Saturday, 28 April 2012

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Parents Evening

When I was a pupil at school parents evenings seemed to come at me like a train out of a tunnel.
I was attending school, enjoying my friends, making the most of the breaks, aiming to make the football team and occasionally distracted by lessons. I was no saint and no academic.

However when my parents returned from talking to the teachers at school it felt as though hiding was the best and only option.... now I realise the delay in relaying their frustration probably made the situation worse.

Schools have now moved on: we take our kids with us to parents evenings and they hear direct from the teachers, there is nowhere to hide.
Yet even as a parent I can feel nervous.

I need to put on record that the school and staff at Twyford are outstanding.
I think it is a good idea to develop a partnership between the school and the home.
It is extremely helpful to have feedback so adjustments can be made before exams which seem so final. 

Yet facing reality is still daunting.

I would like to suggest that many of us approach God like a parents evening: can I find somewhere to hide or believe we will hear the same message 'could do better'.

I know that I would rather have some loving support along the way rather than a disappointing day when when I give an account for my life,so have learnt to appreciate the support of other Christians in life.

Are you involved in a small group?
Who are you accountable to?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The London Marathon

Part of the privilege of living in the Capital are some of the amazing events that take place.

On Sunday afternoon Nicky and I went along with 2 friends to watch some of the London Marathon. Incredible to think that after all that training, careful food intake and sponsorship raising that people have managed to cover over 26 miles and cross the finish line.

People have paid a huge price - sweat pouring down, blistered feet, limping, some being supported by marshals and friends.
Others have made the immense event even harder by dressing up in costumes or even being the back end of a donkey.

The spectators on the day cheered, clapped and shouted names from running shirts in a bid to motivate and encourage folks to keep going.
Incredible that over 33,000 people have been moved to sponsor Claire Squires who tragically died on Sunday (the 10th person to die since the Marathon began in 1981) - so far donating over £369,000.

Life can sometimes feel like a long long marathon. There are seasons when the pace is good and lots of ground is covered; other days every step is hard work and it is a fight not to stop.

I know that I personally appreciate it when others cheer me on and bring encouragement to keep on running.

I hope that Redeemer is a place where we spur one another on whatever the season we are in.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Soaring with Eagles?

Since moving to the London Borough of Ealing I have enjoyed a variety of ways in meeting and getting to know the local people: carol singing by the clock tower, neighbours round for mulled wine and mince pies at Christmas, joined the Hanwell Residents Association, worked at the planting day at the local pond, signed up and served at my first School PTA event, even become a member of the Brent River Society... to name but a few.

I have found people very friendly and have enjoyed catching up with folk at local coffee shops as well as visiting homes for tea and kicking lumps out of one another at football down the park.

My desire to meet new local people saw Nicky & I this week attend a running session with the Ealing Eagles. Despite being the first time I have ever run with a club it was great fun. I was able to chat the entire 5 mile course and 3 people asked me what I do for a job and why I lived in the Borough - so that was even better.

Ealing Eagles helped us overcome our first time visitor nerves: people were very friendly - there was a front runner to show the way and a back maker to make sure no-one got lost. The group are a social bunch as well as the 4 or 5 runs they do each week and we were enthusiastically invited back.

I am not sure that my athletic ability is 'eagle' like and even wondered if there is a 'headless chicken' club that would be more appropriate.

I do know that a friendly welcome goes a long way....I am trusting that Redeemer will welcome all who come and visit us!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Which woman are you?

The riots that started in London last summer shocked, saddened and massively impacted so many people.

As an Ealing resident the most disturbing incident for me was the death of 68year old Richard Mannington Bowes. He was trying to put out a fire in a dustbin near his home and got caught up in the mayhem. We have since discovered he was punched with such force that he fractured his skull on the pavement.

Darrel Desuze, a 17year old teenager, admitted manslaughter and was yesterday jailed for 8 years.

Desuze's mother, Lavinia, was also sent to prison yesterday as she had tried to hide what her son had done by burning his clothes.

Another lady in court yesterday was Anne Wilderspin, the sister of Richard who died. She was reported as saying about Darrel: "Although he was involved in a terrible crime and needs to accept the consequences of his actions I do forgive him and as a committed Christian I pray to the Lord Jesus he will turn over a new leaf...My husband and I hope justice will be tempered with mercy."

When hurt and let down do I - or you - try and cover up or forgive?

Monday, 16 April 2012

Ringtones

My 3 kids (aged 16, 14 & 12) love the freedom of living in London.

The mayor gives all those under16 an Oyster card meaning they get free travel on the buses....anytime.

Not only do Josh, Lois & Isaac travel to school on public transport but they get out to the cinema at Westfield, play football at Gaols in Perivale, go shopping in Shepherds Bush Market and visit mates all across West London!

The only house rule being that they must have their phone on them and it be charged at all times. If they get late home, plans change or in case of an emergency they can contact us and we try and get through to them.
Having said that I often struggle to get hold of my oldest son: He gives the impression that he is 'out of range' when I try and call. Generally I resort to text and he quickly texts back.

However I believe the truth slipped out this weekend!

We were having a discussion about ring tones and Josh admitted that he did not even know what his own ring tone was! He then explained that he always keeps his phone on silent so has never heard it ring.... no wonder he does not answer.

It got me thinking that we all approach mobiles in a different way. Some people are no longer capable of holding a face to face conversation without routinely being distracted whilst others keep it purely for their own convenience.

I wonder if this reflects the diversity of our approaches to prayer. I sometimes wonder if God is trying to get hold of us to talk and we are unaware thinking it is only a mechanism for talking to Him when we are in trouble?

I so want Redeemer to be a church where we listen out for God communicating to us.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Adopted!

I am the middle child, sandwiched between 2 brothers who excelled at primary school - while I was at best a slow starter.
I remember one parents evening when the teachers were questioning my parents as to whether they had adopted the child in the middle: how come he was so different to the 2 model students in the shape of Phil & Steve?

I have been reading my second book this year by the author Mark Stibbe, who was adopted, and I am hooked!
At the start of the year I enjoyed 'The Father you have been waiting for' and now I have almost finished "From Orphans to Heirs - celebrating our spiritual adoption'.

The book outlines that the key to our liberation as Christians is the biblical image of spiritual adoption. So often we continue to live as spiritual orphans, forgetting that thanks to the saving work of Jesus we have been made sons and daughters of God.

Without realising that God is our 'Father' we will relate to Him as our 'Master'; we can live as slaves rather than sons. We live by the love of the law rather than the law of love.

I thoroughly recommend this book - so important to focus again that we are called to Love God. As John Arnott says 'service is not a substitute for a love affair.'

Therefore I am proud to say I am adopted!

I so want to Redeemer to be a church where people discover God as their Father and then enjoy a loving relationships with Him!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Bear Grylls

Whilst on a relaxing holiday last week I loved reading Bear Grylls book 'Mud, Sweat & Tears'. I knew it was a book with broad appeal as it was my 12 year old sons Christmas present this year and he has enjoyed reading it, as has my wife.

I know that the Bear has a phenomenal story and that he is more widely watched around the world than Top Gear!

The book enables us to see him up close: He is a radical non-conformist. A determined fighter. Bear lives on the edge. He is not normal. He thrives under pain and takes on the odds. He is a hard worker. He does not take himself too seriously. He is honest and tries to learn from his mistakes.

The further I got through the book, the more I understood the man, the clearer it became to me - He should have been a church planter....he has all the attitudes and character that is needed to drive and see a church started!

If you know him and he is looking for a new challenge - he is welcome to join us at Redeemer!