Monday, 7 December 2009

Breaking the Power of Fear. A Lion Chaser, WHO ME!!!!!?

Breaking the Power of Fear.


In general, people appear to be most afraid of two things: the threat of pain or death, and the threat of social rejection or isolation.

In a 2005 Gallup poll, a national sample of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 15 were asked what they feared the most. The question was open ended and participants were able to say whatever they wanted. The most frequently cited fear (mentioned by 8% of the teens) was terrorism.

Their top ten fears were, in order: terrorist attacks, spiders, death, being a failure, war, heights, criminal or gang violence, being alone, the future, and nuclear war.

Further more according to Unicef our nation has the unhappiest children in the developed world, and the unhappiest adults in Europe according to World Helath Organisation.

Our culture has developed an almost consuming fear, of being left out, “not being in the incrowd” a fear of social shame.

Fear poses a real threat to us and we ignore it at our peril.

Fear is a virus; just like HIV, HCV, HCB etc.

The Antidote:

I John 4: 15 - 19 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.  We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.


The Message; version

1 John 4: 15 - 19 Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. To Love, to Be Loved

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.


Our Response.

2 Timothy 1: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

A Lion Chaser – Who Me!!!!!!?

2 Samuel 23:20 - 23 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. Once, armed only with a club, he killed a great Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with it. Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. He was more honoured than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.



Benaiah wasn’t a normal type of guy, normal people don’t chase lions.

I’m not a normal either and you’re not normal.


Christians are not normal people,


Normal people don’t change their world,


Normal people don’t make a difference.


Imagine the scene!!






What Lion do you need to chase?


What fear do you want to conquer?



Job, money, witness, ill health, an addiction, career, dream, write a book, use your God given gifts.

Write it out…



Believers should be Lion chasers.


1. LION CHASERS KNOW THAT THE “BIGGER” THEIR GOD IS THE “SMALLER “LIONS BECOME.

Is your God too small?

Daniel 6: 19 - 23.Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions' den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, "Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?"

Daniel answered, "Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions' mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty."

The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.

Declare it: There is a difference between your God and My God!


Meditation: There is NO God like our GOD.


He is MY…..


2. LION CHASERS UNDERSTAND THAT PLAYING IT " SAFE " IS " RISKY ".


Hebrews11:6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.



2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight…

Think of a year from now….

Most of us would like to;


a) Increase our security


b) Decrease our risk


Living by Faith, God calls us to;


c) Increase our Risk


d) Decrease our security


LION CHASERS UNDERSTAND THAT PLAYING IT “SAFE “IS “RISKY ".

Living by faith teaches me to chase Lions, I was made to chase Lions, and we are made to chase Lions.

“What would Happen if I didn’t chase my Lions?

Fear would overcome me, failure would overtake me, I would become a prisoner to myself, locked up in my dreams, inabilities and full of doubt, no self worth, pitiful.

A great book to read is In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars. by Mark Batterson

Many Thanks to Mark for this book it really changed my life.


ROAR! Sometimes shouting out loud helps!!!!!!!!!!

Albeit the sane approach is to;

Take One Step Forward!

Take One Step Forward!!


I've made out this Road map for my wife and I covenanting to God that we would do this in the year ahead.

• Read the bible daily
• Attend life groups whenever possible

• Attend church whenever possible

• Pray daily
• Read encouraging Christian Books – What’s So Amazing about Grace – Philip Yancy, Life of Beloved – Henri Nouwen. A Long Obedience - Eugene Peterson. Richard Foster, Dallas Willard,


• Engaged with Spiritual Disciplines; silence, fasting, solitude, prayer, meditation, simplicity, vigils,


• Pilgrimage; go on a pilgrimage, journey with God literally there are many places. a great book to read is by Ian Bradley. Pilgrimage: A Spiritual and Cultural History


• Celebrate milestones, set up cairns and way marks.

• Have sacred places to visit and pray, (random rituals and regularly ones – Churches, Chapels, starbucks, garden centres)


• Recieve the Gift of Faith (Ephesians 3: 20 - 21. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.)
Fear and Courage


We were courageous but neither of us were not fearless.

We may think courage and fear are opposites that can never be found together, but this is wrong. These two qualities can be together; in fact, while it is possible to have fear without courage, courage is always found with fear.


Courage without fear is ignorance or foolishness or both.


The very essence of courage is to acknowledge the risk and move forward boldly, not succumbing to fear.

Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the mastering of it.

Faith requires that we take risks, so faith requires courage in the face of fear. The greater the risk we take, the greater our fear will be, but when we master our fear, great faith is gained.


Do not feel ashamed of your fears; otherwise you may be tempted to deny their existence. Delusion is not courage.



The true path to faith is to swallow your fear, like a lump in your throat, and boldly move forward, clinging to the God who goes with you.


This is a time for God’s people to be courageous. This is a day of challenge, when we are called on to face our greatest fears and then to step forward in faith.


Anytime we are asked to move beyond the familiar, we will feel some level of discomfort and fear.


The question is not whether you feel fear, but whether you allow fear to be your master.

I encourage you to break free from the cage of fear, refusing to accept the bars that confine you to what has been. Begin living a life of valour.

It is not too late to be the warrior you were meant to be!

Live like the royalty you are.



Take One Step Forward!



Take One Step Forward!!



Encouraging Words.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought.”

1 John 4:18

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.



I finish with this thought from the book of JOB.



Job 13: 15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;


I will surely defend my ways to his face.






A quite lengthy post today, I trust I have given you much to think about, I would appreciate your thoughts, please comment.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The role of the local church?

What, in your opinion, is the role of the local church?


The Church’s role has to be one which embraces a growing desire to make disciples not just converts, through its’ peoples’ own spiritual mentoring/direction process that they undertake; this desire naturally passes on to other followers. ‘Spiritual mentoring is different from pastoral care for it goes beyond the needs of the present moment and deals with the bigger picture of life direction and purpose….its concerned with growing the soul.’ 
It deals with the whole of the picture, the whole person and their walk with God. This concern goes beyond normal church activities and attendance. There is a genuine desire to build a movement and not a monument.


The local Church must be at home in tension, the scriptures are filled with it, yet we try to resolve and pacify people making the message, which is us, sterile. When we view words like ‘grace and faith, belief and action, spoken and living words, head and heart’ all create this dichotomy that we try to resolve. The 21st century Church needs to be able to take people through this tension rather than through a program which will sterilize them. This tension enables the transformation of Christ in us.

This Missional response further extends our own and the teams understanding. The passion we have for engaging with people and our belief that we can make a different grows. As we begin to face issues of fairness, justice and equality that invade our world we cannot help but care; what we do matters. This dynamic process brings us together in the revelation of who God is and what we are called to do. It affects our theology making it practical and not just word based. Our theology must make us get our hands dirty in the works of kingdom

Monday, 26 October 2009

Salvation, what's that?

Recently I was asked the following question, I wrote back a short reply and decided to open it up to wider debate, so here's you chance to chip in.
What is salvation? How would you express it?


Most people agree that ‘salvation’ is at the heart of the Christian faith. But too often our use of phrases like ‘being saved’ sounds like religious jargon, easy to use within church culture but difficult to translate in our mission work in the community.



All two often we pay too much attention on how an individual becomes saved and not enough on how he or she lives as a Christian.
We place too much focus on justification and not enough on the sanctification process. So whilst I do believe a decision is necessary I don’t sell ‘fire insurance’ for the end of life. I believe in Belonging before Believing and this is best done in community.



In the Bible, salvation centres upon restoring the whole person, not just the 'soul', to a proper network of relationships. It embraces forgiveness in relation to each other and God, as well as healing and a proper attitude to the whole of creation.
A good example is when Jesus declared that 'salvation had come to this house' when Zacchaeus rejected his previous lifestyle and prioritised restoring relationships in his community (Luke 19). His personal conversion showed itself in social change; biblically salvation is never seen as a purely individualistic concern .


A few years ago whilst working as Project manager for the healthy living centre I discovered that the holistic nature of the project really touched my life and gave it more meaning; I witnessed the fullness of the width, breath and depth of salvation in a dynamic way.

I have experienced how 'Salvation' has many other aspects such as liberation from oppression, suffering, exclusion, guilt and insecurity. All of which can be found within the biblical hermeneutic.


Salvation should rebuild and reinforces a personal and corporate affirmation of ourselves and the community we live in.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Integration into Local Communties

Recently I was asked this question:

How would you integrate yourself into the local community? Please give examples from your own experience.




Whilst working on several social action projects over the years I have seen numerous examples of projects that start out with all the right intentions of integration from the Christian viewpoint of responding to need, however I have seen them drift off course because the project becomes the main thing instead of the attitude of Christian witness and service. A useful tool which I have used is one of: Prayer, Action and Reflection, again notably a cyclic form which helps keep the main thing the main thing.



The variety and diversity of responses to these realities illustrate the dynamic changes we are undergoing, I am cognisant of the phrase in Ecclesiastes that reminds us of ‘nothing new under the sun’, however this is a mark of the embracing paradigm of the 21st century leader; they live by a biblical hermeneutic and largely ignore the 20th century Church script. Rather more, they desire a more ‘ancient future’ Christianity that lets leadership explore and take risks along the way, one that as Webber puts it ‘is shaped by the reflection of the Church throughout history and expressed in the concrete situation of the Church in its particular place in culture’



These leaders respond to the process they are in and the story to them is more important than the model they operate in. It’s the story that has incarnational qualities that can transform the situation they find themselves in. Keel in his book says ‘to live in the world today and not to be aware of the radical transition of our context is to be either hopelessly out of touch, dangerously na├»ve, or wilfully stubborn’ . The bible is full of stories and the 21st century leader will have to encourage themselves and those they lead to mine the stories for timeless principles which they can engage in together along the way. Living an incarnational message helps to demonstrate these stories, understanding ‘we are not the bearer of the message or story but we are the message’



One of the fundamental points is the awareness of the time and context we live in and applying that to our situation, leaders today need to be able to function both transactionally and transformationally . Interestingly this combination of leadership style can be seen to be more evident in a team based approach rather than the CEO style. The 21st century leaders find that the interchanging of leadership for differing roles and situations can have greater benefits of solidarity and safety than previous models. The nature of leaders in the team needs to be one of servant leaders, serving people and each other and was adequately modelled by Jesus in the biblical script.



The preceding paragraph was both clearly evident and passionately lived in my last post as director of St. Luke’s Church. Where we changed hearts and minds of an aging traditional Pentecostal Church into an Emergent Expression relevant to its own time and space.

Webber. R. The Younger Evangelicals . p.242


Keel. T. Intuitive Leadership Baker Books. 2007. p.23.

Keel. T. Intuitive Leadership . p.56.

Macgregor Burns, J. Transforming Leadership. P24. Atlantic Books.

Transactional Leadership / Management has been defined as: ‘the basic, daily stuff of politics, the pursuit of change in measured and often reluctant doses.’

In contrast, Transformational Management is more metamorphic in nature, often having radical and conceptual leaps in style, shape and presence - a different matrix altogether.



What's your view point? I'd love to here from you.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Leadership?

Recently I was asked this question;

Describe what you understand by the term leadership, illustrating your perspective with a recent example from your present church and leadership context.


In a leadership context, I value more the fact that leaders never ‘arrive’ but that we are journeying just like everyone else.

By applying this thought to the previous prefix, ‘leaders’ and ‘players’ are able to be interchangeable. The primary language is one of ‘hearing the call’.[1] Therefore, by providing the arena and creating a safe space, people can find their vocation through experience, experimentation and connections

I would go further and state the leader must set the pace and fashion this by his personal Missional life. This ‘Spatial Evangelism’[2] is not just done in a program or project and is not linear or two dimensional it has volume to it, three dimensional, spirit, heart and venue. It encompasses all of the week, time and space the leader works in. This space is made safe by core values and virtues: providing a positive culture to live and work in. As stated by Nelson;

‘Leadership is the social process in which people confer influence to individuals so that they can organise and assist the people in achieving what could not be otherwise be accomplished.’[3]

In this very social process I find the best expression is done in a team. Leaders need to move away from an isolation mentality towards the team where they can explore together the process of achieving.

In the last two posts I have held, as a project manager and director of a Church / Charitable Company. I have been the catalyst that has begun this change away from traditional Church leadership models. I believe in progressive change that enables rather than change for changes sake.

Today’s leaders need to be learners, but I find the more I understand about how much there is to know, I become aware of how little I know.
The futurist Alvin Toffler says ‘ the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn’[4] Thus our understanding of different models of leadership and the culture of the organisation in which we apply our principles and values to is key to the successful working. I am convinced that the models of leadership I have encountered to date in the late 20th century are inadequate, out dated and will be of little use in the future.

The next question is to ask what this means for the next generation of leaders. The leader’s shape in the 21st century needs to be aware of past and present but is not shaped by ‘being right’ or driven by ‘meeting needs’[5]

Leadership needs to be ever more aware of the fact that life is messy and sometimes chaotic yet however the leader embraces this and asks, what is God doing here and then asks How can I interact with this?

What is interesting is that a linear sequence is excluded. Cyclical and seasonal influences are rhythmic and ritual to this process. I find this exciting as it reflects my own journey: I have become dissatisfied with next-level thinking and the next new thing. I feel more at ease exploring the dimension of the present.

Another important aspect of leadership is the leader’s perpetual learning and development, a leader is a reader and acknowledges that they will never master the art of leadership. They continually learn and develop and recognise that in order to hone their skills it will take a life time.

A key shift in my thinking and theology is that we move away from the leader who comes and sets the vision for the Church largely based on their ability and then whips people up to fulfil this vision. This is sadly par for the course in many Churches and is the main reason why there is so much fatigue in Christian circles.

We must raise up team and body ministry and ask the questions ‘What is God doing here? Where can we see him in action in our community? Why are we here? Why do we do the things we do?’

All these are key components the leader must encourage his people to answer and work through. Teamwork encourages a communal expression of faith and helps us to re-frame and re-form our individual limitations of our revelation of God. The paradox the leader lives in here is that they fully understand and are committed to team yet are aware of times of isolation and aloneness; they must try and bring that into the team in an appropriate manner so that the burden may be shared.

My Question to you is;

What do you think about Leadership?

Have you an example that may help the discussion along?

I really would like to hear your thoughts on this matter.

[1] Sweet, L Summoned to Lead. Zondervan P.13.
[2] Creps. E. Off- Road Disciplines P.145
[3] Nelson, A. Spirituality & Leadership Navpress 2002 P.24
[4] Sweet, L Summoned to Lead. P.122
[5] Webber. R. The Younger Evangelicals. P.240

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Grace and Truth - An Away Day with Rick Lewis.

Hi folks below are a few photos of the Mentoring Awayday I recently attended with a group of friends at at Bawtry Hall, also some notes i took of the day.
I hope you enjoy this blog and loook forward to your responses.













Grace and Truth
Just recently my wife and I sandy poppins, joined up with quite a few of our friends at Northern Connections at bawtryhall for a conference on Mentoring with a guy named Dr. Rick Lewis from Australia.
Rick is currently pastor of Castle Hill Community church in Sydney, Australia, and has a new book out called Mentoring Matters.
Rick also has a website which is very useful called, Mentoring Matters

We began the day with worship and prayer and our host Jonathan Dunning introduced Rick who skilfully guided us through the rest of the day.

The following notes are what I sketched down, hopefully they will refresh peoples' memories of the day who attended and for those who didn’t, well, enjoy and I would welcome comments from both parties, have fun and be blessed.

Our opening passage and indeed theme for the day was,
Jesus; full of Grace & Truth.

Session 1:

We read the following passage:

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
Grace & Truth both needed in the same measure!

From a theological foundation we need to see that Jesus presents himself to us and others as;

1. The revelation of the Character and nature of God.
2. Full of Grace & Truth

We need the character of Christ to live ‘in us’ and ‘through us’.

A word about the ‘Law’ – Law is a coercive power; Law is about compliance, judgment.

The hallmark of a leader is to lead with Grace & Truth. (Together)

Looking at several gospel narratives we began the conversation with Rick at the helm.

1. The woman at the well. John 4: 1 - 26
2. The Tax Collector. Luke 19: 1 - 10
3. Peter’s confession you are the Christ Matthew 16: 13 - 20
4. The woman caught in adultery.

A few of my thoughts from the discussion;

  • Grace enables you to accept the Truth

  • Grace opens the door to Truth

  • Is there real truth without Grace?

  • Grace and Truth are expressions of God’s love.


    Session 2.

    Question? How was Jesus full of Grace and Truth?

    Close your eyes and ponder these thoughts anew.


  • Grace in Actions? Or vice versa?
    Actions in Grace?

  • Truth in Actions? Or vice versa?
    Actions in Truth?

Grace and truth are FUNCTIONAL AND POSITIONAL Characteristics of Jesus.

A conversation progressed about functional and positional aspects of leadership, Grace and Truth.

What do you think?

Session 3.

Coercive Power

A great session around power, with contributions from many people, it was great to see, how we using what we have been taught in the previous sessions and put into place aspects of Grace and Truth when speaking about power.

  • The POWER within is OK!


  • The POWER OVER is the PROBLEM!

    Quote: If a Mentor is truly expressing love toward a Mentoree, they will not attempt to wield power over them. Dr R. Lewis. Mentoring Matters. 2009. Monarch books.

    If you constrain people against their will you are wrong, what is required is a change of HEART, not external compliance.

    2 Timothy 2: 24. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,

    Paul knew that effecting a change of behaviour through coercive power is worthless, for it does not change the heart.

    Rick says; "It is helpful for a Mentor to minimize the sources of power over Mentorees. I have noted that the accrual of power to the mentors stems from either personal power or positional power"

    Quote: Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one shadows the other. Carl Jung.

    Throughout the day we had plenty of time to chat with each other and also walk around the gardens at Bawtry Hall, I would like to thank Jonathon Dunning for organising the day and a special thank you to Rick for sharing his heart with us.

    Hope you enjoy the blog and look forward to your comments, once again sorry for delay in this post.


Monday, 10 August 2009

A Few Quotes

Hi folks,


I'm busy reading The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning, an excellent book.
http://bit.ly/5iV8J

these quotes come from chapter 2; Magnificent Monotony.


Julian of Norwich; "The greatest honor we can give the Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love."


Jacques Martain; "The culmination of knowledge is not conceptual but experiential."


Ignatuis of Loyola; " The direct experience of God is Grace indeed, and basically there is no one to whom it is refused."


3 quotes that Brennan then goes onto to expand, you'll have to read the book to find out more!


But what strikes me more and more as I journey with God is that we experience this Grace at first however slowly but surely let the Law replaces it as we get travel weary.


My prayer therefore more than ever is that I (We) experience God's Grace daily in our lives.

Just recently whilst speaking about Grace at a friends church I was overwhelmed with "This Grace" as I was speaking, It disarmed me and I thank God that I experienced the transformation as I spoke, in addition those listening responed to the message and numerous Grace transactions occured. He truly is wonderful.

The Psalmist says "Be Still and Know" friends today take timeout to know "This Grace" that surpasses all understanding, its well worth it.

Monday, 27 July 2009

A Prayer to refresh our souls.

ANIMA CHRISTI



Soul of Christ, sanctify me

Body of Christ, save me

Blood of Christ, inebriate me

Water from the side of Christ, wash me

Passion of Christ, strengthen me

O good Jesus, hear me

Within thy wounds hide me

Suffer me not to be separated from Thee

From the malicious enemy defend me

In the hour of my death call me

And bidst me come to Thee

That with thy saints I may praise thee

Forever and ever.

Amen



Often we prayer with our own agendas and motives, often we set off well and fade quickly.

In this prayer our attention is fixed upon Christ, upon his grace that has entered our lives.

Oh how he longs for us to draw near to Him.



I've been away from my blog for several days now, although I've looked at it daily, thinking I ought to say something, but not knowing how to start to say things.

I came across this prayer in a new book I'm reading, surprise surprise!



"Becoming the answer to our prayers;" prayer for the ordinary radicals.

by Shane Clairborne, Founder of the simple Way. www.thesimpleway.org and Jonathan Wilson - Hartgrove.
Published by IVP



Take a moment to consider the words of the prayer and ask Jesus to walk into your life and stay with you. Relax in his presence friends it is truly lovely.



We'll speak soon



Andrew

Monday, 29 June 2009

Graduation and Family Day

Hi everyone, what a glorious day, all the family there at my Graduation, I received an MA in Missional Leadership from Bangor University.

I am truly blessed who would have thought that 10 years ago I was dying and in need of a liver transplant, God is and has been so faithful to me and all my family.

in the morning we went to our friends studio for family pictures. http://www.stanplusstantwo.com/

and then off to Mattersey Hall for graduation, what a day, I cried it was very emotional, someone said to me, "God has other plans for you Andrew, you can go when its your time!"

I guess that's the bottom line, you leave this earth when its' your time, take encouragement from this friends, He is faithful when we are faithless.

In the evening we had an Indian meal at the Aggrah in Doncaster, by the end I was full and very replete.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Graduation

hi folks, i am aware i haven't said anything the last few days, i only have a few minutes as i have been busy just lately, celebrating my birthday and anniversary to my lovely wife, 47 and 27 years respectively. Check out Sandra's blog.
life marches on relentlessly!
the next major event in our social calendar is my graduation on the 20th of June, i gain a MA in Missional Leadership from Bangor University, the exciting part being that all our 3 children will be their and there partners, we will have a family picture taken and then go out for an Indian meal at the Aagrrh in Doncaster.
so folks please celebrate with me on this occasion and we will speak soon, i promise.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Spiritual Growth / Meditation

A sad feature is that it is more identified with non Christian systems of thought rather than biblical Christianity. E.g. Yoga, transcendental meditation, relaxation therapy or new age movement.

We must remember that meditation is both commanded by God and modelled by the Godly in the scriptures. Joshua 1v8 and Psalm 1: 1-3 The kind of meditation encouraged in the bible differs from other kinds of meditation in several ways;

While some advocate a kind of meditation in which you empty your mind, Christian meditation involves filling your mind with God and truth.
For some meditation is an attempt to achieve complete mental passivity. (Serenity and peace) Biblical meditation requires constructive mental activity.

DEFINITION: Deep thinking on the truths and spiritual realities revealed in scripture for the purpose of understanding, application, and prayer.

Analogy – a tea bag placed inside a cup of water.

Guidelines for Application.

1. Select an appropriate passage (s). DO NOT RUSH: always read in context and make sure you read sufficient of the passage to enable you to get the most out of this time.

Example.
John 11:25 WRITE IT OUT “I am the resurrection and the life” “I am” --------------
(i) Moses said to God “who are you?” God said “I am”
(ii) “I am” all sufficient ---- song springs to mind ---- sing it through.

Resurrection: ---- He died and rose again! Death / Life / Old Self / New Life/ Buried /Alive'

2. How am I to respond this text?

3. Is there anything I can do as a result of reading / meditating on this :-- tell someone “I am alive”

4. Write a prayer out; ---------------Lord thank you that you are “I am the all sufficient one”, thank you that you died and rose again. Thank you Lord I have new life in you.

5. A useful tool / items of equipment; note book, pen, music to listen to.

6. When using a note book or paper it may help to set up as follows. Passage. Positive thoughts negative thoughts Cross reference biblically concerning the above thoughts.
A selection of passages to meditate on.
Galatians 2: 20.
John 15: 7
Joshua 1:8
Psalm 1: 1-3
Psalm 139
Last supper
Gospels Luke 22, Great Commission Gospels Matthew 28

Monday, 1 June 2009

I Love You

blogging from chapter 001. of Margaret Feinberg - the Sacred Echo. published by zondervan.

Well folks what a fine read this chapter is. Margaret unpacks the I love you from God. a thing we hear from every quarter all around so often it has diluted our sense of LOVE.

God speaks frequently and repetitively because we’re so easily distracted.

Maybe he does this so we focus on the important not the imminent.
Most, if not all of the sacred echoes of God throughout the bible orbit around relationship.

God’s “I love you” is not just a piece of information or one time revelation but an in invitation to transformation.

God’s desire for transformation is one of the foundational reasons for the sacred echo.
He is much more that an information source.
He longs for more than that.
God’s words are life to be ingested, nourishment to our souls, power to change our situations.


God’s “I love you” is not just a piece of information or one time revelation but an in invitation to transformation.
sorry for the repeat, but wow just ponder on these words thanks Margaret.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

A Nudnik

I'm currently reading Sacred echo – Margaret Feinberg, published by zondervan.
Quite an interesting book as i warm to the idea that God uses the events and things in our lives to speak to us, if only we could listen or if only we could hear more quickly we might make a more profound impact in the world we live in.

Margaret says, God often uses the repetitive events and themes in daily life to get my attention and draw me closer to him.

The question is why does it takes several times for me to catch on is it only me or is this a trait of humanity in general?

She encourages us to listen for God’s whisper, trying to recognise the sacred echoes – those moments when God speaks the same message to my heart again and again. That same phrase or word that keeps reappearing in my life, relationships and study, until I can no longer ignore it, its more than coincidence.

A great example she outlines is the tenacious widow who demanded justice, eventually after much strife from the widow the local judge caves in and grants the widow's request, not because of her wisdom or her eloqeunce but because she was a Nudnik

Nuknik is a yiddish word the jewish translators used for this bothersome widow.
if we could understand the principles and links behind the echoes and the perseverance that being a Nudnik is or can be a good thing.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?