Wednesday, July 14

The Fellowship of the Believers

What a journey we are on. In the second chapter of Acts we encounter these verses: 

The Fellowship of the Believers
 42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 
43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 
45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 
47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

When starting Cliff College this was one of the first bible passages we read as a community. For me their are two key points which link directly (kinda) to my life at Cliff College. Firstly "All the believers were together and had everything in common." What! In the community of Cliff, yes we all lived together, but "and had everything in common." Makes me laugh slightly. If there is one thing I can say some of us had nothing in common except through what we had in Christ Jesus. There it is... I am sure the original believers were the same, they most definitely came from different back grounds, had different skills, gifts and talents, they probably had different problems, different annoying habits, different goals and different dreams.Yet they united (which I suppose is an easier way of looking at it) through and because of their faith in Christ. Thats pretty amazing. I have seen many an argument, mainly as I have a brother, and tend to argue with him, there is not much to unite, except on occasions the annoyance parents and how boring church can be. I love that our God and Saviour conquers this. Sometimes we have to surrender all to him, this could include the stuff that is wrong us to create these arguments. We are united in Christ... made common in Christ. 

Now being home from Cliffland the words of this passage some up what I miss about the life and the community there.

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

We met everyday to pray. We broke bread together, we praised God and we were one, supporting and encouraging in our gifts, working together, enjoying God together. This doesn't mean that at points it wasn't suffocating at all. Our working as community was based upon the communities relationship with God. We sat down an prayed as a community about the milk stealers and those who have not returned books, we sat and rejoiced together about engagements and new families, we sat and mourned the loss of family members close to our friends and our community. We went and shared this with other communities to. Different experiences being lived out in this community made common in Christ. 

Working towards a community built upon the foundation of Christ as the cornerstone, I regret to inform those who wish to think that walking with God is this strange land is like floating upon clouds. It is not, people still get it wrong, I still get it wrong, I've been upset and I have upset people. Thank God that he is gracious and merciful, and that he is building a people like him. What a magnificent picture we make when together the light of God shines through.

Tuesday, July 13

You won't relent

I've spent most of my day listening to the words of this song

You won't relent
Until You have it all
My heart is Yours

I'll set You as a seal upon my heart
As a seal upon my arm
For there is love that is as strong as death
Jealousy demanding as the grave
And many waters cannot quench this love

Come be the fire inside of me
Come be the flame upon my heart
Come be the fire inside of me
Until You and I are one

It really does make a great prayer. 
It is my prayer today.

It is such a simple song with so much impact and meaning and truth in its words. It's reminder of what God requires and wish from me, what I wish to give to him, the command and the reasons of what power he holds on me, through the death of his Son. I lay my heart before the Lord and ask his Spirit to live within me, his flame, his passion, his love, until I return home.
I keep looking at these photos.
These moments and memories,
Caught, captured, still.
Lively and beautiful, 
Crazy and sad.
They tell a story,
One that no one else can know fully
Glimpses of individuals,
Journeys, paths, parties.
Celebrations of a moment.
I keep looking at these photos.

Sunday, July 11

Call to worship... what with?

Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!

   Praise befits the upright.
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.

He loves righteousness and justice;
   the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

Psalm 33v1-5

I helped lead worship today at Knapton Methodist Church with a service and sermon based on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Yet in the planning of the service we had really not got a clue what to open the service with as a call to worship. When I started to lead worship in the realms of Derbyshire I stumbled across this amazing chapter in the good Book. God actually really loves us. Shocking really, and so often forgotten. God actually really loves. Then of course we should react to this. Yet we no longer live in a world of Lyres - as far as I am aware the lyre is practically medieval - but in a world of beat-boxing and guitars, and electrical bass'. How do we translate this... we can certainly still shout loudly and I have seen a harp played in worship in the last year but worshiping the lord to be thankful for His love... how in our 21st Century, 24/7, busy busy, social media, hyper-connected society?
I suppose their is no right or wrong way, as long as we keep worshiping, following the upright word of the Lord, being righteous and incurring Justice. 

Its about remembering that the earth if full of Gods love. The local preach today made a comment today that I cannot remember the full ins and outs of but it went something like this...

"God's love falls on the just, and it falls on the unjust, 
but more so on the just because the unjust has the just umbrella."

We worship because God loves us first and we live amongst a community of other believers. So, no lyres, no harps, no shouts, none of the many things.... Love.

One step, dare you.

One step, dare you.
Then just another,
Keep on walking,
Past the crowd.
Everyone may be watching,
Some may even take notice,
Some will walk against you,
Some will never see.
Dare you, keep moving,
Keep moving, taking ground,
Solid foundations,
No faking these relations.
Look around see them moving with you,
Listening, different paths,
One destination.
Dare you.
Keep Moving.
Dare you.

Saturday, July 10

I seemed to have just worked in the last few weeks, its just manic. Crazy manic. I love crazy manic.

And who goes to bed dressed as a Shepherd?

Well a shepherd does.

And light... what about it?