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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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Thankful Tuesday…

What’s this?

Two posts on one day?

You betcha!

On January 1st when New Year’s resolutions were swirling round, I came across one status that simply said, “what thing(s) are you going to continue to do in 2012?”

Two things I will be continuing in 2012 will be blogging and staying thankful.

So, with that here are Tuesday’s Ten Thanks:

1 ) Christmas

A great time with Team Blunders, no major illnesses, fun times and quality time with family.

2 ) Work

Thankful for the work that I do and returning to work today.

3 ) Friends

Christmas has been a great opportunity for spending time with some of our closest friends, looking forward to more meals and more time with friends in 2012.

4 ) Slow Cookers

Mrs B and I were given a Slow Cooker for Christmas – already well up and running with soups, meat joints, spag bol and an awesome beef and Guinness pie. Looking forward to more!

5 ) New Furniture

We have been saving for a while and managed to grab ourselves some superb bargains for the lounge. I am loving my ‘reading’ chair and we have a three seater sofa on order. So, if you come and visit you’ll now have somewhere a little more comfortable to slit.

6 ) New Year

I used to hate New Year, never really sure why. But, this one was great.  Great company and great laughs as we watched Big Ben ring in the New Year.  Really looking forward to 2012 and all that God will do in it!

7 ) New Projects

I love a new project and this year promises some great opportunities to grow, learn and develop new skills and I’m looking forward to it.

8 ) YouVersion

I love the YouVersion app. Mrs B and I have undertaken this year to read the Bible together, we are going to use a wide selection of the reading plans and see how we get on. I’m sure the stuff we read will pop up in one or two blogs throughout the year.

9 ) Winter Night Shelter & Eastbourne Foodbank

We’ve been continuing to hear great stories from these projects over the Christmas period. We’re both thankful for their work and we’re both looking forward to being more involved with them in future months.

10 ) BlogBlunders Readers

Thank you to all of you for reading these posts. What started off as an experiment has grown into something that I love. As I continue to learn to follow Jesus, to learn to pray, I hope that I will become a more accomplished writer in the process and to see what God has in store in the future…

Grace and peace,

Steve

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in God, Holy Spirit, Tuesday Thanks

 

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[12 Days] Ninth Day…

Read: Luke 15:1-10 (ETR Version)

Luke 15:1 Many tax collectors and sinners came to listen to Jesus. 2 Then the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to complain, “Look, this man welcomes sinners and even eats with them!”

3 Then Jesus told them this story: 4 “Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, but one of them gets lost. What will you do? You will leave the other 99 sheep there in the field and go out and look for the lost sheep. You will continue to search for it until you find it. 5 And when you find it, you will be very happy. You will carry it 6 home, go to your friends and neighbors and say to them, ‘Be happy with me because I found my lost sheep!’ 7 In the same way, I tell you, heaven is a happy place when one sinner decides to change. There is more joy for that one sinner than for 99 good people who don’t need to change.

8 “Suppose a woman has ten silver coins, but she loses one of them. She will take a light and clean the house. She will look carefully for the coin until she finds it. 9 And when she finds it, she will call her friends and neighbors and say to them, ‘Be happy with me because I have found the coin that I lost!’ 10 In the same way, it’s a happy time for the angels of God when one sinner decides to change.”

Reflect:

For many today will be the ‘last day’ before work and work despair may well and truly of hit by now. So, what better time then to focus on the mission of God I hear you say and I’d agree.

The New Year is now up and running and this may be our last time to reflect before the school runs, sandwich making, to-do list, early morning starts and our 99mph days kick back into gear. As you read the Bible passage for today – let your mind wander and wonder, what if the vision behind these stories is true?

What if there was a God who would search for you in the same way as the shepherd and the woman did?

Respond:

Father God, thank you for the overflow of your love. Thank you for your grace that found me. Thank you that you sent Jesus to come and find us. Holy Spirit as this year unfolds may I learn more about your ways and may I live knowing that I am found. In Jesus name. Amen.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 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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[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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Open Thankfulness…

thankful

Greetings,

Yesterday was EJ’s 4th Birthday and an obvious source of thanksgiving for our not so little boy.

Yesterday I also read one of the blogs that I follow regularly, written by Rachel Held Evans. Rachel’s post was an open letter – but not the normal sort. As she mentions in her post, “they’re [open letters] typically employed to issue one-way rants against people we don’t like, all while maintaining the appearance of a conversation.” But Rachel’s was an open letter thanking someone personally and publicly at the same time.

It is (as always) a well written piece and worth reading it, which you can do so here. At the end of her post, Rachel commented that there were a number of people that she wanted to thank and posed the question –

What about you? To whom would you like to write an open letter of thanks? 

MrsBlunders and I are trying when we can/remember to be more thankful full stop. In our conversations, our dealings with the boys, our driving etc. and we are trying to do it in more obvious ways.

So, it got me thinking and pondering which in turn led to writing an open letter to two great friends, here it is…

Dear Dave & Sharon,

We want to thank you for your love, encouragement, support and belief in the past few years. We are truly thankful for your guidance and prayers through our first somewhat turbulent year in Eastbourne.

You were the first to really start us questioning our theology – you prodded and pulled until we started to wrestle with our picture of God. We thank you for your constant encouragement to follow Jesus and to frame everything around Him. We have and continue to learn so very much from you both.

Thank you for introducing us to Greg Boyd, Alan Hirsch, Pete Greig, Scot McKnight and Kenneth E. Bailey who have continued to prod and pull us!

Thank you for opening your door, for your time and for your hospitality.

We thank you for your humour and your honesty.

We look forward to all that God is leading you into and hope that we play our part in thanking you and working with you for His glory.

You are amazing people and we love you very much,

Be blessed,

Steve & Susie (E and H) x x x

p.s. Dave, thank you for reacquainting me with books! Not sure Susie is so please with the sheer number! 😉

As Rachel mentions we could also thank so many people and we will add that into our blog as a regular post, probably once a month. So look out for your own one very soon!

But, for now I’ll end this post in similar way with an added question.

What about you? To whom would you like to write an open letter of thanks? Could you publicly thank someone today? 

Be blessed,

Grace and Peace,

Steve

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Jesus, Tuesday Thanks

 

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[RENT] Seasons of Love…

RENT MUSICAL

12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours.

Or 525,600 minutes.

Seasons of Love isn’t the opening song in the stage show of Rent, but it is in the film. And it’s probably the best known song – so it’s a good place to start in our mini series of blogs about Rent.

Have a listen/watch here

I (MrsBlunders) absolutely love this song. If you happen to pull up next to me at set of traffic lights whilst it was on in my car, you might think I’m a bit crazy. I will be singing, I’ll probably be clapping and on occasion, I might be crying.

It’s a great song to provoke reflection. December 31st is often when people think about the year that’s passed and look forward to the next. But I don’t think it’s the only time during the year that we stop and look at our lives. Birthdays and anniversaries both mark a ‘new year’. Mr Blunders and I try to make a point of celebrating our wedding anniversary every year. Often we hear people say “but it’s just another day” and in some respects, they’re absolutely right. However, in a world where relationships are tough and divorce rates are high, we really encourage couples to celebrate! And to thank each other, for continuing to work at their relationship. And to think about how we have moved on together since the same time last year.

Perhaps we could ask the same question of our relationship with God? Has it moved on in the year? If you’re not a Christian…has anything of your attitude or opinion of God/Jesus/Christianity changed? Has anyone or anything challenged you to think more about faith and spirituality?

How do you measure a year?

In the money you brought home, nappies you changed, promotion you gained, things you bought, school runs you did, holidays you enjoyed, meals you cooked?

If, at the end of the year, you stop and look back – how do you measure your success? How do you know whether it’s been a good year?

Last night at work I was talking with a group of young people who live in one of the YMCA residential centres. I asked them, as the end of the year approaches, whether they can think of any really positive things that have happened to them this year. Initially the resounding response was ‘”no”. A lot of them described this year as the worst ever. And for some of them, I can well believe that. However, as we sat and chatted they began to think of positives that they could hold on to;

“My niece was born…I was really supported by my friends when my Mum kicked me out…I met my girlfriend…I had some good times with my mates…”

Turns out, that despite the bad year they might have had, the positives they could think of were all to do with people and relationships.

Measure your life in love.

The song itself hinges on this simple phrase – measure your life in love. What if you measured how good your year had been through the lens of love?

How have you loved? Who have you loved and did they know it?

Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NIV

Jesus willingly laid down his life for the whole world, it was never dependant on us doing anything. God could have made robots that automatically said “I love you God”, when ever he wanted us too, but that would never have been true love.

Love must be tested.

Love must be risked.

Love must be chosen.

As the musical enfolds we get glipses of each character risking their love and being loved in return (especially Roger & Mimi in their song; I should tell you). God opened himself up to the possibilty of people not choosing Him, in order that people could really choose to love Him.

Our prayer is that you have an opportunity in the coming weeks to reflect on your year, to look at your measure of “sucess” and to think about a God who truly loves you.

What if we measured our years by the knowledge that we are loved by our heavenly Father (John 3:16)? What if really knew that nothing we do can ever earn His love and that we are free to choose or reject Him?

Whatever you use to measure your year – we hope you find time to sing out and celebrate your year with friends and family!

Grace and peace,

Mr and Mrs Blunders

x x x

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Gospel of John, Jesus, Myths about God, RENT

 

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