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Jan 25

I Am Resilient 1

 

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This week is National Storytelling Week.

Check out these two stories. Which one inspires you more and why? How are they similar?





I chose these videos because they are contrasting but powerful stories of resilience. The world is full of beauty and brutality, and as well as being aware of the ‘bad news’, we need to make sure we hear stories of hope and resilience.  In the words of the writer of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 we need to:

 

...encourage one another and build one another up.

 

So why not share a story of resilience this week. Something you’ve experienced or something you’ve heard about. Sharing your story will help shape someone else’s!

A prayer for resilience and story telling:

God of strength, grit and hope.

You never give up.

You are my backbone and my bravery.

Make me resilient.

Help me carry what I feel I cannot carry.

Help me go where I feel I cannot go.

Say what I feel cannot say.

Do what I feel I cannot do.

Help me share my resilience with the world around,

To inspire, to encourage, to spread hope like wildfire.

Make me resilient.

Amen

Here’s a little story I wrote about our city, in preparation for Hope 2018. Today is your last chance to sign up!

 

 

Jan 17

I Value Trust and Truth 2

Did you see the story of a ‘Minister for Loneliness’ being appointed recently?


Loneliness has been an issue for many years. One of the Beatles’ greatest songs picked up on this theme. Here’s a version with some strong images of loneliness in a range of situations:

 

 

Discuss with each other whether you ever feel lonely and the effect that has on you.

Here’s some more details about the minister: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42708507

 

It’s clear that Jo Cox spoke truth and encouraged truth which is why her story resonates with so many.

So what can we do? It’s simple. We need to be present and aware. Present when there are others around and not distracted by phones and so on. Aware means keep an eye open for those who particularly need a smile, a kind word or to be involved.

The Message’s direct version of Jesus’ Golden Rule is, ‘Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.’  I guess that our answer to the earlier question about feeling lonely was that most of us do, so let’s all try to follow the Golden Rule a bit more closely and see what a difference it makes.

Prayer:  

Heavenly Father,

I know that I don’t always display Your patience and mercy and love. 

Please show Your perfect love through me in some small way today.

In Your Son Jesus’ name I pray. 

Amen.


Here’s an interesting way of recognising that all religions have a similar positive message:

 

 

Jan 12

I Value Trust and Truth 1

It’s important to remember where we see have seen progress in the fight for justice and peace. Take a moment to watch this video from Greenpeace, and remember we are not alone in this fight.

 

However, there is still much we need to do. But how do we decide where to prioritise our time and money?

 

Which of these would you rank as the most important for communities and governments to work on?

- Access to clean water and food?

- Access to quality education?

- Climate Action?

- Equality for all?

- Peaceful leadership?

- Others?

Keep your eye on the street this week, as I will be running some activities to gauge what the school thinks is most important. I hope that by asking these questions, we will be encouraged to commit to care and action.

 

Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.

Cornel West

 

It’s important not to bury our heads in the sand, and prayer can help us stay awake to the injustice.

 

So let us pray justice for the falsely accused,

freedom for the wrongly imprisoned,

healing for the tortured or abused,

care for the orphan and widow,

concern for the refugee and dispossessed,

and above all  forgiveness, for our emotional detachment.

May we weep as you weep, love as you love, and not be afraid to be angry for the sake of your children,

wherever they might be.  

©John Birch Sam Cook wrote

 

‘A change is Gonna come’ was recorded in the 60’s but it like an anthem we need today.

 

 

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:

 

 

 

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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

 

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'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