Facebook offers eternal life!

Recently in my preaching I have been reminding people of their place in heaven (eg that they have one). In funerals I talk of the room Jesus prepares, a room of peace, healing and eternally in Gods presence.

Whilst on Facebook, I read a status update on a page of a colleague of mine, who used to work for Samaritans with me. I hadn’t heard from my Facebook friend for sometime, and began to read her sisters post, and as I read, I discovered something, that actually my friend died over a year ago. I knew she had been ill but hadn’t realised how ill. The post itself finished simply “stating another Christmas without you! Missing you.”

I saw Facebook in a new way, it offers those of faith and of none, a place to hold onto a loved one, speaking to them, in some kind of digital eternity. If I didn’t believe in heaven, this would be a source of comfort, to help me hold onto them.

But the heaven of the bible is not a kind of digital status chamber. It’s living, in a new way, its I believe, vibrant and colourful, we become fully as god intended, we are made whole. We won’t be stuck with ageing bodies but ones that are new and eternally ageless. I am reassured that scripture doesn’t say anything about eternal church services, heavenly worship will be so much more, much much more.

Turning off your beloveds Facebook or Twitter account, or the digital footprint they leave behind, has become one of those big decisions, like when to get rid of their clothes. Or delete their emails.

Holding onto the digital footprint of your loved one has the potential to be helpful and destructive, holding onto God as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and trusting eternal designs to him. Is where I find peace, for my friend who died, and for those whom I miss.

A Little Bit Of Patience

As we pray how often do we expect and indeed want instant answers to our prayer requests? It is hard when we have to wait, when this doesn’t happen, doubt can creep in and uncertainty about whether God cares. But perhaps sometimes, we need to take a longer view. Have you ever considered whether or not you are ready for what you prayed for?

Are we ready for the responsibility, of wealth, marriage, children, that awesome job or something else. Is there perhaps some thing in, God not answering immediately, that God is trying to actually say something. Could he be saying we aren’t ready? Or there is something else I need you to do before you will get your hearts desire, if your hearts desire is his of course!

Some numbers, 5 years ago I prayed to become a father, and am radically different to what I was all those years ago, the journey has made me better prepared as a parent. 10 years ago I prayed and felt called to be an ordained minister and that took a very long time indeed, but no doubt a better minister for it. (At least I hope so!!)

Just because God doesn’t answer something straight away, doesn’t mean he won’t answer it in his own time. and as you wait, after you have given that hoped for prize to God and said that prayer, try to get on with your life, because living your life might be just what God wants you to do, so through this living, you might find he answers your prayer after all.

Lord give me the courage to be patient, the wisdom to see the big picture, and openness to allow you to search me and mould me as we journey onwards. Amen

A Brown Taped Bible

A Brown Taped Bible

Sitting across from me is a bible. I know it’s a bible, because of where I am, but if I was somewhere else like a coffee shop or library I wouldn’t be sure. This bible isn’t shiny or new, it’s bent from usage, it has seen hard times. The cover mended so many times, it’s now completely covered in brown tape obscuring its title and its potential.

I wonder if you or I might be a little like this bible, bruised and battered, tired and weary, needing rather than another strip of tape to patch us up, instead we long for renewal.

Underneath the tape of that covered bible sitting on the table, beats the heart of the living God and that is no different for us, who are bound in tape. We know the riches of Gods word, we know the inner reassurance of his presence (I pray), just somewhere along the way, tiredness has crept in, weariness as settled on our spirits and we have forgotten?

Perhaps forgotten to look up, to look up into our heavenly fathers eyes and see our reflection, and let him breathe into us his refreshing spirit. That our bonds might fall away. That we might again walk on the edge with God holding onto his hand seeing others how he needs us too, being ready to speak his word bringing refreshing, renewal and challenge.

So my prayer…
Lord God, send your renewing spirit, where cynicism had left us cracked and dry, where life has left us jaded, thirsty and hungry, cloth us once again with power from on high. Fill us with your refreshing, that our journey might be a source of inspiration, our words reflect your mercy and grace, and help us to live anew whilst holding your hand.
Amen

Paralympics

I have followed the Olympics closely, loved every moment, followed the event via twitter, and it’s apps, as well as followed it on the. I am somewhat disillusioned by the quality of cover I find for the sister to the Olympics, the Paralympics. I can’t say I have watched it before, but I find that the Olympic apps don’t provide coverage but there are separate apps, which don’t seem as easy to navigate.

My mum is disabled as is my father in-law, I myself have an hearing impairment, so I perhaps am sensitive may be overly so, to what as I see as a subtle and not so subtle difference in the response between the Olympics and Paralympics.

After all paralympians have to train as hard as their Olympian counterparts and have to in some sports manage their disability and aides and still focus 100% on competing competitively both individually as well as in a team.

Have you noticed that when a Paralympican is announced so is their disability, Olympians don’t get that experience. Olympians can have wall to wall coverage by British media, their brother and sisters in sport find that there coverage is minimal.

Yet both men and women are apparently valued equally, if this is the case i would love to live in a society that showed it, that didn’t just speak or legislate but live equality. The kind of equality Jesus showed, to young and old men and women, disabled and able bodied he simply called all to follow him and showed then how. Even though the church doesn’t sometimes discriminate, I find that the love of God doesn’t, after all how could God discriminate against his own image, in which we are made.

Biblical Meat Cleavers!

John 3:14-21

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. ”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it maybe seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Tough passage to read, even tougher to hear standing next to my non believing friends as a preacher shouts it, in anger. Did John imagine that this passage might be used as a scriptural meat cleaver by some, to carve up humanity? As I read the passage I cant, not hear the anger, because that’s how I have heard it read by others, a grand judgement and tearing apart of humanity. I wonder could John be writing for an effect or some reaction, to compel his readers, to find and know God, just as advertisers do today, connecting with our base motivations, anxieties and fears, for the product they want us to buy.

As I read more closely, I have in mind the God, who sent his son to die for all, and the declaration by one of Jesus disciples, that the love of God is not something you can be separated from, neither in death nor life, or demons or angels… I discover, buried in the words of judgement, an image, of the non believer who despite “standing condemned for their unbeliefare not made to grovel before God in fear, aren’t prostrate, nor are in chains. Yet they stand, with the company of Heaven before God. I imagine shoulder to shoulder with the so called saved, as we wait for heavens mercy poured out on us. As it was on the cross and cave.

We will each stand before the Lord as people who have all denied Jesus Christ in some way. Who have not let him into every area, corner, or crevice of our lives. We, like the disciples of old, have not always listened to, or allowed ourselves to be lead by the living God.

Collectively humanity, is scattered on the road between complete unbelief and face to face with Jesus. Yes there is a clear choice, but lets not forget whose in charge, in my view, of deciding eternal things. It isn’t you, or me, or the church, but Jesus. Lets remember as we speak to others of the grace and love of God. That the one we worship, treated unbelievers and believers alike with dignity, mercy and love. Whether they were before him on the mountain when they were hungry and were feed regardless of their number or level of faith, in the streets needing help and received healing as they needed it, around the meal table, as a rejected people drawn to Jesus, because he connected with them, or in the persons home at a bedside of someone who was sick, discovering restoration.

Lord God give me the quality of mercy for others that comes from your heart, rather than my own. Amen

Please do consider, following this blog either via email or clicking the link in the menu bar, so that you can keep uptodate as I try to post a few times a week. Also please do leave comments, it would be great to hear what people think. Cheers…

 

How Time Fly’s

It has been a while since I posted last! Some one noted that my blogs are getting shorter and shorter, which relates to time, in that I never seem to have enough of it! I fear that I have become a slave to time promising to people, optimistically, that busyness wouldn’t overwhelm me but it has.

Though just at the minute I feel though I am coming up for air, placing (or trying to) prayer at the centre of what I do, rather than my diary. It was a good lesson to learn, the other is this that before i am Reverend, or church leader, or even husband, I am indeed and fully a disciple of Jesus.

disciple who wrestles like any one else, with work life balance, a disciple who doesn’t all ways get it right or pray enough or read the bible enough. A disciple who has been given huge responsibility which he tries to live up to, and trusting that the lord hasn’t made a mistake in sending me! ministry is pretty awesome really, I can go from comforting a widow to visiting the sick and then jumping around like a loon at messy church, but God is present in all those occasions, same God, comforter, helper, and a God who loves life in all its fullness.

Early skirmishes with the schedule

Just a brief update today. My battle rages on with my schedule, it is now 2010. Am hoping that for a quiter February,  hoping thr is here and its all a bit hetic, My aim for this next little while is to regulate my time better, not try and run at light speed all the time. This may mean spending time with my wife more, relaxing with good friends and playing on my xbox and watching TV a little less, well I’ll give it a go, it is lent soon after all!

December And Still Swimming

Hi readers, (if there is any one actually reading of course) I am nearly 3 months, over 400 emails in and am still smiling. There have been moments of stress and over work, and exasperation at my general rubbishness at diary management, I have also been ill and lost a weeks work at the beginning of December, just when I didn’t need to!

In summary I am still a newbie at this malarkey, but and am working hard. God has been good to me and I know his nearness. I hope people have enjoyed and been challenged as I have worked for and with them. My hope is that in the past few months people have perhaps, in a small way, grown in God and that this thing people call their ministry is actually bearing some fruit in the lives of others.

Alongside the work I am reminded of the need to walk closely with God though this can be hard at times with so many distractions!
Merry Christmas

Andy

Diary Melts

 

Hi readers, is it November already!?! This ministry ride is very intense, I am keeping up, but am surprised my diary hasn’t melted with its intensive use. I had meant to post more regularly but my schedule is crazy and finding time is tough. Yet despite the three funerals this week and lack of prep time for preaching or indeed anything! I am still loving working for the church, and just beginning to sniff out what the lords plan might be here, which is exciting, I need to keep listening to people, to hear what the lord is saying as well take time out with the boss.

On a completely other tack I am trying to work out at the gym to try to lose some of my winter blubber, its tough but I must keep going.

speak soon

bye

First Steps

I begin this first post at the near beginning of my new role. As Methodist minister of three churches, GodLifeChurch is a blog that will chart the progression as I live out my faith in Jesus, and attempt to encourage others to do so as well. My hope above all that as much as writing this down will help me in the harder times, that it might be an encouragement to my readers, as well.
The first 30 days of looking after 3 churches, has been exhausting, intense and hectic, but through it all and there is a strong sense of being were God wants me to be and that’s amazing as well as comforting.As I have progressed through these early days, the thing that has surprised me is lack of time to prepare for services, and how much other good and great things I have to find time for. There are stewards meetings, church councils, planning meetings, kids groups to visit, people to visit, decisions to make and so on and so on.

My three churches are lovely and largely welcoming, and for some strange reason I can’t quite figure out, God has called me to take care of them. To love and nurture them and draw them closer to him and as we journey together in the years to come i hope to get to know them better still.

One of the things I wrestle with is, how much of ministry is personality and how much is God.  “Be myself” was the mantra i left college with ringing in my ears along with lots of other useful bits of information. Though honestly,  am not sure what that really means, because surely we need to emulate God’s holiness , not in a pious, holier than though religious sense. But we need become an example for others, a sign post that points out Jesus in the back yards of people’s lives.

Maybe I am naive and new and will look back at this post and think stupid ideals or perhaps I will just delete it!  I want to know how  to point people to God, to help them find him, become open to him and give God space to transform their lives and not for me to get in the way, by being a showman in worship or making silly jokes or any of the many quirkiness’ that I possesses. I guess I will continue to wrestle with were Andy ends and God begins for some time yet!

1 17 18
%d bloggers like this: