Monthly Archives: January 2007

24×7 thoughts

So we are reaching the end of another 24×7 prayer week (finishes as noon Sunday) just had my last session in there. I was enjoying the kids area, Debbie and Jane had set up a whole range of different ways to encourage them to pray (graffiti wall, sin bin, prayer cut out hand prints etc).

I also find the main prayer wall exciting. Lots on revival, listening, unity, holiness as well as a big section for young people in Raunds.

Had some good times praying with various people. But the best bit was, like last time, the night hours praying alone, well not really alone cos I had some wonderful experiences of the Holy Spirit. Already looking forward to our next 24×7 prayer and also some prayer vigils etc etc.

If you have not yet experienced a 24×7 prayer week then I totally recommend trying one ASAP.

Sending Photos to 911 Operators

Now this is a seriously good idea Schneier on Security: Sending Photos to 911 Operators. I would have thought not just for crime but also for ambulance and fire service calls. I wonder when the UK will get this.

On the other hand I wonder if we have this already. We have so many CCTV cameras, maybe since they cover most of the cities they could be reused for this. For example if you think you need an ambulance then go outside and wave at the nearest cctv camera demonstrating which bit of you don’t work.

Moving out of Church

We are starting to move things out from the Church building and out from the manse. Most of the meetings I have with Worship leaders planning services are now held in Creamers coffee shop. In Raunds we have also moved the regular ministers meetings from the manses to Creamers. The Saturday morning prayer meeting now has breakfast after the prayer time in Cookies (conveniently next door to the chapel) rather than doing their own.

In April we start a new phase of a study group. No proper name yet, although I fancy calling it the "Elephant" group. The reason is that I set the programme for the first few meetings by asking the group "What are the Elephants in the room that we are ignoring, the subjects we don’t talk about because we are worried we won’t agree on?" So far we have:

  • Homosexuality
  • Islam
  • Should Methodist ministers serve more than one church?
  • Sunday worship styles
  • Tithing
  • Baptism (infant/adult, sprinkle/immersion etc)

I don’t propose simply ticking these off, once per week. We are going to start with "How we use the Bible in elephant discussions", then we will have a session or two preparing through prayer, then a Bible study on diversity and respect. I suspect that several of these issues are going to take more than one evening anyway.

However, all those details are somewhat irrelevant. I am currently asking myself whether to re-locate this group from the chapel to one of the pubs in Raunds. In some ways I am concerned this is backwards, instead we should put aside these internal questions and simply plant a new congregation in the pub. On the other hand deepening the faith of current members is also important.

H’mm more prayer needed on this one, maybe I’ll go down the pub for that too (once the 24×7 prayer room closes again).

PS Yes I admit it. I have started reading "Organic Church" by Neil Cole

Shock horror! I agree with Adrian on revival

I have to say that I don’t have any disagreements with Adrian’s quotes from Spurgeon on Revival.

We are in the middle of another 24×7 prayer week in Raunds. I love these and I am certain we are going to have more of them as well as exploring other ways for all the Churches to pray together more.

Some key themes that have emerged this time are:

  • the necessity of unity for revival
  • the necessity of listening to God for mission and revival
  • the vital importance of prayer for revival
  • the fervent desire for revival

Be sure that here in Raunds, the centre of the known universe, we are praying like crazy for revival. We are also working together to remove any blocks to the work of the Holy Spirit within and between ourselves.

Last night I was privileged to have the prayer room to myself from 1am to 5am and it was fantastic. Time flew by. I had really only intended to spend an hour there but suddenly realised it was 3:30am so decided to stay until Jane was due at 5am. It does seem a little odd to meet your wife at church who has just got up when you are on your way to bed at 5am :-)

On Sunday morning I am continuing a series on Ephesians. We have been galloping through (not!) and after several months have reached chapter 2 verses 1-5. I will also be looking briefly at 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a with the kids (as that is the lectionary reading they are using in Junior Church). Service theme is "Transformation" and will certainly be revival preparation with clear declaration of commitment which follows on neatly from our covenant service two weeks ago (the light the blue touch paper of the Holy Spirit in our lives and church this year sermon). We are also getting in some extended and intense prayer within the service. I am very excited by all God is doing in this and surrounding communities and am determined that we are going to be along for the ride in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit.

I for one believe revival is coming in East Northamptonshire. How God is going to do it here is not yet clear.

Mind you while the great old preachers are, well, great the language is not exactly accessible and open to people today eg "Can we not entreat the Lord our God to make bare His holy arm in the
eyes of all the people in this day of declension and vanity?".

I know Adrian loves quoting all these preachers of the past. It is not my style (plenty of current revival and transformation experiences around the world to use) and yet we can surely agree that we want to see the Holy Spirit transforming our communities.

Twelve propositions on same-sex relationships and the church

Kim Fabricus continues his series with Twelve propositions on same-sex relationships and the church. This is hugely important and should be considered essential reading.

However, my own supposition is that this will not take the debate forward very far. Sadly few of those who would disagree with Kim will venture all the way through. They will soon discover in propositions 2 and 3 phrases they can’t accept.

Unfortunately by not reading all the way through the chances of informed debate and sharing of views are reduced to almost nothing, it merely supports shouting across a football field.

It seems to me that what is needed is time spent listening and avoiding simplistic responses. I know that Brian Maclaren has suggested something similar and that conservative Christians jumped up and down decrying this attitude as non Christian.

For myself some of the "truth" claims about scripture are very concerning. The more I read and study scripture the more I become aware of it’s alien culture, how little we really "know" and how glibly we claim application of texts to current situations. At the same time I still find myself more and more convinced of Jesus as Lord and Saviour, of the Father as creator and of the Holy Spirit still active in the world today. I also find myself stunned by the way we ignore the great themes of scripture such as justice, mercy, love, non violence, grace, forgiveness while picking individual verses out of context and hitting people over the head with them.

We are in the middle of another 24×7 prayer week in Raunds and I have been seeing a recurring theme this week of the need to listen and to pray. May those be two guiding features in this debate as in so many others.

WOT more?

WOT (Worship On Thursdays) is now into it’s second term at Raunds Methodist Church.

During that time it has grown from very humble beginnings. Today we had 13 kids and when we all sat down to eat there were 26 of us!

The age range of the kids has also increased. So today we needed creche style toys for some and then Bible discussion time for the older ones when the rest were being creative. That makes it all much more fun as well as complicated.

Last week we started the new year at the very beginning of the Bible with a look at creation, that including making a huge mobile with the 7 days of creation hanging from it. Today we were looking at John the Baptist, we even got in some real Locusts and had "Locusts in the Desert" to eat (which looked and tasted just like Toad in the Hole).

Yesterday we had a rather belated planning session and have sorted out the themes for the rest of this term (mostly based on people in the Bible with tie-ins to the lent themes from Roots).

We are in the process of applying for a grant to buy equipment as we have so little at the moment. Some soft play blocks would be good as would a set of CEV Bibles, plus more dvd’s and cd’s. Another idea we have is to create a huge wall display where we can link each week into a timeline, the place in the Bible and a location map. The idea is to try to show how the different stories we use connect with each other and with the story of faith.

Missing the point

As an outside with decided views it seems to me that in JOLLYBLOGGER: Do [North] American Christians too easily assume their surrounding culture is Christian? David completely misses the point of the original article: Toward Hope: Rodney Clapp asks Eugene Peterson a Question….

David, tries to divide the US (and yes there do seem to be two Americas, one blue and one red) and the goes on to claim that one part of America is Christian and that this:

Do [North] American Christians too easily assume their surrounding culture is Christian?

We do.  It is useful to listen to people who come into our culture
from other cultures, to pay attention to what they hear and what they
see.  In my experience, they don’t see a Christian land.  If you listen
to a Solzhenitsyn or Bishop Tutu,
or university students from Africa or South America, they don’t see a
Christian land.  They see something almost the reverse of a Christian
land.

does not apply to just one half of America.

Maybe I am not reading David properly, but it appears to me that he believes that this description only applies to the blue America and that the other part, as the Christian remnant had better get moving. If I have understood David right then I for one wish to make it clear that I do not accept this view. I think Eugene Peterson’s points are far more widely valid than that. I totally reject the republican American premise that to be Christian is to be republican.

Mind you I also completely accept that many of Eugene Peterson’s claims can be raised against us in the UK.

TextPattern or not?

In a  comment on 42: Moving 42 onwards David Reimer suggested I consider Textpattern for cycle life. So I have collected a few links for TextPattern as part of my explorations:

Zero-carbon building in the UK

I got their book just before Christmas and have not had much time to read a lot of it yet. But the weblog has loads of stuff appearing. This was a (rare) bit of good news from the UK Government: WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: Zero-carbon building in the UK.

Mind you it would be good if we went further such as C.I.C.L.E. :: » New German Community Models Car-free Living. See also WorldChanging: This New Year: Resolve to shed pounds and save dough.