Monday, 31 January 2011
Here I tend to do a lot more funerals than weddings, so it's always a pleasure to do the latter. However I am very glad that no-one has thought to do this at one that I've taken yet. From the look on the Minister's face, I think that this is for real rather than a set up job. Hope this doesn't become a trend!
(I am partly posting this in order to remember where it is when I talk about a person's new status in Christ when they become a Christian). Don't be put off by that though, it's pretty funny of itself. Check out the link.
Saturday, 29 January 2011
Been a long time since I was at the County Ground, which must still be my second most visited ground. It was the nearest place to watch proper football as a kid yet it's still twenty years since I went to see West Ham in an FA Cup match. That was a 0-0 draw too.
Thursday, 27 January 2011
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Don't tend to think of myself as ungodly, so it was a bit of a shock to read the chapter in Jerry Bridges' book on ungodliness. I approached it thinking that it might be interesting and put it down thinking God had done a number on me.
Bridges defines ungodliness in this way. It's a long quote but worth reading:
“Ungodliness may be defined as living one’s everyday life with little or no thought of God, or of God’s will, or of God’s glory, or of one’s dependence on God. You can readily see, then, that someone can lead a respectable life and still be ungodly in the sense that God is essentially irrelevant in his or her life. We rub shoulders with such people every day in the course of our ordinary activities. They may be friendly, courteous, and helpful to other people, but God is not at all in their thoughts. They may even attend church for an hour or so each week but then live the remainder of life as if God doesn’t exist. They are not wicked people, but they are ungodly.
Now, the sad fact is that many of us who are believers tend to live our daily lives with little or no thought of God. We may even read our Bibles and pray for a few minutes at the beginning of each day, but then we go out into the day’s activities and basically live as if God doesn’t exist. We seldom think of our dependence on God or our responsibility to him. We might go for hours with no thought of God at all. In that sense, we are hardly different from our nice, decent, but unbelieving neighbour. God is not at all in his thoughts and is seldom in ours.” Respectable Sins, p54.
Ouch! This is too much like me. How self-sufficient do I kid myself I can be? How much of my prayer life is based on "Help!" or "Please bless my 'To-do' list"?
The passage that we looked at in church about this on Sunday was James 4.13-16 which warns us:
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
Verse 13 sounds like the sort of thing candidates on the Apprentice say in the boardroom to try to impress Lord Sugar with.
Verse 14 reminds us we don't know what tomorrow will bring (and how true that turned out to be on Monday!) and that life is brief. So we mustn't be too quick or too certain in making our plans.
Start of the year we are all filling in diaries and calendars. Whose plans are they? Whose agenda? Have we even asked the boss? Or do we still figure we are in charge?
(The photo is of Siena in Tuscany. We were going there for our tenth anniversary. Then tomorrow happened - in the form of a car clutch needing replacing - and we went for a picnic instead).
Saturday, 8 January 2011
This is what we used to wear...
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
This is the new outfit...
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Hardly rocket science, is it? To put it another way, we can't sing 'Jesus is Lord', or 'Jesus is King' and just live however we feel like living, can we?
The trick is to remember the new outfit - the uniform that we are expected to be wearing, if you like. And not to go rooting through the bin-bags for the old stuff again.
This is the introduction to the series we are starting on "Respectable Sins" based on / nicked from Jerry Bridges' excellent book of the same name. Looking forward to getting into it again tomorrow.
Sunday, 2 January 2011
Thanks to the Wii Fit Plus I took a test to find my fitness age this afternoon. First time I did this (before Christmas) I was 36. This afternoon I was 62. This puts me at the same age as Elton John (pictured above when he was a mere 61). Actually, that jaw line....
Saturday, 1 January 2011
New Year's resolutions? I am old enough to know better.
I could do with eating and drinking less, exercising, praying and sleeping more. I'd like to improve as a photgrapher, do some more writing (an ambition so vague that I fear it will never happen) and .... oh, you know, the usual. Who knows what the year holds? I guess I want to be faithful in good times and bad - perhaps the best resolution I can make this year.
All the best everyone.