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.

19 February 2009

Little Paxton - Summer planning

This evening we discussed plans for the Youth Camp in the summer and prayed again for the Lord of the harvest to send in more labourers. It was good to have the video and other materials from Pete and we were able to make a start on planning, sketching out our main ideas for an event in Eynesbury, perhaps in May.

The video below was made for a camp in 2007 and will be updated for this year's event.

Although we discussed some of the practical aspects this evening, we are also very aware of Father's hand on everything that has happened so far. He has put us in touch with the right people at just the right moment at every point along the way. Usually he has surprised us, sometimes we haven't even understood what he's done until afterwards. There is already an impressive array of 'coincidences' and these are encouraging us to expect more around the corner.

We praised him and thanked him for it all. All the honour and glory is his!

13 February 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - light and dark

We met at Paul's, Roger and John were both unwell so it was just Paul and Chris this time. Bright light shining behind a dark cloudWe talked about life in general and some of the issues we face, and we made a list of friends and prayer points.

We prayed for these and others, and Paul shared a thought about light. We are to take Christ's light out into the world.

We read John 9:1-34 which tells of the 'Messianic miracle' of healing a person born blind. The Pharisees had to accept Jesus as Messiah on the basis of the healing, or they had to discount the healing. They were forced to choose. Verses 35-41 show clearly that Jesus came to overthrow the status of human knowledge; the blind would see, and those who thought they could see would be shown to be blind.

12 February 2009

Eaton Ford - a DVD track

It snowed again! Sean set out and then decided it was unwise to continue, Pete didn't make it either, The DVD coverbut Jim arrived and brought Pam - a lovely surprise to share with them both.

We chatted for a while, then watched a track from one of the House Church Conference DVDs from 2008. The track we watched was Bill Hoffman talking about 'The Church at Table Number Two', a very interesting story about going out to where people are instead of drawing them in to where we are.

This was an unusual meeting because of the snow, but it was a great evening.

09 February 2009

Great Doddington - Candy floss

It was great to welcome two new people this evening, Glenn and Sherrelea, both of them friends of Jody and Peter.Spinning candyfloss

We talked about the various 'streams' of church that exist today, and how really there is only one body. We need to be careful not to become another division of the body, remaining fully open to experience rich fellowship with our brothers and sisters whatever their background and style of meeting.

Jody passed round a Telegraph article about a woman who had fostered a Muslim girl. She was 16 years old and independently became interested in Christianity, visited a church, and was eventually baptised. As a result the foster carer has been struck off the local authority's list and is now considering legal action.

Rachael shared a picture of a circular throne. We were all sitting in it and around it and no matter how many people there were, there was always room for more to sit with the Lord. He was sitting amongst us.

Jody commented on the 'white stuff'. The recent heavy snow has slowed us down so much and in some ways this is no bad thing. This week Jody has met many people in the village that she had never met before. People have time to talk because they are not able to dash to work, collect kids from school, or get the shopping done.

The tiny, fragile flakes of snow mount up and eventually bring us to a halt. The snow melts and cleans and refreshes. We have a choice; we can enjoy it or we can hate it but it's here and we just can't avoid it!

Sherrelea shared the thought that snow is just like the Lord's people. One snowflake on its own melts on your hand, but en masse snow is truly powerful. Jody added that this thing (snow/his Church) is not of us. It is beyond us, the power and the authority are his.

Glenn used to sell popcorn and candyfloss, an amazing range of flavours of both. Sometimes he and his family experienced times of difficulty caused by the uncertain income earned. He spoke about Abraham's testing described in Genesis 22:3. Just as Abraham needed to cut wood, travel to a particular place, and be willing to sacrifice something he cherished, so we too need to be prepared for service.

We need to move away from just conserving what we have (like money in the bank) and to become providers, a blessing for others who are in desperate need. Glen shared how he'd had to lay down a twelve year project (a shop) in order to do the Lord's bidding. But in the end the sacrifice may not be required (like Abraham's son Isaac). Now Glen has plenty of work and is praising the Lord for it.

We must never withold something just because we consider it precious.

We ended by watching part of a DVD of Paul Young (the author of 'The Shack') speaking on how tradition can sap the life out of our experience of church; and how Jesus depended on every word that came from the Father, living literally moment by moment (which is about as far from tradition as it's possible to get).

06 February 2009

Eaton Ford (day) - Arctic conditions

We met at Paul's at 10:30, it was a really useful and encouraging time. Deep snowRoger was snowed in and couldn't come while John was feeling quite unwell; so it was just the two of us.

We chatted, we prayed for a number of friends and their situations, and we listened to the song 'Halleluia' because it seemed relevant. We were given a picture of a lone figure walking across an empty arctic landscape (not a surprise in view of the snowy weather)! The land was flat and white with no trees, no buildings, no hills - nothing but flat snow and a constant stream of icy, wind-blown particles across the surface. The lone figure was dressed for the conditions, and trudged slowly but steadily onward. Sometimes we feel so alone, but we are not alone, we are never alone! We broke bread and shared soup together,

It was an encouraging time. Paul is really excited about the Youth Camp this summer, he has already started approaching some of his contacts to see who would be willing to support it.

02 February 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT - A new mailing list

There's a new mailing list on the block, the Organic Church UK Forum (OCUF). If you live in the UK or are involved here in some way you might like to consider joining.

Visit the list's webpage for more details or to join up.

The introductory information reads...

The Organic Church UK Forum (OCUF) is a place for open discussion by anyone interested in or involved in 'organic' church life in the United Kingdom. The term 'organic' is intended to include house church, home church, simple church - whatever you prefer to call it. In essence, expect the discussions to centre around Christ. He is, after all, the Head of his church and moulds our relationships and lives. We are his people.

We therefore wish to reveal his nature to one another and to the world around us. We wish to act as he would act if he was here in bodily form. We want the world to notice that we are here, that we love Christ, one another, and our neighbours.

In this forum we aim to discuss shared life as a local expression of his love, wisdom, power, authority, gentleness and grace. The forum is also a place to announce meetings, especially regional or national meetings, to point out useful websites and other online resources, and to discuss relevant books and other materials.

Above all it is a place where we can encourage one another.


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