Later this week, I fly out to Bermuda for Nick Dill’s consecration as Bishop on 29 May
(the sacrifices I make for Lindfield...)
Many thanks to all who have contributed towards a pectoral cross for the new bishop - the picture of it to the left was taken during the process of manufacture.
I am delighted to say that it has been designed and made by our own Paulus Smith.
The cross is solid silver and fashioned in the shape of farriers’ nails, which are similar to those used by carpenters in the first century.
The cross will be available to be seen at all our services today, Sunday, 19 May.
Please continue to pray for Nick as he prepares for his ordination as bishop
and as he takes up the reins of authority in the diocese of Bermuda.
This Year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of one of the 20th century’s greatest fiction and Christian writers.
C.S Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898. He studied at Oxford from 1919 to 1924 and received an honours degree in Classics, Ancient History and English literature. He went on to become a philosophy tutor at the same college, for 29 years.
What caused this scholar, philosopher and sceptic to change his focus and views on Christianity?
C. S. Lewis began his career as a decided non-believer.
He began to doubt the full capacity of the intellect to totally explain the questions of life.
This shift started at the death of his boyhood tutor.
This experience caused Lewis a feeling of uncertainty.
He began to realize that there were questions in life that reason and intelligence, in themselves, do not cause.
His friends and mentors were also part of his conversion process.
One night, he took a long walk and enjoyed an involved conversation with J.R.R Tolkien, a Christian and author of the Lord of the Rings series, as well as Hugh Dyson, another Christian and Professor of Reading at Oxford University.
Their words answered his lingering doubts and questions.
As Lewis described it: in Surprised by Joy, "When we set out to Warnade Zoo, I did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did."
C. S. Lewis was converted by the evidence that Jesus Christ was the Saviour and became known as “ The Apostle to the Sceptics.”
He devoted the rest of his writing life to works based on his Christian faith.
He wrote a number of books and articles that explain Christianity and why faith and reason are compatible.
The Chronicles of Narnia mirror the process.
We have a group of curious children entering a secret door to a new land.
The children are assisted and mentored by Aslan the Lion.
Edmund is the epitome of the reluctant convert, when he is tempted by magic and the wiles of the White Witch.
These can be the supernatural forces that push a person to conversion.
Edmund betrays the others to the White Witch and can only be saved by Aslan’s sacrifice at the stone table.
This is very painful for Edmund and drives him into belief. Then the blessings follow when Aslan is restored to them.
C. S. Lewis displays both his genius and faith when he wrote this remarkable series that serves both as a wonderful story and a reaffirming of Christian faith.
He has served, even after his death, as a mentor and role model to reluctant converts who are drawn into the charm of Narnia, and then discover that the Christian author was once a non-believer.
It is a wonderful legacy and testament to belief in Christ as Saviour.
People often talk about being on a Christian journey.
I wonder where you think you are on that walk? Just set off? Having a rest? Near the end?
Well the letter to the Ephesians says that the good news of the gospel, isn’t that we know the ending, but that we’re already safely over the line and having a comfy sit down!
Paul begins the letter saying ‘The Christian has died and gone to heaven.’
In chapter 2:1 :
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins...
that's what we used to be before we let Jesus be our travel companion. But from verse 4 - we’re told what God has done about it...
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
The Christian has died and gone to heaven! The Apostle Paul pictures us in a pit of death - Jesus dives in, takes us to Himself, takes our sins to Himself - puts the whole sorry mess to death on the cross. And then Jesus bursts up out of the grave, ascends to heaven and He takes us with Him.
So how does Paul picture the Christian journey? We’ve died and gone to heaven and now we are seated. We’re sat down with Christ in heaven.
Christians are there because Jesus is, and by faith we are connected to Him. And we’re seated, because there's nothing else for us to do. We don't need to move an inch to the left, an inch to the right, we don't have to move an inch forwards or raise ourselves an inch higher: we’ve arrived. The Christian journey means never having to worry ‘Am I going to heaven?’ We're already there!
Coffee, cakes, chats, Bible studies, prayer, children, singing, crafting, playing, learning, fun, fun and more fun (and more coffee): all in a week of Daytime Tiger.
I have been privileged to experience Daytime Tiger first-hand as a mother of pre-school children, over the past five years. The groups offered friendship and support in a time of huge change in my life: having a baby! Now as a mother of two, I am very excited to support the teams who run these important groups.
Each week approximately 200 people (parents/carers and children) enjoy Daytime Tiger activities!
What is Daytime Tiger?
Daytime Tiger encompasses a number of our key ministries which are central to All Saints’ vision to reach>build>send, obeying Jesus’ command to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’.
So…a week in the life of Daytime Tiger:
Everyday: Tiger Cubs Preschool
Monday: Ladies Connect Group, Christianity Explored, Creche
Tuesday: Noah’s Ark, our brilliant parent/carer and toddler group, offering fun play, craft and singing
Wednesday: Rainbow, a unique group for new mums to meet over a cup of coffee in a supportive and nurturing environment
Thursday: Coffee Plus, described by some as ‘a lifeline’ for busy mums! It provides an opportunity for women to support one another in their faith whilst their children enjoy playing in the crèche. Recently Coffee Plus members have been following the Parenting Children course
Friday: Twins Club is also a unique group! It provides invaluable support for parents of twins / multiples.
At the end of each term we provide a toddler service in the church to share the gospel and thank Jesus for all He has given us.
I find praying such a battle.
It’s so easy to not pray, feel guilty about not praying, and then not pray some more! I think my biggest problem, however, is that I forget who I’m praying to (and with), and what it’s for.
I discovered this quote from a book called ‘Connected – Living in the light of the Trinity’ by Sam Allberry and it’s brilliant! 'He (God the Father) is not the unknowable 'other', still less just a finger wagging authority figure, but our Father, 'By him we cry, Abba, Father.'’ The Spirit himself testifies with our Spirit that we are God's children' (Romans 8:15,16).Two things are mentioned here
* The Spirit moves us to call out to God as our Father.
* The Spirit bears witness to us that we are God's children.
I suspect this is one activity, not two. As we call God Father, the Spirit testifies to our inner being that we are indeed God's children. The act of praying reminds us that we are on praying terms with God our Father.
If this is right, then prayer itself is a means of assurance. As we avail ourselves of the privilege of addressing God as Father, we are becoming more deeply conscious of the utter appropriateness of doing so as his adopted children. Prayer is essentially evangelical: as we pray we are re-enacting the gospel to ourselves.'
I love that final paragraph! It’s such an encouragement. What a great motivation to pray!
For a long time, I’ve resisted the world of online social networks (Facebook etc). It always seemed a contradiction in terms! People never seem very sociable as they sit on trains and buses tapping into their phones, or sat in silence at home on their PC!
But, I’ve recently entered the world of Twitter. I have not yet ‘tweeted’ and seem to have no ‘followers’, so I suppose I’m more of a twitcher really! But, I’m delighting in the way so many people use such media to share both their lives AND the gospel, reflecting that the two are so very intertwined.
So, I thought I’d share a selection of some of my favourite encouragements of late, and see if they can inspire more of us to do the same (whether in cyperspace or real life!) It’s fun being able to tell people we’ve ‘just missed the bus’ but also great to be able to encourage each other and spread the wonderful news of Jesus too, #Enjoy!
- Your Mediator lays one hand on you, one hand on God and He’s never letting go. #Job9
- When our Maker came we deemed Him worthy of death. He died for us anyway praying, ‘Father, forgive’ #EnjoyGoodFriday
- The old you needs to die, not get self-improved. Jesus did it for you. #GoodFriday
- Lose an hour, gain eternal life. #EasterTradeOff
- “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime." –Martin Luther
- You don't need all your questions answered in order to walk with God.
Faith means you don't know everything, but you do trust
- Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11
- Christians: Your primary focus should not be your sin but rather your Saviour.
- As Word of God Jesus doesn’t just keep God’s promises, He *is* God’s promise to you,
earthed forever into your humanity. #EnjoyYourDay
- God doesn’t transfer righteousness into our flesh. He transfers us into Christ. We don’t possess righteousness,
the Righteous One possesses us!
- God doesn’t need your gifts (to love you). You don’t need your gifts (to prove yourself).
Your neighbour needs your gifts, so serve.
- God gives us Everything (His Son) and then gives us the Appreciation of Everything (His Spirit) 1Cor2:12. All for free. #EnjoyYourDay
On Wednesday we will be opening the doors to over 60 4-11 year olds for this year’s holiday club!
The Tiger will be transformed from a church hall to a stadium of Olympic proportions (well, we’ll use our imagination!).
We have an excellent team of sporting volunteers who will welcome families, care for the children in small groups, serve refreshments and ensure that everyone has an amazing and safe time
A typical morning:
The children will be allocated to their team on arrival and during the morning they will share jokes in the Slam Dunk Basket, complete team challenges, get crafty, get singing and dancing, and have great fun playing games in the glorious sunshine (we’re still using our imagination!). After refreshments, the children will hear a true story from the Bible about Jesus and what happened to him that first Easter. There will then be a chance to ask questions about this in their teams and pray together. Some of the children might have never heard about Jesus before, let alone prayed, so team leaders will explore this with their groups and show that prayer is simply and extraordinarily talking to God.
The holiday club ends on Friday with a celebration lunch in the Tiger. The families are invited to stay and enjoy food together, meet the leaders and hear the highlights of the holiday club. Everyone will have the opportunity to experience a taste of Champion’s Challenge during the first half of the service next week!
Please pray for Champion’s Challenge: for the final preparations this week, that the leaders would all be equipped by God to share Jesus with the children and families, for safety and health, and that the children would understand more about Jesus and have an AMAZING time!
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, ‘Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?’ Then they looked up, saw that it had been rolled back - it was a huge stone - and walked right in. He said, ‘Don't be afraid. I know you're looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He's been raised up; he's here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now - on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You'll see him there, exactly as he said.’ They got out as fast as they could, beside themselves, their heads swimming. Stunned, they said nothing to anyone.
Over the last couple of years several members of the All Saints family have been thinking about the call to ordained or
licensed lay ministry in the Church of England.
Those of us who are considering this, meet together as part of the ‘Timothy group’ which is steered by James Clarke and Jeremy Taylor. It is a group set up to support, study with and to pray for each other throughout what is called the ‘discernment process’. This process is often a long one, requiring lots of prayer, discussion, challenging and support.
Many of us are now reaching (or have reached) the final stages of this process which culminates in something called a ‘BAP’ (Bishop’s Advisory Panel) A candidate attends a BAP for three days while being interviewed, observed and tested.
The purpose of this is to establish whether God is calling this individual into ordained ministry and whether they would benefit from theological education and ministerial training.
This is an exciting time for all involved, in finding out what God’s will is for each one of us and our families.
I ask that you would be praying for us as we wait upon outcomes of these BAP’s.
Currently Sam Carter is waiting on the decision from the BAP he attended earlier in the month.
While my BAP date is the 15 April, followed by Sarah Jones’ BAP on the 20 May.
One of the highlights of my week is the hour spent after school on a Wednesday at Lindfield Primary School where we run Jaffa. We pack the hour full of craft, snacks, games and most importantly, we have the opportunity to teach them all about Jesus, in their school hall. Jaffa is an excellent opportunity for the children to meet together, across school years, as Christians. This term we have been teaching the growing number of children the parables that Jesus told and how they impact their lives.
A few weeks ago we were looking at the Lost Sheep. While I was sitting with a group of year 2 (age 6-7) girls, they explained to me that ‘even though I am a grown-up I was still God’s little daughter and He loves me so much!’
Their beautiful faith is so inspiring and a real testament as to why children are so important to the church family. Jesus says in Mark 10:15, ‘Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.’ (MSG)
Children don’t see the complications or the difficulties that we often feel are so important, they just see the simple truth: that Jesus loves each and every one of us, no matter what.