11 November 2009

Cycling to Australia - and he has time to blog

Oli Broom is cycling to Australia and blogging as he goes. Oli Broom in the commentary boxHe left Lord's Cricket Ground in London on 10th October and is aiming to arrive in Brisbane in time for The Ashes in 2010. He plans to teach cricket to people along the way, now perhaps that's the real challenge!

He is sharing his experiences in a blog and on Twitter as he travels and it's going to be a fascinating one to follow. The best place to start is not his current post, nor is it his first. The best place is surely the post he wrote on 26th September, an introduction.

Well done, Oli! It's a heart warming thing to see someone really going for a goal, overcoming obstacles, ignoring doubts and fears, and just doing it. Perhaps we can all learn something about life from this. This is certainly an experience Oli will remember all his life.

Cycling to Australia is not my thing, it doesn't excite me. Probably it's not your thing either.

So what will it be for you? If you could only do one thing during the remainder of your life, what would it be? And would you be willing to put everything into it as Oli is putting everything into this trip to Australia? Most of us spend our lives sleep-walking. Oli will be really living his journey.

10 November 2009

The Offords - Prayer

I visited Roger and Ruth to pray with them for the village, for the church, for community life, and for their role as the Lord's people in this place.

We discussed how they feel and what aspirations they have, talked about the people they know and the issues they are aware of, wondered about the Lord's view of the situation, and prayed together for guidance and for signs of opportunity.

Jesus was clearly with us as we met.

09 November 2009

What, Lord?

This is a message from four years ago, a message from the prime mover behind this universe to one of his children. Lacy Haugan I think it's just awesome. The King of Kings wants to make us aware that he has something to say to us. The initiative is his, not ours. Sometimes we go to him with requests, sometimes we'd do better to listen and let him speak.

I won't say any more, the words that Lacy wrote four years ago speak most eloquently for themselves.

Here's a link to Lacy's blog where the words were originally shared.

There have been a number of times in my life with God when I have been just going about my daily business, and all of a sudden I feel this strong tugging that just won't go away. Like a child pulling on my shirt, or someone tapping their finger on my shoulder over and over. It's an obvious attempt to get my attention. And it happened this week.

I absoluetly love it when God does that. I mean how amazing is it that the God of all the universe (which fits neatly into His hand, by the way), the God who has access to billions of people on the planet, not to mention really cool heavenly beings to fellowship with - how amazing is it that this Person will tug on my shirt to get my attention.

I seem busy...He looks, He waits, He ponders...still busy...I wonder if she'll notice Me if I just lightly tap on her shoulder. Tap, tap, tap... She looks up briefly as if distracted from her work...then begins to type again. I know she is busy. I like the good work that she does. But just for a minute, maybe we could talk. Tug, tug, tug... She feels the pull and slowly finds a stopping place in her work. Tap, tap, tap... And then she realizes: it's Him. A deep breath and a rushing in her heart, and then she asks smiling, "What, Lord?"

And that's when it happens. He shares things that I know are what He wants, because He brought it up, not me. He shares His heart, His desires, His true thoughts. I have not convinced Him of something this time, I have not begged for it, I have not schemed up the idea myself, for it was He who pursued me to talk. Amazing. Simply amazing that God Himself has things on His heart that He wants to share with me. Even more amazing that He will seek me out to do that.

And when I feel that tug, that gentle yet increasingly more persistent tap on my shoulder (I actually feel it in my stomach, not on my shoulder), my heart races with delight, fear, and excitement. For the things that He says these times are the kind that often require action, faith, and getting out into my risk zone.

Tap on me, Lord. Tug on me. And interrupt me from my work. I long to be sought after by You. I long to know what is on Your heart to share. Tug on me.

Thanks to Lacy for writing this down and sharing it on line, and to the Holy Spirit for dictating it.

Colworth (CU) - Resurrection

Dave brought some thoughts from 1 Corinthians 15:1-20, he would have liked to cover the entire chapter but felt this section was all we could manage in the time available.Sunlight on the water We read the passage through and then had an open conversation about it. Some of the main points are set out briefly below.

Paul clearly relished the opportunity to present the gospel at every opportunity.

It is striking that Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of his followers at one time. First of all, who were these followers? Far more than the disciples and the women who also travelled with him. And the apostles evidently saw him more than once, two occasions are mentioned here. Paul also mentions that many of the five hundred were still alive at the time of writing, there could be little doubt of the resurrection.

Another point we noted was that Jesus didn't just return to life merely to die again later (like, for example, Lazarus who lived out his days at Larnaca in Cyprus). Jesus, in contrast, actually defeated death itself. Death, therefore, is much less of an issue for us now. I wondered if there were some Sadducees at Corinth. We know that Jews lived all over the Roman world and that Paul had the habit of always declaring the gospel first in the synagogue. Maybe the teaching that there was no resurrection came from some local Sadducees.

Dud thought it was most unlikely that the Romans would have allowed Jesus' body to be stolen. Historically it seems almost harder to disprove the resurrection than to prove it. Dave asked what difference the resurrection makes in our own lives and we agreed that it makes all the difference. We can spell it out by considering the converse of what Paul says in verse 17, 'And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.' In other words if Christ has been raised our faith is effective and we are free from sin.

Dud pointed out that verse 20 sums everything up very succinctly. We too are going to be raised - so why don't we live like it?!

Dave mentioned the song 'You are the King of every heart' by the band 'One Hundred Hours', the lyrics seemed relevant. 'Your love is bigger than our fear. You are the King of every heart.' All possible because Christ could not be held by death because he himself is life!

08 November 2009

Bedford (Kings Arms) - His way or mine?

Donna, Karen and I travelled over to Bedford for the evening meeting. A ravenAfter some great music and a chance to praise and worship freely there was something of a disconnect for me as the focus changed to notices and the need for money for the new building. Kings Arms has bought the Crayola Building and now needs to remodel it for its new function.

Simon Holley then spoke from 1 Kings 17:1-16. He reminded us that each of us is to love the Lord with all of our heart. Money is powerful in the world but the message is about living the adventure with the Lord regardless of other things.

Ahab and his wife Jezebel had drawn Israel away from Yahweh, the people were being forced to worship Baal instead. People will try to tear you down only when you begin to live the journey with Yahweh. We need to know that if we can stand secure before him, we can stand before anybody.

Simon made five main points about the Lord's provision.

Even if it seems crazy - we need to trust him even when it seems to make no sense. Don't quibble over the solution he offers. Elijah had to eat bread provided by a raven, would you eat bread dropped by a bird? It doesn't sound appetising, let alone wholesome. We need to learn to take what he offers trusting that it is good.

The brook dried up - just because he provides something in a particular way doesn't imply that it will always be the same. He may choose a different way to provide in the future. If Elijah had stayed by the brook he'd have died of thirst. We need to be willing to move on.

He will fulfill his word - The widow was there as promised but apparently she was unable to help. Yet this was a command from the Almighty. Yahweh commits himself to fulfill his word. We need to find out what he is saying to us because that is what he will do. His will not mine will be done.

To you and through you - expect him to provide what we need and through us what others need also. As we freely receive from the Lord we must also freely give.

Obedience - we must step out in obedience. It's no good just sitting tight where we are, we have to do the uncomfortable, possibly dangerous thing that he calls us to.

07 November 2009

Moggerhanger - Temporal or eternal?

Jim invited me to a River Church men's breakfast meeting at Moggerhanger Park. In the Moggerhanger dining roomDale Hewitt from Dreambuilders Church in Perth, Australia, spoke to us after the meal. He first met Rob Macfarlane in Harare in 1995, long before Rob came to St Neots and founded River Church.

After a marvellous full English breakfast we settled down to listen to what Dale had to say.

He began by pointing out the pressures on men to succeed, especially in modern times. And this is pressure that's always focused on achieving things that are temporal, things that will not remain for eternity. It occurred to me that this is just as true for women although the specific pressures are sometimes different.

Reading Ephesians 1:15-23 as a basis, Dale explained that this is actually Paul's prayer for the Ephesian church. At heart it's about the fulfillment of Father's purpose for your life - his purpose, not yours. Paul begins with praise (verses 3-14) before moving on to his petitions. This is such a good principle. There's an eternal perspective here, we should always praise with eternity firmly in mind, it's not just about the blessings we have in the here and now.

This raises a question, 'What am I going to leave as an eternal deposit when my life in this world is finished?'

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians is that they'd have greater intimacy with the Almighty, greater vision, and greater power. Why? So that they might grow! And how do we demonstrate our increasing knowledge and reverence of the Lord? Putting it another way, what do we do that is different from what the world does? We will give him more time in our lives and we'll have an increased passion for his presence and for his people. We are workers in his Kingdom, not rulers over our own kingdom.

Jesus is not just a friend, he is much more than that, he's the King of Kings, the creator of the universe and Lord over everything. Do people know that he's a priority in our lives? They should do!

The more intimacy we have with the Lord the more we can see where we're going, the greater our vision. Like the blind man at Bethsaida, getting closer is the key to having our eyes opened and opened fully. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells us that like him, we are the light of the world. As we touch people's lives they begin to see by his light shining through us, they begin to see 'like trees walking'.

If we're born of the Spirit we will know his power in our lives (Ephesians 1:19-23). As we focus on Jesus he will reveal the path for our lives and guide us along it - and he will be glorified in the process.

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