Showing posts with label friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label friends. Show all posts

26 June 2009

Friendfeed as a personal hub

Spyros Heniadis, writing on his blog about Facebook and Twitter, makes some very good points as he compares and contrasts the value these two giants have for him. FriendfeedHe finds Facebook less than totally appealing, and he finds Twitter much more useful that it might appear at first sight. (And Twitter's raging success must have some basis other than sheer fadness.)

I agree with Spyros, I have a lot of friends (real ones almost entirely) on Facebook but I don't spend nearly enough time there to keep up with all the stuff they post. And the Facebook applications mostly drive me mad with their inane and persistent in-your-faceness. I always click the 'Ignore this request' button with a slightly guilty feeling of having 'jilted' someone I care about.

And I agree with his remarks about Twitter too. It took me a long, long time to understand it, but now that I do I'm beginning to appreciate it. I also use Friendfeed - a lot. If you want to see how, just visit my stream.

You'll notice it contains posts from Twitter, Delicious, Moblog and many more. All of them are added automatically whenever I post to those sites. And when I write an item on my blog Friendfeed picks that up and adds it for me too along with all those other sources. And I can fill in my 'status' on Friendfeed just as I would on Facebook or Twitter. All the output from Friendfeed can appear in Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else I like without me lifting a finger or striking a key. I love it!

It's well worth a try. Like Twitter it's really simple and very easy to use.

05 March 2009

Report from Chepstow

We gathered from a wide area to join Mark and Mandy Cutliffe at the Bulwark Community Centre in Chepstow on 28th February. Between them they had organised 'Breathing Space', The Bulwark Community Centrea simple program that gave us all a chance to mingle for a prolonged period over coffee, share a meal, and then settle to an afternoon of interesting and challenging discussion.

Time to meet - It was great to have ample time to meet and chat informally. Often when we meet the program is so full that we struggle to get to know one another in brief interludes between packed sessions.

The video - In the afternoon session we watched the 'Church Planting Movement' video and then moved into a discussion on 'organic church'.

You can watch the video for yourself below. It focuses on rapid, multiplicative growth, you can learn more about this from the International Mission Board's website.



Some questions and answers - Mark encouraged us to ask questions about 'organic church', he wrote five of these at the top of sheets on a flipchart Chatting over a coffeeand then we set about answering our own questions. Although we didn't have time to consider all the questions the process did help me to think more deeply about the topic. It was a very useful afternoon.

There are two caveats as you read the list. It's not exactly what was on the flip charts because it's based on what I scribbled down at the time. And some of the points may not make sense unless you were there for the discussion. Even so, I hope they will provoke useful thoughts as you read (and perhaps pray) your way through them.
  1. What is an organic church?
    • A living organism
    • An organism, not an organisation
    • DNA, constituents, what would happen if you grew a tomato in a rigid box?*
    • Not contaminated by anything man-made
    • Growing, changing, having fruit

  2. How have organic churches started?**
    • By the power and prompting of the Holy Spirit
    • Because of persecution
    • As a result of relationships
    • Hunger for 'something more'
    • A reaction to disappointment with existing churches

  3. What on earth are we doing?
    • Why do we need another expression of church?
    • One size fits all
    • Is it sustainable long term?

  4. How do we define success?
    • To produce successful offspring that can reproduce
    • Helping people follow Jesus
    • What has God told you to do?
    • Walk with God
    • What has he called you to do?
    • Who has he called you to be?

Notes
* The tomato in a box refers to a thought we had that the tomato plant's DNA controls the shape, colour, flavour and other characteristics of the fruit it bears. But if you put a rigid box around the small fruit as it grows, although the flavour and colour would remain unchanged, the mature fruit could never be the intended shape.

There's a parallel with the church where the DNA of Christ controls much, but our artificial constraints can affect the shape of its expression. Think about that!

** This is really about gathering together because we're excited about Jesus.

31 August 2008

FAMILY - Dan and Kerry's Wedding

My nephew Dan married Kerry yesterday, what a wonderful event. It turned out to be a real family reunion. Dan and KerryThey threw a party for friends and family in delightful surroundings. They'd booked the village hall in Crondall, there was a hog roast, and a village cricket match was in progress in the field at the side. The weather was lovely, everyone was happy, and The Rooters provided some excellent music. A great day!

It's lovely when families and friends get together - for any reason. So good to renew contact with those we love but rarely see.

The journey was a bit of a nightmare with serious traffic jams on the way down and again on the return trip. British roads at their worst (and believe me, that's bad). It took more than three hours to get home, it would have taken only two if the roads had been clear.

There's a lesson there, don't you think? Sometimes in life the journey is hard. It's good to know what the destination is and grand to know there's a party or a home at the end of the trip.

The party was a family occasion in more ways than one. My brother-in-law, Neil, plays lead guitar with The Rooters, Kerry had decorated her own cake, and I was just one of many family photographers there to catch the scene for posterity.

Just to add to the family atmosphere one of my sisters couldn't make it. Why? Because her daughter gave birth to a son! More rejoicing and congratulations.

So, in conclusion - Dan and Kerry we wish you wonderful years together and much happiness - little Will, we wish you a wonderful life too. Abundant blessings for all of you! You are in our thoughts and prayers.

22 August 2008

How's church in the UK?

A friend in Florida just asked me this in an email; I thought I'd answer the question for everyone. In context, the question means, 'How is church life going on for you personally', not, 'How is the church doing in the UK as a whole'. So this post answers the first, personal question, not the second, general one.

The fact is, things are going well, very well.

Am I happy with the state of affairs? Yes I am, I have a sense of peace about it all, like the peace in the scene in this post. Can I see where it's all heading? No, not really. Does that mean I lack a vision for the way forward? No, not in the least!

Let's unwrap that a bit.

It all depends on your point of view.

Let's start with the premise that church growth depends on running the church efficiently day to day, planning for the future, building up numbers, bringing in the necessary funding, putting up buildings, and growing people in maturity through teaching and discipling. That is the standard institutional model that most of us work by. In that case church growth can be measured in the same way that success in business can be measured. Set some targets, aim at them, and then measure success as achievement against those targets.

But there is a problem with that approach. Nowhere in the Bible do we find anything that looks remotely like the 'standard business model'!

If we begin with the premise that church growth depends on Jesus living in his people and guiding them individually and together, we get a very different definition of success. Success must now be measured in terms of the quality of relationship we have with Jesus and with one another. If we are rightly built into the body we'll see that Jesus does indeed build his church. Paul understood this when he wrote Romans 12:1-13. We are to work together in a new way, a totally unexpected way, and it's assuredly not the way of the world or of business.

Paul writes several times and at some length about life in the body and how we should expect to be built as a natural outworking of love. This 'building through loving' requires Jesus' love towards us, our love towards him, and finally our love towards one another. It couldn't be simpler. Does Paul ever (even once) write in terms of setting targets or having goals for building the church? No he does not.

So, in the light of all that, how's church been going for me recently?

Well, I've met some new people in the last few weeks and it seems to me we're likely to be keeping in touch and meeting together as and when we have the opportunity. I suspect we're going to find ourselves built and encouraged in unexpected ways.

At the same time we have a friend who was ill, had no reason (medically) to expect to survive, yet has been told he seems, remarkably, to be in the all clear.

Then there's the difficulty explained in an earlier post. I haven't had a reply yet, so I'm continuing in prayer and will keep thinking about the various issues involved. What I can say is that through some of my new friends I'm now aware of a man who is seriously interested in contacting the young people involved, and has the faith, the personality, and the experience to engage their interest. And I also know other friends on the edge of town who might be keen to help with that.

All of this is encouraging and exciting, so I think the answer to the original question is, 'Oh yes, things are going along very nicely thank you. Jesus is in control, and I have no specific targets because I have no idea what he will do next. But it will be good!

My personal targets are to get to know Yahshua better day by day, and to grow increasingly in relationship with my brothers and sisters.

13 August 2008

The 'Eagle and Child'

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The 'Eagle and Child' is a famous old pub in Oxford, often known to the city's students as the 'Bird and Baby'. It serves the usual range of beers, ciders, wines, and spirits along with typical British mainstays like bangers and mash, steak and ale pie and so on.

Its main claim to fame is that it was the meeting place of 'The Inklings', a group of writers active before, during and after the Second World War. 'Who were 'The Inklings'?', I hear you cry! Ah, you will already know some of the names. The pub and the writer's group may not be widely known, but the members included CS Lewis (Narnia) and JRR Tolkien (Lord of the Rings).

We visited Oxford on 28th July and paid a visit to 'The Eagle and Child'. It's a bit like Dr Who's Tardis, far larger inside than you expect. The street frontage is quite modest, but the pub goes back and back, room opening into room after room. It seems the Inklings met in a sitting room towards the back of the building. But we picked a little snug near the street entrance and ordered ice creams.

What a delight to sit in this place, so full of history and atmosphere. Looking around, it was quite easy to imagine Lewis and Tolkien coming round a corner deep in conversation about a proposed character for a new story.

Those two wrote such good stuff!

Tolkien's great series of books ('Lord of the Rings') about the hobbits and other characters describes a classic struggle between powerful forces for evil and weak, humble, sometimes foolish, homely country folk. The hobbits had no idea at first what they were up against, they had help along the way, mostly unlooked for. In the end they succeeded, not because they were powerful, clever or cunning but because they were weak, honest, and open. The enemy was looking for guile and strength, he overlooked simple folk without power. In the end they slipped through unnoticed, too small for the enemy to trouble with. They were courageous, selfless, and focused.

Lewis' books about Narnia are even better in my opinion. They are direct parables, written for all who will listen - children and adults alike. Tolkien's tale expresses great truths in a rather general way. But Lewis wrote much more specific stories, direct parables in which Jesus is portrayed appropriately as the great lion, Aslan. The evil queen thinks she can carry the day by killing him, yet to her astonishment and dismay he returns to life; death can't hold him, she has misunderstood the ancient law. But Aslan gave his life to rescue the condemned, knowing that everything would be put right and made new as a result.

How fascinating that these two great writers walked these floors, sat in these rooms, ate, drank, and discussed. Their other works are considerable and important. JRR Tolkien was part of the Bible translation team that created the Roman Catholic version known as the Jerusalem Bible. CS Lewis wrote many great books such as 'The Problem of Pain', 'The Four Loves', and 'Mere Christianity'. Both great scholars, both great story tellers, and both knew 'The Eagle and Child' almost as well as they knew their own homes.

It's a privilege to have been there. It's an even greater one to have been there with close friends.

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08 August 2008

Frank Viola on Don Francisco

In a recent blog post Frank Viola recommends one of Don Francisco's songs, 'He's Alive'. And indeed this is a wonderful song.

Don Francisco's websiteAnother of Don's great songs is 'And the Spirit Sings', it's one of my all-time favourites and it carries a gentle but strong message that meeting in freedom can be a very special experience because it causes the Holy Spirit to sing. That has been true in my experience, and in Frank's, and in Don's, and in the lives of so many of the people I know and love.

To be in a meeting at home, where Yahshua is welcomed along with everyone else, that is a supreme privilege.

Meetings like this have been the absolute pinnacle of my life - and that's no exaggeration! What can equal his palpable presence amongst his people? He is enthroned in the splendour of holiness yet he is intimately one of us - and the Spirit does indeed sing! Wonderful, wonderful times together over and over again. (Of course it's not being at home that makes this possible, but our freedom in one another's presence and the Lord's freedom amongst us.)

'And the Spirit Sings' can be found on Don's album 'Come Away'. If you like Don's style and you've never heard this particular track I strongly recommend you buy 'Come Away', the other songs are great too. The CD's available on Don's website. As I write, the homepage provides 'He's Alive' as a free listen. Go and hear it! Maybe Don will consider putting 'And the Spirit Sings' up there too - how about it, Don?

If you want to catch the aroma of meetings of this kind (just a hint of what they're like) read the notes on some of our past meetings. But like a great dish, a meeting in which he's powerfully yet gently present is something that can't be fully appreciated without tasting it.

05 August 2008

FAMILY - Travelling with friends

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Since 27th July Donna and I have been travelling around the UK with friends from Florida. This has been a time of blessing and fun for me personally, a time I'll always remember.
Earl, Steph, Donna, and Chris
We have packed so much rich experience into just a few short days of living. And it seems to me that this is the way the whole of life should be lived. Life is short, so everything we experience in it should be treasured as a special privilege.

The holiday is not yet over, but it's getting closer to the end. Thinking about that brings some sadness, but reflecting on what we've done together brings great joy. Perhaps all of life is like this holiday. It has a beginning and a not-yet-experienced ending. It is a journey. It's a far richer journey when we dwell on the good things and allow the less good to flow quietly into the past and learn patience, wisdom, and trust in the process. The quality of our lives, like the quality of a holiday, is based partly on what we choose to hold onto and what we choose to let slip away without bitterness, anger or regret.

Here's a list of the outstanding things we've included so far, the things to remember and dwell on later.


  • Travelling home from Gatwick Airport with two friends, and catching up with our news
  • Taking the park-and-ride bus
  • Visiting Oxford and eating ice-cream in 'The Eagle and Child', a popular haunt of CS Lewis
  • Preparing and eating meals together, another time for informal chat
  • Driving through the British countryside
  • Visiting the old cathedral town of Lincoln
  • Looking at a Norman house - yes, Norman!!
  • Spending an evening with my eldest daughter, Debbie, and her family
  • Travelling through the Pennines
  • Visiting Hadrian's Wall and looking around Vindolanda
  • Travelling to Edinburgh via Carlisle and Glasgow (don't ask!)
  • Living on the Royal Mile as the Edinburgh Fringe gets under way
  • Doing the open-top tourist bus thing
  • Viewing the paintings in Edinburgh's National Gallery
  • Taking friends who've never seen Edinburgh Castle to see Edinburgh Castle
  • The Scottish Crown Jewels
  • Driving the east coast road and stopping at the English border
  • Durham and it's wonderful cathedral
  • Rain on a leaf
  • Spending another evening in York, with my younger daughter and her family
  • Visiting York Minster and the undercroft
  • Arriving home again
  • Meeting with others at home, sharing a meal, prayer together, bread and wine, a great chance for people to chat, a time of blessing and encouragement
  • Another trip to Oxford, a pub lunch, the CS Lewis walking tour
  • Taking our friends to the station to visit London on their own
  • Collecting them again at Kew Green tube station
  • Visiting Kew Gardens
  • Visiting 'Talkin' Headz', a drum shop in Woburn Sands
  • Sitting on the patio chatting
  • Taking our guests back to Gatwick to fly home
It would be easy to write a whole blog post on each of those events. Maybe I'll do just that, it would certainly be fun to write and would make a great diary of the trip.

So many happy memories, and still a few more to come. Life is rich, and good, and full. Life is like a meadow in the summer, filled with every kind of flower, dancing with butterflies and shimmering on a hot, dry day. As I write, the rain is pounding on the conservatory roof - but that, too, is a wonderful thing, what a sound! In the garden it's soaking into the good earth and making the plants flourish. They need the sunshine, but they need the rain too. Sunshine and water combining to generate abundant and carefree life. The rain today and perhaps the sunshine tomorrow.

We're rather like those plants, we need sunshine and rain in our lives to truly thrive.

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07 October 2004

Everything I have (KN)

'Everything I have, was given to me.'

This simple line came to me today in an e-mail from a friend. It referred to something quite specific, but it's so true in a general way too.A young plant The more I've thought about it during the day, the more its meaning has become rooted in my heart, like a seed planted there. It seems right to share these thoughts more widely.

When I was first conceived I was no more than a tiny bead of protoplasm carrying a copy of the DNA that spelled my potential. As I grew, the meaning of the code worked out in detail until the day I was born and took my first breath.

We often think of birth as the beginning of life, but by the time I'd taken that first lungful and tested out my new voice with an ear-splitting wail, I'd already received so much.

First, the DNA code itself, donated by my parents but specifying a new, unique creature. And then all that realised potential - a heart that beats, lungs that fill with air, bones and muscles, fingers and toes, and all those amazing internal organs working away to keep me alive and healthy until adulthood. I earned none of these things. They are rich and wonderful gifts bestowed on me even before I was born!

Throughout my life from the morning of my birth to the evening of my old age I'll have received so much. The air I breathe, the water I drink, the food I eat and the clothes that keep me warm, I earned none of these things.Mature growth and abundant flowers I used my gifts of mind and body to 'earn' my way in the world, but I could create nothing without the means to do so, and the means came to me as generous gifts.

It seems to me that I have nothing at all to boast of, and absolutely everything to be grateful for. And look around at the world we inhabit! See the beauty of the sky, sun shining on leaves, the frost on twigs. Smell the fragrant orange blossom, the wonderful aroma of freshly cut grass, or bread straight from the oven. Ah, what a wonderful, wonderful world. And what a wonderful Creator who brought it all into being and planted me here amongst it for a season. I earned none of this!

And friends, family, just a smiling face in the local shop or at the bank, a kind word from someone who cares. Did I earn these blessings? No, I did not. All are gifts.

How true then it is to say...

'Everything I have, was given to me.'

Praise the King of Kings who has blessed me with so much. Honour and glory and power are yours, for ever and ever. Amen.

Comments copied from the original Chris Jefferies' Blog.
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Comment from: Steph [Member] Email · http://www.es-creative.com
Oh yes -- just look around at the world we inhabit; it *is* amazing. Unfortunately, so many of us miss the little joys that are at our fingertips each day. Sometimes a simple glance, lingering on a thing of beauty or taking an extra moment to smile at a passerby is enough to remind us that there is more to this world than what we see, handle and touch. Just a glance can mean so much!

What I especially enjoy is when someone has the gift - an "eye" really -- to capture some of these glorious things and share them with others. Whether it's a melody, a phrase well turned, or a beautiful moment captured by photography. I appreciate these gifts so much. They inspire people like me to look higher, deeper, and live more meaningfully.

Thank you, Chris, for sharing these awesome photographs. I'm in love with this last one of purple heather and a dogwood bending low. At least that's what they look like from this vantage point.
08/10/04 @ 14:29

05 October 2004

Why not come and join us? (KN)

A Small Town CommunityIf you are enjoying the items on this blog, maybe you'd also enjoy discussing matters of relationship on the Koinonia Life Discussion Forum.

The list centres on how we share our lives as believers, how we relate to one another, and how together and individually, we relate to the Messiah. These are interesting topics and are at the heart of what it means to be a part of his body here on earth.

Of course, talking about these things in itself gets us nowhere. We must live the life, not just chat about it! But for those who are living the life (or trying to), a chance to bounce ideas around and hear the opinions and experiences of others can be liberating and helpful.

The group is a friendly and encouraging place where people try to help one another. The objective is to avoid argument and confrontation, but focus on building one another up in love.

If you want to know more, why not read the main information page at Koinonia Life and see what you think. If you want to join the list just click the 'Join This Group!' button at the top of the page to start the process.

Come on in and share with us, you'll be made very welcome!

05 February 2002

The diablo

Surely this has to be worth a blog. Godfrey York is playing with a diablo in the coffee area at work - amazing! Carey tried it too but found it much harder to do than she expected.

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