30 September 2011

IMAGE - Balloon over St Neots

(Click the photo for a larger view)

Balloon near the end of a flight - Photo taken 30th September 2011

We spotted this Virgin hot air balloon looking for a suitable landing site almost passing over our house in Eaton Ford, St Neots. The evening sunlight illuminates the western side of the envelope and the pilot is burning gas to gain height.

Click the 'image' label below to see other image posts.

27 September 2011

RESPONSE - Invisibility coat

'How do you become invisible? Just try wearing a 'Big Issue' seller's jacket.' This is one of the provocative thoughts in Chris Duffett's presentation, 'A Gospel for the City Centre'.

The invisibility coatListening to what Chris had to say in the video I was struck by how uncomplicated his message is. Why do we make church so difficult and messy? It's really not a big deal, or perhaps I should say that it IS a very big deal in one way, but not in another.

The creator of the universe has come to town and plans to make his home in me - and in you. Now that's a big deal!

But he wants us to respond in very simple ways, by making our home amongst anyone and everyone round about. We're not supposed to turn this into a programme or create an organisation, we're just to be there for people. Love them, be open and welcoming, listen, care about their problems, help them find their own solutions. It's often not our solutions and fixes that people want, it's our time. They don't need my opinion, but they crave my ear, my heart, and my attention.

Just read the Bible accounts of what Jesus did and said as he travelled from town to town. See how he interacted with people. See how present he was in their anxieties and woes, triumphs and joys. See how he brought peace and comfort and life to them. 'Come to me if you're struggling and heavily crushed; I'll give you rest.' (Matthew 11:28)

26 September 2011

The 'ichthus' symbol

You may be wondering about the symbol you'll see on JHM websites - this pizza thing - what is it and why is it here?

(JHM websites include Cruising the gospel and Journeys of heart and mind.)

The clue is the Greek word 'Ichthus' which means 'fish' and was used by Jesus' early followers as a symbol on a house or a door. The same idea is still used today, you'll sometimes notice a car with a stylised fish sticker - it just means 'we follow Jesus'.
The ichthus icon
The ichthus icon

The round symbol is what you get if you write out the Greek letters for Ichthus but instead of side by side you write them all on top of one another. Here's a list of the letters, can you see each one in the 'pizza' shape?
  • Ι - Iota - the vertical bar
  • χ - Chi - the 'X' bars
  • θ - Theta - the outer circle and horizontal bar
  • Υ- Upsilon - three half bars
  • Σ - Sigma - two circle arcs and two half bars
What's more, these are the first letters of the Greek words 'Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour' - Ἰησοῦς Χριστός Θεοῦ Υἱός Σωτήρ (Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter).

Neat, isn't it! Were those ancient Greeks clever, or were they clever?

The logo image and the Greek characters in the Journeys of heart and mind banner are taken from a real example nearly 2000 years old from the city of Ephesus. The orange lines are chalk markings added to the incised pattern on the stone to make the shapes more visible.

Here's a link to an additional image, showing the stone in situ.

A new look for 'All about Jesus'

It's good to refresh things now and again, whether it's church, the decor, lifestyle or just a website.

The old version
The appearance of 'All about Jesus' has been fixed for a very long time. So welcome to the new look! Under the bonnet (as we say in the UK) nothing has changed. The content is the same but it's been poured into a fresh container.

A word about the banner and the little icon that appears on your browser's tab - this pizza thing - what is it and why is it here?

The clue is the Greek word 'Ichthus' which you can see in the banner. 'Ichthus' means 'fish' and it was used by Jesus' early followers as a symbol on a house or a door. The same idea is still used today, you'll sometimes notice a car with a stylised fish sticker - it just means 'we follow Jesus'.
The Ichthus icon
The round symbol is what you get if you write out the Greek letters for Ichthus but instead of side by side you write them all on top of one another. Here's a list of the letters, can you see each one in the 'pizza' shape?

For fuller details read the 'ichthus' article.

25 September 2011

Coventry (Ricoh Arena) - Open to change

< 24th September 2011 | Index | 10th October 2011 >

This was an encouraging meeting where a number of small groups meeting in Coventry and Market Harborough came together and Tony and Felicity Dale had been invited to speak.

The small, organic meetings in the area come together like this every other month in a room at the Ricoh Arena.
Meeting at the Ricoh Arena
Today we began with Psalm 40:5 'Many are your wonders, too many to recall' and Psalm 139. The Lord knows us intimately and he has clear plans for our lives. Mark shared that he and Becca will be emigrating to St Louis in the USA in the next few days and although they have mixed feelings, they sense that this is part of Father's plan for them.

Giles reminded us that despite the distractions life brings, we can train ourselves to tune in to the Holy Spirit.

Felicity and Tony told us they've been on the organic church road for ten or fifteen years now whereas in the UK we are just beginning the journey. They explained the background to their going, how abandoned they had felt for nine years after arriving, and how things had started to change with a study of business principles in Proverbs and some breakfast meetings for children.

They also explained that truth has been restored in wave after wave of change in church life down the ages. The wave of organic church, making disciples and reproducing families of believers has been (and continues to be) absolutely huge. Especially in India, China and the Middle East but also now in America growth has become very rapid.

In the Reformation period the Bible was put into the hands of ordinary people. But today the church is being put in the hands of ordinary people! We need to be 'looking outside our walls', meeting in Starbucks for example. We heard stories about people who had done extraordinary things resulting in abundant new followers of Jesus. Sometimes just turning something around can make a big difference. Instead of trying to tell my story I could invite people to tell me their stories. The greatest need is for ordinary people to get out there, not just 'special' people.

Movements are far more effective than individual programmes. Why? Because movements contain the seed of the next generation within the current generation. They are self-propagating. But we need to lay the right foundations with an emphasis on ordinary people and relationships. 'No empire building, no control, no glory' captures the mood. We can put money behind building on godly principles. Getting to know one another is essential. Much of the church thinks we're crazy and the world has no idea what's going on.

It's really not about 'simple church', it's about the Kingdom. The Spirit will speak to us in the UK, but we need to get people together and agree on the foundations. The world won't just come to our churches or to our homes - that's why we need to go out!

Please note - this article is only a superficial account. But the meeting was recorded and you can hear what Tony and Felicity said for yourself (recording provided by simplechurch.co.uk).

< 24th September 2011 | Index | 10th October 2011 >

24 September 2011

Nettle Hill - Church planting, afternoon

< 24th September 2001 | Index | 25th September 2011 >

More from Tony and Felicity Dale during the afternoon session at Nettle Hill. This time the emphasis was more focussed on issues around church and church multiplication.

The Last SupperTony and Felicity again took turns to speak to us. Tony began by contrasting addition and multiplication. In the 1960s and 70s many new, small churches were formed in homes in the UK. Some gifted leaders began to build larger and larger churches from these beginnings and in many cases there were hubs with new groups planted out from them. This is addition, and one of the problems is that it requires the training of more leaders.

Multiplication is very different and focusses instead on planting churches that plant churches that plant churches. To do this we need to find people of peace and influence among their own circles of friends, family or colleagues (for example). We don't need to find new leaders because the person of peace is the labourer. We only need to help them.

The acronym MAWL was explained. In the first generation we Model church, but in the new groum in daily life.p gathered around a person of peace we Assist. We do not attempt to draw the newcomers into our own existing group. Members of the new group are encouraged to go out to find further people of peace.

In the third generation we Watch them work independently although we're still there to answer questions and provide feedback. And in the fourth generation we Leave. Meanwhile the person of peace we originally found will be modelling church in the second generation, assisting the third generation, watching the fourth and leaving the fifth.

This process can be hugely successful. In South Korea, for example, if we counted networks of small meetings as 'a church', the nineteen largest churches would all be such networks while the twentieth would be Jonggi Cho's Full Gospel Church.

There are huge numbers of small, organic churches in the USA now, involving more people than the Southern Baptists.

An important point is that foundations can be laid only once, so they need to be laid right. This is likely to involve letting go of all kinds of things we might prefer to keep.

We did an exercise in thinking about a variety of biblical examples of people of peace, for example Lydia, the proconsul in Acts 13:7, and the Samaritan woman at the well. We were encouraged to ask ourselves what exactly it was that made those individuals people of peace. No two are the same and we need to learn to recognise them when we come across them in daily life.

We are 'fishers of men' and should think of ourselves like some of the disciples - commercial fishermen, not rod and line enthusiasts. We are not in the business of taking fish one at a time, but should be thinking in terms of netting large numbers. If we learn to live like Jesus in our everyday lives it will be transformational!

We also watched the video 'Upside-Down Leadership'. Very good and well worth viewing, I'd recommend this to anyone.

Please note - this article is only a superficial account. When the recordings become available I'll add a link to them here so that you can hear what was said for yourself.

< 24th September 2001 | Index | 25th September 2011 >

Copyright

Creative Commons Licence

© 2002-2014, Chris J Jefferies

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. A link to the relevant article on this site is sufficient attribution. If you print the material please include the URL. Thanks! Click through photos for larger versions. Images from Wikimedia Commons will then display the original copyright information.
Real Time Web Analytics