Sunday, October 04, 2015

Jean Smith

This account told by Nicky Gumbel in my BiOY notes this morning struck me as worth sharing:

Jean Smith told me her story. She was in her mid-sixties. She came from Cwmbran in Wales. She had been blind for sixteen years. She had a white stick, and a guide dog named Tina. An infection had eaten away at the retinas and mirrors behind her eyes – they could not be replaced. She was in constant pain.

Jean went on a local Alpha course. They had a day away to focus on the work of the Holy Spirit. During this time, the pain left. She went to church the following Sunday to thank God. The minister anointed her with oil. As she wiped the oil away she could see the communion table. God had miraculously healed Jean.

She had not seen her husband for sixteen years. She was surprised at how white his beard was! Jean had never even seen her daughter-in-law before. Her six-and-a-half-year-old grandson used to guide her around the puddles to avoid her getting her feet wet.

He said to her, ‘Who done that Gran?’
She replied, ‘Jesus made me better.’
‘I hope you said thank you, Gran.’
‘I will never stop saying thank you,’ she answered.

Friday, October 02, 2015

The hammer

'Only if we hammer home the gospel, that we are loved sinners in Christ- so loved that we don't have to despair when we do wrong, so sinful that we have no right to be puffed up when we do right- can we help our listeners escape the spirituality bipolar world of moralism'

Keller, Preaching, Page 62

Thursday, October 01, 2015

What is great preaching?

'.....the difference between a bad sermon and a good sermon is mainly the responsibility of the preacher, the difference between good preaching and great preaching lies mainly in the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the listener as well as the preacher'

'Preaching: Communicating faith in an age of scepticism' by Tim Keller, Page 11

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Help for the refugee

A crowd of folk in our church and other churches + some local schools have been wonderfully mobilized to respond to the Syrian crisis and generated two truck loads of aid. Praise God. I spotted this which sets the crisis in its context.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Praying the Bible

'For thirty centuries, God's people have found in the Psalms an answer to the disciples' plea, "Lord teach us to pray"

Ken Langley quoted in 'Praying the Bible', Page 81

As a lad growing up, my family went to church. As far as I knew, no one else had parents who took them to church which made this a lone penance among my peers. As a result, I have the BCP communion service in my DNA and many hours of form in cold and dreary churches across the land. Oh, and not forgetting I am now a Priest in the C of E.

Church for me was all about the timing- much like staring at the clock in double maths waiting for break time- I always knew that once we had sung the Psalm we had turned for home and Sunday lunch was coming into view. On the hymn board, the Psalm was always in red and was sung to an incomprehensible tune where the notes changed at random word by word but never was a melody forthcoming.  

Wonderfully, years after I had long given given up on church attendance the Holy Spirit hunted me down and saved me. Despite this, I still never really got on with the Psalms- haunted by the Red number keeping me from lunch- and I still couldn't fathom what they were for. That is, until a seminar on our church weekend run by Ann Coles opened them up to me as she told me the Psalms were meant for prayer. I remember the 40 mins we spent together as though it were yesterday where she demonstrated how to pray by praying Psalm 27. Those 40 mins were transformational for me.

Here's my point. This little book will do for you what Ann Coles did for me 13 years ago. It is the simplest and most straightforward of books and I recommend reading it a chapter or two a day over a week. All you need to do is do what it says and if you do, I guarantee, you will become the praying man or woman you were formed in your mothers womb to be.