Saturday, 28 August 2010

Your Love Divine

This week has been one of those where everything seems to come together in your head. The challenges of the past year and also the joys seem finally to have settled in my mind. Do you ever get those moments of realisation when the story of your life just hits you? Well maybe that's where I am. Not a negative place just a place of contemplation of where we go from here.

During the week there have been times of crying out to God for answers, relief or change. The real answer is I have heard silence, nothing, no response, zip. Has that left me sad? I don't know, when you are talking to God and wanting an answer and there is silence it can be unnerving. But then when I thought I would just quit asking and let it go a song came.

This morning my husband started playing Richard Smallwood songs as he loves them. Then when he went out I listened to Your Love Divine and really slowly I realised God is with me. On the live version the lead vocalist says your love divine Jesus. Now call me slow but I never saw that link before. But there it is in the song a word for me that God sent me Jesus as his answer to my problems and pain.

I don't know if the song means anything to you but the lyrics and a link are below for your own contemplation.

Your Love Divine by Richard Smallwood

Lord, you know the pain, pain we bear
And Lord, you know the toils, toils and snares
Send your direction, send your protection
Send your compassion
And your love divine

Help us love those who do us wrong
Send your cleansing power from above
Unite our hearts as one
Make us a vessel to flow through your love


Your love divine
Your love divine
Your love divine

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 21

Mob mentality. Most days I think that I am strong enough to stand apart from the crowd for what I believe in. But every now and then I remember that it takes confidence to do that. 

A few years ago after I had joined a work place some bullying took place of my colleagues from ethnic minorities. At the time it all happened in front of me and peoples jobs were lost. At the time it was so subtle that I really didn't see what was happening. By the time I realised what had happened I kicked myself for allowing such a thing and not standing up. 

Mob mentality can happen in many ways. Mostly people think of violent crowds getting carried away but I was a part of something worse. The power of silently condoning bad behaviour. I can give numerous excuses for what I did but in the end as a Christian it is our responsibility that when we see wrong doing we act to make it right. Passively allowing things to happen is not the way forward. 

In the text the mob get carried along. There were probably honest, hardworking people in the crowd. People who normally would say they were rational beings but there they were in a mob growing so violent that the army had to be called in. Do you think all those people believed with their whole heart what the Jewish leaders said or did it just sound good at the time. 

I guess each day we are faced with small decisions each day not to join the mob. When we here a piece of juicy gossip we can choose not to join the mob in co deeming the person we here about. When faced with someone telling us how we should think about someone else we can choose not to join the mob. Basically not joining the mob means standing apart and doing something that requires courage. 

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 20

I love it when you are in church and you see people sleeping. It brings out the small child in me. You guess who is going to snore first, or whose head is going to roll back or who is going to dribble. It's a whole lot of fun but I am sure your not supposed to think that sleeping in church is serious business, or at least that's what all the preachers tell us. You know the horror stories they tell just to get you to pay attention to the sermon or my other favourite. Touch the person next to you and say don't sleep through your blessing. But Acts 20:7-12 is the honest to goodness story of sleeping in church. 

Imagine preaching so long that people fell asleep in dangerous places. There you are crammed into a little room so you think I will sit on the windowsill at least I will get some air through here. It's a good spot the cool breeze should keep me awake. But instead he warm air and the long preaching you fall asleep with no support you fall out the window. Imagine the response of the preacher. I would be mortified personally and would probably be seriously embarrassed. But Paul no he goes down hugs the man and simply says he is alive. Everyone goes back inside and the tired boy is taken home. 

Now as a child this would have been the most exciting church service I had ever been to. As an adult it poses me a number of questions. 

Do we as church leaders think about the peoples needs when organising a service?
When we go to church are we prepared for church?

My guess is that sometimes both for fall short. My thought is that worship is important and when going to church for worship or when organising worship for others we should think about what we are doing not just bow to tradition. 

Friday, 6 August 2010

Quiet Time

This week I decided that some reflection time wouldn't hurt us. So this weeks sabbath activity involves voluntary silence ;0) 

The challenge is simple find a spot that you like, away from your home is preferable. Take with you a bible and a notebook. The activity is easy spend some time reflecting on your week with God. 

Should I tell you how to do this? No I think it is simple enough. However if you have small children this will present a challenge. Therefore try taking them to the park armed with a notebook or sketchbook and see what they can co e up with. If they are very young this maybe difficult but ask someone around to babysit for an hour while you take a time out. You might find that it hellos you recharge for the week ahead. 

Well the challenge is simple in a hectic world take some time for silence and see what happens.  

Family Outing

So today we are on a joint family outing. You know the kind where the children are so excited they are not hungry but the minute you sit on the train it's 
"mum can we have something to eat" 
Or when you told everyone to go to the toilet before you left but your teenager still turns round at the coach station and says
"mum is there a toilet?"
That's us on a road trip from London to Liverpool to watch a football game. E kids are excited the dads are over the moon and as for the mums well we are trying to get some sleep. 

This kind of trip is great though because even though there will be whining and complaining and someone is bound to graze a knee. The experience will be a great memory for the children and to that end we endure the trauma that is the road trip so that the dads can share a passion with their children. 

But I am sitting on the coach wondering about the role of fathers. In today's society it seems more confused than ever as to what a man plays in his own home. You could say that this question has been around longer than me and will probably be around long after I have passed on but it does bear thought. 

Each family is a unique entity just like each person so what works for one might not work another. For my family it works that we are involved equally in everything. I do hear often that I am blessed that my husband can look after his son but to be honest it has taken a little work and a conscious effort to make it so. Let me give you some examples to make it clear what I mean. 

My husband is disorganised, he ilk freely admit that is not his strong point. So in order to facilitate his being able to cope with the baby I keep everything as organised as much as I can. Something as simple as a baby bag can frustrate him so when I changed bag to something more stylish that I liked, it frustrated him so much that we had to switch back. That might seem simple but if it's difficult for him to take the baby out he will be reluctant to do so without me which means I have to go everywhere with the baby.

Another thing is I refuse to jump in to help. I see so many women who because it is taking their partner long or it's frustrating them they just take over tasks from their partners and end up doing everything. In our family it's a rare day when I am doing that. If my husband is putting baby to bed and he is fussing I am not going in to rescue the baby under any circumstances. It has been difficult to hear baby crying because it's not mummy and that's what he is used to because of breastfeeding. But let me tell you I got over it and so did the baby who is happy to be put to bed by daddy now.

Having your partner involved for me has meant making a conscious effort not to take over just because I am mummy. Learning about the role of the father is an ongoing process for me and I take it one day at a time but at no point do I think that because I am a mummy do I have all the answers or can do it all. It is a tiring job being a mother, it's hard work and often thankless but a little bit of effort on all parts can make both roles a little easy. After all once the children grown up and move out I am stuck with the man I choose to be with. 

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Bible Thought for Today: Acts 19

Have you ever been to church and been asked do you speak in tongues? Then if your response has been no that there is a look of disgust or pity and then comes the comment well your not really converted till you do. Have you ever wondered where that theology comes from? 

Well there it is in Acts 18:1-7. It's a small story but has caused a lot of people to believe a myth. The myth that everyone who is converted will speak in tongues. It simply is not true and even that text proves it but somehow it gets lost. 

Paul asks a harmless question in order that a problem be corrected. Many people in the early church were not sure what they should be doing. Understandable really since it's not like they had a bible to go with. Look at the problems Christendom has today and all the differences and we do have the bible. Imagine what it was like back then Jesus had just been there before he came the Jews were an exclusive club then their religion had been blown wide open by Jesus but now what. What stays what goes? What's necessary what's not? What happens when the religion because a choice not a birthright? It's all very confusing. 

The people of Ephesus had just this problem they believed and did the best they could but unfortunately they were not getting it all right. So along comes Paul to steer them in the right direction. It's gentle it's supportive and it's non judgemental all you want from your leaders. So here goes, Paul asks if they have received the Holy Spirit and challenges their baptism. So they get baptised the correct way and receive the holy spirit and the result some speak in tongues and others prophesy. So should we be expecting that from our baptism? 

Well I will be honest about mine it wasn't like that at all. Does that mean I am not really baptised? No it means that God is with each of us in the way that suits us. Not everyone has the same gift of the holy spirit but each of us do have one. All you have to do is open your heart to him and accept the gift he has given and put in practice. That's all that was happening back then and it is happening all over the world today. 


Recently I have had a number of conversations that have made me glad that I am feeling like Switzerland. My husband informs me that the most accurate description of Switzerland is that they are neutral because they may have an opinion but they don't act on it making them neutral. I think that feels like a good description of me. As I am doing an independent ministry that God asked me to do it feels like I am the Switzerland of the church world.

It's been really nice to feel of use to people. I get calls, emails or messages asking questions about how they manage their faith with the church and because I have no agenda I can answer more freely without prejudice. I do wonder however what it is about church that drives people so crazy that they need Switzerland.

What is a church? Well in essence it is a collection of people who believe the same thing or at least try to. Contrary to popular belief it isn't the building and that is what causes the major problem. People are unpredictable and more often than not we are self centred therefore our behaviour can impact on others negatively. We couldn't argue with a building but you can control the building I guess the major difference is you can do all those things with people except control.

Churches are like any other group of people full of differences arguments and love. The difference should be that among the church should be a sense of grace, mercy, and forgiveness that comes from a relationship with God. Unfortunately from the problems I am hearing this is often not the case. Don't get me wrong I think that it is a difficult path to walk with us trying to uphold Gods standards and being a forgiving community but as difficult as it is we must try.

I might enjoy being Switzerland but shouldn't each church be a Switzerland from the world. Shouldn't people be able to come in and find a place of acceptance regardless of who they are. I dunno maybe it's easy for me to say that because I work online and I can work with anyone I guess but I live my life in the real world too and as such I still want to go to church and find an accepting community not a judgemental one.