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Posts Tagged ‘10ofthose’

The blog hits from searches on Halloween have begun. So here is my annual pointer to some good ways for Christians to redeem Halloween without drowning in a sea of witch masks and ghoul costumes. This is a great time of year to bless our neighbours and reach out with the good news of the light that Christ brings to our dark world.

One popular activity in many churches is to hold an alternative party. We’re making our Messy Church next week a Light Party. This year Scripture Union sent us a magazine with some excellent ideas for games and activities that we have used. They have free packs and downloads available. We found last year that a light party held on Halloween itself isn’t so popular as people are off to other parties so that’s why we’re holding ours before half term. The next door parish are holding one on 31st October, though, so we’ll encourage any parents who do want an alternative to go along to that. We are wondering if we still have time to get kids a Bag of Hope from UCB. But if your party is in half term, you should be fine.

Here in the Vicarage we’re stocking up on tracts (try 10ofThose or The Good Book Company) and sweeties to give to Trick or Treaters. And we’re planning our pumpkin carving. Dreamer is holding some afternoon drop in activities in the church hall over half term and plans pumpkin carving as an option. Last year we carved ‘Light of the World’ on ours, inspired by a gallery of other people’s pumpkins I posted a few years back. The excellent cartoonist Crimperman has some other ideas for pumpkins, in case you end up with too many. I have found from bitter – and tasteless – experience that supermarket Halloween pumpkins are utterly hopeless for roasting or making into soup or anything really useful.

Pumpkin cartoon

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And here’s the Easter spoken word video from Glen Scrivener, courtesy of 10ofThose. A wonderful reminder that Jesus is the Bread of Heaven who fully satisfies:

Our week of special events this Easter finishes with a Feast for All Nations – a celebration service followed by a meal of international food. We are praying that the whole week will help all our neighbours to know that:

This bread is sweet…

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If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m  often full of great new ideas and initiatives. But what that actually means is that many old ideas and initiatives have fallen by the wayside. So when I extol the beauty of a new bible reading scheme or system of prayer, it possibly (=usually) indicates that the last system I extolled has somewhat petered out…

Last night Sharonxx asked the following:

I have tried to set myself the simple ‘resolution’ this year to pray at least once a day [either an Office or personal prayer], to read one small devotional a day and to do one bible study each day [using T.Wright…for Everyone]. I work 9-3, I have an 8 year old son and I’m married….pretty normal on the face of it….so why can’t I achieve even these simple goals??

Any tips? How do you do it with your busy life and family commitments? Indeed, DO you always manage to keep up with the bible reading etc.??

Simple goals, and ones I can relate to so well: read my bible, read something else devotional, pray. I’d love to do this every day too. But I often don’t. And I don’t work outside the house either, with all the extra juggling entailed in that.

So why don’t I do it? There are a bunch of reasons: tiredness, craziness of life in the Vicarage, but mainly it’s because other things seem more important than spending time with God. They’re not, of course, but my sinful heart takes control and I sleep a little more, tweet a little more, watch a little more Midsomer Murders. As I was reminded by my reading in Romans 7 this morning ‘What a wretched (wo)man I am!’

But the important thing is not to be discouraged when I fail. I’ve snoozed and missed the timeslot when I would have been reading my Bible. So I can grab a verse for the day on my phone. I’ve missed prayer time in the quite of the early morning. But I can still pray over the ironing board, or in the queue for the sandwich shop. I might not feel that I’ve prayed very well, or read enough of the Word, or wrestled with a theological concept. But if I’m keeping in regular touch with the Lord, I’m able to build my relationship with him. And even if I’m crazy busy or laid low by illness, there are still ways that relationship can grow, as his Spirit works in me. The Spirit reminds me of Scriptures or hymns and spiritual songs that I can cling to when I’m struggling with time or energy. The Spirit shows me the Lord’s providence in seemingly small ways that enable me to praise God when I feel like crying. The Spirit works in me so that I can will and work to the Father’s good pleasure.

Some of the resources I’ve found useful recently include using the audio setting with YouBible on my phone or tablet. This morning I read my allotted chapters from my epic 10 chapters a day reading plan but my head was a bit fuzzy and I didn’t process much. So then I listened to them again as I cleaned the kitchen and a bit more went in. Not everything, but a bit more.

My prayer life is a bit wobbly at the moment, but I’ve been using The Valley of Vision and have also recently downloaded the excellent PrayerMate app which is free at the moment. It has all the bells and whistles if you have an Apple device, but we are Android users in the Vicarage, so I have the newly launched version (which will be updated over the next few months) and am slowly uploading my prayer diary to its pages.

So I guess my answer is that I constantly fail to read my bible, to pray and balance all my family and other commitments. But I also constantly try and reboot them and get them back on track. The temptation is to feel that once we’ve missed a day in our readings, we’ve missed the boat. So we need to remind ourselves that the Father is waiting for our return. He loves us unconditionally, whether we’ve read our Bibles, prayed our prayers or simply slouched on the couch. Find a system which frees you from guilt if you miss a day; 10ofthose have some great undated devotional books. Start again. I read a blogpost in the last week about how we need to have Monday resolutions, not just New Year resolutions. And perhaps I even need to have daily resolutions. I mustn’t put off getting back on track because I’m waiting for a special season. I can reboot my resolutions today.

Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.

Malachi 3:7

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My kitchen sink can be a holy place. It certainly doesn’t look like it at the moment. But Tim Chester’s excellent new book from 10ofthose reminds me that it can be if

… [I] offer up [my] washing of the dishes to God as a sacrifice of praise, sharing his delight in creation and serving others in love.

In The Everyday Gospel, Chester helps me to see that everyday activities, like washing the dishes, can be made holy because of the saving activity of Jesus. This extended meditation on a mundane task points me to remember that God orders chaos and that God serves his people. So when I turn a basket of crumpled clothes into a neatly ironed and folded pile, I am being like God by ordering the disordered and by serving my family by providing them with wearable shirts.

Chester also points out that I can use these times of everyday activity to trace God’s handiwork – to contemplate how He has worked to create the pans in my sink, how he made my food, traces of which I am washing away. I can use washing up time to talk to my children, or visitors in my home – for pastoral care. These times are not the bits in between time for God. All of time, however inconsequential it seems, can be holy.

A short and accessible read, this book would be brilliant for anyone who ever has to do anything boring. So I make that everyone.

A Holy Place?

A Holy Place?

NB This review has also been posted on 10ofthose – they sent me a review copy. No illustrative pic of my kitchen sink over there though.

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It’s a busy season in the Vicarage. These last few weeks we’ve had a Confirmation service, multiple bring and share lunches, sick kids, secondary school open days and a new Ministry Trainee all arriving at once. And to top it all, my book is about to be published. Less than a year ago I was up front for a few brief seconds in a seminar at the Midlands Womens’ Convention and next Saturday, as a direct result of those few words I shared (mainly about this blog), my book will be available prior to the official publication date at this year’s convention at Derby County Cricket Club.

Normally IVP send their authors their own special copies before the book goes on sale. But my book has gone so close to the wire that the first copy I see will most likely be with Jonathan Carswell of 10ofthose, who is running the bookstall at the convention. I shall be at the convention with some lovely ladies from my church, but am hoping to be about near the bookstall for a bit. Maybe I’ll see you there?

The Good Book Company have been publicising The Ministry of A Messy House too. We had this flyer in the post a couple of weeks ago:

Look! On the same page as C S Lewis!

Look! On the same page as C S Lewis.

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I know we’re all thinking about Back to Church Sunday and Harvest and everything (gosh, it’s a busy term – and we’ve got a confirmation to factor in too), but before you know it, it will be Halloween. And the brilliant Glen Scrivener (of Anti Santy Ranty fame) has produced a great new video to get your congregation or youth group thinking. A great reminder that the light triumphs over the darkness.

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I was recently sent a pile of books by 10ofthose.com for review. As I’m letting myself slowly back into blogging, I thought I’d review the shortest one first.

10ofthose have produced a lovely bath book telling the story of creation. There’s a smiley picture of Adam and Eve on the front cover and then the seven days of creation are pictured. The words and illustrations are taken from the popular Beginner’s Bible. It’s a standard bath book with squidgy plastic pages. I’m going to give it to our youngest congregation member to try out on his holiday and will report back on robustness at a later date, but it feels good quality – the edges are soft and the pages are bound together securely.

A fun gift for small children – only £4.99 for one, but prices down to £3.24 if you order in bulk. Why not club together with other church members and take advantage of the discounts available?

I gave our copy to a lovely baby at our church. Here he is reading it with his mum on holiday a couple of weeks ago:

P1010088 P1010091

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