30 October 2008

Little Paxton - Chat and prayer

This evening only Jim and Chris met as others were unable to join us for a variety of reasons.

We shared our news, discussed aspects of church life, and considered the Moggerhanger meeting planned for 16th November. We also prayed for people, organisations, and events in the area. There's not much in the way of notes this week, but we both enjoyed the time together and Yahshua's presence with us. He is working his plan out as the days and weeks roll by. Praise him!

28 October 2008

Great Doddington - Dealing with junk

Last week, we decided that we should take turns to prepare something, a Bible passage, something we'd read that has touched us or helped us see something in a new way, anything the Spirit leads us to use. Jody had made the suggestion so she also took on the first week.About the junk drawer

She shared a section from an historical novel she's been reading ('Revelation' by CJ Sansom). Amongst other things the book describes religious fanaticism in Tudor England. Henry VIII has dissolved the monasteries, the church is in turmoil, and the moderate lawyer who features in the book realises that the truth is not well-served by rigid and often horrific rule-following. Life and truth cannot be achieved by keeping laws or traditions or regulations.

Jody also read a passage from another book, 'Inside the junk drawer'. She drew our attention to Galatians 4:8-9 and we talked about the need we all have to let go our heart's junk.

Chris thought that our life is like a journey in a boat. First the boat needs to be pushed out into water deep enough to come free of the bottom, then we can get in and begin to row out to where there is a good breeze. Finally the sail catches the wind and after that there is no need for further effort. We need to steer but the wind does the work of moving the boat until we finally arrive at our destination. So in our lives we have to make the choice to push off and row out, just like deciding to let go of our 'junk'. But once we've done that we are free to float, moved by the Spirit in the way we should go. And he'll make sure we reach our destination even if we don't know the way.

Rachael saw a maze and realised that we're not separated from him even when sometimes it feels as if we are. We see hedges all around and we don't know the way to the centre, but from his point of view he can simply reach over the hedges to where we are. They are not obstacles for him.

She also spoke about the sound of a trumpet. Our voices are proclaiming voices, praising him. All our individual voices together make one sound like the trumpet. It is the sound of raising him up, lifting him to his rightful place!

And then Jody read 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 which speaks of the yeast and how we need to get rid of it (all our junk), and how Christ himself is the Lamb and our celebration requires sincerity and truth.

26 October 2008

Nitrogen trifluoride - should we be concerned?

Nitrogen trifluoride is a powerful greenhouse gas, and there's four times as much in Earth's atmosphere as we thought. The Earth from spaceNot only that, this stuff is 17 000 times more potent than carbon dioxide and the levels are increasing by eleven percent each year.

How serious is the situation? How did we allow it to happen? What can we do about it?

On 23rd October, NASA published a press release in which they state

Using new analytical techniques, Ray Weiss of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., led a team of researchers in making the first atmospheric measurements of nitrogen trifluoride. The amount of the gas in the atmosphere, which could not be detected using previous techniques, had been estimated at less than 1,200 metric tons in 2006. The new research shows the actual amount was 4,200 metric tons. In 2008, about 5,400 metric tons of the gas are in the atmosphere, a quantity that is increasing at a rate of about 11 percent per year.

'Accurately measuring small amounts of nitrogen trifluoride in air has proven to be a very difficult experimental problem, and we are very pleased to have succeeded in this effort,' Weiss said. The research will be published Oct. 31 in the American Geophysical Union's Geophysical Research Letters.

The gas is used in electronics manufacturing, especially LCD screens, solar cells and integrated circuits.

How serious is the situation? - It seems that nitrogen trifluoride contributes only about 0.15 percent of the total warming so we have no reason to panic. But the story does demonstrate how important it is to measure what we do - estimates of the amounts released were off by a factor of four times.

If we take no action it's clear that levels of this substance will continue to rise. With increasing production of electronics in general and LCD screens and solar cells in particular it seems rates of release of this gas can only accelerate. If so, we do need to be concerned and should be putting our house in order now while atmospheric levels remain low.

Nitrogen trifluoride breaks down very slowly in the atmosphere, six to seven hundred years. What we release today will be with us and our descendents for a very long time.

How did we allow it to happen? - It's not yet a major problem and we've only just become aware of the scale of its presence in the atmosphere. In ten years time if we are asked 'How did we allow it to happen' we'd have to admit to carelessness. But right now the question is a little unfair as the data were not available. Now that the world is aware of the situation it will be possible to decide whether action is needed and if so, what form it should take.

What can we do about it? - In terms of what has aleady been released - nothing. All we can do is wait for a thousand years or so until it goes away.

In terms of releasing less in future, or even banning the gas altogether, we can probably do a great deal. We will need the political will to act and for that we'll need to collect more data and then do further scientific and technical consultation. That stage is already underway.

In practical terms we could add the gas to the Kyoto Protocol (already being considered), find alternatives for electronics manufacturing (might prove difficult), or ban the production of the gas (could bring the electronics industry to its knees). Wisdom demands that we act fast enough to prevent a serious problem developing, but slowly enough to avoid expensive disruption to the electronics industry.

See also

22 October 2008

Clergy and laity

The concept of clergy and laity is entirely unknown to the writers of the New testament. It's just not there. In his Prayeramedic Blog, Dan O'Day asks a series of questions about this and I'll attempt some answers here. Police and plumberThis is not meant to be a point-by-point response, instead it will focus on two underlying issues that inform our thinking.

Dan's questions are not his alone, there are many others looking for answers to the same or related questions. The answers I give here are my own and are based on my particular spiritual journey.

Priesthood - Dan writes,
But didn't they have priests in the Old Testament, and doesn't that carry into the New Testament with pastors? Not that we need priests, but pastors simply serve as "ordained" leaders.

Indeed there were priests under the old covenant, but almost everything changed when Yahshua returned to his Father in Heaven. As his body here on Earth, Jew and gentile, man and woman, slave and free, we have all accepted Yahshua as Lord and King. We are a royal priesthood, HalleluYah! We are all, therefore, priests. And priests serving under a High Priest of the order of Melchizedek (see Hebrews 7). In other words everything has changed, the old arrangements no longer apply. We are priests in Christ's line, not priests in Aaron's line.

What does this mean? If I am a priest and you are a priest, which of us has priestly authority over the other? There is of course the Great High Priest who is Christ, and he has authority over both of us. But we are obedient to him alone, not to one another.

And again, what is a priest? A priest is one who offers a sacrifice on behalf of others. But there is only one sacrifice, Christ the Lamb, who offered up himself. Everything is brought together in him, he is Sacrifice, High Priest, King of Kings, Head - but also Emmanuel, 'Elohim with us'. It's no coincidence that there are no priests and no Temple in Jerusalem today. We are the royal priesthood and the living temple.

There is simply no room in this new convenant household for a priesthood over the Lord's people. We are the priesthood!

Authority - If we can conclude that government and shepherding by elders and pastors cannot come from a priestly source, where else then can it come from?

Notice that I avoided the word 'authority' in that last sentence. I wrote 'government and shepherding' instead. Why?

Before discussing that I think we need to look at that word 'authority' in a bit more detail. There are two kinds of authority, two distinct meanings that we hold in mind when we use that English word. This has caused many people to become confused because the distinction is not often made clear. Let's think about two people - a policeman and a plumber.

Let's take the policeman first. What do we mean when we talk about the authority of a police officer? We mean that if he tells us to get out of our car, we'd better get out of the car. If we're wise we'll do it in good time and without arguing. A policeman has been given authority from above. It arrives via his sergeant, and on up through an inspector, a superintendent, and eventually right up to the Chief Constable at Police Authority level. (This is the British system, others will be similar if different in detail.) Ultimately that authority goes to the Home Secretary, and on to Parliament, and then to the Queen.

So when that policeman stops you, he draws upon all that hierarchy for his authority. The law is on his side.

Now lets look at the plumber. He has no authority in the sense that the policeman does, yet he is rich in another kind of authority. Suppose a pipe bursts in your kitchen and starts to flood the floor. You need a plumber and you need one quickly. This is the authority of knowing what to do, the plumber's power is not delegated, but he has the skills to help you when you're in a fix. If a policeman tells you to leave the car you do it because of the law. If a plumber tells you to leave the kitchen you do it because he knows something you don't!

Sometimes we say a person is a great authority on butterflies. We don't mean they have been invested with the right to order us around, we mean they are an expert and we would naturally call on them if we wanted to know more about a butterfly we spotted in the garden.

Paul makes it clear that he has in mind that second sort of authority for the believers. There was no delegated, hierarchical leadership in the early church. There were no priests, no paid clergy, it simply did not work like that!

Elders and pastors - When we read about 'elders' the Koine Greek word is 'Presbuteros' which really means an older, wiser, more mature person. This would be a person with the 'plumber' kind of authority, not in any way like a policeman and with no hierarchy to answer to. When the church was struggling with some issue (and there will always be issues!) they would naturally pay particular attention to these people. This is the 'double respect' that we read about, it does not refer to payment but to the regard such a person would be held in.

It's not hard to find these people in the church today. Look around and you can identify them in any group of believers that have been together for a year or two. They are often humble, quiet, gentle people. They don't parade their wisdom, but everyone respects them and listens when they express a view on something.

Similarly with a pastor (a shepherd). Jesus made a point of explaining the difference between a good shepherd and a bad one. Sheep are not driven by a shepherd, they follow because they know him.

We shouldn't be looking for appointments in the church, we should be looking for functions. Let's begin to recognise the elders and pastors (and prophets and teachers and the rest). They're there in every congregation, in every cell group, in every house church, wherever two or three are gathered in the name of Yahshua. Look and you will see them.

Submit and obeyHebrews 13:17 is very interesting. I've looked hard and long at the Greek words translated 'obey' and 'submit'. They need not be as strong as they appear from those English words. 'Obey', for example has something of the meaning of 'defer to' or 'allow to persuade'; and 'submit' carries the sense of 'yield', or 'allow room'. It's also worth mentioning that the Greek contains no word for 'authority' in this verse, it's simply been inserted in translation.

The idea of leading or leaders is rare in the Bible except in connection with the state or the army or the priests (look up 'leader' and 'lead' in a concordance and look at the contexts). The word translated 'leaders' here is one of those rare occasions. Personally I'm not clear how to understand this verse, I'd be glad to hear from any Koine Greek scholars out there who would care to explain the range of possible interpretations.

My best guess is that the verse either means, 'Obey your leaders and submit to them because they watch over your souls as those who will be held accountable', or alternatively it might be translated, 'Be open to persuasion and give way to those that lead because they watch over your souls as those who will be held accountable.'

The reason I wrestle with this verse is that in its usual translation it doesn't seem a good fit with the rest of the letters to the churches, not does it sit well beside Christ's teaching. He said, for example, 'You are not to be called Rabbi (Teacher) because ... you are all brothers' (Matthew 23:8).

This doesn't cover everything that you raised in your post, Dan, but I hope it helps with some of the points. At any rate, this is more than enough for one blog post! Maybe I can come back another time to the other verses you listed, Dan. My prayer is that the church will understand these things in the way Yahshua intended. How desperately we need to see things his way, not ours.

And in the end, it's not just a matter of correctly interpreting Greek texts (important though that undoubtedly is). The work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is even more fundamental, only he can open the truth so that we see, only he can shine the light into the dark places, only he can lead us into all truth.

21 October 2008

Great Doddington - Travelling nowhere

Discussing the church as we experience it, we recognised that people in the world see 'church' in one of two ways. Either they see it in terms of a building, often an old and historic building, or alternatively they see 'church' as a denomination - 'The ... Church' (fill in the dots - Baptist, Catholic, Anglican, United Reformed etc). Travelling by busBut the Bible never mentions the Church as being a building or a denomination. We felt we need to get back to what the Bible means by 'church'.

Jody described a dream, she has been experiencing the dream repeatedly recently and it always involves an aspect of travelling. Sometimes her dream takes place in an airport or a plane, sometimes in a Canadian streetcar, a boat, or some other form of transport. In the dream she is travelling nowhere in particular, and she notices the same places and the same people over and over again. It's as if the journey is taking her round and round but she gets no further forward.

We then began talking about books and the Bible in particular. We considered how we get an impression of what was in the author's mind when the book was written, but it's not possible to understand fully what the author intended. Even so, sometimes we have the sense that we have grasped it. And then we feel excited - 'Ah, now I get it!' This is true of the Bible too. How much we need to 'get' what the Lord means, what was in his heart as he authored it.

Last week, Rachael wanted to pray for the ability to remain in the world without being affected by the world.

It dawned on us that all of these ideas are connected at a fundamental level. As the Church we need to be so much more than a building or an organisation. And we don't want to just go round and round in our journey like Jody's dream. Instead we want to walk with the Lord and arrive at a destination with him. And it's the purposeful journey together that is the true church and represents Christ to the world. To travel that journey we need to understand what he means when he speaks and acts, we need to know his heart and whether we have fully 'got' the message.

Rachael became aware of a heavy darkness. And we were given the word, 'A shark is a useful thing because it makes all the little fish swim together'. There's no further interpretation to this, though clearly it might mean that when times are good we might all wander and feel independent, but danger can be a useful thing if it causes us to draw together and act in unison.

The fruit of our lives

Hmm... Fruit... Can you smell it? Juicy and ripe, melt in the mouth strawberries, apricots, oranges, rasberries, melons, pears, bananas, blueberries. Fresh, ripe, fruitCan anything be more delicious and fragrant than perfectly ripened fruit? Sun-drenched, hand picked, unblemished, and perfect. What a contrast with fruit that has gone mouldy!

But there's another kind of fruit, the fruit produced in our lives. Is that also fragrant, perfect, and unblemished?

One way to identify a tree or bush is to take a good look at the fruit it produces. It turns out that this is a very reliable way to identify a tree. Can you tell the difference between a coconut palm and a date palm? If you're an expert or a local you can, but suppose you live in Wales or Ontario? But what if one palm has coconuts on it and the other carries a huge bunch of dates? You don't need to be an expert now, it's a no-brainer!

It's the same with people, look at the fruit they produce in their lives and you will be able to judge right away what kind of person they are.

The fruit of the Spirit - The Bible has something most important to say about this. Paul writes to the Galatian church (Galatians 5:16-26) that 'the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control'. He contrasts this good fruit with the mouldy fruit of the sinful nature, and he writes that if we live by the Spirit we will produce the fruit of the Spirit. The Spirit here is the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth and Power and Righteousness and of a Sound Mind. And what does it mean to live by the Spirit of Christ? Simply, it means that I no longer live but Christ lives in me. It's the only way!

I used to work as a scientist studying the development of apple and plum fruit. Development begins with something small and almost unrecognisable as a fruit, initially it's just an insignificant part of a flower. But the young fruit grows in size and develops in character until it becomes ripe and mature and fully recognisable by its shape, texture, colour, fragrance, and flavour.

As these fruit of the Spirit develop in a person they make themselves known, each of them in maturity has it's own distinctive shape, texture, colour, fragrance, and flavour. Shape describes the boundaries of a thing, its limits if you will. Texture tells us how a thing feels to the touch. Colour is something that must be seen, a purely visual thing. For fragrance we must inhale and savour the aroma carried in with our breath. And flavour can only be sensed by taking the thing in and absorbing it so that it becomes a part of us. To make this clearer we'll take love as an example.

Concerning love - What is the shape of love, what are its boundaries? It has none! Love is without limit, it will stretch any distance, in any direction. Love is utterly determined to reach the one that is loved - no matter how distant.

But love also has a texture, a 'feel' to it. When you touch love you feel its warmth like a glove. Love is not hard or rigid, it responds to pressure by giving way yet remaining in contact. We could say it has a spongy, foamy, stretchy texture. If you draw away from love, love will always try to maintain contact. There's a flexibility here, a constancy.

What of the colour of love? It has to be a warm colour so we can set aside blues and greens. Love is always pure so we could imagine an admixture of white. There is no darkness in love so consider a delicate pink, light tangerine, or a pale mauve.

Fragrance is interesting because breathing is involved and breath always signifies the spiritual. Love has an aromatic fragrance that we recognise immediately, it can't easily be confused with anything else, nor can it be convincingly counterfeited. It's never pungent or harsh, always pleasant and attractive. The aroma of hyacinths or bluebells fits quite well, or the fragrance of balsam downwind of a stand of poplars in the spring.

And the flavour of love is like honey. Anyone who has opened themselves to receive love will know this flavour, it is unforgettable. If you do not open your mouth you don't taste the honey. Some people are like that, they will not (or cannot) open, they don't receive, the honey may coat their face and drip from their chin but they have no idea how sweet it is. The Song of Solomon speaks of a lover's lips being 'sweet like the honeycomb' (Songs 4:11). Why do you suppose the Bible describes Israel as a 'land running with milk and honey'? It's because the love of Yahweh is poured out on the dwelling place he has chosen for his people, just as his love is poured out on all who belong to his Son. Those who believe have opened their mouths, ingested that love, and tasted the sweetness for themselves. Those who reject Christ have closed their mouths and cannot taste.

Taste it for yourself - The world needs to know that where the Father's love is concerned there is no third state. A person is open and has tasted, or is closed and has no idea of love's flavour. Nobody can put this choice off as if it's something to consider for the future. For all of us the die is already cast, if you want to change your mind and taste - do it now while there is still time. A time is coming when everyone must accept the choice they have already made.

14 October 2008

Great Doddington - the door is open

We chatted over hot drinks for some time, thinking about forgiveness and other topics. Rachael prayed that we'd become free to forgive. She also described a picture she received of an ice house, it was like a huge igloo, An open dooror an ice hotel. The Lord showed her that we might think a structure like that is very strong, but all it takes is some sunshine and it will just melt away. Father said,

'Where my Son returns, the church as you know it will melt away. The church in the world is white like ice, you can't see through it. But as it begins to melt away it will become transparent. This is already beginning to happen.'

Chris also had a word, 'The only thing that prevents the truth being visible is a failure to look.'

Jody shared the thought that perfect love removes fear. Father spoke to her too,

'Take my hand, the door is open, don't be afraid to walk through the door. You will have the tools you need, the means to go. So take my hand, and don't be afraid. The things that happen to you are merely temporal, but your life in me is an eternal blessing.

After this, Chris shared a picture of a nut bush. There were squirrels in the grass and they kept running off with fallen nuts but came back again and again for more. Father said,

'Keep coming back to me where there is more than enough to feed you. Don't stop coming back.

The meeting tonight was rich with words from the Lord. Jody shared again,

'Invite me into your day. Place me in the centre and bring your thoughts and prayers. My Spirit is like a warm breeze that will come into your heart. Become weak in me so that I can make you strong. Stop fighting against things, I have won the battle - and most importantly - I've already won the war!'

Remembering right back to the early days of these meetings, Chris mentioned that Father had told us then, 'Don't try to do anything, just be my people.'

Rachael shared a last word for this evening. 'Think of me like an umbrella my people, I am always with you and I'll always protect you - wherever you go.'

13 October 2008

After the financial crisis

Maybe, just maybe, it's time to pick ourselves up and get to work. The banking system has been dealt a heavy blow and will never be the same again, The Hoover Damthe British economy was already slowing down without credit availability evaporating as well.

It's possible we've turned the corner, the next few weeks should let us know one way or the other. So what are we going to do now?

It's no good thinking we can go back to business as usual. There's been a financial earthquake, the ground has shifted in unexpected ways, what we thought we knew about the landscape doesn't apply any more. The fault lines have distorted everything.

I think the best thing we can do is to take this as a great opportunity. We in the UK need fresh goals for business, we can't survive on our banking prowess because the banking industry has let us down. We need something new. But what?

For all his faults and appalling acts, Adolf Hitler did some things well. He helped Germany recover from the 1930s depression years and the hyper-inflation that had wrecked the German currency. He put the nation to work building autobahns, steelworks, armaments, power stations. The USA had the same idea, building the Hoover Dam for example. Schemes like this provided jobs for the unemployed, put spending money in their pockets, and got the economy moving again. At the same time they created infrastructure that made agriculture and industry more efficient and in many cases the infrastructure is still in use today.

The autobahns are a good example, and so is the Hoover Dam.

Now, I'm not suggesting that Britain should build armaments, but we could certainly take a tip from the famous Dam. Why not put effort into accelerating our move towards greener energy?

Green projects could get our economy moving again, providing employment at a time when it is showing signs of falling, getting money circulating in our local businesses and shops, and providing green energy for tomorrow sooner than would otherwise happen. Wind farms, the Severn Barrage, geothermal schemes, solar energy for heating and power, wave energy and a beefed up research programme would give us a boost now and put our children in better shape for tomorrow.

And there's an opportunity for export too. If we can develop some of these technologies quickly we may be able to sell hardware or licence our designs. Green industries are new industries and that is where the opportunities will be.

10 October 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT - Celebration meeting at Moggerhanger Park

Come and join us to celebrate our shared life in Jesus Christ. We plan to meet at Moggerhanger Park on Sunday 16th November from 16:00. Young penguinsWe will provide tea, coffee, and light buffet-style refreshments - probably sandwiches and cake or similar. Do feel free to bring food with you if you wish.

There is no fixed plan for the evening. We are meeting early so that families with small children will be able to come, but we will continue as late as necessary until people need to leave. If you can't join us until the evening that will be fine too. There is no formal 'meeting' time and no agenda, but we expect to have an opportunity to meet and chat with those we don't know and spend time focused on Jesus in whatever way he leads.

This invitation is going out to small groups meeting in and around Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, and Northamptonshire. It is also going out to people we know more widely who might be interested in making contacts outside their own area. We don't wish to be exclusive so if you have been invited please feel free to prayerfully invite others. If you are reading this, do consider yourself invited.

For practical reasons, however, we feel it's important to keep the numbers small enough that people can get to know everyone else present.

Please let us know by Monday 10th November if you intend to join us (contact details below). We need to know numbers for reasons of space, food, and seating and there will be a cut-off when the numbers reach the maximum we can accomodate - first come, first served so let us know quickly if you feel you should be there on the night.

Contact details - get in touch if you wish to come, if you are also replying on behalf of others please include the total number.
  • Email - chris@scilla.org.uk
  • Home telephone - 01480 370459
  • Mobile - 07775 805783
Date and time - Sunday 16th November from 16:00.

Location - we plan to meet at Moggerhanger Park near Sandy, Bedfordshire. Their website has directions.

The map below is centred on the Park's buildings. You can drag it with the mouse and resize it to see more, Sandy and the A1 are about two miles to the right. You can click the blue marker to get driving directions.

View Larger Map

09 October 2008

Eaton Ford - waiting and calling on the Lord

Ruth told us about opportunities at her local Anglican church in Offord d'Arcy where she is helping to run an art event on the theme 'Angels'. This led us to think more deeply about reaching out to others. Part of a boneWe tend to think in terms of doing this as individuals but biblically we need to work together. Chris mentioned that Yahshua sent the disciples out in twos. We are called to be one (John 17:20) if we are to represent Christ in the world. We are his body and he has only one body, if we don't come as members of his one body we are representatives, not of Christ, but of someone or something else.

Ruth read from Isaiah (40:31), 'Those that wait (or hope) on the Lord shall renew their strength'. Hope involves waiting, but it's an expectant waiting. We need to wait in expectation for him to move, moving in our own inadequate strength just isn't good enough.

We were also reminded again of 1 Corinthians 13:1. What is love? The answer lies in the verses that follow, but basically it is selfless and is focused unwaveringly on the other. This is true whether 'other' is Yahshua or anyone else.

Roger mentioned a friend who has leukaemia, we prayed for him and also for Roger to be able to reach him with the good news. Ruth reminded us that we must 'seek first the Kingdom, and all the things we look for will be added to us (Matthew 6:33). She prayed for the youth work next summer.

And Chris mentioned the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:33-37:14). The entire army was restored, but it was done through the restoration of each individual person. This is just like the Bride of Christ, the Church. She is being restored in our day, person by person, individual by individual. And it was achieved by Ezekiel's obedience in prophecying over the bones. He was also called to prophecy over the breath (spirit) to come and enter them. Like the soldiers in the valley we began as dry bones, we were connected with sinews, the muscles were added, we were covered with skin yet we were still not alive. The final act is for the Spirit to come into us so that we are not only complete but also alive! We need to pray for the non-believers around us in the same way Ezekiel prayed.

07 October 2008

Great Doddington - earthquake and desert

Tonight had a sober tone initially when we prayed for Pete Shortall-Strike, aged 29, who died suddenly and shockingly last week, Desert landscapeand for his family and friends. It is hard to make sense of the death of such a vibrant, vivacious young man who appeared to have his whole life ahead of him.

Rachael had a picture of Father sitting in an armchair having a chat with his children. He was saying that His will and our will are like two techtonic plates under a continent, and that when they move in different directions they rub up against each other, and it's not surprising therefore that the friction causes a little smoke, and an earthquake sized shift in the ground beneath our feet, or a bit of a rumble.

A prophesy was heard, that the day is coming when it will rain in the desert, the day is coming when the rivers and lakes will dry up, and the time is coming when Father and His people will stand together, they will see Him and know Him.

Prayers were said for the political leaders grappling with the complexities of the global banking crisis, that they would be guided to make the right choices and that they would inject a moral code into the system to reduce the likelihood of this happening again. We also prayed for Abigail Maynard and her parents Chris and Judy, that the Lord would intervene with Abigail's liver failure and that her parents would be strengthened and their work for the Lord glorified.

Our prayers centred around 'praying' into God's will - being so much aware how easy it is to follow our own will, and sometimes when we translate our will as His; we all felt the need to be at peace with our situations even when we don't understand what is going on around us, our families, our friends...lets face it, the world!

02 October 2008

Little Paxton - Caring and giving

Because some of us this evening didn't know about the amazing way Father's been touching us recently, we began by outlining the two strands that we are aware of so far. Receiving a giftJim and Chris explained how the youth camp for next summer and the networking of small house meetings had come about.

Jim read Psalm 115:1,4-8 which had spoken to him during the week. He reminded us that we need to give the Lord all the glory and trust only him. People in our day place their trust in so many idols that have no life. We have heard so much in the news recently about financial catastrophe, money and financial institutions are things many people have trusted greatly and now they are anxious as they see the system's fragility.

John prayed for revival in our part of the country, for Open Door as they move to the Priory, for the churches they have planted out in nearby towns, for The River, and for all the other groups of believers in and around St Neots.

Ruth mentioned the people who are worried about not having enough heat this winter and may not have enough food. She explained that love expressed in care is true spirituality, and she prayed for the spiritually hungry to come to the Lord's feast which is spread out for them.

Chris reminded us that Yahshua told his disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send harvesters. The harvest is ready now, where we live, so we prayed for the Lord to send his harvesters here.

Roger told us that it's good that small groups around the area will be meeting together on 16th November. Jesus prayed that his church would be one. The smaller kinds of groups make it possible for people to relate together more closely and look after one another when there are problems or difficulties.

Jim told us that we have a living faith. When we give our money, our time, or our family to bless others it blesses the Lord too. he can really use that kind of giving, and in the process he always seems to give us so much more back as well!

Chris said that because we had thought and prayed so much this evening about all these things, it would be good to read John 15:1-17 again and it would have even more depth of meaning than usual.


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