Posted in Church, Faith, tagged Barnabas Fund, Bible, book, Christianity, church year, CMS, computer, devotions, faith, Family, fasting, internet, John Piper, Journey to the Cross, Lent, Leprosy Mission, Messy MInistry, screens, spiritual discipline, Taste and See, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, tv, writing on 12 February, 2013 |
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I’ve been thinking about what to do for Lent this year. Although, theoretically, I could start something new at any time of year, I find that seasons in the church year are good opportunity to review spiritual disciplines. Last year I managed to produce a blogpost every weekday throughout Lent and the Vicar and I had a no-screens-after-8pm fast. We found the screen ban very helpful – and did a lot of talking and reading. We did have Sunday nights off for Dr Who after the Evening Service though. And I enjoyed the more frequent blogging, but I don’t think that is on the cards in 2013.
So here is a little list of what I’m planning to do throughout Lent this year, to draw closer to God and reset my life compass:
- Continue reading my encouraging devotional,Taste and See: Savouring the Supremacy of God in All of Life by John Piper.
- No screens after 8pm again, although I may have to make an exception for writing if I’m to finish Messy Ministry by my deadline just after Easter.
- Write the book – I’m finding the thinking I’m doing quite challenging so far, and the self-discipline involved in setting time aside to write is very good for me. And I have that deadline to meet.
- Increase family devotion frequency to at least 3 times a week. At the moment we’re only managing once a week, although we’re enjoying the format, which includes reading from Sally Lloyd-Jones’ lovely devotional book ‘Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing‘ and praying from prayer diaries from The Leprosy Mission, CMS and the Barnabas Fund, all of whom are supported by our church.
- Did I mention finish the book? And not faff about on the internet being distracted.
sCome nearer Easter, we’ll dig out our Resurrection Eggs too. But other than that I think we’re set. I want to be realistic in the challenges I set but also stretch myself. The screen fast will be the hardest. But I’m also looking forward to the space it will bring into our lives. I’m wondering whether the Vicar and I might use this devotional book together in the time that is freed up. How about you?
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Posted in Faith, tagged Advent, animation, birth, Children, Christianity, Christmas, Church, clip, devotions, faith, Family, Jesus, Joseph, Kids, Mary, movie, name, resource, Scripture Union, stable, story, YouTube on 18 December, 2012 |
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I’m sure you’re all super-prepared for all the Advent happenings in your parish. But just in case you aren’t (or want to be extra-super-prepared for next year) I thought I’d share this brilliant alt.Advent series from Scripture Union that I just came across. They are posting a 2-3 minute daily animation of part of the Christmas story every day of Advent. The full animation, combining all the clips, is 47 minutes long – perhaps something to have on hand for early risers on Christmas Day…
These would be great for family devotions or to show in a service or school assembly. I might even show a few to the kids over tea this week. SU have posted a good number of other videos on their YouTube channel that would be useful for services or family bible times.
Here’s today’s lovely section of the story:
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Posted in Bible study, Faith, Uncategorized, tagged 2010, bible reading, bible reading plan, devotions, Happy New Year, shirker, slacker on 1 January, 2010 |
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A Happy 2010 to everyone. All is vaguely peaceful in the Vicarage this morning, although the Queen has just declared herself ‘bored’. Christmas as a Vicar (and family) is a lot more full on than as a Curate. The Vicar had seven (or was it eight? I rather lost track) talks to prepare and deliver in the space of about ten days. My days were filled with baking, wrapping and tidying – we were out at events (nativity plays, school fairs etc) and hosting them too.
So in the space between Christmas and New Year, we’ve taken some downtime. The Vicar led and preached at a service on 27th December, but other than that we’ve been on holiday at home. It’s been made special this year by old friends visiting from Australia who have children around the same age as ours.
Borneo Girl and I were in the Brownies together so we go waaaay back. Her daughter and the Queen are the same age and have played together intensively for four days. Hence the boredness of the Queen. Our friends left a whole hour ago. Borneo Girl has promised me some Aussie recipes, so I’ll be blogging those this year.
Now everything is quiet here I am going to get my devotional life back in the groove. When I read that there was a bible reading plan for shirkers and slackers, I knew it was for me. So I’ve printed it out and I’m off to read some Matthew (it is Friday, isn’t it?).
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Posted in Faith, Family, Kids, tagged Children, devotions, Five finger prayer, Kids, Lord's Prayer, Our Father, prayer, Richard Coekin on 19 November, 2009 |
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Last weekend I met up with some old friends. I see this group of Christian girls twice a year, as we’ve done for more than 15 years. We pray for one another through the year and meet for encouragement, to study the bible and eat fabulous food.
This Saturday we’d agreed to read Richard Coekin’s new book ‘Our Father – Enjoying God in Prayer’. What a tonic.
Richard Coekin describes himself in this book as an activist who struggles to pray. I could relate to this very well. I’m a massive extrovert who finds the discipline of prayer a daily battle. But Coekin’s book doesn’t send the activist on a guilt trip. As we discussed it on Saturday, we agreed that we’d not felt beaten over the head about our lack of prayer, but that prayer was in fact possible. And not just in special ‘quiet times’ but throughout the day. We each felt that we could pray more – that it wasn’t as hard as we thought.
One helpful feature of the book is a rather cheesy story at the end of each chapter. The stories fit together as a whole, telling a tale of the prayer lives of different characters. I particularly liked the way one girl’s prayers were written out including lots of ‘ers’. My prayers are far from coherent, so this seemed very realistic.
The book unpacks each of the sections of the Lord’s Prayer and just helps you to think how you could pray that more thoroughly. Since this weekend I’ve been praying this way not only myself, but also with the kids (who are 8, 6 and 4) after their bible time.
With the kids I’ve offered options, so that they feel like they have some choice in the way they pray. The current options are the Lord’s Prayer (unpacked for the big two, but straight for the Engineer) or the five finger prayer. If you’ve not heard of it, the five finger prayer is where we pray
- Thumb – for those closest to us (family, friends)
- Forefinger – for those who point us to Christ (church leaders, Sunday school teachers)
- Middle finger – for those in authority (government, teachers)
- Ring finger – for those who are weak (the ill and sad)
- Little finger – little me
Actually, we’ve slightly adapted this five finger prayer to pray about the Lord, who’s first, as well as those close to us, as we pray the thumb prayer.
This has been a good week for prayer in the Vicarage. How do you pray with your kids?
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