Showing posts with label Brampton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brampton. Show all posts

30 December 2012

Cine film of Eaton Socon in 1939

Here is a stunning piece of colour movie film from 1939 showing some of my local landmarks, The Crown Inn and the Akbar Tandoori in Eaton Socon. The photographer drove along the Great North Road from London to Grantham, stopping to take these images on the way.


The Crown in 1939 and 2012
I recently found a YouTube video of a journey along the Great North Road from London to Grantham in August 1939.

As I live in Eaton Ford (just a few hundred metres west of the route) it was fascinating to see some local landmarks that I know well.

On the right, side by side is a still from the 1939 film and a photo taken yesterday, both show 'The Crown' in Eaton Socon. The main changes are an extension beyond the further chimney, removal of the ivy, the addition of a porch, the signs, two chimney pots and the loss of the telegraph pole.

The Akbar in 1939 and 2012
And here on the left are two further images, this time showing a tea room, now the Akbar Tandoori Restaurant.

Once again we can see some changes, but the scene is still very recognisable.

The YouTube video is shown below. It starts in London and 'The Crown' pub appears at 2 minutes, 37 seconds. This is followed by the old RAC sign for Eaton Socon, and then the tea house (now the Akbar Tandoori). The next shot shows a farmhouse beside the road near Southoe, then some open road followed by the Buckden sign and some shots in Buckden itself. After that there is a view of the Brampton Hut Hotel and then the journey moves on beyond my local area.

It would be interesting to know what camera and film were used to take these cine shots. Is it early Kodachrome brought over from the USA to record Britain just before the Second World War? Or was it a European process, perhaps Dufaycolor?



Questions:

  • How much has the area where you live changed in the last 73 years?
  • Are you aware of the local history of your town or village?

See also:

12 December 2011

Brampton - Trust and faith

< 5th December 2011 | Index | 3rd January 2012 >

Beginning with a thought about the nature of the Most High, we were led to consider how he changes everything, our lack of trust in him, what it means to have faith, and the goal of one church.

The fruit of the Spirit is, obviously, the fruit of his Spirit. Therefore this same fruit will be expressed in the nature of the Father and of the Son and the fruit can be taken as a description of them. Here is the fruit again from Galatians 5:22-23 - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. That is what he is like.

A small stream
He gave us a word. 'Everything that is lost will be found, every single thing that was ever broken will be mended. Everything big will be shrunk until it's small, every small thing will become big. I'm turning everything upside down and inside out. Foolishness will become wisdom, the wise will be shown to be foolish.'

Then I saw an ant trail, but these ants didn't wander about like normal ants, they followed one another in a precise straight line. And I saw that if each ant carried a single grain of sand, given time they would be able to move a mountain. I looked up 'ant' and found it in Proverbs 6:6-8 and again in 30:24-25.

And then I saw a small ditch running along the side of a field and containing only a trickle of water. But it was joined by several more ditches and the water level increased and it became a small stream, then a river, and eventually it was a huge river entering the ocean.

Sean also had a river picture. He was in a small boat on a river and was paddling hard to stay in the same place. He explained that the Lord wants us to be swept away by the river, but in fear and lack of trust we try to stay in the same place. If we just float free we might be dashed against hidden rocks. We need to trust him, he has a purpose for everything.

He mentioned how Jesus had slept through the storm in the boat on Galilee. But worrying about an unknown rock isn't trusting! Perhaps the disciples had worked to keep the boat safe, taking down sails, strapping everything down. They didn't trust him either - he was asleep!

Together we thought about faith 'like a mustard seed'. It's not the size of our faith that matters, it's whether our faith is alive. And being together (of one mind) is important too, we need a minimum of two people if we are to agree in what we ask. We need to be one together, not one alone.

This brought me back to something that's been much on my mind recently, one church. We have to become one, it's far more important than we think. And there is no way we can achieve it, we cannot make all denominations and groups become one. But Jesus will do it!

< 5th December 2011 | Index | 3rd January 2012 >

05 December 2011

Brampton - Elijah and Elisha

< 29th November 2011 | Index | 12th December 2011 >

This evening we dip into 2 Kings and make some interesting discoveries about Elijah and Elisha. There are some clear hints of Jesus in these chapters.

Elishah returning the widow's son
Sean and I hadn't met for several weeks so it was good to spend the evening together again. Instead of a time of prayer and listening, this time we thought it would be good to dip into the Bible for a while. Sean has been working his way through 2 Kings recently, and we mostly focussed on chapters 3, 4 and 5.

Before he was caught up into heaven, Elijah asked Elisha if there was anything he could do for him. And Elisha asked for a double helping of Elijah's spirit (2 Kings 2:9). Sean wondered why he'd made this request because it had been hard enough for Elijah with just a single portion! It's a good question and I don't have an answer.

We wondered about the names Elijah and Elisha, it seems clear that 'jah' is the shortened form of Yahweh (the Almighty's name), and 'Eli' is the short form of Elohim meaning 'Mighty One' or 'Almighty'.

It turns out that Elijah does indeed mean 'Yahweh is my Elohim' or 'Yahweh is my Mighty One' (or 'Yahweh is my God' in traditional language). And Elisha means 'Elohim saves'. This is similar to the names Joshua or Yeshua (Jesus) which mean 'Yahweh saves'. Joshua led the people of Israel into the promised land. And Jesus leads his people into the Kingdom of Heaven. So in a sense, Elisha is like Jesus. But we already know that Jesus spoke of John the Baptist as being Elijah. So Elijah and Elisha are like John the Baptist and Jesus.

This idea is confirmed by the miracles Elisha did. He raised the widow's son, he fed many people with a few loaves of barley bread, he healed Naaman of leprosy.

And when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain he talked with Moses and Elijah. In a sense he took Elisha's part, the part of one with a greater share of the Spirit than Elijah.

I don't feel I have understood these topics fully. Far from it! But we got far enough to know that these are very important chapters and there may be some fundamental truth to be unearthed. This is one to have another look at when I have more time.

< 29th November 2011 | Index | 12th December 2011 >

14 November 2011

Brampton - Light and dark

< 7th November 2011 | Index | 21st November 2011 >

This week the Spirit led us on the topic of darkness and light. He showed us that darkness is the same as hiddenness, that our artificial light is no substitute for his real light, and that he himself is the Light. It was (ahem...) very illuminating.

Light shining in the darkness
We thought about the darkness that surrounds the Most High (see Exodus 20:21 and Psalm 97:2) .

The words darkness and hiddenness are distinct in modern English, but darkness once held both meanings. We talk about the 'dark side of the Moon', an old expression for the hidden side that never faces Earth.

The implication is that the Almighty is hidden from us. Jesus spoke in parables so that the truth would be hidden and revelation is required to grasp it. Otherwise we might take the credit for our understanding.

Another aspect is that light and darkness are the same to him (Psalm 139:11-13). Everything is revealed to him, nothing can be hidden.

I saw a pathway but instead of flowers along either side there were tiny lights in different colours waving gently back and forth. They looked like the optical fibre lights you can buy, hemispheres of  brightly lit cut ends. I had no idea what this meant.

Sean mentioned that 'the people who dwell in darkness have seen a great light' (Isaiah 9:1-3,  quoted in Matthew 4:15-17). The 'Great Light' is Jesus of course, so the question is 'Do we see Jesus?' He explained that in complete darkness it's easy to see tiny, little lights. But those little lights don't speak of a great and mighty light and are just distractions in our lives.

We need to see your light, Lord. The rest is distraction. We prayed to be overwhelmed by his light - the light of Jesus.

I remembered using plant growth cabinets at Long Ashton in the 1970s and 80s. The artificial light in the cabinets was not as bright as sunshine, it was more like a cloudy day. But even to generate this level of light was expensive on energy and required water cooling. To be as bright as Christ we'd need a new kind of light. Our best efforts don't come close!

Darkness can't banish or remove light. But even a little light can banish darkness and where there is perfect light there can be no darkness at all. I read 2 Samuel 22:26-32.

Then Sean spoke about Israel dwelling in tents and following God. Our work is to believe in him, and so was theirs. He provided manna daily. We need that relationship with him because when we provide for ourselves by our own labour it all goes horribly wrong.

How can we be relying on him when we live in brick buildings that we have made for ourselves? We can't pick up our houses and move! We need to be like Israel - living in tents. In his mercy he works within the constraints we put on him but this is far from his best for us.

I read Isaiah 11:1-11 which shows us that all the rules will change. What we think we know will turn out to be false. Everything will change. The lion will lie down with the Lamb.

And then Sean finished by saying that trying to do it ourselves is worse than useless. It is actually doing what Adam did, effectively telling God: 'I don't need you. I can do it myself.'

< 7th November 2011 | Index | 21st November 2011 >

07 November 2011

Brampton - A vision of Christ

< 29th October 2011 | Index | 14th November 2011 >

It's been a while since we last met, but tonight the Holy Spirit once again opened up great truth for us. This evening he reminded us of who Jesus is and what he is like. We were caught up into heaven, it was a time of rich and undeserved revelation.

An interlocking pattern, by MC EscherI've just finished Frank Viola's 'Epic Jesus' and was intrigued by his first person modification of Colossians 1:15-22, so I read it aloud.
I am the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in me all things were created: things in heaven and things on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through me and for me. I am before all things, and in me all things hold together. And I am the head of the body, the church; I am the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything I might have the supremacy, the preeminence, the first place. For God the Father was pleased to have all of his fullness dwell in me, and through me to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through my blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now my Father has reconciled you by my physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

Sean commented that he often sees things in these terms anyway, and as the evening wore on we kept coming back to the fact that Christ is at the heart of all we are and do.

I had the thought that every home has repeating patterns everywhere. They are on wallpapers, curtains, floor coverings, bathroom tiles and so forth. And Father said, 'The repeating pattern in my house is my Son'. And it seemed to Sean that the pattern of Christ interlocks with itself somehow, rather like an Escher drawing.

Sean observed that the wise man built his house on the rock, so our house should always be patterned on Jesus. This morning Sean was reading from 2 Samuel 23:1-5 and saw that King David had seen this same pattern.

Then I described how technologies consist of components that consist of components and Sean extended this thought by saying that Christ is a component of himself. He is the entire structure yet he is made of himself. He is in each one, yet together we are his body. We need many things to perform just one function, but he needs only one thing to perform many functions.

The flow of thoughts carried on. I mentioned that a photograph only shows something from one angle, but the object itself can be seen from many angles. If we only see a 'snapshot' of Jesus there'll be much that remains hidden that we cannot see.

Pondering further on 2 Samuel 23:4 I thought about the sunrise on a cloudless morning. First the stars are overwhelmed and vanish one by one, the dimmest disappear first. Then the shadow of the Earth is carried away like a cover, visibly moved across the dome of the sky. And then the beautiful, pink 'Belt of Venus' appears right around the horizon until finally the sun rises and illuminates everything with the brightness of day.

And this is absolutely what Christ has done. He overwhelms all lesser lights (human wisdom and reason and learning). He is carrying away the darkness of the world like a curtain drawn aside. He is beautiful and causes beauty to be reflected from every direction. And finally he will arise and illuminate everything as his day arrives.

Then Sean read 2 Samuel 24:1-17 and we thought about this difficult passage for a while. Even here David seems to prefigure Christ. He is the shepherd of the people and offers to take their punishment.

And finally, thinking about Jesus again we understood that when he was anointed with fragrant nard (Mark 14:3, John 12:3) it would have dripped off his head and feet and soaked into the earthen floor of the house. The fragrance would have remained for weeks or months as a reminder. People would have thought, 'Ah yes, this is where she anointed him with nard'.

He is at the heart of all we are and do. He is a repeating pattern in our lives. He is the whole structure yet he is also in every part, every living stone. We see him only from one angle, much is hidden. He is like the rising sun, overwhelming other lights, carrying away worldly darkness, bringing great beauty, illuminating everything. He is our Shepherd and has taken our punishment. We still sense his fragrance after 2000 years.

What a Lord!

< 29th October 2011 | Index | 14th November 2011 >

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.

Sean mentioned that God had told Saul to kill everyone and when Saul failed he said that 'obedience is better than sacrifice'. (1 Samuel 15:22) Saul had been anointed. He was a king although he was not intended to be king. Kings who are not meant to be will always have to give way to the King who is meant to be. This applies to us too, we are not meant to be kings.

It occurred to me that if we begin to behave like adults instead of behaving like little children we'll quickly become the same as Saul and do what is right in our own eyes.

Sean described how he is in the light as long as he is looking at Jesus. But when he looks away he is very quickly back in the dark. We badly need to keep looking at the source of the light.

Then I suddenly realised that Saul of Tarsus had the same name as King Saul. I've always known this of course, but it suddenly seemed very significant. Like King Saul, the young Saul of Tarsus did what he thought was right (and did it very zealously). But, like Sean, he saw the light of Jesus and then he was renamed because 'Saul' was no longer an appropriate name for him.

And then I  began looking for the verses that describe Saul's vision on the Damascus road and stumbled instead on Acts 4:1-22 (and especially verse 11). The Sanhedrin were building in their own light and strength but in doing so they rejected the cornerstone (Yahshua). We so much do not need to be building in our own light and strength!

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

28 February 2011

Brampton - An easy prayer turned hard

< 22nd February 2011 | Index | 3rd March 2011 >

Meeting with Sean this evening provided an unexpected dimension to prayer and faith. What began as a simple prayer for children to be happy turned into a deeply significant personal challenge. Life with Yahshua is full of surprises.

Whatever our age, we are all childrenI suppose by now nothing should surprise me! Here's what happened.

We sat drinking coffee and I wittered on for a while about the situation in North Africa, and Libya in particular. Not particularly illuminating stuff, but something that has preoccupied me over recent days. Sean listened but had little to add as he's been busy with other things of his own.

The prayer - Over the weeks and months he has been working his way through prayer circles on a T-shirt. Here's Sean's explanation. Read what he says and then come back here. If you don't, what follows may be a bit of a mystery.

I asked how this process was going, and wondered if it would be OK to pray about one or two of the circles together. Sean thought that would be a good plan and picked one out at random. We looked at it together, someone had written, 'For all children to be happy'.

What a lovely prayer request; simple, pure, and certainly worthy. I thought, 'What an easy thing to pray for.' Boy, was I wrong to think that!

The problem - As we began to pray, this 'simple' prayer challenged me more and more about my own faith. Perhaps the words 'all' and 'be' are the main problem. Do I have the faith to go to Father and ask, in Jesus name, that all children will be happy? All children? There is so much pain and suffering in the world and children are not immune. Here are some of the issues faced by children every day in our world - hunger, pain, sickness, abuse, no parents, uncaring parents, poverty, dirty drinking water, isolation, bullying, loneliness, fear, violence, self doubt, abandonment, loss... The list could go on, add some more yourself.

How can I ask for all children to be happy? It's easy to say the words so let's rephrase that. How can I believe that such a prayer will be answered? It seems easier to pray for one child with a particular known issue to be met. 'Father, please bring happiness into the life of {name goes here}'. But all children?

Yahshua loves children. He told his disciples not to prevent the little ones coming to him. He told them that unless they themselves came like small children they wouldn't even enter the Kingdom of heaven! (Mark 10:13-16)

Challenged - Whoever wrote that simple T-shirt prayer could not have known that they were setting me such a mighty challenge! The Holy Spirit didn't make it easier for me; he told me, 'If you can't pray for such a simple thing, how will you be able to ask for anything more difficult?'

I recognise that the Creator and King of this universe truly loves every child and certainly has no wish to keep any of them from happiness. Jesus himself walked through this same broken world and saw (and felt) the suffering and pain for himself. Love is the answer, but it's an answer he wants me to live out in practical ways as part of his body. I may be an ear, an eye, a foot or a hand. I must play my part by hearing or seeing suffering and going and reaching out in love.

I've rarely felt more challenged. What about you? Do you have views or thoughts about prayer and faith? Why not leave a comment? Let's have a discussion.

You can see more of Sean's T-shirt prayer circles on his 'Children in Need' Prayer Spot. The photo is image 54 from a collection on the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

< 22nd February 2011 | Index | 3rd March 2011 >

22 February 2011

Brampton - The Harvest Field

< 18th February 2011 | Index | 28th February 2011 >

This was the latest in a long series of meetings where Sean and I have been trying to hear what the Lord is saying to us. We desperately want to be more obedient, but how can we be obedient unless we first hear?

A well maintained ditchWe began with coffee and spent some time in prayer knowing we needed to finish early so that Sean could collect his son, arriving home from a trip abroad. Right at the start we wondered just how alive we really are. Sometimes it seems we are not. But perhaps that's healthy, Yahshua tells us very clearly that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We read much of John 6:5-21. It's clear that our life is in Christ or we have no life at all.

I had a puzzling picture of a blocked ditch. Because of the blockage, water was running where it should not go; we knew we needed to unblock the ditch so that the water could flow freely in the proper channel again. We started to dig around the place where the blockage seemed to be and soon discovered a farm tractor hidden in the ditch. It was completely buried!

I knew that somehow the buried tractor represented our broken and failed efforts, but I couldn't understand the full meaning of the picture.

But later, Sean made it clear. He realised that the ditch was part of the Lord's harvest field and I then understood that the very thing we'd used to clear the ditch was, in fact, blocking it. By using our method, applying our own power and energy and strength, we were actually causing the problem. Instead, we need to watch to see what Jesus will do and be available to do whatever he tells us. Only he can clear the ditch, our effort to do it only makes things far worse!

In other words, we must let him do the work and he will tell us what we must do. He's the manager, we're the staff. We are not to take charge. We are here to obey, not direct.

At home later I was reading Ephesians 1 and noticed how relevant it is.

We are blessed, we are chosen, and we are loved. Paul makes this clear right at the start of his letter. We were picked in advance to be adopted as his children. It's all part of Father's plan to bring everything under the headship of Christ.

Paul writes that the Ephesians 'were included in Christ when they heard the word of truth'. Paul is clearly very pleased with the Ephesian believers, they are doing really well. He prays that they may be given the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they may know the Father better.

And that's exactly what we need - to know the Father better.

< 18th February 2011 | Index | 28th February 2011 >

02 November 2010

Brampton - Look at his face

We began by running through SASHET together (part of the CO2 idea). This helped us to understand one another's current situation and thoughts. Then we made a start with Virkler (also part of CO2) where we deliberately listen to what Jesus is saying to us, it's a way of paying attention.

A fast flowing streamHowever, we agreed that this didn't work as well as listening individually and sharing later. I saw a picture of a little babbling brook running down towards me. I had to look up the slope to see it, sometimes it was running smoothly, and sometimes the water was tumbling down over rocks. I just had to share it there and then, it simply seemed wrong to wait.

Then I saw a large shovel, very big, loaded heavily with grain. And I thought about the jubilee, a Royal Jubilee when debt is cancelled, slaves are freed, and there is a sense of renewal and a fresh beginning throughout the land.

Sean said the the harvest is so big that we won't be able to bring it all in. We need to look to the source of the stream of living water, and we need do it all the time. We need to look at his face to see his love for us, but we often won't look because we think we know what his reaction will be. We expect him to be angry and disapproving and disappointed. If we did look we would see only love and acceptance.

We think our acceptability depends on the good work we do and the bad things we don't do. In fact it depends entirely on his grace and love. How can we get it so wrong?

28 October 2010

Brampton - Traffic lights

We met at Sean's this evening, talked about a range of topics, and prayed together about the things Father is doing in this corner of England and our involvement in them. I felt that there is a huge move going on just under the surface.

Traffic lightsHe doesn't necessarily show us the details but he says, 'This is the way, walk in it.' We may not know what's going on, but it's enough that we know we are in the right place at the right time and travelling in the right direction.

The subject of the 'Filling Station' meetings at Moggerhanger came up again. This is intriguing and seems to have begun in and around Bath in North Somerset. The next meeting is planned for 15th November. Apparently Simon Holley (Kings Arms, Bedford) was at the October meeting so the interest is quite wide.

I had a vision of an autumn day, there was an area of grass and I knew that winter was about to begin. It started to snow and I expected that when the thaw came the ground would be muddy and unkempt. But as the snow melted I saw that a carpet of snowdrops and crocuses had grown up. Instead of mud there was a glorious carpet of colour and a wonderful fragrance. And the Spirit said, 'Remember this vision. When everything seems to be falling apart and you expect to see a mess remember this vision and be encouraged.'

Jim thought that God is putting us in positions where we can make a difference. There will be more beauty as we see more of Jesus. Our role is to talk with people and draw alongside them. We can have a positive effect on somebody's day merely by listening. I believe we have an awesome privilege and also a great responsibility to hear and see and share the vision.

We prayed for our friend David for continued blessing and to have the path made straight in his life. We also prayed for his family. Jim had a picture of traffic lights and knew it was for Sean in particular. He senses that Sean sees a stop light but the signals are beginning to turn green. The message was to be prepared for the green light and not to remain at the traffic lights too long.

I had a vision of oil and as I watched I knew that the oil represented the Holy Spirit. Oil acts to prevent sticking, whether we put it an engine or use it cook and egg. Oil releases us, it frees us to move.

Sean had said very little until the end of the meeting when he reminded us of the most important thing of all. He said that God is always the same. He told us of the value of a proper view of the Lord, this is foundational. We need to grasp this vision, this truth. We can only reach others when we have first imbibed the truth.

19 October 2010

Brampton - Filtered from harm

It was good to have Rachael with us this evening. There was no meeting in Great Doddington as Peter and Jody are visiting Canada, so Rachael travelled down to Brampton instead. Jim also joined us as he expected to be busy on Thursday.

Anti-virus softwareJim began by asking whether we really ever give 100% to Jesus. We had to admit that it was never possible to give 100% all the time. Some people might manage it occasionally, but not consistently!

Jim explained that Moggerhanger Park has started a regular 'Filling Station' meeting and the topic of 100% had been mentioned there. He said that the meeting was very good so I'd like to get along some time to see what it's all about. Future meetings are planned for the third Monday evening of each month, there's a schedule online.

Sean mentioned Zac Poonan, a church planter from Bangalore's Christian Fellowship Church. Sean had come across Zac's material online and had found some of it very good. One particular theme was asking for grace in times of temptation.

Jim said that we used to live under the law that told us, 'Don't do this, do that.' But we do need to live under grace and to treat others with grace too. We tend to make assumptions about people, but we have enough sin of our own without thinking of judging others. I was reminded of Galatians 2 where we read of a situation much like today with differences of opinion about law and behaviour.

The idea of sowing seeds also came up. Jim pointed out that I'd given Cornerstone free drinks cards to Sean who had passed them on again to a friend at work. This led me to thoughts about watering young plants. Paul wrote, 'I sowed the seed, Apollos watered it, but the Almighty made it grow.' (1 Corinithians 3:6). We can only do our part, we work with one another but we are not responsible for the growth. Jim then shared how, when Jess had prayed for healing of someone's badly swollen finger, the swelling had vanished while they watched. He mentioned Colossians 3:1-5 and how this brings us back to the idea of 100% for Jesus. We must 'set our hearts on the things above'.

We discussed how, if we're to follow Christ, we must have been given the capacity to follow him. We can pray to be drawn closer to him day by day. I had a picture of a man in prison, I saw the iron bars and at first thought I was seeing a caged animal. But no, it was clearly a man in prison. We can still come alongside a prisoner even if there are iron bars between us. We have the Spirit of Christ within us and we are to draw alongside those are 'imprisoned' in sin and despair.

Rachael saw a PC screen and noticed a tab saying, 'God's spam free virus filter'. He keeps harmful things from us. He is very protective of those he loves.

12 October 2010

Brampton - The King or the King's book?

Sean and I met for coffee and a chat, we talked about life and some people we feel led to spend a little time with. Then we prayed briefly and devoted the rest of the evening to reading Galatians 1 and discussing our thoughts about it. Some of my main impressions follow.

Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the UKPaul sets out, right at the beginning, by stating clearly that he was not sent from or by any man, but by Yahshua the Messiah and by the Father who raised him from the dead. And as usual, the letter is not just from Paul but also from the the other believers who are with him.

In verses 3-5 he provides a miniature recap of the gospel message, wrapped up in just a brief sentence. It's as if he wants to remind the Galatians right from the start that they're here by grace alone, rescued by Christ.

He writes that he is 'astonished' that they are already turning to a different 'gospel'. They've been confused by wrong teaching. Paul doesn't want them to remain confused so he explains in verse 11 that he didn't just make it all up, nor was he taught it by others, but he received it as a revelation from the Messiah.

Thinking about this it seems extraordinary that this Paul, this persecutor of the church, should have had such a powerful experience on the Damascus road that he has turned from his previous passion (legalistic Judaism) and has moved to something completely different. And of course it is extraordinary but we often miss the contrast because we are so familiar with Paul's letters that we forget how much he had changed.

It would be a complete and unexpected transformation, a little like the present Chief Rabbi suddenly having a revelation about Yahshua and, without hearing it from other people first, beginning to teach this new way. We expect that every kind of knowledge must be imparted by logical persuasion and by eloquent argument. Not so!

And Paul gives them the full story, perhaps to back up his earlier claim that he received his revelation direct from Yahshua, not by teaching from the Jerusalem church. It's a story that continues into chapter 2.

We thought how the truth comes from the source, who is Christ. Yes, it also comes through the Bible, but the Bible is not the source any more than the apostles in Jerusalem were the source. They (and Paul) wrote the New Testament so the revelation they received from Yahshua that enabled them to write must itself be more fundamental than the words they wrote.

The Bible matters to us and is important because it is our source of information about Jesus and the early church. We dare not ignore it. But knowing Jesus personally is much more important than knowing the writings about him. Walking with him daily is more important than reading the New Testament daily. Hearing and obeying him is more fundamental to our lives than following even the best traditions and habits. Everything we can plan and do is dead works, we must 'seek first the Kingdom' trusting that everything we need (including guidance) will be added in as part of the package!

30 April 2010

MISSION - The Kingdom

This evening we watched the DVD of Wolfgang Simson speaking to the House2House Conference in September 2008. An imperial crownHis theme was the Kingdom of Heaven, and how we can't live in the Kingdom without obeying the King.

We discussed what this means to us. The Kingdom stuff surely can't be ignored - are we going to live as people under the King's command or are we going to do our own thing? Only obedience brings blessing!

We thought that next week we should spend our time in prayer and listening.

23 April 2010

MISSION - Wisdom

Sean explained that he'd been reading Proverbs 24 which is about wisdom. Child development and drawingVerses 11-12 particularly stood out and spoke to him about mission. It's what we're here for! Salvation for those in peril! I agree with him about this.

As we were talking about it I mentioned that it is 'the Prime Directive', and Sean suggested instead that the prime directive for us is loving God and everything flows from that. This makes sense to me.

Like Moses, who didn't enter into the promised land, we will continue on our journey to the end of this life. But Moses was there on the mountain talking with Jesus and Elijah. One day we will be with him too.

The Moggerhanger meeting in February and the Newforms meeting in April were mountaintop experiences for both of us, they were so exciting, so encouraging. But we're not meant to be there all the time. Sean pointed out that if we were able to choose our mountaintops, we'd most likely be there for the experience, not simply for the Lord's sake.

I had a picture of colour spinners, the sort children used to make from a disc of card with two holes and a piece of string. Colouring them with segments of the primary colours red, yellow and blue and then spinning them by pulling the string, there was a magical effect. The coloured segments would vanish and be replaced by a neutral, dull grey. When we spin our colour discs we make a dirty grey, but when the Lord spins his colour wheel it makes a glorious, brilliant white too bright to look at at. I thought that this is how he takes our different abilities and natures and somehow creates something wonderful out of our ordinaryness.

Sean explained that when they were young, his children could draw, but not nearly as well as he could. They were always amazed at the things he could draw that they could not. He felt that we are like that. He can do so much better than we can, he can spin a colour wheel to produce true white light, our attempts are rather poor by comparison. And we are amazed!

06 April 2010

St Neots - X-treme Bowling

This evening was a reunion for the young people and their parents. X-treme Camp reunionWe had arranged a bowling night with pizza and chips, and we had about thirty people there on the night. It was great fun, I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

There are several more photos online, if you were there perhaps you can find yourself in one of them!

During the evening Jim described the background to X-treme Camps in Eynesbury and I announced the dates for this summer's X-treme Camp, Friday 23rd July to Sunday 25th July 2010. Don't miss it! More details from me, Chris, by email.

11 March 2010

MISSION - A picture of a toddler

Sean and I met again to discuss mission. We talked about the importance of the fruit of the Spirit. A happy toddlerIf we are to touch people's lives in ways that are remotely useful, if we are going to be a blessing to people rather than being irrelevant at best and perhaps even a curse at worst, we are going to need plenty of spiritual fruit in our lives.

Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians. If we are growing spiritually we should be increasing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control. He points out that there's no law against things like these!

Sean had a picture of a toddler. He mentioned how amazing it is as a parent to see your child walking for the very first time. It's a wonderful, wonderful feeling! And he understood that this same sense of excitement is what our Father feels. He really gets very excited about seeing our growth and development. He's thinking, 'Wow! My child has just pulled himself up by holding onto the couch!'

08 March 2010

Brampton - A bare table

We began with a cup of coffee and a chat about the idea of mission growing from hearing. Jim has been reading the book 'Permission Evangelism' and is finding it very good. The third Nomad PodcastHe shared with us how security is important to people. Some find it in property or possessions, owning a home, or having money in the bank. But real security is spiritual, in the heart. He reminded us of the parable about the man who wanted to build one more barn to store even more harvest so he could take life easy. But he died! There is no security in physical things.

I played the the third Nomad podcast and we all listened to the first section together. Mission comes from seeing (noticing opportunities) and hearing (direction from the Lord).

Jim read Acts 27:33-38 about Paul on the ship during the storm. Paul encouraged 276 people and told them they'd be safe. We are constantly on a journey. Our mission is partly to encourage one another. When it became clear the ship would sink Paul didn't say, 'I told you so'. Instead he said, 'We're tired. Eat and be encouraged, we're going to make it!'

Jim also shared some exciting news about plans for a new church facility in St Neots. It's in the early stages but probably will go ahead.

I had a picture of people sitting at a table. They had empty plates and cups, the table was otherwise bare. As I watched, Yahshua came in through the door and opened a large, walk-in cupboard. It was full of good things to eat and drink! The people were huungry and would have starved to death, yet there in the same room and within easy reach was more than enough for all of them.

Jim said that Jesus is the best grocer in the world! And he can come in and sit with us even without a door! His abundance is complete. He said it's as if we've lost the key to the cupboard. We needed to pray to be shown the key and how to use it to open the cupboard.

Sean asked an unusual question, 'What does a mercy fruit look like?' We didn't find an answer, but the question lingers in our minds.

05 March 2010

MISSION - Sheep and goats

We met at Sean's, just Sean and me. We began with an informal chat about anything that seemed useful.

We considered what the word 'religious' really means. Is it a helpful or unhelpful thing to be thought of as 'religious'? A female mouflon, perhaps similar to early sheep?We agreed that we'd prefer to be thought of more straightforwardly, perhaps simply as 'followers of Jesus'.

We agreed that we need to pray for our neighbours and that the coming Passion Play is a great opportunity and that we should pray for that too.

I had a picture of the ground being rotated under us as we walked. We didn't need to know the way, we just needed to walk forwards. Father rotated the ground so that forward was always the right direction to go. Like a train on a track, there is no need to steer. This is encouraging. Our job is to walk, his job is to guide us.

Father said, 'I didn't choose you because you are great orators, because you are persuasive, or celebrities. I chose you because you are humble and will follow me and keep me fully central in your hearts and minds. Think of Moses, Isaiah, Elijah, and all the other people who were poor speakers, helpless, afraid, or unclean.

He also spoke about sheep and goats. We feel like lost sheep, but we're not, we're found sheep! We recognise the Shepherd's voice, when he calls we run to him. When we come across lost sheep they will form a flock but the goats won't (they're independent minded). When we go towards the Shepherd the lost sheep will go too. We can't separate the sheep from the goats (middle eastern sheep looked very like goats). But we don't need to, they will separate themselves!

We prayed to the Lord to send more labourers into the harvest. This is a direct command from Yahshua himself and we feel it's hugely important. We briefly discussed the basis for mission in Luke 10:2 and thought about the steps involved and some ways in which we have already been presented with things to do as part of the process.

09 February 2010

Brampton - On a pathway

We began by discussing the Moggerhanger meeting last Sunday, what a great time that was! A pathway running uphillAnd we also spent a while considering the coming meeting at Nottingham on Friday 12th. It will be good to see like-minded people from other parts of the UK and hear their stories.

We talked about the X-treme Camp last summer and considered ways to reach out to the families. We would still like to arrange a bowling evening for the kids and their parents. We though a good time to do this would be the Easter school holidays.

The three of us ran through CO2 together, spending quite a long time on it as there was a lot to share. Sean described a picture in which Jesus was carrying him up a path, but every time they came to a crossroads Sean was anxious because he couldn't see which direction they had taken. But the important thing was to focus on Jesus, not on knowing the way.

Jim invited us to a Jeff Lucas event with the Saltmine Theatre Company in Kettering. Sounds great!

07 January 2010

Brampton - Heal Our Land

It was wonderful to meet with Jim and Sean again after a bit of a break. This time we met at Sean's which worked out really well.

Jim told us about The Awakening, a period of 21 days during which the plan is to read John's Gospel and spend time in prayer. Heal Our LandHe also mentioned that Rob McFarlane of River Church is posting his thoughts on John daily.

I talked again about Church of Two (CO2) and we gave it a try there and then, maybe we'll do this on Thursdays for a while and see whether it's useful in this form. I enjoyed our first trial and imagine it will help us grow deeper in relationship as well as helping us hear the Spirit's direction for our lives week by week.

Sean wondered what would be the next thing to hit the UK. We're currently struggling with a difficult winter, we had the recession, there seem to have been a string of problems in recent years, society is damaged or broken in so many ways. Sean senses there may be trouble ahead and that something big is coming, perhaps something oppressive and perhaps especially so for the church. I think he may be right.

Jim reminded us of the 'Heal our Land' event taking place in the UK during 2010. It's using a version of Jimmy and Carole Owens' musical 'Heal Our Land' as a way of focusing the church's attention and prayer on the current state of Britain and reaching out to those around us with the gospel message of hope and love. As he was sharing these thoughts, Jim had a picture of a flashy,, polished Mercedes. Inside were two people who appeared almost dead. They had the trappings of a good life but were withered. We need to look away from the world and look instead towards eternity.

Jim went on to remind us of Hosea's story. He fell in love with a beautiful young woman and they were married. She later left him and became a prostitute. One day, when he was in the town market, Hosea saw his wife on sale as a slave. He paid a heavy price for her and took her back home. This is how the Lord feels about his people, he was prepared to pay a heavy price to get us back. He has shown how much he cares about us.

We all went on to discuss a little more about the course of history and where we are now headed. Where is history taking us? And more importantly, where is Yahweh taking us?

We also considered Esther who was 'here for a time such as this'. She had a particular function and responsibility in the Almighty's plan. So do we. We, too, are 'here for a time such as this'. We need to fulfill that purpose as the Lord unfolds it for us.

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