Sunday, October 28, 2007

Glory Revealed



This is the most uplifting set of worship songs I have heard in ages. I have been listening to it constantly for the last few weeks and it's well worth getting hold of. Food for the singing soul.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Alone

I was preparing a sermon on a fairly tricky passage in Luke 4. Half-way through I chatted with my friend David in Lewes and he drew my attention to Luke 5:16 which reads ....'But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed'...It struck me this morning that instead of spending all my time busy and reading commentaries I might take the Masters example and go off to a lonely place and pray. It does say the word 'OFTEN' which is somthing of a clue.

I have been going to the same lonely place for 15 years ( it in fact isn't that lonely as it is a park and on occasions is rather full of children and dogs!). The important thing is to be alone and I was cetainly that. I took my bible, journal and finished off a book I started yesterday called 'Strengthen yourself in the Lord' by Bill Johnson. It was a fruitful time and good reminder that I am not ordained to charge about all the time but to take time to pray and seek God and to remember the word OFTEN.

Perhaps that's where Jesus got his power.....now there's a thought for my sermon.

Jesus Ministry Conference in Fulham

Last week a number of us from HT went to pray for folk at a conference at Christchurch Fulham. As some know, I went to Tacoma in July with my pal Peter who is a Vicar in Canada. We had an incredible time and were mightily blessed. Fortunately, you don't have to go all the way to the US as the same conference was put on in London so some 250 people attended. Praying for people is the greatest priviledge and our faithful gang prayed together with people from 12 other churches and it seemed to be a blessing.

The amazing thing is that this is a word of mouth witness to the goodness of God. It is not 'the latest thing' and is by no means the solution to the Chrsitian life in 4 days. However, it is life-changing in simply reclaiming some of the basic doctrines of the faith such as repentance. If you get the chance I would commend this as a fruitful way to spend four days, but be warned it is an unglamourous journey of discovering your sin and thankfully and wonderfully being gradually set free from it.

Thanks to all for all their efforts in putting it on and thanks especially to the crowd in Fulham who gave themselves selflessly all week.

Tim Keller at All Souls



Last week I listened to a great American preacher who is one person who I think really understands the gospel and preaches it faithfully. He was speaking at All Souls and offered the assembled company much food for thought. I have listened to hundreds of Keller's sermons over the years and they have truly fed my soul. I first discovered him when a lady at St Barnabas gave me a tape of his. I was so impressed I searched the net until I found his church which is called Redeemer New York. I bought a series of talks on James and have nver looked back. Things have come on in recent years and you can now download them on MP3 and they have about 20 talks free on-line of you want a sampler. The series I have enjoyed most are 'Daring to draw near, Galations and 'The Real Jesus'.

www.redeemer.com

Check Keller out....

Friday, October 05, 2007

Questions for parents to ask kids

I often read a blog written by Steve McCoy to keep in touch with things in American church. On his blog recently he was describing some questions that a Pastor friend of his asks their children. It struck me that it wouldn't have ever occurred to my folks to be such emotionally communicative beings, it was a think not something their generation really did and I never expected them to, but these questions seemed to be quite good ones so I share them for use or rejection as you discern. They are obviously the questions a Pastor asks his kids but they can be used by anybody seeking to be an authentic parent to their kids.

Here are the questions. I think they are helpful:

How are your devotions?
What is God teaching you?
In your own words, what is the gospel?
Is there a specific sin you’re aware of that you need my help defeating?
Are you more aware of my encouragement or my criticism?
What’s daddy most passionate about?
Do I act the same at church as I do when I’m at home?
Are you aware of my love for you?
Is there any way I’ve sinned against you that I’ve not repented of?
Do you have any observations for me?
How am I doing as a dad?
How have Sunday’s sermons impacted you?
Does my relationship with mom make you excited to be married?
(On top of these things, with my older kids, I’m always inquiring about their relationship with their friends and making sure God and his gospel are the center of those relationship. And I look for every opportunity to praise their mother and increase their appreciation and love for her.)

Hope these are helpful to some.

Tough Choices



This is the book that Bill Hybels (Pastor of Willow Creek a mega-church in Chicago) bought for all 25 of his key leaders and insisted they read. I am half way through it and have to say I agree with Bill. Perhaps, because I worked for so long in business and understand well the environment of big companies (by no means to such I high level in my case) this is perhaps more interesting to me than to others. She tracks each stage of her education, her advance through the high-tech indistry and the pressures on leaderships of becoming the most successful business woman in America. She says lots of interesting things and comes across as capable, sincere, driven and extremly intelligent.

Here's a few of her thoughts:

'That night, after I'd cried long enough. I made a decision. I would not cry again over others predjudice. Sure, what people thought or said about me might hurt What people did might hurt as well, but I ould not carry their narrow-mindedness or bias as my burden. Life isn't always fair, and it is different for women than for men. I decided to accept that reality and refuse to be diminished by it. I would accomplish all I was capable of. I would concentrate on-doing what I believed where the right things for the right reasons to the best of my ability. Some, perhaps even many, might believe I couldn't or shouldn't, do what I choose. That would be their problem, not mine. They would not wound me again. I had decided once that my life was my own. Now I decided my heart would be my own as well' [page 70]

'Goals are important, but that night I realized that life is about the journey, not the destination. The steps along the way are what makes us who we are' [page 85]

'I have believed all my life that leadership has nothing to do with title or position. Leadership is about the integrity of one's charachter, the calibre of one's cababilities, and the effectiveness of one's collaboration with others. Anyone can lead from anywhere at any time. I have seen people lead from lowly as well as lofty positions...'

I am part of a book club and recommended this to them as our next read. It was soundly rejected so, not one to give up, I recommend it to all as one to put on the suitcase for the half-term holiday and see how you like it. I think it's truly inspiring stuff but feel free to disagree.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

State of play


I use the Amazon DVD rental thing that allow you to rent over the net. I came across a programme called 'State of play which was a six part drama done by the BBC a few years ago. It was a great surprise to find a British drama that really was very very good so I recommend you hunt it out and give it a watch. It is about an investigative journalist who sniffs out political corruption and we follow all sorts of avenues of intrigue to a tremendous conclusion. Bill Nighy as the Editor of the newspapers is superb.

Back pain

I put my back out on Sunday morning doing an all-age sermon. I had to pick up a bag of sand and didn't realise it was so heavy. Hazards of the job I guess! It was part of our harvest service and one incident really made me laugh. At one point in the service all the kids from the local primary school had to bring there gifts to the front of church ( you know the sort of thing -tins, corn on the cob. tesco's tuna....). One little boy was late so he was ushered to the front reluctantly clutching a bag and asked to present his offerering. Trevor who was collecting things together at the front was surprised when the little boy leant forward and whispered that he didn't want to give his bag. Why? Trevor asked. " Because it's not food Rev Petterson- it's my football kit!" The danger of the presumptions of adults!

Spent yesterday in bed but got bored so got up and did some stuff. As a consequence still have a sore back which is not exactly surprising.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Leadership

I went to a conference on Friday which was the Bill Hybels leadership summit. I went free and so it was a sort of 'nice to know' kind of day. Unquestionably, Hybels is an amazing leader and today I read his new book 'Holy Discontent'. Good stuff if you are looking for fresh vision or working out how to make the most of the things Giod has given you. His invited speakers were also stimulating and inspiring. If Hybel had one book to commend to us it was the memoir of 'Carly Fiorina' who was the ex-CEO of HP and it is also a good read. Quite a woman. The most thought-provoking talk was a business guru called Marcus Buckingham who has a thesis that you need to leverage your strenghts not work on you weaknesses. Check him out on Youtube. All told not a bad way to spend the day.