#BigRead13: Day 49: Stories // Final Day

Living_in_the_light300

#BigRead13 Thoughts

Really grateful to those who have stuck with this through the whole process, has been some real little encouragements, as we think about Easter … and the year ahead – what difference has engaging with the various online materials for Lent made to our lives? Dealing with the subject of death is always a difficult one, but this is such a lovely picture in The Last Battle:

But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

The Hebrews verse calls for us to recognise that we are aliens in this earth… but clearly that that doesn’t mean that we are not part of this earth whilst on it! What would we like to be written on our cover page/gravestone? I still think mine would be “She lived life to the full.” 

… and still deeply encouraged by everything shared by #digidisciple – continuously working to add coherence, etc.. whilst maintaining individual voices… what’s on their cover pages?

#BigRead13: Day 47: Resurrection #EverythingChanges

A little weary this afternoon after getting up for sunrise service, but that was something special… about to disappear off for a nap though after my first session this morning

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#BigRead13 Thoughts

Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.

Looking forward to heaven some point (no more weary, shattered old mind/body), on a more earthly plane I’m looking forward to catching up with @onlinepraise later.

#BigRead13: Day 46: Time

The final theme for #lentphotos is “loss” – and here’s something that caught my attention outside the Methodist Church in Minehead earlier today:

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#BigRead13 Thoughts

Well, there’s a challenge for those of us who feel time poor from ‘The Screwtape Letters’ … and our attitude to time – we feel we own 24 hours day, begrudge the time we give to work and view:

as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties.

Psalm 39:4-5 (New Living Translation)

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”

It has become a standing (sigh) joke in my life that I’m always busy, never knowing when to slow down – even trying to do ‘I’m not busy” for Lent -which is TEN MINUTES a day has not worked every day … although I am spending time gradually sorting out processes that should create space in the long term.  IT’S MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE – AND WE LOSE AN HOUR TONIGHT!

@40Acts

That’s a really encouraging point to finish on – all of our stories are important – and just because of our media saturated culture we should not value to dramatic ‘conversation’ over the slow-burn brought up in a Christian family story – amen! I have found it encouraging when in sessions about ‘sharing your testimony’ when people share what God has been doing recently – it’s not all about the conversation testimony – though that’s a time of great joy!

Brian Draper: Lent 40

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

#BigRead13: Day 45: Beloved

Today’s #lentphotos subject is #Loss – and I’m loving this picture by @goannatree – of beauty amidst a place of loss… similar to what we see today – the pain of Jesus hanging on the cross..

graveyard

As spotted on Facebook today, which I then tweeted: “Nails didn’t hold God to a cross. Love did.”#EverythingChanges Six hours, one Friday – by @MaxLucado.

At housegroup earlier this week we were discussing similar to this seen on Facebook also:

I used to think it must have actually been pretty easy for Jesus to die on the cross. After all, he’s God, so surely could handle a few nails in his hands and feet. Then I realised it wasn’t about the physical suffering … it’s about the weight of having every wrong doing that ever existed and ever will exist on his shoulders. And not just a few lies or a bit of speeding on the way to work, but every rape, torture, murder and unthinkable crime against humanity.

And my timelines on Facebook and Twitter are full of ‘It is finished’, etc (haven’t noticed so much of #EverythingChanges yet), but trending are Justin Bieber and The Voice, with the only reference to what’s going on the cheery “Happy Good Friday”.

#BigRead13 Thoughts

This video also came through my Facebook feed (see what connections we can make on a day off that’s a day focused on God – all at once!) and I thought fitted really well with today’s theme of ‘seek and you will find’ – rather than searching for happiness in so many different places (not sure if the computer in the video is intended to equate to computer = bad, but I don’t think so!)

@40Acts

forgiveness

I’m not sure how I feel about today’s challenge, and it really is a challenge. I’ve got Stephen Cherry’s Healing Agony in my reading list pile as I have much to think about on this issue. There’s things that I’ve struggled to say “I forgive you” and mean it … and then I feel like I’m “failing” – yet something else to beat myself up about… I’ve forgiven some pretty massive things, but struggling in particular with someone who said they didn’t have to talk to me about what forgiveness was required for because God had already forgiven them… and that was enough – but I’m sure there are parts in the Bible that talk about also settling up with your human counterpart if you know that you have done something that requires forgiveness… and then trying to remember the forgive 70×7 when someone who’s hurt you badly does it all over again in the way that they deal with the process of trying to find ways to come to terms with things & move on… It’s a long journey without a simplistic answer.

Brian Draper: Lent 40

The 7 sentences Jesus said on the Cross:

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do …”
  2. “Truly I say to you, today you will be in paradise.”
  3. Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.” Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.”
  4. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
  5. “I am thirsty”
  6. It is finished.
  7. “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit”

With some great insights as to how these tied into his ministry, and how we are to remember that “In Him was life”. Remember. Remember. Remember.

#BigRead13: Day 44: Minds

So #LentPhotos today is ‘The Last Supper’ – we clearly need more interpretations, pictures, etc on Seed Resources – my favourite is this Stained Glass window (plenty of colour, although I’m sure there’s more ‘art-things’ I could say about it…

last_supper_windowhttp://www.seedresources.com/view/images/last-supper-window

#BigRead13 Thoughts

Ah… being ‘imprisoned in the mind’… Romans 12:2 obviously sprang to mind as I was preparing today’s reflection (along with Joyce Meyer, though I’ve only ever read one of her books!) – I like the New Living Translation:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. New Living Translation (©2007)

The extract from The Last Battle may come from the scene where those who believe in Aslan have gone through into the Shed and found themselves in an amazing, fertile land… but those who have been pushed in and don’t believe sit playing games because they think they are restricted by the walls of the shed (all a bit Matrix!). It brings to mind debates about facts/science, etc… I totally see no incompatibility between science/faith, but I have spoken to some who if they can’t engage with it with one of the 5 physical senses, or see proof of it – can’t conceive of it … that seems sad. As Michael Ward said yesterday on the webinar  – God is bigger than us, he created us – if we could fully comprehend him then that wouldn’t make sense…. we are finite and he is infinite.

This leads me to a bit of thinking about what does it mean to ‘transform’ – and I like this first definition on Wordnik “To change markedly the appearance or form” … is it noticeable that we are in a relationship with Jesus?

transform

 

@40Acts

As I’ve been preparing for Spring Harvest over the past few days, along the theme of ‘reconnecting with ‘The Source’ – Jesus & his words, then learning to “be”, then “say”, then “do”, I’m going to emphasise quite heavily the idea that – particularly in the online spaces – it’s about “BEING’ – living the Christian life 24/7 so that people can see… but that does also mean that we need to be prepared for our testimony. I used to give my conversion testimony regularly as an Oak Hall leader, but there are also what’s God doing right here/right now to be aware of… and am I prepared if someone asked me NOW … me being me I’d want to check my notes.

Bekah Legg gives some helpful advice…

  • Know the core elements of your story, the important parts – rather than a script
  • Be prepared for the ‘movie trailer’ version, and someone wanting more detail
  • Don’t slip into Christianese…
  • And most importantly  – LISTEN – the person sat with you is more important than anything you have to say.

Brian Draper: Lent 40

Carl Jung: “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”

I guess this is like ‘actions speak louder than words’, although as Brian says – we are more than our actions.

Archbishop Oscar Romero:

We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realising this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

Can we sum up our Lent journey in 6 words – coming to my mind is “Busy. Stop. Busy. Think. Busy. Be”?

#BigRead13: Day 43: Seek

#LentPhotos

Today’s #LentPhotos is ‘The Road Travelled’ – for which I decided to go to my TripAdvisor pins and screenshot them (taking out the many ‘I still wish to go to’ pins:

road-travelled

#BigRead13 Thoughts

So, we’re onto the last book in the Narnia series today The Last Battle, in which Aslan was found by those who sought him… combined with the simple – but powerful – verse:

New International Version (©2011) (Matthew 7:7)
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Which does come accompanied by questions about do we have to seek, what about those who don’t know how to seek, etc (seen many of those on my travels) .. what does it mean to “seek” – we are encouraged that it’s active prayer/Bible reading, etc. but I’ve been challenged more about taking time out/space to “be” so that God can speak in the silence (not v. good at it mind!)

@40Acts

A challenge today to think about how we engage those with learning disabilities in the church … do many of our practices/policies (unintentionally) discriminate – when groups such as Prospects can offer much more involvement – and someone in the comments has suggested more church families getting involved in ‘Shared Lives‘…

Brain Draper: Lent 40

Are we able to articulate our dreams, or are they limited by our imagination/language. A poem to help:

God’s Dream

I myself will dream a dream within you,
Good dreams comes from me, you know.
My dreams may seem impossible,
not too practical
not for the cautious man or woman;
a little risky sometimes,
a trifle brash perhaps.

Some of my friends prefer
to rest more comfortably,
in sounder sleep
with visionless eyes.
But from those who share my dreams
I ask a little patience,
a little humor,
some small courage,
and a listening heart –
I will do the rest.

Then they will risk
and wonder at their daring;
run, and marvel at their speed;
build, and stand in awe
at the beauty of their building.

You will meet me often as you work –
in your companions who share the risk,
in your friends who believe in you enough
to lend their own dreams,
their own hands,
their own hearts
to your building.
In the people who will stand in your doorway,
stay awhile,
And walk away knowing that they too can find a dream.

There will be sun-filled days
and sometimes it will rain –
a little variety both come from me.

So come now, be content.
It is my dream you dream,
my house you build,
my caring you witness;
my love you share,
and this is the heart of the matter.

Charles Peguy

#NotBusy

A reminder, and one to rethink… I definitely do use my smartphone as an alarm, but I know that Bryony has challenged herself to not look at her phone til 9am, and finding a difference in her mindset for the day..

tips

#BigRead13: Day 42: Colour

#LentPhotos

The word for today is “hope”- and this one tickled me – if you’re like me, surrounded still by several days of freezing snow, but noticing the flowers trying to come out (and hoping they won’t be killed off):

A_New_Hope

#BigRead13 Thoughts

We’ve been feeling rather Narnian over the past week – ‘Always Winter, Never Christmas':

narnia-weather

But when Father Christmas does appear:

“I’ve come at last,” said he. “She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The witch’s magic is weakening.”

I have a real love for colour – I was thinking about setting up a coaching business re ‘colourful lives’ at some point (polymaths – we have lots of ideas) … and I collect a few particularly beautiful images on Pinterest. At various times in my own coaching/discussions (and kinda now) … I talk about my head being like mixed up balls of wool – which need to take time to detangle – but these are always bright colours, and not miserable… so I have much going on in my life – enjoying most of it, but often so tired not enjoying in a more healthy way… God came to give us life to the full – not to be miserable… here’s some verses identified on that topic (and always interesting to see what topics Google throws up – there’s a CBT course for those who are depressed to ‘live life to the full’)

Today’s passage in #BigRead13 – if we spend too much time worrying rules/must haves, etc. we are not living life to the full, we are living a dull, shadowed life (C.S.Lewis referred to this world as the shadowlands, as it is but a shadow of the world to come) – blinded to the possibilities:

English Standard Version (©2001)
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor 4:4)

@40Acts

One of my favourite kind of posts about prayer – take the time, part of real conversation with your group/your God – developed out of natural relationships – the Mums in Ruth’s group had seen her struggling with kids in the supermarket, etc. – they knew her conversation about what it’s like to be as a Mum was real, so were more open to understanding that her thoughts about prayer were ‘real’. Amen!

Brian Draper: Lent 40

Today, Brian uses a narrative from a novel to give an idea of what hunger in a desert would feel like… and encourages us to think about fasting for a day/a meal before Easter, to think about the time that we’re going into – and in particular to pray for those who are unable to eat as they have no food… or for those who have eating disorders. To take time to rethink where we’re going on this journey of life… what do we want to take away from Lent?

#BigRead13: Day 41: Real?

#LentPhotos

Today’s is “a necessity” – so let’s see what @seedresources gives us today… well, nothing been tagged with that, so I let myself think for a bit… and.. water:

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/drrriiiip

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/drrriiiip

Without water there’s not a lot else (and reminding me of an explanation of the trinity – which I do know some people find not quite on target theologically – but the trinity as ice, water and steam… all water but in different states of being).

#BigRead13 Thoughts

I love this verse – always reminds me of things that used to come round in the local church newsletters…

I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.

Going online to see if anyone had written more on this – I like this post – here’s a bit about the Green Witch in The Silver Chair:

She uses her evil enchantments to persuade the foursome that all the things they know, love, and believe in–sun, sky, the land of Narnia, the children’s own world, and even the great Lion Aslan–are nothing more than a dream, a game of the imagination, a children’s story, while her cold, lightless, joyless kingdom of Underland is the only real world.

Really well put, and I think interesting in a world where I spend a lot of my time saying that the online space is part of “reality”, and that those who can’t see that are missing out on some amazing stuff… people are prepared to spend hours watching/discussing the latest soap episode, or ‘boy band’ who have been constructed for a particular ‘brand’ – you may also know that I have a particular thing with ‘authenticity’ – which doesn’t mean “spilling it all out”, but I do find it difficult engaging with people who think so much about how their brand is perceived there’s little space for the real person to engage… With my love of coaching, I’m keen for people to understand what their passions are, and persue those/live those … and for Christians to be open (but not Bible bashing) about the ‘play-world’ that God offers us…

1 Corinthians 15 – I went over to check out The Message translation

Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection?

If there’s no resurrection, “We eat, we drink, the next day we die,” and that’s all there is to it.

What a depressing thought if our busy lives are all there is too it (and there’s another whole topic, why are we all so busy/driven?).

@40Acts

Another interesting challenge – the phrase ‘stand up, stand out’ stood out for me, as well as the idea that therefore the rest of the church must be sitting … and what does it mean to collaborate … moving on from competition to collaboration.

Simple challenge (except for finding the ‘right’ people): peer for accountability, someone younger to mentor, someone older to be mentored by… And how does that look online – will quite often use online to say that am going off to do a piece of work, then chatting online is the reward!! Short bursts, rather than taking a big chunk of time out… although that’s also important!!

Brian Draper: Lent 40

Another interesting tie-in with today’s Narnia read – what will our eternal home look like … and how do we make the most of the home we’ve been given here:

There’s the home we continue to ‘make’ throughout our life. People enter, people leave, but it’s home, even if it’s ever changing, or broken, or not quite what we’d dreamed of.

We are challenged today to savour a memory of our childhood – be thankful for it, even if there were few good memories; look at your house, and pray if there’s a way you can make it more of a home; imagine that you have moved out and are being nostalgic about your home… what will you remember about it?

I love making a house a home.. getting my curtains up would be a big step forward.. now, what about #notbusy today…