Friday, 4 October 2013

Footpaths by Marion Densham

During our lovely summer this year, I spent a day walking part of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, which I’d not done previously. Despite a good map, book and leaflets, I became unsure of the way out of Milford Haven. I knew how important it was to follow the ‘Acorn’ signs, but they disappeared. Despite me seeing various footpath signs I felt sure I should wait for the Acorn one – but none appeared. Eventually I realised I ought to ask someone who had local knowledge and I was soon on the right track and, much further along the road, sure enough, the Acorn appeared!

This got me thinking about my Christian life and the times when I’ve come to a crossroads, or been unsure about a decision to make and I’ve valued sharing with a trusted friend or Pastor for their prayer and advice. Despite our map and guidebook (The Bible) and circumstances etc., sometimes it helps to check I out with a person who has ‘local’ knowledge, i.e. someone who has already walked that path or a wise person in God

“a wise man listens to advice”
(Proverbs 12:15)

I’m glad I asked for help that day, it saved me wasting more time following various dead ends!

iOS 7 by Joel Pridmore

If you are a social media user then, like myself, you inevitably got fed up of seeing tweets and statuses on Wednesday and Thursday about iOS7.

iOS7 is the new updated Operating System for Apple iPhones and iPads. It is like getting a new version of Windows for your PC that has the same core purpose but incorporates a fresh looking design, updated technology and new features.

I use Apple products but haven’t updated just yet! I am happy with them as they are and am content to watch others get frustrated with the glitches in the new system before upgrading when they are sorted!

It is inevitable, however, that within the next couple of weeks, I will simply have to upgrade! If I don’t, my iPhone and iPad will not lose their core purpose or functions, but they will quickly become out of tune with th e rest of the technological world that they are a part of. I will lose touch with the way that people are using the same gadgets, even though mine have the capability to update.

Churches can be in danger of failing to keep in touch with the world they are a part of. Their core purpose and functions may remain, but their interaction and ‘interface’ becomes outdated and out of touch. Don’t misunderstand me here… The core function and purpose are more important than the means of communicating and embodying them… But we mustn’t be frightened of finding new, fresh and up to date ways to express and embody eternal truths.

The Gospel will never change, but the way we communicate and live it has to. Otherwise our churches become irrelevant, un-engaging and less effective to the world we live in.

“How can they hear if nobody tells them?”

(Romans 10:14)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Dedication… by Grandpa Paul & Uncle Andy Dolloway

Dedication, Dedication, Dedication, that’s what you need...

...are words from the popular theme tune for Roy Castle’s 1970s entertainment show: Record Breakers.

It continued “…if you wanna be the best, if you wanna beat the rest, oh-oh dedication’s what you need.” This still very much applies today.

Mo Farah, the British long-distance runner, endured four years of a gruelling training regime before the 2012 Olympics: high altitude running, a strict diet and even an underwater treadmill for recovery… day after day after day. His dedication paid off with two gold medals!

Today, Eva Alys Dumbrill is having her dedication. At just under 8 months old she’s a little young to run for 10,000m gold. Though one day maybe!

The biblical meaning of dedication is when a place, object or person is set apart to fulfil an exclusive God-given purpose.

Whatever Eva’s may be, as a loving grandpa and uncle, we will be joining with Lucy and Ed in making a public commitment to help raise Eva in the knowledge, goodness and love of God.

To be all that God has made her to be.

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Great I Am Blogspot by Joel Pridmore

One of the songs that people really connected with at Rivercamp was 'The Great I Am' by Jared Anderson from New Life Curch, Colorado Springs. The words have been circulating in my mind throughout this week. In the first verse it says 'I want to be close, close to your side, where heaven is real and death is a lie.' This has been a fresh thought in our household: that death is a lie. We have been contemplating this, especially in the midst of having several close family members passing into eternity during this year.

They say the only certain thing in life is death, but the truth us that Christ came that we may have life forever. It is obviously true that these mortal bodies that carry us around will give up at some stage but what is more real: this temporary physical life or the eternal spiritual one?

I remember being struck by a thought I read in a book some time ago. I think it was ‘The Gift of Pain’ by Phillip Yancey & Dr Paul Brand. The thought being that Christ doesn't give us an easy way to deal with death; He gives us a way to overcome it!

At the burning bush, God revealed himself to Moses as 'I Am who I Am' - that is an eternal ongoing tense - he always was, is, and always will be the Great I Am. And through Christ we can be with Him forever.

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”

(Exodus 3:14)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

RIVER by Joel Pridmore

The word ‘River’ covers a wide spectrum of things. What are you on about? You may ask – Surely it just means a flow of freshwater flowing from a spring toward the sea. Well ok, fair enough – but think about the broad range of experiences that covers! Tiny trickles of a fresh spring, small streams at the bottom of the garden, wide canyons and valleys rushing with rapids, huge waterfalls with enough power to drive and crush huge masses, the tidally up and down estuary where salt water and fresh water meet as it joins the sea.

In his book in the Old Testament, Ezekiel paints a word picture for us of a river flowing from the temple. Within the picture the water gets deeper and deeper and there is abundant life wherever it flows. Eventually it meets the Dead Sea with its life-giving flow and death is overcome with life.

I believe there are different times, season and ‘depths’ of God that we experience at different times in our lives. For me, Ezekiel’s river speaks, at least in part, of the Holy Spirit.

For those who are Rivercamp for the first time this week, they may spend the first day wondering where the river is!!! If they are expecting a natural river, they might be disappointed. The ‘River’ in ‘Rivercamp’ is no physical but spiritual – the Holy Spirit.

May God take us deeper and deeper in our experience of His Spirit and may we flow with Him bringing life to that which is dying wherever we go.

“… so where the river flows everything will live.” (Ezekiel 47:9)

Monday, 19 August 2013

All You Need is Love. By Barbara Stone

A few months ago after Alison's message "You are what you eat" where she spoke about filling your life with Jesus. I decided on a new routine so that I can set aside more time each day to read the Bible and pray. I wanted to get to grips with The Bible on my Kindle so I could bring it to church with me and look up passages etc.

I tried to search for books in the Bible on the Kindle but couldn’t. I passed it on to my husband to sort out, which is what I usually do. I asked him to search for Corinthians.

Anyway, even he couldn't search as it turned out not to be a searchable version. He sent the Bible to my Ipad to try there and when it came through it was open at 1 Corinthians 13. "Now abideth these three - faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love." He hadn't done it and he tried to explain to me about interfaces and stuff but I knew who had found it for me!

Early last year I asked you all to pray for Chris my son and my husband Roger who hadn't spoken to each other for over a year. It worked!!

Since then it's been a case of building up the relationship again, which has involved a lot of faith, hope and love. We know Jesus is always there for us, His children but it takes a lot of faith, hope, love and prayer to make the relationship work as it does of any relationship - the more time and effort you put in, the better it is. Thank goodness He doesn't give up on us and will give us a second chance when we fail him.

I've been playing Matt Redman songs a lot this week (and ElimSound of course). ‘Never once’ has been on mind all the time. “Never once did we ever walked alone, never once did you leave us on our own" he is faithful never giving up on us.

Chris has come to stay with us a few times this year and he wants to thank everyone for praying for him.

As for me, I'm still not devoting as much time to my relationship with Jesus as I should but I'm getting there and I know he won't give up on me.

Straw from the Ground. Blogspot by Liew Shan Berg

“By this we know love; that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18)

Dear friends, thank you all for your prayers for me while I was away doing the Engage summer placement with Christians Against Poverty. Working with the charity was a privilege indeed.

On our first day, when each of us received our files stating which team/department we will be working in, I was quite disappointed to find that I was working with Facilities, the team that maintains the building, does the post, move heavy stuff, set up for events, you name it! They're what I call the “can do anything” and “can do everything” team!

The reason for my disappointed was because I was hoping to work with a team which would have some bearing on my studies. But the moment I was musing in my heart about this, the LORD brought to my mind the conversation which the Catholic priest had with Brother Lawrence (recorded in his book Practicing the Presence of God) wherein Brother Lawrence expressed: “That he was pleased when he could take up a straw from the ground for the love of GOD, seeking Him only, and nothing else, not even His gifts.” I was convicted of my selfishness.

The LORD reminded me that I am at the charity for Him and that the work which I will engage in is HIS work. So, I asked the LORD to help me to love my brothers and sisters at the charity and be a blessing to them. I thank God, that I was able to bless my brothers and sisters and pray with them.

My friends, let us set our gaze on His lovely face this week. However important or trivial the task before us, let us seek to love and worship Him when we are about it. Let us only be motivated by His love in all things. =)