, as the song said, always remember to wear sunscreen...


Interested in more?
Check out some of our Sunday sermons at: http://www.buresbaptistchurch.org/sermon_catchup.php

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Where did all my friends go?

Today Spartacus (our cat), bought me a present. It was a tiny, little, shivering mouse. He was so sweet, and when I’d put him in a box, he ate his cheese so enthusiastically that I half thought about keeping him. The impracticality of this aside, I seem to have this problem. When I take a liking to a new friend (animal or human apparently!), I want to keep them.

I hate it when friends have to leave (or when I have to leave friends)! I’m still not quite sure I’ve fully recovered from all my friends swanning off at the end of Uni, let alone my own swanning off after 7 years in Norwich.

In some ways it’s easy enough to adjust, and day by day, life is good. After all, there are new friends to be made and God always provides us with company for the journey wherever we are. But what of all those relationships that were? What of all the people you knew so well, who you shared your life with day to day before, and now you rarely, if ever, see?

I’ve yet to find someone who knows what to do with those relationships except to say, “It’s okay, because I know that the next time I see them, everything will be exactly the same as it always was.” And that seems to be our only option. “When and if I do see you, at least it won’t be awkward...”

But do you ever leave those reunion encounters thinking, “Why, if we still get on so well, do we live so far apart/meet up so seldom/talk so little?”

Seeking permanence in friendships can sometimes be too much to ask. Friends can’t easily commit to be by your side permanently, much as they might like to. Who knows when a family member or a job opportunity or even a call from God might demand they uproot their life and move on to pastures new.

Perhaps this is why Jesus is known as the “bridegroom” in the bible. He is the husband to his bride, the people of the church. Marriage – the one ordained relationship which affords us some permanence, and that is our relationship with Christ! Jesus friendship with us is not like a normal friendship. It is not a friendship which might today be close and tomorrow be distant, it is a marriage. A promise to always be by our side.

And not only that but it transcends the permanence of even the happiest of marriages – because Jesus is our faithful companion into eternity. There is no “Til death do us part” with Christ. There is only “I love you, forever.” Now that’s what I call good news for anyone who, like me, longs for a bit of permanence with their companions.


Interested in more?
Check out some of our Sunday sermons at: http://www.buresbaptistchurch.org/sermon_catchup.php