I weighed myself on Tuesday past and I have lost 1 pound in weight. Not much you might say, but I reckon that a gradual weight loss of 1 pound per week is better for my health and by the end of April 2013 I will have lost almost 4 stone !
My target of 3 stone is therefore very achievable.
Well, the time has come to lose weight. I`ve been aware of this for some time now, that my weight has increased steadily. Age and good living have been major contributions to this, but it can`t go on and I`ve decided that the time has come……………………..
I`m not going to shout this in each of my Churches but I thought that if I kept an online record then those of you who follow may be able to encourage me as I hopefully progress.
I intend to weigh myself each Tuesday and hope to lose a steady two pounds per week, so here we go…………
Came across this picture on Facebook several weeks ago and I remembered it last night at our monthly Mission Shaped Ministry course.
At the moment, like many Methodist Circuits across the land, we are looking at our future; does it involve further reshaping within the circuit of Ministerial reorganisation, does it involve amalgamating with a larger circuit (again), does it involve splitting up and disappearing into other areas or does it involve sticking it out and going alone ? Difficult questions, and as Superintendent I have been wrestling with these for several weeks now. Much of my thinking is taken up with trying to find the best way forward. The Methodists amongst my readers might be interested to see the map at the bottom of this article to see how things have changed since 1746. This shows the layout of the Wesleyaan Methodist Circuits at that time; look at the geography they covered.
The above picture is a challenge to me, but hopefully to others as well. The top line reflects my life so far, schools of nice neat desks with every child in the same seat every day, ordered and tidy. We all knew what was expected of us; we learnt facts and figures and any experiments in science were carried out by the teacher with observation by ourselves. In short we sat and they taught.
The next picture reflects the sort of factory my Mother worked in. I never worked in a factory but sometimes visited my Mum`s and the sense of assembly line was so strong. Again everyone sitting in the same place day after day and carrying out the same work each day with no room for creativity.
The picture of Church reflects what many Churches are still like today and its little wonder. I need to say that this isn`t meant to be derogatory because whenever I go back to my home church I always sit in the seat that my Mum used to sit in and it brings me comfort. However many of our young people have been raised in a different sort of school environment with open classrooms, encouragement to discover and research for themselves rather than just absorbing information parrot fashion. With the decline of the manufacturing industry today factory based work has become less, and the rise in white-collar occupations has led to a different way of thinking.
It is a very different culture today and yet many Churches try to continue in the way that they have always done, despite declining numbers, increasing costs over-tired worn-out buildings, and elderly congregations. IT REALLY IS TIME TO THINK DIFFERENTLY.
What I love about the Fresh Expressions movement is that it treats coming to faith as a journey, whereas old style Church thought more in terms of arrival. in other words attendance on Sunday was what counted, “bums on seats” mentality, and often without regard for how that person was going to be discipled into their future. When I became a member of my home church there was an attitude that I had served my learning period and had now arrived at my destination which was to sit in Church on a Sunday for the rest of my life.
HOW DREADFULLY BORING THAT SOUNDS TO ME !!
and I say that as someone who is proud of my home Church, love the people who have faithfully served in that place and who have given me so much love and affection over the years. These are the people who I pray for regularly each week, because of the love I have for them.
But the thoughts of sitting in any Church week by week doing the same things, singing the same songs, listening to the same sermons just sounds like a great advert for hell.No, Jesus took the disciples on a journey of exploration, teaching, adoration and worship. He didn`t say “Come and meet on a Sunday for a five hymn sandwich” but he did say “Follow me”.
“Follow me” speaks of a journey with him where regularly new things are to be discovered, new insights, new ways of doing things. it speaks of a freshness and life. And in order for the Church to get to this point we have to begin to think differently and in order to think differently we must become self-sacrificial people, in the way Jesus was self-sacrificial upon thee cross.
Are we prepared to change and think differently and find Gods shape for his Church today ?
I write this at the end of a long, tiring but wonderful day. Four services are very draining but the opportunity to spend the day, in effect, praising our Lord Jesus for His resurrection is tremendous.
I have celebrated Communion with four different Church fellowships and felt very much at home in each one; it reminds me of how through the death and resurrection of Jesus we are indeed one family, united in our love of Him.
Many of my long-standing readers will be aware that I can often go weeks without adding to my blog and I seem to be perpetually apologising for this; well, once again SORRY ! I see it is over a month since I last posted on here; as usual the excuse is one of business which is ironic in the light of my last posting entitled Shells.
I have arrived at Good Friday tired and feeling quite worn out. This last month has contained a tremendous
amount of Church politics surrounding the circuit, around particular Churches and personnel and whilst one knows that dealing with people will always bring a certain amount of wheeling and dealing, grumbling and griping, tears and laughter it still leaves me drained. Having to be the supposed `fount of all knowledge`, the one to whom everyone turns for a decision (sometimes so that they can blame me if it goes wrong), the be at all events person really takes it out of you. Consequently, I have arrived at Good friday not feeling as though I have journeyed in Holy Week itself.So much time is spent on administration and overseeing that the spiritual element of Ministry disappears, and more importantly my own spirituality begins to decline. I am all too aware of the dangers of this.
However, although I spent Maundy Thursday wanting to do no more than hide and sleep I woke this morning feeling surprisingly refreshed and energised. For the first time in 21 years of Ministry I havent had a Good Friday service to lead ! The way circumstances have come about the two services I should have been involved with ended up being led by others; consequently, I was left to worship (a rare treat). Yes, I know there will be some who will say that I am paid to lead worship and therefore should have “been doing something” but today has been rather lovely by the opposite being true.
If Presbyters are always leading worship, Sunday by Sunday, day by day, then where does their spiritual nourishment come from ? Yes, we can point to Scripture and prayer and both are invaluable and vital, but we mustn`t forget how important worship is. Worship brings an opportunity for God to really touch our hearts with His transforming power because it is in worship that we focus on him more than at any other time (or we should). It is through the singing, prayers, preaching, silence, exuberant praise, sharing that God speaks to us directly or through our brothers and sisters.
If Presbyters are always taken up with the mechanics of worship we miss out on so much which is vital to our own spiritual journey.
Today I sat in the congregation whilst a Methodist worship leader led and an Anglican Vicar preached and then afterwards walked in a procession of witness around the town, mixing largely with three Salvation Army stalwarts. It was very special.
Tonight I have attended a Good Friday reflection in another circuit Church which was incredibly moving, bringing many (including myself) close to tears using a mixture of music, words, lighting and hymn singing we were transported back to that first Good Friday, concluding with the body of Jesus being carried out.
I have worshipped truly today and I am now in a better place ready for the coming joy; perhaps my Holy Week walk has taken place over the last few months rather than just this week, but I now stand on the verge of the Easter joy and with the family of Christ around the world I can truly say