January 6th, 2013
Sitting at Helsinki airport en route back to the UK for another half a year of work for Inspire and my PhD studies. Why are goodbyes so hard …
it’s not that I don’t like being over in England – I do – I like it a lot. I like living in a quasi-Christian community, I love the work with Inspire and even my PhD studies aren’t bad (most of the time!) … but I don’t like leaving home, saying goodbye to family friends and the dogs (especially the cute puppies). And I miss so many of the good things about living in Finland
Once I get back into the UK routine it will be fine , but transitions are hard. Just sayin’
January 2nd, 2013
I came across this in a short article on the role of Christian mentoring in nursing. I think these are brilliant questions for all of us – especially at the turn of a brand new year.
Q U E S T I O N S F O R A C H R I S T I A N M E N T O R
An aspiring mentor conducts a personal assessment for mentoring potential, using
1) How am I growing in my knowledge and love of God?
2) Does my life show that I know who I am in Christ?
3) How does my life indicate that I love God’s Word?
4) Do I genuinely love others?
5) Do I pray regularly?
6) Am I experiencing the fruit of God’s Spirit in my life?
7) Is my life balanced? Am I over-committed, under-committed?
Do I encourage others, and do I allow others to encourage me?
9) How effective are my communication skills? Do I listen well?
10) What evidence in my life proves I am trustworthy?
11) Do I have a servant attitude?
12) Do I share my faith when I have the opportunity?
Taken from article ‘so what is mentoring?’ by Luberta McDonald (JNC Fall 2004)
December 31st, 2012
Let the evidence speak for itself.
I haven’t journalled much of my walk with God in 2012. It’s not that I haven’t been walking with Him – or that there wouldn’t be anything to journal – I think I just fell out of the habit of seeing with eyes of faith (which also fell a bit to the wayside at the tail end of the year) or at least blogging about it.
I don’t do resolutions – but if I did I would resolve to post more often in 2013 – not because I think you need to read this, but because it is a good discipline for me. To see God at work in my life and acknowledge it. To question some of my choices and ways of doing things, ways of being – and allow the thoughts to mirror God at work in me. To let God in more …
I have one more week here in Finland then return to the UK for at least six months – to plod on with my PhD and also work for Inspire. It’s going to be an exciting and interesting period. But God has to be first or it’s all a waste of time -eternally speaking.
This morning as I was contemplating the year ahead I was reminded of this scripture
Psalm 97:1–6 The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. 2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 3 Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. 4 His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. 5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.I haven’t read it for ages yet it’s a favourite of mine.
In my mind I can see the Magestic Rockies ‘melting like wax’ before the even more Magestic Lord of Lords.
I can see the light shining and the distant shores rejoicing as in the words of the Hillsong worship chorus
You said “Ask and you will receive whatever you need”
You said “pray and I’ll hear from heaven and I’ll heal your land”
You said “Your glory will fill the earth like water the seas”
You said “Lift up your eyes, the harvest is here the Kingdom is near”
You said “Ask and I’ll give the nations to you”,
Oh Lord that’s the cry of my heart distant shores and the islands will see Your light as it rises on us
just love it, don’t you? You can hear it here
But it all starts with renewing our covenant with God. The start of a new year (no matter how artificial that is) is as good a place as any to do that. Wesley’s Covenant prayer is a fabulous aid to handing over our life to Him.
May the end of 2013 finish even better than it starts – let it be a year of radical commitment to following Jesus.
November 2nd, 2012
a few weeks ago – in Sheffield – I saw some city protesters. I took a couple of good photos (one in particular is very good) but have tried to post that (on several occasions) with these thoughts and it just doesn’t want to play ball.
The protestors were not moving and were dressed in black, blindfolded and holding a noose. There were several of them … in a circle looking outwards. (for their protection there was both a chaplain and a street policeman nearby).
What were they protesting? Capital Punishment – in particular the execution of Reggie Clemons. You can read more about that case here . The protest was done as part of Amnesty International.
What I found really moving was the silent protest in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life in Sheffield. My friend and I stood there for a few minutes watching, thinking praying. What I found fascinating was the ordinary people (shoppers, those who work in the area etc) and their reactions. The parable of the good samaritan came to mind several times with people crossing the square and looking down or looking busy so as not to get involved in any way – not even emotionally.
The protest of these (mostly young) men and women that day was a very powerful witness.
October 19th, 2012
or should that be wake up me?
I had a relatively early train to catch to London this morning. It meant I left home just after 7am. It was dark. But when I got to the market area it was already buzzing with life. Some stall holders were already ready to start serving customers (I have no idea what time the market opens for trading, perhaps 7.30am?), others were unloading their wares. I had so many cheery ‘good mornings’ that I started the day with a bigger, bouncier spring in my step. Think I ought to do this (not the early train bit!) more often.
October 7th, 2012
I try to buy fairtrade and/or organic where I can – especially for luxury items such as coffee, tea and sugar. We can all do without those. Chocolate too.
Fairtrade bananas were one of the first ethical products on the market. Today I bought some – a pack of six – grown to strict organic standards and carrying the fairtrade label too. That the organic fairtrade bananas are sold in plastic bags here in the UK seems very odd to me too.
The pack of bananas (six) cost £1. I am not sure how that can be right but I did query it. The fairtrade mark ensures the product meets ‘internationally agreed Fairtrade standards that include social environmental and economic standards’ but their claim that the fairtrade certified producers ‘are getting a better deal’ seems questionable in the light of the price- particularly when the non organic, non fairtrade bananas (sold loose) cost more!
Seems that the farmers are not getting much for their produce or there’s a glut at the moment or the shop misjudged their order or something. But they did taste sweet.
September 26th, 2012
Found a lovely tiny book in The Samaritans’ Secondhand shop today – 50p! Called Go Girl! (Helen Exley). It’s full of lovely, wonderful pictures ‘elfin’style by Caroline Gardner, and fun and inspiring sayings from all kinds of women (and a few men).
I love to wake up and meet the day.
I think that life is not to be wasted or thrown away. (Goldie Hawn)
50p well spent methinks
September 26th, 2012
This year I’m living in an intentional Christian community. It’s called the Compass and you can find us opposite the main sorting office (PostOffice) here in Chestefield. The property is owned by a Christian Charity, and it’s a converted pub. The accommodation is upstairs and at the outset the pub part was a Christian Cafe. The idea was for it to be a ‘gathering place’ for Christians to meet non-Christians etc. Sadly right now the cafe is no longer running. More on that another time.
What does living in an intentional Christian community mean?
Different things to different people I’m finding out Only this summer I presented an academic paper at a conference called Power and Difference and there I used my friends at the Palace in Turku as an example of how a local expression of new monasticism can and does make a difference in the community.
The Compass isn’t there yet. Or perhaps it was – and has simply lost its way momentarily. As one of us said the other day – “we’re a bit in limbo”. So rather than reaching out I’m finding that living here means reaching in and reaching up. Reaching up to God – because without Him it’s all a waste of time, and reaching in – as in into the community itself.
I think the first step is spending time together and learning to listen to one another. And that’s not as easy as it sounds. For starters we are busy people. And secondly we might listen but we also interpret – which means that we don’t necessarily understand and communicate well. At least not the first time, or the second … or the third.
What I’m finding though -and this is so encouraging – is that setting time aside to discuss how we’re doing really helps, particularly when that time is followed by prayer and then food. Yes food. Jesus loved table fellowship and so do I. Mealtimes build community. Yesterday one of the community cooked freshly picked corn-on-the-cob grown by a relative. It was delicious – and sacramental, every bit as precious as sharing communion on a Sunday cos God was in our midst.
here by the grace of God …
September 23rd, 2012
somehow, beyond all hope, God intervened and I’m back in England for a year. More on that later … tonight I want to talk about this
Picture used with permission
Chesterfield is a nice town to live in. Not too big, and mostly peaceful. Only one year ago Christians Together for Chesterfield(CTfC)’s vision to be part of the increasingly national Street Pastors network. You can read more about that here
Tonight was the commissioning (and re-commissioning) of street pastors (there are now 34 of them) and the prayer pastors who support them. It was so encouraging to hear their testimonies, to see the police in church with them supporting their efforts too and also hear how – as a spin off from the Street Pastors – there had been six weeks of Christian Community activity (throughout the school summer holidays) working with children, youth and families. Crime is down and people -epecially the street pastors – are smiling. I’ve never met such a smily lot of people in ‘uniform’.
There are several ways you can support them.
- Prayer - join our great team of Prayor Pastors who commit to praying for the Street Pastors on patrol either at our base in Grace Chapel or from home.
- Finance – you could support us with a financial gift or commit to a regular standing order.
- Presentations – invite us to come and speak about Street Pastors to your church or group.
- Membership – become a member of Chesterfield Street Pastors. It costs you nothing and you will receive regular newsletters and updates.
- Gifts of items that we use every week - first aid supplies, tissues, wrapped lollipops etc.
And better still, why not begin praying if your community could do with seeing your church on the streets a bit more. Maybe something like this is a way forward?
August 24th, 2012
On the heels of my previous post I came across this blog article.
Scripture is rife with examples of people welcoming friends and travelers alike into their homes and lives. We are called to greet strangers as friends and to share abundantly with them, and Jesus offers harsh words for people who fail to show adequate hospitality.
In recent decades, the picture has been complicated by Martha Stewart’s magazine and other resources that equate hospitality with handmade place cards and expensive flatware. These magazines miss the point of hospitality. I’ve sat at immaculate dinner tables and felt like an unwelcome afterthought, and I’ve been served wine in a plastic cup and felt like a treasured guest. A spirit of hospitality cannot be faked.
You can read the rest of it here on Fidelia’s sisters: a publication of the Young Clery Women Project. (Very interesting reading over there btw even though I do not qualify to be an offical part of the group. I’m over 40 and not ordained. Sad isn’t it? Grin)