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Posts Tagged ‘God’

After thinking about devotions honestly yesterday, the excellent Adam4d just posted this on what happens when we pray at bedtime..

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MMH IVP marketing tweetThe Ministry of a Messy House is officially published today. And some people have even started reading it. A few have said they have enjoyed it, which is lovely. I have been praying that the book will be a blessing to readers. But I also want to say that’s it’s okay if you don’t love it with your whole heart.

It’s a bit weird writing a book and realising that it might not be for everyone. And that some people might even hate it or think it heretical or boring. But since I wrote about God’s grace and providence in the book, I can remind myself that his grace is sufficient for me and although I’d love everyone to think my book is the greatest thing evah, it’s okay if they don’t. So don’t be embarrassed if you read it and find it’s not for you. We can still be friends.

You can buy it in lots of places – including here on this blog. And today I’m linking to my special magic author discounts at my publisher’s: 40% off the print copy and 50% off the e-book.

I have been given a few author copies too. I’m afraid that I’ve already allocated the print ones, but I have a couple of e-books to give away. Tell me about the messiest part of your house in the comments and I’ll pick two at random to send you the link to the book. Sadly this isn’t available if you’re in North America – although IVP will be providing an alternative in the near future for anyone in the US or Canada who would like to read it.

I am also doing a proper author-type book signing on Saturday 26th October. I shall be at CLC Bookshop in Birmingham from 11am-2pm, under the Pallisades, just next to the entrance to New Street Station. I shall bring some Can Do Cookies (the recipe is in the book) and my best pen. Do come and say hello if you’re in the city.

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Lots of people have already blogged about their disappointment with the new Girl Guides promise eg Gillan, David, Alison. I didn’t manage last week, but I did express some of my feelings on Twitter. That resulted in an interview with Helen Legh on 3 Counties Radio that went out on Sunday morning. You can catch it on iPlayer until next Sunday - my slot was about 1hr 10minutes into the show. I very much enjoyed talking to Helen and think I managed to get across most of what I’ve been thinking. Which is:

  1. The Guides is a brilliant organisation. I will always be grateful to Guides for friendships made and the encouragement to lead and take responsibility.
  2. I understand that not everyone wants to make a promise to God.
  3. But being ‘true to myself’ is either meaningless – a sort of Disney nonsense, or a more insidious call to the worship of self (my daughter thought it meant ‘be selfish’).

What I forgot to mention was that the promise is going to be tricky for girls to say if they believe that to be true to themselves they cannot promise to be true to themselves, as they know that their selves are flawed and imperfect and not to be trusted. Which is essentially what a Christian believes.

And I also didn’t mention, because I didn’t know it at the time, is that my former Guide leader, (a member of my home church which I visited last Sunday), is considering sending back her trefoil (a sign of membership) because she is so cross about the new promise. She led our Guide company for many years and went on to other senior guiding responsibilites. Seems to me that the Guides may need to have a little think about where they are headed with this seemingly self-centred new declaration.

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Over the holidays we’ve caught up with some friends and family – a great joy. Our old mate Grinagain, who we visited last week, has a useful phrase:

Fail to prepare…

Prepare to fail.

This is a helpful reminder in many areas, but today I’m applying it to the whole of next year. I have a few big projects on the horizon, and I want to approach them well. Today I’ve been reading through old blogposts, and came across one from January 2011 with some very helpful questions from Don Whitney. This year I’ve put pen to paper with my answers. It’s scary to hold myself accountable but also necessary – I struggle with self discipline every minute of every day. Here are those questions again for anyone else who wants to tackle 2013 before it’s upon us:

Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year or On Your Birthday

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.

1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

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Christmas treeThings are gearing up for Advent activity in the parish. Tonight is our Messy Christingle service – the first that’s been held since we’ve been here. Early in Advent seems like a good time for this service and gives us an opportunity to advertise other Christmas services to our Messy Church folk, some of whom don’t attend on Sundays. We’re excited about the service and the opportunity we have to tell people the Christmas story and spend time together. I made 1.5kg of pastry this morning which this afternoon will be turned into mince pies to share afterwards.

So we’ve been in church just now, moving chairs and getting the ancient decorations out. The tree lights work, thankfully, but there is rather a lot of tinsel debris around where we’ve unravelled the silver from the gold from the red and sparkly shreds have floated to the floor. The church is not looking as ethereal as one might hope for Christmas because at the same time as we were tinselling, the builders were in knocking great lumps of plaster off the walls. They tell us the plasterers are coming on Thursday so hopefully the walls will be reinstated for the school Christmas service next week and the Infants’ Nativity the following week.

So it looks like we might have a bit of a Messy Advent here. Thankfully our God didn’t expect tidiness when he came to earth all those years ago. In fact he came *because* of the mess. That means we can wait in the mess as we look forward to his arrival.

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Being a Christian Pumpkin

Searching for pumpkin carving ideas I came across this sweet poster talking about how Christians are like pumpkins – ‘God… scoops out all the yucky stuff… and puts his light inside of you…’

And Emma has blogged a lovely prayer that we used when making our pumpkin with a face (pics to follow).

Dear God,

As I open this pumpkin I pray that you help us all open up more to you.
As I clean out this pumpkin I pray that you clean us of our sins and forgive us.
As I cut eyes into this pumpkin I pray that you show us our work for you in the world.
As I cut a nose for this pumpkin I pray that you remove our stubbornness.
As I cut ears into this pumpkin I pray that you help us hear your message into our heart.
As I cut a mouth into this pumpkin I pray that you help us share your love with others.
As I put a candle into this pumpkin I pray that more of your light comes into the world.
Amen.

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I spotted this new gospel outline video from Glen Scrivener recently. I was reminded to post it on here after last night’s Messy Church, where we began a three part (obvs) series on the Trinity. I’m not sure many of us would choose to begin sharing our faith with something we see as complicated, but Glen shows us that it’s actually a great place to start.

Check out the 3-2-1 website for more details.

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Ah. Blog. It’s been a while. What with parish life and a bonkers end to the school year and everything I feel I’ve neglected you. So much to say, but such a feeling of inarticulacy. Too many real life things to get on with. A perfectionist streak which insists that there’s not quite enough time to communicate anything worthwhile in the time available. And then there were the Olympics and the holidays and that.

Anyway, sorry Blog. I’m here again. I’m going to try again this term. I love that new term new start thing. My head is full of stuff so I am just going to get on and blog. Even if it’s not brilliant. Even if it’s pretty rubbish. Better something than nothing. Better a few words than none.

Thank you Blog that you’re forgiving and merciful, full of grace and always ready to hear from me, no matter how long it’s been. Or am I getting you mixed up with someone more important?

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Just read this in an interview in the Guardian with Jeremy Vine. I’m rather surprised that I agree with Tony Blair! But being faithful to the Lord is hardest in the small, everyday things, not in the grand visions. So I should get off the internet and put the shopping away…

You worked as a Westminster correspondent for a long time. And you were on the Blair battle-bus in 1997, weren’t you?

I interviewed Tony Blair five or six times, but it’s off-air conversations that matter. Once, on the bus, he said: “I like tea” and I said: “I like tea, too” and then he said something like: “I hear you’re a Christian, Jeremy” and I said: “I’m just struggling, you know” and he said: “It’s the most important thing in my life.” And then I said: “Don’t you feel that actually the big stuff like what you’re going to do when you get into power is much less important than the small stuff, which is how you treat your next-door neighbour?” I realised that was a bad analogy because his neighbour was Gordon Brown. But he said: “I completely agree.”

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Recently came across this great site which has some beautifully designed graphics of bible verses. All you need is a colour printer and you’ve got some gorgeous wall art ready and waiting.

 Here’s one that caught my eye today:


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