Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Shall we cancel Christmas this year??

Chick Yuill shared this on Good Morning Sunday on BBC Radio 2 - I wanted to share it with you
"When I got to the ripe old age of 40 I seriously thought about cancelling my birthdays for the rest of my life. You know the feeling – you just don’t want to be reminded that you’re getting older – but I soon changed my mind on that one – it wasn’t just the presents – it was the fact that I realised that that’s what birthdays are all about – getting older I mean

It’s a chance to look back, to remember the good times and the not so good and to take a deep breath and head into the next year. So I’m not cancelling my birthdays.

I feel the same about Christmas. Sometimes you think you should just ignore it – cancel the festive season, money’s tight, it’s become too commercialised, things are hard, a friendship has broken up, we’ve lost someone very close to us, we’re uncertain about the future, we feel guilty about celebrating when there’s so much to be concerned about.

But that’s exactly why we shouldn’t cancel the yuletide festivities. Christmas is not an attempt to escape from the problems for a couple of days. Christmas is all about the fact that love breaks through all those things, transforms them, makes sense of them.

We celebrate the season because a young peasant girl, whose fiancĂ©e almost broke off their engagement, gave birth to a baby, without the help of a midwife, in an outhouse, in the busyness of a Roman census, in an out of the way town, in the back of beyond – and in all that confusion the Christ-child was born – Love came down at Christmas as the carol reminds us.

So let’s not cancel Christmas, let’s make it a time to pause, to give thanks and to believe again in the Love that is greater than all the problems of life."

With every blessing for a Happy and Holy Christmas

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

Today 163 shoeboxes will start their journey to transform a child's Christmas - THANK YOU!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Which bus to catch?

You might have heard about this bus...

Or would you like this bus instead...

You Choose!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Just watch it!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Do you like stories?

I do. I love stories - I love the fact that Jesus did a lot of his teaching using stories - I love the fact that so much of my role as a vicar is telling stories - stories about what Jesus did, as recorded in the bible, but also the stories of what Jesus is doing - here and now in Woodlands and Highfields. It is great fun to be talking to someone who has pretty much dismissed God as a relevant part of modern life and then to tell them the stories of what He is doing here and now - broken shoulders, withered hands, people being set free from things that have held them for years - even down to the story of our stolen sat nav (ask me if you haven't heard!!).

Someone asked me a very challenging question recently - "How old is your most recent story of what God has done?"

The question stopped me dead! How old is my most recent story - a week, a month, a year - Am I still telling a story from 10 years ago because it shows how amazing God is or because I haven't paid much attention to what he is doing today. Do I bring out the same testimony each time because I've let myself drift away from what God is doing.

How old is your most recent story? I was challenged. Should it be within the last month, the last week, the last few days - or should I be expecting God to do or say something for me or for others each and every day that I can then share to show how much God loves each and every person who lives in these villages.

Quite a challenge! I'll keep working on my response - what about yours!??

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Giant of Faith

This song raised the roof at New Wine North and East at the Newark Showground

Monday, August 04, 2008

Six Weeks!!!!!

Every year parents all over the country get to a point where they need a rest - the terms have been long and hard - the struggle to balance childcare and home time takes its toll - the pressures of work in all it's forms demand a time to recharge, re-energise and relax. So what happens..?

The schools close and the kids spend 6 weeks at home - 6 WEEKS!!!! - As a child I looked forward to the holidays but as an adult - 6 WEEKS!!! - it's CRIMINAL.

Joking aside - rest is an important part of our lives. Our bodies are designed to need rest every day - if we are doing it right nearly a third of our lives are spent in bed asleep. We need a daily pattern of rest. God ordained a weekly pattern of rest - "for 6 days you shall labour but the seventh day is to be a day of rest" - He knew that we needed times to rest, to have fun, to enjoy. Sadly in our modern lifestyles that idea of rest has gone - I'm not talking about the "Keep Sunday Special" campaign or the Scottish Presbyterian stereotype "You shall sit still on a Sunday unless you are in Church and you shall not do anything fun at all" - I'm talking about the fact that many lives are so pressured that we don't have time in families simply to enjoy time together, playing, talking, walking, whatever.

There is a balance between Work and Rest and our society is losing it. Sometimes the Church can lose it too. We see fun and enjoyment and relaxation as being "Unspiritual" - either in worship or in family life. I long for us all to rediscover the gently swinging pendulum between work and rest - this summer to find times simply to rest and to enjoy spending time together as families and as the church family.

So this summer I want to give you freedom from guilt about taking time out to rest - that's why our evening and midweek services won't happen again until September - try and find the God who created laughter, who put beautiful views at the tops of mountains, who made the sea to play on the beach and the sand to be perfect for sandcastles and who said "Come unto me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest"

Ignorance is Bliss

"Ignorance is Bliss" goes the old phrase - my response is "If that is true, why aren't there more happy people around!".

A curious way to start I know, but I've been struck over the last few weeks by the way some people behave. On four separate occasions when out with our two sons in town we've stood to one side to let someone come past us - usually when we could have kept going but I decided to teach our children the manners I was taught at their age. On these four occasions the people we let through said absolutely nothing - they saw us and what we did and chose to ignore us completely. One of the stall holders in the market even commented to us on the rudeness of the person in question - they had seen what we had done - and they went on to say they saw it all the time.

I hear a lot said these days about the way that young people have no respect at all - yet each of the four people we encountered were over 50. I know that there are problems, many of them in this village - the new play area has already sprouted the usual "Kaz luvs Kev" graffiti, much to my sorrow - but can we expect respect from a generation who are shown none? If those of us who are adults chose not to acknowledge the times that children and young people show us respect, how can we expect them to continue so to do?

Recently a team of seven young men and women from the Adwick Detachment of the Army Cadet Force were our waiters and waitresses at a meal for Bishop Jack and his wife Judith - many commented at their attitude and politeness - it stands in marked contrast to the attitude of many adults in our community.

Our children look to us to set an example - the book of Proverbs says "Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it." Perhaps before we criticise the children and young people of this generation we should take a long hard look at the example we, and our society, have set them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Knowing God as Lover

Latest Sermon from All Saints - Part of our Knowing God series

For more sermons see the link on the right ->

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Something amazing...

A little while ago I went to a Church Leader's conference in Harrogate organised by New Wine - which is a family of Churches from many different denominations. At one of the sessions we were talking about praying for people to be healed - the leader offered to pray with someone and he asked if anyone had one leg shorter than the other - such that they needed inserts.

A young lady responded and someone took a video of what we saw - I stood and watched this happen in front of my eyes.

The following day we spoke to Fran - who told us she was a presenter for the BBC - her story is also on the BBC Website.

Many people dismiss Christian healing with talk about the "power of the mind" or "a positive mental attitude". I don't really think that a positive attitude can make someone's leg grow 1.5" - for me that is a miracle and miracles speak of God!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eat a peck of dirt....

"Don't pick that up!" I hear myself saying, "It's not clean!"

With two boys dirt sort of comes as part of the package in our family! I shouldn't really complain (even though I do)as I remember coming home one day late for lunch, covered in mud, having been playing on "the banking" - the old disused railway cutting at the end of our road.

Dirt gets everywhere, along with melted chocolate, honey shreddies and the feathers that came off the latest offering from the cats to their beloved owners! It seems a never ending task to get rid of it.

Our world can feel a bit like that: no matter what we do, no matter how good we try to be, how faithful to God's word we seek to be, we end up getting soiled by the world. It would be better just to leave well alone - only to spend time with people who want to "stay clean" - wouldn't it? It is so easy to pull up the drawbridge, or circle the wagons, or set the security cameras and avoid the rest of humanity at all costs.

Under the covenant God made through Moses, if a leper (someone with an incurable skin disease) touched you, you were declared "unclean" - you couldn't join the rest of society until you had been purified - which took some time!

Yet under God's New Covenant, shown through Jesus, when a leper is touched they become clean - grace and righteousness are infectious, not sin and disease.

Too often, I think, we keep ourselves away from the world - afraid of being "contaminated". Yet I strongly believe that it is those who have put their trust in Jesus who are the "infectious" ones. It is those people who are prepared to go out and spend time amongst the "tax collectors and sinners" - as the Bible describes those in Jesus' day rejected by the "religious people" - who are the infectious people whom God can use to change the world.
Which do we believe? That we can be infected by sin, or that we are called to infect the world with righteousness. Which covenant do you believe? It's time to choose!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

You're having a laugh!

What makes you laugh?

Victoria Wood, Allo Allo, Carry On, League of Gentleman, Harry Hill or the Radio 4 Comedy Zone? But then again - why do we laugh? No evolutionary biologist has ever explained to me sufficiently the human ability to roll on the floor laughing at seemingly nothing - a play on words or a misquotation. Where is the advantage in using energy in this way? Then again what is the evolutionary advantage of stopping to admire a beautiful sunset - surely the only advantage of Early Man (or Woman) stopping to stare at the colours of evening would be to any passing predator who would take advantage of the distraction to help themselves to a juicy meal!! Being lost in wonder or joy is certainly not a survival trait - is it?

One of the things whcih convinces me of the existence of a loving creator is the existence of Joy and Wonder - without Joy our lives would be dull, without wonder a stunningly boring monotone of harsh reality. I am delighted that our children know how to use the word "Wow!" and know how to giggle!

This month of April starts with a festival of Joy - Easter - the joy of the resurrection promising us resurrection, the wonder of the empty tomb showing us the depths of God's love. Also that great festival of Joy marked by April 1st (By the way - don't believe EVERYTHING that you read on the internet!) and then the joy of April Lambs and fluffy chicks.

This April give thanks to God that he created us as creatures of joy and wonder - He shared that part of his nature with us for sure - what else would God have been doing on the very first April 1st than creating the Duck Billed Platypus - was there a glint in His eye when He wondered what the evolutionary biologists would make of that one!

Have a Joy filled April

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Some ideas

For some time we have been exploring ways for the Church roof to generate money for the church rather than the other way round. To this end we are examining the following proposal.

If you have any comments please do pass them on.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

He did it for you too...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What a month!

March has happened at an odd time this year - I know that sounds strange but for me it's true. As we begin March we have the earliest Mothering Sunday I can ever remember - what will the local lads do when there are no Daffodils in the village gardens or verges to take home for Mum! Then before the month is out Easter is upon us - the schools staying open until Maundy Thursday to eke out the last few possible days of the spring term.

The whole of the Christian year is compacted to a month - on Mothering Sunday we reflect on the life of Mary and on her acceptance of her part in God's plan - to bear the infant Jesus into the world. We then walk the darker road that leads to Jerusalem and to Gethsemane where Jesus himself struggles with his doubts and fears as he contemplates the full implications of God's plan, of His plan to save the world. In our minds we will walk with Him on the final road to Golgotha - the place of the skull - and together "survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died".

Then in the silence and stillness of Saturday we wait as the disciples waited, but we wait not in fear but in hope and in joy to celebrate the truth that the tomb was empty on that first Easter morning, to quote the words of a modern hymn "Death is dead, Love has Won, Christ has conquered!".

In one month we follow again the story of God's love for us, from birth to death to a life that will never end. I want to encourage us to walk together this March - to remember the truth of God's loving purposes for us.

What a month lies ahead!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Who cares?

The end of January is said to be the worst time of the year - days are dark and gloomy - the reality of the Christmas excesses has hit the bank statment and the bathroom scales - broken toys and new years resolutions litter the house. It's not a good time of year. Even the snowdrops and daffodils are a few weeks away. Yet I am full of excitement and hope as I look into February and the weeks ahead.

Over the last few months amazing things have happened in our church family, shoulders and withered hands being healed, the start of The 3:15 Community in Highfields, the amazing answers to prayer which have completely surrounded Jacquie's operation in mid-January - I am writing this article from the desk of the vicar of All Saints Church... in Islington, a friend whom I had never met until Joshua. Joel and I descended on their home to take up an amazing offer of hospitality just 15 minutes journey from the hospital.

If as you stand and look at 2008 with "end-of-January" eyes and heart just remember that we put our trust in a God who cares - who cares about shoulders and hands, who cares about hearts and lives, who cares about tube times and parking spaces, who cares about each and every one of us - deeply, passionately, truly - who cares even when we don't - who cared enough to become one of us.

Lent is not far away - let's take this time in the Church's year to remember a God who cares... and who acts. And let us do the same!