[un]conscious-stream[ing]

Psalm 144:4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

Category Archives: local

Great Church!

greatchurch

I love my Church.

Partly because my Church is a community of people and not a fancy building, but also because it’s on its way to being great.

I don’t mean in the way a lot of people talk about great places, experiences or events and I don’t mean in the way people talk about “going to such a great church where the singing is awesome and the preacher is just so relevant and the seats are so comfy and they serve real coffee…”

No, I mean our church is building towards being GREAT.

G – God Centred: Rooted in the love of God and dedicated to centring our lives and what drives our behaviour in the word of God as made alive in Jesus.

R – Respected: Known in the local community to be reliable, honest and dependable, to demonstrate integrity and love. Local people may not agree with what we believe, but they shouldn’t be able to deny that we live by the blueprint of Jesus and they would rather work for or live next door to or have their children marry one of us than someone else.

E – Embracing: Open armed, accessible and welcoming to all that come through the doors, whether dancing or stumbling, whoever they are and whatever their issues. We are aiming to be strong at the centre and open at the edges, drawing people into a growing relationship with God.

A – Active: Putting God’s values, beliefs and preaching into practice by living out love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, generosity and touching the local community with those practices.

T – Transforming: Within ourselves, to be more like Jesus and for those we touch, to change their lives by our own lives being changed. Gradually displaying a more accurate image of God and his generous love to the whole world, allowing that to alter us and reaching out for that to transform other people’s lives.

That’s why I love my church.

And we all love it when other people want to be a part of that so if you fancy working for the glory of God and the majesty of Jesus, we can always use a hand…

Advertisements

Our Street

We live on the best street in the world!!!

It may not be the prettiest, though it is pretty at times.
It is definitely not the most expensive or most salubrious, but its still the best street in the world.

And that’s because of the people.

Our neighbours are just fabulous.

The people that live around us were there to support us and provide a shoulder to lean on as we tried to pull things back together in the aftermath our burglary.

There’s nothing that our neighbours didn’t offer in the way of help, resources and comfort to get us back on our feet, they are kind and considerate, they are generous and friendly.

And that’s why we live on the best street in the world.

In many ways, our street acts as our church as much as our church does. It provides community in the way we support each other. There is love between us as neighbours in friendship and in the display of patience, kindness, unselfishness, no envy or boastfulness, no rudeness or pride.

It reminds me of a song by the band faithless “God is a DJ“, the relevant lines being:

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
It’s a natural grace
Of watching young life shape
It’s in minor keys
Solutions and remedies
Enemies becoming friends
When bitterness ends
This is my church

It’s a great tune and a great fit for our street. Have a listen (spotify install needed).

In general, the whole community in Old Trafford is great, full of incredible and fantastic people, but we feel that our street has got that little something extra special.

Burgled

Just in case you missed the news… We were burgled on Saturday night, some time between when it went dark and 21:00 ish when we got home.

The kitchen window was smashed. The burglar came in to the dining room to take our 3 laptops that were stacked neatly on our dining table, snatched a pillowcase from our bed to stash them in and made off out of the back door.

barely anything else was disturbed, nothing else was taken because we don’t own anything else of any value except the cars.

Before I continue, I’m mildly annoyed at the frustration of having to write this post on a 4 1/2 year old iPhone 3G using wordpress for iOS, but I am also aware of the incredibly fortunate position I am in:

  • I have an iOS device to use
  • None of us were injured or anything like that
  • We are so comparatively fabulously wealthy that we had 3 laptops in the first place
  • We are insured (another benefit of comparative wealth)

With that said, I am more frustrated at the hassle than anything else. Yes, I worked hard and saved up for a few years to buy the most recent Mac in September. Yes, I had just spent a few hours set up my 9-year old ‘retiring’ Mac for the use of my children – for school work and general safe surfing etc. I can live with that.
I’m disappointed that my most recent backup may not be recent enough to include some of the best most-recent pictures of little (arguable depending on you perspective) Harry.
It’s annoying that it may take up to 8 to 10 weeks to get the windows sorted as they are specialist widows that we originally sourced from the US (yep, another identifier of incredible comparative wealth).
I’m hoping that we don’t get any bumps in the insurance claim process, I’ve heard about people having insurers wriggle to try to get out of paying!

But all that aside, I’ve learned yet again that even in the least comfortable and most unpleasant of circumstances, there is always a spiritual lesson or two.

1.

‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:19+20

It is another reminder for us not to get too attached to stuff. It’s just stuff, stuff is replaceable, people and relationships are way more important than stuff.
When we replace our technology, this is what I need to hold on to, to make sure I use I as a tool, and not be a slave to it.

2.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We still have so much, we are so fortunate / well blessed (however you want to view it) we are all unharmed and healthy among many other first-world benefits!

3.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
Philippians 4:11

We have enough, more than enough and we are refusing to either live in fear or pine for something we don’t have or that has been taken.

4.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Mattthew 5:16

The way we respond to the things that happen to us shows what kind of people we are. If we are God’s people, we need to display that and not repay evil with evil, we need to be exercising forgiveness and a desire for redemption, not vengeance and retribution.

I figure perhaps this is one of our best opportunities to witness to others and demonstrate who Christ is and how he has impacted our lives.

Murder

At 21:40 on Tuesday, Half a mile away from my front door, in a florist shop, on Shrewsbury Street, Old Trafford, a robber was stabbed and died shortly after.

You may find it shocking, scary, paralysing…

You might find it more shocking that I don’t feel any of those things.

When something like this happens, I’m not scared, I’m not petrified or shocked, I’m not paralysed by fear or worried to go out of my front door, but I am saddened.

This is my community and I love it.

I am saddened for two reasons:

  1. That there are people that want to steal from others
  2. That people still believe the myth of redemptive violence

Now, I’m not getting all ‘holy’ on you, I have no idea how I would react if someone came in to my clinic waving a gun around and trying to get my hard-earned cash from me, (I don’t have a knife in the place to stab them but who knows what else I might end up doing?) but if your first reaction to someone threatening you is to attack them, surely, somewhere down the line, something has gone wrong.

So what can we do about it?

Firstly, will you all pray for Old Trafford. As the Rector of St Brides said, “this place is really resilient”, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see consequences and repercussions in the coming weeks and months.

I can’t predict what will happen, but I can ask you to pray that all the churches, the mosques, the Hindu temples and other places of worship will find ways to connect with the local population to bring the peace and intimacy of God into their lives.

Moreover, I will ask that you petition our magnificent creator and loving, compassionate God to find ways to powerfully act through the Christian congregations and the individual Jesus followers in our neighbourhood to discover new and compelling ways to open people’s hearts to Christ.

There’s no way that we can alter the saddening and tragic loss of life that we have experienced this week, but there is a way that we can work to attempt to prevent this happening again.

Pray with me that we, as a community of believers at the bethel and as a wider community of believers in all the churches of Old Trafford, will be able to connect with and genuinely speak the words of Paul:

I have become [the Church’s] servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:25-29

Let us be Christ-centred, Bible based and Active-in-love, open to the movement of the spirit of God among us, filled with the nature and person of Christ as he lives in us as believers (Romans 8:9), so that we can improve people’s lives by introducing them to Jesus, the way, the truth and the life.

May Jesus work in us and through us, may people see his face in ours as we see Him in their faces and love them the same way we would love Him.

“In another’s eyes I see my plea for forgiveness, and in a hardened frown I see my refusal. When someone murders, I know that I too could have done that, and when someone gives birth, I know that I am capable of that as well. In the depths of my being, I meet my fellow humans with whom I share love and have life and death.”

– Henri Nouwen, from With Open Hands

%d bloggers like this: