Monday, 28 July 2008
As I have said, this is something I have read and heard and spoke about a lot lately, so I wanted to get down how I see things, maybe it is a bit of a vision, I believe it is an important conversation happening in a lot of places, causing arguments and division and hopefully as well giving birth to something beautiful, there will always be birthing pains, there will always be those who do not wish to change, they like the status quo, even though, they were probably pioneers themselves, but are now defending something which is not theirs to defend. The Holy Spirit is speaking to people, that has to be listened to, this is me unapologetically wading in.
I have to agree with most writers and thinkers and listeners of today, that there is a call to be more intimate. I have listened to people talking about getting smaller, deeper, with fewer people, and then these little groups growing into more little groups, little cells of committed members and giving birth to more small groups. I don't really agree.
It sounds good, but I have too many questions, there can be an elitism to a small group and of course you only want the people who you get on with, are you ready to be that close? Is any growth going to be possible? Is it people of a specific vision can only join a specific house church? ( Which is what they would be) Won't certain areas of ministry and mission be ignored because of lack of resources and members.
I just think the small groups of churches have to change, they have to become more intimate, more of a family linked in with a bigger family, a main church or building. People should be able to come together en masse.
42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Christians met together in the temple courts as well as in each others homes. I believe that is how it should be, how church as we know it is done, I will come to shortly but, I believe it is important to stay close to a bigger body as well as seek the intimacy of small groups.
I really believe though, that to reach the intimacy that should be family, people need to jump in, meet as families, kids and all, forget babysitters, start to share meals more regularaly, book holidays, share, cry, be honest. Look to missions as a small group, look to having things in common and responding completely to all need. I personally want to look to living communally and responding to all sorts of things around from the strength of a family.
As, shall we say, Sunday church goes, I would like to batter things down a bit. I would just like to break things down, the structure of time bugs me on a Sunday and I would like to see the Holy Spirit at work without a time limit. I would like to see an area of worship, music and words given that just continues on Sunday as the Spirit leads, with parishoners and musicians come and go as they feel it is right to do so. I would like to see an area of fellowship, where people can talk and catch up and break bread together, while the worship thing is happening at the same time, but people being free to move between these areas. Then I would like to see an area of teaching, where someone brings the teaching, as many of us hear every Sunday, but on a more personal level, sat down, allowing people to ask questions and discuss. I would also like to see an area of prayer and prophesy, where people could pray, be prayed for, be healed, be prophesied over. You could probably have an area for children and young people as well, if it was needed. I think this should all go on at the same time, with open doors for people to come and go, to different areas and home if they wish. There should not be a finish time, it should be led by the Spirit. Yes it does sound complicated, but they are all areas in a church which there are people already doing these things, already trying to fit them into a time slot and these are all things mentioned in the above scripture.
I also believe a church building is a good thing, not necessarily a necessity, but if used right, it can be great. The young people at the youth cafe I do, love the sports hall. I think, how can you bring senior citizens together for a meal, I think of a lighthouse that people need to know is open, and that is where the Christians live. Maybe the church buildng needs to be lived in??????
People need to open up, I need to open up, the other things that I am putting in the way of intense church, are of me, in other words, the problems I have with being family close to others, the problem I have with church maybe being chaotic and all day, the problem I have with giving up any more nights of my week, are not of God.
This will be my only post this week, it is nice outside.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
I have recently spent some time with some different people, helping them, also lately I have spent some time with people helping me. It can be tiring, also in some conversations it can feel like a battle, and very often is. I am also quite heavily involved in the youth, trying to organise and put stuff together for them, attending and running different things. I also have friends and other committments, I am quite busy really, for someone who is unemployed. Anyway, I suppose if I try multiplying what I do by 10, I may start to get an idea of what goes on in the head of the church leadership of a big church, how many people are they responsible for, and not in some business sense, as family. Hard work. This is not a suck up, because I doubt if my leaders read this, just something in my head, that leadership is full of hard work, responsibility and often little thanks. There is more to this line of thought I want to explore, to do with where the church is heading, and where I am feeling in that, how I am looking at things.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
The rest of my life can belike that too. People and powers can try to twist and ruin what is me and mine. The important thing is to notice when this is happening, our spyware alarms need to be firing on all systems and our firewalls need to be in place, we need to make sure we have the right protection and get rid of the infection.
Prayer, reading the word of God, spening time with Him and His family. It all helps.
I do not think my system is fully repaired yet, so I am going to get back to it.
Monday, 21 July 2008
This is me in a ladies swim suit, I don't dress like this very often, only at fancy dress parties actually, so don't worry. I don't really mind looking this strange, in fact, standing out in a crowd is something I am quite comfortable with.
There are many other things I am not comfortable with, and if you knew me, you would be surprised to find out that I am quite shy, I can be awkward, proud, patronising and intimidating, all things I am working on, I strive against and try to get over myself. One of the biggest problems I have first thing in the morning, is the fact I do not want anyone around me, I am rude and moody and until I am awake I am not nice. This has been a bit more problematic lately as Tanya and I have been getting up earlier to pray, I find I just read my bible for a while and ignore Tanya, until I am ready to speak, probably not good, and probably missing the point, something to work on.
What amazes me and something I believe I still struggle with is the fact that God loves me with all of the rubbish, He still loves me, when I mess up, He still loves me, when I am unemployed and have not done anything all day and feel a bit useless, I cannot justify myself, nothing I can do can make Him love me more or less. I am accepted and loved.
It is a loud declaration I make, because that is what makes me who I am, the fact that I am loved and have been given life, now I have to work on enjoying it.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
I have been in a position over the last couple of months of uncertainty, not knowing what I am meant to be doing or where I am meant to be going. Tanya and I have been having multiple plans on what to do if this happens or that happens, we want to follow God, and we have been unsure if that has meant we would be leaving where we are now or staying.
That uncertainty has probably effected our family, church and ministry. I really feel now, that we are to put down roots. I have spoken lately to some people on this, and had some really encouraging words, especially from my brother Brian, who said I should picture being old wherever I am living, and live that way too. I really feel I need to commit to my home, my community and my church and strive to stay here, until God clearly tells me to move on.
This is a place I want to have roots. As my wife has said to me, this is the place she was born again, so this is her new birthplace, her home. Roots help us grow, I want to grow. I am placing my roots here and I believe this will always be a home to me.
I also feel by declaring this, I am taking a huge step forward. In a way by staying, I am submitting, I am waiting until God tells me otherwise.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Monday, 14 July 2008
I want my yes to be yes and my no, no in every part of my life. I want to commit to the things in my life that puts God first and are good for me and my family. This morning Tanya and I got up early together to spend time with God, we will be doing this more from now on, we have committed to it, come what may. It is important, not just the spending time with God, but making a commitment, being consistent. It is also like our finances. We are very good at budgeting when we have next to nothing, give us some money and we soon forget that, right now we are trying to make sure we are consistent with our money, come what may.
balance, routine, consistency, commitment, they all protect, they all help, they are all important.
A simple post, with a simple theme, that it has taken me years to grasp, and I will probably continue to struggle in this area, but right now, my yes is yes.
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
It makes me realise actually, how hard things are for people, who don't have God or church or family or friends. That is hard. I always think of single parents as I talk or write something like this, when the world is against you, you are on your own and have the responsibility of a child as well, I have huge respect for single parents and I just wish there were more resources open to them.
My hope is and will be renewed, I am knocked and then lifted up, helped, supported, I will go forward, I will not worry ( I will try), I wll try to be joyful and learn, I will talk about things with friends and family, I will grow as a person and I will live. I just know others need that hope???
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
I have stepped out in faith, in the worlds view, I have very little, I am failing. I don't feel like a failure, it is hard sometimes, but I am feeling incredibly blessed at the moment and I don't know where it is all leading. That is the point, waiting for something to happen, you can sometimes miss the point, like the dream I told you about the other day. There is need here and now, I have a luxury of time, I have to use it.
I sometimes feel there are others waiting to be asked to do something, rather than doing it. I recently heard about a guy who had moved into our area and has started coming to our church. In the village he lives in, he has been handing out prayer requests, not waiting to be asked, or settling into the church, he had to react to those around him directly, because he can. A small example, I know and there are plenty of bigger ones, people just going out there and doing, not waiting, acting on what they have, now.
If God asked, or made it possible for you or me to go and do some great work in some far off place, would we act differently, out doing this great work, would we suddenly become mega christians, uber spiritual, in touch with God. What is wrong with here and now!
It didn't work, go to 24-7 prayer and look for the article by Brian Heasley.
Monday, 7 July 2008
Yesterday I also had the privilege of baptising 2 others, which was brilliant and one of the young men had a barbeque afterwards at his parents, where I had a brilliant laugh with all the young people and generally felt that everyone is doing all right. But I have lots of plans to keep them on their toes.
I have always had a problem, that after great days like yesterday, I feel down. Some kind of spiritual hangover. I thought and prayed about this last night. This morning I felt great, but about halfway through the day, I started to feel down, I realise though that I have been busy, so I am just feeling a bit tired and it is good to rest, so that is what I am doing.
Friday, 4 July 2008
In the dream my friend felt very empty and knew he had to find something, he needed this thing to fill him, to fill the emptiness and longing, he was searching everywhere for it, but could not find it anywhere. Then he saw a light, like a light that reflects off of something, like off of glass or water, he could see it from afar, and knew he had to get to it, that was what he was looking for, so he rushed towards it, but on his way there, he passed a beggar, and the beggar pleaded with him for help, but he couldn't stop, he had to get to this light. When he got to the light, there was just a pane of glass, it had been a reflection, so he ran off to find the origin of the light, and once again passed the beggar, but he couldn't see the light, until he realised it was the beggar.
Cool dream eh. Is our focus in the right place? are we looking and missing the real need? Loads of questions that one throws up.
Thursday, 3 July 2008
There was also Lebanon, where the French decided to enlarge the area of, bringing arabs under the control of a mainly christian area. Once again the repercussions are still being felt today.
I have spoke to my family about life in Belfast before the troubles, and what you hear is of families, protestant and catholic, living next door to each other, being as poor as each other, then what happened.
When I was last in Belfast, one of the rules now in the city centre is that you cannot wear a sports shirt into any of the bars and clubs, it promotes division, my mate was not allowed to wear his Cardiff blues rugby shirt, he wasn't happy.
I don't know what point I am trying to make here, Tanya has had the line from the bible on her mind over the last couple of days about Jesus saying 'They will be divided, father against son and son against father..............'
Division?????????????????????????????? Be careful.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
The church is going to start a whole program for this in September, of challenging and discipleship, I am just a bit impatient and I am aware if you say to young people, we will be doing this in a couple of months time, it will seem like an age away.
Last night we had some really great chats, based on very real issues going on in these guys lives, I really got a sense of that is where it is at, asking really hard questions and not always having the answers but talking them through anyway. Next week we are going to eat together as well. Isn't this true church?????
They liked my mission impossible idea and they have a challenge for the week.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Tanya has gone to drop our oldest off at her mothers, so I had to cycle on my youngest son's bmx to the supermarket. It hurt.
Back to what I wanted to say, which is just following on from yesterday, I am just asking how to challenge, how to make mission the daily way of life it should be.
I had an idea to hand out specific envelopes to young people once a week, inside are the immortal lines, 'your mission, if you choose to accept it' and then challenge them to do something within that week, that gets them out of the box, makes them uncomfortable. This is certainly a work in progress and I also have to think how to challenge me, what is my mission, do I choose to accept it?