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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] Feast of the Holy Name…

Jesusbest

Read: Luke 2:21-32

Luke 2:21When the eighth day arrived, the day of circumcision, the child was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived.

22-24Then when the days stipulated by Moses for purification were complete, they took him up to Jerusalem to offer him to God as commanded in God’s Law: “Every male who opens the womb shall be a holy offering to God,” and also to sacrifice the “pair of doves or two young pigeons” prescribed in God’s Law.

25-32In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:

God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel.

Reflect:

Happy New Year to you all!

We reach day 8 in our series which is the day set aside as part of the church calender to remember the naming of Jesus. We remember that he was brought up in the tradition and ‘right’ way – Mary and Joseph carried out the relevant acts stipulated in the Old Testament, they followed their God and His ways. The naming of a child was huge part of society at that time. Your name was everything, it was your identity and indicated your family connections.

So, as we start 2012 you may like to begin by reflecting on one of the 200+ names of Jesus found in the Bible, I’ve put five here to get you started. But a quick google search should reveal the others.

What do the names add to your understanding of the character of Jesus?

Author of Life – Acts 3:15

Word – John 1:1

Immanuel – Isaiah 7:14

Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6

Saviour – John 4:14

Respond

Eternal God, thank you for revealing your character through your names. May I learn to reflect on these names and reflect on your character in 2012. May my goal be to know you and who you are. May I live for you alone. Amen

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in 12 Days of Christmas, Jesus

 

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[12 Days] Fifth Day…

Read Psalm 1

Psalm 1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Reflect
Today we reach day number five.

Five in the Bible is most often associated with the first five books of the Bible, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Or the books of Moses or the books of the law.

Our scripture reading today is all about meditating on God’s word. Psalm 1 calls us to meditate on the word of God day and night. Later in the Gospels, Jesus said he had not come to change anything from the law, but that he was fulfilling the law. Filling it out, putting flesh on it.

Have you ever read the Bible in a year? Will you in 2012?

Have you consciously tried to look at every passage you read looking for Jesus?

He is there, putting flesh on the very words of God.

Respond

Holy Spirit, help me find Jesus. As I read, study, digest, mull over and generally flick through your word would you show me Jesus. Turn my gaze to Jesus, may all that thrills my soul by Him and Him alone. Amen

 
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Posted by on December 29, 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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[RENT] One Song Glory…

 

Greetings from Blogblundersland,

Hope you are enjoying this advent season. The build up is in full swing and Christmas 2011 is well and truly upon us.

We are continuing our RENT series with the song, One Song Glory. You can have a listen here.

The song is sung by Roger and the themes and melodies from the song make their way into many of his other parts throughout the musical.

Roger has HIV/AIDS and seems throughout the musical to be doing well under treatment, but he knows he will soon die. He is searching for a way to live on beyond his choices – the one song to leave behind.

The verse I want to zoom in on is this one;

Find ,The One Song
Before The Virus Takes Hold
Glory, Like A Sunset
One Song, To Redeem This Empty Life

Roger is a man who thinks he has wasted opportunities, wasted the gift and therefore created an, ‘empty life’. Do you ever think like that? We can often think that we’ve missed that ‘one’ opportunity and now our life is forever on a different track and that is it – stuck on an empty track waiting for the end.

What if things were different?

What if life was a rich tapestry of opportunities and risks?

We have had many conversations over the last few months with our friends about God and our view of Him. If we have a view that is basically a god who sits upon high and dictates the future of our lives based on whether or not you take this one opportunity right now – then life is always going to be hard. But, if we take our picture of God from the revelation of Jesus, we get something very different. We start to see a God who is willing to get dirty, to dwell amongst his people, to move into their neighbourhoods – to eat, drink, laugh and cry with them. We also see a God who will go out of his way to offer us as many opportunities as possible to choose Him.

Over the past year, we have started to grow in our understanding that this moment is the only moment we have. It is how we choose to live this moment that it is important. The one opportunity to respond to God (or make a one off prayer) is replaced with myriad opportunities, with each second being as valuable as the previous.

Following Jesus therefore, moves from being a once in a life decision to a repeated decision made moment by moment. Do I choose to follow Jesus right now?

By its very nature, this thinking will mean that we will miss opportunities – we will be human and choose our own way. But, it will also free us to know that each day is filled with risk and adventure. Each day has choice. Each day, moment by moment is an opportunity for redemption.

Roger is searching for his redemption through the writing of one song that would live on beyond him. What he seeks is eternal.

What if we searched for redemption in Jesus, the eternal one? By this thinking, eternal life is no longer an added extra to following Jesus. No, we follow the one who is eternal and therefore our life is found in Jesus and him alone, that life is then eternal.

From this point of view there can never be such a thing as an empty life. Every life (no matter what has gone before) has the opportunity to respond to Jesus, every day is a new day for choosing Him and living with eternity in view. Every life has the choice for redemption. Even right now as you read this…no matter what has gone before.

As always let us know what you think and may we take this opportunity to bless you and hope that you have a great Christmas.

May you find Jesus.

Grace and Peace,

Mr and Mrs B

xxx

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in God, Jesus, Myths about God, RENT

 

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[RENT] Rent…

Hello again,

Thank you for stopping by, hope you are having a great day.

We return today to our mini series on RENT the musical and today’s number is the title track.

Have a listen here:

The song kick starts the musical with a bang – introducing us to a few of the characters and giving a glimpse of their part in the story. You’ll probably agree that this is pretty much standard for the opening number of a musical.

But, where I think RENT differs is that you get an insight into the songwritters questions. Obviously they tie in with what the character thinks but just recently I’ve been struck by these words towards the end of the song:

How Can You Connect In An Age,
Where Strangers, Landlords, Lovers,
Your Own Blood Cells Betray

What Binds The Fabric Together
When The Raging, Shifting Winds Of Change
Keep Ripping Away

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/r/rent/#share

The series of questions come rapidly and can almost be missed. They are very real questions that still need an answer today.

How do we connect with each other and what holds it all together?

Betrayed?

This stanza sums up a great deal about today’s world. How do we find community, friendship, acceptance, love and support in age where we are constantly let down? You could replace any of the betrayers with any number of people – politicians, friends, neighbours, spouses or even God.

The search for real community is what the character Mark is really looking for. But, he hides behind his camera to avoid it – to keep from getting hurt he removes himself from the one thing he actually wants. I am not advocating that we share absolutely everything with absolutely everyone. But, we do need people who we can be real with. Otherwise how do we really connect if the world is full of people who will betray us? Yes, our friends and family might let us down at times – but true friends will never betray us.

The book of Proverbs along with RENT gives us some great advice on choosing friends;

Consistent

We need friends who are consistent. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”. Some friends don’t love at all times – their love is based on what they can get from us. It is often the small number of close friends who stick by us that matter, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Honest

Our friends will be open, honest, and sincere. Solomon said, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). Sometimes we need the correcting word, sometimes we need friends who will bring correction because they love us. We need friends who check up on the state of our marriages, the way we parent, our finances and our private lives.

Wise Counsel 

Wisdom is so important in all areas of life, especially with friendships. Proverbs 27:9 says, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” We need close friends who will be our wise council, perhaps older friends with a different view point, a reassuring conversation that they days do get easier or an encouraging positive conversation about life.

Mrs B and I have many friends who are much older than us who have been invaluable to our marriage, our parenting and our learning to follow Jesus.

Considerate

Our close friends will also be considerate, they will empathise with our situation and live out Proverbs 25:20, “Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda”. They will know how we are feeling and act accordingly. They know when to make us laugh, they know when to hold us, they know when to cry with us and they know when to just have a cup of tea with us.

Our best friends will be those who are nearby — constant, honest, counseling, and considerate. Mark and Roger show this level of friendship throughout the entire musical. They are consistently honest with each other, at times brutal – but their friendship lasts beyond their disagreements, beyond their differences and beyond their frailties. They both demonstrate these four points of true friendship.

So, as we run the slide rule over our friendships we also need to run it over ourselves.

Are we constant in our friendships? Are we honest? Do we give wise counsel? Are we considerate, do we mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice?

Fabric Conditioner

The fabric that the characters are searching for in RENT is that of true friendship. True friendship binds the fabric together when the raging, shifting winds of change keep ripping away. Ultimately they find it by the end of the musical (but more on that as we progress through the posts)

Our prayer is that we learn to be true friends to those around us, it is a learning process and we will make mistakes along the way. But, we want to get better and that is the start!

Be blessed in your journeys in finding true friendship and may we learn to be great friends,

Grace and Peace,

Steve & Susie

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Community Living, Jesus, RENT

 

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