Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Disappointed with Jesus

I did it. I achieved the impossible. I read a real book in a day. This milestone has not been achieved since the storms appeared in my life and took over. (My two loud children). 

The book in question is no ordinary book. The book is Disappointed with Jesus? By Gavin Calver. 

You may well ask how I managed to achieve the wonderfully impossible. Well there are a few key elements. 

1. I am on holiday in Turkey. By holiday I mean not even the children made it here. Just me and adults! 

2. I am on a boat with sleeping people. No music, no noise, no distractions. Just the gentle or not so gentle rocking of the boat. 

3. The book is a well written enjoyable engaging piece. I think everyone should read. It's not judgemental it's the honest telling of one mans story exploring the challenges of childhood and teens in church. It's engaging, simple to read which is here the skill really lies I think. But most of all it has inspired me as a parent and as a youth Pastor. 

This book was riveting and although I paused briefly to discuss sections with my hubby I always wanted to end the conversation and return to the book. 

I recommend everyone read this. It's not just for parents or youth workers/pastors. It's for anyone who attends church and believes in the gospel message and wants to see the kingdom expanding for him everyday. If that's you pick up the book. I am really excited and will have to buy a copy as this was on loan from the library. Look out highlighter pen, Instagram and Twitter here I come. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Neat Freak and the mess

Your clean desk is a sign of a cluttered drawer. 

Life is messy. 

I like to be organised and neat and planned and prepared. That's me. 

My husband likes chaos and freedom. That's him. 

Together we are a family. Allow the hilarity to ensue. He has learnt to plan more and I have learnt not to plan at all. This takes us both put of our comfort zone. So when I read the above statement and I thought of us I though how true is that. 

Your clean desk is a sign of a cluttered drawer. 

Life is messy. There are no clean lines easy answers or quick fixes. Hard work gets the job done. Dedication, planning and free thinking all contribute to a happy life. One filled with chaos and order. 

If your desk is covering the messy drawers in your life don't worry. Don't beat yourself up about it. Accept that life gets messy and you will be able to manage whether you planned it or not. 

Swimming with the Teenage Adults

Never test the depth of the water with both feet. 

Recently I have been swimming with my husband. He is a swimmer comes from an island. You know the throw them in the water and see if they can swim kind. So imagine his delight at being on holiday taking a boat ride to some islands and being able to jump in and swim. 

As I watched his delight at finding new and splashy ways of jumping in the water I smiled. At one point my husband and a new found friend sat on the side of the boat looking into the water wondering how deep it was. They talked back and forward for a while before it was decided that in order to know you had to jump in. But who would do such a task. 

At this point I am wondering if the daredevil tall man or the snorkelling little man was going to have a try. The taller of the two had already tested the water first a few times and sat on the floor of the sea. Had the lesson been learnt? 

Discussion over the snorkelling smaller man decided that it was his turn to test and since he was much shorter he could do it without sitting on the floor. So in they went one after the other as happy as could be. 

Life is much like that. When we are babies and children we learn collaboratively. Sometimes through trial and error. Sometimes we learn through observation. Other times we learn from instruction. But learning is never just a jump in and see what happens. There is normally always a parent or guardian around keeping you safe. 

When we get to our teens. Trial and error quickly become our preferred method of learning. So what if my mom was a teenager once it's different now. So what that dad already tried this and it didn't work, it might work for me. That's a natural part of growing up. But testing the water with both feet has it's consequences and soon we realise that there is wisdom in listening and observing and taking time. 

Here in lies the challenge of modern living. We now journal our lives publicily. Facebook, Twitter, Snapshot, Instagram. All of these portals we use so irresponsibly, so carelessly. Can come around again and again. What used to be a private learning curve has become a public spectacle. It has become who we are. No longer can you get over that phase and grow up and become the person you were on track to be instead we stay in that phase of discovery and stunt our growth. We become teenage adults. 

For the teenage adult life gets more challenging. What happens with responsibility, aspiration, life. It all becomes a playground for trial and error. Everything is disposable. Because I tried it I didn't like it and I am not doing that again. The ability to make it better learn from your mistakes all lost to the teenager full of angst and woe. 

This saddens me and worries me. What does the future hold if we turn it over to people who have not developed their whole being. There are many awesome things about being a baby, a child, a teen. But all of these are phases that don't last. They are there for learning for growth so that we can become adults of substance. I am not sure what the answer to this but as a parent myself I am trying to raise my children to be the best adult they can. Whether I fail or succeed, I am aiming for that. 

Book Review - Mary of Magdala

Book title Mary of Magdala 
Author Christine Miles 
Publisher Autumn House Publishing 

Here I sit with a few hours to read so I thought I would give this little book ago about Mary. 

Having read about the other Mary and thought rhe author had done a good job thought I would check if it could be repeated. It has been. So guess what for teenagers or not. I would like to read the rest of the series now. 

This one although about Mary is told from the point of view of her servant. Let me tell you absolutely fascinating little insight. Even though it's a quick read and I knew what was going to happen. The story telling was very good at making it all real and not scripture. 

It's a worthwhile read and if your quick at reading this will be perfect for you. 

Saving Mr Banks

I am watching Saving Mr Banks for the second time. I confess to loving Mary Poppins just a touch. As a child it may have been my fantasy for Mary Poppins to sweep in and save the day. A little singing and a lot of dancing and even more imagination. This may have suited me a little to much. 

I loved this film but when (spoiler alert) the mother says goodbye and walks into the lake I cried. I cry every time. Something about the pain of that situation. The way she says goodbye to the children. "I know you love your father more than me". Could there be anything more painful than trying to hold your family together probably suffering from depression postnatal or otherwise while your husband an alcoholic is dying and feeling so unloved. 

The director handles what is a horrendous moment in life with real respect and tenderness. I guess the reason I cry is that this moment in the film  is far too real. The sadness that overcomes people is all too often suffered in silence, alone and isolated. 

There is a saying that the loneliest place is in a crowd. It's true. Sometimes when we are surrounded by people but no one understands us it can feel lonely beyond measure. 

Everyday I feel blessed that I have God in my life. A Father, a Friend, someone who understands me. But what I really look forward to is when we are on the other side of this world and I can look in the face of the one who created me and have a conversation face to face. Until then I am glad that God knows how much I need human touch and conversation and doesn't judge me for that. 

I pray that you have a relationship 10 times of mine so that you too will have the best of both worlds a relationship with your creator and those he entrusts your well being too. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Mary of Galilee - Book Review

I am now resting on holiday catching up with some reading and some work. I thought I would start simple so I did. The book I have just finished reading is about the size of a leaflet. It's called Mary of Galilee by Christine Miles. According to where it was placed in the book shop it's aimed at teens. 

It's a novilisation of the story of the mother of Jesus. For what is a long story time wise it's a short book. The author tries to cover all the basic story details in the bible. So you go from conception to resurection. The author does not over embellish the story but seems to just want to add the human factor. 

What I like about it is the human element. Giving Mary family and friends makes what she went through more real. Because the bible is not an autobiography of the people but rather an account of Gods love for us the one thing we miss is the human element. 

What would happen if Joseph's mother did not approve of Joseph marry a pregnant girl. How would this play out in a village setting. What the author does with a great degree of skill is to add this humanity to Mary's story but in few words. There seems to be a great respect for the scripture that is evident but also a great imagination at play. 

The part that really spoke to me was after Jesus was born and the flee for Egypt. At this point I was questioning the author as to why she had missed out certain fact like the wise men. But she used them well for dramatic effect. 

Overall I would say that this little book is well worth reading for teenager and adult alike. It is well worth trying to understand what it was really like to walk Mary's shoes. 

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Free Bible

I was given a very cute little black bible. 

Now I have a few bibles as you can well imagine as a pastor. So I thought I would like to give this gift to someone else who needs it more than me. 

Do we do that anymore? Do we give to others? Do we give without alteriar motive? Or are we always expecting something in return? Did we ever behave like that? 

Maybe we look back with rose tinted glasses and see a world that was better. But was that real or do we just see what we want to see. You cannot go back and change what happened. What you can do is be that change today that you would like to see in others. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Small business and late nights

I came home after a long day. I took the junk mail out and saw this. 

I am a great believer in small businesses. I think where possible we should support locally what is happening. Be a part of the community you love in. I think it's what God intended for us. 

Is it easy to do that? No the giant corporations who started out as small business people sometimes make that difficult. Price is always a factor. But there is something to be said for living in community. So if you have an opportunity to support your community give it try. That's my thoughts. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

A fun day out

Every year I like to visit CRE. Since I discovered it my first year at theological college I have been hooked. Everything Chrisitian under one roof and the books. Oh the books. I love the books. I could spend lots of money and time with the books. However I digress. This year CRE had a special place for me. 

There I was squished onto a minibus heading from the station to Sandown to see what I could find. Not what I could buy money was not available. But to see what networks I could build. This hear I was attending as a jobless pastor. My contract is finishing in June and it was time to commit to whatever God wants me to do. 

The challenge network by myself with no help from anyone else. Could I do it? Of course what was going to stop me? Not me that's for sure. So when I arrived I left the squishy minibus went into the bathroom said a prayer and I was off. 

The challenge. After being their most of the day I met a man who as we chatted had a similar experience to me. As I listened I began to feel God telling me that I could do it. The challenge was laid down. The man turned to me and said. 

"Next year I look forward to you coming and telling him how this year was for you."

So now I really have to pull my finger out and have a year on the move with God because there is a perfect stranger waiting for me to give my testimony. 

The day was fun my shoulders, back, hand and many other places hurt. The bags were heavy. 

Carrying the bags is not fun far too heavy. But I am not complaining about the strength I got from carrying material things. What more could I do with the pile of fun obviously take it all out and start using it immediately! 

Light reading for the future evenings. While all the time looking for new job!