Mike`s Blog

The musings of a Methodist Minister

Archive for August, 2011

In the hands of the Father

Posted by mike redshaw on August 25, 2011

I recieved the picture below in an e-mail and thought, “What the animal world can teach us !”

It reminds me of how our Father in Heaven shelters us when life is rough; how he seeks to protect us and how he shows his love for us.

Praise God !

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Advert for our Mission Shaped Ministry Course: places still available

Posted by mike redshaw on August 24, 2011

mission shaped ministry course

  • Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire
  • From Saturday 3rd September 2011
  • Revd M Mitton, Revd M Redshaw, Revd R Quarton and Mr G Bell

Fresh Expressions mission shaped ministry was launched in 2007. Since then, it has been presented in 56 centres across the UK with more
than 2,000 people taking part in the one-year, part-time learning journey.
Individuals or teams, leaders and members, clergy and lay people learn side by side in the sessions to make msm a major contributor to lay and ordained ministry training.

The course’s 24-units are usually presented over:

  • three Saturdays;
  • a residential weekend;
  • six or seven weekday evenings.

Course content includes the mission of God, vision and values, gospel and culture, evangelism, discipleship, leadership and team
roles, spirituality, worship and the sacraments, how to keep going when things get tough, and what is Church?

Andrew Roberts, director of training for Fresh Expressions, says, ‘It is a joy to see mission shaped ministry equipping people from a great
range of all Christian backgrounds to share more effectively in God’s mission. In many cases, those involved have seen calls and visions clarified. Some have gone on to launch fresh expressions of church whilst others have been enabled to sustain them in their work. Many have helped existing churches to become more mission-shaped.’

Revd Loraine Mellor, Chair, Nottingham & Derby Methodist District, says ‘I wholeheartedly endorse msm as a tool for equipping, sharing, resourcing and encouraging mission. As a part of the Fresh Expressions vision and the Methodist Church priority (with our ecumenical partners) for missional engagement in our communities, it has equipped over 2000 people for new, creative work as well as awakening a sense of mission in many others.’

Right Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, says, ‘msm provides one of the most exciting and creative ways in which God’s gifts can be
nourished and focused to have maximum impact for the Gospel in our times. I hope that many will take advantage of this important opportunity – I commend the course warmly. God ever calls us to be agents of His new and surprising life.’

 

Course timetable and venue

Saturday 3rd September 2011

Monday 19th September 2011

Monday 17th October 2011

Friday 4th to Sunday 6th November 2011

Monday 12th December 2011

Saturday 14th January 2012

Monday 20th February 2012

Monday 19th March 2012

Monday 16th April 2012

Monday 21st May 2012

Saturday 16th June 2012

Saturdays run from 09.30 to 15.30, Mondays from 19.30 to
21.15, both at St Andrew’s LEP, Station Road, Langley Mill, Nottinghamshire, NG16 4BP.

The residential weekend will be at Bawtry Hall, Bawtry, Doncaster, DB10 6JH.

Cost

£299 per person, which covers all materials, refreshments and the weekend away. Financial support may be available.

Contact

David Fidler, Course Administrator

msm_derby_notts@yahoo.co.uk

 

missionshapedministry.org/derbynotts11

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Football and Church

Posted by mike redshaw on August 20, 2011

Alfreton Town F.C.
Image via Wikipedia

I went to see my first match of the football season; our local club, Alfreton Town were promoted to the Blue Square Premiership last season and I enjoyed a few games with them. However I am determined to try to get to more games this year and with that in mind Rebecca and I went off to see them play Forest Green Rovers. I suspect that we may be in for a rough ride as they managed to end the game with 10 men (someone was injured, after all the subs had been used up) and were soundly beaten 1-6.

However we enjoyed ourselves and it was good to be cheering a local club on again.

Now I know that to the non footballing people who read this you will wonder what the excitement is all about, but to me football is a fascinating game and I genuinely love the passion, the atmosphere, the creativity and the sheer breathtaking ability some people have.

It makes me reflect on the difference between a football supporter and a church-goer (I deliberately make the difference between a church attendee and a Christian).

A football supporter will follow his/her team in all weathers whereas some church goers will have a morning off if there is a rain cloud in the sky; a football supporter will walk a mile or so to the ground but some church goers consider it difficult if the they can’t park their car next to the entrance; a football supporter will follow his/her team all over the country in many cases (and to other countries sometimes) but try getting a church goer to attend another church for a joint activity and there could be all sorts of trouble; a football supporter will pay tremendous amounts of money to watch the game but many church goers object to being reminded that more money than the standard £2 is required to keep the Church going; football supporters will sing and chant at the top of their voices but many church goers sing in an almost embarrassed fashion and also complain if it isn`t their favourite hymn that they were taught as a child on grandma`s knee.

Now I realise that this is a ridiculously over simplified picture of church attendance, but it serves to illustrate that when we have a passion for something then many of us will travel, put up with weather, pay what is necessary and we will band together for the experience. Well, I have a passion for Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour and that is what drives me to seek out similar and like-minded people with whom I can share my passion. It is with such people that I can converse about the one who means more to me than any other and it is they who help build up my knowledge and love of Jesus.

The challenge to my readers is this “Where is your passion and what will you do/pay/endure to fulfill it ?”

A soccer/football ball.

Image via Wikipedia

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Skegby Methodist Church

Posted by mike redshaw on August 20, 2011

An artistic cross outside Sheriff Hill Methodi...

Image via Wikipedia

Skegby Methodist Church, on behalf of the Borders Mission Circuit, held a prayer and fasting period today to pray for the state of our nation. Moved by the recent riots on the streets of our towns and cities one of the Church members proposed a time of fasting and prayer from 11 until 2.00 p.m. today. Although I could only attend a part of it, it was certainly a worthwhile initiative and many turned out for it. The picture below is the centrepiece of the Church wall, a stunning picture of an anchor with the promise of Heaven.

As I prayed over the recommended Bible verses my eyes kept being drawn back to this image, and I felt as though I was being reminded that the only way for this world to find piece is when it is truly anchored in the love and peace of Jesus Christ.

When people feel that it is necessary to rely on looting so-called luxury goods, phones, computers and so on in order for them to have a better life then we really do have problems. Even amongst those who have successfully managed to get away with stolen goods, they are still going to be temporary and will at some stage wear out and be gone.

The anchor reminds us that there really is only one lasting thing within life and that is the love of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 6:19 Jesus said “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”  (New International Version). The things of earth cannot last and therefore we shouldn`t rely on them; however Matthew 6:20 records Jesus as continuing to say “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

In other words we should be looking for spiritual treasure which is lasting. I feel as though the anchor (with its similar shape to the cross) was a reminder that we need to hold the spiritual treasure of Jesus which will last in both this world and the next. I have attached a picture of a cross from Gateshead to remind us of the need in society for the cross to be out of our buildings; however, I also see that on the pub behind there is an advert for a free function room. What better advert for the free (to us) function room of Heaven paid for through the cross of Jesus.

          “Lord, I pray that those who looted and rioted last week may come to know you and put their trust in spiritual treasure that they may store in Heaven”

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Riots

Posted by mike redshaw on August 10, 2011

Heron Mill, Oldham, Greater Manchester, England.
Image via Wikipedia

What a dreadful week its been, watching the riots unfold in different parts of the country; I found myself praying for my Godchildren in London, even though there was no evidence of any disturbances in their area, praying for my closest friends in Oldham and Manchester and then suddenly confronted by the news of the disturbances in Nottingham, especially in the Victoria Centre where my daughter Vikki and her friend work. Without wanting to you begin to worry in case the violence spreads down to her part of Nottingham. Thankfully not, but if we`re worried this far away what about those people caught up in the areas where the riots are taking place ?

Canalside Nottingham

Image via Wikipedia

Its hard, at this stage, to pinpoint the cause etc. of it all. I certainly feel that there is a large element of criminality involved (it seems too organised not to be), a fresh way of anarchy caused by those who simply want to cry against the Government (whichever one is in power), a mob mentality running on adrenalin and a certain amount of anger fuelled by poor living conditions and a disenfranchised youth. However, whatever the cause is there is no need for the mindless violence, burning and looting and it is noticeable how many of these supposed `hard` guys manage to cover their faces so that they can’t be identified.

Facebook has run a few entries from people comparing the looters hiding behind scarves with soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and places and pointing out that the latter are `real` men, and to that I would say “yes, that’s right !”

However we need to look deeper, I feel, than simplistic reasons and I believe that we need to realise that what we are seeing and sadly see in many other countries at different times is a symptom of a fallen world. Now I know that is in itself a simplistic answer but it is a part of Christian theology that is often forgotten. When God made the world he created it perfect but the selfishness of humankind (and I`m not one in favour of the Eve bit the apple as literal) spoilt the world leading to a falling away from all that God intended of us. Hate, selfishness, prejudice, greed and so on are consequences of that falling away from God, and in turn they lead to mob mentality, starving in Africa, sexually transmitted diseases, grief, broken relationships and in short a world which is struggling to maintain any semblance of true civilisation. When the relatively peaceful people of Norway are hit by Christian fundamentalism, the streets of our cities hit by manic mobs and people starving on the horn of Africa one can only conclude that there is something terribly wrong with our world.

So how to put it right ? I truly believe that the answer largely falls within the hands of the Christian Church. We, who profess to love Jesus Christ, ought to be like salt and light within this world (Matt.5). We should be flavouring the world with good things not getting sucked into the worlds standards and we should be the ones bringing the light of the Gospel of Jesus which will push back the forces of darkness. Jesus said in Matthew 28 “Go into all the world………………. make disciples of all nations, and lo I will be with you to the close of the age”

It is only when this world turns truly to God through Jesus Christ that we will see the world that God originally intended. As Revelation points out, there will be “a new Heaven and a new earth”.

However, sadly, many parts of the Bible speak about hell. Lets be certain about this there really is such a place and the tragedy is some will go there, BUT that is not Gods plan. He wants to be reconciled to people and I believe in a God who weeps for every soul that doesn’t join him in Heaven and so it is up to us to share the good news of a loving God, to live in a loving way and to show that there really is good news for people to aspire to.

Please pray for the streets of our cities tonight that there may be a move of the Holy Spirit sweeping through this nation and this world.

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Coincidences

Posted by mike redshaw on August 5, 2011

“Coincidences are just the miracles we forget to thank God for”

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A new way to learn the alphabet

Posted by mike redshaw on August 4, 2011

 

 

I came across this in an e-mail the other day.  Firstly I thought it was hilarious but then I thought it challenging………………………….

Why did I find it challenging ? Because so often this isn`t the world inhabited by many within the inherited Christian Church. The world has changed and we in the Church need to move with the times and become familiar with such things as the above.
However, as you`re reading this blog, I`m obviously already preaching to the converted !!!!!

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Amy Carmichael’s dream

Posted by mike redshaw on August 3, 2011

Amy Carmichael with children

Image via Wikipedia

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) was a missionary to India and one of the things she is remembered for (as well as her powerful orphanage work) is the dream she recorded. I was reminded of this earlier today on a visit to the New Wine Summer school at Newark. The dream was recorded by Amy Carmichael as follows…………

The tom-toms thumped straight on all night and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:

That I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step . . . it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry as they went over!

Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone-blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks, as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.

Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could only call; though I strained and tried, only whisper would come.

Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned toward the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. “Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven’t finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish,” they said, “to leave us to finish the work alone.”

There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge.

Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for awhile; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called-but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And then they sang a hymn.

Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was-the Cry of the Blood.

Then thundered a voice, the voice of the Lord. “And He said, ‘What hast thou done, The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.'”

The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shriek of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.

What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?

God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!

Powerful stuff !! It set me off thinking about what we are doing in Church. Are we making daisy chains rather than seeking and saving the lost ? Are we being forced into taking time off, without anyone else replacing us, therefore allowing the work to slow or stop ? We often deal in petty trivialities when much of the world is suffering. We are discussing the washing of the tea towels instead of the washing of the feet of society. So often it seems that Church life has become more about our buildings and ways of doing things than it has become about bringing people to salvation.

I believe in a God who loved the world so much that He stepped out of the glory of Heaven for the poverty of the stable; He grew as a human (Jesus) often mixing with those that society would reject; He went to the cross on Calvary to take on his shoulders our sinfulness and He rose from the dead to open the Kingdom of Heaven to all who believe in Him. I also believe that because it isn`t politically correct to believe such things these days the fire of the Holy Spirit has so often been squashed out of us. To my shame I can look back and see how Ministry nad all its associated business has nearly quenched the fire within me.

Well no more ! Today has been powerful and I have been reminded that my job is “to save souls”

“Lord, let me bring others to know you so that they may truly claim the privileges of Heaven and know your love in their lives.”

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