Let me be honest with you, coming up with ideas for the newsletter each week can be a bit of a struggle. Some weeks I have some notes jotted down from something I’ve heard or seen, but often the allotted slot in the timetable comes along and I stop and think and …nothing comes. In fact that’s a lie. It’s not nothing that comes, but a shed load of distractions; the phone goes, I remember an email I must send, browsing the internet for some ideas I get distracted and so the list goes on. It’s like going to bed at the end of one of those days that doesn’t stop until the head hits the pillow and as it does the brain refuses to switch off but continues to whirl over all the things you’ve been dealing with throughout the day.
Earlier this week I read an interesting article about the rise in aimless walking. The title caught my attention. So much of what we do is purposeful these days, done with an objective in mind. The problem is that this can only go so far before it starts to become inefficient. Some of you know the annual saga we have with our car when the filters in it get blocked. The idea is that you’re supposed to drive it normally most of the time, but regularly you need to drop the gear and take it for a spin at full pelt to heat it up and burn clear the filter system. Trouble is our kind of driving doesn’t suit this and most years just as it gets cold our system gets all bunged up. Humans are a bit like that except that rather than upping the revs to clear the filters, we need to slow down and let the mind unwind. The idea behind aimless walking is to go for a wander, with no particular route or objective in mind and no headphones on or mobile in hand and let the mind wander. This is one of the reasons I like to go for a spin on my bike each day, I find it helps me think better afterwards and work in a more focussed and creative fashion. In case you’re thinking this is just mumbo jumbo or wishful/lazy thinking, God says the same thing; that’s why he gave us the pattern of the Sabbath.
Our midweek Bible Study group were thinking about prayer this week and different ways to develop our prayer lives. One of them relates to this and maybe sharing it is a good way to round up this week – perhaps you’d like to try it with us? Here goes: ‘03 Time Out – We are surrounded by constant distraction and noise. Create space for silence this week by turning off the radio or your iPod on your journeys so they become a place to find quietness and listen to God. If you walk the dog – resist the urge to listen to music. Instead observe, look and listen to the sights and sounds of nature. Just find space, even for 10 minutes each day to be alone and quiet with God – even if that means getting up a little earlier each day or staying up later at night.’
Church Newsletter, 21.06.15
Mike Pilavachi from Soul Survivor tells a great story about when he was learning to hear God speak. His senior minister had organised a gathering of ministers and their partners for a conference. As part of that, they were invited to come and be prayed for. As part of this Mike’s colleague shared with them what he thought God was saying. Much to Mike’s surprise, part way through he turned around to Mike and declared when they were praying with one woman that it was now his turn.
‘What should I do?’ Mike asked.
‘Ask God to tell you what you want to say to the person you’re praying for, and then tell them.’ With more than a little fear and trembling, Mike did just that. Feeling the pressure of the expectation from those around him he waited for God to reveal something to him. Something. Anything. But all that he could think of was a song from Abba which kept going around and around in his head and wouldn’t go.
‘Go on then Mike, what’s God saying?’ Reluctantly he turned to the woman, wishing that the ground would open up beneath him.
‘I feel the Lord is telling me to tell you that you can dance, you can sing, having the time of your lives…’ Oh the embarrassment! Then it got worse as the woman began to laugh! But then she explained that she’d started a dance ministry in her church but on the way over to the conference had been wondering whether or not she should stop it.
At the Church Meeting on Wednesday we talked about how to respond to what I believe is a prompting from God to move into worship in a deeper way as we seek to respond to and engage with him. I passionately believe that we have a God who is active and alive today who wants a dynamic relationship with his people. Think of some of the stories we’ve heard over the last few months about how he has led us in our engaging with people on our frontlines and maybe you’ll see evidence of that. To go further, especially together in our services, we’re going to have to take a few risks as Mike did, to take a chance on hearing him and sharing that, aware that we might get it wrong, but believing that God does want to speak and wants us to respond. So if you think God is speaking to you, have the courage to act, if he has something for you to pray about, pray out loud, a story to tell, tell it, an encouragement to share, share it. If we all take a risk, the fear and embarrassment factor is decreased and faith increased. Then we can learn and laugh together when we get it wrong, and celebrate if we get it right! Perhaps then we will dance and sing, having the time of our lives.
A ‘public announcement’ about prayer that my son and I put together for a recent all-age service at our church on this topic. We had great fun putting it together, especially the costume and effects, including the ‘jumping around’ to make it look authentic…
The music came from the royalty free music collection hosted at the website incompetech. We devised the script and created the movie with Microsoft Movie Maker.
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