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.

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?

* 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.

02 March 2009

Great Doddington - A giant oak

We talked for a while over coffee, sharing our thoughts about topics including prophecy, banking and the economy, and how society may come under judgement when we are disobedient as a nation.A very large oak tree

Rachael read us the story of the long-handled spoon, an amusing little tale which you may have heard before. The moral of the story is clear!

Jody read Psalm 139:1-24 and we thought about light and darkness in our own lives. How we need to live in the light (of Christ, not of the world). Sherrelea told us about an interesting incident when she'd only been following Jesus for a week or two. She'd been in conversation with a friend and had felt a little nervous about talking about her new found faith. Afterwards she had prayed for the friend with an interesting and faith-building result.

Barbara told us how she has been led to invite family members for a meal. This has become a regular opportunity and they even plan to book a place in Swansea for a short break together. There have been great opportunities to share her faith in ordinary, natural conversation. We prayed for her and for the people who meet with her. Chris had a picture of an old fashioned metal funnel and felt that Barbara has the same function as a funnel. Through her the Lord is pouring all kinds of good things and they are being focused into a particular place, the funnel ensures it all goes into the place Father intends for it.

Rachael also had a picture. She saw a very large oak tree. There were all kinds of creatures living in it - squirrels, spiders, birds, beetles. All were different and all were valid. They were all connected because they gained their life from the tree and lived in the tree. In the same way, we are all different yet we are all connected because Christ is our source and our dwelling.

Jody brought a word. The Lord said, 'You are my servants as well as my children, You are not to judge but to stand and act. You are to be gracious. I will judge, that is my role, not yours. The things you say and do are good and people will see that. They are good because they come, not from you, but from a deeper source within you.

Jody interpreted a tongue from Chris. The Lord said, 'Go where I go, walk where I walk. Just go - be obedient and go. I haven't called you to worry but to walk. The light is upon you.'

Several of us shared encouraging verses that were on our minds, for example 'If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm' (Psalm 37:23).

Finally, Sherrelea shared a problem with us and we prayed for her, asking for guidance, clarity, and help.

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.

23 February 2009

Great Doddington - the Jewel

Glenn joined us again this evening. Chris and Peter spent some time trying to copy video files to a DVD, while Jody taked about how life is just under the surface. In particular she was impressed by the fact that under the recent snow there was no visible sign of activity, Sparkling diamondyet life was there below ready to break through and become gloriously visible.

We read a passage from Luke 18 which focuses on the importance of being consistent and not giving up.

Glenn shared a thought for Jody and Peter, the word was 'jewel' which is a thing of great worth, but it sounds the same as 'joule' which is a measure of energy. He had the word, 'You are so precious, like a jewel my light is reflected in so many directions'.

We prayed for people and situations we are aware of, our children, job interviews, and more.

Chris shared a picture of Jesus and his Bride, we look into his eyes and say of Christ, 'It's not about us, it's all about you'. And he looks into our eyes and says exactly the same. This is intimate relationship, this is love - we love him and he also loves us.

Jody also mentioned how blotchy and even unattractive some fruit can be, pomegranates or figs for example. But Father says, 'Taste it, try it, there is nourishment and sweetness in these fruit - waiting for you with my blessing'.

We shared bread and wine together, and finished the bread with some fine cheese.

20 February 2009

Multi-authored blog, anyone?

I'd like to be part of a larger Christian blog. Some of the most widely read and effective technical blogs put out five or more posts daily. Editing a blog postBut individual bloggers post daily or less, often much less. Here on The Scilla Blog I'm doing well to manage a post every week, recently the rate is down to barely once a month. In some cases, multi-authored blogs might be the answer.

Why are blogs with frequent posts more widely read?

Quantity or quality? - OK, it's not all about quantity. The best blogs are those that combine good quality material on interesting topics with multiple posts daily. One of the places this is done to good effect is in the area of electronics, computing, and technical stuff.

Take a look at the blogs listed below. Even if you're not interested in the topics, take a quick look and get a feel for the quality and sheer quantity of the items.
Clearly, this is much more effort than one writer can produce.

Most of the really successful blogs are run by companies or societies. Possibly a very enthusiastic full-time writer might make a brave attempt, but most of us have day jobs, families, education, as well as homes and gardens to care for. To populate a blog with, say, five posts each and every day would need 35 people each posting once a week.

A shared blog - So what I'm asking is twofold. First, can any of my readers recommend a good, multi-authored Christian blog that I could join. And secondly, if nothing suitable already exists, is there anyone out there that would like to share in setting one up?

I'm looking for a blog that focuses on wholesome, interesting comment covering world news concerning the Church, teaching items, reports on meetings and conferences and so forth. I'd prefer it to be open to all points of view but failing that, primarily supportive of house church, organic church, simple church (whatever you call it). But above all it absolutely must be honouring to Christ and giving him the glory in everything.

I've tried hunting for something of this sort online, but I've drawn a blank so far. There's a website called blogs4God that seemed a good place to start, but it doesn't quite hit the spot. Am I too fussy?

Why The Scilla Blog? - When I started The Scilla Blog I intended to post material that would be of interest to a wide audience, I just wanted to post about all my interests. I hoped that someone interested in astronomy might discover that archaeology is fascinating too, that a photographer might find a new insight into Christianity, that local people might find out more about the internet. But now I'm feeling the need to be part of something much more focused, something that I know I can't do on my own.

I don't plan to stop posting to Scilla, but I'd like to be posting elsewhere too - but not on my own. Most of all I'm looking for a place where I can post when I'm inspired to do so even if that means three times in two days and then not at all for an entire month.


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