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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

We are approaching a strange and hard Easter. A strange and hard Holy Week. This collect from the Book of Common Prayer is preparing me for that – reminding me of the Father’s tender love, helping me to recall the great humility of the Lord Jesus and challenging me to be patient. These are what I need to meditate on this week. I need to meditate with gratitude on love, humility and patience.

[Black text on yellow starburst, photo of blackthorn blossom behind] ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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It’s really not normal, is it? Such strange times we are living through now. We had a PCC meeting tonight and were discussing some issues with our services, and timings for the APCM (the annual meeting), as I checked in on Facebook to see what Matt Hancock had said in the House of Commons about whether churches should continue to meet. My FB feed told me that they shouldn’t, but the Church of England guidance isn’t out yet. So we are in limbo. This level of uncertainty is something pretty unsettling to be living with. And making any plans feels a bit pointless. But we have to keep on looking ahead, even if things are cancelled in the morning.

So I’m going to leave my worries with Jesus and try and get to sleep before midnight. PCC was enough trouble for today. Jesus said so.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34/picture of church and Victorian terraces across metro line, blue sky with clouds behind

A view of our church from the other side of the metro line

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I was at a meeting today, and it began with a brother reading a couple of Bible passages and sharing a few thoughts about them. He spoke about challenges we were facing and about the need to endure, and how we are able to endure because our God is the God of endurance and encouragement – as we so clearly see when we look at Jesus. As we look at his example, his life, his death, his glorious resurrection.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:4-6

And that’s the answer for a messy head. You need to look at Jesus. Things are a mess, or we are weary, we are facing trouble and see that things are not going to be resolved any time soon. We’re anxious about things ahead – the uncertainty of not knowing the future. Looking at Jesus is the answer. It might be hard to change where we’re looking. Find a way to look to Jesus. Music, a good bishop, a collect or just doing nothing much.  Running on and looking at Jesus is the answer. It’s always the answer.

Hebrews121and2

 

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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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Spotted this excellent Easter meditation yesterday, with the starting point of considering a Creme Egg (which I know that a good number of people will be doing over the next few weeks). Delivered by Dave Crofts of Christ Church Central in Sheffield. Think this might get a showing in one of our services before Easter.

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Glen Scrivener has produced another great spoken word piece this Advent. Christmas in Dark Places reminds us that:

He took on our frailty, he took on all comers

To turn all our winters to glorious summers.

Such a fantastic reminder as I gaze out on our bleak and misty winter churchyard, looking like a scene from Great Expectations. You can download the mp4 for use too.

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Another great video for Christmas events, or just your Facebook timeline. This one is from Plungepool Media. As with yesterday’s video, this is the preview – you can download the proper thing from the website for use.

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After the Christmas C(h)ord last year, Dai Woolridge has produced another brilliant spoken word video for Christmas. One for your church or youth group? This is the preview – you can download a copy for use from Spoken Truth.

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Well, that’s what I think this tasteful hanger for (I guess) a teenager’s bedroom is trying to say…

Nearly everything about this is wrong...

We didn’t buy this for the Queen

And I’m sure you all realise that Santa is an anagram of Satan…

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EstherEsther was the daughter of Kathy, who was on the Proclamation Trust Ministers Wives conference with me last week. Esther died of cancer just after Christmas, aged 14. They’d found out that she was ill in August 2011.

This is her testimony from her baptism in September – in her will she said that she wanted as many people to hear it as possible. Kathy read it out to all of us who were at Hothorpe Hall last week. And now I’m sharing it with you.

Before I became a Christian I came to church because I had to, and not because I really wanted to. I’d rather stay at my friend’s house or at home. I was slowly moving away from God and my family – I was never at home. I would ‘bunk off’ school and deceive my parents. It wouldn’t really bother me that I was actually sinning against God and I was gradually moving into becoming not a very nice person.

And then, at the end of August last year, I remember going with Miriam, Olga and Elaine to St Ann’s hospital for an x-ray, because I was getting really bad pain in my right leg, and I wasn’t able to sleep. I was sent straight to North Mid hospital for more scans, and shortly after having a biopsy, was diagnosed with bone cancer (which was really a shock because everyone thought that it was just growing pains). In the past year I’ve been given six different types of chemotherapy, two biopsies, I’ve had two operations to remove tumors, and I’ve got a metal knee. More recently I have had radiotherapy on my leg. So far none of these treatments have worked, and there are now multiple tumors in my leg and the cancer has spread to my lungs. It has been hard when I go to the hospital and keep hearing bad news.

But throughout the ups and downs of the past year, I have never felt angry with God or questioned Him about why I am going through all of this. I feel like God is testing my faith and this illness was supposed to, and has, brought me closer to Him. Over time, as I’ve needed God more and more, it’s made me put Him at the centre of my life, and has made me into a changed person whose view on life (as Mr Mac says) is ‘live one day at a time’. I know that I am in God’s hands and I’m ready for whatever or wherever He wants my life to go – however hard it might be. Obviously I’m really praying that God will heal me, but I have put my trust in Him and I know that He will do what’s best for me, in my life. I have realized that Jesus is my Saviour and I’ve asked Him to forgive me for all of my sins. It’s so AMAZING that someone can wash away all of my sins, so that it’s like I’ve never sinned in the first place. But I know that that doesn’t mean that I can keep on sinning; I have to try not to sin – but I’m still only human, so I will make mistakes, and when I do, saying ‘sorry’ to God; but I’m trying not to, and trying to follow God’s commandments.

Before I got saved I was quite a selfish person, and always did what I wanted to do, even when I hurt someone else’s feelinging, it wouldn’t really bother me because I wasn’t that other person. During this past year I’ve had to put myself in other people’s shoes because I turned into that other person. For example, because of having different operations on my leg, I’ve had to go around in a wheelchair. People look at you differently, and it makes you realize how much other people go through that are in similar situations.

One day, I hope that I can become a chemo nurse, and help people like all of the nurses have helped me. Now I really want God to show me how I can help people who are less fortunate than me, and people who need to know the Truth. I don’t expect God to heal me – He may have other plans for me. But whatever happens, it’s amazing to know where I’m going to end up on judgment day. God has given me so many blessings in my 13 years of life, and even through this last year. I went on a Mediterranean cruise; I’ve been able to spend time in Dorset, and I’ve just got a dog called ‘Hope’.

It may sound crazy but, although this illness has brought me a lot of pain and discomfort, and I can’t do everything that I would like to do, in some ways this illness has changed my life for the better. I mean, I don’t know what I would be like if I hadn’t got ill – I don’t think that I would have got saved or appreciated life, or realized that every day that I live is a blessing from God. I thank the Lord for making me ill if it meant that I realize all of these things, and made me accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.

I’m so grateful that God has given me 13 years of life, loving parents that have supported me, friends and family that have continued praying for me and most importantly His son Jesus Christ who died for me!

Esther Childress 27th Sept 2012

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