links to a narticle wot I roted

A while ago I was asked to write an article for the Baptist Union magazine Baptists Together. They were putting together an edition about children, young people and families and asked me to write something a little bit provocative. So I did.
That magazine has now been circulated around Baptist Churches and you can download a PDF version of the magazine here. There are lots of excellent articles in it on the wider subject of church for all… and there’s my article too! The article has also been published in a shortened form by ethicsdaily.com and you can see part one here if you are interested.

Be blessed, be a blessing

decluttering

Hopefully in the next couple of months we will be moving house. In anticipation of that we are starting the process of clearing out the clutter that we have accumulated in 7 years of living here (plus some that we have brought with us from previous houses!). It’s amazing how much stuff just gathers dust because, while you no longer have any use for it, you can’t be bothered / bear to get rid of it.

At the moment I am re-reading a number of books that I have had for ages. They are books I enjoyed reading when I bought them. When I had finished reading them I then put them on a bookshelf – presumably as evidence for other people that I can read, like hunting trophies on the wall. Why have I kept them? Antelibroinertia (new word that means the failure to get rid of books you have read because you have not got around to it). So I am giving them one last read and then they will be taken to a charity shop.

Closet Clutter Monster
Maybe it’s time to declutter!

Other ‘stuff’ is going. We have an old snooker table that was rescued from a church youth club when they were replacing it (probably 20 years ago!) and which we have hardly ever used because we have not had space for it. (You don’t just need space for the table, you need at least a snooker cue’s length of space around it if you are going to play.) That is going to a good home through a local recycling website. We need to get rid of some old bicycles (one to a bike-recycler and the other on a well known auction website).

And I have plenty of ‘useful’ cables and pieces of wood that I will have to sort through and send to the recycling centre (they are kept because one day they might be useful).

And there’s plenty more.

I hope that as we de-clutter we can bless some local charities and people, (and hopefully not just move the clutter to fill up someone else’s house.)

We all gather clutter in our lives too, don’t we. We have the clutter of tasks that we have not yet got around to doing and which slowly accumulate until we can’t bear to look at them. We have the clutter of hopes, dreams and ambitions that are unfulfilled and, if we are honest, are never going to be fulfilled (I probably won’t be playing in goal for Ipswich Town FC in the FA Cup Final). We have the clutter of promises that we have made but have not yet kept, or those made to us which have not been met, with associated hurt. We have the clutter of relationships that we have either broken or neglected and which we are now too ashamed or frightened to do anything about. We have the clutter of disappointments accumulated over a lifetime of living. We have the clutter of habits that we have acquired that are not healthy for us but which we daren’t deal with because that may be too painful…

So how do we de-clutter those things? I am not sure that we can do it all on our own. That’s where friends and family can come in useful – people who won’t judge us, make fun of us or abandon us but who will love us no matter what.

And be assured that God’s got the same attitude to you. He’s waiting for us. Not (despite popular opinion) to smite and condemn and judge and sentence, but to embrace, to restore, to renovate, to offer grace and forgiveness. If you doubt it, read Luke Chapter 15. Who are you in the stories?

So what about it?

Be blessed, be a blessing

famlee noos

Today’s bloggage is entirely self-indulgent (aren’t they all?). I have travelled down to Torquay to be at my Dad’s Ordination tomorrow and will travel back to join the family on Sunday before driving to Oxford on Monday to take our first offspring to Uni.

Big moments for them and for me!

That’s why the bloggerel is so poor today (even worse than usual).

Be blessed, be a blessing.

Normal service will be resumed soon.

Sorry.

The apology is for the return of normal service.

Sorry.

That apology is for wasting your time with the previous apology.

Sorry.

That apology is for wasting your time with the previous apology.

Sorry.

[Enters loop from which there is no escape]

you have been warned (including you, olly murs)

This is a warning to all who live in the Colchester area. The loud scream you hear today is nothing to worry about.

The youngest member of our family is a big fan of Olly Murs and left me the task of trying to get her some tickets for his tour next year. I have managed to get some tickets that are a bit closer to the front than the concert she attended earlier this year where he was a speck in the distance. I have been told to let her know by text message if I have been successful and the message has now been sent. You have been warned!

While I don’t really have the same appreciation for Mr Murs as young girlychops, and while I don’t share the level of her enthusiasm for attending one of his concerts, I have to admire her passion, commitment and zeal. I also have to issue a warning to Mr Murs that she will be there in a state of intense excitement – he may not be able to hear himself above the screaming.

Makes me think that my passion, commitment and zeal as a follower of Jesus might need upping somewhat. I don’t remember when I got as excited about going to church as she will be going to the concert.

In case that thought leaves you feeling inadequate or low, let me offer another one. You don’t have to jump, scream, shout, dance or go over the top as a follower of Jesus. You don’t have to wear special fan club clothes. You don’t have to buy his CDs. All he asks is that you offer him as much as you can at the moment. He will take your intention to do better, your hope to be able to forgive, your willingness to be led, your ambition to become the person he has created you to become, and with the help of his Spirit will take what you offer and transform them and you, just as a packed lunch became a banquet.

Be blessed, be a blessing