Showing posts with label Eaton Ford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eaton Ford. Show all posts

01 October 2009

Eaton Ford - Past and future

This evening's conversation centred around the X-treme Youth Camp 2009 and the possibility of remaining involved in 2010. Candle flamesWe agreed that we should press on with some kind of reunion this autumn, probably ten-pin bowling with pizza and chips or something similar.

We were less certain about repeating the camp next year. Although it seems like a good idea we really want to do what the Spirit leads us to do, not to rush in to do what we think seems best. We realised that there's no need to make any decision until the spring so we will aim to pray until we sense we have clear guidance.

I explained some of the things that happened while I was at the House2House conference, outlining one or two of the sessions. I also shared the beauty of New England with the richly forested Appalachians.

Jim read Matthew 6:25-34 and we considered what faith implies and the need to 'seek first the Kingdom'. It occurred to me that Wolfgang Simson's definition of the Kingdon is that it's 'the realm of the Lord's undisputed rule'. And that's what we need, to be ruled by him and not by our own wishes and plans.

Sean shared a picture of little candle flames, all spread out and all glowing and giving light. It was as if each child that came to the camp was one of the little flames. How encouraging! Just before this I had seen sunlight sparkling on the surface of rippled water, but only when Sean shared his picture did it make sense to me. The two pictures are different yet they both illustrate the same truth.

Jim then talked about recycling. The re-use of discarded paving slabs had been mentioned earlier in conversation. Jim imagined some slabs discarded and broken but realised that someone could collect them and put them to a new use, or to the same use but in a different place.

He explained that it's the same with us when we feel broken and of no value, and then Jesus picks us up and tells us that he loves us and values us and want to re-use us. He takes us and sets us to his purpose. What could be better than that?

And finally, Paul mentioned the old song 'This little light of mine' (it had been in his mind for several days). And he told us how sometimes lights need an extra battery to make them even brighter. And this is what the kids reunion will do.

26 May 2009

Eaton Ford - Freedom?

We discussed the final details of the leaflet for the Eynesbury kids camp, and we also talked around the issues in reaching out openly when this might put our families or friends in danger. HandcuffsAlthough this is not something that is a problem for us in the UK right now, it is a severe problem in some countries. It's interesting to ask ourselves how we'd react if this happened for us. We have no idea how the political and social scene will change, wherever we may live!

Chris asked, 'What are the two most important things we can do to make the church more successful?'. The major points seem to be that we should listen to the Lord's direction and follow it, and that we should give one another the freedom to do the same. After all, we must love the Almighty with all our heart, mind and strength and we must love our neighbour the same way we love ourselves (Mark 12:28-34, Romans 13:8-10). If we have that kind of love in our hearts we cannot help following the Lord's commands and giving one another the freedom to do so too.

Yahshua set us free so that we could live free (Galatians 5:1). And if he has set us free, we really are free! (John 8:36) Does this mean we are free to follow whatever men and women tell us? No! We always had that freedom, Israel demanded a king 'like the other nations' and in modern times people have followed all sorts of leaders.

No, we were set free to follow the Lord! We are free to hear his voice, to walk as he reveals, to love, and to give that same freedom to one another.

19 May 2009

Eaton Ford - Family tragedy

We have only brief notes from this meeting.

Jim mentioned King David who was 'a man after the Lord's heart'. Despite this, he had some major issues in his life. One of his sons raped his own sister, and then another son killed the first. We thought about what a dreadful experience this must have been for David. What a tragedy to overtake a family.

We also talked about street pastors, an opportunity has come up to take part in training for this.

12 May 2009

Eaton Ford - Grass and flowers

This was a very unusual evening. Dot joined us and arrived ahead of everyone else, Chris was still pushing the vacuum cleaner around as they were late home and had run out of time Flowers in a green pathso she helped finish the washing up and then we took coffees through to the conservatory. Donna also joined us this week, then Sean arrived and told us that because of family committments he'd need to leave early tonight, and the minutes ticked by and there was still no sign of Jim. Then finally, just as Sean was leaving, Jim arrived after a meeting at work that had overrun.

We did spend some time in prayer, but most of the time was spent planning out the basic design for the youth camp leaflet. We showed Dot the 2007 camp video which she hadn't seen before, and we decided on a folded A4 leaflet with the main details on the front in colour, a centre spread of further information for parents, and notes on how to apply on the back cover.

Dot shared a vision she'd had recently. She was walking through a desert, a barren landscape of boulders and sand. The boulders were too large to move and it was terribly hard work walking in the dry sand. Then she noticed that the path she was walking along was turning green and there were little flowers underfoot too. The green path stretched behind her, marking out the route she had taken. Ahead she could see only desert and a little gully where there was a stream. And she understood that when she walked near the stream, the green path became more lush and healthy, but if she strayed away from the stream the green carpet thinned out and became more sandy again.

07 May 2009

Eaton Ford - Empty barn?

While we were chatting this evening and considering prayer needs, Jim's mobile rang with news that a friend's toddler granddaughter had just fallen downstairs and been taken to hospital. A wooden barnWe prayed for her and for all the family, and heard later that she was home from hospital with no ill effects.

As we moved into a time of quiet peace in the Lord's presence, Jim reminded us that, 'Even though the barns are empty, I will rejoice in the Lord' (Habakkuk 3:17-18). He pointed out that when we face difficulties in our lives we have to get through them, and often this involves praise and thankfulness despite the problems.

We spent most of the evening considering how to proceed with the youth camp now that we know the school field will not be available. We discussed the kind of leaflet we would need for a door-to-door drop and what information we should put on it.

23 April 2009

Eaton Ford - Japan

Sean told us about the trip to Japan he'd made with his son Joe who is learning Japanese. Cherry blossom, Mount Fuji, and ShinkansenThey spent some time in Tokyo and also in Nagasaki which Sean felt is a beautiful city.

Apparently you can't buy a car in Japan unless you can house it off-road, so car ownership is less common than in Britain and city traffic is not as congested as it is here. Public transport is good. They travelled by train while they were there and were impressed by the punctuality, the politeness of staff, and the respect that people show one another.

We talked about meeting at home in small groups and the sometimes subtle differences between church home groups, the cells of a cell church, and a network of house churches. Jim felt there is a real need for a group to feel like a family.

We also discussed holding another Moggerhanger-style meeting. If we do, Jim thought it would be useful to ask each group to share something about the style of their meetings, how they got started and so forth.

Jim explained that in the River Church's life group they had looked at Psalm 19. Verse 105 is especially striking, 'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path'. The psalms have themes, for example comfort is the theme of Psalm 23. It's important to recognise we have light for the journey.

Chris mentioned Job 23 which he'd read recently. It's clear that Job wanted a chance to meet Yahweh so he could put his case before him. The problem for Job was that Yahweh was unavailable. Wherever Job searched he was nowhere to be found. And the 'thick darkness' Job speaks of is mentioned a number of times in the Old Testament. This darkness (or hiddenness) prevents the contact Job so craves. Yet we learn from Paul that we are now 'hidden in Christ', in other words we are now on the other side of the veil of hiddenness, and that explains why the world cannot understand us. What a privilege we have!

Jim ran with this thought, reminding us that we know where we're going because Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place for us. His love is so deep, so high, so long and so wide! HalleluYah!

16 April 2009

Eaton Ford/Little Paxton - Cup of tea!

This was a very unusual evening. We began by visiting the hospital to see a friend, but discovered that he'd already been discharged. A nice cup of teaIt was a wild goose chase!

Then we spent some time at John's house in Eaton Ford and met one of his work colleagues, Pete. We spent the time chatting about old times, events that had happened at work, trips abroad. It was fun and very entertaining.

Finally, Jim and I returned to Little Paxton and finished the evening in discussion and prayer over a cup of tea.

26 February 2009

Eaton Ford - Wolfgang Simson

We chatted over coffee and shared about this and that in an open and natural way. Somehow, Wolfgang SimsonChrist is present in it all if we just open our eyes to see him!

Jim related how he and Pam had been away for a short break in Norfolk and had travelled a small distance by bus to return after a four mile walk along the beach. The bus can be mechanically lowered and the driver used this feature to help a woman with a child in a buggy, with the bus lowered she was able to board the vehicle much more easily. There was even a space set aside for the buggy so that everything was convenient, no need to unstrap the child, fold the buggy, and stow it away.

We thought how our outreach is sometimes less straightforward than it might be. It's as if we are using an old-fashioned bus instead of a fully-featured new bus. There are several steps involved instead of everything working naturally and conveniently to help those who want to travel with us.

Chris thought of our friends Peter and Paul (good names, they're both there in the Bible!) Both these friends have been in hospital recently. Both of them have used their stay as an opportunity to speak to other patients about Jesus. They have encouraged others and are now expecting several to come to one church meeting or another. We should all be this open and natural in our sharing!

Jim also mentioned spending some time in the city of Norwich and visiting the Cathedral where the architecture, carvings and furnishings almost all pointed to Christ.

For the rest of the evening we watched the DVD of Wolfgang Simson at the 2008 House Church Conference in Dallas. Jim enjoyed it as much as I have done! In his talk Wolf expresses the important view that we need to be a part of the whole. We cannot afford to be just another denomination, there is only one church and we are part of it so we must live and work together with all the believers where we live. We live to serve Christ, not ourselves.

12 February 2009

Eaton Ford - a DVD track

It snowed again! Sean set out and then decided it was unwise to continue, Pete didn't make it either, The DVD coverbut Jim arrived and brought Pam - a lovely surprise to share with them both.

We chatted for a while, then watched a track from one of the House Church Conference DVDs from 2008. The track we watched was Bill Hoffman talking about 'The Church at Table Number Two', a very interesting story about going out to where people are instead of drawing them in to where we are.

This was an unusual meeting because of the snow, but it was a great evening.

29 January 2009

Eaton Ford - Jesus with us

We were expecting to meet with Pete and discuss the proposed summer youth camp again. But his son, Alex, phoned just before the meeting to say he's unwell and would not be able to join us.Old Stonework

We prayed for Pete's health and comfort, and also for others who were not with us tonight - Paul, John, Roger, and Ruth for example.

We spent a while talking about the Holy Spirit, how he is a help and comfort to us in our individual lives, how he reveals Christ to us, how without him we would only be able to do the physical parts of our Christian lives (reading, praying, teaching, sharing). We thought that when we rely on him he enables us to partake in the spiritual nature of the Father and the Son. He is given so that we can not only see the Lord in all his spiritual aspects (though imperfectly) but also grasp something of his spiritual purposes and ways of working. And as we glimpse him more and more, so we begin to grow more like him.

He is not in the business of changing our behaviour, instead he wants to change our hearts and then we will naturally do the things we need to do.

We had a picture of a stone-built courtyard, the masonry looked like a cathedral or castle style of building. The courtyard was paved with flagstones and in the centre was a circular stone plinth.

Above the plinth was a sparkling figure, it was Jesus and he seemed to be half present and half absent, rather like the halfway stage in the Star Trek transporter. He is coming, he is not fully here yet but neither is he fully absent. We can see him but we still don't see him fully, but he is coming and we will see him.

Although we don't experience him completely, he is with us.

22 January 2009

Eaton Ford - Youth Camp

This evening we met again with Pete after a long gap over the Christmas/New Year break. We thought and discussed and prayed and were greatly encouraged by the end of the evening.

Pete explained that the campsite was booked and that YWAM were involved again (though with different participants this year). He plans to meet with us again next Thursday too and will be able to bring some materials along with him - a short video presentation and some leaflets.

04 December 2008

Eaton Ford - Out in Society

We thought about the Christian life out in society. We are indeed 'jars of clay', we see the Almighty's glory in Jesus face - a treasure indeed! Jesus shared his life with us, we need to share our own lives (which is really his life) with those around us.

We read from James 2, especially verse 8 that tells us loving our neighbour is a 'royal law'.

Jim saw people waiting on a platform for the train and sure enough the train arrived - but it didn't stop.

20 November 2008

Eaton Ford - Cable and thread

There were just two of us this evening as Jim was late home from work while Roger and Ruth remain unavailable on Thursdays until 4th December.

Sean and Chris talked together about a range of things over coffee and cake. Cable and threadDuring a time of prayer the Lord gave us a picture of his love. He told us,

'Your love is like a very thin cotton thread, the kind you might use to sew on a button or perhaps even finer than that. My love is like a huge, steel hawser that you might use to moor a mighty oil tanker. The thread and the hawser are connected, tied together.'

'My love is awesome in its power, your love seems feeble and fragile by comparison. It looks as if your love could easily be broken. But my love is not only powerful, it is also gentle. You are safe in my love, you will not be harmed.'

Thinking about this later it was clear that when his love pulls on us he does it so gently that our little thread is not broken. When our love tugs on him, we could never hope to move the steel hawser even a millimetre, but he moves gently towards us in response to our puny pull. When we tug on him he does move, not because we are strong but because he cares.

06 November 2008

Eaton Ford - Searching and forgiveness

Brief notes only were kept for this meeting.

We considered Psalm 130, and especially verse 4 which speaks of forgiveness. Then we thought about John 6:16-69.

The people searched really hard for Yahshua, they looked everywhere. Verse 26 shows that they were looking because they'd been fed whereas what they really needed was to believe in Christ (verse 29). They were looking for proof, edible proof! (verse 31).

In verse 60 we see that this is a hard teaching. If Jesus is the sacrifice for sin then the Temple and the priests and the Law are superfluous. Everything changes!

It's a very hard and unpalatable teaching - throw away everything you think you know and start again!

09 October 2008

Eaton Ford - waiting and calling on the Lord

Ruth told us about opportunities at her local Anglican church in Offord d'Arcy where she is helping to run an art event on the theme 'Angels'. This led us to think more deeply about reaching out to others. Part of a boneWe tend to think in terms of doing this as individuals but biblically we need to work together. Chris mentioned that Yahshua sent the disciples out in twos. We are called to be one (John 17:20) if we are to represent Christ in the world. We are his body and he has only one body, if we don't come as members of his one body we are representatives, not of Christ, but of someone or something else.

Ruth read from Isaiah (40:31), 'Those that wait (or hope) on the Lord shall renew their strength'. Hope involves waiting, but it's an expectant waiting. We need to wait in expectation for him to move, moving in our own inadequate strength just isn't good enough.

We were also reminded again of 1 Corinthians 13:1. What is love? The answer lies in the verses that follow, but basically it is selfless and is focused unwaveringly on the other. This is true whether 'other' is Yahshua or anyone else.

Roger mentioned a friend who has leukaemia, we prayed for him and also for Roger to be able to reach him with the good news. Ruth reminded us that we must 'seek first the Kingdom, and all the things we look for will be added to us (Matthew 6:33). She prayed for the youth work next summer.

And Chris mentioned the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:33-37:14). The entire army was restored, but it was done through the restoration of each individual person. This is just like the Bride of Christ, the Church. She is being restored in our day, person by person, individual by individual. And it was achieved by Ezekiel's obedience in prophecying over the bones. He was also called to prophecy over the breath (spirit) to come and enter them. Like the soldiers in the valley we began as dry bones, we were connected with sinews, the muscles were added, we were covered with skin yet we were still not alive. The final act is for the Spirit to come into us so that we are not only complete but also alive! We need to pray for the non-believers around us in the same way Ezekiel prayed.

18 September 2008

Eaton Ford - Lazy or diligent?

We began with a hot drink and a chat about events during the last week. Once again the main topic was next year's youth camp, important aspects are to make sure that Father is glorified in all we do and say, to have some plans for earlier events that could help us meet young people and their parents in Eynesbury, and to consider how best to bring new believers into the church in St Neots. Nearly ready for harvestWe have had one enthusiastic response and one unclear response from the two churches we have approached informally so far.

Jim mentioned that we are all supposed to feed the other sheep that belong to the Shepherd, we are not meant to feed our own organisation with a supply of his sheep. Sheep are not a commodity, we are a family.

Chris read Proverbs 10:4-5, he'd come across these verses while reading privately before the meeting. He said that in his own life he feels he's been a lazy son, but it's never too late to start and now is the time. Yahshua said the fields are full with the harvest (John 4:35), if we are diligent and wise we'll be busy gathering those crops.

Jim has been reading about the period of time between the old and new testaments, a time when Israel had no revelation and no real sense of the Lord's purpose. He thought how he would hate to have no revelation or purpose in his own life. But Jesus came and everything was changed, and his Spirit is with us and speaking to us daily. What a privilege we have!

Sean emphasised the importance of loving our neighbours. He read out Romans 13:8-14 where Paul writes that the time has come to wake up from our sleep. He had read this passage recently and it had been on his mind. Like Chris, he feels that he has been, if not lazy, then at least asleep. We talked for a while about how the church in the UK seems to have been asleep during our lifetimes. Christians seem to be mostly inactive in our day. It's as if night has come, everyone is asleep so it's natural for us to yawn and slumber too. But we need to wake up!

We talked about how everything must be done for Father's glory, we dare not take any of that glory for ourselves. Then Chris shared a picture of a house, it was like looking down at the plan of the house. He realised that the house is Father's living temple built of the living stones of his people. It's the house in which he lives, where his Presence rests. There were many rooms in the house and each room was like a different part of the church - the Baptists, The River, Open Door, the Methodists, St Mary's in Eaton Socon, and so on - each one like a separate room. As he looked, Chris saw that not all the rooms had internal doors. Sometimes a room had an external door, but no connection to the other rooms. And the Lord said, 'What an inconvenient house!' He also told us that he will open up doors between the rooms, he doesn't want a house like that, it needs to be changed to make it more useful.

Jim saw it a little differently, he was encouraged because we are going to go into the town and open up doors for young people to come in and have life in its fulness. We prayed for doors to open up right through the estate, doors to open for the Good News. We asked this in love.

Jim also mentioned that we need the Holy Spirit to give us openings on the estate that we can develop, ideas that can be presented to others as projects, at least four half or whole days of activity on the estate. And we need something for Brampton too.

We discussed this and jotted down six preliminary ideas, but Sean felt a little unsettled in his heart. He reminded us that the Lord will provide the things for us to do, they may not necessarily be the things we think up for ourselves. So as we go forward we need to be open and expectant.

11 September 2008

Eaton Ford - Camp planning

Jim was unable to make it this evening, but Sean and Chris spent some time talking about church in a general way, Campingand then Pete arrived to join us.

We were able to make some progress with planning for the youth camp next year, and Donna sat with us to listen and contribute some useful thoughts and questions.

We prayed briefly at the end of the meeting, and agreed to meet again next Thursday when Pete will bring some of his helpers so we can meet, discuss, and pray about the coming camp in much more detail.

01 September 2008

Eaton Ford - Talking about youth

This evening we met with a specific agenda and several extra people. Jim, Sean and Chris were here as normal, but we also welcomed Ben and Pete who both have a particular interest in youth work. St Neots articleBen runs a young people's group in Little Paxton, Pete runs youth camps every summer.

We spent a lot of time talking, and a number of very interesting ideas and thoughts were shared. Pete told us about his background and how he came to be involved in youth work. Chris explained about the problems in St Neots that had started him thinking and praying, Ben explained his plans for a tent meeting in St Neots.

The amazing bombshell of the evening was provided by Pete who, in faith, had already reserved 100 places for St Neots young people for a camp at the end of July 2009. This is awesome news and had us all smiling and rejoicing. It's going to take some planning and effort, but it seems that Pete will handle the camp details and management, our role will be to find the people who will fill those 100 places.

This was an unusual meeting in every way!

14 August 2008

Eaton Ford - People we know

We didn't take full notes on this meeting. However we did pray specifically for particular people.

Jim mentioned a young colleague who was tragically killed in a road accident, we prayed for the family and for Jim as he meets with them.

We prayed for Sean's brother, for John's continuing recovery, for Kayleigh, and for our families.

10 July 2008

Eaton Ford - Prayer

Only very brief notes were made this week. We spent much of the time talking, but we also prayed for Pam's Mum who has been unwell, and for Jim and Sean who have both been heavily overworked.

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