Faith

Sep 7

Start The Year 2

It’s been great to meet up with old friends this week and to start to make new ones.  Meeting new people though can be quite scary. Some of you may have seen the latest in the ‘Educating’ series, ‘Educating Greater Manchester’.  The first programme focussed on Rani.  Here’s a summary:

 

 

What a star Jack was.  Even though it might have cost him a lot, he reached out to Rani and what a pair they’ve become: (key bit is 40 secs in to 2 mins in)

 



The challenge from the start of year service was for us to be strong enough to be agents of hope.  To do this, get strength from your values and beliefs and then take the plunge.  Try being a friend to someone new this week.  In John 15 Jesus calls his disciples and us, I believe, his friends,’ You are my friends if you do what I command.’  Wow.  Go on, be a Jack today.

Rend Collective wrote a new song recently called ‘No Outsiders’.  I’ve put the words here as they’ve really understood the love of God for all.  Use it as a reminder of why we should be agents of hope and as a prayer.

 



You're our refuge

You have no borders

When I was a stranger, knocking at Your door

You took me in

With no questions, and no conditions

When I was a sinner, running from Your grace

You called me friend

You called me friend

[Chorus]

And there are no outsiders, to Your love

We are all welcome, there's grace enough

You are the open door, when I have wondered Lord

There are no outsiders

There are no outsiders

To Your love

You're the harbour

In every tempest

When my soul was shipwrecked

Tossed upon the waves

You were the shore

You are the Father

And there are no orphans

And every tribe and nation

Gathered in Your arms

Sings with one voice

Sings with one voice!

And there are no outsiders, to Your love

We are all welcome, there's grace enough

You are the open door, when I have wondered Lord

There are no outsiders

There are no outsiders

To Your love

Oh Lord

You are the refuge

I was tired, I was poor

I was thrown upon Your shores

I was homeless and afraid

'Til I heard You call my name

Now I'm ransomed, I'm restored

Resurrected, I am Yours

I am found, yes I belong

In You I find my home

I found my home!

And there are no outsiders, to Your love

We are all welcome, there's grace enough

You are the open door, when I have wondered Lord

There are no outsiders

There are no outsiders

To Your love

 

Tags: Faith
Sep 5

Start The Year 1

 

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Holidays are good, but they always have to end. As many of us return to school and work, I wonder how we are feeling?


Normal. Nervous. Excited. Scared. Confused. Hopeful.

You might find yourself thinking, what reason would anyone have to be hopeful at this time? There's bad stuff happening all over the world. Arsenal look awful, and going back to work means setting the alarm again.

This week I happened to read 1 Peter 3:15, where he writes,

 

Set apart Christ in your heart. And always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

 

It had me thinking, who are the most joyful and hopeful people you know, and where do they get it from?

It's easy to be cynical of such people, but also desire what they have. Where do you get your hope? Take a moment to listen to this group of musicians, and their reason for hope and joy.

 



In the midst of all my doubt and despair about the world. I do believe in a good God, a Creator who wants to be involved in the lives of humans on planet earth. A God who wants to encourage and challenge us, and fill us with life and love so that we share life and love with those around us. Let's ask for his help!

Prayer:

Dear Father God, Thank you for the times of rest we've experienced, comfort those who've had a tough six weeks.

Give us courage as we start a new term, commitment to getting up and going, and fresh creativity in our teaching and learning.

May we settle in to new things, find ease in our relationships, find joy in each day, and may we go into this year with a seed of hope that grows, and grows. 

Amen.

 

Tags: Faith
Jul 13

Activities Week and Summer Holidays

Watch:

 

 

At a simple level this reminds us of how much our passions matter, so do use Activities Week and the holidays to rediscover your passions, to enjoy them more and/or to discover new ones.

 

It also reminds us that through kindness and communication we can make a real difference so please continue to look out for others this summer, especially those isolated or lonely. Finally, it tells us of the value of community, so do spend some time on your own this summer but also spend some time in family and community groups as you have a unique contribution to make.

 

The Bible reminds us,

 

whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3

 

Prayer/Meditation:

‘The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes.’
Amen

 

Tags: Faith
Jul 7

I Value Trust and Truth 2

This week's Worship is from our guest writer and year 13 student Faith Evans.

 

In a world where there may be a lack of hope, we need the capability to trust ourselves to have an impact.

 

Would you trust yourself to deal with these situations?

 

Brexit negotiations:

 

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To help promote minority rights?

 

Equal Rights Now National Equality March Washington DC 2009 4006527887

 

 

To intervene with bullying?

 

Šikanovanie

 

When feeling worthless and potentially unable to make changes, it becomes increasingly difficult to trust in the political systems and authoritative figures when we cannot see the changes we desire being made.

Trusting in God may seem challenging when you cannot find God within the difficulties yourself or others face but it can be easier to trust that God will use you in order to overcome those obstacles. Rather than asking God to intervene, trusting that God works through individuals and asking him to work through you is an act of trust. This allows for confidence in our own abilities to make individual change.

 


5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him, and we will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Jesus says:

 

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:11

 

This shows his guidance through life and with the promise of the Holy Spirit, God is able to act through us. If we allow him to do so and trust that he is with us in overcoming challenges, we are far more able to stand up against injustice and to fulfil our potential.

 

Prayer:
Lord we ask for your strength to overcome obstacles, we do not ask for you to intervene for we do not know your plan, but we pray that you help us to trust in you and allow you to work through us.

We pray that you enhance our trust in you to make us able to stand up for love and justice without fear or embarrassment. Let your presence and truth be felt among us, in Jesus name,

Amen.

 

Chaplain Joey adds a song for reflection by the legendary Etta James:

 

 

Tags: Faith
Jun 29

I Value Trust and Truth 1

How many of these might be Fake News?

 

’Pope Francis endorses Donald Trump for President.’
‘Hillary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS.’

‘Woman with heavy make-up attacked for being a clown.’

‘First Singapore Prime Minister passes away.’

Discuss with each other how you came to your conclusions about the stories.

They are all Fake News.  Fake News has been around for a long time, though it wouldn’t always have been called this.  Propaganda and satire could be classified as fake news.  What makes it different in today’s world is that on social media, liking and sharing means that news travels very fast and virtually anyone can start a news story.  Why do it?  It is believed that stories can affect emotions which can change the way people vote (our first two examples are political).  Advertisers on social media pay for ‘reach’ and these stories often get shared widely, and therefore get more reach, without people checking.  Lastly, some people like to share ‘scare’ stories, especially if they involve crime (see the clown headline above).

Jesus suffered from fake news.  In John 16 he warns his followers,

 

They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God.

 

Later, though, he promises,

 

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

 

So if you think you are seeing something faulty, check out the sources of the story and offer it in prayer before you like or share it.

Prayer: Lord, we recognise that you are the way, the truth and the life.  We recognise we need you more than ever in this world.  Help us to be as ‘wise as serpents and as harmless as doves’ in both our day to day life and also in our online life as well.  Amen.

Here’s another version of ‘Oceans’.  The quiet certainty of the song really appeals to me.

 

 

Tags: Faith