@krishk: The Bible: Tedious? Irrelevant? Boring?

The Bible: Tedious? Irrelevant? Boring? Watch Krish Kandiah as he confesses that the Bible was not enough…

The Bible: Tedious, Taboo and Toxic or Transforming, Treasured and True? Krish Kandiah from krish kandiah on Vimeo.

I first came across Krish Kandiah in the book ‘Twenty-Four: Integrating Faith and Real Life“, a really interesting read, and since came into contact on Twitter (@krishk) at Digisymp at the University of Durham, then finally introduced myself properly to him at the Biblefresh event (I only managed to go to the evening, was teaching all day!). As I come to work as Project Manager/Blended Learning Fellow for CODEC (yes, I’ve just signed a contract to work half-time for the next year from 1st July with CODEC – I’ll let you know more once I’ve had my initial meetings and know what’s public knowledge… but I’ll be commuting to the offices of Premier Radio near Victoria 2 days a week, as well as support provided by SPCK) I hope to have more contact, as well as with @KoreUK, who I also met at the event! Before I start, looking forward to working with CODEC at MediaLit towards the end of June.

My mentor/line manager will be Dr Rev Pete Phillips:

Rebuilding Confidence in a Rubbished Text – Pete Phillips from krish kandiah on Vimeo.

Week 6; Keep the Peace With Your Parents

Opening Joke

Something along the lines of (same, same, but different!):
Dear Mum

I thought I had better write to you about a couple of problems I’m having at school this term. Last week half of the boarding house burned down. But don’t worry too much because I’m now living in a flat in the village. I’m living with Frank the plumber. There’s no need to worry, he’s very nice, in fact I’m three months pregnant with his baby. We’re planning to get married at the end of term. 
Love Sarah

Next day, another letter from Sarah……

Dear Mum

I know you will be worrying about yesterday’s letter so I thought I should write to you again. Mum the boarding house didn’t really burn down last week and I’m not living in a flat in the village. In fact I’m not even pregnant with Frank’s baby and we’re not getting married at the end of term. Mum, the real problem is that I failed my mid year exams really badly and I just wanted you to see this problem in proper prospective, All my Love,
Sarah.

THAT PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE IS SO IMPORTANT!
Culture
We live in a culture where those who are aged are sidelined, whereas the young are given increasingly more responsibility. Boundaries are unclear, and often (one of the worst things children can) hear is “I’m very disappointed in you”. 
Karin Ling
Karin was interviewed about her journey of faith, from when she asked Jesus to be her “special friend” aged 5, to deciding as a teenager that she was no longer interest, but her parents indicated that she should attend youth group til the age of 16, so she sat there and scowled. Her parents trusted that God had a bigger plan as Karin became focused/driven on success/money and gained a place at a competitive university, where after 4 weeks, without the distraction of friends, she decided she had to face up to things, and thanks her Mum to love/accept her whatever choices she made, which included leaving University. Having made a recommitment, she now uses her own experience to help others.
J.John: “This is the hardest commandment for me”
“Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding?… Well, it’s worse than that in reality!”
“My mum is a travel agent for guilt trips”. 
If parents expect SO MUCH we feel we can’t possibly live up to them – no matter how good we are, there’s always room for improvement!
Thoughts on Family Life
  • Child when asked “My name begins with M, I pick things up”: Mother
  • The father carries a photo where his money used to be.
  • Teenagers: “Stop asking where they came from and refuse to tell you where they’re going.”
  • We encourage the kids to show off, then tell them to “Sit down and shut up”.
God’s Perspective/4 Principles
The commandment “Honour your father and mother” is a positive focus  on the smallest unit in society. 
  1. Honour my parents by ACCEPTING them.
    Don’t tune them out, don’t highlight the negatives.
    God is not asking us to pretend that are parents are perfect when they’re not.
  2. Honour my parents by APPRECIATING them
    Appreciate the effort that your parents put in is difficult/costly.
    Son presented bill for £1 per job, mother presented bill of £1000s in return, but the final total was “I love you”. 
    Mothers can direct air traffic control, whereas children are expensive but can operate the DVD!
  3. Honour my parents by AFFIRMING them
    This is the only commandment which doesn’t last a lifetime, a day will come when you can no longer make amends – and no amount of expense at the funeral will be equal to that of a visit whilst their alive.
  4. Honour my parents by NOT ABANDONING them
    As parents age, offer support in practical ways.
A Message to Kids: The commandment is not “Humour your mother and father”
  • “I hate my parents”: Sometimes we hate you too… 
  • You may hate it when parents repeat thing,…. if do it first time, we wouldn’t have to. Acknowledge that you’ve heard by saying “I got it”.
  • Play your part in the family, Dad is not ‘the old man’
  • Teenagers are experts on surveys of one: “Everyone else is doing it”
  • Mark Twain quote
  • We get parents at so late a stage in their life that it’s impossible to change their habits!
A Message for Parents
  • Think about what example you are setting, more likely to be honoured.
  • The perfect model for parenting: God – treat our kids as God treats us.
  1. God listens to us
    Teenagers often complain that they can say what they like at home as no one’s listening anyway!
  2. God understands us
    A carpenter works WITH, not AGAINST the grain. 
    Give your kids roots and wings…
    Are we perfect? NO, but God accepts us through grace, treat our kids the same, not as though our standards are automatically the best.
    Teachers can teach kids to count, parents can teach their children WHAT COUNTS.
    Demonstrate honesty, admit when you’ve done something wrong.
    Do/don’t do as you’ve said, even if it’s difficult.
  3. God loves us
    Offer affection, affirmation and attention (how often do you just sit and let them set the agenda?)
    The average time parents spend talking to their children is 15 MINUTES A WEEK!
    It’s easier to build children than to mend broken adults.
    If you don’t live by priorities, you end up living by pressures. 
  4. God disciplines his children
    “I love you, but sometimes I don’t like your beahviour.”
    Often people tie up the dog at night, but let their children run free. 
    Discipline offers a structure of safety until the children has enough structure in character to stand up on their own. 
    Parents discipline best when they exhibit disciplined behaviour of their own.
Rules for Home n>
Be 
  • Fair
  • Firm
  • Fun
Be there!
A challenge for J John
Requirement to assume that forgiveness does not mean forgetting, and it’s possible to forgive without dulling the pain (of 51 years of nagging!), but does remove the resentment!
Required to pardon, give up anger, show mercy/compassion. 
Forgiveness is about building positive in the present without repeating the past. 
God’s Family
God gave up his Son so that we could be adopted into God’s family. Whatever our experience of family, he will be the perfect Father. 
God loves each one of us as though there was only one of us.
As Jesus walked through a crowded street he asked “Who touched me?”, which his disciples thought was a crazy question, but Jesus could feel that there was ONE person reaching out to make contact with him. J. John believes that Jesus knew who this person was, but wanted her to articulate it (i.e. the power of prayer).  In response, Jesus will stop as he’s longing to embrace/adopt you.
Embrace God, the past is past, don’t try to saw sawdust, with his help, move forward and become what you CAN BECOME.
Tonight: “Catch Your Breath”, see Just10Winchester

Raaaaaaaaaaaarghhh: “Managing Our Anger” (J John: Week 5)

Are you angry?
Are you “temperamental”: 50% temper; 50% mental?

The opening video demonstrated how violence starts in the heart/mind… with one vegan declaring “I can’t even kill an animal, why would I kill someone!” I did wonder if anyone would admit to wanting to murder on camera, although one got close… depending on how far he was pushed/how drunk he was… to which J John added, difficult fights break out amongst those who both think they are right, and neither agrees to back down!
Interview/Sketch
The interview was with Michael Campbell, formerly a boxer, and an activist in the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland, with a great hatred of the English… now the Town Centre Chaplain for Watford, and a member of the Street Angels patrol… crime has dropped by 35% in Watford since this started 3 years ago.
Not a huge fan of the sketches (apologies to those who probably spend much time thinking of the content)… which this week focused on an argument between husband/wife over possession of the TV remote control!
DO NOT MURDER
The sixth commandment is simple… murder is a serious crime which once committed cannot be undone, and appears in many different terminologies (e.g. manslaughter, serial killing, etc.) in the newspapers on a daily basis. The term “Road Rage” made it into the Oxford English Dictionary in 1997, and of course there are associated terms such as ‘Air Rage’. 42% of those in the UK workforce noted that they have been yelled at at work, with many reduced to tears.
Is culture to blame?
Violence is pumped into our culture by the megatons… e.g. films such as Die Hard are not constructive models of anger management! We can also break this commandment through passive action – e.g. if we see someone freezing/hungry and do not help them out, we may be letting them freeze/starve to death.
Abortion
J John tackled the tricky subject of abortion: “Abortion is wrong even if it is a right”, arguing that the Bible clearly states that life is valuable from the moment of conception. He prayed for those who may still be struggling with grief/guilt/fear over having had an abortion – as 40 million do every year globally.
Does it have to get physical?
It’s not just about inflicting physical pain, but actions and attitudes can cause harm, e.g. grudges, resentment and prejudice, etc. Our language is full of venom: e.g. “Drop Dead”, and “If looks could kill”. J John argues that there is a thin line between violence of feeling and violence of action, and its often with those that we care most about that we get the most angry with/hurt the most.
What Kind of Anger do you Have? (or a mix?)
The Maniac: Do you explode? “Temper is the one thing you can not get rid of by losing”; “People who fly into a rage usually make a bad landing”; “Those who blow a fuse may be in the dark”; “be flexible and you won’t get bent out of shape”.
The Mute: Do you silently steam, whilst pretending to feel no anger? Those who hold anger tend to bury it alive, and the body feels its effects (e.g. heart attacks, digestive problems, etc.)
The Manipulator: Retailiates with underhand techniques, using sarcasm and hurtful humour.
Principles to Survive
  1. I need to admit my anger (if we don’t talk about it, we’ll take it out on others; there is justifiable anger – the Bible is full of stories of God/Jesus expressing anger, and we need to seek to do the same – express it non-destructively)
  2. I need to deal with my anger immediately (“You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist” “Those who fight fire with fire end up with the ashes”. Don’t give a piece of your mind (you may not be able to afford to lose it), but seek to be a peacemaker. It takes more inner strength to forgive than retaliate… let God give justice).
  3. I need to understand anger (Anger usually covers a hurt, which covers an expectation, which covers a need… need to uncover these).
  4. I need to stop and think before I speak (If you speak when you’re angry, you’ll probably make the best speech you wish you’d never made)
  5. I need to ask God to fill me with his Holy Spirit (seek self-control, asking God to influence thoughts, words and actions; society tries to reform people, Jesus can transform)
Don’t let your anger get out of control!

Wearing the Cross
Jesus stretched out his arms to embrace us all… God allowed his Son to be murdered for all – including those who have murdered others.
On seeing a girl at the checkout wearing a cross on a chain, J John said “Oh, you’re a Christian then”, on looking at her surprise, he entered into a conversation, asking if she’d think it was weird if she’d seen someone wearing a pair of earrings with a gas chamber as one earring, and the electric chair as the other… both are symbols of execution. She looked disgusted, but he emphasised that that is what the Cross means – but that Jesus wore it on his back, not around his neck. He asked her to think about what it really meant, she said “it looked nice”, and he said “nice was the last thing it was” – it was painful, humiliating, and that was done for us.
Before inviting people forward as usual, J John talked about the Archbishop of Milan, who as a child had been dared by his friends to go into the Confessional and shock the priest. Doing so with relish, the priest directed him outside, to look up to the Crucifix on the building, to shake his fist and say “I don’t care”. In front of his friends, as he started to do so, he realised what the death of Christ truly meant, and broke down in tears, before transforming his life.
See more on Just10 Winchester, 5 more weeks to go!

J John: Week 4: "Affair Proof Your Marriage" Just10

The Videos
After reminding us that the 10 Commandments offer a “map not a track”, we watched those in London, when questioned “Will an affair revitalise a marriage?” A mix of responses, but the youngest pulled a face of disgust and said “just think of all the diseases you could get” (so those public health campaigns are paying off then?), and another that modern relationships are all about ‘use and abuse’. Most modern affairs start on the internet…

Perry & Heather
Perry and Heather met at a church event, and he soon had to inform her that he was a haeomophiliac who had contracted HIV via a blood transfusion. This was in the 1980s, at the height of the fear of AIDS. They told us of their story, of expecting 5 years of marriage, with no children, but have just celebrated their 20th Wedding Anniversary (although Perry has regular stints in hospital, including one 2 weeks ago – and at times plans have been made for his funeral), and have had 2 children through pioneering surgery.

Back to J John
After a beautiful rendition of the 23rd Psalm, J John came bouncing back on giving us the modern perception of the 6th commandment, which we tend to think is “You shall not admit adultery”, rather than “You shall not commit adultery” – I think we’d agree there’s a subtle difference there! After cracking a few more jokes (man in a fridge, anyone?), he went on to talk about that other joy – contemporary culture – where loving couples are rarely married, but are surrounded by music, laughter and sumptuous surroundings – it’s all romantic & exciting, with little recognition of the tough times that come in a committed relationship.

Adultery
Even when forgiven, leaves scars… it hurts and shatters trust.

Love = giving
Adultery = taking.

Marriage was designed by God in the Garden of Eden, where 2 become 1, should never be split.

Is this topic not relevant?
For most of us, having realised how we’ve #failed in the past 3 commandments, if we’re not in a relationship, have we won at this one?! No, because affairs/lust start in the mind:

“Many people have sex on the brain, and that’s the worst place to have it”.

As a man followed with his eyes a beautiful woman walking past the window, his wife, without even looking up says “Was it worth the trouble you’re in now?”

Thoughts -> Words -> Actions – > Habits -> Character

Practical Steps
When the Bible says ‘take out your eye’ or ‘cut off your hand’ if they cause you to sin, we’re not LITERALLY talking that! If it’s what you’re looking at, cancel the Playboy subscription or the adult channel… by encouraging fantasy, you’re encouraging reality.

If you’ve had an affair in the past: go for counselling (delicate/painful/needs to be done)
If you’re having one now: STOP (that’s all… and read Psalm 51)

Rationalising, simply means “Rational Lies”.

In the story of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus commanded the woman to “Go and Sin no more

One for the archeology dept: “Why do archeologists make the best husbands? Because the older she gets, the more interested he is in her” (boom boom)

How to maintain interest over the years:

  1. Respect
    Mutual respect: the husband should love the wife as himself.
    There’s no such thing as a “perfect marriage” as it’s the union of 2 imperfect people.
    “You can bury a marriage with lots of little digs.”
    “Don’t criticise your wife’s judgement: look who she chose to marry”
    It’s not about how compatible you are, but how you deal with the incompatabilities: may not necessarily see eye-to-eye, but still be able to walk hand-in-hand.
    Good communication is key (even for ‘conversationally challenged’ men). Women speak 35,000 words per day, men 20,000 (so they’ve run out of words by the time they get home!). [See a refutation of these stats]
    Need to TALK and LISTEN, 4 hardest statements to use more of:
    I was wrong
    I am sorry
    I don’t know
    I need help.
    A theatre was packed full of men waiting to hear “How do you get your wife to treat you like a King?”…. simple answer: “Treat her like a Queen”.
  2. Responsibility
    Look to fix the problem NOT the blame: your attitude should be the same as that of Christ
    The number one problem in marriage is selfishness, too much concern for rights, rather than duties.
  3. Romance
    “If there was more courting in marriage, there’d be less marriages in court.”
    “Adam should have said to Eve: you’re the only girl in the world for me!”
    The Bible says “Rejoice in the wife of your youth”
    Dating was fun, so marriages should also make time for fun.
    The vicar gave a talk on “sex” (marking it as “sailing“)
    The Man’s Guide to Female English (never say what they mean); The Woman’s Guide to Male English (it all comes back to sex).
  4. Resolve
    A recent marriage, the couple took a small candle each, lit a large candle, then blew out the small candles, signifying that there would be no more “old flames”.
    J John called for all to value marriage, remaining loyal, proving faithfulness to each other.
    Life has all seasons, including its “winter seasons”.
    “Trying times are not the times to stop trying”
    “Treat disasters as incidents, not incidents as disasters.”
    Arches are made of 2 weaknesses, which lean against each other for strength.

To start: admit that need God and his help, as he created us, marriage, sex, etc.

A Proposal?
Every page of the Bible is a proposal to you… God’s present to us was pinned to a Cross, and he doesn’t woo us with perfume, but with blood, sweat and tears.

If you wanted to see a past series on DVD, see here.

J John, Week 3: “Prosper with a Clean Conscience”

Do Not Steal

Just 10 Winchester is into it’s 3rd week already, and again J John put across an uncompromising message in a humourous way! He’s not getting at us, he’s joining us in the daily challenge to live according to God’s laws within a contemporary living space.

J John opened his challenge that stealing tends to smart small (often in the workplace), but tends to get bigger.

Ron Heather: Bus Driver
The interview this week was with Ron Heather, the bus driver from Southampton who risked losing his job in refusing to drive a bus with the Athiest poster “There’s probably no God: Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life”, as he felt it was against his conscience (see what Theos thought). He knew his customers well, many were elderly, he felt this message wasn’t appropriate – and he was more worried about upsetting God than upsetting his bosses! The ensuing fuss gave him many opportunities for conversations with his supportive colleagues!

The Yorkshire Sketch
Every week this “elderly couple” from “Yorkshire” find interesting ways to break the commandment… this week the reasoning is that if there was a 2-for-1 offer on last week, but not this week, the shop wouldn’t mind if he bought one/pocketed the other!!! Hmmm…

Back to J John
J. John bounced back onto the stage, but opens on a sombre note… many of us have been casualties of theft (J John has had his coat stolen whilst he was preaching in the past!), and financial crime in the UK costs £29 billion per annum (and he wasn’t talking about MPs expenses!), with over a million reported burglaries every year. How many of you still have the Gideon New Testament give to you at school? The Gideons give away 20 million Bibles a year, of which they are pleased to say 22,000 are stolen every year!

Define Stealing: “Taking something which belongs to someone else”… and there are so many different ways to describe this in the English language that it’s clearly a big problem! God is against dishonesty and demands fairness in everyday work:

  • Don’t cheat/swindle when buying/selling
  • Avoid false advertising (e.g. “Ideal DIY opportunity” = needs complete overhaul)
  • Don’t quote for unnecessary jobs (if it’s going to just need a small part, just quote on that!)

The Inland Revenue estimate that £5000million per annum is lost in undeclared taxes/monies, with many justifying it on the basis that the government “takes too much and wastes what they have”, but “if your ship ever comes in, the IR will be there to help unload it!”

Employers/Employees
Employers: Don’t cheat your employees; don’t take advantage; teach people what is right & fair’ don’t manipulate.

Employees: Obey, not only when their eye is upon you, but when they are not looking. Why is it that the majority of sick days are on Friday/Monday?!

A large cause of inflation is these (seemingly minor, but mounting) costs, which are then passed onto the consumer.

What is the 8th commandment?

“You shall not steal” not “You shall not steal more than £1 at a time” (or borrow something without any intention of returning it).

What is the biggest item of theft?

TIME: “How little can I do for how much?”. J John spent a summer trying to cut grass in slow motion whilst taking endless tea breaks for an employer who kept telling him to “slow down”! I guess this is where there needs to be trust between employer (that the employee will do the work) and the employee (who has to trust that the employer won’t take advantage, expecting him/her to work at a high pace all the time if they’ve managed it once!)

Do for others what you would like them to do for you: how do we apply this to life?

  1. By working
    Work leads to profit, talk leads to poverty (not necessarily talking about waged work)
    Too many people are keen to move the piano stool when there’s a piano to be moved
    Most people are keen to avoid hard work and would rather ‘pick the lock’
    The only place in which success comes before work is in the dictionary.
    Don’t count the days, make the days count.
  2. By saving
    Good planning & hard work lead to prosperity (not that he was peddling the ‘prosperity gospel’ or at least I hope not!); hasty short cuts lead to poverty (Jesus commended the wise investor).
    Each of J John’s children were provided with 3 money tins: “Spend” “Save” “Give”
  3. By praying
    God loves to give gifts, even more so when we ask him.

Generosity & Guilt
The Earth and everything in it belond to God, we only have it on loan: God loves us into change, he doesn’t beat us into change!

What do we do with guilt?

  • Deny it?
  • Deflect it?
  • Drown it? (with drink/drugs/experiences)
  • NO: Dissolve it in the blood of Jesus.

Tithing
Always a sticky subject, some think the church is only out for our money! Do we cheat God in our offerings? Do we think that God is happy with the occasional 50p that we give him, the Bible clearly states 10% (joyfully given in the expectation that God will provide).

When J John became a Christian aged 17, he decided to take back a couple of books he’d stolen froma book shop. The Director asked him for an explanation and asked if he realised that he could call the Police… and was then surprised when the owner told him he was “free to go”… felt totally liberated!

The Amnesty Bins
Next week, J John is wheeling out the Amnesty Bins. He set a challenge that if we’ve stolen something we return it to its rightful owners in the coming week… and if that is not possible, then what we stole (or its equivalent value) can be placed in the amnesty bins on the way out (what is given is either thrown as rubbish, returned to original owners if accompanied by an ‘anon’ note, given to charity shops, or given to homeless shelters – not a single penny taken in admin!). The first time he did this one man placed £102,000 cash in the bins, another week, a man took his shirt off on the way out!

Let’s Get Practical: Have you ever:

  • Made an over-inflated/false insurance claim?
  • Called in sick when you weren’t?
  • Taken office supplies?
  • Used expenses for personal use?
  • Defrauded on your income tax
  • Left a debt unpaid
  • Borrowed books without returning
  • Taken hotel bathrobes (he’s always surprised by how many of these he gets!)
  • Copies of software?
  • Have you stolen from God?

Have you felt violated by theft?
You need to forgive those who have stolen from you:

Forgive & Forget, not Remember and Regret!

Be Transformed, Not Informed
The purpose of Just 10 is not to listen/be informed, but to subject yourself “to the Lord’s searchlight”, and reach out for forgiveness, and so be transformed! Will you?

J John says “tell your story“.

J John: Hold to the Truth

In with the Quips

J. John started in fine style again… with a story about someone in a store who’d just said to the customer “we don’t have it”. The Manager bounces in, assures the customer that it was ordered 2 weeks ago, and when the customer has gone, asks the employee what they wanted…. “Rain”!
Video Clips
An interesting compilation of video clips, asking those in London if they thought it was acceptable to lie… the general consensus appeared to be that it’s natural to lie, particularly if it’s to protect someone!
Chris Kilby
Formerly a drug-addicted member of a band, Chris Kilby now heads up Life Church in Southampton, and was interviewed by Claire Carson about how honesty, integrity and faith are central to his life now… and nothing has ever made him as happy as God, and is continually asking God to remove anything that is in his way/prevents him geting closer.
Lies Lies Lies
  • “One Size Fits All”
  • “We’re on our way”
The inventor of the lie-detector said that people basically tell lies… as kids do when they insist they haven’t had biscuits (mouth surrounded by crumbs!)
We live in a society of “truth decay”. 
Do you lie on your Job Application?
As a research project, a job was advertised for electricians who were specialists in ‘Sontag Replicators’. They received 179 applications, although there’s no such thing… 
4 students who didn’t turn up for their morning’s exam (citing a flat tyre) were surprised to find their teacher so relaxed. She offered them a chance to retake the test. Sitting the 4 of them in corners of the room, she said “Answer me this question…… which tyre was flat?”
Tongue Twisters
The tongue, a small instrument, capable of enormous damage!
The “sermon on the mouth”.
Bette Middler famously said “I don’t know how much of what I say is true”… it’s become so normal in society to lie… in journalism, facts are not checked, etc.
Careless Talk Costs Lives
Gossip Ruins Lives: 
  • “Hearing something you like about someone you don’t”
  • All the detail, no facts
  • Travels fastest over a sour grapevine
If someone says “I probably shouldn’t tell you this”, I’d suggest “Don’t then!”
The Bible Warns Us Against:
  • Gossip
  • Slander (malicious untruths with the intention of doing harm)
  • Flattery (say to a person’s face what you wouldn’t say behind their back)
Show more GENUINE appreciation, don’t flatter
Steps to Improve
  1. I need to examine my heart (what comes out of the mouth reflects this)
  2. I need to refuse to gossip (listen more, talk less, if you’re not willing to sponsor it with your name, don’t say it)
Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean!
Say it if:
  • Is it true? Yes!
  • Will it benefit anybody to say it? Yes!
“Prove to Me God Exists”
Confusing between:
  • Maths (rational)
  • Science (hypothetical)
  • Personal (valid)
God is PERSONAL, to be experienced, not proved. It’s like trying to describe a kiss (personal) as an exchange of molecules (rational/scientific)!
The Blackboard
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” – was there ever a bigger untruth?! Names stick “on the blackboard of life”. Jesus comes not to rub it in, but to rub it out!
Get to Jesus via “Kings Cross”. 
Embrace the healing you can get by refusing to believe the lies that others have told you about yourselves… (whether intentional/unintentional)

Better Late Than Never
Before J. John is on stage again tomorrow night, with “Prosper with a Clear Conscience”, I wanted to get this belated blog up. Week has been filled with job interview, applications, and some time out!

Wisdom from Bill Gates

When questioned about his incredible success, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, offered these ten insights to anyone starting out. They are worth considering:

  1. Life isn’t fair – get used to it
  2. The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem; it expects you to accomplish something before feeling good about yourself
  3. You won’t make $60K a year right out of school, or be a vice president with a cell phone. You have to earn it
  4. Do you think your teacher is tough? Wait till you have a boss – he’s not tenured
  5. Flipping burgers isn’t beneath you; your grandparents called it opportunity
  6. Your parents weren’t always boring; it came from feeding you, cleaning your clothes and paying your bills. So before you rush out to save the rain forest from the ‘parasites’ of your parents’ generation, try delousing your own closet
  7. Some schools may have abolished winners and losers, but life hasn’t. They may have eradicated ‘failing grades’ and given you as long as you want to get the right answer. This bears no resemblance to reality
  8. Life isn’t divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off. Employers aren’t interested in helping you ‘find yourself;’ you do that on your own time
  9. Unlike television, real people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to work
  10. Be nice to nerds; chances are, you’ll end up working for one someday!

The Bible says: ‘Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.’ ‘The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied’ (Proverbs 13:4 NIV). No shortcuts; you’ve got to work for it!

Taken from: UCB: Word for Today  (29 December)

The Challenge of Daily Bible Readings

Discipline?
OK, it was a resolution I made last summer, challenged by Alastair McKenna to try and read the Bible more regularly. On my RTW travels, this didn’t really happen, but I had lots of time out to think and check out God’s creation. Once I hooked up with Oak Hall for this summer, again with Alastair on my first trip, I decided I’d go for the ‘Bible in a Year’ option. I tried using one of the plans where you jump around the Bible, combined with my study Bible, but I got bogged down. There’s plenty of those kind of options on Amazon. Whilst at the Manor (Oak Hall), someone left ‘The Message‘ in my pigeon hole in August, and I challenged myself to read one chapter per day (more if I wished), and about 95% of the time this is happening, so I’m slowly getting there… result!

Online Helps
I’ve found it quite helpful to have some daily readings come in.

Seeds of the Kingdom
Written by staff from Ellel Ministries, this short daily devotional provides a verse or 2 from the Bible, and then a commentary, which is usually quite a thought-provoking but practical focus for the day, plus a brief prayer.

What did they say today about New Year’s Resolutions?
But what would happen if all believers approached the New Year with a different question and asked God what were His plans for them? And then we spent some time with God waiting on Him so that we could listen to His still small voice? We would then have fresh vision for the year ahead – and if it is vision from Him then we wouldn\’t run out of soulish energy in no time at all, but we would discover His sustaining power, enabling us to press on toward the goal He has put before us.
http://www.seedsofthekingdom.com/

Word Live
Written by Scripture Union whose aim is “Using the Bible to inspire children, young people and adults to know God.”I got rather overwhelmed by this as it seemed quite long, but this is designed to offer options, rather than necessarily working your way through the whole-thing, and offers a multi-media engagement with the Bible:

  • Read the translation you prefer
  • Listen to music and podcasts
  • Meditate with images and video
  • Dig deeper into further Bible study
  • Use WordLive on the move, whenever and wherever

What did they say today to welcome in the New Year?
A poem by Samuel Johnson: 1709–1794 to highlight that a new year is always an opportunity for a fresh start. Our God is a God of new beginnings.
Almighty God,
by whose mercy my life has been
yet prolonged to another year,
grant that thy mercy may not be in vain.

Let not my years be multiplied to increase my guilt,
but as age advances,
let me become more pure in my thoughts, more regular in my desires, and more obedient to thy laws.
Let not the cares of the world distract me, nor the evils of age overwhelm me. But continue and increase thy loving kindness towards me,
and when thou shalt call me hence,
receive me to everlasting happiness,
for the sake of Jesus Christ,
our Lord.


http://www.scriptureunion.org.uk/2981.id

E-WordA short Bible passage arrives in your inbox each morning, with further information available online if you so choose to click through (for a variety of translations and languages). The aim of E-Word is to set up a good daily habit and understand God’s plan for your life. Also included in your e-mail message is a Christian Thought for the Day, words of wisdom from Charles H. Spurgeon, and a short Sermon Snippet. The on-line edition also includes direct access links to today’s most popular on-line devotionals in text and audio formats.

What was Spurgeon’s thought for the day today?
“I believe we must either go forward, or we must fall. The rule is in Christian life, if we do not bring forth fruit unto the Lord our God, we shall lose even our leaves, and stand like a winter’s tree, bare and withered.”

http://www.ewordtoday.com/

All of them have subscription options so they arrive as a little prompt in your inbox. I’m sure there’s lots of others, but these are the ones I’ve used!

Some books, and an attempt at creative writing…

Do It Tomorrow
A book I picked up from The Discovery Centre in Winchester is ‘Do it Tomorrow‘ by Mark Forster, which I have found quite liberating, even just putting a couple of his tips into action over the last 2-3 days, and am slowly getting myself a bit more sorted and prioritised (rather than spending ALL my time trying to find a job, I still want to get some of my other projects moving). I thought I was pretty good at time management – I completed a PhD after all, that doesn’t happen on it’s own, however I am guilty of trying to do too much and of getting distracted by what comes in! Mark works on a system of ‘Closed Lists’, allowed space for some urgent things to crop up. He urges us to have a default of “I’ll do it tomorrow” for everything we’re asked to do, as we can only do one days one in one day, and PLAN for tomorrow, and just do one days work in one day!!! If people know that when you say you’ll do it tomorrow, you really will, efficiency levels will improve. It’ll take practice but it’s an unusual approach and I think it works!

The Write Brain
I picked up this book “The Write Brain” by Bonnie Neubauer last year, and it’s in my pile of “things to do”. Yesterday, I decided that I was going to do ONE exercise from this book at least 5 days out of 10 (along with my plan, which is going pretty well, to read at least one chapter of The Message every day). So, I’ve done it for the past 2 days… it promises only 10 minutes for an exercise as you shouldn’t think too much about what you’re writing…! So, here’s today’s exercise (you may see a few more of these):

Resolution Revolution
Use each letter as you get to it (marked in bold): New Year’s resolutions make me…

Nervous because no one ever sticks to them! It has just become a joke for everyone – no one thinks “Well, I must do it”, yet every year everyone does it, every year we all make the same tired old promises but set no action plans to go with them. Over and over again we resolve to lose weight, to write that book, to stick with whatever we promised someone! Over and over again this falls through. We make no definite plans to see us through to the next stage. However, if we saw each days as a new day, fresh and new with lovely chance to do u-turns, and focus on ourselves and what we want to achieve/contribute to the world then we just commit to making that first step, then the next step, over the course of time those small steps will build up to a great journey, fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives!

And that was it… There’s an option at the base of each page to do more. Today’s was “New Year’s resolutions are passé. Think New Day resolutions instead. What new writing-related thing do you resolve to do in the next 24 hours?

Mine are:

  • Do tomorrow’s exercise in ‘The Write Brain’
  • Work on my review for ‘Easy Virtue’ for Damaris Culturewatch (already part-way there)
  • Add another entry to the blog (this one!)