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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] 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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Tuesday’s Thanks…

thankfulness

Greetings,

Here are this Tuesday’s ten reasons to give thanks…

1 ) Crazy DIY challenge of removal of woodchip and repainting walls in 48hrs pretty much done.

2 ) Repaired a broken chair. I know this doesn’t sound like much – but a little task that has been on the to-do list for a while.

3 ) Loving reading Proverbs at the moment – great wisdom.

4 ) Van Halen’s 1984 Album. Such great guitar work and a great soundtrack for fixing chairs.

5 ) Roof over our heads. With our associated work with our local night shelter and foodbank we are increasingly thankful for a place to call home.

6 ) Mulled Wine.

7 ) Mince Pies.

8 ) Christmas Trees.

9 ) Winning a Coffee Machine at a Christmas Party Raffle.Tis the simple things.

10 ) Prayer. That it makes a difference and is an amazing thing.

Also, I love this quote from Harry Ironside (his wikipedia entry);

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”

Feel free to let me know some of the things you’re thankful for in the comment section.

Grace and Peace and be thankful!

Steve

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Prayer, 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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Rise and Shine [Part 2]…

Greetings,

Friday came and went!

But here are a few ideas to further the conversation on re-presenting Jesus.

@MrsBlunders and I have had many conversations over the recent months of things that we would like do, what we want to do and what God may be calling us to do. Some of these may never be done, some will be developed over the next few years.

We have decided that we want to live in the expectancy of what God is doing now and let that spill over into the future. We are trying to live as if those things were in place now – we are living in the now. We don’t want to keep saying, “we’ll do that when….”. There are certain things that are money dependant – like decorating, but there are a whole heap of things that are not. We were waiting for the ‘quieter day’.

We have realised that the quieter day will probably never come! We have to be wise and strategic in what we decided to do, but we must do things now.

On a personal note, I feel God is calling me in a certain direction and has asked me to raise my game and live like I was doing that calling already. This has involved giving certain things up, selling a few things and devoting time to study of and reading God’s word.

So to part two of Rise and Shine; 6 ideas to try re-presenting Jesus to all we meet.Some of these suggestions we are experimenting with and some we have not done yet, but see which one strikes you and let us join together in re-presenting Jesus.

1) Pray for those near you

When you are next in a coffee shop or some other public place and you have a few extra moments, pray for those who are around you. Pray God’s blessing on them, pray for followers of Jesus to come in to contact with them that day and ask God if you need to say something.

2) Give you place to someone in a hurry

If you are not in a rush, let the person who obviously is in a rush go before you – bless them at the same time.

3) Say ‘thank you’ more often

Find opportunities to thank people you know and do not know. Leave your friends thank you notes, send an email thanking someone for there service on a Sunday or just for being a friend.

4) Catch your child doing something good

I recently read ’60 minute Father’ by Rob Parsons (I highly recommend it to all Dads) and one of the main points that I came away from the book was the importance of catching your children doing something good and praising them for it. I’m working on this everyday, especially in the morning when I’m on go slow! 😉

5) Join in with #3goodthings on Twitter and Facebook

We have a great window through Twitter and Facebook to show what following Jesus is all about. We can give thanks for what God is doing in our lives as well as being real and saying that life is hard. We re-present that  following Jesus is not an immediate fix to all our problems, but a real relationship with a real God who loves us.

6) Invite more people round for meals more often

We love food and we love our friends. We are trying to combine the two when we can. Who could you invite for a meal in the next few weeks?

So there you go a few insights into how we are trying to re-present Jesus. Can I encourage you to look at what are you doing and what you can do to re-present Jesus to all that you meet?

Let me know your thoughts,

Grace and peace,

Steve

Almighty One,

All power, majesty and glory are yours!

We ask that you would strengthen and equip us,

that we may be faithful in our witness of re-presenting you,

through Christ our Lord and Saviour

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in God, Gospel of John, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Mission, Prayer

 

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Rise and shine…

Hello again,

It’s been a while, we have been very busy with EODS, children and other bits and bobs. But, we hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis from today!

We as a community (Living Stones) have been dwelling on this short passage from the Gospel of Matthew;

Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16 ESV

We have been looking at what it is to let our lights shine before others and how good works fit in. We are still very clear that our relationship with Jesus is based entirely on His grace and nothing we can do either adds or takes away from His grace. Paul stresses in Ephesians this very point;

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;  it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

Paul is quiet clear that it is grace (the gift of God) not a result of works. He once believed that he needed to keep the law in order to be right with God. But, the revelation of meeting Jesus on the Damascus Road changed his whole thinking.

This Jesus is the one who had died (according to the law) an accursed death on the cross. In Paul’s mind, Jesus had been condemned by the law (Deut 21:22-24 cf. Gal 3:13) and cursed by God. But, now God has glorified this accursed man! The law which condemned Jesus, was itself condemned by God.

Saul’s very life was falling apart.

We start to understand why Paul was in Damascus for three days trying to get his head around what all this meant.

In a nutshell it meant; faith in God’s grace.

The works we do therefore are out of grace, not out of anything else. We work for God from the position of grace, our works do not add anything to our salvation but, they are how we show our faith in action. We put our faith in God’s grace when we live for Him alone. We are called to be God’s representatives in our local places.

Another way to look at the word represent is to say RE – PRESENT. A representative is someone who re-presents the will of another.

We are to re-present Jesus to all that we meet. We show them His will – grace, mercy, love and compassion.

We are to show everyone we meet Jesus again,

through our actions,

through our deeds,

through our words,

our prayers,

our choices,

everything we do is to bear witness to re-present Christ to the world in which we live.

Paul also says in his letter to the Ephesians that we are to,

make the most of every opportunity for the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16 ESV

Paul is talking in this chapter 5 about walking with Christ, in love, faith and wisdom. We are to do the same.

Making sure that in every opportunity we get that we learn to re-present Jesus to a fallen world.

Paul goes on in Ephesians 6 to point out that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers. Therefore, if it has got flesh and blood it is not our enemy.

So, we make the most of every opportunity to re-present Jesus to all.

Where there is despair – we bring hope

Where there is hatred – we bring love

Where there is bitterness – we bring forgiveness

Where there is mourning – we mourn with them

Where there is joy – we celebrate

Where there is illness – we speak healing

Where there is brokenness – we hold them, like Jesus would

We are to bear witness to what God has done in our lives and to declare that JESUS is LORD.

So let us rise and shine and show God’s glory to all that we meet!

Have a think and let me know your thoughts,

Look out for a another post on Friday with a few practical tips on how we can go about re-presenting Jesus.

Grace and Peace,

Steve

 

Prayer:

Almighty God, Father of all,

We thank you for the gift of your son,

your grace towards us,

We ask that we may re-present Christ to all we meet – this and every day.

May we learn to tell our stories, 

May we learn to share our lives,

May we learn to be a community of Grace,

May we re-present Jesus faithfully to all whom we meet today,

In Jesus name and in the power of the Holy Spirit,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Mission

 

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Seeking or being sought…

Greetings from Blogblunders Land,

Just as an aside thank you to all who are reading this blog and checking back regularly, I hope that you are finding it helpful, stimulating and such like. Please feel free to leave comments on the prayers you have used or any thoughts relating to the posts, it is great to hear from you.

Also, if you are super eager you can sign up to the subscription part of this blog and get notifications each time a there is a new post.

Anyway, today we continue on our adventures through the Gospel of John.

Our verses for today our from John 1:35-42:

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said,”So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Up until now in our journey through the Gospel of John, we have been introduced to Jesus and John. A few side characters have crossed our path, but only really to give us a fuller picture of John the Baptist and his pointing to Jesus. From now on in the Gospel we start to get more ‘named’ characters appearing, more people we can relate to.

Ordinary folk, some might say.

What is interesting about these people that we are introduced to are also on a journey. We can see from the conversation that  takes place between Andrew and Simon Peter that they have been looking for the Messiah. They have been waiting for the promised one, the one who will redeem and save Israel.

Little do they realise that Jesus has been looking for them.

He knew that he was going to need disciples to fulfil his mission. A group that he could train, equip and ready for the continuing spread of the good news – that they can have a relationship with God.

How often do we come sheepishly come to Jesus and mutter something along the lines of, “Sorry I haven’t spoken to you in a while”, only to hear him say; “I’ve been waiting for you!, come let us talk!”

The truth is that our journey with Jesus is always two way. We are called to seek after Him and yet it would seem that He continues to seek after us (Ezekiel 34:12). He is looking for his sheep, those who have gone astray, those who He can transform this world with.

Jesus was looking for his disciples, they made themselves known to Him by seeking Him.

Now, we still have a choice in the matter and I believe this choice is the one we do minute by minute, day by day.

So, will we seek Jesus?

He is always seeking us.

As always let me know your thoughts,

Grace and peace,

Steve

 

Almighty God; Father,

Thank you for seeking me,

Thank you for your grace that extends to me.

May I be known as a follower of Jesus.

In this moment I choose to seek Jesus,

I know that you are always seeking for a relationship with me and that you are interested in me.

You are for me not against me,

You are seeking to save me, to restore me, to reach out to me.

May I take the gamble in this moment and risk it all to know you and your love.

Holy Spirit make your presence real to me in this moment.

May I set my face to seek the Lord and by His grace may I find Him.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

p.s. You may also like to check out some additional stories of God seeking us:

Parable of the Two Sons     &   Parable of the lost sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

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