30 October 2011

RESPONSE - Getting real

Sometimes it just seems right to draw attention to something I've read. That's what happened this evening. We need to be real about life with Jesus - he's real and we should be too. We won't get far with discerning people if we are false, and our actions speak far louder than our words.

Simple Church JournalThe item I stumbled on is an article by Roger Thoman published over a month ago. I'd somehow missed it, but it bears repeating. Here are two extracts.
We need more from “the church.” We need “the church” to begin living their unique destiny as followers of Jesus audaciously. We need people who are not sleep-walking in religion or incapacitated by the franticness of our Disneyland culture. We need people who know who they are, who love Jesus more than life, who are willing to bring fresh and new ideas and innovations that change society. We need people who influence, not toward religion or church-going, but toward Jesus, and life, and hope, and faith, and transformation, and the power of the Spirit. We need people who have passion and are not afraid to step out and speak up about those things (including Jesus) that are burning on their hearts.

IMAGE - The moon

(Click the photo for a larger view)
A dark evening sky with a bright new moon - Photo taken 29th October 2011
The sun had set some time earlier and the sky was getting dark. The bright young moon was following the sun and would soon be setting too, but for a while it hovered amongst the clouds. Beautiful!

Click the 'image' label below to see other image posts.

29 October 2011

Stamford - Fisherfolk evening

< 24th October 2011 | Index | 7th November 2011 >

This evening took me back to the 1970s and 80s in more ways than one. The music was great and a lot of good thoughts were shared, in the songs, in the form of short stories and experiences from the past, and in conversation afterwards.

Some friends from the 1970s, Paul and Jenny, had invited me to a Fisherfolk evening. They planned to play some of the wonderful old music created as part of the Charismatic Renewal, a revival that swept through the church at that time.

We gathered at Stamford Free Church where there was a warm welcome. When the band of five musicians began playing and singing I was astonished at the quality of the music. I'd known it would be good, but somehow they had really captured something of the original Fisherfolk feeling.

All the songs were familiar and I certainly enjoyed myself. But I'd like to explain how the evening affected me in other ways, ways that are relevant today, not just memories of the past.

TECHNOLOGY - Ecotricity

Ecotricity is the utilities company that Donna and I use for our gas and electricity supplies. They are a company with a difference, quite unlike any other energy company in the UK and perhaps in the world - unless you know different...

Part of ecotricity's websiteWe switched to 'ecotricity' some years ago when they were smaller than they are now. They're still far smaller than their competitors and getting started in competition with international giants was no walk in the park.

But Dale Vince who founded and runs 'ecotricity' is full of unusual and effective ideas. He's also determined to make a difference and change the way we obtain and sell energy. Read Dale's blog for more on his thinking about green energy.

'Ecotricity' is different from the rest because it was built around a green and clean model. Take a look at their awards page to see how well they have been doing with that objective.

For electricity, their current mix is about 60% green (mostly wind energy). For customers like us who opt for a slightly higher cost plan, it's 100% green. And the profit earned by the company goes into new green generating capacity.

If you live in the UK please consider switching to 'ecotricity'. And if you live elsewhere in the world maybe you could build a windmill and go into business yourself!

28 October 2011

THOUGHT - Of wine and wineskins

In the 1970s and 80s we talked a lot about new wine and the older and newer wineskins we might use to hold it. Perhaps it's time to revisit this topic to see how it might apply to church today, particularly organic church.

A traditional goatskin water containerI'm sure we're all familiar with these words of Yahshua, 'Nobody pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.' (Mark 2:22)

The idea here is that new wine is actively fermenting and is full of fizz, it's literally alive with active yeast. Old wine is inactive, even dead; fermentation is finished. Wineskins were made of goatskin and when new were supple and stretchy, old ones were stiff, brittle and cracked.

New, fizzy, active wine will stretch a new wineskin but burst an old one. We felt Jesus was saying that the New Covenant could not be contained in the old wineskin of Judaism but needed a new, more flexible one, the church.

27 October 2011

THOUGHT - Tent pegs in bronze?

In some correspondence recently I wrote, 'Let the Kingdom be extended. Spread the tent pegs wider still'. What did I mean by that? For some, the tent peg reference may be clear, for some it may seem odd.

Can anyone supply these in bronze?When I wrote, 'Let the Kingdom be extended', it was me speaking in my own words. I am hoping, praying, and expecting to see Christ's Kingdom extending further and wider and deeper in my own life and in the lives and activities of others near and far.

But what about those tent pegs?

Tent pegs are mentioned in the Bible. Paul was a tent maker and sometimes used his expertise to earn a living. That meant he was not always dependent on the help of the people in the local churches. Just like Peter, Andrew, James and John who were commercial fishermen, Paul's spiritual work reflected his trade. They became people catchers; Paul became a maker of shelters in the form of new churches. (I might come back to this idea in another article, it seems interesting.)

24 October 2011

Brampton - A place of safety

< 10th October 2011 | Index | 29th October 2011 >

We were reminded about places of safety. What are they? do I need one? How do I find one? How can I be sure I'll be safe there?

The sun in the sky
Right at the start we had a reminder that 'where two or three are gathered in my name, I will be there with them' (Matthew 18:19-20). As I shared those words, Sean was prompted to explain that he'd seen a picture in his mind, two young children were running into the ark.

This in turn prompted me to mention three words that seemed relevant - ark (obviously), but also temple and mountain. If he's in one of those places we need to run there ourselves because he himself is our place of safety.

And if he's with two or three gathered together - that is the right place to be.

23 October 2011

TECHNOLOGY - Robotic cyclist

A Japanese hobbyist has built a robot cyclist. The video is quite amazing to watch.

The robot is much smaller than human size and this will account in part for the sometimes erratic and wobbly ride. But it's an impressive achievement. It's not the first time a robotic cyclist has been built, but as far as I know this is the smallest.


One day, no model railway will be complete with tiny robotic pedestrians, cyclists and road vehicles moving around the tiny landscape. Now there's a thought!

22 October 2011

THOUGHT - His presence

When we think about the Almighty's presence among his people, clearly there's a difference between his presence personally and his presence corporately. Yet the two are inextricably linked.

A glorious solar haloAs far as his personal presence is concerned, we know that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, lives within us. Jesus expressly tells the disciples to expect him. He turns up at Pentecost and rests on each one - like a flame. He also dramatically energises and activates the church and they go out boldly sharing the good news. (Up to that time they had been prayerful, yet grieving, fearful and probably very confused.)

But notice that they were together in one place when the Spirit came upon them. The personal presence came in the context of corporate activity. There is something special about unity itself. The Father, Son and Spirit are one - a community - the pattern for all community. So we are intended to be one, a community as close as theirs. And even more amazing, we are supposed to enter into their community; the Son wants to bring his bride into the family home.

21 October 2011

SOCIETY - Goodbye Facebook

Goodbye Facebook? Yes, I'm leaving, it was good to know you but I'm moving on. I'm tired of the constant changes. I have the feeling Facebook doesn't listen to its users as much as it should. The frantic response to Google+ was the last straw.

I won't be reading material on Facebook regularly from now on - follow me instead on Google+. You don't need to be logged in to read my public updates.

My Google+ pageI'll continue posting blog articles to my Facebook wall for the time being, but nothing else.

If you choose to sign up to G+ yourself you will be able to respond to my updates just as you have on Facebook.

I've been happily using Google+ almost from its launch in the summer. I like just more or less everything about it, especially its clean, uncluttered appearance. The only drawback is that so few of my friends are on G+ but I've decided to lead the way by closing down Facebook sooner rather than later.

So remember -  Visit Google+ to read most of my stuff even if you're not on G+ yourself.
Set up a G+ account if you want to respond to me. Or stick to good old email if you want to say something to me but don't wish to join G+.

18 October 2011

THOUGHT - Making things new

< Missing the best | No later items >

What does Haggai have to tell us about church life today? Do we need to carefully consider what we are doing?

Stones from the Temple Mount in JerusalemFelicity Dale posted an article recently in which she explains how she and Tony were prompted to look at a passage from Haggai.

She writes...
We remember the days when, back in England, God's presence was almost tangible when we came together. Sometimes we were unable to stand in his presence. There were healings and miracles. We never dared go into his presence with unconfessed sin, because we knew that the Holy Spirit would reveal it publicly. This was not a manufactured glamor and glitz, but the presence of God--his glory-- among his people.
I remember those days too, so do some of my other friends near and far. We still have meetings like that sometimes. But it doesn't happen often, certainly not every time we meet as it did in the late 1970s.

15 October 2011

IMAGE - Audley Park

(Click the photo for a larger view)

View towards the bridge in Audley Park - Photo taken 15th October 2011
Here's a glorious view in the park at Audley End, work by Capability Brown at his best. The path, the posts, the trees and the bridge just work together so well. And it may be mid-October, but it doesn't really feel autumnal just yet.

Click the 'image' label below to see other image posts.

IMAGE - Kitchen garden

(Click the photo for a larger view)

Standing outside the kitchen garden, looking in - 
Photo taken 15th October 2011

The entrance to the organic kitchen garden shows that it's full of light inside. Comments, anyone? What does this say to you about... well... anything?

The photo was taken at Audley End in Essex. Donna and I spent an afternoon looking around the garden and the dairy, kitchens, laundry etc. The house itself will have to wait for another day.

Click the 'image' label below to see other image posts.

13 October 2011

SOCIETY - Food for free?

OK, who'd like some free, good quality food? Every year in the autumn there's a plentiful supply of free fruit ready for the taking - and almost nobody wants it or even realises it's edible.

Windfall pearsWalking home this afternoon I spotted an ornamental pear on a housing estate. The grass beneath the tree was strewn with little pears, ripe but only about 5 cm long and 3 or 4 cm in diameter. They will lie there until they rot, or the birds eat them, or they're carted away with the fallen leaves by the local authority.

What a waste! I had an empty shopping bag with me so sorted through them picking out undamaged and unbruised fruit. I imagine I took about a kg of fruit altogether. Back home I gave the pears a good wash and then sliced chunks off vertically, avoiding the cores and rejecting any slices with internal browning. No need to peel them, that would be a tedious job with so many small fruit.

11 October 2011

THOUGHT - Missing the best

< Building the church | Making things new >

During the 1970s for some time (maybe a year or two) we met with a group of around twenty friends in our homes. The meeting moved from house to house, every week we would collect in a home somewhere - often at our house, Tony and Faith's, or Paul and Jenny's (also close friends). I remember three or four other homes too. We were drawn from a variety of backgrounds, Anglican, Evangelical, Roman Catholic and more.

People at a partyWhenever we met we would pray and sing, praising and worshipping the Father and the Son, feeling the presence of Jesus amongst us, reading the Bible with renewed minds and hearts, and expecting his Spirit to sweep through us releasing us in the use of tongues, interpretation, prophecy, visions and so forth. They were rich times of abundant blessing; we were encouraged and instructed by the Master. We knew that as long as we listened and did as we were told we would stay on track.

Going pear shaped - But eventually tensions and pressures developed and we were drawn in several new directions. We were unable to hold it all together and our focus shifted away from the one thing we had done together to a range of new things that we did separately. Some were drawn into a new home church and others to various larger new ventures further afield.

IMAGE - Wind damage

(Click the photo for a larger view)

Wind damaged tree in the Riverside Park - Photo taken 11th October 2011

This willow tree in St Neots Riverside Park succumbed to heavy winds recently. Today is still breezy, but warm. Some trees have already lost their leaves and others are following suit. But the bulk of our trees remain in their summer clothing and many of the plants are still happily flowering even this late into autumn.

Click the 'image' label below to see other image posts.

10 October 2011

Brampton - Stay in the light

< 25th September 2011 | Index | Index | 24th October 2011 >

Wow, what a meeting this was. Sean, me and the Holy Spirit. He swept us along, pouring out so much revelation. A series of disparate words and pictures and Bible passages just came together in the most amazing way.

Light around a cloud
I shared a word at the start. The Lord said, 'If you see a crown, a throne and a sceptre you will know you're in the presence of royalty. Even if you don't see me clearly, you will know I'm present when you see the crown, the throne and the sceptre.

I also told Sean about the picture of the building site (see 'Building the Church'). He said the thing that stood out for him as most important is the fact that we were children. I also thought that anointing is an important concept - Kings are anointed. I opened the Bible to find the passage about Samuel anointing David as king, but opened it initially at 1 Chronicles 11, verses 1 to 9 seemed very relevant.

THOUGHT - Building the church

< No earlier items | Missing the best >

I need to share a picture with you, a picture Jesus poured into my heart many, many years ago. This is the right time to share it again, it's been on my mind a lot recently and an item on Ben and Catherine's blog makes me think now is the time.

BricksSome history - Back in the early days, in the mid to late 1970s, Judy and I were particularly close to a couple who lived in the next street, Tony and Faith. We had young children at the time and so did they, it wasn't always easy to get baby sitters, so we worked around it.

I forget how often we met, but it was pretty frequently. One evening Judy would stay at home and I'd walk down to Tony and Faith's for tea or coffee, a chat, and prayer. Next time either Tony or Faith would come to us, then Judy would go to their place and I'd hold the fort at home. Then one of them would come to us. And so it went on.

09 October 2011

I will build my church - INDEX

(See indexes on other topics)

Remains of the TempleJesus told us, 'I will build my church'. What can we learn of this process? Will we take control from him, designing and building a home of our own?

  1. Building the Church - A picture of the builder.
  2. Missing the best - Meeting at home in the 1970s.
  3. Making things new - What does Haggai have to tell us?

08 October 2011

THOUGHT - Fresh revelation

I've been moving old articles I originally posted elsewhere to 'All about Jesus'. One of these caught my eye recently, and I feel I should republish part of it and comment on it. Would you find a continual flow of fresh revelation useful? Read on.

Woven fabrics on sale
A word from the heart - Back in April 2004 I wrote...
He wants us to know that he's very, very close to us. Rachael shared that his presence is woven into the fabric of our being. 
What a wonderful thought! If he is woven into us like that, then of course we are all woven together into one piece, held together by his strong threads. He holds us all together in love. 
This seems to be related to the idea that we are all parts of one body with the Messiah as the head. But in this new form, the idea seemed fresh and very powerful, we are indeed one.

07 October 2011

THOUGHT - What next for the body?

The church is the body of Christ here in the world. We are his current physical presence and he is the head. Where are we going next? There are some clues and we should pay attention to them.

A hearing aid
An obedient journey - As an individual follower of Yahshua (Jesus) I am on a path, a journey. Along the way are distractions, obstacles, and choices of direction. As the body, all of us together are also on a journey with distractions, obstacles and choices.

Making the right choices depends on hearing what the Spirit of Christ is telling us, and that demands our willingness to pay attention. In this article I am going to try to share something about paying attention, listening, and the need to hear what the Spirit is telling us. Hearing is critically important. How will you and I obey without hearing?

06 October 2011

TECHNOLOGY - Reusing plastics

Mike Biddle has found practical ways to recycle mixed plastics in the form of sorted raw material pellets. This is something that is urgently needed and appears to be an economically viable activity.

Watch the video of Mike speaking at a TED Conference in July. (Try this link to the video if you can't get it to run below.)



Does anyone have thoughts on how to spread the word about this and encourage our own local industries to use the recycled pellets? Will economic pressure (cheapness of the recycled pellets) be sufficient to move things forward?

THOUGHT - You or Me?

Look at any area of human endeavour and you will find two extremes of outlook, those that focus on self and those that focus on others. Between the two is a broad spectrum of attitude and behaviour reflected in society at large and affecting us all for good or ill.

ForgivenessMany of the issues we face in life can be viewed in this way. Take career for example. Should I do my best in exams and training, work hard, and hope for the best? Should I push others out of my way by fair means and foul? Should I defer to others and settle for a lesser role?

Yahshua (Jesus) was always clear - love the Almighty, love one another, love your enemy. Simple. But note that those three calls to love leave out only one single person in the entire universe - self. Yahshua calls us to love everyone but ourselves. In other words he calls us to unselfish love. And thinking about that, isn't love always unselfish? Could love possibly be any other way? I don't think so!

05 October 2011

TECHNOLOGY - LibreOffice

If you use or need an office suite, it's worth considering LibreOffice. There are a number of reasons for this and some of them may surprise you.

LibreOffice in use
Microsoft Office (MS Office) undoubtedly remains the most widely used office suite today. I say 'most widely used' rather than 'most popular' because so many people have criticisms of it. The most unpopular feature is probably 'The Ribbon' that provides access to the multitude of commands and features.

Other major criticisms are the sheer bulk of the program code, the considerable purchase cost, slow loading and performance, cost of upgrading to newer versions, and the licencing terms.

03 October 2011

TECHNOLOGY - Reusable rockets

SpaceX is an innovative space launch company with a number of impressive 'firsts' to their name and a large order book of reservations for satellite launches on their Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 vehicles.

The planet MarsThe company was founded by Elon Musk using capital earned by his earlier IT businesses, particularly PayPal which was sold in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Musk's share was more than 10% enabling him to start SpaceX as well as the electric car company, Tesla.

In September 2008 Falcon 1 achieved earth orbit, the first time a privately owned company had orbited a liquid fuelled rocket. All previous successes were by the government programs of a variety of nations.

In June 2010 Falcon 9, a much larger vehicle, also flew successfully to orbit. And in December 2010 Falcon 9 flew again, this time carrying a Dragon capsule which completed two orbits, successfully re-entered, splashed down and was recovered. This was another first for a private company.

Copyright

Creative Commons Licence

© 2002-2014, Chris J Jefferies

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. A link to the relevant article on this site is sufficient attribution. If you print the material please include the URL. Thanks! Click through photos for larger versions. Images from Wikimedia Commons will then display the original copyright information.
Real Time Web Analytics