29 October 2009

Little Paxton - Shaking foundations

As we sat down to chat, Jim told us about his growing desire to work amongst people on the streets in St Neots. Something along the lines of Street Pastors.

He read Titus 1:6-9, 5 and pointed out that whilst this is true for elders, Collapsed masonryit is also good for all of us. In chapter two there is guidance on how to live, and chapter three is about right living in society. It's clear we are born to serve. Jim said Titus is such a great book about the Lord's love. It's always good to dwell on the word!

Along with the written word we also have the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. I explained how much I had been benefitting recently from Mark Virkler's approach to listening and conversing with the Lord, and I shared some of the things the Spirit had impressed on me earlier in the week. (You can read more about this on the LK10 Resources website - and other good ideas besides. You can read about it in action on the 'Stories from the Revolution' blog. I highly recommend it.)

We discussed the Tough Talk meeting planned for 12th December, we need to get the details and draft a letter for the parents to go out soon. We also talked about a breakfast meeting planned for 7th November.

Jim described a picture that popped into his mind. He saw a sunset, then a sunrise, then a church with snow around it, and finally a building with sun glowing on the brickwork. He understood it to show how the seasons will come and go but Father's word remains steadfast and true regardless of the season.

Sean had two words in his mind, 'shaking foundations', and felt they were significant in some way. I mentioned that weak foundations will fail so it really does matter where and how we build. We are built on the Rock, how important to be sure of that and to remember it. Jim also spoke about our need to stand on a firm foundation.

26 October 2009

Colworth (CU) - a house of love

We considered chapter nine of Neil Carter's book 'Christ in Y'all'. Usually someone leads our CU sessions and I'd volunteered today.

Chris In Y'allI thought this chapter would be a real spur to some useful discussion; and so it proved. I read the first three pages and then we shared our thoughts.

Dudley was impressed by the simplicity of Neil Carter's approach. He's right, and I think this is one of the strengths of the entire book.

Andy pointed out that human involvement adds complication. He gave the example of Methodist 'stationing'. Those looking for a ministry make a written statement of their objective. Congregations looking for a minister also write such a statement. Then an attempt is made to match up the people with the posts. This a complex arrangement, the only way through is to trust the Lord.

We were struck by the thought that love is active, it's not just a feeling. One of us mentioned that when his daughter says, 'Love me Daddy', she means she wants a hug.

Another thought was that we sometimes see non-believers displaying selfless love, but we are looking to love one another with Christ's love, and this is an entirely different matter. Neil Carter quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer who wrote, 'There is a human love of one's neighbour...Human love is directed to the other person for his own sake, spiritaul love loves him for Christ's sake.'

25 October 2009

A word from Yahshua

Sometimes the Lord speaks to his people very directly, in fact he does this often though we may not hear unless we are listening expectantly. Dark clouds and blue skyNonetheless, when we do listen he often speaks, and usually it takes the form of encouragement or guidance.

During a meeting on 23rd October Dot shared something he'd said to her back in the summer. These encouraging words are about trusting him and following him even when we don't know where he might lead us. But we know that he loves us and his plans for us are always the best.
Word - Clouds & Sky

The clouds are rolling by, some seem faster than others, some seem brighter than others, some are really dark but there.... see it?... there.... over there...Yes ....it’s a clearing..... a peep of blue... the sky poking through...... see it?

Yes I know it all seems bleak, unsure, unsettling... you don’t know the way....you’re not sure what’s happening.....but I know....I know the way for I am the way.....I will take you by the hand and lead you if you let me.....I will take you by the way that is right...but you need to take hold of my hand and let me lead even if it looks bad, the wrong way.... that you don’t understand what’s happening.... RELAX...I’m Ya Dad...

I won’t let you get lost....I know the way... I love you and want to lead you into all that I have for you...There’s Sooooo much..... the world cannot hold it all....my store house is bulging with things I have for you....come take my hand and let me lead you into all that I have for you....I can’t wait...I’m Soooo excited....All these gifts I have for you....all this stuff I want for you.....My heart is bursting with joy and love and expectancy....will you come?....

Will you take my hand and let me lead you?....wherever?....whenever?.... whatever?....however?.....My hand is outstretched towards you.......waiting....waiting for your response...........

Written while at the New Frontiers camp at Shuttleworth, 2009. Thanks to Dot for permission to use her text. Copyright © Dot Lundie, 2009.

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.

22 October 2009

Eaton Ford - Like tiny babies

Sean got us off to a rather alarming start by showing us a photo of his son, David's, arm. He's had an accident resulting in localised but quite extensive burns to his hand and forearm. He was treated at the hospital but is home again and recovering well.

This provoked a thought from Jim about the disciples. A tiny babyAt one point when a Samaritan village had proved less than helpful, James and John had asked Yahshua, 'Shall we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?' (Luke 9:51-56) They demonstrated commendable faith because they believed they could ask and receive, but they showed no compassion.

I pointed out that they had authority, but no grace. And this combination of authority without grace has done immeasurable harm in the church down the ages. We need grace far more than we realise! Dot put it differently, 'We need to know who we are in him'. How true!

Jim reminded us that a tiny mustard seed of faith is enough for the Lord to do the rest. We thought how important it is to put our own plans aside and to let him reveal his plan for us, step by step, day by day. Dot said, 'When we get to the end of our ability to cope, then he steps in.' And in order for this to happen, we need to find out what has happened in our lives that has moulded us. People and events in our past can affect the way we live today, we need to revisit those pasts and deal with remaining issues before we can go forward again unencumbered by the effects.

I shared a picture of a tiny infant lying on a rug and wearing a baby-grow. And I understood how the baby is fed and protected by the parents. They are totally devoted to this tiny new life that has come and so disrupted their own lives. Meanwhile, babies have no concept of the fact that one day Mum or Dad will be teaching them to ride a bike! And in the same way our Father loves us, cares for us, and sees what we cannot. He sees that one day he will be showing us how to do things that right now we cannot begin to imagine.

Dot read a word from the Lord that she'd written down in the summer. Jim prayed, 'You are transforming us. Through the darkness shines a light - Jesus. He is the transformning light so that we can become more like him.'

Following a tongue there were several interpretations. Dot prayed, 'You are awesome, you're my Dad. My heart overflows with love for you and who you are.' And Jim shared that the Lord wants us to break through or burst through into knowing him as Lord of all our difficulties, joys, heartaches, and everything in our lives. He prayed, 'Fill us with vitality and passion so that we may speak something of Christ into the lives of others.

From Dot - 'the joy of the Lord is my strength'. From Sean - 'you just want to lift us up in you'. From Jim - 'Healing is happening, pain is being dealt with'.

We sang the old song, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord'.

19 October 2009

Colworth (CU) - Prepare for mission

Once again, Dudley brought some thoughts about evangelism based on 'A Passion for Life' A Roman clay jarplanned for next March.

This time we considered 'preparing for mission'. Churches vary in culture so although we must be faithful to the truth we may also need to be creative with our strategy. A bit of variety may help here. As with Paul in 1 Corinthians 9, we will need to become 'all things to all men'. However, we must certainly avoid cult methods and marketing methods

We read 2 Corinthians 4:1-10 and considered the fact that we are indeed 'jars of clay' yet we contain such a treasure.

We watched a DVD by Richard Cokin on 'Preparing for Mission'. He explained that the team wants to create as many different opportunities for mission as possible. He spoke about honesty and identified four area in which we need to be honest.
  • Honesty in the message - We must speak the truth about the gospel. There is no room for manipulation, heavy shepherding, or rousing oratory. We must let the Holy Spirit do the work. We must 'crucify' our fine style and language and say things simply.
  • Honesty about blindness - We must accept that people really do struggle to see the light. Evangelism can be frustrating, the evil one clouds people's minds. We must pray for them but also spread the message very widely/
  • Honesty about Christ - he is the message! We must never preach ourselves, but only Christ. People will see the Father in and through the Son, Jesus.
  • Honesty about weakness - the power comes from the Almighty, not from us. We, like Paul, are clay pots. We can't open people's eyes; only the Father can do that.

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