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Jan 5

I Can Communicate 2

May I start by wishing you a Happy New Year and may you be as communicative and as individual as this Indian traffic police officer:

 

 

 

Econet

 

I recently came across the story of Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa from Zimbabwe.  They have made their fortune through communication, a telecommunication company.  Lots of their business decisions have been made after communicating with and hearing from God.  How ready are we to hear from God in 2018?

The couple are using their wealth to help others, particularly the disadvantaged, in Zimbabwe and across Africa.  How ready are we to use our talents to help others in 2018?

Above all, though, their work raises hope: the beneficiaries of their scholarships are not mere students, but “History makers.” And there is a spiritual dimension to it. Tsitsi says,

 

Once an orphan comes on the program, he or she ceases to be an orphan because s/he now has a Father in heaven who empowers him/her to make history.


St. Paul writes,

 

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 

How hope-full are you at the start of 2018?  How can you tell others about the hope that faith brings (the answer may be in Hope 2018)?

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the hope you bring to us. 

Help us to live hope-fully and to inspire hope in others. 

Amen.

Song: Lecrae Tell The World:

 

 

Jan 2

I Can Communicate 1

 

mobile phone 1875813 640

 

'Happy New Year!' 

 

I do hope you have one in every sense of the word.


What would a happy New Year look like for you? For Bristol? For the wider world?

I’m someone who likes setting goals each New Year. As well as the usual self-improvement goals, (healthier eating, getting fitter etc), it is often a time for me to reconsider how I can better communicate with other people.


Ultimately I want my life to speak louder than my words, inspired by the writer of 1 John 3:18 who says:

 

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

 

I’m also someone who appreciates fresh starts, and in some ways 2018 gives us this chance to reflect and begin again. I believe in a God of countless restarts, who encourages us that each day is full of potential.


Take 4 minutes to watch the following music video. What do you get from it? What messages does it give?

 



A prayer for the New Year:

Loving God, thank you for a New Year.
For the potential, and the promise of new opportunities.
For fresh starts, for goal setting and for reflecting.
We pray that you would comfort all who mourn, and who feel unsteady.
We ask that you would fill us with hope, with vision, and with love so we may boldly step into 2018.
Amen

 

Dec 7

Advent and Christmas 2

Start by watching and listening to this Christmas carol from Russia.  The images are icons, religious paintings.

 

 

There are lots of ways to tell the good news of Christmas but carols are popular.  Which is your favourite carol?

 

Have a go at this short quiz. Which carols do these lines come from? (I’m not sure if suggesting this is a good idea but you may find trying to sing the lines helps)


 

 

So, who is the ‘good news’ of Christmas aimed at? Firstly, at everybody.  The angel announced,

 

Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2

 

Although Jesus was born a Jew in Israel, his way of love, peace and joy is for everyone and anyone wherever they are.  Secondly, it’s good news for those who are suffering.  Jesus is ‘Emmanuel’ (God with us) and so even if Christmas is a lonely, unhappy or violent one, then the God of comfort is alongside humans in each and every situation.

Most of us can spread the good news of Christmas, of the generosity of God by being generous ourselves.  This may involve money, thanks to all who have supported our and other Christmas charities, but for most of us it will involve loving our neighbour.  Try to include not exclude people during the next fortnight, try to keep up the thankfulness and look out for situations which you can improve by simply lending a hand or an ear.

I also like to have little reminders.  How about this as a tip? Use Christmas Cards as Prayer Reminders As Christmas cards arrive during December, place them in a basket in a noticeable area. Once a day, pull out one card and pray for that person or family either on your own or with your family.  If you receive greetings on social media rather than on cards, pray for that person before you delete/move on.

Here’s a gospel song that tells of the good news that should be shared:

 



Optional extra: Here’s Send A Cow’s Christmas video.  Which moo-vies are they spoofing?

 

 

 

Nov 30

Advent and Christmas 1

We are officially in the season of Advent, the preparation time before Christmas. Some of you will have started on your calendars, thought about presents, and perhaps even brought and decorated a tree. One of the latest fashions this year is to hang your Christmas tree upside down. A whole host of people and have been posting their efforts on social media, but why?

 



For some, this is just a new way to take an ancient tradition and flip it on its head, but the Early Christians were doing it centuries ago. The fir tree’s triangular shape appeared to represent the Trinity, and believers were said to have hung their trees upside down to serve as a reminder of Jesus on the cross.

This year, how could you flip Christmas on its head? What could you do differently?

Catch me around school, this Wednesday lunch to discover how I’m approaching Christmas this year.

An advent prayer (author unknown):

The Advent story of hope and mystery, anticipation, preparation,

a kingdom of this world and the next, and a king appearing when we least expect.

Heaven touching earth, the footsteps of the divine walking dusty roads as once they did in Eden,

and a people, searching for a Savior, and walking past the stable.

Open eyes and hearts, that this might be an Advent of hope to the world.

Amen.

For further listening, enjoy my favourite; Sufjan Stevens sing about Christ coming as Israel’s saviour:

 

 

 

Nov 23

I Can Revise 2

Advent begins at the end of this week.  The links between I can revise and Advent are …………

How about Advent being a time of preparation and that we mark Advent with a calendar and good revision needs organisation to be effective?

Here’s a 2 minute guide to Advent as a reminder: (you might want to turn the music down or off!)


So, how are you going to make Advent special this year?

* How about using a thoughtful (not just a chocolate-full) Advent calendar, either a bought one or an online one?

* How about using some special Bible readings or prayers during Advent?  I’ve signed up for AdventWord, http://aco.org/adventword but there are many good sites.

* If you would like to take a slightly different path, then try https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/get-involved/adventchallenge/

Back to the link with revision, if you don’t do anything then Advent and/or learning will pass you by.

You may have used this collect (special prayer) in church:


Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people;

that they, richly bearing the fruit of good works,

may by you be richly rewarded; through Jesus Christ, who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God now and for ever.

Amen.

We are singing this Taize song at the Christmas services.  Here’s an instrumental version but with the English words displayed. It’s good to give us some moments to plan our Advent.

 



Here’s another take on a spiritual Advent.

 

 

Tags: Faith