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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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[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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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…

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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[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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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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Monday morning blues…

Monday morning blues

Hello,

How’s the prospect of Monday feeling?

That good, eh?

On Saturday morning, several friends and I gathered together to pray for our work and for the work of those who are apart of Living Stones Church. We prayed for various business, new and old, for schools and other places that were represented in the group.

We shared a variety of thoughts with one another and I would like to take five minutes of your time to share a few thoughts on work and leave you with prayer that you may like to use tomorrow morning before you go to work/while you are there.

I saw this quote on a friends Facebook wall just this week, which I believe may be from Rob Bell’s book Velvet Elvis. (I will double check tomorrow,whenI find my copy!)

The Earth is filled with the Glory of God, He never has to turn up, we have to notice Him.

Whoever said it, it is a great quote and fits in with one of the themes that is coming through my posts which is the theme of moment by moment living. Living under the Lordship of Jesus in everything that we do – this therefore must include our work. For too long it has been the myth about God, that secretly he wants all Christians to form holy huddles and all become full time missionaries to Africa or worship leaders.

But, the truth is that God does not see one job more important than another. What God is interested in is our hearts, He is far more interested in asking us to follow Him in everything we do. It is the same question to a cleaner, a government official, a full time mum/dad or those of us who are worship leaders. Jesus asks us to follow him, to be Him in the places we live, the homes we visit, in the shops we use and especially in the places we work.

We are called to be a blessing to those around us, to share God’s love, to be hard workers and serve others.

So, as we go to work tomorrow. May we know that we do it not only with Jesus but for Jesus. May all the glory go to Him.

Be blessed in your Mondays, God is with us!

Grace and Peace,

Steve

Here is my work prayer – there are several other excellent prayers on work and the workplace that can be found if you google work place prayer or click this link and it’ll do it for you. Work Place Prayer Search

Work Prayer
Father, I thank you for my work, especially in this time.
Open my eyes today that I might see you at work.
Show me where you are at work in my colleagues lives,
That I may be a blessing to them and serve them.

May I stay awake to your presence with me today.
Bless those who I work with, those I like and those I struggle with.
May I be your grace and peace to them.

May I through your strength,
Put away all gossip, bitterness and anger
So, that I may be able to see you face in all that I meet.

Holy Spirit speak through me today,
Be in every conversation that I have
May I be a true and faithful witness to you at work today.
In Jesus’ name
Amen

 
 

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