Sunday, 21 February 2010

Little bits of encouragement

Richard and I spent all day at church yesterday, receiving - renewing - training in prayer ministry. It was a lovely day, very encouraging, although I don't know when we'll really use it all much in church. We have prayer ministry after services, but it doesn't engage much of the congregation. Still, 'pray-ers' wait faithfully for 'pray-ees' after every service and we pray that one day more of our church family will discover this wonderful way in which God can speak powerfully into their lives.

So, I managed to feel encouraged and discouraged all at once. It almost gave me a stomach ache.

But then I came across this blog entry by Layla of TheLetterCottage, quoted by Lysa Terkeust. All about a random act of kindness which was such a huge encouragement to her: "a great reminder that giving, and adding value to the lives of others is one of our deepest and truest purposes in life...we have found that the more positively we think and act, the easier is it to deal with life's wild pitches. Why? Because true peace and happiness can be found in providing peace and happiness to others."

And just now I have received an email from a dear friend with glad news: not only that they hope to visit us soon (SOOO exciting!) but also that they have started a church in a 'wasteland'. It's going well. How cool!

Now, that is definitely what I call encouragement.

Where are the smileys to add on here?

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron

I had no sooner finished reading ‘Chasing Francis’ than I turned back to the beginning to start all over again: this time, concurrently with the study guide at the back of the book. Every chapter provoked a hundred thoughts and questions: the study guide posed even more. This is a novel, telling the story of Chase Falcon, a modern Christian (he is actually a pastor of a mega church) who had become disillusioned with post-modernity to the point of losing his faith, alongside the story of St Francis.

It is amazing: the kind of book which references ideas - and, in this case, other writers - which make you just want to start reading and studying all about them as well. Add the comprehensive bibliography at the back of the book and years of adventure await.

Every chapter struck a chord. Chase wrestles with the kind of questions which many of us have but rarely dare to voice. Like Francis, he rediscovers his faith and, with it, different ways of expressing it. Francis served Jesus completely and unreservedly. If that’s your aim, too, then start a pilgrimage to find out how you can best do that. Start with this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, 19 February 2010

Needing Grace

Renee Swope talks about this far better than I do - here's the link.

Why am I posting this? Check the labels!

Give God your waking thoughts. Before you face the day, face the Father. Before you step out of bed, step into His presence.~ Max Lucado

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Becoming a Christian community

Everywhere I look these days I seem to be challenged to live more...Christianly. Not so much my inward life - though Heaven knows that needs improving - but my outward, lived-with-other-people, life. My life in church, and out of church. My life at work in my work and at work in my church. My communal life.

I read books talking about post-modernity, and reaching those with language they understand. Books that remind me of how the reader filters meaning - often wrongly - from the written word, so that the reader hears what she wants to hear, not necessarily what is meant.

I read blogs talking about prayer, and discipleship, and faith. And community.

This is the latest: a summary of a new book by Tim Morey called Embodying Our Faith: Becoming a Living, Sharing, Practicing Church, (IVP Books, 2009).

This blog is fast becoming a library index.

Meanwhile, my mind mulls over a myriad of ideas, my heart considers promptings and my spirit prays desperately to make sense of it all. To know where, and how, I am being led. And to discern where I am being misled with distractions.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Pete Greig on faith

Pete Greig, founder of the 24-7 prayer movement, is a writer who is very easy to read. I really liked this blog on faith.