Saturday, 31 October 2009

Jesus said "these children are the kingdom's pride and joy"

Ok today was amazing, no better than that!

Autumnfest @ St B's - very ably organised by the kids work team at St B's, was packed full of children and their families (aged 0-99). Families from St B's, Barney's, GAP and MiniGAP and also many who had never been to St B's before were blown away by the fantastic time on offer.

Today I saw Jesus drinking coffee, eating hotdogs, playing on the soft play, manning the bouncy castle, playing table football, having fun in the laserquest room, making autumn pictures in the craft area, having His face painted and beating everyone hands down at Super Mario! Over 250 people filled the church it was so exciting to watch and such a privilege to be part of. Some amazing conversations were had and new friendships made.

Well done Elliott, Hannah and your amazing team - God bless you all

Thursday, 29 October 2009

What's on your 'to do' list?

I am the queen of 'to do' lists. The comfort they bring me is immeasurable.

All too often I look at my 'to do' list and wonder just how it came to have so much on it. The ancient art of saying 'NO' needs to be refined in me.

Lists rule my life and I regularly find myself making two lists, a 'to do' list and shopping list. Sadly I then find myself in the supermarket proudly sporting my 'to do' list and not my shopping list (there is a downside in being reliant on lists!)

I am ashamed that God's name doesn't appear very often on my 'to do' list. My first thought should be "what would God want on my list for the day?"

Should it be something like write a note to thank Mary for the help she gave me the other day, or call George to check how he is feeling, or stick my head round the office door and give everyone a big smile OR even sit down and spend a little time with ME (God) today?

Cos the truth of the matter is there should be nothing on our 'to do' list that we haven't consulted God about first and without sitting down and spending time with him that isn't going to happpen. Jesus only did what he saw His father doing, how can I see what my Father in heaven is doing and join in if I am drowning in 'to do' lists?

This week I have been challenged to go on some walks with God, I have to do this for a whole month and I am really excited it. I have put them in my diary, just like I put time with my family and work appointments I have 'walk with God' written in my diary.

Hang the 'to do' list, the only thing I want 'to do' is spend time with God.

So what's on your 'to do' list and how much of it can wait until you have hung out with your heavenly Father the most important and pressing thing on your list?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Send me!

Being nagged by God is so joyful and encouraging.

This week, half term, we are visiting some old friends in Whitburn, Tyne and Wear. It's so lovely to catch up with them again, can't believe it was two years since they left London. They have a beautiful house, right on the top of the cliffs by the sea. I'm sitting in their lounge now, the rest of the house asleep, listening to the sound of the waves crashing and seagulls squarking.

Last week I was asked some questions by a vicar (in whose church I have been doing a placement for the last three months), he has to write a report on me and wanted to clarify a few things with me. The questions didn't scare me but did make me think once again and doubt - "is it really me you are calling Lord, why me?" I gave the vicar what I thought were pretty good answers at the time but as I left the shadow of doubt crept in and has stayed with me in the back of my mind since then.

It’s horrible when you are not at peace with your soul. When think you have heard clearly from God, yet doubt creeps in and seeks to steal your joy away.

Yesterday we visited the Venerable Bede’s church, St Pauls in Jarrow, a beautiful little church, 1400 years old. It’s open to visitors to see the Bede’s seat and other Christian artefacts. We were it’s only visitors and as we walked in one of the people who showed visitors around started playing the organ, she launched into Here I am Lord (Words and Music by Daniel L Schutte© 1981) a song that I was first moved by 7 years ago when I became a Christian, as my children sang it in a school assembly. Its’ words are really moving, especially when sung by a child. When I have been asked about my calling I generally refer to it as a big part of my realisation that it is me that He is calling.

So feeling suitably nagged by God, and full of joy that even far away from home He finds ways to remind me of his majesty and love for me, I watched as my children and my friends’ children wrote prayers and hung them on a prayer tree, prayers of thanks, prayers of love for their Father in heaven – and I gave thanks for heavenly nagging!

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up!

I love the 'Secret Millionaire' programmes on Channel 4, people putting themselves out to find out about others who aren't as fortunate as them and generously help them out; often finding that this experience totally changes their own lives as well as those they aim to help with their money.
Last night's programme was a revisit to a show earlier in the year, deliberately looking at how much the millionaire's life had been changed by the experience. One of the places he visited and subsequently helped was a homeless shelter, Vincent House, in Blackpool where some of the money he gave went towards starter packs for the homeless for when they eventually found somewhere to live. He couldn't believe that the simpleness of these packs which contained bedding, pots and pans, crockery, cutlery etc, could have such a profound impact on someones life. It makes me really think, just how much or little do we have to do to make a difference to someone's life?
In the back of one of the shots taken in Vincent House was this sign, pinned to the wall "Do not look down on anyone unless you are helping them up". It stayed with me all night and I woke this morning with it still rattling round in my head. How easy is that to do? Jesus says that to us so many times, in so many ways. How much notice do we take of it?
The people at Vincent House were angels, going out of their way to make these peoples lives just that little bit better. The lady said "We can't change all of their lives, but sometimes a hot meal and a chat is all they need". This is so true and so easy to do. Just these last two weeks at Toddler Group I have had some very moving chats with some parents who are sad, worried and scared about a wide range of things. All of which, sharing them with someone, has made them feel better about. I even had the privilege to pray with two of them, which moved them both to tears, a welcome release of their stress. I all needed to do was sit down with a cup of tea and say 'Hi, how are you?' Jesus did the rest.
I urge you today, to have a good look around you; because there will be someone you bump into today who is hurting for one reason or another. Make your mission for the day 'what can I put into today, rather than what can I get out of today', have a cuppa with someone, spare them 10 minutes of your time, it could change your life too! Because Jesus says 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me!'
May God bless you all x x x

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

I am confused?

Maybe it's all down to thinking too much, for me an occupational hazard!
Today's question is how is it that people can get themselves into such a place that they find it hard to even recognise themselves? How can life be so 'cruel'?
Today I join the psalmists in their cry of 'Why Lord?' in my mourning of the loss of a very special friend - who hasn't physically died, yet bears no resemblance to the person I knew and loved a year ago. My love for him hasn't changed and I know that Gods' love for him hasn't changed either - I just wished he could see that himself.
The sad thing is that through my journey of the last 18 months I can see how easy it is to give into things that have happened in the past and allow your future to be defined by them; and yet also how freeing it is to allow God into those areas of you life and by His grace be healed. It isn't an overnight process, it's a long hard journey - especially the forgiveness part.
I truly believe that forgiveness should be spelt forgivenesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss (s recurring).
Today my prayers are for all of you who may be struggling with life, feeling weighed down by things of the past. I pray that our Good and Gracious God, the God of no limitations, will restore the years that the locusts have eaten, and make all things new.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Maiden Flight

It's been a day, no a week, of close encounters. This morning with a seagull. As I was walking to the tube station on my way to college I spotted a seagull, flying really low up the middle of the road straight towards me. It was looking straight at me and I honestly thought I would have to duck to get out of its way. It swooped off to the right and circled round and then came soaring straight at me again, once again staring straight at me before swooping off the the left. It was a really surreal experience, but the look in its eyes said that it meant me no harm.

I totally forgot about it until this evening when I was chatting with a friend about how free I was feeling at present due to what God was doing in my life. I described myself as feeling like I was soaring, that was when I remembered the seagull.

God can speak to us in so many different ways - even through seagulls. Today it was as if God was saying, 'Look what I showed you last week, how free you can feel, how high you can soar in my love. In the busyness of this week don't forget what you felt last week; don't forget me'.