Family

Family
Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Friday, March 27, 2015

Palm Sunday: You want me to do WHAT?

 We all know this story so well that we might be tempted to think "what new thing can I possibly learn from this text?"

Well, maybe there's nothing new to learn, but Jesus is a teacher who likes revision work ... He likes it a lot, because we are so forgetful, especially of the things we don't always want to hear, or don't like to hear.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Palm or Passion Sunday

                                                                Picture sourced here
The United Methodist Lectionary calls this Sunday Palm/Passion Sunday and offers two different sets of readings. I gather from Wiki that, in Roman Catholicism, until 1954, the name of the sixth Sunday of Lent was "Palm Sunday". In 1955, the name became, for 15 years only, "Second Sunday of the Passion or Palm Sunday". In 1970, it became "Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord". The sixth Sunday of Lent has thus never officially been given the exact name "Passion Sunday" and the term "Palm Sunday" is given first place in its present official name.
My practice has become to celebrate Palm Sunday in our morning services, and Passion Sunday at our evening service which marks the beginning of our Holy Week services

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lent 5: Stone Heart or Flesh Heart

I had almost forgotten how much fun Family services are for everybody, young and old. This past Sunday we carried out open heart surgery in the sanctuary as part of the sermon. Young and old learnt afresh about the sadness of original sin, the need for a new heart, how to diagnose whether your heart is of stone or of flesh, and how to receive a new heart. The response at all services was quite overwhelming, but especially at the evening service which was mainly "adults" as opposed to little children, but where folk still streamed forward to the communion rail in response. Our Lord continues to make all things new ... praise His holy name

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lent 5: Called to Die with Jesus

All of this week’s texts ring the same message: Die.
Die—that there may be much fruit (John). Die—to any notion you can rule yourself (Jeremiah). 
The word was no less distressing and distasteful in Jesus’ day, or Jeremiah’s day, than it is in ours. But die we must to have life, and have it abundantly.
Here are this week's readings:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lent 4: A Snake on a Pole and a Christ on a Cross

Image result for Moses and the snakes
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lent 3: Don't mess with our God and Don't mess with the Poor

                                                                                                 Image sourced here
This is one of those stories of Jesus that we don't always like to hear. Do you remember the old hymn

Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;

Dare to be a Disciple 6

Dare to be a Disciple 6
Read Dare to be a Disciple 5
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so

This week we will summarise everything we've learnt thus far in a PowerPoint presentation

We'll look at some sample covenants:
Here is one sample

Dare to be a Disciple 5

Dare to be a Disciple 5
Read Dare to be a Disciple 4
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so

This week we will study Jesus' most comprehensive teaching on discipleship, where, much as we might not like the language, He lays down the terms of discipleship.

Dare to be a Disciple 4a

Dare to be a Disciple 4a
Read Dare to be a Disciple 4
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so
ACTS OF COMPASSION

I will do all I can to help people in need.

I will seek out people in need and do all I can to help them.

We will strive to increase our service to others and graciously acknowledge others’ service to us.

I will go two miles for a sister or a brother who asks me to go one.

I will spend one hour each week visiting a lonely person whom I would not ordinarily visit.

I will spend at least one hour each day helping someone in need.

I will spend four hours each month helping the disadvantaged in my community.

We will balance the time we devote to school, church, work, family and friends, including our own spiritual and recreational life.

I will spend an hour each day with my children.

I will spend some time each day with each member of my family in meaningful communication.

We will practice listening to other people as a ministry of grace.

I will express feelings of genuine appreciation to at least one person each day.

We will engage in regular visits to local prisons.

I will make weekly visits to local prisons.

We will establish a meaningful relationship with someone in prison and, where possible, with their families.

I will get to know at least one poor family.

I will offer friendship each day to someone of an ethnic background different from my own.

We will encourage our congregation in its missional giving, and do this by personal example.

I will seek to help a family in need somewhere else in the world.

I will eat one less meal each day and give the money to feed the hungry.

Dare to be a Disciple 4b

My main resources in drawing up this course are:
Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Covenant Discipleship by David Lowes Watson
The Sermon on the Mount by Scot McKnight
The Sermon on the Mount by Cedric Poole

Dare to be a Disciple 4

Dare to be a Disciple 4
Read Dare to be a Disciple 3
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so

This week we will read Mt 25:31-46  in the context of discipleship, asking ourselves whether and how compassionjusticeworship, and devotion are involved in the 6 situations that Jesus repeats 4 times.

Dare to be a Disciple 4e

Dare to be a Disciple 4e
Read Dare to be a Disciple 4
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so
SPIRITUAL PROMPTINGS AND WARNINGS

I will listen to the promptings of the Spirit as they affect others’ well-being.

I will be honest in all things at my place of work.

We will strive to express ourselves fruitfully to those around us.

I will witness to my faith in Christ at least once each day.

I will remember that whatever I do – be it work, study, or recreation – is dedicated to God.

I will be truthful in reporting to my covenant discipleship group whenever I disobey a spiritual prompting, or fail to heed a spiritual warning.

I will set aside a specific time for personal spiritual renewal each week.

As a group we will spend a day in retreat twice each year.

We will be available to each other at all times for support and prayer in times of spiritual testing.

I will not let the sun set on my anger.

Dare to be a Disciple 5


My main resources in drawing up this course are:
Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Covenant Discipleship by David Lowes Watson
The Sermon on the Mount by Scot McKnight
The Sermon on the Mount by Cedric Poole

Dare to be a Disciple 4d

Dare to be a Disciple 4d
Read Dare to be a Disciple 4
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so
ACTS OF WORSHIP

I will be faithful in attendance and participation in worship each Sunday.

We will participate in weekly corporate worship, striving for true involvement.

I will seek opportunities for worship at least once each week in addition to Sunday.

I will receive the sacrament of Holy Communion each week, when possible in my covenant disciple group.

We will receive the sacrament of Holy Communion daily.

We will prayerfully consider what resources we can contribute each week to the work of Christ in the world.

I will return to Christ the first tenth of all that I receive.

We will pray for those who lead us in worship each week, and especially for the preacher.

We will pray for those who visit our worship service, that they will be touched by grace.

We will pray for those who are baptised in our church and visit the parents of baptised children.

Dare to be a Disciple 4e

My main resources in drawing up this course are:
Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Covenant Discipleship by David Lowes Watson
The Sermon on the Mount by Scot McKnight
The Sermon on the Mount by Cedric Poole

Dare to be a Disciple 4c

Dare to be a Disciple 4c
Read Dare to be a Disciple 4
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so
ACTS OF JUSTICE

I will endeavor to oppose injustice, in whatever form.

When I am aware of injustices practiced in my Church, my community, my nation, and the world,
I will speak out.

We will not be silent when confronted with social injustice, and we will witness for justice, inclusiveness, and equality, and will encourage reconciliation wherever possible.

I will stand up for those who are not present or able to stand up for themselves.

I will actively support a movement for world peace.

I will communicate regularly with my elected national representatives on issues of world peace.

I will get to know ate least one unemployed person.

I will communicate regularly with my elected local representatives on issues of unemployment and economic justice.

I will get to know at least one person of a different ethnic background at my place of work.

We will become more aware of social situations through attention to the news (newspapers, television, magazines, radio.)

I will ask forgiveness of God each day for those who die of starvation, and I will work to alleviate world hunger.

We will become and advocacy group for prisoners of religious and political conscience.

As a group, we will speak out whenever God’s justice is ignored by our leaders at work, at church, in our nation and in the world.

We will devote our daily Bible study to the eighth century prophets for the whole of the coming year.

I will dissociate myself from racial slurs and jokes at my place of work.

I will express disapproval of racial, social and sexual prejudice among my relatives and friends.

We will practice responsible stewardship of the world’s resources in the context of our personal lives and communal commitments.

We will take action to improve our relationship with our natural environment.

I will strive for unconditional love and acceptance of all God’s creations.

I will pray every day for the coming of the reign of God.

Dare to be a Disciple 4d


My main resources in drawing up this course are:
Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Covenant Discipleship by David Lowes Watson
The Sermon on the Mount by Scot McKnight
The Sermon on the Mount by Cedric Poole

Dare to be a Disciple 4b

Dare to be a Disciple 4b
Read Dare to be a Disciple 4 
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so
ACTS OF DEVOTION

We will practice daily devotions, including the reading of Scripture and prayers for group members.

I will pray each day, privately and publicly.

I will spend at least one hour each day in the disciplines of praise, thanksgiving, confession, petition, intercession and meditation.

I will pray daily in solitude and with my family or friends, I will include all the members of my covenant disciple group in my daily prayers.

I will keep a diary to plan my daily and weekly prayers.

We will make the study of Scripture a central part of our daily devotions.

We will agree on our daily Bible readings and share our insights as we give an account each week.

I will record the spiritual insights of my daily Bible reading.

I will read the Bible each day as a devotional exercise, not as a study assignment.

We will each keep a spiritual journal and will devote time at the end of each day to enter our reflections as the Holy Spirit leads us.

I will spend at least thirty minutes each day alone with God, of which fifteen minutes will be spent just listening to God.

I will pray each day for my enemies.

I will take the initiative each day in holding family devotions.

I will read only those materials and watch only those programs which enhance my discipleship.

I prayerfully pledge to practice responsible stewardship of my God-given resources: my body,
the environment, my artistic graces, and, my intellectual gifts.

In order to care for our individual wholeness in body, mind, and spirit, we will schedule time each week for retreat, reflection, renewal and fun.

Knowing that my body is the temple of God, I will prayerfully plan my work and leisure time.

I will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in fasting.

Dare to be a Disciple 4c

 My main resources in drawing up this course are:
Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Covenant Discipleship by David Lowes Watson
The Sermon on the Mount by Scot McKnight
The Sermon on the Mount by Cedric Poole

Dare to be a Disciple 3

Dare to be a Disciple 3
Read Dare to be a Disciple 2
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so

Today we look at the role of suffering in the life of the disciple. Read Chapter 4 of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and discuss the following points he raises:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dare to be a Disciple 2

Dare to be a Disciple 2
(Read Dare to be a Disciple 1)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This course has been born out of a conviction that I have, in my 22 years as a preacher, teacher and pastor, concentrated too much on making converts and too little on making disciples. I have come to the realisation that the two are not the same. Jesus command is "Go and make disciples", so

Discuss the following statements:

“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer