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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Chester’

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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I’m always surprised by the start of the New Year. Strange how it sneaks up just as you’re recovering from Christmas festivities, eh? It’s something I always think it would be good to plan and organise myself for, but once the frantic preparations for Christmas are finished, it’s all too easy to collapse in a heap of self-indulgence and sloth (my default mode, I fear).

But this December I want give myself a little time to think about plans for 2013. I have a BIG thing looming on the horizon for the Spring, which will means that I will need to be organised and on top of things at the beginning of January rather than sometime in mid-February. I want to make sure (as far as possible, notwishtanding my sinful slothful inclinations) that my devotional life has a good rhythm. I’m enjoying John Piper’s devotional e-book this Advent – and managing to actually read it almost every day.

Open bibleThe start of a new year always seems like a good time to think about reading through the whole bible. I am an eternal optimist in this regard. I started using the Daily Bible app on my tablet this year, and the M’Cheyne bible reading scheme that it enables you to use. I’ve found it helpful but it’s a big chunk to read – four chapters a day. Nate Treguboff has posted a good selection of whole bible plans, which includes the M’Cheyne and another for Slacker and Shirkers that I used on and off (mainly off) in 2011.

Tim Chester has just posted his bible reading scheme for 2013 which is less prescriptive than other schemes. It gives a reading for the week, rather than daily readings. I like this idea as it could be used in conjunction with a shorter devotional book. His scheme takes you through the Old Testament once every 3 years and the New Testament twice in the same time. If you’d like to start with the complete 3 year plan he’s also posted that.

So the Plan for Jan is a light devotional read in the mornings (suggestions welcome) to prompt prayer and a bible reading slot using Tim Chester’s plan at some stage in the week. I’ve thought that I could probably usefully listen to the allocated chapters using Bible Gateway’s audio facility, whilst I’m cooking or baking. I do spend a *lot* of time in my kitchen…

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I know, I know, we’ve all finished our holidays and everyone’s gone back to school and work. But I’ll forget this if I leave it till the right sort of time next year. And this year I really enjoyed my holiday reading, so here they are – maybe you could stick them on your Christmas list or something. Or even do some reading out of holiday time… So, in no particular order…

  • Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig – great novel about the experience of immigrants and the interconnectedness of people’s lives.
  • Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym – I enjoyed this far more than Excellent Women, which was the first Barbara Pym I read, possibly because Jane is a Vicar’s wife who always looks as if she’s about to go and feed the chickens.
  • The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford – I’m rather embarrassed I’d not read this before. It was a fun read, rather than a brilliant one, and I’m looking forward to reading some more of her books. I notice that India Knight cites her stuff at the top of her recommended comfort reads. I’m going to check out some of the other’s on that list – I’ve not read (quite) all of them…
  • 1,000 Years of Annoying the French by Stephen Clarke – lighthearted non-fiction about Anglo-French relations since William the Conqueror. Although I kept the cover out of sight as I read it beside the pool in Brittany.
  • Armadillo by William Boyd – funny and clever novel about identity and fitting in.
  • The Bad Book Affair by Ian Sansom – I first came across Ian Sansom by accident, looking for stuff by C J Sansom (totally different, but excellent too). This is the fourth (I think) in the very funny mobile library series, about a North London Jewish librarian running a mobile library in the far north of the north of Northern Ireland. Hilarious characters and gentle mysteries in all the books in the series.
  • The Gospel-Centred Family by Tim Chester and Ed Moll – excellent and challenging short book on Christian parenting. Would be easy to use as a course or to read with a friend.
  • A Shelter in the Time of Storm – Paul Tripp – I’ve recently been using this book to help me get my devotions back on track. I’d rather lost the plot with my Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers (rather too much shirking and slacking, alas). I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a series of meditations on Psalm 27, each with a couple of thought provoking questions to take with you through the day. It’s subtitle is ‘Meditations on God and Trouble’ and I think it would be brilliant for any Christian who is low, tired or struggling, which is probably most of us…

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What should we fear?

Some folk think that it must be scary living in our parish, with its deprivation, drug dealers and people like Gone. Last week I found some great quotes on what we should really be afraid of, selected by étrangère from Tim Chester’s recent book ‘The Ordinary Hero‘. I’ve been thinking I should buy it to read this holiday, but slightly fearing to aswell.

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