Posted by: richard | 31 January, 2010

Turning the arrows around

Simple but nice…

Posted by: richard | 21 January, 2010

Mission, worship, and ghetto-busting!

This week we examined chapters 3 (Mission and Worship) and 4 (Mission out of the Ghetto).

The chapter on worship really reminded us that the focus of church life should not be on the meetings but on our lives of worship.  We know this of course but we can easily slip into talk of “a time of worship” and see our attendance at church meetings as somehow more worshipful or important to God than the rest of our lives.  We talked about being vigilant in ensuring Christian meetings don’t crowd out our diary and limit the time we can spend living out lives that glorify God in front of the wider world.

The chapter on moving out of the ghetto was very challenging, reminding us of the importance Jesus attached in coming along the socially marginalised, and his call to go beyond building relationships with people like us and offering friendship and love to the “poor, crippled and blind”.  We noted that this wasn’t a call to adopt people as ‘projects of service’ but to actually forge relationships.  We all spend time with people  – but do we include any of the marginalised/needy amongst our friends? The call is one to ensure we don’t just ‘invite those to dinner who will repay us’.

We discussed a few ways of acting on this.  Helping someone to read; working with an association such as Petit Freres des Pauvres or Donner Recevoir to develop a friendship with someone lonely or in need; striking up a friendship with someone out of our comfort zone; international students; responding to people that we come across (SDF,…) and taking the relationship further.   We agreed to reflect on what we could each do on this front and discuss next time.

We also talked about avoiding the trap of spending all our time with Christian friends.   James mentioned joining the local tennis club rather than playing tennis just with people from Church.  What else could we do to help us get out of the Christian ghetto?

Your contributions welcome…

Posted by: robbiexgibson | 14 January, 2010

Mission for everyone!

On Monday night we left behind the thorny issue of the central or off-central position of mission to look at our own personal mission experiences.

First of all we noted that individual mission and corporate (small group, church, …) mission are inextricably linked. Individual mission activities that operate within the context of a wider awareness of mission seem more natural and are more likely to be mutually sustaining. That is, if the people around us have a missionary outlook we are encouraged in our missionary activities; and our own attempts at spreading the word can also, in turn, encourage those around us. (This works on lots of different levels – for example, small groups can encourage individuals and vice versa; but small groups can encourage congregations; congregations can encourage dioceses; etc.)

We then looked at our own recent experiences of spreading the gospel. We found two main testimonies in our lives – a distinctive pattern of living that invites comment (although maybe we aspire to this more than we achieve it); and talking about our involvement in Christian community. This definitely fitted in with the quotation in the book: “If they’ll listen, tell them; if they won’t, show them“. It was encouraging for us to see that we are already in some small way engaging in mission. (I am reminded here of my dad’s advice when making a to-do list: put down some things you’ve already done, so you don’t get immediately overwhelmed!)

We then moved on to talk about ways to encourage each other to mission. (Note that we didn’t really nail down a definition on this word, but we seemed to be talking about the same idea, that of “testifying to the hope that we have” in the context in which we find ourselves, rather than setting sail for Antarctica.) We came up with two ideas for Passion Fruit:

  1. Waypoints – We are already supposed to be doing these, and outreach has always been an element of them, we just need to make sure that they still keep happening
  2. Prayer diary – Some of us have kept prayer diaries in the past; the idea was mooted to introduce a Passion Fruit prayer diary to keep track of prayer topics, along with answered prayers

Although they might not seem like obvious missional ideas, our idea is to make sure that Passion Fruit has some concrete Good News to proclaim and give us some more stimulation for workplace (or church, or train, or airport, or …) conversations.

Posted by: richard | 5 January, 2010

Mission at the Centre?

Last night we got stuck into the first couple of chapters.  We looked at Acts 1:6-11 where Jesus, risen, leaves His disciples with a mission – to be his witnesses from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, empowered by His Spirit.  We also looked at the Great Commission where Jesus sends his followers out to make disciples of all people.  The book moved from there to stating that “mission is the central purpose of the church”, which raised some lively debate and Read More…

Posted by: richard | 4 January, 2010

Starting to think about Gospel Centred Church

Gospel Centred ChurchWe start tonight our 2010 sessions by looking at the introduction and first two chapters of Gospel Centred Church.  As discussed, please go through the material and answer the Bible study and discussion questions for yourselves before the session.

A few questions to mull over as you come to the session and/or to serve as an inspiration for putting your thoughts down as comments to this post:

  • To what degree do you feel the negative images of the church characterised in the introduction (fossils, tortoises, spluttering candle, cosy club) are justified?
  • How might our lives change if we saw ourselves as missionaries (see the ‘ideas for action’ section at the end of chapter 1)? How might Passion Fruit change?
  • How can we encourage each other more to be witnesses for Christ?
Posted by: richard | 10 December, 2009

The God of the Future

This week we concluded our tour of Ezekiel by looking at Chapters 40-48, focusing mainly on the images of the restored temple and the river flowing from the temple, witha brief touch on the restored land and city.

The vision of the perfectly planned, restored, and God-dwelling temple – symbolises God’s presence, God’s rule, Read More…

Posted by: GreenRuby | 9 December, 2009

The God of Life

We were looking at 3 chapters from Ezekiel : 37 through 39

First we thought about the Israelites in exile who had lost all hope and considered what situations we might’ve encountered that seemed hopeless. There were various suggestions including incurable, painful illness; frustration; difficult relationships. Read More…

Posted by: richard | 2 December, 2009

Incarnation party 2009!

Following on from last year’s party, time for this year’s version…

We’ll have it at the Gibsons’ this year. 4pm to 7pm on Saturday 19th December.  Kids welcome. Here are my initial thoughts – please comment/blog suggestions and improvements below: Read More…

Posted by: gillianbarratt | 29 November, 2009

The God of Hope

The session on Tuesday 24th November marked a turning point in the message of Ezekiel. Finally, we learn that God can give us a fresh start. Who hasn’t wished that they could go back and try again – in a relationship that began on the wrong foot, for example? Chapters 33 to 36 are full of tantalizing glimpses of God’s plan for humankind, pointing us to the New Testament and to Christ. Read More…

Posted by: richard | 25 November, 2009

A Gospel-Centred New Year?

I’d like to make a suggestion that next year we do a series (around 8 sessions) following the “Gospel Centred Church” guide.  I have this book and it is a very practical look at what a Christian community should really look like.  I think it could be dynamite! There are 17 very short chapters (about 3 pages each) so we could tackle 2 or even 3 chapters per week. Read More…

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