God is good – all the time

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God’s been good to me this week. Ok, I know God is good every week, but this week, I actually noticed.

It was my turn to lead worship this week, with my trusty MP3 player. Up until now, it was a task I dreaded – the technology had me tearing my hair out, nothing was in the right key or tempo and frankly trying to find cheerful carols had me almost ready to jump ship.

However, a few things happened this week to encourage me…

Firstly, we decided to pick up a Bob Goff course in our life group – Love Does. Watching the study introduction, reading a bit about Bob’s work and the little internet trail it led to, had a good vibe. It helped me make a few decisions, turn the corner from a season of overload and shake off some dust (literally). And it’s not like I’d never heard of Bob before, but God decided it was time for me to pay attention to his message.

So with Bob’s optimistic vibe, I cracked on with planning the worship.

Then some timely resources came my way, with some positive reinforcement and encouragement attached – a heaven-sent combination. One of these was a website I had looked at before, but when I tried to create an account last time, it asked for a US land address and I gave up. This time, (God made me do it) I ignored that section and just pressed “submit” – geddit? – and it let me in! Ha! This turned out to be an amazing mine of information as well as offering free streamed music to help me decide what to use. A mini-epiphany of its own.

With approval from Natasha for the music, I decided not to fight the technology but take a couple of easier options, had a bit of a practice in my car (teen taxi) during the week and lo! the worship was sorted.

One of Bob Goff’s recommendations is to “quit something every Thursday”, which was the homework for this week. We wondered in our life group how much Bob must have had on his plate in the first place, to be able to continually quit something every Thursday. Then we thought – if he is anything like us, what he quits on Thursday he picks straight up again on Friday! Like us, he may have been working on the same things for a while. Maybe he is including “quitting” putting something off that we know we should get on with; or stopping worrying about the same thing over and over again. Maybe he is not talking about giving up chocolate, but giving up boasting or criticising others, or putting ourselves down; instead of leaving a job, giving up suffering in silence (or moaning loudly!) and asking for some help.

Over the last few sermons, God’ s signs seem to be pointing us to take stock and incubate ready for the next season; to spend time trying to hear and see what he is showing us and consider how to respond. I’m a bit worried that this will involve adding to my multiple “to do” lists but maybe I just need to add more to my new list entitled “to stop”. Then I’ll have a chance to notice that God is good – all the time.

 

 

Easter Eggs in the shops

easter eggs in shopsWe struggled with having tinsel in the shops in September and the festive pop on the radio since mid-November, then we snap our fingers after Christmas Day and there are Easter eggs in the Co-op *sigh*.

But it’s all very well for us to tut and roll our eyes at the shops having Easter eggs already – look at this week’s Bible reading. Two weeks ago, Jesus was born in a manger, last week he was a toddler being visited by magi and this week, he was a grown man, about to start his short but illustrious preaching career and being baptised in the river Jordan. Talk about moving swiftly on!

However, far from skipping straight to Easter, Archdeacon Guy Elsmore explained this Sunday that thirty years had passed “unremarkably” for Jesus whilst he grew up, learnt his earthly father’s trade and matured into the role His heavenly Father had planned for Him. He spent this time preparing for what was to come.

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If you remember orĀ listen again to Natasha’s sermon from 6th January, she was encouraging us in this season of Epiphany, to hold on to the whole point of Christmas – God’s gift to us and the transformation this brings. Over the next few weeks, we are asking ourselves what we can give to God or to others around us, in return for this Great Gift? Later this term we will be exploring this in a sermon series called Paraclesis, but in the meantime, give yourself some preparation time and give God a chance to remind you of your gifts. If you took a treasure box home, make some notes and store them to be revealed later…

And just to keep Christmas in our hearts a little longer, here are a few photos from Christmas Eve:

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7Up: Meeting Jesus

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7Up meets on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month in the coffee shop and is growing in strength and number every term, thanks to Simon’s leadership and Natasha, Susanne and Tara’s support. They have arranged to have one hour sessions once a month, meeting for the whole of the 10.30 Family Service, to look at a subject in more depth. Simon shares a bit about their last session…

The theme for last time was Meeting Jesus. We looked at different ways in which Jesus has been portrayed in art over the centuries and on the internet more recently.

We each chose a picture showing the Jesus we would want to meet and have a selfie with, and shared why / what that picture of Jesus meant to us. Oliver chose Jesus on the cross because it showed what Jesus has done for him. Alistair, Mariam and I chose two figurative, one more abstract, of Jesus stretching out his hand or arms to us to welcome or help us.

We then chose one of those pics for us all to have a selfie with Him – did you notice he is in the picture at the top?!

It was great fun of exploring how we individually relate to Jesus.

We ended the session with creating (max 4 word) prayers to Jesus in magnetic letters on the coffee shop fridges, while listening to Jesus Be the Centre and shared more about those prayers with each other.

What a privilege!

If you or someone you know is in Year 7 or above and would like to come and join in this fun and supportive group, please contact Simon via the church office for more information, or turn up to St Andrew’s at 10.30 on a 2nd or 4th Sunday of the month.