Showing posts with label CO2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CO2. Show all posts

07 January 2013

The climate in 2012 and 2013

Global warming is real and is coming to a country near you. In fact it's coming everywhere and the effects will be very serious. Here's a report on some of the main points as discussed in a recent series of New Zealand radio shows. What can you do about it? Try to make more people aware of the facts.

A frosty scene in EnglandA series of ten minute slots in a New Zealand radio show provide a useful climate update. Listen to Glenn Williams discussing the climate with Gareth Renowden.

They review some of the worst weather events in 2012 including Hurricane Sandy, and look to the coming year for hints of what to expect next.

The stunning lack of official action to reduce our impact on climate also gets a mention.

We're now in a place where we must expect a severely changed planet, perhaps four or even six degrees celsius warmer than it is right now. Carbon dioxide levels are continuing to rise and are likely to top 400 ppm in 2013. The consequences involve considerable sea level rises, ocean acidification, serious ocean ecosystem damage and further loss of Arctic sea ice.

My own conclusion is that we are doing nowhere near enough to limit our carbon dioxide output at a time when the pace of change is proving to be far faster than we expected just a few years ago.

There's much more detail about all these matters at the Skeptical Science website.

Oh, and if you don't live in New Zealand don't think you don't need to listen. You do. You really, really do. We all need to listen.


  • Is there anything you can do to help make more people aware of the facts?
  • What do you think will happen if we do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
  • On present showing, do you think humans are looking after the Earth well?

See also:

04 January 2013

SOAP Bible reading

Keeping a SOAP journal may help make your Bible reading stick. Dave deVries posted about it recently and I want to share it further. Scripture-Observation-Application-Prayer (SOAP). Give it a try and see if it will help you stay spiritually fresh and clean!

Liquid and bar soapsDave deVries, writing at 'Missional Challenge' a week ago, recommended SOAP Journaling. It seems like a good idea that might help many of us read and digest the Bible more effectively, so I thought I'd pass it on.

Not only that, SOAP can help with discipling others and if you are doing that (and you should be) it's a technique you can teach them so that they in turn can teach it to others.

Like all simple ways of doing things it's easy to understand, easy to learn, easy to describe and easy to teach.

There is a caveat, however. Like all methods it's what you make of it that counts. There is no benefit or value in going through the motions; methods are tools, not an end in themselves.

So what is SOAP? How does it work? You can read about it in more detail in Dave's article. A brief outline and my own thoughts are below.

SOAP - The acronym stands for Scripture - Observation - Application - Prayer.

Begin by consciously clearing your mind. As with CO2's Virkler, one way to help with this is to jot down in your notebook every intrusive thought about things you need to do. Write things down as they occur to you and dismiss them until later.

Once your mind is clear and calm, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you, then read the Bible passage from a version that flows easily for you. Consider what you are reading, ask the SOAP questions and write down the thoughts that occur to you.

The questions are listed in Dave's article, he provides several for each letter of the acronym.

Scripture - the questions focus on the context. When it was written, who wrote it, why they wrote it and to whom. Write down verses that speak to you strongly and personally.

Observation - Look for commands and promises. Consider anything concerning the nature and actions of the Father, Son and Spirit. What questions arise in your mind?

Application - What effect does this have, what changes are necessary, what will you do today as a result of what you have read and considered?

Prayer - Aim to cover your needs for help and forgiveness. Be thankful. Write them down as a prayer.

It's easy to read in a vague way and remember almost nothing later. Using a method like SOAP will help you lock in some of the things you read. Writing things down (or sharing them with someone else) are effective ways of getting them to stick in your own mind and heart.

SOAP is more than an acronym, it's an idea. What do you use soap for? To help release the dirt when you wash your hands, to stay fresh and clean. So remember, using SOAP regularly will help you stay spiritually fresh and clean! But as with ordinary soap it's of no value unless you use it.


  • Are there ways you can improve your Bible reading? Might SOAP help?
  • What do you think of the SOAP questions? Can you add more of your own?
  • Have you some experience using SOAP? If so, please leave a comment below.

See also:

10 May 2012

Groups of two or three

< Church is a network | Index | Groups of six to twenty >

Groups of just two or three have benefits and limitations. They are the smallest possible forms of church life and may develop spontaneously. They are powerful in communicating.

Groups of two or threeLast time we saw that there's only one church and it consists of a web of rich, multiple connections. At the smaller, local scale we are typically involved mostly with a particular group of some size.

If you are part of a larger church group I strongly recommend you also consider meeting regularly on a much smaller scale with no more than one or two others. If this is new to you, you'll find the dynamics and depth of sharing completely different.

The new partner (or partners) don't need to come from your larger circle such as a cell group or local congregation. In many ways it's better if they don't. If you are a Baptist why not meet with an Anglican and someone from a home church? All of you will broaden your horizons. Information will begin to flow through you between those larger groups which might otherwise have little or no interaction. These are significant benefits.

Another advantage of such small groups is that it's possible to meet daily. If you choose to try this you might like to keep the meetings very brief. Church of Two (CO2) is one suitable pattern for groups of two or three and requires about five minutes per person.

There's really only one important requirement, and it's this - the people in your group of two or three must be friends. Either you will start meeting with an existing friend or two, or you will need to become good friends.

What happens if a fourth person wants to join, or a fifth or sixth? The level of intimacy is eroded and the dynamics of the group will change. But there's a very simple way to avoid this. Instead of creating a group of four, one of the original three can help the newcomer by forming another group of two. When a third member is added, the helper returns to their original group. Alternatively the helper might become temporarily or permanently part of both groups.

Groups of two or three often form naturally. Let me tell you a story from my own life.

Ten or eleven years ago I began meeting at home with my sister and one or two other friends. Sometimes there would be just two of us, other times as many as six or seven. Gradually, as others joined us, we began to meet as two separate groups in different towns as this reduced our travelling needs.

Later, I was temporarily part of a small evangelical fellowship that was considering its future. In the end the decision was made to close down. As a result of meeting with them I became friendly with  Jim. Jim invited me to his home where he was regularly meeting with Sean one evening each week, we would chat about life, read and discuss the Bible, and pray together. We still meet like this, we are church expressed as a group of three men. A while later, Jim joined River Church in the town, but the three of us continued meeting as before.

I have also been meeting with Paul and Roger once a week during the daytime. at first for CO2, these days more for Bible study.  And I meet regularly with Sean, just the two of us. We have focussed at different times on hearing the Lord, outreach, and much more.

A couple of years ago I began going along to my wife's small group, part of Open Door. I'm not a member of Open Door but I'm very involved with the small group, it currently has around a dozen people each week.

Because I am part of all these groups I have connections through them to Open Door, River Church and more. I enjoy meeting in all these ways but the deepest and most intimate times are usually with the very small groups - just two or three.

Here are some questions
  1. How well connected are you within your church?
  2. How well connected are you with people in other churches?
  3. What differences do you see between connecting individuals and connecting churches?
Please leave a comment below.

< Church is a network | Index | Groups of six to twenty >

16 September 2011

Eaton Ford (Day) - Armour plate

< 15th September 2011 | Index | 19th September 2011 >

We chatted about life and events, ran through CO2 together, and spent some time in prayer before going our separate ways.

Mediaeval armourWhile we were sharing our initial thoughts together a particular person was brought to mind. I had a picture of a man in a suit of armour made of overlapping metal plates and completely impenetrable.  As the man moved, just occasionally a small gap might appear here or there. But the gap lasted for just a moment and then it was gone again.

And the Lord told me that only the sword of his Spirit is light, thin and fast enough to get into one of the momentary chinks. Paul pointed out that in this instance Roger is the sword. His role is to love the person and in time the Spirit will break them down. Love and kindness are the key to finding the necessary chink in the armour.

At this point we decided to work through Church of Two (CO2) to help us hear one another's hearts and also the Lord's heart.

Afterwards, Paul also mentioned that he had seen a waterall and I was standing at the top of it. I was looking over the edge and he wondered whether I was going to jump or not. He also mentioned the song 'Suddenly life had new meaning for me'.

This is all very encouraging. It adds again to the feeling I have that something new is about to happen suddenly in my life.

< 15th September 2011 | Index | 19th September 2011 >

03 November 2010

TECHNOLOGY - The Cool Farm Tool

The Cool Farm Tool is a spreadsheet that allows farmers, growers and organisations interested in crop production to easily model greenhouse gas emissions and how they might be affected by changing production methods.

Unilever's Cool Farm ToolThe tool was originally developed for Unilever by a research team at the University of Aberdeen and is now being used on an increasing scale by individual farmers, companies buying agricultural and horticultural produce, cross company groups, researchers,  governments, and inter-governmental agencies.

The spreadsheet is published with an open source licence so it can be used, modified, and republished by anyone. It's accessible by ordinary farmers around the world and is easy to use without scientific expertise. The tool can be used to explore the effects of adjusting the methods of production to help minimise emissions.

An IPCC report in 2007, Mitigation of Climate Change provided global information, but Unilever knew they needed specific, farm or field level data if they were to make a difference. They commissioned the Cool Farm Tool as a means of obtaining this data. Much to their credit, Unilever and the University of Aberdeen decided to make the tool available for anyone to use or adapt.

There is more detail on Unilever's Growing for the Future website and in an article published by Ecosystem Marketplace.

I think this tool can really make a difference. Indeed, it must already have made a difference and will continue to do so. Well done to all concerned, especially Unilever and the University of Aberdeen. The planet needs more effort of this sort.

02 November 2010

Brampton - Look at his face

We began by running through SASHET together (part of the CO2 idea). This helped us to understand one another's current situation and thoughts. Then we made a start with Virkler (also part of CO2) where we deliberately listen to what Jesus is saying to us, it's a way of paying attention.

A fast flowing streamHowever, we agreed that this didn't work as well as listening individually and sharing later. I saw a picture of a little babbling brook running down towards me. I had to look up the slope to see it, sometimes it was running smoothly, and sometimes the water was tumbling down over rocks. I just had to share it there and then, it simply seemed wrong to wait.

Then I saw a large shovel, very big, loaded heavily with grain. And I thought about the jubilee, a Royal Jubilee when debt is cancelled, slaves are freed, and there is a sense of renewal and a fresh beginning throughout the land.

Sean said the the harvest is so big that we won't be able to bring it all in. We need to look to the source of the stream of living water, and we need do it all the time. We need to look at his face to see his love for us, but we often won't look because we think we know what his reaction will be. We expect him to be angry and disapproving and disappointed. If we did look we would see only love and acceptance.

We think our acceptability depends on the good work we do and the bad things we don't do. In fact it depends entirely on his grace and love. How can we get it so wrong?

17 October 2010

NEWS - Worth taking a look at these

Listening to the Lord in Denver, USA, a book from Floyd McClung, focussing on the simple.A megaphone
  • Stories from the Revolution - John White discusses the ideas around 'smaller still and wider yet'. This involves Church of Two (CO2) and regional networks.

  • Felicity Dale's Blog - Felicity writes a short note on Floyd McClung's book, 'Follow'. See what she has to say and consider reading the book.

  • SimpleChurch Journal - Roger Thoman posts, 'Sometimes I think that, rather than focusing on simple church, we should really be focusing on the true simplicity of the Gospel'. Amen to that! Take a look and see what he's getting at.

  • Stories from the Revolution - John White writes about the important difference between a relationship with a book and a relationship with a person. He includes a video interview that reveals this difference in terms of personal experience.

25 August 2010

RESPONSE - What inspires me?

Frank Viola recently asked his readers 'What inspires you?' It's a great question, isn't it? He's asking us to think about breathing. What do I mean by that? Read on...

My answer really centres on the idea of listening to Yahshua daily or, more accurately, moment by precious moment. I live each moment once, just briefly. And in each of those moments I respond to influences and pressures, to joys and fears, certainties and doubts. Some things I desire, other things repel me. And everything is in relationship to others. Even when I seem to be alone Christ is with me. Every little thing I do or say affects those around me. But through it all I try to pay attention to the voice of Jesus guiding me.

He speaks to us by living within us (Christ IN you, the hope of glory). We are containers for his life, his power, his righteousness, he is the bread of life, the living water, in him we can do ALL things. But we must listen.

Why? Because he blesses the obedient (his grace and his love are freely poured out upon us but blessing requires our obedience). And how can we obey if we don't hear what he tells us? And how can we hear unless we listen? (Hint: if you want some helpful ideas on listening, read about Church of Two.)

So for me inspiration is a matter of listening, hearing, and obeying. Let's look at this in a slightly different way.

To be inspired is to be breathed into. If I retain what is within me (stop breathing) I will die! It's no coincidence that the word 'expire' implies death. A body that is not breathing is dead, or about to die, or about to start breathing again. Breathe and live, don't breathe and die - there are no other alternatives.

There is physical breathing and there is spiritual breathing, physical life and spiritual life, physical death and spiritual death.

When I first recognised Jesus as the Messiah and believed that he was the Son of the Most High, he breathed his Spirit into me and I became spiritually alive with his life. The word 'spirit' and the word 'inspire' are closely related - both have to do with breath and breathing. Indeed, the Greek word 'pneuma' and the Hebrew 'ruach' can be translated 'spirit' or 'breath' according to context.

The Holy Spirit is the Holy Breath! When I was born my lungs inflated with air and I have been breathing ever since. If I stop I will die. When I was born again I was filled with spiritual breath (the Holy Spirit) and I have been breathing him ever since. If I stop I will die spiritually.

Do you think about breathing? Perhaps you are aware of breathing when you've been doing physical work and you are 'out of breath'. But most of the time it's a natural rhythm and you don't have to plan to breathe or set aside a special time for it. You even manage to breathe every night while you are asleep. Breathing is automatic.

Spiritual breathing is the same, it needs to be automatic. It is what 'inspires' us. The Holy Spirit was sent to lead us into all the Truth (Yahshua is Truth), to comfort us, to guide us, to be our advocate, to act in us on Christ's behalf.

I am inspired when I see Jesus in others, when I see the evidence of his life in them. I'm inspired by every action or word that comes from the fruit of the Spirit in others, such things as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-25). I'm inspired by beauty, grace, humility, wisdom, and everything that is good (Phil 4:8).

A more specific thing that inspires me is seeing others built up and growing in grace. And I am inspired by watching others reach out to share Christ's love in the community. What could be better than to see brothers and sisters living in unity of purpose, building strong bonds of peace and rejoicing together in the truth? This is church, this is life in Christ, that we love one another and share what we have with those in need around us. (There are physical needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs. Our loving and sharing should cover all three.)

Inspiration comes from the Father through the Son as a result of their Spirit living inside us. And that inspiration floods out into every part of the body (the church), just as the air I breathe gives life to my fingers and toes and every organ in my body.

You have been called to be inspired and also to inspire. That is calling enough for a lifetime of fulfilling work.

03 May 2010

NEWS - Interviews, meetings, CO2

This week there are five news items to mention. A megaphone

  • The next meeting in the Moggerhanger series is planned for 6th June. Add it to your diary! It's not going to be at Moggerhanger this time, instead we've booked a room at Hinchingbrooke Park on the edge of Huntingdon.

    There'll be a full article about this in the next day or two - so watch this space. (See the report of the last meeting.)

  • Frank Viola has interviewed Felicity Dale about her book 'An Army of Ordinary People'. It contains encouraging and challenging stories of real-life people involved in organic church life and growth. This book was originally published ten years ago but is just now being republished in an updated version.

  • Wolfgang Simson has announced a 'Starfish Unconference' in Helsinki, Finland. You'll have to move fast on this one if you want to go, it takes place on 15th and 16th May.
    Read on Scribd...

05 March 2010

NEWS - Explosive potential

Roger Thoman writes An inflatable ring'The Simple Church Journal', a blog about simple, organic church life.

His most recent post examines the potential for mission which he argues is inherent in small, organic forms of meeting.

Roger asks
Could a small (but growing) movement of simple/organic church-lifers lead to a revolutionary impact upon world missions? There is something deep inside of me that says the answer to this question could be a resounding “YES.”
I agree with him! Something deep inside of me resonates with that loud, exclamatory 'Yes!' My own experience recently has been that the very smallest forms of church life are generally the easiest to spread and the hardest to stamp out. They tend to be deeply relational, focussed, and zealous in everything they do. They tend to consist of people who listen to the Spirit because they want to hear his voice and follow his direction and receive his encouragement. Small groups often reach out to the world, not to suck people in to the group but to birth new groups. How exciting is that?!

Roger is right to imagine how these small expressions of church might transform societies and cultures. They have the potential to do exactly that.

But small groups can run aground and stick fast just like larger groups can. It's not size that causes a boat to hit a reef or sandbar, it's navigating into shallow water. As long as we float deep in the things of the Lord supported only by the water we will go where the wind of the Spirit takes us. But the moment we take our eyes off Yahshua and fix them instead on growth in numbers, church finances, patterns of worship, forms of church governance, offices, structure, and the rest we are bound to stick fast and stop travelling.

Although this can (and does) happen to groups of any size, there is no doubt in my mind that smaller groups are less likely to be trapped and more likely to be refloatable in the event they do run aground.

And the smallest of all (CO2) is perhaps the most nimble of the lot. After all, what are the chances of running aground in an inflatable ring?

02 March 2010

THOUGHT - Growing and spreading

I took this photo during my lunch break, just outside the office. A colony of winter aconitesWhen I got back to my desk I took some time to be quiet and intentionally spend time with Yahshua and listen to him.

I aim to do this daily as part of CO2. This is a transcript of the notes I made. I've decided to share them as they may also speak to others.
I saw a colony of beautiful, yellow, winter aconites growing under a tree. Thinking about them now I feel Father is saying -

'I created that colony in my mind before the universe was made, my Son brought into being everything just as I had imagined it. But the mechanism by which it was made was that the first few aconites were planted by the gardener and now, left to their own devices over the years, they have spread to make a large carpet of beauty every March.'

'That's the way I work. Take note of it! I place the ability to reproduce within every living thing and I speak my blessing over them - go out, multiply, and fill the earth.'

'I have placed the ability to multiply in my gathered people, each gathering is like an aconite, it has the ability to reproduce. I speak my blessing over them - go out, multiply, and fill the earth.'

'Don't be anxious, just go. Didn't I tell you that I would be with you? Don't you see my hand in all that's happening to you? Doesn't your heart leap within you like the hearts of the two on the Emmaus road? Don't you say to yourselves that this must be Yahshua at work?'

'It is the wind that carries the seeds of the dandelion and the maple. It is the wind that carries the pollen of the pine and the grass. My Spirit will be with you on the Road and will carry the message of Truth and Life into the hearts of all who will receive him. I AM the Road, the Truth, and the Life. I AM the Road you are travelling, the Truth you are carrying, and the Life you are imparting. I am doing it. I am doing it through you.'

26 February 2010

MISSION - An experiment

Sean and I have been invited to join an experiment, initially for a period of three months. A modern laboratoryDuring that time we plan to meet weekly with the main objectives being mission-focussed through intentionally hearing from the Holy Spirit, paying attention to one another's hearts, and praying together.

We'll be using some of the ideas and methods we've been learning through CO2 to help us in practical ways, and we'll be comparing notes with other people taking part in the same experiment. It will be a huge help and encouragement to be on the same journey with people in other places.

In my own mind I'm quite clear that I don't want anything I do or think to detract from hearing and seeing what Yahshua will show me (and Sean) through the Spirit. The only thing I can be sure about is that the Lord knows better than I do. I'm expecting him to demonstrate while I watch, and then coach me while I try to follow him.

Today was our first meeting as part of the experiment. So far we have agreed that we feel an urgent need to be reaching people in the area around St Neots and Huntingdon and that we need to pray - together and separately. We have made a list of people we feel led to visit and have begun making contacts. And we have started communicating with our fellow experimenters.

We plan to get together weekly and I may be posting here again after some of those sessions.

25 February 2010

NEWS - CO2 is spreading like a virus

It's time to mention Church of Two (CO2) again. Influenza virus particlesAs far as I'm aware nobody was doing CO2 in the UK until I brought it here from Dallas in September 2009. I'd like to outline the history of it since then.

Infections follow a pattern that is true for viruses, bacteria, trees, rabbits, and even us humans. The stages of this pattern are...

Infection > Latency > Spread > Symptoms > Impact > Dieback

Lets look at these one by one.

Infection - In this stage an active form spreads to a new home. With a cold virus, you might breathe in virus laden particles after someone with a cold sneezed. Or you might touch a contaminated object and then transfer the virus to your mouth or eyes.

The active form of CO2 is the knowledge of what it is, how to do it, and the value it brings. By the time I returned from Dallas I was already infected.

Latency - This is the time during which nothing much seems to happen. The cold virus has to enter a living cell, a seed takes time to absorb water and germinate. During the latent period something essential has to happen but there is no sign of it yet.

In the case of CO2 I needed to find someone who wanted to hear about it and do it with me. Until I found that person, the CO2 virus was present in the UK - but latent.

Spread - With the cold virus this is the time during which more and more people are becoming infected. It's like a chain reaction. A person is infected, becomes a mobile latent infection, and begins sneezing at home, at work, on the bus, and in the shops.

For CO2 this is the phase we are in right now in the UK. A number of people are using it daily and are starting to pass it on to others. CO2 is spreading!

Symptoms - With a cold, people hardly notice the early signs (the first few sneezes). But as the virus takes hold in a major way there are clear and unpleasant signs that something is going on. Sufferers feel unwell, they might run a slight temperature, breathing is more difficult, they may have a sore throat, a cough, a headache.

In the case of CO2 the symptoms often include a growing desire to read and understand the Bible, more prayer time, a deeper understanding of one another, a greater sense of the Lord's purpose, an increasing desire to grow spiritually, greater peace, joy and love, a new sense of the journey, and a growing drive to reach others with the good news.

I certainly have some of these symptoms and more are appearing all the time. CO2 is beginning to facilitate significant change in me. It's also having a similar impact in my CO2 partners.

Impact - As a cold virus takes hold in the population there's a change in society over and above the symptoms of individuals. People might start to avoid crowds, buy more cough medicine, stay away from work, this in turn might affect the short term profitability of companies, or cause staff shortages in schools, hospitals etc.

For CO2 the longer term impact in the UK is not yet known. The possibilities include wider scale outreach and mission, increased church planting and growth, revival, improved care for the elderly, sick, and disadvantaged in society, and more.

This is a lot to expect from such a simple thing as CO2. But that is exactly the point, a virus is simple. This simplicity makes it hard for doctors to treat. It spreads easily and quickly, very few drugs can interfere with its spread or its impact on patients. The simplicity of CO2 makes it easy to learn, easy to teach, and easy to do.

Dieback - In most cases, a virus peaks and then dies away because people develop immunity. Anything that interferes with transmission or infection will cause a virus to fade away. A cold epidemic fades as more and more people become immune.

Will CO2 die away in the same way? Maybe, and in the longer term it's quite likely. But I hope not because it's a very beneficial virus! There is no known immunity against CO2 so far and that is a good sign. And CO2 doesn't appear to be harmful in any way. Perhaps it will do what some viruses have managed to do, become part of the genome of its host, people who follow Jesus. In that case its long term future would be assured.

Meanwhile, we in the UK are in the very earliest stages of spread. I will do all I can to encourage more infections to spring up.

Here's progress so far...

Chris > Sean
Chris > Paul
..Sean > Hamish (may not have taken)
Chris and Paul > Roger
..Paul > Pete (may not have taken)
../..Roger > Ruth
Chris, Paul and Roger > David
..Paul > Jules
Chris > Tim

Likely further transfer...
Chris > Dave
Chris > Tony
Chris > Rob
..Tim > Tammy

This shows that secondary spread has begun and there are signs of tertiary spread starting. If spread is faster than dieback (and so far it has been), CO2 will spread. If dieback exceeds spread it will fade away. To some degree it's up to us.

19 February 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Beauty in nature

We began this morning with a chat over coffee, then shared CO2 together. Paul and Jules are planning to do this together for a week or two or longer Gorse in flowerif they feel they should continue, so we were able to demonstrate it for Jules and he joined in too. It took quite a long time to work through this as there were four of us - Paul, Roger, Jules, and me.

As a result of the issues we'd just shared it seemed very natural to go into a time of prayer. We prayed for the things in our own lives that were causing concern, sadness, excitement, or tenderness; and we prayed for friends who are ill or grieving.

Paul spoke about the beauty of the natural world around us that reminds us daily of our Father's presence and power and love.

Roger read Psalm 46 and we talked about it for a while. And finally, James 2 was on my heart so I read through it without understanding its significance until I came to the end of verse 13, 'Mercy triumphs over judgement'. This almost jumped off the page and seemed especially relevant for one of the friends we had talked about and prayed for earlier.

09 February 2010

Brampton - On a pathway

We began by discussing the Moggerhanger meeting last Sunday, what a great time that was! A pathway running uphillAnd we also spent a while considering the coming meeting at Nottingham on Friday 12th. It will be good to see like-minded people from other parts of the UK and hear their stories.

We talked about the X-treme Camp last summer and considered ways to reach out to the families. We would still like to arrange a bowling evening for the kids and their parents. We though a good time to do this would be the Easter school holidays.

The three of us ran through CO2 together, spending quite a long time on it as there was a lot to share. Sean described a picture in which Jesus was carrying him up a path, but every time they came to a crossroads Sean was anxious because he couldn't see which direction they had taken. But the important thing was to focus on Jesus, not on knowing the way.

Jim invited us to a Jeff Lucas event with the Saltmine Theatre Company in Kettering. Sounds great!

07 February 2010

Moggerhanger Meeting - 7th February 2010

The day was grey and cold, but dry. People arrived at Moggerhanger Park and chatted for a while, then at 13:30 we set out to walk through the woods to look at the snowdrops. Snowdrops in the woods at Moggerhanger ParkHow beautiful they are, evidence that even in late winter there is life waiting to spring up wherever it can!

A hot meal
Back in the house we settled down to a hot meal of jacket potatoes with a choice of fillings - pork sausage and apple, or chicken and mushroom.

We sat in a large, double circle for the meeting. I began by welcoming everyone and commenting that church life was like the snowdrops, it has been hidden but is now springing up everywhere in the UK! Even so, most of us feel isolated and lonely in our little groups and it was good to get together like this for encouragement and a reminder that we are not alone.

Three short talks
Peter Farmer - Pete explained how he's been travelling the UK. There are 12 EU regions and he visited them all during 2009, one per month. He met something like six groups in most regions.

A person goes through stages in life, beginning as a child, then becoming a young person, and finally maturing into an adult. Churches go through similar stages, and most house churches in the UK are in the child stage. But Pete is looking ahead, as they mature how will they multiply? Adults produce offspring and churches should do the same.

He pointed out that there's ample opportunity. Ninety-eight percent of the UK population doesn't know Christ and needs to be reached. This is already happening in Asia as the house churches multiply, the numbers are staggering. 300 000 new churches planted in India, with 300 000 baptisms on the Day of Pentecost alone!

Pete lives in Nottingham, for more details see Mission Britain and his personal blog.

Chris Jefferies - I explained the idea behind Church of Two (CO2) and how useful I had found it in practice. It takes about five minutes per person so two or three people will need ten or fifteen minutes and can meet every day, something that is impractical with larger groups. CO2 is based on intentionally listening to what the Lord is saying individually, and then meeting to share what has been heard. The members also share their own feelings for the day under the headings sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, and tender.

In this way the group is daily sharing the Lord's heart and their own hearts with one another. It's then useful to pray for one another on the basis of what has been shared. CO2 is best done face to face, but where that's not possible it can be done over the phone or as a last resort by email.

I'm willing to run CO2 for a week with anyone who'd like to try it, doing it is by far the best way to learn it and discover if it might be useful.

I live in St Neots, you can read more on my website and on the blog 'All about Jesus'.

Pete Stamford - Pete described the excellent work done by X-treme Youth Camps and explained how it all began. He'd been thinking about a youth Alpha but wasn't sure how to approach it. As he was going upstairs one evening he heard a clear word from the Lord, 'What did you enjoy doing when you were a kid?'

The answer was fishing, making rafts, spending time roaming outside in the country, climbing trees. All the sorts of things that can be impossible for young people living in urban housing. Pete was looking for a way of reaching young people for the Lord, and he has found that fun and good food with sound teaching about Jesus is a winning combination. So the camps include canoeing, archery, games, music and more along with very direct, basic details about who Jesus is, why he came, how and why he died, and what this means for us.

Pete lives in Sharnbrook a few miles north of Bedford. I don't have a website for Pete, but this item from 'All About Jesus' shows him at work. The video is a trailer for the 2007 camp and Pete appears in the still, teaching archery.

The Open Meeting
The rest of the meeting was an open session. Nobody led and nothing was prepared beforehand, instead we looked to the Holy Spirit to guide us and show us what to do. He gave us songs, tongues and interpretation, and words of prophecy - some for the nation, some for particular people in the room. As the meeting progressed it moved more towards teaching. The meeting was rich and there was far too much to report in detail, but here are some notes that I took of things that particularly stood out for me. Words in italics were from the Lord.

I will bring a great awakening in this land and I will honour my name through wonders. Depend on me for your sustenance, for food and for water.

I am the River of Life. It's not a question of how much I can provide, it's a question of how much you can receive.

Don't look to yourself, look to him. Our vision is on him all the time.

Stand still, be in the right position, the right place. We need to listen with our hearts (not just with our ears).

There was a word for Paul. You are carrying around something from the past. Only I (the Lord) can fix it.

Proclaim from the rooftops what I have shown you in the morning. If I give you words to speak, now is the time to speak them.

This encouraged me to share some words he'd given me a few days earlier.

There is dislocation in our lives and a constant war between the will and purpose of Christ in us and the will and purpose of the enemy against us. We see this in creation itself, a raging war at times, a tense stand-off at others. A beautiful sunset here, a sudden earthquake there. A song of love here, a starving child there. A kind thought here, a burst of anger there. Within us and around us is the constant conflict of two empires, the Kingdom of Light and the principality of darkness.

I felt that Father calls us to the Light every minute of every day. His Son is the Light, the Light shining in the darkness, Light among humankind, Light in the world. Every moment, in every situation, we can choose the Light or we can choose darkness. We can listen to Christ or we can listen to the enemy. Overall we have made our choice, we have chosen the King of Light, we have chosen life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet moment by moment we still fight those tactical skirmishes. They cannot change the outcome of the war - we belong to Christ! HalleluYah! But they may cause short-term retreat as individual actions are won or lost.

The Lord says, Don't despair, don't fight in your own strength but put on all the armour I have provided, be filled with the gifts of my Son's Spirit, and stand against darkness. Stand in the Light! Stand side by side and stand back to back, together you are strong, individually you are weak.

The door is open, take my hand and walk through. I will give you the desires of your heart because they are my desires too.

Someone mentioned Jeremiah 29:11, 'For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'. This was a promise to bring them back from captivity to the land that was promised to them. We too need to remember who the Lord is and admit that we need his help. We should not be discouraged by the forces ranged against us. We need to focus on Jesus, he will provide our strength and joy.

Acts was also quoted and the comment made that they were persecuted, they responded, and the result was amazing. Now is the time for us to prepare for persecution and hardship.

Someone said that as the church we have failed our country, we have failed the Lord, and we have failed ourselves. There has been an inertia, an unwillingness in the church. There was a tongue, part sung, part spoken. Both parts were interpreted, the sung part was interpreted in song which was amazing.

Here are fragments of the interpretations, there was a reminder that we are 'a chosen people, a holy nation... from 1 Peter 2.

The Lord has first loved us, we also love him. He has restored our sight, we can leave our foreskins behind. We can deal with rejection. Because he loves us we can also love him and be full of joy, both in the Lord and in others. We need to strip off the old things and can now put on his new clothes.

Peter Farmer also has brief notes about the meeting on the Mission Britain website.

Next Meeting
We have pencilled in a date for a meeting on 6th June, another Sunday afternoon. The format might be entirely different next time, perhaps a picnic, but the aim will be to have a meal together and an open meeting where everyone can contribute.

More details later, but meanwhile mark 6th June in your diary!

05 February 2010

Eaton Ford (day) - Ship building

It was just Paul and me today as Roger and David were unable to come. Traditional shipbuildingWe began by running through the Church of Two (CO2) exercise - it seemed particularly appropriate as there were only two of us!

I expressed the view that we really own nothing, it is all the Lord's. But we are joint heirs with the Son so we will inherit all these things that we don't own! I had a picture of a field surrounded by hedges and another picture of a housing estate. And Father said, 'Come out from your separated little areas and rejoice together in my presence.

Paul read Matthew 11:28, 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.' He said that sometimes we hold our burdens in and they eat away at us. Instead we need to hand these burdens over to Jesus and rest in him.

He won't give us things to do that we can't manage. He knows what we need, and we can do all things in him. He strengthens us. He gave us the word 'love' today. You have to love yourself so you can love others.

Then I had another picture, this time the plan of an old sailing ship, the sort of ship Columbus used to sail across the Atlantic. The Lord said, 'Can you build a ship? No! You haven't been trained to do it, you've never seen it done. But if you have the plan and follow it step by step you can! It's all about the next step. I have a plan for you, to do things you've never done before. But I'll help you and guide you. It's all about taking the next step.

01 February 2010

Church of Two - Tested and found useful

Organic Wine - [ Home | Bible | Resources | CO2 | Topics | About ]

CO2 stands for 'Church of Two'. It's a helpful practice that some of us have been testing since early December 2009, and we can now recommend it to anyone who'd like to give it a try.

(Scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of other links on CO2.)

I brought back the idea of Church of Two (CO2) from the House2House Conference in Texas in the autumn of 2009. It seemed a promising way to go deeper with the Lord and with one another and what I'd seen of it at the conference was quite exciting. The Church of Two FlyerI came home really keen to get started with someone here in the UK, to test it and review its usefulness in practice.

It wasn't until early December that I had a chance to try it for real. Sean and I shared in CO2 almost every day for many months. We are agreed that it was more than useful. A few weeks later I began CO2 with Paul and again we have found it an excellent way of connecting at a heart level.

So what is CO2?

There is quite a bit of good information on the web. First I'll describe CO2 in my own words, then I'll list the best resources I've come across.

Church in various sizes - Churches are normally groups of anything from two or three people meeting at home, right up to megachurches of thousands meeting in large, purpose built structures. Larger groups have some advantages, for example great music and a wide range of facilities and programmes. Smaller groups have advantages too, greater flexibility and closer relationships between the members.

What about a church of two or three? Well, it turns out that the smallest possible church has significant advantages of its own. It is possible to meet every day, certainly more than once or twice a week.

Groups of two appear in the Bible, for example Yahshua sent out his followers in pairs.

The Church of Two - A church of two has two simple components.
  • Two (or three) people who agree to meet as nearly every day as possible
  • Two (or three) simple practices
Two people works well. Three is certainly possible. Allow a minimum of five minutes per person; for this reason larger groups take more time and it's harder to maintain the daily rhythm. The best way to meet is face to face, with a phone call as an alternative when necessary. If face to face is impossible, phone is the next best method, and even email if required. Sean and I use Google Wave, Paul and I meet face to face.

The two practices are called SASHET and Virkler. A third can be added, simply praying for one another concerning the things that have been shared.

SASHET - This stands for Sad, Angry, Scared, Happy, Excited, Tender.

Take turns to share your heart feelings under the headings listed above. You may not have something to say for all the headings, some days it might be just two or three, other days more or even all of them. When listening to your partner's heart, don't offer advice, just hear what is being said.

Virkler - This is a simple way of connecting with the Lord and hearing his heart. It's named for Mark Virkler who originated the method. Each member of the CO2 can do this alone before meeting or it can be done together if a quiet space is made for it. Either way it's good to share the results of this hearing daily.
  • Still your mind, clear away worldly thoughts, become calm and peaceful.
  • Focus on Yahshua (Jesus). Any way of achieving this is OK, imagine conversing with him, sitting at his feet, walking with him. Whatever works for you.
  • Pay attention to the flow of thoughts in your mind. These may take the form of ideas, pictures, or words. Don't expect to hear a physical voice. Jot down the thoughts for later consideration.
  • Review what you wrote. What is the Lord saying to you today?

Finally you can both pray for one another.

What has been achieved? - Doing the simple exercise of CO2 daily with a friend, your spouse, a child, or a parent has an effect that builds over time. You will find an increasing depth in the relationship, a growing awareness of how the Lord is leading your partner, and an improving basis for prayer for one another.

It's likely that both partners will develop a deeper and more conscious daily walk with Yahshua too. A group of CO2s makes a natural and strong basis for a cell, small group, or house church of up to twenty members. It can also lead to deeper and stronger community life amongst neighbours or work colleagues, and it can then lead on to sharing the good news in very natural ways.

The Virkler component can be very helpful over a period of time in facilitating people in hearing the Lord's voice more clearly and more frequently throughout the day. Hearing can become the norm rather than a rare exception.

CO2 is very easily learned and easily taught, therefore it spreads easily. Potentially it can spread in a viral manner. Starting in one place with just two people, it can quickly grow into large numbers of CO2s saturating a town or village. It's a great tool. Try it!
    More details and resources - Check the following websites and blogs for further information. You can also contact me by email if you want to talk further about CO2. I might also be able to help by holding daily CO2s with you for a week. Actually doing CO2 is by far the best way to learn it.
    • The CO2 Flyer - a great leaflet giving more detail on CO2. Good for handing out to people who want to know more or would like to try CO2 for themselves.
    • Stories from the Revolution - A blog by John White, launching the CO2 method after fully testing it. This blog also contains a lot of great feedback by people who are trying CO2 for themselves.
    • Church of Two (CO2) - post on the Scilla Blog in December 2009. More about my own experiences with this tool.
    • Colworth (CU) - Church of Two - sharing CO2 with a group at work.
    • You can Hear God's Voice - a brochure by Mark Virkler (in PDF format). This explains the four keys for hearing on which VIRKLER in CO2 is based. It's a link from a CLU webpage. Provided for reference only, CO2 uses a simplified version of this hearing method.
    • SASHET Feelings - a psychotherapy technique from which SASHET in CO2 is based. Provided for reference only, CO2 takes the list of feelings but uses them quite differently.
    • CO2 is spreading like a virus - a recent news post (Feb 25th 2010).
    • More interesting thoughts from In the storyline, a blog post by Charles Kiser.
    • Imagine a Daybreak is another blog where CO2 is described.
    I'll add to this list as I discover further useful information online. You can also view all the other  CO2-related posts in this blog.

    29 January 2010

    Eaton Ford (day) - Kingdom loving

    Today we discussed aspects of our lives and interests in connection with church life. Roger, for example, with his interest in model aircraft is in contact with a number of friends that he can share with and pray for. Stained glass showing Bernard of ClairvauxPaul is in touch with a variety of people, neighbours, ex-army mates and contacts through the Acorn group. We all agree that church is not just going to a place once a week but is about community in the place where we live.

    Paul, Roger and I demonstrated Church of Two (CO2) for David. He could see the potential value right away and wanted to read more about it online.

    David and Roger both have an interest in seeing living communities of faith growing in the Offords and we talked about this for a while. We also prayed together, partly for the hopes and needs that were expressed through CO2 and partly for the Offords. We know that Father has a plan for each of us and for our effectiveness in sharing Jesus' life with others. We can't do it ourselves - he must do it through us.

    David referred to Bernard of Clairvaux's treatise 'On Loving God' in which he describes a 'ladder' of love. The steps are first 'loving self for self's sake', then 'loving God for self's sake', thirdly 'loving God for God's sake', and finally 'loving self for God's sake'. The Bishop of Huntingdon, David Thomson, wrote about this recently in his blog. The original passage from Bernard of Clairvaux's work is in Chapter XV.

    We were all encouraged in sharing these things together.

    28 January 2010

    Eaton Ford - seeing or experiencing?

    Sean and I talked about our lives, the need for outreach, the value of CO2, Beach sceneand the potential usefulness of summarising what he's been showing us month by month.

    Sean shared how he has been looking towards Jesus with an increasing desire to seek him and his kingdom, know his desire and leading, and find a way of doing it. He saw a picture in which the Spirit was moving and leaving a light trail of footprints. The footprints were not visible, they were spiritual footprints across the land. He said that he believes the Lord is trying to wake the United Kingdom up because it is sleeping and time is short.

    We talked through a variety of topics and how they relate to the Lord and to church life. These included creation, evolution, fundamental particles, energy, and the sheer wonder of it all. How awesome is our Creator King! We also shared news about our families.

    Jim arrived later after another meeting. We continued the conversation and considered the value of reading the Bible as well as some things concerning the work at Moggerhanger Park.

    Jim shared a picture of a beautiful beach with only a couple of people on it, the sort of image you might see in a travel brochure. He said, 'But it's only a picture. Until you feel the sunshine on your skin and feel the sand between your toes you haven't really experienced it. Seeing it in a brochure or on the TV screen isn't the same - not even close! And it's the same with experiencing life in the Spirit.'


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