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Remaining thankful…

thankfulness thanks thanksgiving prayer Jesus

Tuesday’s top ten thanks…

1 ) NHS – does an amazing job and has looked after two families close to us over the past weeks, as well as H this morning. Thankful for a health service that is free and accessible.

2 ) Friends – thankful for the many friends we have in our lives.

3 ) New Pupils – some days I just love teaching and especially when I get the opportunity to teach someone new. I still enjoy the first look of a pupil who realises they are actually playing the guitar.

4 ) Technology – this Sunday we were able to FaceTime with my parents in Derby. Great for the boys to keep in touch with their grandparents. I think they enjoyed it too…

5 ) Foodbank – great people doing an amazing work – if you live in Eastbourne please visit here. Alternatively you may like to visit the Trussell Trust who pioneer the work.

6 ) Winter Night Shelter – not only thankful for the work of the Eastbourne branch, but starting to hear great stories from around the country of similar projects that are up and running.

7 ) Life Group – Thankful for the family that we meet with once a week, to celebrate life, pray and learn to follow Jesus.

8 ) Church Leaders – Thankful for those who step up and follow God’s calling. Very grateful for their leading and their encouragement.

9 ) New Music – a few months ago a pupil gave me a iTunes voucher, which I got around to spending the other day. New music from Joe Bonamassa and Kenny Wayne Shepherd have become staples in my work soundtrack

10 ) Communion – this Sunday was our monthly reflection, remembering and responding to the cross. I am always thankful to spend time as a church celebrating the communion meal and all that it represents.

Now over to you, what are you thankful for today?

Grace and Peace,

Steve

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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Jesus, Tuesday Thanks

 

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[12 Days] Twelfth Day…

Read: Revelation 22:16 (CEV)

Revelation 22:16 I am Jesus! And I am the one who sent my angel to tell all of you these things for the churches. I am David’s Great Descendant, [c] and I am also the bright morning star. 17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”

Everyone who hears this should say, “Come!” If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free!

Reflect:

Today is officially the end of Christmas for another year. The decorations are coming down (if they have not done already) and we now look towards Lent, Easter and Pentecost. I love this section from the book of revelation. I like the way this translation gives a sense of urgency in Jesus’ words. So, may we hear his words today – , “Come!” If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free!

Advent and Christmas are about Jesus. The coming of Immanuel. It is about preparing for Jesus’ second coming – may we live each day knowing that we have done all we can to prepare for the return of the King.

The Spirit and the Church say, “Come!”

Respond:

Father, may we know your grace. We want to live doing all we can to prepare for the return of the king. May the living waters of Christ cleanse us, may the Spirit descend upon us, and the blessing of God be with us this day and always. Amen


 
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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in 12 Days of Christmas, Jesus

 

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[12 Days] Eleventh Day…

Read: John 14:15-21 (CEB)

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever. 17 This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be with you.

18 “I won’t leave you as orphans. I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

Reflect:

We reach day eleven and for most of us Christmas is now a distant memory. Replaced with the return of normality, whatever that may look like.

Our passage for today reflects some of the themes of advent and Christmas itself; namely that God is with us.

I love this translations use of the word companion. Many other translations use the phrase Advocate or Helper. But, companion adds a new flavour to the work of the Holy Spirit and ties in well with the truth that Jesus speaks in the remainder of the passage.

We have the risk taking, grace awakening, dream filled, person of the Holy Spirit walking with us every step of the way.

We are no longer orphans.

Respond:

Holy Spirit thank you for your presence with us. Thank you that we are not alone, we have you as our guide. May we get to know you as you lead us in your truth. Reveal Jesus to us, this and every day. For His glory. Amen

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in 12 Days of Christmas, Jesus

 

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[12 Days] Six Days…

Read: Genesis 1:1-5 (The Message)

Genesis 1-2First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.

3-5 God spoke: “Light!”
And light appeared.
God saw that light was good
and separated light from dark.
God named the light Day,
he named the dark Night.
It was evening, it was morning—
Day One.

You may like to carry on reading the creation narrative here.

Reflect:

We reach day six in our series and the obvious link is the six days of creation. We are not going to debate the creation narrative in this post – but look to our creator. Later on in the Biblical narrative we read some of King Solomon’s words that encourage us to remember our creator in the days of our youth. Or in other words while we still can, we choose to remember our creator.

The Gospel of John points us to the fact everything, whether seen or unseen was created for and through Jesus. As we start the countdown to returning to work/school/’normal’ life may we all find time in our busy schedules to regularly remember our creator.

Respond:

In the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, Lord I come. Before I forget your creation, before I forget your love, before I forget your story. I choose to remember my creator, his love and his story. May I learn to carve time out of my schedule to spend remembering you. Amen

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in 12 Days of Christmas, Jesus

 

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[12 Days] Holy Innocents…

 

Read: Matthew 2:13-18 (ETR Version) ; 

13 After the wise men left, an angel from the Lord came to Joseph in a dream. The angel said, “Get up! Take the child with his mother and escape to Egypt. Herod wants to kill the child and will soon start looking for him. Stay in Egypt until I tell you to come back.”

 14 So Joseph got ready and left for Egypt with the child and the mother. They left during the night. 15 Joseph stayed in Egypt until Herod died. This gave full meaning to what the Lord said through the prophet: “I called my son to come out of Egypt.” [a]

Herod Kills the Baby Boys in Bethlehem

16 Herod saw that the wise men had fooled him, and he was very angry. So he gave an order to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem and the whole area around Bethlehem. Herod had learned from the wise men the time the baby was born. It was now two years from that time. So he said to kill all the boys who were two years old and younger. 17 This gave full meaning to what God said through the prophet Jeremiah:

 18 “A sound was heard in Ramah—
bitter crying and great sadness.
Rachel cries for her children,
and she cannot be comforted,
because her children are gone.

Reflect:

Holy Innocents Day.

A day when we break out of the celebrations to remember the brutality of King Herod. It is a day when we remember children and we bless them. It is a day to remember that evil is still prominent in the world, but also a day to remember that one day all tears will cease and the rightful King will rule!

Remember in prayer today the children around the world, those who are in slavery, those who are free, those who need water and food and those who need to know the love of their heavenly Father.

Respond:

Father, thank you for your grace. Thank you that Jesus will one day return and finally say, STOP! To all the evil in the world. One day Father, Son and Spirit will rule the cosmos fully! One day all tears will be no more and the injustices of the world we have their justice. Even So, Come Lord Jesus! Amen.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in 12 Days of Christmas, Jesus

 

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[12 Days] Feast of Stephen…

Read: Acts 6:1-7 (Message Translation)

Acts 1-4 During this time, as the disciples were increasing in numbers by leaps and bounds, hard feelings developed among the Greek-speaking believers—”Hellenists”—toward the Hebrew-speaking believers because their widows were being discriminated against in the daily food lines. So the Twelve called a meeting of the disciples. They said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.”

5-6The congregation thought this was a great idea. They went ahead and chose—

Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,
Philip,
Procorus,
Nicanor,
Timon,
Parmenas,
Nicolas, a convert from Antioch.
Then they presented them to the apostles. Praying, the apostles laid on hands and commissioned them for their task.

7The Word of God prospered. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased dramatically. Not least, a great many priests submitted themselves to the faith.

Reflect:

Today, is the feast of Stephen and on this day it is generally Stephen’s martyrdom that we focus on. But, we’re going to focus in on Stephen’s reputation.

Stephen was well known amongst the new thriving church, he was know for his faith and being full of the Holy Spirit. From this reputation, the apostles knew that he could be trusted with greater responsibility.

What are you well known for?

Respond:

Father of all, thank you for the life and example of Stephen. Thank you for his servant heart and submission to you and your vision. Thank you for those throughout the years who have given their lives to further your gospel. May I be known as a follower of Jesus. May my reputation honour your name. Holy Spirit, make your ways know to me. In Jesus’ name. Amen

 

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in 12 Days of Christmas, Jesus

 

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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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