Its been a while

I have not blogged for 2 years now , a lots happened in this time, my children are fast becoming young adults, we have enjoyed holidays, enjoyed our family allotment and of course continued to enjoy our life with Christ.

The hardest part of those years has been the struggle to cope with our youngest son Callum , whom has recently been diagnosed with severve ADHD and Autism , this has affected his school work ,having quite severe learning difficulties, behavioural problems and a cognitive delay.

sometimes we think why Lord, why us , why test us why test Callum.

Callum regularly hurts his peers at school, sometimes quite violently but he doesnt understand why, he hits us kicks us, tries pushing us down the stairs, he can not make a link between his actions and the consequences he must face for them, he has regular complete melt downs.  We are sometimes at a complete loss where to turn to.

His school have been great , we are blessed with health professionals, psychologists whom are great, but we really need to keep turning to God for strength.

We are blessed beyond words to have him, he is cheeky, loving , caring , affectionate , he is uniquely made by God and we are forever grateful of that. We would not change him for the world.

The Lord uses many ways to help us . Through Callums struggles we have seen some ugly sides of ourselves- Tempers, In patience, we have seen how quick we are to judge others on what we see. We have learnt that the lord has given Callum many talents , which we have failed to see, his Wit and comic timing, his creative mind in his drawing is amazing and his racket sport skills are superb, he is in fact naturally gifted in many ways, but the lord has used his other difficulties to open our eyes to our own short comings.

We regularly pray for Callum at our weekly homegroup , but maybe we dont pray enough in thanks and praise for the many gifts God has given him.

Callum

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James 1:17 NIV

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Forgiveness

Last Saturday Night was Grace Community Church’s annual Autumn Supper . This is a great formal evening consisting of a fantastic meal followed by a guest speaker , we all try to invite family and friends who are not yet committed to the Lord. This years guest speaker was Robin Oake former, police commissioner and Christian.  Robin’s son Stephen Oake ,also a Christian and anti terrorist police officer was murdered during an anti terror raid in Manchester where he was stabbed by an alleged terror suspect. He was just 40 , married with children.

Please have a quick read of this article.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/content/articles/2008/09/22/20080922_robin_oake_feature.shtml

How can anyone forgive the killer of someone so dear to them, that person who rips them savagely away from you and their loved ones. A life time without them.

As a Christian myself i find it so difficult to get my head around. What strong unshakable faith you must need.

I know i could forgive someone if they say, told lies of me, but for murdering a loved one??

But the bible teaches us that sin is sin no matter what the action is , SIN IS SIN. Who are we to judge others and condemn them when we ourselves blindly sin every day of our lives.

We have been forgiven by the grace of God , so we to should through God forgive those who Sin against us. We should not judge others only God can judge.

What if the person we need to forgive is not a believer?

I have found that prayer is one of the best ways to break down the wall of forgiveness in my heart. When I begin to pray for the person who has wronged me, God gives me new eyes to see and a new heart to care for that person. As I pray, I start to see that person as God sees them, and I realize that he or she is precious to the Lord. I also see myself in a new light, just as guilty of sin and failure as the other person. I too am in need of forgiveness. If God did not withhold his forgiveness from me, why should I withhold my forgiveness from another?

Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Is it okay to feel anger and want justice for the person we need to forgive?

This question presents another reason to pray for the person we need to forgive. We can pray for God to deal with the injustices, for God to judge the person’s life, and then we can leave that prayer at the altar. We no longer have to carry the anger. Although it is normal for us to feel anger toward sin and injustice, it is not our job to judge the other person in their sin.

Luke 6:37

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

When Jesus says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged,” Jesus is not saying that we must not judge people so that people do not judge us. Jesus is not teaching some sort of relativism that we just let people believe what they want to believe so that no one is judging each other. Jesus is talking about God judging others. Do not judge others and you will not be judged by God. Do not condemn others and you will not be condemned by God. Forgive others and you will be forgiven by God.

Previously, Jesus taught to do to others as you want them to do to you. Now Jesus teaches this principle: Do to others what you want God to do to you.Treat others, not only how you want them to treat you, but also how you want God to treat you. Jesus is not teaching that we can avoid the day of final judgment if we somehow be sure not to judge other people. No one can avoid the day of judgment. All must stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Living The Script

From the beginning God made it clear that he intends for us to be significant players in his drama. No doubt, it is first and foremost God’s story. But we can’t passively sit back and just watch what happens. At every stage he invites humans to participate with him.

Here are three key steps to finding your place in the drama.

1.IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE BIBLE

If we are unfamiliar with the text of the drama itself, there’s no chance of living our parts well. Only when we read both deeply and widely in the Bible , marinating in it and letting it soak into our lives , will we be prepared to effectively take up our roles. The more we read the Bible ,the better readers we will become. Rather than skimming the surface we will become skilled at interpreting and practicing what we read.

 

2. COMMIT AND FOLLOW JESUS

We’ve all taken part in the brokenness and wrongdoing that came into the story. The victory of Jesus now offers us the opportunity to have our lives turned around. Our sins can be forgiven. We can become part of God’s story of new creation.

Turn away from your wrongdoing. God has acted through the death and resurrection of the Messiah to deal decisively with evil , in your life and in the life of the world. His death was a sacrifice, and his resurrection a new beginning . Acknowledge that Jesus is the rightful ruler of the world, and commit to follow him and join with Gods people

 

3. LIVE YOUR PART

Followers of Jesus are gospel players in the local communities living out the biblical drama together. But we do not have an exact script for our lines and actions in the drama today. Our history has not yet been written. And we can’t just repeat lines from earlier in the drama. So what do we do?

We read the Bible to understand what God has already done, especially through Jesus the Messiah, and to know how we carry this story forward. The Bible helps us answer the key question about everything we say and do: is this an appropriate and fitting way to live out the story of Jesus today?

This is how we put the scriptures into action. life’s choices can be messy , but God has given us his word and promised us his spirit to guide us in the way.You are God’s artwork, created to do good works. May your life be a gift of beauty back to him.

 

 

 

A balancing act

For Myself , serving in the local church and attending bible study and home groups  is a regular part of my life and to a certain extent my wife,s also (  she is not yet  a Christian but loves to be involved ) –   God has impacted me that i might impact the next generation and i love that.

However, sometimes  i have a difficult time balancing family and ministry.  It’s so easy to become over-committed and under-connected.  When there is a lack of presence and priorities, relationships with God, spouses, and children suffer.  This is a dangerous place to be.

If you serve in  ministry in any way and have a family of your own, please take a moment to consider the following points compiled by ministry veterans.

5 Ways To Balance Family and Ministry:

1.  Keep the focus on Christ: We all know it, but as the hymn says, “We are prone to wander.”  Doing things for Christ in ministry is not synonymous with abiding in Him.  Protect your personal time with God above everything.

2.  Respect the priority of your marriage: Set a non-negotiable date night.  Communicate.  Do devotions together.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Surprise your spouse.  Love him/her according to their personal love language.

3.  Set boundaries: Set a limit to how many nights you are out a week doing ministry.  Give your spouse veto power over your schedule.  Do not miss your own kids’ events for ministry purposes.  Allow ample time for rest at home, listening, and fun.

4.  Set the tone in your home: Ensure that your home is a refuge of affection, warmth, and encouragement.  If you are too busy, you set a tone of stress and chaos.  May the Word of God be visible in your home and in your actions.

5.  Be intentional with your own children: Include your kids in ministry.  Allow them to enjoy the perks about serving at church.  Be present when you are home.  Find unique ways to encourage and celebrate them.  Be creative and fun!

What practical suggestions do you have to balance family and ministry?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

The last thing i want to do with my family is unintentional push them away from God and the church because of an in balance in time spent between the two.

Colossians 3:23-24

 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

Remember you can serve the Lord during time with your family in the way you act in the way you talk , in the way you engage with your family and those around you. When working for the church this is your front line , when at work this is your frontline for Christ and also when you are at home with loved ones this is also your frontline for Christ , so please remember that simply  because you are not physically doing work for your church ( maybe preparing Sunday school teaching or attending a meeting) this does not mean you are neglecting Christ because you can be serving him in your actions in the love you show for your wife , your children and the care and compassion for those others around you.

 

John Bunyan

I have the privilege of living within 2 miles of where the famous Christian preacher and author John Bunyan who was born, in Elstow , Bedford. I was Christened as a baby in the very same font that he himself was also christened , and had the joy of being married there at Elstow Abbey to my wife Karen.

                                                              ELSTOW ABBEY CHURCH

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John Bunyan (1628-1688) was born at Elstow, England, about a mile from Bedford, and became one of the most influential authors of the seventeenth century. Few writers in history have left such a wealth of Christ-centered writings.

Bunyan’s moving conversion is recorded in his Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. His first lasting conviction of sin was produced by a sermon denouncing the violation of the Lord’s Day by labor, sports, or otherwise–because his greatest enjoyment came from sports on the Lord’s Day. Some time later while passing through the streets of Bedford, Bunyan heard “three or four poor women” sitting at a door, “talking about the new birth, the work of God in their hearts, and the way by which they were convinced of their miserable state by nature. They told how God had visited their souls with His love in Christ Jesus, and with what words and promises they had been refreshed, comforted, and supported against the temptations of the devil.” From these pious women Bunyan learned to despise sin and to hunger for the Savior. Later, while passing into the fields, he recounts, “This sentence fell upon my soul, ‘Thy righteousness is in heaven’…for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Then “his chains fell off,” and he went home rejoicing.

In 1655, Bunyan was baptized by immersion by Pastor John Gifford of Bedford and called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bunyan was arrested November 12, 1660, for preaching without the approval of the Anglican Church. He was charged with “teaching men to worship God contrary to the law” and was in jail more than twelve years.

His most well-known work, The Pilgrim’s Progress, was written while in the Bedford jail. During Bunyan’s lifetime there were 100,000 copies circulated in the British isles, besides several editions in North America. It has been continuously in print since its first printing. Bunyan’s remarkable imagery was firmly rooted in the Reformation doctrines of man’s fallen nature, grace, imputation, justification, and the atonement–all of which Bunyan seems to have derived directly from Scripture.

The Pilgrims Progress is only 2nd to The Bible in the number of copies printed and sold world wide.

Pilgrim’s Progress is an awsome book about a man named Christian. In the beginning, we find that Christian has a heavy burden on his back that he can’t get rid of.  He tries to take it off himself but he can’t.  He then meets a man named Evangelist.  Evangelist tells him that the only way to get rid of this burden on his back is to go to the Celestial City.

…he keeps going and doesn’t give up.  

Christian leaves his friends and family back in the City of Destruction and makes the long and treacherous journey to the Celestial City.  He goes through many different obstacles and trials that get in his way on the way to the Celestial City.  Although it takes him a long time to get there, he keeps going and doesn’t give up.

This is an excellent book to read.  As a Christian, I sometimes get discouraged in my walk with Christ.  This book has really helped me with that.  It has taught me that I’m not alone in my walk.  There are others that are struggling with the same things that I am struggling with and that we must persevere.

 

It shows us of the temptations and pitfalls that we must be alert to and avoid on our Christian journey through life,  until we reach our ultimate destination with Christ waiting with open arms to embrace us.

If you have not read this masterpiece i encourage you to do so, it is hard, slow going at time,s the language being difficult, but is truly worth the effort i,m sure you will get so much out of it.

If you have read it or when you have finished it i would be pleased to hear your reviews of it , and what  encouragement or lessons you got out of it  if anything.

 

Chill in the park

https://www.facebook.com/CITPARK

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Its that time of the year again in kempston ,Bedford for the wonderful event that is Chill in the Park. on Sunday June 16th 1-5 p.m

Last year 2000 people made there way to kempston,s Addison Howard park for a chilled lazy afternoon of free Music , kids activities and picnicing with friends and family.

The afternoon is hosted by /http://www.graceinthecommunity.com/, Bedford Borough Council and Project 229 – Bedfordshire – Spurgeons.

I have attended the last two and enjoyed them greatly even last year when i was on litter picking duties!!.

Events like these are crucial to a community- they bring so many people from so many different backgrounds , faith groups and social standings together to enjoy each others company in a relaxed atmosphere, its a chance to slow down and take a breather even for a few hours from the break neck speed of  life.

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

The above passage is an encouragement to Christians to be bold and to meet together to encourage one another to good deeds and love, and to be faithful to the Lord. As a Christian days like Chill in the Park are a great way for fellow Christians to spend time together  and to show an outpouring of Gods love onto our local community. I will be praying that the Lord will be with us and will open up opportunities to meet and talk to people who are yet to come to know the Lord. If a tiny seed is planted in one person who is yet to come to know The Lord that will be a great victory!

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