Friday, October 31, 2008

Humour, Seminars and All Age Services

I'm off to our annual denominational conference tomorrow. I would be relaxed about it as I will get to catch up with lots of friends who will be there but I will be slightly nervous on Day one as I am leading a seminar on discipling children and families new to faith.


I've been trying to guess - how many people will be there? - do I have enough packs of information made up? - will I hit the mark in terms of what information people are looking for? - am I going to be explaining something that makes me look like I'm wired to the moon ("space cadet")? or will I be teaching something that is far too basic? Dear reader, I just don't know. I'll update you.

I've got a big day on Sunday as well. I've organised an all age service in my new place and I am teaching on the parable of the wedding feast as well. Ah. Senior Pastor is away somewhere. So if I make a horrible mistake with something.....?? (I might get away with it? 'cept its recorded)

I'm tempted to play the Hidden Word game sometime. If you don't know what that is then I can't tell you - watch the film Leap of Faith and listen out for "aluminum sidings". But I had the utmost respect for a friend who responded to this challenge almost exactly one year ago and totally pulled it off.

Does God have a sense of humour? This was the subject of devotions at college this week. Watch this and see what you think.........but laughter is infectious - and made by God to be so!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mid term break

We returned on Friday from 5 days in rural Perthshire. It was beautiful.

- the wee boy learned to ride his bike and managed a fair distance to the village (as he can't do the brakes yet this included squealing at high volumes when minor hills were traversed)
- laughing, chatting and sharing food with our good friends D and M, who now pastor a Baptist Church near where we were staying
- spending lots of time with a lovely family from our new church who were staying next door to us
- swimming every day
- not getting up before 9am every day
- plenty of time to think, pray, talk and reflect - particularly about our future with regard to housing

Thanks Father for holidays and friends.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Great evening

Tonight has been one of the best nights out since I arrived in this new city.

Started off at a Worship Central event and ended up in my favourite pub (so far in my 8 week adventure in this new place) with mountains of friends all around, in the kind of wee booths where you could chat to people (a sure sign I am getting old)

The event itself was great. Tim Hughes and Al Gordon are not only sensitive and skilled musicians and worship leaders, but they also have an ability to teach right into the heart of issues that affect worship leaders and worshippers. They teach into a specialised area as guys who are living it.

Lots of my friends from my last church came for drinks with quite a few from my new church and it was great for me to see people chatting. It felt quite emotional for me; knowing that two teams of people were there; one with whom I had shared life for years and years; who knew me; who know my heart; who would do anything to help me; who I love so, so dearly and still acutely miss .....

......and also the new friends; with whom I am shyly falling in love with; into community with; where as each day passes the insecurity of "how do I fit?" "am I supposed to be here, really?", "what can I bring?"; "why on earth did they want me to come here?" is lessening each day as I am loved into life here for who I am. They've seen me in tears; they've seen me frustrated to the eyeballs (16 rotas!?!?!?!?); they've seen me miserably homesick and incredibly alone in the midst of a busy church; they have seen me as a moany cow too.

Where do I belong? Here.
Should I go back to my old church? No. Door's closed, shop's shut.
Will I ever forget the children, teams, families, clubs in my old church? Never.
I learned so much, grew so much, received SO MUCH and now it's time to sow it elsewhere.

Lord Jesus, I commit myself afresh to this task to serve my new family.
Thanks for what I saw tonight.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stuff coming up

Trying to set a record for my shortest ever blog postings. That was two in a row down there \/

Got a lot coming up but thankfully I have a few days off next week to head to That Hideous Man Country. I can see this is going to be one of the fastest passing (school)terms, like last January to June was (work, exams, research papers, Major Life Decisions)

Studying third year level belief and thought, Christology, on a Wednesday which involves me setting off v early in the morning once a week to travel to college, having dropped my kids off with one of my new friends here (don't know what I would do without her as I would not be able to finish this degree). The institution has moved to two semesters therefore the courses are now 15 credits long instead of 10 .....I will find this hard. Foolishly perhaps I am undertaking a 15 credit research paper on children and the Holy Spirit; far too wide a title I know but I will hone it down once I have constructed an indicative bibliography. Hah!

I am holding a repeat of the September Envisioning Day and this time I have a couple of folks from other churches coming, along with what may be a goodly number from my new place. I did enjoy presenting the last day; it really is a great privilege to talk about something I am passionate about and I like to build in time to worship and pray on these kind of days, and vary the presentation style to take account of learning styles, so there was probably something for everyone there. I think we ended that last day with a very powerful sense of God's presence; his committment to us as we committed to love kids and see them the way he does. He was so ready to take our way our guilt for the times we are awful parents or impatient carers and no-one was to go home feeling bad about themselves. I love it when that sense of "Father" being very present takes away all sense of having to perform and "do better".

Tomorrow I really have to organise the material for a seminar I am presenting at my denomination's annual conference. Was kind of hoping to use a Tubesucked clip but I've been asked to make sure I have copyright - does anyone know if its OK to show something that was on free-to-air terrestrial TV? I'm sure the answer is probably no as we have become so litigious. I'm tempted to work on the principle that it's better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.

I am glad to say that this week has been much better. Communication has been great as we are all learning what it is to stretch and fit into becoming a new team. I've not felt as unsettled as I did last week as I feel this unmistakeable sense of God saying "it's going to be OK at work". Does that sound too simplistic? Perhaps. But I managed to get a bit of time on Saturday night and Sunday night to really talk to him about it and just wait on him in the quiet and as a result I felt something "shifted". But I'm not perfect. There are stresses around our personal circumstances in being here. I have been worrying about money a bit and this affected me one evening.

The men around me (work and home) seem to be sniffing and croaking for Britain with the dreaded man flu so we have had a good laugh in the office with this clip:-


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vaccination for HPV virus and pre-teen/teenage girls

This vaccination is being rolled out in Scotland before the rest of the UK (reminds me of the Poll Tax in 1986) - if you have daughters, read this blogger's account of an incredible violation of their and their daughter's rights (scroll down the page a little)

Friday, October 10, 2008

the week that was

It's not been a great week.
Every meeting bar one (fun ones, helpful ones) that I thought I would be having has not happened - for a whole variety of reasons (not all negative ones). I've felt frustrated and unsure of how I proceed with some stuff this week.

Praying that next week will be better.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Another week begins....

I can't believe its October already. We've got a house we need to sell this autumn! Prayers VERY much appreciated in this regard.

I'm continuing to adjust and I think this blog is going to become a little inward-lookng and narcissitic (? is that a word?) if I say much more about life in a new city. I'm constantly right on the edge of not feeling like I belong, missing friends so painfully, but at the same time burning with excitement about the new things beginning here.

I was at the Global Leadership Summit on Friday and Saturday and got a lot from it once again this year. The two talks I found most stirring (and that I can't get out of my head) were by Gary Haugen on Courageous Leadership and Craig Groeschel of, on Finding IT

Gary Haugen heads up the International Justice Mission. Absolutely breath-taking stuff - investigating injustices (wrongful imprisonment, for example); swooping in to literally free slaves from backbreaking employment, and release children from prostitution and trafficking rings. But they sort out aftercare and long term placements as well. Do check out the website here and consider supporting it prayerfully or financially.

Craig Groeschel (aka Tom Cruise look-a-likey) is the Senior Pastor of, a multicampus church of 25 000 people. I was overawed by the way these guys do church; it's just culturally way outside my little experience, (satellite link up! worship set of exactly 18 minutes! DVD recording of senior pastor preaching shown simultaneously at each site! Staff team of hundreds!) Craig Groeschel's life script was truly inspiring and his honesty and hunger for God infectious. And the fact remains that 14 years ago the church had 30 members.

In this session, Craig Groeschel described "it"-the intangible something that some churches have and some don`t. When "it" is present, lives are transformed. When "it" is absent, ministries feel dead. Although "it" cannot be manufactured, Craig outlined four qualities that tend to be present in churches that have "it." He explained that many churches do great things but are lacking something, which he defined as "it".

My take on this session was that Craig's talk was encouraging the listener to engage in a radical persuit of God; in the words of Tommy Tenney: be a "God chaser"; that we would never be satisfied with the middle road, the easy life, the "just enough".

In fact, I want to post here Craig's Franciscan Prayer with which he ended the session:

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.