Stories Categories

Stories - Tags

Nov 9

I Value Faith 2


Faith stamp


What command appears most in the Bible?  Love your neighbour, don’t sin, don’t worship money or something else?

That’s right, it’s something else: “do not fear”/“do not be afraid” appears in the Bible over 300 times. 

There are several interesting things about this. First of all, the Bible isn’t saying, “There is nothing scary so you don’t need to be scared.” Let’s be real… life is often scary. That, however, does NOT mean we need to be scared of it.  Secondly, the command “do not be afraid” more often than not, is followed by an action that God is or will be taking. Here are a few such examples:



Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.

Deuteronomy 3:22



Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

Luke 12:32


Another interesting thing is that 10 times “do not be afraid” is followed by “do not be discouraged.”  Have you stopped to consider that being afraid and being discouraged are related? After all, the opposite of “discouraged” is “encouraged.” And encouraged means to be filled with courage!

So, how might you and I be more courageous this week, at school, at home, in your community? Not everyone is to be courageous in the same way but God gives everyone who asks strength, wisdom and reassurance.

Have you heard of Yusra Mardini, a Syrian Christian refugee?  She’s had and continues to have great courage.  Here’s a video about her:




A prayer that all faiths can pray:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

Optional: A song written about when we feel we don’t have enough courage:



Here’s Yusra speaking about her role with the United Nations:


And here’s a link to more details about her:


Tags: Faith
Nov 2

I Value Faith 1 and Remembrance 2017


Faith graffiti flickr photo by duncan shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license


How would you describe faith?  Sometimes we lack the words to describe how or what we are thinking.

Which one of these three songs best sums up how you feel about faith at the moment?






Jesus, in Matthew 17:20:


Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.


It can be so hard to have faith, but if what Jesus said is true, what ‘mountains’ would you like to move in your life? In the city of Bristol? In the world? Take some time to think and to pray about these things.

For this fortnight of faith, I have taken the words of Psalm 31 and edited and rewrote them to make this shorter prayer of faith for troubled times.



LORD, I come to you for protection. I put my trust in you;

Do as you have promised and rescue me.

Be my armoured car, my walled city, my safe house.

Lead me and guide me. Protect me from tripwires and traps.

You are faithful, and I trust you because you rescued me in times gone by.

You saw all my suffering and you cared about it!


Help me now, as my mind and body feel hurt and confused. Like a fearful failure, I’m full up on sorrow.


Friends and family appear like enemies. People I know ignore me on the street.

I am completely forgotten like someone dead. I’m afraid, and I’m alone.


But I trust you, and I claim you as my God. My life is in your hands.

Save me from my nightmares. Smile on me, and shine down sun on me.

I pray you don’t disappoint me. I know you store up blessings for all who honour and trust you.

You are their shelter from storms, a protection from vicious gossip, and a bed to lie down on.

The LORD looks out for the faithful.

So all who trust the LORD be cheerful and brave.




Remembrance 2017


Poppies image


We are asked to remember at this time of the year.  I’m not remembering nations or political parties or even issues of right and wrong.  I’m remembering how many individuals are affected by war and terrorism, of course, not just individuals but their families, communities and precious resources. 

Please keep a minute’s silence as we remember those on our minds and hearts this Remembrance-tide.

Here’s a prayer to finish:

O God of truth and justice,

we hold before you those whose memory we cherish,

and those whose names we will never know.

Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world,

and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.

As we honour the past, may we put our faith in your future;

for you are the source of life and hope,

now and for ever.




Oct 19

Gratitude and Thankfulness 2


Thank you heart image


Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.

A.A. Milne


Thank you if you took part in any of the Harvest activities last week.  There were some very heartfelt thank-yous.  Hopefully, gratitude will play a larger part in all our lives.

Here’s a poem to help us think more:

Be grateful that you don’t already have everything you desire,

If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be grateful when you don’t know something

For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be grateful for the difficult times.

During those times you grow.

Be grateful for your limitations

Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be grateful for each new challenge

Because it will build your strength and character.

Be grateful for your mistakes

They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be grateful when you’re tired and weary

Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be grateful for the good things.

A life of rich fulfilment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Author Unknown


St Paul lived a thankful life as he recognised what God’s love had done to and for him.  Here’s part of one of his letters:



I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.


The grace that Paul recognises prompts us all to be grateful to God.  How could you show that gratitude more in your life at school and in your community?



Dear heavenly Father: We thank you for food and remember the hungry.

We thank you for health and remember the sick.

We thank you for friends and remember the friendless.

We thank you for freedom and remember the enslaved.

May these remembrances stir us to service, that your gifts to us may be used for others.


Our ‘hymn of the year’ is a gratitude one.  Here’s a very different version to the one a couple of weeks ago.  Do you like this?


Great Is Thy Faithfulness



Tags: Faith
Oct 13

Harvest (Gratitude, Thankfulness, Appreciation) 1


Harvest image (c)

Image from


Watch this video and see how you react to it.



What would we be left with, if we only had what we said thank you for?  


I have often found this to be one of the most challenging verses in the Bible:  


From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.  

Luke 12:48


What will you do with what you have?  


This harvest, we have developed some opportunities to show generosity and gratitude throughout the week. You could be a harvest angel in your tutor group, doing little acts with great love. You could show some appreciation to an unsung hero – thank someone you don’t often thank. You could demonstrate your care for the world by pausing to read some news stories, praying and considering action.

It's also 'Thank Your Vicar Week'. So, if you know a vicar, pastor, youth-worker, (or chaplain) why not thank them! I'm sure it would make their day.  


See the Pulse (in Moodle) or ask your tutor for more details on how you can get involved in Harvest attitude of gratitude and generosity!  


Here’s a harvest prayer *:  

Happy are those who have bread to eat!

As grain grows in the fields and

Rains bring the water of life we share

Visions of all your people united in

Eternal praise and kneaded together to

Share good news of justice and peace:

Taste and see that the Lord is good!


* From 



Tags: Faith
Oct 4

I Value Myself 2

Have a go at this litttle teaser.



Our Alive description for I Value Myself talks a lot about fulfilling potential and certainly all the above fulfilled their potential in at least one area of their life.  Equally important though are youngsters like many of you who fulfil their potential through their everyday acts. When you notice someone who needs cheering-up, when you go out of your way to help someone else, when you take time to understand a person different from you or a situation you’re not directly involved in, then you are fulfilling your calling as a human being.  Jesus summarised the commandments as ‘Love God and love your neighbour as yourself.’  If you value the love you have received, then you will find it quite possible to express love towards others.  Don’t give up on developing your other skills though.  Who knows, you might be talked about as you leave school just like we have been celebrating Beranger, Edie and many others.

Lord, thank you for making humans in your image. 

Help us to worship you through our minds, skills and actions every day. 


Do watch some or all of Stef Reid telling her story:


Our hymn of the year is Great Is Thy Faithfulness which is sung in a number of church traditions.  Here’s a standard version:



Tags: Faith