The weekend

It is amazing how easy it is to miss a couple of days of blogging, the disciplines of spending time with God and others similarly can be so quickly pushed to the side in the busyness of everything else.

The last few days have been fairly hectic with some exciting things and some less exciting things going on. Hannah and I have started thinking about trying to buy a house jointly with her parents, to help both of us on to the property market (David gets a house with his job so as soon as he retires they won’t have anywhere to go.). So Friday and Saturday saw us viewing various different properties and having a couple of meetings with mortgage advisors. It is all looking very complex but positive at the same time. Hopefully things will keep progressing and in the next few months we will be the proud owners of our first ever house.

When we weren’t doing house stuff we spent some time trying to get stuff sorted for Christmas, doing on bits of work here and there, and going to a dance. Hannah and I do dance classes on a Tuesday night, and the posh Christmas dance was on Saturday night. It was quite a fun night trying out different moves. Unfortunately it was quite full so you didn’t always have much space to do anything but it was a good evening.

Church over the weekend was good. David seemed to lead the service really well on Sunday morning, all looking at the start of advent which is always an exciting time, but difficult to make exciting if you know what I mean. It has been great to see how so many of the people who have joined the church in the last year are ‘young’ (i.e. under 50!) which is slowly changing the atmosphere. In the evening I took a couple of our young people to Doubt your Doubts, the town-wide monthly youth service which was a good evening, and then chips and nuggets afterwards while chilling with Steve who promises he is going to start a blog.

When things go wrong …

However much you prepare things can still go wrong in youth work. Tonight, at our Rock Solid group, we were playing a game entitled Mousse in the Dark. The idea was that two volunteers would feed each other mousse or yoghurt while blindfolded.
We put plastic sheeting down on the floor, put big plastic aprons on them, tied their hair back, put the blindfolds on, thinking that we had done a reasonable amount to protect them and their clothing. But when blindfolded yoghurt can get everywhere, on the sheet, on their clothes, all over the blindfolds.
It was hilarious and the kids loved it but what a mess. We managed to clean up fairly well and luckily the parents didn’t seem to stressed but I think we might invest in some boiler suits before we do that again!

Holbein in England

I had the day off yesterday. After the busyness of the weekend it was a real joy. I went into London and spent a good chunk of the day with my dad. We went to Tate Britain to the Holbein exhibition . It wouldn’t necessarily be my cup of tea normally but it had had some rave reviews and I did enjoy it. Some of the portraits are just so realistic they look like they could walk off the page. Inparticular I thought this picture was amazing:

If you get the chance well worth a visit.

Models of Mission: Community involvement

This seminar was led by Malcolm Duncan of Faithworks and Paul Sanderson of The Wire Project. The session started with a Biblical basis of why we should be involved in our community – points included the need to protect human dignity, our prophetic role, the need to have a Kingdom mentality, holiness and worship, being salt, light and yeast, and the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

Paul then shared his experiences of starting the Wire project which were really helpful in the different ways that the work has developed and the way that inter-church work can be really successful. Something to continue to mull over and come back to me thinks.

Main session 2: The Kingdom is Nearer than You Think (Luke 10)

You reach a point when you have to rethink everything before. Jesus forces us to do this. His thoughts on the Kingdom of God turned the Jewish thoughts upside down. He redefined the Kingdom as “a reign not a realm, authority not geography”.

Youth work is prophetic for the church. We need to rethink the faith – the message, the scope, the lifestyle. Andy then looked briefly at 3 areas:

  • Proclamation – Luke 10 shows how we must have preaching of the word, social action and a charismatic spirit. We must stop this pick ‘n’ mix attitude.
  • Spirituality – we must know the king to know the kingdom. Ensure that our youth work isn’t a place where Jesus is left out – it certainly can be easy to do that.
  • Discipleship – have we aligned ourselves with God’s kingdom and are we encouraging our young people to align with God?

Main session 1: Going to New Places (Luke 4:14-44)

Rob Bell spoke on imagery from Ephesus – we didn’t seem to do that much with the Luke passage! The idea that there may only be a few Christians in an area and that the rest of the area is quite non-Christian. Paul just hikes in and does it – no budgets, no film clips, no fancy advertising. Paul manages to cause a riot, and Gaius and Aristarchus (probably aged 15-20) end up standing in a theatre of 25,000 people shouting for their death. Yet Paul wants to appear before the crowd! Paul has a story he is dying to say – what is our theatre, our Ephesus.

As soon as the riot is over Paul moves on. He leaves because his disciples have been trained – they handled a riot of 25,000 people. Who are our disciples, who are we giving some ministry responsibility to?

The leaders of the province worship Artemis but they want to protect Paul! Who are those in our area who are our friends but hate our faith. Paul must have held his tongue on certain things, e.g. statues, to build a friendship that is incredibly important in the long run.

Early day session 3

The third session started with Martin Saunders, from Youthwork magazine, interviewing Rob for the next edition – look out for it.

The rest of the session was an expansion of that and the discussion from the previous sessions with various questions from us being answered. Points included:

  • That the Christian community should always be progressive – probably small steps rather than big leaps.
  • Use background reading to really understand the culture and the context.
  • “Your calling is where your passion meets the world’s biggest need”
  • We are invited to be a Eucharist (good gift) for the world. However, you can’t be a Eucharist endlessly. It is why there must be rest and an opportunity to be refilled.