Is your church too cool?

A friend of mine just posted a link to this article on facebook: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/features/26050-is-your-church-too-cool

I confess I don’t know very much about the author, so I don’t know whether she has a general anti-church mindset, or whatever – but I really feel that this article is an honest reflection of how churches in our modern, technologically minded society can be.

A lot of what the author says is true; she’s quite critical but she ends by revealing the heart of the matter:

Some of us wear our brokenness on the inside, others on the outside. But we’re all broken. We’re all uncool. We’re all in need of a Savior. So let’s have some distracting church services—the kind where Jesus would fit right in.

I’d encourage you (if anyone’s reading this!) to read and really consider what she says in the article, and make up your own mind what you think…it’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

– x –

Advertisements

Memory Verse Monday…and a bit about grace

Memory Verse Monday…on a Tuesday, because I forgot yesterday!!!

This week my memory verse is from Numbers; chapter 6: 24-26

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace

I really like these verses; they really help me focus on God and remember that He is the everlasting light, which shines upon me (of all people!) and brings peace specifically for me, in whatever situation I am in.

I’m going to really work on sticking to memorising these verses, because I’m quite lax in it most weeks. At church on Sunday, Terry Virgo (who leads the New Frontiers movement, which my church is part of) preached on grace, and essentially how amazing it is! And I realised how often I think I’m letting God down when I don’t read my Bible everyday, or memorise the verse, or pray for half an hour straight, or pray aloud at prayer meetings…or or or. There are a thousand and one things I could do, which would glorify God – but because of grace I don’t need to do them. I can choose to, because I love Him and I want to – but whether I do them or not doesn’t affect my salvation: I am already saved, by grace, through faith.

How incredible is that?! What an awesome God we have.

A quiet but productive day

Today has been a lovely day.

There was an Invision social (for the students and twenties of our church) at the beach, but I couldn’t go because I am on call for work this weekend, and last night we had to report one of our girls missing and I know that there’s no signal at Joss Bay so I couldn’t knowingly take myself off for a day of fun where I’d be uncontactable. So instead, I…

…read a whole book, started a new patchwork, baked bread from scratch, made a casserole, cleaned the kitchen, cleaned the bathroom, called my mum for a chat, called my sister to tell her to watch this youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MomKfsbFpQ0) and listened on the phone while she laughed which made me happy, bought clothes online, watched a couple of movies (Ladies in Lavender and Parent Trap, the Lindsay Lohan version) and I also listened to a bunch of music.

I feel like I have a ton of energy left, and I really wanted to go and watch the sunset somewhere but Rosie doesn’t want to come with me cos she’s been out all day, so instead she’s having to put up with me doing weird things like lying under the clothes drier.

The best thing about today is that it didn’t revolve around electronics. It was like a Saturday unplugged. And I like that. I hate spending loads of time on the computer, when there’s no real purpose. In my previous houses I used to always have the TV on, because it was distracting and it meant that I could avoid any conversations I didn’t want to have. A lame reason, I realise now, since because I’ve moved in here I’m just not so bothered. Most of the TV that Rosie and I watch is stuff we both like, and we watch it together. I will watch stuff when it’s just me, but only if it’s something that will really interest me, rather than just for the sake of it.

Anyway, the point is: I liked having my quiet day and I think I’ll do it more often!

Church on the Farm, a blast from the past and Memory Verse Monday

This past weekend was our Regional Church Weekend Away – three days camping on a farm about 8 miles away from Canterbury. Our church put on the event and did an amazing job, it was such great fun even if the weather was pretty awful most of the time. On the Friday evening the speaker preached about Peter walking on water, and Jesus calming the storm – all while a huge storm was raging outside! We were inside a marquee, which was huge and draughty and everytime the wind outside got louder the fabric walls and roof just blew like mad. I have decided that I love camping, and Rosie and I are going to go together over the summer. I didn’t get to really listen to much of the teaching, but the sessions will be online so I can watch them whenever. What I did hear was awesome!

Another really exciting thing that happened this weekend is that an old friend got back in touch after almost two years! Emily and I became email pen-pals when I was seventeen and she was sixteen, now I’m twenty-two and she’s twenty-one. We lost touch in 2009 when I started my second year of Uni, but she emailed me again the other day and it’s like we never stopped.  I’m so pleased, I really miss emailing with her – we got to be quite close, though that sounds crazy because we’ve never met – and really, may never meet because she lives in New York (and used to live in Vegas) but who knows. I’m just happy we’re back messaging again!

Finger update: I had to go back to Minor Injuries to get my finger checked cos it looked so gross, and I had to have the steri-strip taken off cos it was stopping it heal. A weekend on a muddy farm hasn’t helped it, but the bandage is off and it’s starting to heal properly. It’s gonna scar, probably quite badly, but hopefully because it’s on the underside of my finger I won’t see it.

I also had to go to the hospital for a blood test during the week because I had a weird fainting episode which freaked me out. I keep having them, so hopefully if there’s something going on the blood test will figure it out.

Here’s this week’s Memory Verse:

Whatever you do, work heartily,as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lordyou will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

Last training and a trip to Minor Injuries

This week we had our final Impact training block…I can’t quite believe that it’s over, as it feels like there is still so much to learn and I’m just getting excited about it again! 😦

We had a rocky start on Monday morning (never put petrol into a diesel engine!) as we had to call out the RAC and be taken to a garage to have the engine completely drained and sorted,  but were on the road by 9.30am and arrived in really good time, at 11am  – walking into the training room to see Liam Thatcher throwing balloons at the group and yelling things like “GRACE”, “POWER”, “EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING!”. It was weird. But later made sense, as we were studying Ephesians. Which may be one of my favourite books (although this accolade is bestowed on each new book I read, so will probably change again next week!)

Tuesday was a day on practical (and prophetic) evangelism, which incorporated an afternoon of ‘treasure hunting’ in the centre of East Grinstead. Definitely a challenge to my security in my Father, as you have to really lay yourself on the line in going up and talking to people. It was incredible though, I got to pray with a teenage girl whose mum has heart failure and we were able to encourage her to go to the New Life youth group as well. It was fun, after all the anxieties earlier in the day.

Tuesday evening we had a really fun social time, possibly the last one where we’ll all be together and we ate pizza and played Mafia (I was a Mafia, and I genuinely suck at it because I’m not a very good liar and when I get accused I can’t bluff it out very well!!)

And then Wednesday, our final day, was on Church Planting. It was alternately terrifying and faith building, which I think is a pretty good balance really. I felt very encouraged and inspired, though I don’t feel I’m called to church plant now I am completely open to God preparing me and refining me for whatever He wants…and the day’s training made me feel much more excited about the possibility of doing it one day. And the guy, Steve Petch, who did the training also did a very cool study of 1, 2 and 3 John to give us some ideas about church planting through those letters. I’ve never really heard teaching on 2 or 3 John (we’re doing a series on 1 John at InVision right now) and it was really cool to see how they fit together and what their purpose was in that time. It made a lot of sense. Maybe the Johns are my favourite books!

In other news this week: I had to visit the Minor Injuries Department today because I managed to squash my finger between two massive, heavy catering trolleys and I’ve got a “deep, wide, oozing laceration”. I’ve been steri-stripped, glued and bandaged to within an inch of my life! And I managed to nearly faint twice, even though I’m usually great at blood-situations! (As evidenced by yesterday, when I helped Philippa and Chris at their 5yo son’s birthday party and his friend ran at full-pelt into a screen door, and bounced off it with a waterfall of blood gushing from his poor nose. Apparently I’m calm under pressure, as long as the blood flowing is not my own…then I become a nauseated, near fainting wuss!)

 

Back in the game

It’s been over a month since I last blogged, and in that time many-many-many things have happened…

1) I moved house!! Rosie and I moved into our lovely “apartment” on 30th April and were so blessed by the amazing friends who a) gave us things for our home and/or b) helped us with the actual moving. We are still amazed that our whole home is furnished, and yet the only things we bought ourselves are a fridge (second hand, but practically new) and odd bits and pieces for the kitchen, such as cutlery and a toaster. All the other bits; beds, sofa, armchairs, dining table, wardrobes, were given to us for free!!! Either from freecycle/freegle or by kind people in our church. It’s astounding, but so lovely and such as a great witness to all our friends who aren’t Christians, who can see the love of Christ reflected in how we have been blessed by our church community.

2) Memory Verse Monday was discontinued for a while, in favour of a more specific three week study of verses about joy. God really spoke to me through Psalm 30:5, “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning” … I’ve always liked this verse, since the first time I read it, and it’s always been a source of reassurance because I know that it’s true. However, over recent weeks I’ve struggled to find joy in things – I have really wanted to, and have strived not to allow things to get to me and steal my joy but it has been a real struggle  – hence making the decision to focus simply on JOYFUL verses. I wrote lots out and blu-tacked them above my bed so that I could see and read them every morning and evening.

Despite that, though, I still felt bleugh some days. And I found it hard to believe Psalm 30:5, because when I went to bed miserable or grumpy or stressing, I found I was waking up in the same mood and it was bearing down on me like a black cloud. And then God spoke to me, and it was incredible – He showed me two important words at the centre of that verse: JOY COMES.  It was a little like a light came on, and I saw what I never had before.  Joy comes, whether it’s the morning after the misery before, or maybe two weeks down the line – God revealed that really, when you turn to Him and wait on Him, joy will come. I like that, a lot!

3) I had my weekend off of the term, over the Bank Holiday weekend – almost four whole days at home! It was lovely, really restful and I got to see Jessica and Dad, Michelle and Callum twice over the four days – the girls and I had Jessica round to our house on Sunday afternoon; she was such a treasure! She’s such a happy, smiley little girl…and she was so settled at our house, I was worried she’d freak a little but really she was a star! And I love that she recognises us when she sees us, she knows we are her sisters and it’s great to think of what she’ll be like when she’s older 🙂

4) Only two months left til the end of Impact. I don’t know how I feel about that, really. I’m sad that it’s going to be over, and there are a few things I kind of regret not doing, but I think I am ready for it to end. That sounds awful, it’s not like I’m counting down the days or anything, but I think I’ve always known that this was just 11 months and that afterwards there would be more things to do – and I’m excited to start working full-time and be a ‘proper’ grown-up. I’m quite aware of saying “when I’m working”, in the same way that people say “when I’m married”/”when I have kids” etc. I used to say “when I’m at Uni” and then “when I’m on Impact”, as it that would suddenly ‘fix’ all my issues and I’d suddenly become this amazingly well-rounded and sorted person, but life really isn’t like that! I don’t want to give myself any illusions that working full-time will be the perfect thing, but I think that I am just anticipating this next ‘stage of life’ and looking forward to it knowing that I am armed with the greatest weapons and guarded with the strongest armour anyone can have: the Lord.

 

“Weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes in the morning”     Psalm 30: 5