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

27 November 2009

Offord d'Arcy (day) - Brief notes only

We usually meet in Eaton Ford, but today Paul and I travelled to Roger's home in Offord d'Arcy as he'd hurt his back. We ate lunch together, had some good conversation, and prayed for the village, for people we meet in our daily lives, for ourselves as we reach out to those around us, and for friends facing difficult times.

Roger read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 and we shared our thoughts on these wonderfully encouraging words.

20 November 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - People in ordinary life

After we'd listed some names of people for prayer, Paul mentioned that he still feels strongly the words, 'Stand up for the Lord'. He pointed out Mark 8:38 as confirming the thought. People in ordinary lifeHe has mentioned this feeling several times in the last week or so, it's clearly significant.

We talked for a while about reaching people, our friends, neighbours, people we meet in every kind of situation in ordinary life. We both sense the importance of getting alongside people where they are.

Then I played the Floyd McClung recording 'Courage to Change', stopping at the end of the first 'pillar of simple church' (carnational not attractional) just as we had on Thursday in Little Paxton. If we are all able to meet together this Thursday we'll all be at the same place and can listen to pillar two together.

Paul and I agreed entirely with Floyd's approach here. In fact, we decided that Paul is already active with the first pillar in a very natural way as he meets people wherever he goes.

After we'd prayed for the people on our minds we ate lunch together.

13 November 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - A greater one is coming

We started by chatting about events in our own lives, and then shared news of friends and family and spent some time praying for them.

Afterwards, to get a discussion started, John the BaptistI read Mark 1:1-8 and we noted several points. The people confessed their sins to John, and we are encouraged to confess our sins to one another. If we do, it can help build trust and community in the body.

The fact that Jesus forgives sins shows his great authority. It seems that during John's work of baptising many in Judea felt convicted and went en masse to see him in the desert. Roger reminded us that Jesus later said that John was Elijah.

We continued to read verses 9-20 and considered the question of what the 'good news' is. The best way we could express it was to say that it is the presence of the Kingdom, the place where the King rules unopposed. Basically this is a place in the hearts of his followers.

Paul said that 'we need to stand up and be counted', something that he's been feeling for some weeks recently. And he's right, we need to speak and live the truth in the world, in front of friends, neighbours, and colleagues.

06 November 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Life in the light

Stuart was with us this morning for the first part of the meeting. We spent some time chatting and then prayed with him for some of the things he needs in his life. Life in the lightRoger told us that his friend Andy starts a new job next week, and that is a wonderful answer to prayer. Paul's sister also has a new job and is loving it, while for Roger's sister things are looking more promising too.

We also talked about Roger and Ruth's desire to see new life in the church where they live. I felt the Lord saying about this issue in particular, 'Begin and end with love'. I hope to visit them at home on Tuesday to pray about life in Offord.

Then we briefly discussed whether we should add some more deliberate Bible reading to our weekly meetings. Roger thought it would be good to read through some Psalms and share what the verses might be saying to us. I felt it would be good to work through Mark's gospel. We decided to try both and made a start right away with Psalm 30.

Verse six seemed very relevant, 'When I felt secure, I said, "I will never be shaken."' We've all been in that place in our lives, we feel capable of dealing with anything without help, but when we hit real difficulties we crumble. We need the Lord to lift us up, it's a big mistake to try to lift ourselves up!

23 October 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - His plan or mine?

When I arrived at Paul's this morning Stuart and Jules were already there chatting over cups of tea or coffee; I sat down and joined them. Roger turned up a bit later but Stuart set off to travel home.

Architect's planWe talked freely about people and events in our lives recently. These included Jules' college work and the difficulties in starting a Christian Union or something similar, one of Paul's contacts who is looking for a housegroup in the area, Paul's upcoming hospital appointment, someone else who has helped Paul with advice recently, and Roger's desire to reach people in his village. We prayed for all these people and for one another generally.

I had a word from the Lord, 'I will not follow your plans, I'll follow my plans! But I love you and will never leave or forsake you.'

Paul mentioned his friend Jim who has recently believed in Jesus. More prayer and some rejoicing!

Roger read from John 16:17-33, particularly verse 33 where Jesus told the disciples, 'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'

We finished our time together with a meal and another drink; I went home encouraged.

16 October 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - a trip to Godmanchester

Paul and I set off at 10:30 to visit our friends Stuart and Jackie in Godmanchester. But then things got a bit muddled. Godmanchester in CambridgeshireWe intended to meet at Paul's at 12:00, but were delayed returning from Godmanchester. By the time we arrived, Roger had given up and driven home again.

So in the end it was just Paul and me. We ate pizza for lunch and then chatted and prayed for friends. We talked about the need for our friends to see us living harmoniously in relationship together as his people.

Paul prayed for the kids from the camp back in the summer, for the planned reunion in December, for the next camp in 2010, and for there to be a real impact in the lives of the young people so that they would come to know Jesus for themselves.

Then we spent some time reading from Julia Fisher's book, 'Israel: The Mystery of Peace'. We read about a third of chapter two, 'To Gaza with love' and thought about the need to reach across forbidden lines. Loving our enemies is sometimes the only way to break down the most serious divisions in this world.

09 October 2009

Eaton Ford (day)

Roger got us off to a good start today by reading Hebrews 11:32-39, where the writer lists a series of Old Testament characters of faith. He told us that we should add one another to this list! Abraham about to sacrifice IsaacThen he read Hebrews 12:1-2 and reminded us that it's easy to lose heart and grow weary.

Paul remarked how interesting it was that the faith theme had continued from last night's meeting. He told us about a Jamaican woman he'd seen on TV. The Lord had called her to help troublesome kids in her neighbourhood by encouraging them to produce garden crops and share the harvest with the elderly in the neighbourhood.

I urged us to consider whether we should listen more to the Lord and do less of what seems to us to be good. The Jamaican woman had it right, she listened, heard what the Lord was telling her, and did his bidding. We simply need to still our hearts, focus on Jesus, listen and have an inner conversation with him, and write down whatever he shows us.

We prayed together for guidance for Roger and Ruth in the village where they live. They want to reach out to their neighbours but have not been seeing much success so far. Perhaps it's time to change the emphasis.

02 October 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Chat and prayer

This was the first time back at Paul's after my trip to America. Paul and I cleared some junk for a friend and took it to the tip, then went back to his place and chatted over coffee while we waited for Roger to arrive. Fish and chipsPaul and Roger had met while I was away, but only once. It had been a busy time.

When Roger joined us we spent a while discussing what has been happening in our lives and listing people and issues we felt we should include in our prayer. This covered illnesses, people moving house and needing to settle in a new area, family difficulties, and the possibility of volunteer prison work.

Afterwards it was good to chat about some of the things that I'd learned at the House2House conference. I ran through Neil Cole's thoughts on the effect of group size on the nature of meetings, what Neil calls the 'gravity' of social groupings.

2 to 3 people - a good number for intimate, real, deep interaction and relationship. Typical of the way closest friends interact. Jesus sent out the disciples in twos, and the list of disciples in Matthew 10:2-4 is given in pairs.

12 to 15 - this size of group interacts more like a family, there is much more diversity than a group of 2 or 3. Typical of simple, organic church.

25-75 - numbers in this range are useful for training, mission, and equipping.

120-150 - 10 to 15 churches meeting together for example. Groups of this size seem to be a relational maximum, people can't remember names and faces for groups exceeding this size. A network of simple churches is typically this size.

300-500 - not an unusual size for a conference or some kind of special gathering, functions that don't require that everyone knows one another.

Unlimited multitudes - Jesus taught large crowds on the hillside, at this scale it's possible to teach content but not to mentor.

We finished up by having lunch together, and as we hadn't prepared anything we walked down to the local chip shop and feasted on fish and chips or sausage and chips. Excellent food and great fellowship!

03 July 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Family

Only Paul and I met this morning, the theme that emerged was 'family', particularly the family of believers living and meeting in a place.

We talked for a while about this and that, remembered a number of friends and neighbours, then prayed for a while before making lunch with fresh salad from Paul's garden.

Paul read from 1 John 4:7-12 and said that the word 'family' had been in his mind.

22 May 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Moggerhanger

We made very brief notes this week, there were only two of us as Roger and Jules were unable to join us. Bluebells at Moggerhanger ParkWe brought one another up-to-date on news from friends, prayed, and talked about a range of other topics.

Then we visited Moggerhanger Park for lunch as a change. We sat inside, ordered our meals, and later Jim come out of the kitchen and joined us for a chat. It turned out to be a useful time as Jim and Paul had not met before, but also because Paul may be able to use the Moggerhanger facilities for his Acorn Group in future.

15 May 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Not condemned

Roger was unable to make today's meeting.

Chris read parts of Romans 7:14 - 8:2 and noted that even Paul, a truly admirable apostle, suffered from issues with sin. We shouldn't be devastated when we fall, but we do need to pick ourselves up, turn back to the Lord, and continue as he gives us direction. We are not condemned because Christ has set us free. HalleluYah!

07 May 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Talking and eating

Roger was unable to make it today, but as usual we spent some time discussing issues in our lives and the lives of friends and family, prayed for some of these needs, chatted informally, and shared a simple lunch together.

01 May 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Flowers in the branches

We watched the DVD about 'The Church at Table Number Two', we all enjoyed it, and Roger in particular felt it was relevant and helpful in his situation in the Offords. Clematis in flowerA group had been meeting at home and trying to plant churches - but it wasn't happening. Father had another plan and opened it up for them, step by step.

Chris described a vision of an ugly tree, it had dead-looking branches and was not attractive in itself. But a beautiful clematis was growing through its branches and flowering profusely. And we realised that Yahshua is the clematis! It him who gives us colour and fragrance and beauty, though we have none in our own right.

Paul also shared a vision, in this case a picture of darkness and light. And he knew that we have to get people out of the dark into the place where there is glorious light. As we go along through life we need to notice the doors that Jesus is opening, we need to spot them and use them.

24 April 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - the hills

Lift your eyes to the hillsWe shared news and thoughts about the various friends and family members we regularly pray for.

Once we had done this we spent some time in prayer before moving on to more general thoughts.

Jules read Psalm 121 which is quite short, but really very encouraging. The first two verses read...

I lift up my eyes to the hills -
Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
The Maker of heaven and earth.

We though about our own situations too. Roger explained that he'd attended the PCC meeting in Offord d'Arcy, and told us how he had felt about it. We shared some thoughts on meetings at home, and particularly hoped that Roger and Ruth might have an opportunity to host such meetings themselves.

16 April 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - News from family

Once again we began by sharing news of friends, family and others with needs. Some are ill, some need work, A letter containing newssome have difficulties or unhappiness or loss of some kind.

Roger read Psalm 37 and we noted that the Lord has several instructions for us here.

Verse 3 - Trust in the Lord, verse 4 - Delight yourself in the Lord, verse 5 - Commit your way to the Lord, verse 7 - Be still before the Lord.

Paul read Matthew 11:25-30 which includes the words, 'Come to me ... and I will give you rest', echoing the theme from the psalm.

We ate lunch together and enjoyed talking , and finally Roger read 1 Cor 11:23-26 and we shared bread and wine together.

09 April 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - The napkin

As we usually do, we began by considering the people we need to pray for, then spent some time praying and listening Folded napkinto the Spirit.

We heard about the story of the 'folded napkin' that Chris had received in an email just this morning. It's a delightful story, but there seems to be little evidence that it really happened this way.

The story goes that when Peter and John arrived at the empty tomb, they saw that the grave wrappings had been thrown in a heap, but at the other end of the tomb, the napkin that had covered Jesus face was neatly folded. There was a convention that when a man ate his meal, the servant would watch. If the master threw his napkin down untidily this was a sign that he'd finished and the servant would begin to clear the table. But if the master folded his napkin this showed he intended to return to finish the meal later.

So the folded napkin in the tomb was significant because to Yahshua's trainees it meant, 'I am coming back in a short while'. It's still a great story even though it may not be true. But what is true (and is important) is that Jesus did rise from the grave and that he will indeed return!

One of us also had a picture of snow flakes falling. Each little flake was melting almost as soon as it touched the ground and at first it would be easy to conclude that the snow would never be able to settle. But snow is persistent and eventually the tiny, fragile flakes will win and the ground will be covered and everything hidden in a blanket of pure, white snow.

And the Lord says, 'The snow will prevail - like me!' He changes our lives little by little, one small touch of his purity after another. In the end we will be visibly changed. Sometimes we feel we will never get there, but he says we will.

27 March 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - the Earth

We met at Paul's and spent some time over coffee listing people we needed to pray for. Nowhere we can goAs usual there were quite a few and the needs included jobs, health, emotional distress, and faith.

We feel these people have been particularly brought to our attention for prayer, we remember them each week. They are all friends or family, they are all special to one or more of us in some way.

Roger read Psalm 116 which is so reassuring and encouraging.

The cords of death entangled me,
The anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the LORD:
"O LORD, save me!"

The LORD is gracious and righteous;
Our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the simplehearted;
When I was in great need, he saved me.

Chris mentioned that Christ is in us and will speak through us. We are wineskins to contain the new wine (Yahshua) and he will flow out through us into the world.

Paul spoke about the bookmark he has that mentions two sets of footprints in the sand. Sometimes, at our saddest and lowest times we see only one set of footprints. And Jesus says, 'I never left you, those are the times I was carrying you.'

Roger referred to the passage where Jesus said to his disciples, 'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33)

And Jules reminded us of Psalm 139 which tells us there is nowhere in the whole of creation where we can go but he is not with us.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,

Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
And the light become night around me,"

Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
The night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to you.

13 March 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Mediaeval door

This morning we met at Paul's and chatted about friends and situations that we're concerned about, it was quite a long list. People in pain, with illnesses of various kinds, without work, or just downhearted. A mediaeval door

But there were also things to be grateful for - people we know who have started to get involved with church, some now going to Brickhill for example, or Open Door. We also talked about 'The Shack' and how it deals with forgiveness and Father's acceptance and love.

We prayed for these people, asking Jesus to put peace in their hearts and minds as well as meeting the needs in their lives.

Chris saw a picture of a heavy wooden door made of very thick timbers with black iron hinges and studs. It was not fully closed, and through the gap shone a bright light. Inside was the Lord's presence, his glory, and brilliant light. We were outside. We knew we needed to push hard to open this stiff and heavy door, and we knew that when we did we'd be able to come into his presence.

Jules reminded us that the Lord knows all about us, he has called us by name, and every knee will bow before him. See Romans 14:8-13 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.

We shared bread and wine together and ate some more of the bread with soup before chatting again and going our separate ways.

07 March 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Jetex

Roger and I met for a chat and some prayer, Donna and Ruth joined us for lunch but weren't able to stay longer. Gloster Meteor

We talked about several of our friends, one of whom is ill, another currently unemployed. We also talked about family, other friends, and events in our lives.

One of Roger's interests is aeromodelling and Jetex in particular. He's planning to give a talk ('Jetex Reborn') at Impington Village College on 15th March.

13 February 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - light and dark

We met at Paul's, Roger and John were both unwell so it was just Paul and Chris this time. Bright light shining behind a dark cloudWe talked about life in general and some of the issues we face, and we made a list of friends and prayer points.

We prayed for these and others, and Paul shared a thought about light. We are to take Christ's light out into the world.

We read John 9:1-34 which tells of the 'Messianic miracle' of healing a person born blind. The Pharisees had to accept Jesus as Messiah on the basis of the healing, or they had to discount the healing. They were forced to choose. Verses 35-41 show clearly that Jesus came to overthrow the status of human knowledge; the blind would see, and those who thought they could see would be shown to be blind.

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