Showing posts with label Eaton Ford (day). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eaton Ford (day). Show all posts

16 September 2011

Eaton Ford (Day) - Armour plate

< 15th September 2011 | Index | 19th September 2011 >

We chatted about life and events, ran through CO2 together, and spent some time in prayer before going our separate ways.

Mediaeval armourWhile we were sharing our initial thoughts together a particular person was brought to mind. I had a picture of a man in a suit of armour made of overlapping metal plates and completely impenetrable.  As the man moved, just occasionally a small gap might appear here or there. But the gap lasted for just a moment and then it was gone again.

And the Lord told me that only the sword of his Spirit is light, thin and fast enough to get into one of the momentary chinks. Paul pointed out that in this instance Roger is the sword. His role is to love the person and in time the Spirit will break them down. Love and kindness are the key to finding the necessary chink in the armour.

At this point we decided to work through Church of Two (CO2) to help us hear one another's hearts and also the Lord's heart.

Afterwards, Paul also mentioned that he had seen a waterall and I was standing at the top of it. I was looking over the edge and he wondered whether I was going to jump or not. He also mentioned the song 'Suddenly life had new meaning for me'.

This is all very encouraging. It adds again to the feeling I have that something new is about to happen suddenly in my life.

< 15th September 2011 | Index | 19th September 2011 >

05 November 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Psalm 66

There were three of us this morning, Paul, Roger and me. We worked through SASHET (CO2) together and discussed the value of the Virkler component.

Psalm 66We talked and prayed for a while about a friend's forthcoming court case. It's about a very minor offence caused, not deliberately, but by mistake - if indeed the law was broken at all. But the anxiety and emotional strain being caused far outweighs any penalty that might be imposed. Everything seems to be out of balance, things have blown out of proportion. The distress, however, is very real.

Roger read Psalm 66 which is full of praise and worship. It lifted my spirits for sure! HalleluYah!

29 October 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Grain in the field

Paul and I met in the morning. We'd hoped to see one or two other friends but in the event this didn't work out.

Grain ripening in the fieldWe worked through CO2 together, first SASHET and then the things that Father has been telling us. Then we prayed for people that we know and for the work that he's doing in us and also through us.

And finally we read some sections of Mark together, picking up where we left off last time.

Mark 2:23-28 - We thought that this shows life is about people, not about rules. Jesus and the disciples were probably enjoying their walk through the countryside. They were probably talking and laughing together and discussing something prompted by the grain they were eating. They might have talked about the life that is in a seed, how it germinates and grows, how the life of the Father is in everything that was made.

But the Pharisees hold only the rules important, making them more important than people.

Mark 3:1-6 - This again shows the same thing, life is about people, not rules. These verses show us the anger and distress felt by Jesus faced with this attitude or rule following even if it prevents good being done for someone.

Mark 3:7-12 - Jesus was followed everywhere by the crowds. No doubt he could speak to more people by standing in the boat. They were pressing in because they knew he could heal them, this reminded Paul of the woman with the serious bleeding who just wanted to touch the edge of his cloak. The evil spirits recognised he was the Son of the Most High but he commanded them not to share what they knew.

Mark 3:13-19 - Paul wondered why Jesus gave some of them new names, could it be much like us calling a friend 'Rocky' because of his nature?

'Petros' (Peter in English) is Greek for 'rock', presumably a Greek translation of the Aramaic word for rock which is 'Kepha', the name Jesus gave Simon. 'Shimon' (Simon) is clearly an Aramaic name and means 'a man of Judah'. So Peter was originally 'A Judahite' and Jesus called him 'A Judahite Rock', more or less.

08 October 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - New skins for new wine

Paul and I met at his home and enjoyed a great mix of talking, thought and prayer for friends and family, and Bible study. We're picking up in Mark's gospel where we left off back in the spring.

We read Mark 2:13-22, here are some of the main things we thought about together.

A man carrying a wineskinThere seems to be evidence here that Yahshua didn't plan what he did in quite the way we might do. It seems much more likely that he was just responding to his Father's guidance on a moment by moment basis. He went out for a walk by the lake and people gathered there, so he started teaching them. Then, still walking along, he spotted Levi at work. He called him to follow - and Levi did. He must have left the tax booth with the money and equipment - and just walked away!

Levi clearly invited him for dinner that evening, and Jesus went!

Doesn't he call us to live the same way, not planning but listening? He wants us to say what he says, and do what he does. He wants us to pay attention to him and then live his life in the world day after day. He wants to live inside us so that our words will be his words and our actions his actions. He wants the world to know him by seeing and hearing us! That is awesome!

The Pharisees asked Yahshua's disciples, 'Why does he eat with people who do wrong?' They thought that living according to rules would make them righteous and acceptable to the Almighty. But Jesus tells them that he came for sinners, not for the righteous.

The fast referred to would have been a religious festival and the righteous were certainly expected to adhere to it. It would have been like Ramadan for the Muslims, failing to take part would show contempt for the accepted religion. In that case, why were Yahshua's followers not taking part?

His answer must have been perplexing. He refers to himself as the bridegroom. Perhaps they wondered if he was going to get married!

Verses 21 and 22 are fascinating. Yahshua mentions an old garment and old wineskins. Surely he's referring to the rules of the Pharisees, the idea of fasting because it's customary, the need to avoid eating with sinners. These old patterns of behaviour will be utterly ruined and broken by the new thing that Jesus is ushering in! He's turning the world upside down.

The old rules no longer apply. For example, it's no longer enough to use a ritually cleaned cup to avoid defiling yourself; from now on the words that come out of a person's mouth will determine whether they are holy or profane.

30 April 2010

Offord - Chosen and loved

We met at Roger's again this week, but ate lunch indoors this time as it was too cold in the garden. Tar on the groundWe met before lunch, and then Ruth joined us for the meal.

We all shared CO2 first, this is a really good way to get the ball rolling. It quickly brings us up-to-date with one another's heart feelings and significant events in life, and it's good to share what we each feel the Lord has been saying to us.

As we continued in worship and prayer, Paul had a word for us, 'God says he doesn't need us, but he wants us.' I prayed for more labourers for the harvest, both in the Offords and in connection with Paul's youth work. Paul prayed that we'd hear Jesus and accept the changes that we find hard. He also mentioned the need to forgive people who may hurt us sometimes.

I had a picture of someone watering a pot plant, but to my surprise I quickly saw that they were pouring out hot, sticky tar - not cool, fresh water! It wouldn't work, of course. The plant would die. And I understood that we need to give people the rivers of living water that come from Yahshua. If we give them something other than living water they will be unable to grow.

Roger read Ephesians 6:10-13, how we need to stand and live fully in the light! And finally Paul read Ephesians 3:14-19 about the width, length, height and depth of God's love over us. We can be filled, not according to our way of measuring full, but according to his measurement of full (far, far exceeding our own)!

23 April 2010

Offord - Lunch in the garden

Paul and I travelled to meet in Offord d'Arcy today as Roger had an injury and was unable to drive. Salad for lunch

We sat in the garden for a salad lunch, it was delightful to be able to do that so early in the year. James (the cat) sat with us and enjoyed small pieces of cocktail sausage and sultanas from the fruit cake.

We shared CO2 together and prayed for some of the people who were on our hearts today. We just enjoyed conversation centred on the Lord and I returned home feeling refreshed and encouraged.

09 April 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Healing a mother-in-law

Roger and Julian were unable to come this week so Paul and I went ahead without them. We began by running through CO2. Healing Peter's Mother-in-lawAs part of that I explained that the Lord had been showing me that I should be like a little child, they are innocent, straightforward and trusting.

Paul pointed out that once they reach five or six-years-old they are already capable of cheating and telling lies, so when Jesus tells us we should be like little children, he really does mean 'little'. But Paul also mentioned that we can ask anything of Jesus at any time, he never turns us away. What a wonderful truth!

I said that Yahshua has a plan for each one of us and he is working it out day by day and even moment by moment. I had a picture in which I was standing on the top of a hill with  the Lord. I could see a brilliantly lit cloudscape below, it must have been a grey, foggy day down in the valley. Up here everything was bright sunshine and glorious. But Yahshua said, 'I have X-ray eyes, you don't. I can see the road we are following together as it winds down the hill and across the valley. And I can see everything you'll see along the way when you are there - but you can't see them yet, not from here, not under the clouds.'

'Walk with me each day. I know where we're going. You don't.'

We spent some time in prayer and then we returned to Mark 1 which we've been working through from time to time. We read from Mark 1:21-28 about the casting out of an evil (unclean) spirit. Paul noticed that we're used to doctors who can sometimes cure physical ailments, but to the people of his day it must have been astonishing to see Jesus cast out an evil spirit instantly like this.

Reading of the healing of Simon's mother-in-law in verses 29-34 we thought how amazed we are when we see similar things. A good example of this was the way Paul was able to be so active physically during last year's X-treme Camp and was relatively free of pain. It was unasked for, unexpected, but so, so encouraging. We are asking for the same again this year!

I shared a bit about why Yahshua wouldn't allow the demons to speak. Very often when we intend to spread the good news about him, we begin by telling people who he is. But this was not the way Yahshua did it, he didn't want people to know who he was. He began by simply loving people and caring for them, meeting their needs, and then he told them about his Father and challenged them to come in line with heavenly standards, not earthly ones. People started to ask, 'Who is this man, even the demons obey him?' We should learn from him, we are doing it all back to front! People first need to know that he is good, then they will want to know more about him.

Verses 35-39 show the Son wanting to hear the Father. When they told him, 'Everyone is looking for you!' he said, 'Let's go somewhere else.' Is this what we would do? Probably not! He was always full of surprises, the disciples must have been puzzled on many occasions.

Mark 1:40-45 is very significant. Yahshua heals a Jew of leprosy. This is the first of the so-called Messianic miracles, the religious authorities believed and taught that only the Messiah would be able to perform such a healing. It was not unusual for people to be healed or demons cast out by prayer, but some things had never happened before and this was one of them. Naaman had been healed of leprosy by Elisha, but he was not a Jew, he was an Aramean.

This is why the healing was so significant and why it caused such an uproar. Now people were starting to seriously wonder if this Yahshua from Nazareth might be the Messiah. The religious leaders would start to take a major interest in what he was doing. The healed man was supposed to make the prescribed offering but not tell the priest (or anyone else) who had healed him.

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.

19 March 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - On the shore of Galilee

Roger, Paul and I began by running through CO2 together. The Sea of GalileeWe shared hopes and fears, successes and difficulties, and some of the events and issues in our own lives as well as those of some of our friends. We spent some time praying through these things.

We shared a simple lunch afterwards, sausage, chips and onion rings from the local chippie. Roger needed to get home promptly so he left after we'd eaten but Paul and I read Mark 1:9-20, discussing it as we went along.

We noticed how Jesus was baptised and the Father spoke confirming and encouraging words to him in a short time, perhaps just a matter of seconds or minutes. Then, immediately afterwards, the Spirit sent him into the desert for a far longer period of time (40 days) during which the enemy speaks words of distraction and temptation to him.

In verses 14 and 15 we see Jesus beginning his work before the first disciples are called. It's interesting how he called them. He followed the same procedure as other Jewish rabbis saying, 'Come, follow me'. These words would normally be used as an invitation to the best students to come and follow a particular rabbi. Young men who didn't come up to scratch were rejected and sent home to follow their father's trade.

But Jesus invites the rejected men to follow him! He calls fishermen. They were fishermen because no rabbi had thought them worth calling, but Jesus does! No wonder they followed him, it was an amazing offer, too good to be true, better grab it now before it's withdrawn again!

12 March 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - In the library

We began as we usually do these days by checking in for CO2. We were interrupted when the BT engineer arrived to investigate a fault with Paul's broadband connection. A typical libraryAfter he'd gone we finished CO2, ate lunch and then prayed for some of the issues that had been shared.

Roger read Psalm 62 and picked out verses one to two and five to seven as particularly relevant. This was especially so considering recent events and situations in the lives of some of our friends and contacts. We prayed for some of them, read a letter from one, and then talked about society's offendedness on behalf of others.

Examples of this abound in Britain, it's not acceptable to say this or do that because someone might be offended. Roger told us about a situation in a local library where someone was refused permission to put up a notice for the Women's World Day of Prayer because 'it might offend Muslims and people of other faiths'. The library management only changed their mind when the local Imam complained about the lack of permission and explained that it was not offensive. Such overreaction is not uncommon among government and public bodies, it happens over and over again.

We also shared some simple stories of how we first began to follow Jesus.

Roger had heard a radio programme about Job and because of his interest in poetry, began to read it for himself. Then he found the Psalms to his taste as well, and this led him to faith.

I was broadly atheist in my views when I was young, but started reading the Bible because I wanted to find out why so many people seemed to find it true. Clearly it wouldn't take long to work out why so many were misled by reading it. I began in Genesis and worked systematically until I got bored in Leviticus or Deuteronomy and turned to the gospels. Then I moved on to Acts and gradually came to see that there was amazing truth in the Bible's pages.

Paul knew the basic facts from Sunday School. But it didn't begin to mean much to him until his army days. When he suffered an illness and almost died he began to read Matthew and was convinced that Jesus is the one and only way to the Father.

05 March 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Sharing a pizza

Roger, Paul and I met at lunchtime, continuing into the afternoon. Freshly baked pizzaWe began with an excellent pizza, accompanied by couscous with vegetables.

We spent some time sharing information about friends, and then prayed for them. We also used CO2 to focus on what the Lord has been saying to each of us and to share our feelings and emotions.

Roger shared extracts from Psalm 103:1, 9-12, but verse one in particular. He explained that we are who we are, and that includes every aspect of our lives, everything in us, even the illnesses, bad thoughts, and wrong deeds. All of it is involved. Because of Father's love for us and his grace towards us, his acceptance doesn't depend on how good or bad we have been but on whether we accept Jesus and follow him.

In addition, Roger is feeling more confident that they have been hearing correctly about the way forward in the Offords, he senses that there is some early evidence of change and there are several promising signs.

19 February 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Beauty in nature

We began this morning with a chat over coffee, then shared CO2 together. Paul and Jules are planning to do this together for a week or two or longer Gorse in flowerif they feel they should continue, so we were able to demonstrate it for Jules and he joined in too. It took quite a long time to work through this as there were four of us - Paul, Roger, Jules, and me.

As a result of the issues we'd just shared it seemed very natural to go into a time of prayer. We prayed for the things in our own lives that were causing concern, sadness, excitement, or tenderness; and we prayed for friends who are ill or grieving.

Paul spoke about the beauty of the natural world around us that reminds us daily of our Father's presence and power and love.

Roger read Psalm 46 and we talked about it for a while. And finally, James 2 was on my heart so I read through it without understanding its significance until I came to the end of verse 13, 'Mercy triumphs over judgement'. This almost jumped off the page and seemed especially relevant for one of the friends we had talked about and prayed for earlier.

05 February 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Ship building

It was just Paul and me today as Roger and David were unable to come. Traditional shipbuildingWe began by running through the Church of Two (CO2) exercise - it seemed particularly appropriate as there were only two of us!

I expressed the view that we really own nothing, it is all the Lord's. But we are joint heirs with the Son so we will inherit all these things that we don't own! I had a picture of a field surrounded by hedges and another picture of a housing estate. And Father said, 'Come out from your separated little areas and rejoice together in my presence.

Paul read Matthew 11:28, 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.' He said that sometimes we hold our burdens in and they eat away at us. Instead we need to hand these burdens over to Jesus and rest in him.

He won't give us things to do that we can't manage. He knows what we need, and we can do all things in him. He strengthens us. He gave us the word 'love' today. You have to love yourself so you can love others.

Then I had another picture, this time the plan of an old sailing ship, the sort of ship Columbus used to sail across the Atlantic. The Lord said, 'Can you build a ship? No! You haven't been trained to do it, you've never seen it done. But if you have the plan and follow it step by step you can! It's all about the next step. I have a plan for you, to do things you've never done before. But I'll help you and guide you. It's all about taking the next step.

29 January 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Kingdom loving

Today we discussed aspects of our lives and interests in connection with church life. Roger, for example, with his interest in model aircraft is in contact with a number of friends that he can share with and pray for. Stained glass showing Bernard of ClairvauxPaul is in touch with a variety of people, neighbours, ex-army mates and contacts through the Acorn group. We all agree that church is not just going to a place once a week but is about community in the place where we live.

Paul, Roger and I demonstrated Church of Two (CO2) for David. He could see the potential value right away and wanted to read more about it online.

David and Roger both have an interest in seeing living communities of faith growing in the Offords and we talked about this for a while. We also prayed together, partly for the hopes and needs that were expressed through CO2 and partly for the Offords. We know that Father has a plan for each of us and for our effectiveness in sharing Jesus' life with others. We can't do it ourselves - he must do it through us.

David referred to Bernard of Clairvaux's treatise 'On Loving God' in which he describes a 'ladder' of love. The steps are first 'loving self for self's sake', then 'loving God for self's sake', thirdly 'loving God for God's sake', and finally 'loving self for God's sake'. The Bishop of Huntingdon, David Thomson, wrote about this recently in his blog. The original passage from Bernard of Clairvaux's work is in Chapter XV.

We were all encouraged in sharing these things together.

22 January 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - conversation and prayer

Only brief notes were made for this meeting. Roger, Paul, and I discussed some of the events and issues in our lives and in those of our friends. We worked through CO2 and then prayed for one another and for friends.

15 January 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Purgatory?

Roger mentioned the 'Ship of Fools' website and recommended the 'Purgatory' discussion. The 'Purgatory' discussionI took a look at this after the meeting but didn't have time to explore it thoroughly. However, I was much more interested to learn that Roger and Ruth have been trying Church of Two (CO2) and glad that they seem to be enjoying it and finding it useful.

The three of us (Paul, Roger and I) ran through CO2 together. One of the things that was much on our minds, of course, was the recent earthquake in Haiti.

I agreed to send some CO2 literature to both Roger and Paul to help them understand the process better and also to pass on to others they may be interested in teaching it to.

We prayed for some of our friends and spent some time chatting, finishing off with a very fine chip shop meal.

08 January 2010

St Neots - lunch at Barretts

Today we met for coffee and lunch at Barretts in St Neots. It was refreshingly different to sit together at a table surrounded by the buzz of shoppers stopping for a cuppa or a quick lunch before dashing back to the bargains again. A nice cup of coffeeWe were in no such rush, Paul and I arrived first and then Roger joined us. We had a leisurely coffee followed by an equally leisurely light lunch, and then stayed at our table to talk and pray.

We shared news about the many friends we regularly pray for and we also tried out something else. Paul and I are already doing Church of Two (CO2) together daily, but this time we were able to include Roger as well.

This was a good experience as always, it helps us to express things that otherwise might remain unsaid. Not that we would deliberately hide our feelings from one another, but just because the simple VIRKLER process gives us a good set of hooks to hang things on.

30 December 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Church of Two

Paul and I met and shared information about the people we have been praying for. We also made a first trial of Church of Two (CO2), I explained how useful Sean and I have found it, ran through a brief description of the VIRKLER and SASHET components, and then we simply made a start.

Afterwards we both felt it had been a useful exercise and we will certainly try to run through it again, daily if we can.

11 December 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Prayer for friends

This was an unusual Friday morning for me as I had another appointment that would take me away before lunch.

Roger, Paul and I spent some time sharing news about our various friends. Some are in jobs that can be dangerous, one is in church work while another would like to be, there are some with serious illnesses or sick relatives.

After talking all these things over we began to pray about them until it was time for me to go. I crept out as quietly as I could, leaving Paul and Roger to finish on their own. Although I didn't get to share in the rest of this meeting I was glad to know that Paul and Roger would eat together and perhaps do some Bible study. I'm looking forward to a more complete meeting next week!

04 December 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Practicing praise

Paul read 1 Peter 3:8-12 and we thought about the difficulty of forgiving, how easy it is to hold a grudge. Even though we know we shouldn't do it, Praise logosometimes it's hard and we wrestle with ourselves.

We talked about friends who need prayer because of illness or other issues in their lives. And Roger raised the subject of praise; he said that we need to practice praise so that it becomes natural to us. The principle is similar to CS Lewis's description in 'The Great Divorce' of a persistent grumbler who runs the risk of eventually becoming, not a grumbler, but in fact merely a grumble. If we are persistent praisers perhaps we can finally attain the state of being a praise!

Roger read Psalm 138 and I mentioned that we don't belong to ourselves, nor do we belong to the world, but we belong to one another and of course we belong to the Lord. Paul prayed for the Tough Talk meeting on Saturday week, then I referred to verse 8 and said that the Lord will fulfill his purpose for Paul, for Roger, and for me. Whatever he plans in our lives he will do. Referring to verse 3, Roger added that he will make all his people bold and stout hearted. We prayed for more of our friends.

We thought about  the fact that there are two kinds of 'knowing' or relationship. For knowing in the mind reason, knowledge, and persuasion are the tools we need. But we need different tools for knowing people in the heart, they are things such as mercy, compassion, and love. Paul added feeling and understanding to the list. We need these to 'be there' for people, to understand how they feel.

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