Saturday, January 28, 2006

This is the first posting to the Group

Welcome - I trust that you have all been able to get home safe and are settling back down to the various tasks in hand. I want to thank you for being part of this experimental cell group on line and trust that you will know the Lord's richest blessings. My hope is that we will be able to exercise some encouraging ministry and prayer for each other over these coming weeks.

My intention is to post comments from each of us - I hope these will be brief and to the point so as not to take up too much time - we will only be on for 30 minutes or so.

Initially you will have to register with Blogspot - I hope you will be willing to do this tonight - if you would rather not do this - I am prepared to accept an email - to the address provided bellow - please clearly identify yourself to me though - I will then post your comment up.

I would like you to be thinking about the following passage of Scripture...

Mark 1:21-28

As this is the lectionary reading for this weekend I've been giving it quite a bit of thought and have been pondering it in the context of the obvious unholiness in the synagogue and the authority of Christ to command its exorcism. My desire is that all within me, and by this I don't mean any demonizing, but that which is unholy, may be driven out through Christ's exorcism of love.

Here we see a new VOICE, a new VIVA and a new VICTORY - demonstrated through His doctrine, deity and deliverance.

Over to you...

picture courtesy of

Monday, January 09, 2006

Need to listen and reflect

God calls us! That fact, on first hearing it, shook me somewhat. Prior to learning this, for which I am grateful to Dr. Sinclair Ferguson and Glasgow Bible Training Institute (now Internation Christian College), I had always thought that it was us that called on Him. The only folk I had ever heard of being called by God for a specific purpose were the likes of Joan of Arc, Francis of Assisi, Augustine and of course the prophet Samuel as a young boy.

Each one of them were called for a specific purpose, they had to listen, reflect and apply what they heard. Every time God calls someone, He calls them to a life of faith. Our calling is to serve Him in whatever way we've been called. But we can't serve faithfully until we've first listened carefully to what He's said. Prayer, Bible reading, fasting and watching, etc., all the spiritual disciplines are helpful in this process of journeying with the Lord. Perhaps one of the more overlooked disciplines is that of journaling. The story of Samuel is particularly instructive for us here we are taught the need to listen before we respond. We need to hear and understand before we step out and obey. Could it be that the Church's greatest need today is to listen to God's voice? Could it be that our greatest need is to clearly hear what He's saying to us? Could it be that we need to reflect on His grace and call in our lives? In the hasty living of a postmodern society with its busy, busy, work, work, bang, bang mentallity, could be that Christians need to wait, reapplying the principles of meditation in the Lord in order that their strength and purpose maybe renewed?

Almighty God, Your call goes out to all whom You love, teach us to listen and reflect on what You ask us to do in order that we may be Your faithful servants reflecting Your holiness and concern for all around us.

Picture courtesy of FCI

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Number the days

"A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one."
Thomas Carlyle

In some early monasteries monks were known to dig one shovelful of earth from their own grave every day as a reminder of their own mortality. We find the same idea is found in the prayer in Psalm 90 (which we could call an extract from the blogg of Moses) which says, ‘Teach us so to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom!’ As we move into another year we have the joy of knowing that God is with us in this, just as He was in the previous year. Circumstances change our life, the words of Jesus tell us not to be anxious about anything.

King Oswald of Northumbria (c. AD 605 - AD 642 ) did not live to enjoy a peaceful old age. Yet, the days of his reign brought peace to the kingdom. As a young boy he and his brothers were sent to the monks of Iona, initially to find safety but also to be given an education. It was there he became a Christian and a man of prayer. His deliberate stand for the faith can be seen when he raised up the wooden cross before the battle of Heavenfield.

He pleaded for missionaries from Iona to come to reach his people with the Gospel and was a willing servant to Aidan as an interpreter when of the native language.

He was known as a man of prayer and this was seen when, considering affairs of state or judging between petitioners, his hands would turn palms upwards to heaven in the manner of prayer common then – his training taught him to take every opportunity to pray for guidance and wisdom. With open palms he witnessed that each day, each moment, of his life was given in surrender to the God of his life.

Like Oswald and so many others before and after him, may we know the days in which we live and how we might best respond to them with the love and grace which God has promised to us all that we might bring glory and honour to His Name.

(Photo and full reference can be found at the website)