Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Although I believe that EVERY day, not just January 1st, is a new beginning, New Year is still a great time to take stock and evaluate. As a family, we each write a New Year's Prayer, put them away in a special jar and then get them out in a year's time. It is wonderful to read of God's faithfulness to us.

However, I like the idea of writing a prayer to begin the year which I can then look back on frequently as the year progresses, as an encouragement to keep on going. Wendy Blight talks about how to do this on her blog. I'm starting to read the Bible in a year, so I'm writing it here as a sign of that commitment - it'll be harder to get out of now! Maybe I should pray for some self-discipline here...

Another book review...

As well as joining the NavPress Blogger Review Program, reading and reviewing some wonderful books - primarily on discipleship, my passion - I have also joined Booksneeze. The first book I have to review is 'Outlive Your Life' by Max Lucado. All the author's royalties go towards work supporting children and their families through World Vision.

I never read anything written by Max Lucado without feeling that I am eating a tasty treat: an echo of the Psalmists who say 'The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.’ (Psalm 19:9-10, New Living Translation) and ‘How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’ (Psalm 119:103). His happy style of writing slips down so easily that I was able to read this book before bedtime all in one go: and then re-read it to let the truths he illuminates sink in.

The message is simple, the truths nothing new.  Yet with inspiring examples of real people – both modern day and from Bible times, predominantly the book of Acts – Max leads us through the Christian life: what it means to come to Christ and to live as His follower. I am stirred anew to embrace concepts of caring, compassion, boldness and, above all, being open to Jesus’ call to help the lost, the lonely, the poor.
Read this book. I hope it will inspire you, as it did me, to look at your life anew. To recognise the many blessings God has gifted you with, and to take action to use them. Even something as simple as the gift of a smile, an encouraging word, a cup of water... Just give.  As Max says, at the end of Chapter 1: ‘Here’s a salute to a long life: goodness that outlives the grave, love that outlasts the final breath. May you live in such a way that your death is just the beginning of your life.’

Imagine living a life of such goodness and love. We can do it.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Real-life Discipleship

I have just read a book which has made me so excited that I have underlined scores of sentences, jotted notes in the margins and bookmarked numerous pages with tiny post-it notes. Real-life Discipleship, by Jim Putman. Having said that, the ideas the book offers of living out the Christian faith are nothing new. Biblically based ideas of developing the Christian life have not changed much over the ages. Yet this book is one of the most encouraging I have read for some time. Becoming and making disciples is essential to the Christian life and so Jim shows, and reminds, us of how we should do this.
The book summarises the key features of the discipleship process: this is not only intentional and relational but also strategic: we can all learn how to make disciples. While being familiar with the idea that spiritual growth leads us from being like children in the faith to becoming adults, Jim shows these in a spiritual growth wheel, elaborating on the typical characteristics, beliefs, behaviour, attitudes and actions of each stage in the discipleship process. This was extremely helpful: not only was I able to identify where others are in their spiritual journey, I was also challenged as I recognised immature characteristics in myself, which I had thought were long gone.
One idea, new to me, is that of Bible storytelling: a highly interactive method of studying the Bible which, along with learning Biblical truth, helps develop disciples into leaders.
This is an intensely practical handbook. It has encouraged me to continue seeking to help others grow through the context of small groups and, were I a church leader, I would want to adopt the ideas suggested. Being part of a small group which seeks to grow disciples into mature believers is not necessarily the only way to maturity – witness the lives of some of the great saints – but, for many, it is an essential part of the Christian life. Real-life Discipleship is a superb resource.

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.”

Monday, 27 December 2010

Keep on

Keep praying. Keep thanking God. Keep on the watch.

Colossians 4:2, 

Mark 11:24

For this reason I tell you: plead for anything you like, and
believe that you will surely get it; and it shall be granted to

Kleist and Lilly
Romans 4:21

He felt assured that what God had promised him, God
was able to fulfill.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Without a break let your prayers continue to be made.
Matthew 21:22

And whatever you ask for in your prayers, with faith,
you will receive.'

Hebrews 11:1

Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we
hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at
present remain unseen.


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

My life as a home...

Notes from the most recent ladies breakfast...

The Home: an analogy  
Theme: a house symbolises each of us.

Roof: covering, protection.
The name of the Lord is like a strong tower – the righteous shall run unto it and be GLAD!
 Proverbs 18:10  10 God's name is a place of protection—    good people can run there and be safe.
May our homes be roofed with God’s name and His protection.

Walls: represent safety  and security.

Door: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.   Matthew 7:7-8 (New International Version)
As we think of the Door, let’s also of the door of our hearts, praying that it may always be open and welcoming to God.

Windows: Open to the fresh air of the Spirit

Chimney: Smoke is a sign of life. May my life show signs of the true Life which is Jesus who says I AM the Way the Truth and the Life

Is Jesus welcome in every room in our lives? Is he welcome in the room marked ‘Work’? The room labelled ‘Self-worth’? The room – maybe the attic – where we keep our failures?

May my life be a home
whose roof spreads God’s love
over all who enter it;
whose walls offer
God’s protection
whose chimney breathes
signs of warmth and life
whose door is always open
to the lost and the weary, and
whose windows are thrown open to the Spirit’s
gentle whispers.

Preparing for Christmas
Tidying  away the rubbish. Impatience, keeping the peace for the sake of it
Cleaning up having the honesty to face up to mistakes, failures
Decorating  doing the ‘extra’ stuff – inviting others round, going to an event to support a friend... 

Sunday, 19 December 2010


The Christmas story, retold by a little girl. And Christmas retold as if Mary and Joseph used our modern networking sites