Showing posts with label Eat-Pax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eat-Pax. Show all posts

22 September 2011

Eaton Ford - Walking in the garden

< 20th September 2011 | Index | 23rd September 2011 >

Three of us met and Donna joined us for a while for a chat over tea and coffee. We talked a lot, shared bread and wine together, read parts of John 17, and prayed together.

DovedaleTalking about events and experiences led me to an interesting thought. Yahshua has opened the chance for us to walk in the garden again with the Father in the cool of the day. This is what Adam and Eve did in the beginning but we have since broken away and have been unable to return to that place of blessing. But now because of what Yahshua has done we are free to walk there again - and that's what our Father wants. We are once again welcome in his presence! HalleluYah!

With this thought in our minds I broke the loaf in half and shared it, then later Jim prayed and passed round the glass of wine. We do this in Yahshua's memory as he asked.

As we began to talk again, Jim mentioned the recent case of cage fighting involving children. 'How low can we go?' was his thought. This led on to a further thought, 'How would we modify our behaviour today if we knew it was going to be our very last day?'

We also talked about our tendency to judge others - we do it all the time. Jim told us a story about this. He and Pam were walking up Dovedale recently and as they were leaving he saw some people who appeared rather unfit; they were also wearing inappropriate footwear. Imagine his surprise when they later appeared at the top of Dovedale having walked it, Jim thought, almost as fast and he and Pam had done! He immediately felt guilty about his judgement of them. In the end it turned out they had arrived by car and had not walked the valley path at all!

Sean remarked that we make pretty much instantaneous judgements about others.

Then I read parts of John 17, much of verses 6 to 26. Some of the phrases that stood out for me are...

  • I have given them your word and the world has hated them. (verse 14)
  • They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. (verse 16)
  • I pray ... that all of them may be one. (verses 20-21)
  • I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one ... so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (verses 22-23)
How amazing! It will be our unity that will convince the world. We still have a very, very long way to go on that!


< 20th September 2011 | Index | 23rd September 2011 >

01 September 2011

Little Paxton - Finding rest

< 25th August 2011 | Index | 13th September 2011 >

This evening the Holy Spirit led us in a theme of peace and rest from struggling. Father wants us to follow him wholeheartedly, then we won't wander about in the wilderness.

We shared information about friends facing change or difficulties in their lives, and we talked about our own lives and direction. We chatted about what we have been doing and what we plan to do. Jim's summer Sunday activities have finished for this year, Sean and I plan to be at the Moggerhanger Millenials meeting, and Paul is planning three events before next summer's kid's camp. Jim is thinking about future employment and also about the house of prayer concept.
The Sinai desert
Later in the evening we prayed for the various people and needs we'd identified.

Thinking about our busy lives, Jim reminded us about the forty years the Israelites spent in the wilderness, going round and round. He felt that we have been doing much the same. We struggle with too much to do, overload and stress in our jobs, sometimes with little sense of peace or satisfaction. I sensed the Spirit saying that we need a real peace in our lives. He said, 'Peace is not in inactivity, it's in right activity'.

In different ways, we all felt the need to be listening people. Sean said he hasn't been listening as he should, Jim thinks he's just an infant in terms of spiritual hearing, and I'm aware that I need to be more eager to listen. Jim added that we want Jesus to be in the house and that our peace and rest are in him. We asked for spiritual hearing. We all have it but we all need more of it!

Then Jim told us about a scratch card he'd been given when he stopped to buy petrol. Apparently it was necessary to scratch the card to reveal a code, the next step was to visit a website and enter the code to find out if a prize had been won. All of this requires too much time, too much effort, and almost certainly for nothing.

In contrast the gospel comes with no such rigmarole. The gospel is pure good news. Jesus says, 'Come to me if you are struggling and heavily loaded down - I'll give you rest' (Matthew 11:28). Rest is very good news. It's peace, shalom, wholeness, an end to searching, an end to struggling, and an end to going around in circles in the wilderness. Jesus is a destination, not more rigmarole. The rest he gives us is good news!

< 25th August 2011 | Index | 13th September 2011 >

25 August 2011

Eaton Ford - Who do you pray to?

< 10th August 2011 | Index | 1st September 2011 >

We thought about the need to be prepared, and how the good news needs to come with power and deep conviction guided by the Holy Spirit.

Newspapers and magazinesJim mentioned 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 and we thought about the significance of 'the gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction'. Jim went on to ask which Jesus we pray to. He explained that until we can pray to the Jesus on the cross we can't fully comprehend the Jesus that heals, feeds, loves and talks to us.

I had a word from the Spirit. He told me, 'Don't look for mountain top experiences, look for the lowest point in the valley because that's where the living water is.' This was certainly true for Yahshua, it was through the lowest point experience on the cross that the living water was released. And it's true for us as well, as we go through the difficult places we come to recognise and depend upon that living water. Yahshua told the Samaritan woman, 'If you knew who I am you would ask me for living water, if you drink that water you'll never be thirsty again!' (John 4:10-15)

And then Jim added some more thoughts. We are very often destructive as a result of the things we don't do. We are frail, think for example of the Japanese tidal wave, the recent English rioting, the dryness in the lives of so many young people in Britain (one in six teenagers are in neither work nor education). Dry, unfulfilled lives lead to frustration, anger and serious problems). These disasters cause loss of life and ruin to many survivors. The tsunami would have done less harm if adequate defences had been in place, the riots would not have happened if fewer young people had been left without hope or purpose. But lack of knowledge often prevents us being adequately prepared.

We need (and those around us need) the good news that comes with power, the Spirit, and conviction.

< 10th August 2011 | Index | 1st September 2011 >

31 March 2011

Eaton Ford - Living in glory

< 3rd March 2011 | Index | 3rd August 2011 >

Jim, Sean and I met this evening and spent some great time together with Yahshua. We spoke to him and he spoke to us. We considered whether we are living in peace or living in glory.

A bunch of hydrogen balloonsJim told us that John Wesley, hearing that someone had just died, asked whether they had died in peace or died in glory. People often say that a person 'passed away peacefully', but it's also possible to die in glory, perhaps with a vision of angels or knowing the presence of the Lord in a very real way.

We talked about glory and how Yahshua had told his followers that he was giving them the glory that the Father had given him. What an awesome thought! I read John 17:20-26 and we were blown away by this prayer of Yahshua's immediately before his arrest. It is a prayer for us!

Later I had a prophecy. 'Don't gaze in through the window, come in through the front door. I want you to come into my house and be where I am. You are my children, I love you and you belong with me, always.'

This prompted Jim to share a picture he had of a Georgian house (in fact it was a huge and elaborate mansion). He saw angels there and was reminded that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us there. He knows the stars individually by name and knows the colour of each hair on my head. He is amazing! We can't really appreciate the size of his mansion. Jim went on to mention that if we run things man's way we will produce only man's results. Instead we need to do whatever the Holy Spirit tells us to do.

I had a picture that didn't seem to relate to anything that had gone before. I saw a large bunch of hydrogen balloons. They were brightly coloured and pulling on their strings, bobbing about in the breeze. And I realised that the balloons represented people, and when a person dies it's as though the string has broken.

People sometimes say, 'Oh dear, that bright and cheerful personality that was so full of life has gone. Now there is just the physical remains, like a piece of limp string.' Yet they fail to see that the bright, lively balloon is now floating free and rising into the sky.

Sean than drew our attention to Matthew 28 in which Jesus did the impossible and rose from the dead. Jim shared the thought that we, like Jesus before us, will also be raised to life. We have nothing to fear from death; we don't become a limp piece of string, we become a free-floating balloon.

It's good to die, not in peace, but in glory. But we first need to live, not in peace, but in glory!

< 3rd March 2011 | Index | 3rd August 2011 >

03 March 2011

Little Paxton - brothers in the Spirit

< 28th February | Index | 31st March 2011 >

We met at Jim's tonight. After chatting for some time over tea and coffee, Sean read a verse from Ephesians and set us off on what quickly became the theme for the evening.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

Walking in woodlandWe have a new life in Christ that is a fundamentally spiritual life. I shared the thought that we know this in our minds and we feel it in our hearts, but sometimes we don't walk it in our lives.

Jim described some of the practical work that he, Rob and another friend Alan are planning to do in St Neots. This will focus particularly on helping some of the lonely people in society, people with few or no friends and family around them.

As we spent more time in prayer I felt the Spirit was saying, 'I will make you blind and deaf to the things of this world, but seeing and hearing to the things of the Kingdom of heaven. You will be like blind and deaf people walking along the pavement. It would be easy to step out in front of a car, or walk into a post. But I will guide you and keep you safe. You need to become blind and deaf to the world but fully see and hear the Holy Spirit.

We read Ephesians 2, particularly verses 6 and 7. But going back to it later, the entire chapter seems very relevant.

We felt that we were especially privileged to know one another as friends, and that we are all growing by spending time together. Jim read Romans 12:10 which sums up this idea very clearly.

< 28th February | Index | 31st March 2011 >

17 February 2011

Little Paxton - Hearing and doing

We talked for quite some time this evening, mostly wrestling with practical questions of what to do. Then we prayed and found that the Lord had much more to say to us than we had said to one another!

Aromatic lilac blossomJim is troubled that there is so much need in Britain, society is almost entirely worldly and the church is not standing up for good moral standards; nor are we helping those in need in body, mind and spirit. He told us that he believes the church needs to be active if we are to turn this situation around.

I asked provocative questions mostly around the issue of motivation. I feel we need to do more than help people, we need to hear what Yahweh is saying to us and do that.

Sean said little at first, but after listening for a long time he made the point that we can effectively do nothing because everything depends utterly on the Lord. The only thing we need, and the one thing we cannot do without, is to get to know him better. Sean is absolutely right.

As Floyd McClung puts it, if we love him we will worship him, if we love one another we will care for one another, if we love the lost we will reach out to them with the good news.

We spent some time in prayer and received several visions and words from the Spirit. Here are some of the highlights.

I had a prophecy, 'There are not just three of you here, there is a fourth person right here with you. Your desire to be with me is not as strong as my desire to be with you. I love you so much, I will show you what to do. Listen and you will hear, look and you will see.'

He told us that we need to be still. Only when we stop being busy and active can we hear his soft voice speaking into our hearts.

Jim mentioned how Jesus had told the disciples to throw the net out on the other side of the boat and they caught a huge quantity of fish. These were seasoned and skilled fishermen, they knew their business well but because he told them to do it, they did it. And the result was overwhelming. We are just like them. We know how to plan and carry out the work of church ministry and mission. But Jesus shows us a better way, a way not of skill and planning and wasted effort, but a way of simple obedience.

Jim had a picture of an amazingly aromatic shrub, it represents the aroma of Jesus. I was struck by the thought that if we stay close to him we will always be aware of his aroma, it speaks of the essence of his nature - loving, kind, knowledgeable, wise, powerful yet humble.

Sean described a picture of a massive lake, it was crystal clear in the shallows and he could see the fish swimming nearby. But it was completely dark further out in the middle and he could see nothing there. Sean felt he was waiting to see what would happen. He looked at the fish but he didn't want to look up because it was so very dark.

Jim almost immediately commented that we should fish where we can see, beyond is the darkness where we can see nothing. We need to know where the fish are, they are where we are!

22 December 2010

St Neots (Cornerstone) - Being in the right place

Tonight we met at Cornerstone as there was a group using the Meeting Room and I had agreed to open the shop and lock up afterwards. We spent some time over coffee talking about the year ahead.

David Wilkerson TodayJim told us about a Derek Prince book* he's been reading about prayer and fasting, and he shared some of his thoughts about it and how it had impacted him. We prayed together for Father to have his way in our lives - the things we feel we should do, things he has for us that he has not yet shown us, as well as projects, ideas, and possible new openings we can see.

I had a picture of a waterfall coming over a cliff. It was not a particularly large waterfall (not a Niagara Falls, more like a large brook shooting over the cliff edge). But it was a very high waterfall. And the Lord told me that if we stand in front of it we can see it but we won't get wet, and if we stand behind it (between the waterfall and the cliff) we'll see it and hear it but we still won't get wet.

But if we stand in the right place we will be drenched by the water. This is what Father wants us to do, to stand in the place where the water falls and to be truly affected by it.

Sean explained that the picture confirmed for him something he had read in a David Wilkerson blog post, 'Undefiled in the Midst of Wickedness'. Like Daniel and his companions, we need to stand in the right place, a place of purity. 'Seek first the Kingdom of the Most High, and all these other things will be added.'

Sean followed up this meeting with an email to Jim and me pointing us to another David Wilkerson item and commenting that it chimed well with some things Jim had mentioned.

Isn't it encouraging when things come together and link like that!

* If you live in the St Neots area you can buy a copy of this book from Cornerstone.

04 November 2010

St Neots (Cornerstone) - Meeting at the corner

This evening we decided to meet at Cornerstone Cafe and Books because Pam was planning to do some cleaning there. We all worked for a while, had a coffee, then met, and finally did a little more work before heading home.

Cornerstone's websiteWe chatted for a while as we often do. Jim asked me what I'd been doing during the day and I mentioned waxing one of our new doors at home. Then I shared how I'd read 1 Corinthians 13 and how it is perhaps my all time favourite chapter, and how I'd read Psalm 7 today too. I read out the last verse in which David relies on Yahweh's righteousness, not his own.

Jim told us that he's been reading Hebrews and how the people seemed to be starting to drift away from Christ. The author is saying, 'Hey, get back to the truth about Jesus!' Someone he knows had spoken about Jehoshaphat who ahead of battle had spent time praising the Lord instead of preparing his weapons. We have to have the same frame of mind, the real priorities are not always the obvious ones.

Sean told us about a dream he had. He was in an old Anglican church and the vicar was going through the service. Sean became bored and began praising and worshipping loudly. The people in the church tried to stop him but couldn't. They were prevented from interfering.

Jim and Sean then discussed how, without revelation, the gospel is a mystery and may even repel people. In the end it's all about the supremacy of Jesus, not about the law, rules, and regulations.

I thought that we're just like the prodigal son, but we sometimes overlook the fact that the father in the parable was also prodigal. He poured out abundant mercy, grace and love upon the returning son. We have only to turn back towards our Father and he runs out to meet us and throws his arms around us.

I felt I should speak out the words of the old song...

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face.
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.

Jim was surprised and encouraged by this as it was the second time today that someone had shared those words with him. And of course I found that encouraging too!

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.

14 October 2010

Eaton Ford - Sharing a meal

Tonight we had decided to simply share a meal together, there was no plan beyond that.

Makizushi (rolled sushi)We met at our house, Donna and me, Jim, Pam, Sean, and Joe. Sean had prepared some sushi (fish free as he knew I wouldn't have liked that). Pam's reaction when we talked about it showed that she didn't much like the sound of raw fish either! We followed it with jacket potatoes, vegetable chilli, beef chilli, and salad. Jim had brought an amazing pear and chocolate dessert.

It was enjoyable, fun to chat and good to eat together, but the conversation was centred mainly on events at Cornerstone. It's not surprising as most of us are involved with the shop in one way or another! There's a lot to talk about.

We're feeling our way with this and the conversation was different from our previous meetings when we haven't shared a meal. I'm keen to persevere, I have the sense it's important.

07 October 2010

Watton at Stone - Doing battle

It was an exciting evening. Jim had offered to drive and as I walked towards his house I fell heavily on the paving. I have two minor bruises to show for it, but nothing more serious. Perhaps someone didn't want me visiting Watton this evening.

Mediaeval knights joustingJim drove down to The Bull at Watton at Stone and David arrived soon after we did. A round of drinks started the proceedings and we chatted about events in our lives.

We also discussed the world's way of doing things as opposed to the Kingdom way. It's not that we need to make a better job of living according to the world. We actually need to live according to the Kingdom instead. Of course the world doesn't like this! The systems that the prince of darkness has put in place are bitterly opposed to all that is good or true or right.

What does it mean to turn the other cheek, or go the extra mile? How do we fight evil with good? How do we love our enemies? We touched on some of these issues and we also gave some thought to the need to obey Father in the moment. David and I shared some things from 'The Grace Outpouring', especially a story about a young American who, having met with Christ, immediately and simply began obeying him.

We invited David and Heather to join us for a meal next Thursday with Jim's family, Sean's family, and mine.

30 September 2010

Eaton Ford - At sea in a storm

Jim is away on holiday but Sean and I planned to travel to The Bull in Watton at Stone to meet David. Due to unforseen circumstances David had to call the meeting off at short notice, so eventually it was just me and Sean and Jesus at my place. I include the Lord in the list because he really was unmistakably meeting with us this evening.

A storm on the coast of Israel, near CarmelAfter our usual start of coffee and a chat we began to focus on Yahshua. Quite soon, Sean shared a picture of a storm at sea. Some friends we know are in a storm like this, driving headlong into it. But Yahshua can calm the storm - he's done that sort of thing before! Our friends are moving into the storm but beyond that, everything is calm.

This reminded me of the storm on Galilee and how Yahshua had actually walked past his followers in the boat. They were battling a strong headwind and they were just terrified when they saw a figure walking on the water. But he told them, 'It's me, don't be afraid!' And then they called out to him and Peter began to walk on the water too. But it was essential that they communicated with him.

We need to communicate with him too. Reading the passage in Matthew 14 later I noticed that when Yahshua stepped into the boat the wind immediately died down. How we need him in our boat when a storm blows up! Something else that seems significant is that when the storm took place they were in the dark - it was the middle of the night and they'd been battling the headwind for a long time.

Sean remembered that Yahweh once said, 'I have plans to prosper you'. He was speaking through Jeremiah to the exiled people of Israel (Jeremiah 29:11-14). If the Almighty did this for them, won't he also do as much for us?

Sean thought that these truths are there to point us to him and give him an opportunity to show us his miraculous ability. For example, he is able to change our hearts to love him just a little more - we don't need to be able to do it, even when we can't - he can.

I imagined one of our friends having a conversation with the people who have mistreated him. He was saying, 'I forgive you. I forgive you for believing the lies you were told about me. I forgive you for not believing what I told you.' And I became aware that the pavement (or patio) was flooded. It was only an inch or two deep and the water was stained pink with blood. The details were very clear but I could only see the stonework and brickwork - no people or plants or anything else. The ground in front of me was covered with large paving slabs and a red brick wall rose from the edge of the paving. The bricks were old and crumbly. I have no idea what this means.

28 September 2010

Eaton Ford - A crooked line

Sean and I had coffees and a catch up chat, then decided to look at 3 John which we've been wanting to do for a few weeks now.

Sean had the feeling this letter was written in haste, and I think he's right. It seems to be written to encourage Gaius, The road aheadclearly a Roman, who seems to have been struggling under an overbearing (and misguided) Greek leader called Diotrophes. It's a letter of reassurance, perhaps to someone who is inexperienced or lacks confidence.

We were interested in the use of the phrase 'The Name' in verse 7. This is a traditional Jewish way of referring to Yahweh and is still used in Israel today, 'Ha Shem'. The oldest texts we have of 3 John are in Greek and it's likely that Gaius would have understood both Latin and Greek. We looked up all 17 occurrences in the New Testament of the phrase 'τοῦ ὀνόματος' (Greek for 'The Name') and found this is the only time it's used in this way. The other examples are phrases like 'in the name of Jesus'.

As we turned to prayer and worship I was given a picture of a straight line and on its left-hand side a crooked line that touched the straight line in one or two places. And the Lord said, 'When you are close to me, I am also close to you; but when you are far from me - I am close to you!'

He also gave me a word about Moses and Isaiah. Moses had felt inadequate as a speaker and therefore wanted Yahweh to choose someone else (Exodus 4:12-13). Isaiah knew he was unworthy because his lips were not holy but was made clean and was willing to go for the Lord (Isaiah 6:5-9). We may be prevented by lack of confidence or ability on the one hand, or lack of worthiness on
the other, but if Moses and Isaiah were good enough for the Lord to use, who are we to say he can't use us?

Sean elaborated on this in prayer, mentioning that there is so much fear to be dealt with, fear of speaking and fear of not speaking.

And then the Lord gave me more words, 'It's easy for me to live in you, but hard for you to live in me. But they're the same thing! So just trust that I am living in you.

We felt greatly encouraged by this evening, it seems to be another step forward, another little bit of progress on the journey.

23 September 2010

Little Paxton - A field of flowers

Although I haven't reported much on meetings recently, they've still been continuing. Here are brief notes on an evening with Jim and Sean.

English meadow flowersWe shared fish and chips and a cup of tea while we chatted about recent events, and then we made a Skype call to David in London. David told us he's heading up to Scotland tomorrow as the forecast looks promising for a walk up Ben Nevis (he's already walked Snowdon and Scafell so if he can bag Ben Nevis he'll have done the highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotland). I hope you make it, David!

Later, sitting around the table, Jim shared a vision of a field full of flowers, everything was exceptionally bright and glorious, and the flowers were so dense that you could hardly see the grass at all. This reminded me of what I wrote earlier the same day about planting churches, especially Step 8, 'Enjoy the display of life and colour'.

We prayed for our children, for our friends, for Jim and Pam as they spend a week of much deserved relaxation at Lake Garda in Italy.

Jim also shared his growing excitement in reading 'Extreme Treasure Hunting'. He is beginning to appreciate even more than before the importance of hearing from the Holy Spirit and then responding. This is further reinforcement for the sense that Sean and I have had for a long time now that listening, hearing, and obeying are fundamental to our lives in the Kingdom.

Chris mentioned something that Paul Young had said in a DVD he and Sean watched on Tuesday. 'It's not about what we do, it's about who [the Father] is.' But in a sense it's also about who we are - sons!

Jim shared the strong sense he has that we are coming into a time of truly great and exciting things. That as we hear and obey we will be used in awesome ways. I think this is already happening, has been happening for some time. I also think Jim is right in his sense it's about to ramp up a gear or two. To quote Jim - 'Bring it on!' And to quote Rob - 'The best is yet to come!' They are both right!

16 September 2010

Watton at Stone - Making a start

This evening was a new departure for us. Instead of meeting in my home or at Jim's or Sean's, we travelled down the A1 to Watton at Stone, a village just beyond Stevenage. We met at an old pub called 'The Bull'; it's full of ancient timber and has an enormous brick fireplace with a massive oak beam supporting the chimney breast above.

The Bull, Watton at StoneThe reason for meeting further south is so that our friend David can join us. David lives in north London, just inside the M25. It took us and him about 40 minutes from home, much more manageable than the hour and a quarter for the journey from London to St Neots or vice versa.

I had expected 'The Bull' to be a tired sort of place and with only a few people present (based on an earlier daytime visit). But it turned out to be quite busy, clearly a favourite meeting place for local people. We asked Father to bless the place itself and the people who use it and it will be good to get to know some of them a little as the weeks and months go by. We plan to meet here every other Thursday and we'll try Skype as a way to 'meet' online in the intervening weeks.

Sean and I arrived early so we found a table and sat chatting with a drink each. When David arrived we talked about our lives and recent events and then took turns to share our feelings using SASHET as a framework. We also talked about our thoughts on what Yahshua has been saying to us. I felt that these components of CO2 were very effective in this face to face environment. We bought coffees (which were small but really quite good).

Finally we prayed together for a few minutes, slightly self-consciously on my part. Here we were in a corner of 'The Bull', surrounded by people chatting and laughing. Should I close my eyes (which might make me appear rather odd) or keep them open (which would make it harder to focus) or close them but try to hide the fact by lowering my face and leaning on my hand (which is what I finally did after trying to pray with open eyes and finding it difficult).

David thought that the early church prayed with eyes open and the habit of closing them was introduced later. Maybe I should practice prayer with open eyes to become more comfortable with it. The strange thing is that I can pray this way while I'm walking or driving, prayer is just a conversation. I've never really thought about it before, but why does it seem necessary to close my eyes when I'm sitting in prayer with others?

27 April 2010

Eaton Ford - Salt and light

We chatted over tea and coffee for a while until Jim took us right into spiritual matters with the question, 'What does it mean to be salt and light?' (Matthew 5:13-16) Various kinds of fruitIt's clear that these terms refer to making a difference, but Jim wanted to go deeper.

Acts 1:8 shows us that the Holy Spirit comes so that we can be witnesses. Are we really witnessing with 'fire in our bellies' as we should?

Sean had been thinking about the fruit of the Spirit and realised that these fruits are like food for people. We all agreed, it's not about mission fields or saying particular things to particular people - it's about the fruit, grace in our daily lives, joy, kindness etc.

I sensed that in order to be victorious in this spiritual Kngdom we must first be utterly defeated. To succeed we must first fail. Unless our human weaknesses are overcome, we will be unable to be living witnesses of the kind we need to be.

Sean prayed for the fire to burn up everything worthless, but he's afraid there'll be nothing left, nothing will remain. I had a word from the Lord about this, 'A seed will remain, and it's a seed that will grow.' Although we will lose ourselves, we will also begin to gain our real selves in the process. And it will be the beginning of real growth.

20 April 2010

Little Paxton - Salvation and reward

Jim read Matthew 5:8, 'Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God'. Building with strawHe asked us to consider what it might mean to 'see God'.

On the face of it this is a very simple question, but Sean and I were both unsure how to answer, Jim certainly got us thinking! If you're reading this you might like to consider the question for yourself. What does it mean to 'see' the Almighty?

We decided there is certainly a need for humility.

Moving on, we also wondered what it really means to be a disciple. We know that once we understand that Yahshua truly is the Son of the Most High and that he is the Lamb, the one and only sacrifice necessary for our sin to be forgiven, when we accept him and depend on him, we begin living a new life. I thought that this in itself doesn't make us a disciple because we need to move from new life to actually following Yahshua daily, finding out what he wants and doing it. In other words it may be possible to make it into eternal life but without any reward or crown. (See 1 Cor 3:11-15)

Jim referred to Luke 6:23, our response to being rejected because of Christ is to jump for joy! And I thought of Matthew 5:23-24. The gift at the altar was the offering. But Christ himself is our offering, our sacrifice. In a very real sense Yahshua is our gift. There was nothing sufficient that we could supply, but he supplied our need. We cannot really offer Christ as our sacrifice without first putting things right with our brother.

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.

16 March 2010

Little Paxton - Neighbours and community

Jim and I met at his home, just the two of us as Sean is on holiday. As we talked about life and work and following Jesus it became clear that both of us have been feeling the need to be more focussed on Christ and on him alone. A village community in CornwallEverything else (work, interests, home) must take its place at some lower level in our thinking and particularly in our hearts. What we are and what we do must come from relationship with Jesus first.

Jim read a section from 'Permission Evangelism', a book he's been finding encouraging and challenging.

We need such a deep vision of Jesus and his love for his people and for the lost. We need to learn to touch people, build them up, and encourage them. It's not primarily about how we meet (in small groups, in the home, in a hired hall, or a purpose built auditorium). What really matters is the foundation that we are resting upon. If that foundation is Christ we will do well. Everything we are and do, all we stand for, our reaction to circumstances, our response to our neighbours and our community, all of it springs from the Life of Christ within us.

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.

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