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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Tuesday Thanks…

Hello all,

Hope you are well.

I have undertaken a new twitter rhythm (you can read more about it here) and Tuesday is thankfulness. This is inspired in part by the blogging on thankfulness by Sharon Roberts and Tuesday thanks on Becca Dean’s blog.

So, here just ten of my things to be thankful for…

1. Advent

Over the past few years I have grown more and more excited about Advent and this year I have been reading a prayer book entitled – “Come thou long expected Jesus” which uses some of the hymns of Charles Wesley and advent scriptures. Thankful for the great hymns and for Paul Wesley Chilcote for writing the book.

2. Life Group

Love being part of family and I love the group of peeps we do life with. On one level it is a sad day today as we say goodbye to one particular family as they follow God’s lead. But, we’re looking forward to blessing them. We are very thankful for their contribution, fellowship and friendship over the last few years.

3. Winter Night Shelter

The Eastbourne Winter Night Shelter starts on Thursday. Thankful that people have followed the Holy Spirit’s prompting and have started this project. May God over answer our prayers for this work.

4. Foodbank

Amazing project that has supported well over 600 people in Eastbourne so far, with an emergency three day food supply. Great people doing an amazing job.

5. Tree outside our house

I love our tree. Thankful for the spring, summer and autumn colours it has given us. I know its a bit weird but I do miss it during the winter.

6. Music

We love music in our house, if it is not on somewhere, someone (usually Mrs Blunders) will be singing. I love the creativity, the inspiration, the emotion and the call for a response that encompass music. I love that God designed these relatively few musical notes and then let us loose with them.

7. Big Bang Theory (TV Series)

I love this program, great end to a day! Thankful for humour.

8. Mentors

I have been thinking and thankful recently about those who have influenced and mentored us over the past few years. Mrs B and I are especially thankful for Dave and Sharon Roberts for their influence, encouragement and friendship.

9. Family

Love Mrs B and love my boys! Very thankful for them all!

10. Tea and Coffee

Both help the working day go down!

Hope you have a great day, may you stay thankful and if you haven’t already please join us on #3goodthings this evening on Twitter.

Be blessed,

Grace and Peace,

Steve

Father God, may we stay thankful this and every day. May we remember your blessings, your mercy and your grace. May we turn each thankful thought back into praise to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen


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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Community Living, Tuesday Thanks

 

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RENT…

RENT

Hey y’all,

Welcome to the intro post to a new series on the musical RENT. You may well be thinking what on earth can be learnt from a musical? What would the musical RENT have to do with Jesus? Well this series is for you…

The three R’s

You have to be careful when you mention names in public, a wrong name here can lead to people switching off before you’ve begun.

The name Mark Driscoll can do just that.

While I would not agree with everything he’d say, I do think that Pastor Mark has added great value to the conversation about mission, biblical manhood, fatherhood, discipleship and leadership. Some of his hyperbolic statements have caused more than a little stir, but at heart I believe he is a man of great vision and has a great deal to say on mission and culture.

One of his returning teachings is that on current culture and how we process it as those who are learning to follow Jesus. His slide rule of Reject, Receive and Redeem is great when dealing with any part of culture and RENT seems like a great piece of art to see if he’s right…

What are the things that we as followers of Jesus need to reject? Not as many as you might think…but more on that in later posts.

What are the things that we as followers of Jesus need to receive and what do we learn from? A great deal…but more on that in a later post.

Finally, what are the themes that we look to redeem, what has kingdom value but needs a little theological tweaking?  You’ll have to wait and see on that one….but more on that…well you get the point… 😉

Future Posts & Guest Blogger

We will be looking at the musical and it’s themes through the lens of ten key songs (we could have done one for every song – but had to narrow it down!). We will be writing about the characters themselves, the themes the songs bring out and what we can learn from them.

You may have noticed that I have switched to using we, that’s because @MrsBlunders and I will be writing this new series together!

So, the ten songs;

1)      Seasons of Love

2)      Rent

3)      One Song Glory

4)      Life Support

5)      Out Tonight

6)      Santa Fe

7)      I’ll cover you

8)      La Vie Boheme A+B

9)      Without You

10)   Finale B

We will be posting every Thursday starting from next week (Thursday 24th November).

I (Steve) will also be returning to praying through the gospel of John each week, so look out for that one as well.

It is also worth noting that we will not be hijacking the musical and forcing biblical themes onto the songs. As we have listened, watched and sung these songs it is clear that they speak of real truth, real lives and real situations.

If (as we believe) God is real, than He must have something to say about these real themes and we believe He has done through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

We hope you join us on our journey through RENT, we hope that it helps you explore what it means to be a follower of Jesus and we hope that if anything in the past has put you off that this may be a restarting of your interest in Jesus.

So with that we’ll see you next Thursday as we delve into the musical RENT.

Grace and Peace,

Steve & Susie

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Community Living, God, Myths about God, RENT

 

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[Guest Post] Imitate…


Hello! Hope you all had a great weekend. Here we go with part two (you can find part one here if you missed it)

At the end of the last post I asked you to think about who your role models are, and who you imitate. I wonder what sort of people you came up with? For me, there’s a definite distinction between “I wish I could look more like this person/have their house/earn as much money as them” and “I really admire what I see in this person, and would love to get better at doing it myself”.

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you might have picked up subtle hints about my love for Cherry Healey. She is a funny, intelligent, gorgeous, well-dressed, insightful TV presenter making fantastic documentaries for BBC3, as well as raising her little girl. Poor Blunders has had to listen to me whine on more than one occasion “But I want to beeee Cherry!” Now, honestly, this is not true. If I were Cherry, yes I’d have better clothes, a lovely spilt-level London apartment, and a successful TV career, but I wouldn’t have my husband, or my brilliant two boys, or my friends and family, or beautiful sea views from my windows. If being Cherry meant leaving behind everything about my current life, I wouldn’t do it. No siree. Nor (and goodness me, I can’t believe I’m saying this) do I actually want to be Mrs Robbie Williams (I know, I shock myself!).

Nonetheless, I can recognise people of influence in my life who have characteristics that I want to imitate…examples to come, in a few paragraphs or so.

So, who should we imitate, and how?

In his letter to the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul was very clear about this;

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Ephesians 5:1 (New King James version)

As Christians we are called to imitate God…which is a pretty steep challenge! But there are definitely strategies that can help us as we strive towards this. I read a fantastic blog about imitating Jesus (http://bluepointchurch.org/?p=205) that pointed me to this verse in Philippians:

 “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”Philippians 3:17 (English Standard version)

The blog author goes on to say this;

 “Let me paraphrase what Paul is trying to say here: You’re going to copy. You’re going to mimic someone’s steps and mirror someone’s movements. That’s how we roll as human beings. So if you’re going to imitate somebody, go ahead and imitate me. Follow me as I follow Jesus.”

So, for me, the first strategy we can employ when attempting to imitate Jesus, is to find people who are already doing it. Mr Blunders has shedloads more grace, patience and understanding for people than me. Gran B is the ultimate prayer warrior – who brings people, situations and problems before God as an automatic response. My sister in law is desperately passionate about working with and in her local community. My best friend is desperately loyal to her friends even when they treat her badly. A couple we know extravagantly bless people when they see a need. These are the people who I want to be more like, these are the characteristics that I want to imitate.

Secondly, our very wise friend Caroline raised the excellent point that when you are in close relationship with someone, you often imitate their behaviour without being totally aware of it. Spouses mirror facial expressions, housemates adopt each other’s accents (in my student house we had a fantastic mix of Midlands, Newcastle/Sunderland, Wales and Somerset!), best friends order the same food in a restaurant. When we spend a lot of time with someone, we often become more like them.

The Ephesians verse mentioned earlier reads like this in The Message translation;

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love.Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love.” Ephesians 5: 1-2 (MSG)

I love that – keep company with God and learn a life of love. Having a deep, intimate relationship with God is the best way to imitate His behaviour. It’s learning by osmosis (what a brilliant word!).

In conclusion, I’d encourage you to imitate others from time to time. Look at their best habits, characteristics and behaviour. But more, strive to imitate Jesus whenever you can. It’s a tough call, but spending time with God will make it much easier. I know it’s something I need to get MUCH better at!

And remember, for each of us, there will be people (not just children) watching us, and looking up to us, and imitating our behaviour too. Let’s try to set the best example possible eh?

Big love

Mrs B

 

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[Guest Post] I wanna be like you…

Hello lovely people. It’s been a while…I have various half-finished blogs in my head but thought it was about time I got on with completing something! This collection of thoughts has been greatly expanded and enhanced by our lovely Life Group (a small group from church that meets midweek) who discussed the topic with me this week – thank you Blunders Life Group…you are the best!

Last week at church, we were talking about the characteristics of small children, and one that really stuck with me was ‘imitators’. Our elder son (EJ – nearly 4) is a proper copycat/parrot. So often we catch him doing or saying things that remind us of ourselves (or frequently, my mum!). Last week my brilliant sister gave birth to a lovely baby girl, who our boys met for the first time on Thursday. They were instantly besotted with her, and EJ is immensely proud of her – taking a photo into nursery to show all his friends. But as well as loving her and being proud of her, he has started imitating the actions of a new parent. He has named one of his toy giraffes after her, and now talks about putting her down to sleep, stroking her head, giving her cuddles and asking us to be quiet when she is resting. It reminded me of my friend’s little girl who ‘breastfed’ her dolly whilst her Mummy was feeding her baby sister.

Little children learn by copying, and seeing this behaviour in my son so obviously in recent days, it reminds me what a responsibilty we have to little ones – both our own and those that we interact with frequently – to model good behavior, positive relationships, respect for others, and everything else! I pray that my children imitate and learn the positive traits of Blunders and I…or things might get ugly!

But as I thought more about this concept of children as imitators I wondered – when do we grow out of that? Do we ever?

As teenagers we often imitate others to find acceptance and become part of the ‘in crowd’. At life group, Rachel shared that as a child/young person she never listened to pop music. Her parents only listened to classical music at home, which she loved. But when her friends began talking about songs and bands in the charts, she bought a ‘Now’ CD (or tape?!) and, through sheer dermination, listened to it and got to know the songs so that she could join in their conversations – despite the fact she hated every single song she heard! I’m sure we all have stories of doing things that we don’t like, or don’t agree with – imitating others to ensure we fit in.

I’m not sure this sort of behaviour is restricted to teenagers though. Have you ever just found yourself nodding along with an opinion you don’t agree with? Keeping quiet because you don’t know people very well, or because you know them so well that you don’t want to upset a friendship by arguing? Most of us at life group could think of times when we’ve done that.

So I reckon that to some extent, we remain imitators even in adulthood – but that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many of us have people in our lives who we especially look up to – a work colleague, friend, grandparent, church leader, mum in the playground, celebrity who inspires us. And in many ways I don’t think there is anything wrong in having a role model, and attempting to replicate the great stuff you see in them, in your own life. For me, it becomes problematic when you look at someone and think “I want to BE them”…and (speaking from personal experience) I think this can be unhealthy because it breeds dissatisfaction with your own life, the circumstances you are in and the person that you are.

So, provided that we don’t become totally obsessed, and place our role model on a pedestal, I suggest that imitating others can be a good thing. Of course – it all depends who you’re imitating!

I’m going to leave you for now – there will be more on this in a day or two – but have a think, who do you imitate? Why? I’ll be sharing some of my ‘role models’ in the next post, but I’d love to hear from you – as always, let me know your thoughts in the comments box below.

Big love

Mrs B

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Myths about God, Prayer

 

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