Tuesday, 30 October 2007

What Does Hope Look Like?

Have a look at this website and tell me what you think.

What do you GET from this?
What do you understand about this?
What do you feel about this?
What can you see happening through this?
( think that's all the learning styles covered!)

If you have joined the Hope 08 Facebook Group, have you had a proper look at what you are aligning yourself to - no leaving the group now!

Romford Bloggers - anyone got a burning desire to turn what is essentially a vision into something more tangiable, doing more, doing it together with other churches and doing it in word and deed?

Other blogging friends and profile viewers - you know who you are- let me know what you think too PLEASE :)

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Why We Intentionally HAVE to minister to our Children

A while ago I wrote about how kids in our meetings are influenced by what they see going on around them, body language during sung worship, attitudes in prayer, attention paid to the preacher, listenening to a post mortem of the meeting in the car or around the dinner table. It all matters.

I admit to being fundamental about ministry to kids, I guess it's how I've ended up doing what I do, but the following is an exerpt from Nicky Cruz's book ON HOLY FIRE, which was a wake up call to me and, as I said in an email to someone earlier on this evening, 'it just means that the responsibility we have is even more awesome that we initially thought!'

I will recommend this book to anyone who might be looking for reassurance that they are not the only one who feels passionate about 'God's Holy Spirit unleashing his power in your life, your church, you neighbourhood', it's not just about ministry to kids, infact it hardly is at all.

Nicky had a vision and here it is:

God...has shown me a coming time when the Holy Spirit will move in the quietness of the night and stir up our children as never before, They'll be like the young boy Samuel in the bible who ran to Eli because he didn't know whose voice was speaking to him in the darkness....

....God is calling our children to make a difference. He knows that so many of their parents have not fully surrendered their lives, their time and their energy...to his control, so he's calling the children of our time to fill the gap. My message to the parents of ( and for me today, those who work with) these precious children is this:

Do not stop them. It is God himself calling them. It is his fire, his Holy Spirirt, prepareing the way for the greatest transformation ever to take place in the world.

If this vision is going to be fulfilled, we are going to have to invest more heavily and work more intentionally in discipling our kids. It's no good waiting until they are 'older' and can begin to reason it all out. I'm not talking about brainwashing, I'm talking about taking the discipleship to children seriously, listening to them, letting them teach us, giving them time to explore when it's good for them, base the programme around their needs rather than how well in fits into what we want to do.

If God is calling our children - raising up an army made of those who are still young - then who is going to teach them how to recognise his voice?

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Happy Birthday Keith.

Yep, the great man is another year older and he's kind of spreading out the celebrations.

Earlier this month he went, with Joe, to see Rush - a Canadian Rock Band of epic proportions. Well, actually there is three of them, but they are fairly legendary, if slightly cultish, in the world of Rock and special mention goes to their drummer Neil 'The Professor' Peart who's kit alone would stike terror into the heart many lesser drummers, of which there are, indeed, many -in our humble opinion.

They are pretty old now, but ...so is Keith (!) However the fact that Joe is now totally sold out on them says something about their communication skills...or maybe Joe has lousy taste in music. Nah!
Early in November he, Keith 'Grrr' Hall is off to the Motor Bike Show at the NEC, Birmingham with Heaven's Angels who are Dom ' Rookie' Willmore, Richard 'Motormouth' Borrett, Cedric 'Thunderbirds' Hills and Mike 'Speed Demon' Willmore, and so far has a whole £20 to spend - woohoo.

Today, we had a really great Brunch with Marks and Spencer food to begin the Birthday Day and it's at this point that I will welcome you to the world of mealtimes at the Hall House - Andy, if you're out there, you might need some protective clothing, it gets a bit random!

Whatever I cook and however lovingly I have prepared something, there is always someone who will, figuratively speaking, turn up their nose, and while I am proud to have bought up children who know their own mind and would say NO loudly to anyone who tried to get them into a car, a mealtime evaluation during the actual meal is sometimes hard to bear and I don't think it will be too long before I slide under the table never to return.

So this morning out table was groaning under the weight of Croissants made with real french butter, raspberries picked from the end of the rainbow,eggs especially manufactured to reduce colesterol, orange juice NOT from pulp, sausages subtely spiced with ...spice, bacon from a pig and mushrooms plus a variety of other accompaniments and specially lightly boiled egg for Thomas who is not keen on what is essentially a fry up, whatever fancy language you might choose to employ and so it started.

'Oh you should have done tomatoes'....'Where are the baked beans?'...'A jug of iced water would have been nice' and the piece the resistance, 'What about a chimpanzee on a unicycle?'

I have pinched myself repeately but I am awake.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Proper Second Blog of the Day

Ohh I am on a roll today.

I can see that there might be some confusion about my previous posting, in that it was essentially the first blog of the day today, but I began the posting prior to that in draft yesterday, posting it today, so TECHNICALLY it was posted today, even though it has Thursdays date on it!

Also, I have added a page element called Blogs I have Not Yet Written so that I don't forget to follow up some of these little seeds that have been sown over the last couple of postings.

And FINALLY, we did visit the babies today and I have to report that they are SO lazy, they even cry and drink their milk with their eyes closed.

Seriously though and what IS incredible is that if eveything had gone to plan, they still wouldn't actually be born yet!!


Second Blog of the Day

( Hah, the typo for this title made it read Second Blob of the Day, but that didn't make sence at all, so I've corrected it. However as I have just found out that A BLOB is a collection of binary data stored as a single entity in database management systems and they are used primarily to hold objects such as images, videos, sounds, documents, etc I guess it might have been relevant to somebody.....anybody?)

Here's a BLOB anyway.

Sex sells and selling sex has come to Romford. Just when you thought that the town centre really could stoop no lower,it seems we are going to be hosting a massive Sex Shop, descreetly named Night Thoughts ( nice, thanks for that) opposite WH Smith for goodness sake, in the shop that used to be ....shock horror....Littlewoods! (Mr Littlewood would be turning in his grave, if he was dead!)

Now I could rant and I guess people have, and I also guess that there are pros and cons to this that I haven't really had time to think through, but all I want to say today is that these guys really know how to sell the concept.

On the way into the Liberty Shopping Mall ( no longer just an arcade, because it now has LUSH) every column holding up the offices above the shops has a yellow and purple banner yelling out that Night Thoughts is coming. What has made me think though, is their tag line which is something like,

'Exclusively for the discerning man or woman of any persuasion'

So essentially ....for everyone (over 18 I guess)!

My relatively unimportant question, among the many questions that I assume have already been asked about this venture is how can it be exclusive if it's for everyone?

Ooooh another delicious seed for a new blog later on. Hold me accountable PLEASE!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

More OF Less.

Firstly, the title of this blog was meant to be More OR Less, but a typo has led to the title it now has and I think it's important, but I dont know why yet, so fasten your seatbelts and join me for a ride.
Here's a round up of stuff that's been happening in my world lately and hopefully it will give me some insight as to why I might be feeling like I do and what might be the next thing I need to think about/do/ react to/ instigate etc.

Firstly,I haven't been well and it's not really so as you'd notice, but I have found the effort of feeling less that 100% really irritating - or it could just be the onset of old age.I have been even less diligent around the house than normal because I've felt tired. I have been more snappy and less tolerant with the people I love. I have been wondering why people seem to make so much fuss about such daft things.

Those proof readers amongst you will notice that I have used firstly twice - which isn't a typo, it's to high light a thing that has quite literally driven me nuts lately, which came to a head only yesterday when we went on a family day out to Eagle Heights in Kent.

A really good afternoon out, even though it was very cold.

One of the many things that made it good was the number of shows programmed in during the day - falconry, reptiles, mammals etc, . The keepers were great and really knew their stuff, but we soon got to realise that there were a number of words they used INCESSANTLY, which were, 'Basically' , 'Before we start' and 'Firstly', even when we had quite obviously moved on to the second point.

For example, 'Welcome to the Reptile show and before we start ( BEFORE WE START ??) we are going to show you Billy the Boa'

Now this might have been a ploy to make us get excited about what was going to happen after we start, but in all honesty I felt sorry for Billy who was great entertainment, but was somehow in the overture rather than the main event.....not The Main Event, but hey, there's a thought for next time.

'Firstly, we are going to basically tell you about Billy and then we are going to bring him round for you to touch' Great - we love touching snakes...no really we DO!

'Ok so, firstly, before we start ( again) can I say that basically Billy....blah blah...' I lost the plot at that point.

So, after the Main Event, I had a day off which was really tough, as my brain was in complete overdrive so I didn't really benefit, which might be why I still feel odd. However the next day I visited a corps who were hosting an Ultimate Church Visit - open house at the Salvation Army for local schools. They had done a tremendous job in advertising and contacting schools and for three days the hall was packed with children learning about the Who,Where, What, Why and When of the Salvation Army.

I was involved with the History Zone and one group finished early, so I took them to look at the crest on the lecturn. There were all standing on the area in front of it which, for those not familiar with a Salvation Army Hall, is our formal place of prayer. I asked the children to step off and explained what it was and what we did there and they ( 12 of then) asked if they could pray.So I said yes, and it was amazing.They were reciting their school prayer, talking about pets and releatives who had died etc. The teacher came over to find out what was happening and she was really cool about it, which was a relief.

I loved that!

Our Corps are now out of our building and sharing the URC just round the corner and we have had a good old explore and it really is a sensational building - lots of places for the kids to run around and get lost prior to FOJ club!

Last Sunday was our first 'stand alone ' day, but as I had already driven 80 miles and run a Fun Morning at Colchester, I really couldn't settle to the new regime. There were also lots of people away on holiday, so it seemed really empty, but hey, the Holy Spirit doesn't head count and I felt really blessed towards the end of the service - it's going to be OK, it really is.

The other reason I may have been a bit edgy was that I felt quite tired after spending an amazing day with our friends Keith and Fiona. I think the last time we had quality time with them was when we went to America with them 18 months ago ( wow, time really does fly), so it was a well overdue event and we celebrated in style.

We went to watch the Mighty Arsenal play Bolton and it was my first trip to the Emirates Stadium. Initially I was underwhelmed to be honest, I mean it was exciting but I couldn't initally see how we would get in, which somehow seemed really important at the time. It was a bit like an ivory tower.
Anyway, once we were in, I have to say that for a place, it is cool, overwhelmingly huge and very RED! By the second half I had found my Football Voice - it's been longer than I can remember since I last went to a match, so I was initially a little shy (!) - and Arsenal won - yeay!
We then went back to their house, ate a massive Indian take away and watched the Rugby, which doesn't really come close to explaining why it was a good day - it just WAS!

UP to date, I am looking forward to spending another day with Joe, Elyse and Thomas today, probably shopping , but certainly visiting my sis on law and her baby twins who are still so tiny and I haven't yet seen both of them awake yet - maybe today??

We went to see Ratatouille yesterday - jury is out as far as I'm concerned, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

So - there you go.

Having re read blog this for posting I notice that I have begun to use the word INITIALLY fairly often, which goes to show that vocabulary can be catching and illustrates a point Billy Connelly used to make in his show, that the more you take the mickey out of somebody for doing a certain thing, the more likely you are to begin doing that very thing yourself - so be warned.

As far as the title goes, I'm no nearer to discovering why it's important, but it might be the seed for a new blog at some point - even if it's only to stop Kirsty going mad at me about not blogging.

Monday, 8 October 2007

It's GONE!

The Main Event is over, but as always, as with any event, it has kick started a whole bunch of other things and so I guess that the results, good and maybe, for some, not so good, will live on through challenged and changed people.

I have been rummaging through my 'people who blog' list and have caught a glimpse of their Main Event experiences, so thanks for that.

My Main Event was with the LNE children and the Kids Klub Team from Blackheath Corps together with some willing and relentless 'volunteers' from the division and a super Sound Tech called Andy.

I found myself in the role of resourcer, photographer and adminstrator for the Kids Venue, which, even though I had planned it that way - why invite a team of 12 and still expect to be doing it all - was difficult to start with, as I'm normally the up front person, but, as with Sarah, God is changing ME too.

My Closer Moments?

Seeing children on a journey over the three sessions.

Seeing kids respond.

Witnessing kids get saved - a real answer to prayer in one case!

Praying with my daughter and God giving me the words to say - it was intense.

Sharing a prayer with a member of the team and for the first time, hearing speaking in tongues - it was so beautiful.

Seeing God honour the plans that I really believe he had for the event, even though there have been times of real frustration and heartsearching during the months of planning.

Seeing Matt Leeder still alive at the end of the weekend - a star!

My Far Away Moments?

Joe not wanting to come on Sunday.

Seeing some kids falling through a gap.

Now this minute, feeling very under attack and focussing on my far away moments.

Tribute, thanks and biggest love to Keith and my kids for releasing me to do....what I do !

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

It's Getting Closer!

Well, it's nearly here - our divisional MAIN EVENT.

Beautiful venue at Cressing Temple Braintree, the promise of great weather, a programme full of variety for ALL the family.

Check out the website http://www.themainevent.me.uk/ for a final update on guests and programme.