Monday, December 09, 2019

Monday musing

1. I hope you are deciding how to vote and are speaking constructively to others. Our church hall turns into a polling station which seems to have happened rather a lot recently. My sermon yesterday was my last in a series we've been in all year on 1 Cor.  I shared that I have been praying Mich 6:8 during this season and you have to decide who you feel (however inadequately) can best deliver justice in this land.  Politicians show a widespread inability to be honest with facts and crazy with finances. McDonnell questioned by Marr about the WASPI women and how he proposed to pay for this, given it's not in his 'fully-costed grey book', replied '....with headroom'. Marr responded while frowning saying 'It's the equivalent to 3/4 of the current education budget'. Oh said McDonnell when told it would cost 59bn and we only have 6bn in reserves. 'We'll borrow it then.'  Similarly, Johnson asked about HS2 costs this morning said they were north of 100bn when currently they are forecast at 82bn.  If any of us ran our personal finances like this we'd be in penury.

2. The BBC has an interesting post about unity.

3. Lots of vicar pals had their Carol Services yesterday. I think it's a bit early but there you go.....

4. This song might be one we sing a bit over Christmas

5. Interesting C of E thought for this election

6. I will be preaching on 1 John 1:1-4 at our Carol Service.

7. Someone who our church is putting through St Mellitus wanted something to help her with Church History. I gave her the six DVD set called 'The History of Christianity'.  You'll do well to find a better overview than this so put it on your Christmas list.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Ten thoughts for a Tuesday

1.  Recently, I shared the not very profound insight about the C of E that if you keep doing what you are doing you will keep getting what you're getting. Mark Sayers book 'Reappearing church' shares this sentiment and captures lots of the material from his podcast This Cultural Moment. It's an important book. We are planning to use it as a read for our early morning pastors prayer group. Buy this book, read the first chapter, follow the suggestion that you select some people to gather with who want renewal and then commit to actually gathering. I have discovered over thirty years that the kingdom comes to those who turn up. Church- we need to raise our game, get accountable, start to pray earnestly and trust in God to move his hand. BBC news website today tells me child poverty is on track to reach 34% by 2023. Blue, Red or Yellow are not going to sort this fractured land- the gospel is. Awake o sleeper.....


We will not experience renewal by following the same patterns of life and ministry that are not delivering renewal

(Reappearing church: The Hope of Renewal in the Rise of Our Post Christian Culture, Page 11)

2. David Keen hits a political observational nail on the head with this post about 'Families'  and a post on marriage discrimination.

3.  Someone in our church family told me that this book might very well be changing their life. They have only read half of it so we laughed together and we agreed we'd reserve judgement until she's actually finished it.

4. If you know a better story to illustrate the reality that we belong to God then do let me know. I read it to church on Sunday and made myself and everyone else cry.  It's on pages 81-84 of 'Proof'. Read out in the context of the gospel and I would beg to suggest it's hard for someone not to get  saved - it might even be you  :)
Image result for proof montgomery"

5. A kid at school has been giving our son an occasional hard time. We've all been praying for them. Today, by the providence of God, the mum of the child asked me to drop the them at their class as she was rushing to work. As we waited outside the classroom, Christmas came on the agenda which is apparently about elves and Santa.  I said simply 'Christmas is all about Jesus and it's amazing that God is alive, he's come to us and his name is Jesus'. She pondered this thought and said, beaming, 'Christmas is Jesus' birthday'. In that brief moment, I felt I'd got one over on the elves...

6. My daily devotional is 'Seeking God's Face'. It has a prologue written by Eugene Peterson that I happened to read for the first time. It moved me and if you read it might move you too.


Yesterday, someone arrived at the Vicarage door who has been around the edges of our church since I planted it. They said 'I am sorry I don't come very often but your a good Vicar and the Vicarette is fantastic. I'm not sure how you describe her [Vicarette will do].....Anyway, I took this photo and have been meaning to frame it and give it to you for ages. Your church is doing a good thing'. That was quite encouraging.

8.  Someone else arrive on the doorstep who was homeless. We invited her in, made her a cup of tea, heard the story, shared the gospel, prayed for her, booked the hostel, gave her the Vicarette's favourite coat, and then, as she was leaving, I sensed the half read book by my bedside was for her not me. At very least, the subtitle resonated with her.

Image result for manna farrar"

9. I am planning to read a very thin book called 'Creative Minority' today.

10.  I heard Bishop Nazir Ali speak on Saturday who had many reflections on the state of the C of E. His big idea was hospitality and I felt prompted to buy a book that's been on my radar for ages. Why not invite someone into your home for a meal and see what happens.....
The Gospel Comes with a House Key: A Book Review

Luke 24.....'did not the word of God burn within us while we were with Him'

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wednesday musing

1.  I have been listening to the sermon series 'A missional life' by Jon Tyson. The teaching of Suzy Silk is also worth checking out and I was blessed by her message on Micah 6:8. I have also been listening to one of the worship songs they have in their canon.

2.  I said I'd let you know on news of the thing that I've been working on that might have happened. It hasn't, which is a shame and feels like nine months of prayer, ideas, potential and effort down the swanny. However, I've been doing this long enough to know nothing is wasted in the kingdom. Did I mention this post and that I wrote 'Why plant churches?' 8 years ago? In it, I quoted Ruth Gledhill who wrote this in the Times:

'Some senior clergy believe the entire parish system could be at risk. They have warned that, with as many as four out of ten clergy due to retire within the next decade, the next ten years are crucial in determining whether the Church of England survives as a visible entity or turns into "little more than a sect" run by unpaid volunteers.' 

The Times, 2011

As I look from time to time at Thinking Anglican's (where I discover who's been appointed to the see of this or that) I can't help being reminded that if you keep doing what you're are doing you will keep getting what you getting. Keeping on with a 'more of the same' process is fine if you are looking to curate a museum, but not if you are seeking to usher in the things of the kingdom of God. Or in Cranmer speak 'to declare the gospel afresh to this generation' which is as I understood it is the call upon the church of this land. I heard someone in the upper echelons of oversight of the good old C of E say recently that '....we're about to go over the edge of the cliff'. On Ruth Gledhill's 'a decade to go' timetable we have a year or so left to run so maybe, just maybe, it's time we cracked on.

3.  I have started writing more in my journal. I used to journal all the time but someone this discipline got lost in everything else. I've pulled Ron Klug's 'How to keep a spiritual journal' off the shelf again to inspire me.

4. John Mark Comer's book on hurry is all the rage at the moment and it's a reworking of Ortberg's 'The life you always wanted'. I'm enjoying it and it's helpful on the spiritual disciplines. The older I get I see the bright young things of the day simply discover the basics of the faith and repackage them for their generation. It was ever thus.

5.  'The Marriage Story' looks like an interesting but painful watch.

6. Charlie Mackesy is number one in the Times bestsellers with this book. A gift idea for Christmas?

And here he is speaking about Christmas....

7. A couple of blog posts from J John as we approach the election.

a. What wrong with the country?
b. .....And what can we do about it?