Sunday, May 31, 2015

If you watch one thing....

Mothercare is not a place you want to go at the best of times but when the tills have broken it is a truly horrifying experience :(

My pick of the moment from LC15 was the interview with Raniero Cantalamesa and more specifically at the end the incredible testimony of Paul, a Zambian convict on death row, who became a Christian on Alpha. His smile when he speaks of Jesus was my moment of the week. You should show it in your churches and send it to friends. Amazing story.

If you like leadership and churchy links then Brandon Cox who works for Rick Warren has '177 links for Leaders, Readers and Creatives'. Maybe there is something among them with your name in on it for your church, your ministry or your devotional life that might be an encouragement or a blessing. Unsurprisingly, I haven't had a chance to read any of them....

Mrs C gave me this for my birthday and it's brilliant. A whole cookery book full of chicken recipes and I have remarkably managed to cook the Parsee Chicken from it which was easy and is spectacular. We had supper at 11.30pm which is presumably a normal eating time for parents of babies. This quote from Michael Hyatt's excellent blog has stuck with me....


Friday, May 29, 2015

New life and other bits and bobs

Readers of the blog visit for a link or two and a bit and a bob that I post about. It seems appropriate to let you all know John William Cooke was born on May 14th 2015. After a very challenging start everyone is now doing well.

Chasing Francis will always have a place in my heart because it was the book I read when the well-being of our son lay in the unknown for a couple of days.

The LC15 talks an now up and lots to check out and download. Nicky Gumbel's talk on unity is an important listen and click about on the others that strike you. Joyce Meyer's interview and story is powerful and I enjoyed Robert Madu's word about the futility of comparison.

After all the words written about Ireland and gay marriage it was interesting to read 'As a gay atheist, I want to see the church oppose same-sex marriage'

We missed our own church weekend at which Ele Mumford spoke and the talks are really worth listening to, as is the excellent word from Adam Rylett (now AV here in Barnes) on 1 Cor 13. Challenging, winsome and true. Preaching that blesses. 

I've started reading Gavin Esler's book 'Lessons from the top' which ia friend in our church lent me. It's a book about the link between leading and the stories we tell.

I have also been reading A Grief Sanctified.

Books about babies are full of largely unsubstantiated theories and are bought entirely by the desperate (us). I have read three in the last week and they all say different and contradictory things. Babies basically poo, sleep and cry and working out the relationship between the three is what's called parenthood:) Mrs C is doing a truly amazing job. We have found First Time Parent to be a good general read with an author who seems to be rooted in practical common sense. When I am done with this phase I might add to the canon of baby literature! Many say I have a book in me. 

John cries marginally less when we play him this but my singing along is less appreciated.

R T Kendall has written 'A letter to the UK church'

This article caught my eye 'Why do people hate Jews and Judiasm'

I enjoyed this post of Dallas Willard quotes and particularly liked this one:

……...'the aim is not to be Right:
That’s why so many churches have “Grace” in their name. Not many people want to go to “Right Church,” but we’ll gladly go to “Grace Church.” I’ve been to Right Church you may have been there too—it’s a tough place. There are a lot of dead people at Right Church, because life comes by grace

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Italians, Tortilla and being One

It does rather annoy me when I go to a conference and then it take ages to put the media up or, even worse, they charge you to have it or simply forget. The reason this annoys me is that I am, as you may have gathered, a resource investigator and love passing stuff on to others. A 'Resource investigator' is a Belbin descriptor that is something like this:

'Resource Investigators are innovative and curious. They explore available options, develop contacts, and negotiate for resources on behalf of the team. They are enthusiastic team members, who identify and work with external stakeholders to help the team accomplish its objective. They are outgoing and are often extroverted, meaning that others are often receptive to them and their ideas.
On the downside, they may lose enthusiasm quickly, and are often overly optimistic'
I am wondering if I am both an enthusiasm vacuum and/ or 'often overly optimistic'? Probably guilty as charged, but others will tell you better than I :)

The theme of LC15 was unity and ever since I have been wondering what unity is supposed to look like (at this point I would have linked to Nicky's excellent talk and will do when it's up). I was asking the lovely bunch of pastors I pray with every Wednesday this question only this morning. 
A good example of some thing we Christians are apt to get in 'two and eight' about is women preaching/leading/being Bishops. Andrew Wilson has responded to Tom Schreiner on this subject which makes for an interesting and detailed debate between some very clever theology wonks. 

With the timely help of 'Chasing Francis' I have also been exploring more what Catholics believe. Just as I am reflecting on Vincent Nichols and Justin Welby having their mutual appreciation moment in the Albert Hall along comes a book that challenges, pokes, softens and awakens me to lots of my own prejudices and questions about Roman Catholicism. It's a great read.
When I've not been reading this I've been reading Giorgio Locatelli's wonderful cookbook called Made in Italy:Food and Stories. For lunch, I cooked a Pea and Mint tortilla from here which, whilst not in Locatelli, was inspired by the delicious looking tortilla in our local Italian deli which I sat working in this morning.

Talking of getting talks up pronto, my Vicar pal Matt has got the excellent Holy Spirit and the Local church talk Mike P gave on Monday up that I took a few folk to. It's well worth a listen-especially what Mike says right at the start about the local church. It's all very encouraging.
St Alban's Fulham is such a wonderful local church and you should recommend it to friends who are not yet Christians and live in that neck of the woods so they can check it out. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday musing

We could sit about and wait for our baby but we've decided to go and listen to Mike Pilavachi tonight!

We have our church weekend coming up with Ele Mumford speaking.

I found a lovely Iranian couple outside our church last night taking a photo by our church sign. I introduced myself and they told me their church (8000 members) friend in Seattle told them they must visit HT Barnes. I asked if they were absolutely sure it was us and not the church in Kensington with a similarly lettered name with a congregation of 5000. Ah...........As it turned out, while they still had time  to visit HTB they gamely decided to stay and enjoyed our slightly more intimate service. Mansour works for Sat7 and we had an very interesting chat about his work and Captive in Iran.

Talking of larger churches it's interesting what God is doing in Milton Keynes

I am reading a fictional story of a man who loses his faith pastoring a megachurch and then finds it again through the story of Francis. The book is called Chasing Francis and as I read it I have in mind the many down the years who, for one reason or another, have given up or felt defeated in their faith.

Someone recently commented that they like our church 'because it's small' which I have been musing on. Yancey thinks 'Small is large'

It's interesting to ponder pursing four inner rings via Dash House

Papers better.

Piper, Schreiner and Andrew Wilson are debating whether women can preach in church or not. I am with Wilson.

Two men in deep need arrived at church yesterday afternoon. The church will I believe be increasingly called to step into the gap in the austerity years to come.

Getting by on $84m.

I am gleaning so many things from Owen Jones' book and whilst I am not a socialist I can't help but think something in the election result smells a wee bit fishy. David Keen has an 'Election Reflection' so does Neil Powell. And another very gloomy political outlook posted by a pal entitled 'The only way is down' which caused lots of chatter on his Facebook page.

I read this post 'I quietly admitted God had won' and 'Total Truth' has now gone on my wish list.

We all chatted about the floating light bulb over lunch yesterday. Now this is a room with a view.

Basically, apply the golden rule....
h/t Ann Voskamp

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Unity, Preaching, Books and Thoughts

We spent Monday and Tuesday with 10K pastors and leaders @ LC15

Lots of thought and notes and I will post the talks when they are up. The theme was 'Unity'.

Cookie junior is due today but no sign so far. Pray they arrive soon.

Books on my radar after listening to all the talks: Fierce conversations and Soul Keeping

Joyce Meyer was very much new to me and has by all accounts had a huge impact on Nicky Gumbel. I thought she had some good things to share and has apparently written 106 books. I thought I might read one of them but am not sure which one to pick?

Joyce taught on love which is a hard thing to be against. She had four practical ways that we can show love to our neighbour:

1. Pray for them
2. Listen to them
3. Compliment and encourage them
4. Meet a practical need

I'm not sure Tim Keller podcasts Joyce but he has recently taught on 'Preaching to the heart' (which she does rather well by the way)

Justin Welby spoke yesterday to the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Driscoll is re-emerging and you can here what he actually said here. It is in my view too soon for any return to ministry.

Vincent Nichols had a phrase that was then much quoted by many about Bishops.

'Bishops should smell of the sheep'

I enjoyed listening to Raniero Cantelamesa although thought his delivery was a tad dry. This sentence has lived on with me since hearing it,

‘Christianity begins not with telling people what they must do to be saved but what has been done for them so they can be saved’ 

This Miroslav Volf quote is worth pondering for a while;

'In contemporary de-Christianized, pluralistic, and rapidly changing Western cultures, only those religious groups that make no apology about their “difference” will be able to survive and thrive.
The strategy of conformation is socially ineffective in the short run (because you cannot shape by parroting) and self-destructive in the long run (because you conform to what you have not helped to shape).
A good deal of courage in nonconformity is needed both to preserve the identity of Christian faith and to insure its lasting social relevance.'
(h/t Justin Taylor)

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Stories, Longing and Garlic

Last night we cooked the most delicious garlic tart. We may well have no friends today but it was worth it.  Cook's superb!

This morning we listened to 'Stories, Longing and Spiritual Formation'. It was a blessing.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Saturday blogsweep

Why God's will isn't always clear

Side by side

50 people in the Bible confirmed archeologically

Tim Keller on Judges and OT Violence

5 articles Don Miller sent to his staff this week 

Peter Kay's Car Share is making me chuckle and I watched an interesting Storyville on Heinrich Himmler.

Billy Collins

A good Apple Watch review via T. Challies

Strong Tides via Mark Meynell whose Q Marks the Spot is a great round up of interesting bits and bobs- check out the post on Scientology.

The Bible is not a portrait it's a window

Alison Pearson in the Telegraph on how Pornography has changed the teenage landscape beyond recognition

How disagreement makes us civil. We live in a time where it is becoming increasingly important to listen and love those with whom we may profoundly disagree. But how do we do that? We might all do well to take a couple of hours watching this important discussion between three truly great minds and influencers of thought. I could listen to Cornel West's lyrical and musical tone of speech all day.....

To exercise- schedule it

A 'Bishop for Church Planting' gets the green light

Saturday blog-sweep

 Some interesting books for pastors The State we're in Attack at dawn Joseph Scriven Joy comes with the morning When small is beautiful