31 May 2006

Rugby - Slaves and children

< 23rd May 2006 | Index | 7th June 2006 >

We talked about adopting children, and the Spirit showed us that we are adopted children, but this is not our natural state. However, because we are adopted we inherit from our adoptive parent (Father) instead of from our natural parents. This is a total replacement of everything we once had, we inherit the heavenly possessions, not the earthly ones!

Children feeding paraqueets'Going' to church can become nothing more than a habit, we adapt to the style and regularity in the same way people adapt to their spouse. We learn to fit, to accept one another's foibles, needs, and limitations. Church is a social thing, yet it is really much more than a social thing. We need to begin to live in the knowledge that Father will take church life and do the unexpected, the miraculous. It's not just about meeting, it's about Him dealing with us, pouring out real life, and light, and living water.

We make mistakes in life, we all make them! But we can learn from them.

SlavesVal sent an e-mail about Jesus praying for us. This is such an amazing thought! We can pray for ourselves, we can pray for one another, but Jesus himself is praying for us! We are his people, he cares about us, he knows what we need, he knows and understands the Father's plans for our lives.

Rachael told us that when she was driving to work, she pulled up at traffic lights and the car next to her was playing some loud music. As it drove away she caught a few words, 'God knows'. It was not a spiritual song, but those words certainly spoke to her. He knows all about us, his love makes us feel full, complete, joyful, peaceful, everything we could ever need is available in him.

Gal 4:1-11 - We do that, we go back to the old, familiar ways. We inherit everything but then become a slave to the old ways. These are traps, we all fall into them all the time. We can learn by listening and taking the words to heart, or like the Prodigal Son we can learn by trying our own way, finding it painful or disppointing, and then coming back to Father for a comforting welcome. Like the Prodigal we are no longer slaves, but sons! HalleluYah!

< 23rd May 2006 | Index | 7th June 2006 >

23 May 2006

Eaton Ford - Honey and lavender

< 7th January 2005 | Index | 31st May 2006 >

The idea of honey came up right at the start of the meeting, and we thought how honey is mentioned in various places in the Bible. Samuel came to mind, where Samson finds honey in the lion's carcase, and also Revelation where the scroll tastes like honey but then turns sour in the stomach. There was also a verse from Proverbs which points out that honey is sweet, but too much can make us unwell.

Rachael had a picture of a field of lavender in the breeze, all the stems swaying and moving together. Together, all the little heads of lavender filled the air with a sweet fragrance, a fragrance rising up to Father in heaven. The wind is like the Holy Spirit, only when we all respond to the Spirit can we sway and move as one.

Chris was strongly impacted at the thought of the fragmented church here in St Neots, divided, separated into denominations and other groups that occasionally work together in some ways but have no real family life together. It's only as we love one another that we'll begin to care about one another, not just as individuals but more widely as groups of his people. The sweetness of love for our brothers and sisters is the only way forward. This harmonious love in his family is the fragrance he desires. Like the heads of lavender we will only move as one if we are moving with the Father's Spirit. It's the fruit of the Spirit that makes living as family possible - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

< 7th January 2005 | Index | 31st May 2006 >

20 May 2006

A new member of the family! (SQ)

Yesterday I met Meredith, my first grandaughter, indeed my very first grandchild. What an experience!

Meredith, aged 5 daysA grandchild is such a precious gift, new life. Even if I live to a very ripe old age I'm unlikely to be here for more than another forty years, but little Meredith may still be here in a hundred years time. OK, maybe that's not entirely likely - but it is possible and an awesome thought. What will the world be like in a hundred years time? We don't know, cannot know. Oh, there'll be a blue sky. Some days the sun will shine, some days it will rain. Volcanoes will erupt and earthquakes will rattle the land. People will fall in love, fight with each other, struggle with all sorts of problems, bring up children, complain they are short of time, starve to death, get excited when their team wins, die in accidents, win prizes, become famous.

But what will the world be like? Would someone born in 1906 have guessed in their wildest dreams that people would visit the moon, that I'd be typing this into a computer, or that this blog would be visible to almost anyone in the developed world within a fraction of a second of publication?

No, Meredith lives in a world we cannot predict except in the broadest terms. So broad that we must admit our ignorance. It was a heart-warming experience to hold her in my arms, to smell her milky breath, see her yawn and stretch. Meredith knows almost nothing of this world yet, but she is learning already. Sights, sounds, touch, taste, smell, all sending a meaningless jumble of signals to her little brain. Already it will be integrating and processing the input, recognising patterns and noting responses. How amazing, a human being in construction.

Within a mere couple of years she'll be walking and talking and understanding so much. Amazing! Maybe if I'm still blogging I'll post another photo in 2008.

And, wonder of wonders, another grandchild is expected in June so I shall get to see this early stage again and wonder at another new life.

I'll keep you posted!

08 November 2005

A photo gallery (SQ)

I've just added a photo gallery to the website. I could have built a gallery here on the site, but I chose to use Smugmug instead. Smugmug is just one of several good photo management tools available online, it's flexible and convenient, fast, and provides unlimited storage. I particularly value the way it automatically produces a series of image sizes, and it also makes uploading new images extremely easy and efficient.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I say it depends on the picture and it depends on the words! I hope these photos are worth something to you. I hope you enjoy viewing them and exploring them. Feel free to download them, modify them, print them, use them in websites or in any other way you wish for non-commercial purposes. Under the Creative Commons licence you must contact me if you'd like to use them commercially.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

I use Smugmug to store and manage my online photo collection because of its excellent facilities.

Visit the collection and browse around, there's probably something for everyone. The collection is small at the moment but I shall add more images as quickly as I can.

And while you're reading this I should mention the Wikimedia Commons. This marvellous website is a source of images available for anyone to use free of charge. Copyright information is provided for each image, but they're all available for personal use and many of them for other purposes too. Type a subject into the search bar (part way down the left-hand side of the page) and you'll usually be treated to a good number of relevant images.

It's a wonderful resource and it's getting better every day.

05 November 2005

The house church phenomenon (SQ)

Why do I call it a phenomenon? Because at heart I'm still a scientist (once a scientist, always a scientist) and every scientist knows that a phenomenon isn't something particularly amazing, it's just something that has happened and cries out to be analysed.

For some weeks now I've been reading about the Barna Report on house church meetings in the USA. There's been quite a lot of comment about it in the press, some of you may have noticed. (The Barna Organisation researches and reports on aspects of the church in America.)

One particular story in today's 'Daily News Record' made me think, it's called 'The Real Revolution Will Not Be Televised'. Considering how the institutional churches might respond, Luanne Austin suggests they should set up small meetings and market them in the same way companies target particular segments of the public. She writes...

You’re a Revolutionary. Real encounters with God just don’t happen on Sunday morning. They come from genuinely seeking and seeing God, every day of the week, in every action, interaction and transaction. You’ve never settled for the norm, the status quo. Trust that still small voice inside you. Look for God all around you, starting with one of our Tuesday night house gatherings.

Just remember, Jesus did say that where two or three are gathered in his name, he is there. What other resource does anyone need?


Well, yes, I agree - mostly. But can we 'trust the still, small voice' one moment and decide to 'start with one of [their] Tuesday night house gatherings' the next? I don't think so! It might be the right thing to do or it might not, but I need to let the still, small voice tell me.

The institutional church is going to muscle in on the house church. (If we can't beat them, let's take them over!) Fortunately it doesn't work that way. All over the world, not just in the USA, Father's people are meeting in small groups as and where the Holy Spirit leads them. These people realise that there's only one Leader to follow, only one Shepherd, and only one Church. Most of them will not be deflected or swallowed up. The people I worry about most are those already in larger organisations who may be drawn into yet another subtle counterfeit. Just the fact a garment has the right logo doesn't prove it's genuine, especially if it comes at a bargain price. Caveat emptor.

Getting started with the new blog (SQ)

I've been beavering away part-time on this new site for months. My old website is years old and looks it, this new one has all the tools I need to keep the content fresh and well-structured - at least I hope so!

First off is this blog. At the outset my idea is to comment on anything in life that strikes me as interesting or noteworthy. And the first noteworthy thing I can think of is that, well, here it is at last. A brand new, scarily empty blog. Come back in a few days time and see how I'm getting on. You can use an RSS or Atom feed to keep an eye on new entries (or you will be able to when I work out how to set it up), or you can just stop by from time to time. You will be most welcome.

Maybe, with winter coming on in the northern half of the globe, we can have some nice fireside chats.

(This was the first post to a new blog built using Squarespace. Hint - click the label 'sq' below to show only the Squarespace posts.)

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