Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas spirit

Just sitting in Trinity Library and got an email through - thought it was interesting statistics


As it's nearly Christmas, we've found some amazing Christmas stats to put you in the Christmas spirit!

The UK sends nearly 1 billion Christmas cards each year**
4 million Brussel Sprouts are usually purchased the week before Christmas.**
This year 1.3 million fresh Christmas Trees will be sold, 9% less then last year.*
Each person will spend on average £435 on Christmas gifts, 12% more then last year.*
Sales of Mince Pies are expected to reach £33 million this year, while an estimated £21 million of Christmas puddings will be sold!**
An estimated £42 million worth of Turkeys will be sold this Christmas, 7% more than last year. Organic Turkeys have the highest estimated sales growth at 46%.*
Each household will spend approximately £169 on Christmas food and drink, up 4% on 2006, pushing the actual cost of Christmas lunch to almost £16 per head, up from £14 in 2006.*
Each person takes on average 15 hours to complete his/her Christmas shopping.**
Each person spends on average £33 on last minute panic purchases.**
41% more alcohol is drunk during the holidays than the monthly UK average.**
Christmas 2005 the most popular Christmas cards featured Brussel Sprouts and Cows wearing antlers.


Stats from BRC research, the BRC - KPMG Retails sales monitor for the UK and Nielsen's Point of sales market track data.** Reported in the Independent 12th December 2006

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Advent Sermon Bray

Sermon Preached on Sunday 2nd December 2007 in Christchurch Bray

Preparations

Before I begin, could I take this opportunity to thank Baden & Avril, Alan and Liz and their families as well those who I have got to know on a weekly basis here in Bray – especially David and Joe at the back and Derek in the choir– you guys are great craic. It has been good to find my feet in my first parish placement outside Banbridge, so thank you. I am here to the end of January.



At the moment in college there are lots of essays being done - lots of work being completed before the end of the term - as I was sitting in my room on Wednesday evening one of my friends came into my room and said - as he was fire warden, he had received a message from one of the staff members that there was going to be a fire drill on thurs morning at 7.45 - he was just warning people so that they wouldn't get caught in the shower when it happened - I thanked him immensely.

So... the alarm clock beside my bed got moved back so that I would be up and ready to go when the fire alarm went off ... I was up, showered and ready by 7.30 - I got my scarf, coat and bag ready - so much so I went up to the kitchen, boiled the kettle and made myself a cup of tea! All ready to go. The alarm went off and it was clear to see who had been told and who hadn't - those who were ready and those who weren't.



Today we are talking about preparation



Today is one of those days that the church begins a preparation period – Advent {{- it is also the new year of the church – so happy new year}}

Looking around the church – the liturgical colours have changed from the pastoral colour of green to the Penitence colour of Purple. It begins a time when we focus on the incarnation of Christ. The coming of Jesus into the world.

It is a time when we remind ourselves of the huge – mega event the incarnation was – how it changed the course of human history. It is a time when we focus on what does it mean to believe in Jesus and prepare for the baby in a manger 2,000 or so years ago.

In 23 days time Christmas will be here and Christmas presents will have been opened and the turkey will be soon coming out of the oven, the preparations will have been made, cards sent, Presents given, office parties celebrated, carol services attended.



{{of all the passages in the Bible to preach for a first sermon in a parish as a student this certainly wouldn’t be top of my list! – judgement and end of the world but ...}}



Our Gospel today exorts us to make preparations, to be ready for the coming of Jesus, but hold on ...

... he came at Christmas 2,000 years ago as a baby

... he lived, he taught, he died, he rose full stop

Well, that’s not quite what the Bible says – its more of a comma than a full stop. Our gospel this morning

... is from the mouth of Jesus about the coming of the son of man.

The reading this morning is the last of the 5 main sections in Matthew’s Gospel – it is known as the eschatological – the end times.

The second coming of Jesus.

[ Looking through the passage it is hard to see good news – gospel.

... especially when it speaks of Noah and the flood

It is speaking of the end of the world as we know it – It is speaking of two people in a field – one taken, one left

This to us is not nice, it’s not neat – it cuts us to the core –this is one of the passages in the bible which many would prefer not to visit.

“some will be taken, some will be left” – that is painful –its doesn’t sound like good news but lets look at it again - He is not willing for anyone to perish [2 Pet. 3:19]. from the relationship with Jesus is what will get us through.

I read this passage as a signpost – just as a sign on a power station may say “danger keep out – risk of death” This rather says – Danger outside come on in – Certainty of eternal life











This passage speaks of preparation

... it urges preparation

It does not tell us when he is coming back.

Many cults and false prophets have tried to predict when the world will end – that is foolishness.

But what we can do is prepare for his coming.

How?

Get in a right relationship with him – he invites us to simply come . Once we are there we can deepen that relationship with him – through prayer, through Bible study – getting to know him better.

We can share him with others – talking about him- Labouring for him. We are all called to do something for the kingdom. Do you know what your god given gifts are?

As we make our lists and check them twice – what priority are we going to make God – Immanuel “God with us” this advent time.

Are we, am I going to be happy to leave Jesus as the cute little baby in a manger this Christmas?

Or are we going to heed the signs? Are we going to come and ask Immanuel – god with us to be with you?

How are you going to prepare for the coming of Christ this advent time ?



Let us pray



Lord Jesus, Immanuel God with us, help us to prepare our hearts and minds and lives for you this season of advent

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stuff from My CMSI Blog

Not just another mission conference

Okey Dokey ... just to continue my blogging
Today a couple of us from college gave up our day off from lectures and placement to head up from the South to pay a fleeting visit to the bright lights of Belfast.To a conference run by "THE" diocese :o)
It was great to hear what was happening around the parishes in Down and Dromore. In a church which can get negative about itself sometimes it was refreshing, revitalising to hear church leaders speak about renewing the vision of parishes, challenging the status quo. Looking at the positives and the negatives.
I went to two of the seminars as well as sitting in on Bishop Harold's Keynote address and all were impressive - and I am not just saying this stuff here because its down and dromore but putting it here because it's important to look at mission at a local level as well as in the international level.
This is going to be quite a long blog ... but no appologies for that ...

Harold's Keynote began with a quote from Bill Hybels - The local church is the hope of the world
He then went on to describe a vision of the church on this island has had over the years a rich heritage of landmarks - Ancient landmarks in all arts and parts and we need to develop what we have. Which is amazing to think that what we have inherited from past generations needs to be revitalised and reenergised with vision.
Throughout the diocese we have connections made in networks we need to keep these links of support and communication so that they can be used to build strength within the diocese.
The realisation that there are gaps - the analogy he used was gaps in the cheese (from the fresh expressions movement)- there are people groups within parishes which are missing from the pews we need to actively target them.
He explained the good points of the diocese and the Bad news but for each of the Bad news items presented solutions on how to solve such items.
It was also presented that there are 3 things which a focus group of students came up with for their ideal church
Relevant Bible Teaching
Vibrant, Engaged worship
Real relationships
The need to be a welcoming church also featured highly.
All of this stuff was reinforced by Mark Melluish from St pauls ealing who gave some points on how to grow churches
EXCELLENCE - Everything has to be done well, to the best quality
GENEROUSITY - everything needs to be in generous supply "if you don't eat - don't meet" conversation happens over coffee and biccies naturally - why not be providing things that help break down barriers
BLESS - We are called to go out and go to where the blessing is - we are called to be a blessing to the world
BELONG -People want to belong to something - we need to make that possible for people -
BELIEVE - the church needs to provide the opportunities for people to believe, to have space for people to come and explore their questions programmes like alpha or tough question groups may help BUT NOT as a one off thing
BECOME - the church need to allow people to become the people God called them to be.
Practical ways
MISSION & OUTREACH - Prioritise and set aside a bit of a budget for it!
PLAN THE YEAR - What are you planning for the year - what can people invite people to? and what will follow it that you can invite them to?
PLAN THE FOLLOWUP NOT JUST THE EVENT
GIVE A LEAD - if you as a leader are asking people to do it then you need to be doing it!
LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES - where can the church serve - the example was given that Danish pastries and coffees to local businesses, language schools, parenting classes, after school clubs
GENERATIONAL FOCUSED EVENTS - Kids, Ramblers, Garden visits, Films
INTEREST GROUPS - Jazz dancing, Arts, Football, Netball, Classical Music, Bookclubs ....
WHOLE CHURCH & SMALL GROUP EVENTS to bless the community
PREACHING THE GOSPEL MESSAGE REGULARLY
ATMOSPHERE - welcome and expectation
The Mission to the More Affluent
The afternoon session I attended was another very thought provoking session
A chruch that is missional understands that God's mission, calls and sends the Church of Jesus Chirst to be a missionary church in its own society and in the culture in which it finds itself ( Eddie Gibbs and Ian Coffey ' church Next p55)

This seminar started with an exercise to look at affluence

In world terms -Ireland is 4th and UK 13th in GDP per Capita
In the second quater of 2007 car sales in NI increased by 32% on the previous yr
40% of households in the UK have average incomes of over £40,000
Avg Household debt (exc mortages) in the UK 2006 stands at £8,600
Total Credit card debt in the uk in 2007 stands at £51bn
The avg house price in jun 2007 in N.I was £250k
The avg elect appliances on standby or charging at anyone in the uk household - 20
In 2005 the avg outstading debt if students attending scottish univ was £5795
In 2006 ice cream sales in the UK totalled 1.5 billion ( More than the total Education budget of the whole of Sub saharan Africa!)
all this as 1 Billion people in the world are living on less than 50p Per Day

__________________________

24/7 Prayer
Well, This week is another part of my journey on discovering about prayer and what it is all about - it's my first opportunity with a couple of people to organise a 24/7 prayer room in college.
It started at 9am this morning and will continue right through this week.

If you don't know that much about 24-7 take a look at their website www.24-7prayer.com - especially look at the vision of the thing - its quite amazing
Please join with us as we pray - pray for us, pray for the world, pray for CMSI Mission partners, pray for the staff, pray for ... what ever you like as nike says JUST DO IT!

Added on 12/11/07 at 12:25

----------------------

Missing the blessings??
This is a strange wee thought I had the other night.
On sunday, after a busy day on placement, I arrived back into my room and was quite exausted. then someone said - that they were going to go to CORE chruch in the evening - mmm... all day had been thinking about it and wanting to go ... but then could I really be bothered?
I had just spent 5/6 hrs in a church why go again
In the end I did go and boys a boyz it was really good - the worship was great, the speaker spoke directly into the situations. The guy who prayed with me at the ministry time again spoke into various situations!
So what?
well this has got me thinking some strange but important questions
For members of the congregation - what are we missing by lying back and saying - "I couldn't be bothered going today" or "not tonight - I'm too busy"
For those preaching - what an amazing opportunity for God to use them - not by preaching something they have rolled out before but looking to new bread for taht day. Keeping in step with the Spirit and proclaiming the word.
Surely that is what is needed in our churches?
Well thats my wee bit of a rant for today! :-)
Added on 06/11/07 at 09:02

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What a privilege to serve ...

There are times at college, in ministry when we may feel

nExcited…Terrified?
nEncouraged …Discouraged?
nPeaceful…Frightened?
nRelaxed…Apprehensive?
nRefreshed…Tired?

Sometimes we may feel all of these on the same day!

But there are also times when we are filled to capacity and others when we are running dry.

Bishop Fanta Clarke was in college this week with Fellowship looking at the topic - The Shepherds heart and he quoted the following

“Take heed to yourselves lest you perish while you call upon others to take heed of perishing: lest you famish yourselves while you prepare their food.”
The Reformed Pastor: Richard Baxter

We all in ministry need to remember whose we are.

With my reflections in the past on prayer I really do think that prayer is essential to all that happens in our ministry.

I know that I can ramble, not really knowing what to pray sometimes but sometimes we just need someone to draw alongside us on our journey and offer prayer.

Again with Prayer Min at madness this summer I know that prayer does accomplish much more that we can imagine. I know I only am a baby when it comes to prayer and understanding the implications of real prayer.

Over the course of this week I have experienced much prayer - in youth group, in church at the Min of Healing service on sunday, at CORE on sun night, in college this week, in intercessions at CU tonight ...

OK, CU Tonight - I went along - not knowing what time it was at - for those who want to know - it starts at 7:30 above the arch in TCD - their website is www.bebo.com/TCDCU

I headed up and the topic was prayer ... see lots of prayer this week
Scott Hill was speaking and really spoke into a lot of the questions I asked myself at the beginning of this week.

Using the text from Revelation "knocking at the door" as well as Elijah and the Prophets of Baal where through prayer the door can be unlocked and God will answer. He explained that lots of people pray but for the Christian there are certian keys to prayer.

1. Knowing and praying to the father (Matt 6) It is not enough to be babbling meaningless texts but that we need to be praying to God who is our father - our perfect father.

2. Trust (Ps 13) - There are times when things are going pearshaped but we need to wrestle with the difficult questions - we need to be able to ask - "why God?" and trust him through it all

3. Cross (Matt 27:45ff) - Through the cross we are brought into the prence of God, acess the most holy place - an amazing privellege and responsibility

4. Imagination (2 Cor 4:4ff) - We need to pray to God to give us ideas, challenges as we pray - it is more than 1 way traffice us->God but rather dual traffic. One way he does this is via ides, visions of things. Apparently R...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Blogging as a spiritual discipline

Today, over lunch I got asked to think about chatting to our year about blogging - I suppose I have taken for granted.

There are now many different people blogging - but why?, are people interested? is there any purpose to it all?

this article may help

1. How to Get Blogging in About Four Steps, Five Minutes [See below]
2. Why I Suggest Pastors Use Blogger.com
3. Blog Your Passsion, First and Foremost
4. 10 Topic Ideas for Blogging Pastors
5. Blogging as the Spiritual Discipline of Journaling
6. How to Read a Blog ... for Pastors
7. Make a Blog Posting Schedule
8. How to Write a Blog Post ... for Pastors: 6 Ideas
9. The Best Blog Posts ... Are Often Lists
10. Writing Effective Headlines, or Post Titles
11. Handling the 'Comments' Function of Blogs
12. Get Subscribers with an Email Newsletter
13. Feed Your Readers with FeedBurner
14. A Play Button for Your Sermons
15. Using Photos in Blog Posts
16. Linking and Getting Linked 101
17. Tracking Your Web Site Statistics
18. Building Your Blogging Network
19. Tagging Your Posts the Easy Way
20. Show Who's Linking To You
21. Give Readers Your Bookmarks
22. Building Your Blogger Own Network
23. Designing Cool Graphic Blog Headers
24. Using Google Alerts to Track Topics, Who's Talking About You
25. Claim Your Blog with Technorati
26. Earning a Couple of Buck with Amazon
27. On Blogging Goals and Strategies
27. Owning Your Own Domain Name Versus Free Hosting Sites


5 QUESTIONS WITH BLOGGING PASTORS/BELIEVERS:

1. Mark Batterson of Evotional
2. Andrew Jones of Tall Skinny Kiwi
3. Ben Gray of OpenSwitch
4. Michael Spencer of InternetMonk
5. Tim Stevens of Leading Smart
6. Tony Morgan of TonyMorganLive
7. DJ Chuang of DJChuang.com
8. Gary Lamb of Mad Babble from a Church Planter
9. Darren Rowse of Problogger.net
10. Marty Duren of SBC Outpost
11. Anthony Coppedge of AnthonyCoppedge.com
12. Joe McKeever of JoeMcKeever.com
13. Ben Arment of History in the Making
14. Micah Fries of Friesville
15. Kent Shaffer of Church Relevance (Bombay Creative)
16. Mark Roberts of MarkDRoberts.com
17. Wade Burleson of Grace and Truth To You
18. Ariel Vanderhorst of BitterSweetLife
19. Tim Ellsworth of Tim Ellsworth.com
20. Gene Mason of Communicorps
21. Kem Meyer of Less Cluter & Noise [Link corrected]
22. Steve McCoy of Reformissionary
23. Drew Goodmanson of Goodmanson
24. Perry Noble of Perry Noble
25. Todd Rhoades of Monday Morning Insight
26. Dan Lee of Blog Ministry
27. Alan Nelson of Rev! Unplugged (Magazine)
28. Peter Bishop of Peter Bishop
29. James Higginbotham of Agile Ministry
30. Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost
31. Jon Edmiston of As Far As I Can Tell
32. Terry Whalin of The Writing Life
33. Greg Atkinson of Church Video Ideas
34. Dr. Hershael York of Confessions of a Pastor
35. Dr. John Jackson of Pastorpreneur
36. Dr. Alvin Reid of Books, Culture and the Gospel
37. Chalan Thibodeaux of ChalanThibodeaux Dot Com
38. Michael Foster of The Gaslight Gospel
39. Dan Ohlerking of The Pursuit
40. Jim Walton of Church Tech Matters
41. La Shawn Barber of La Shawn Barber's Corner
42. Mark O. Wilson of Revitalize Your Church
43. Bob Franquiz of Bob Franquiz.com
44. Brad Hinman of Churchonomics
45. Tim Challies of Challies
46. Dr. Mark DeVine of Theology Prof
47. Frank Johnson of Strategic Digital Outreach
48. Kevin Hendricks of Church Marketing Sucks
49. One Great Answer with CopyBlogger Brian Clark

50. My Answers to the 5 Blogging Questions


***

LINK TO THIS SERIES: Grab this graphic or code below.



***

ABOUT THE 'I HELP PASTORS BLOG' SERIES:

This is the first inaugural post of the I Help Pastors Blog series. You could probably call it "Blogging for Pastors 101."

My goal is to show pastors, ministers and church leaders how easy and effective it can be to blog.

In the next few weeks and posts, I'll attempt to show almost any pastors how they can blog with maximum impact and minimum efforts.

In essence, I'll show you how to: create,maintain, and write a blog.

So ... for the first inaugural post, I'll show you -- Dear Pastor -- how to stake your claim on the blogosphere.

TIP NO. 1: HOW TO START A BLOG IN ABOUT 4 STEPS AND LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES

So you've decided to start blogging? Or at least take it for a test drive?

With the simplicity of Google's Blogger.com, you can create a blog in about 5 minutes or less.

Here's a short 4-step checklist for getting started blogging:

1. Determine how you will host it -- There are two basic options here: Free or paid. I suggest pastors just taking a step out into the blogosphere start with the "free" option. For a paid account, I would suggest going through GoDaddy.com or your church's existing Web site hosting company.

2. Get a free Blogger.com account -- Assuming you chose the "free" option for hosting and Blogger.com for your blogging platform, you'll need to get a free Blogger.com account. Click on this link and do that now.

3. Name your blog -- for the free BlogSpot site through Blogger.com, you'll need to figure out what to name your blog -- this is usually your blog's site address also (i.e. for this site, it's: http://www.churchcommunicationspro.com, or for one of Blogger's hosted sites, it'll be: http://___[YourName]____.blogspot.com).

I'd suggest using your name, or if your preaching ministry has its own name, using that. Give it a name your congregation will recognize. Although this can be changed later, once you start promoting the site, you'll want to find a name (and thus address) and stick with it so people can find you easily.

4. Choose a template -- use one of Blogger's templates -- they're nice and simple and easy-to-customize. I really like Rounders and Minima for templates, but look through the templates and find the one that best suits your fancy!

... and you're done!

You have staked your claim on the blogosphere!


Monday, September 24, 2007

Back to school ...

Well there you have it, the summer is officially over, four months of fun all gone - where did they go??? its amazing how quickly they have gone and we are now back into the routines of college life again.

today was such a busy day - woke up here in Dublin (mum and dad were down painting and laying the carpet in si and my rooms- thanks dad :-) ) then off to bray for worship, O'sullivans for lunch, back to college and then said bye bye to the folks and hello to the new intake who seem to be great.
after a communion service and reception, dinner was served - later a few people came round for a hot chocolate and off to bed. Then came the idea to Blog!

Please do pray for the guys who have just started- it is difficult to start a new way of life in a place such as a theo college - I know in my first few days it was difficult, new faces, the number of times i was asked "well what did you do then before coming down ..?" and all of these things so please do pray that they would find their feet - pray also for their families at home.

Pray for our year group that we would continue to be united in our friendship and laughter together and that this year we would continue to hold each other up in prayer. College can be a difficult place sometimes.

This week is soooooooo hectic for us 9-5 lectures of various kinds then i'm off mon/wed/fri to CMS things in Dublin and Armagh - which i am looking forward to then on sunday i am meant to be doing something in Banbridge about the Zam Trip

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mid Africa Conference -

Challenges Galore

There are those days which just simply just fly by without much thinking, others simply make you stop and take stock about we are actually doing. I suppose we need to be prepared for both.

Today I headed across to Newcastle to the Mid Africa conference that was held by CMS Ireland, supposedly to give jules a wee hand with the kids work but over the hours in the Glenada I had some amazing challenges presented.

Stuff to think about

- Mission in Ireland – How seriously do we take our mission?, what could the church be doing? What does it mean to be missiological in our thinking within the local church?

- Bridging the gap between the pew and the pub? Mission agency / Local church?

- Discipleship as a major challenge in the African church

- Paul in Athens

- Theological education in Africa – training the next Generation of leaders??

- What does it mean for us guys in college to do be missional?

Stand still long enough and you’ll get challenged – definitely want next year to spend the weekend there – there are soooo many inspirational people at this conference – if you can GO next year! People who have lived an exciting, incredible and amazing adventurous life in God’s call. People who are just so infectous with passion for their father and first love God and who are willing to get up and GO! But also people who are just sitting and willing to share their story of faith with people who just ask! It’s not the easy life but its the best!

To look at a wider perspective on mission and what we are actually doing at college is actually quite amazing and worth reminding ourselves what we are doing. Being “equipped to serve”.

I am looking forward to a couple of days this week to sit down and do a bit of thinking about these sort of issues and generally just taking a bit of time out.

As you can see I was a bit affected by today’s stuff! To say the least! :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

As Promised - The Alton Towers Pics











Alton Towers - Courtesy of Tom's My Space!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Challenges over the last couple of weeks

At the minute I am still trying to find time to process the lessons that rose in Zambia.

However there was many things over the last couple of weeks God has been challenging me

Yesterday a couple of things happened

We (tom, Ra, Laura and myself) were on AIR - we had queued for about an hour and once we got to the coaster station decided we would go to the front line queue. This was the second time we had been on this ride. Once we arrived we sat in the seats and the harness came down. the seats then turned through 90 degrees so that you are actually lying facing the ground- the whole idea is that you are flying. Then we sat off. With most roller coasters you are sitting but this one you are totally dependant upon the harness holding you. We went up the ramp at about 10 or so feet up the ramp the cart stopped just above where people were sitting we gave them a wee wave and had a chat which was lovely!! :-) then up we went a little bit further. the stopped again we were now about thirty feet above the ground and stayed there. This was a little bit scary as we began to talk to each other. thought of what happened if the brakes failed and we headed back down the track. Then the thought which we must have all been thinking but dared not ask "what if the harness released?"

mmm... How much faith, trust, unbeliveable dependance do we place in the designers of the coasters? Surely we need to do the same day by day.

Some of the rides I didn't like - ripsaw for example was not good! Corkscrew was a bit sore!

Others were amazing - Air - I love, Rita is class!, Nemesis was good, Obvivion was breath taking (literally!!)

Then was the water park - its great!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Another day another Airport Lounge! / Alton Towers / New News

From the blog entries you will notice since me getting off college in May I have been through many airport lounges

Dublin (being the hub)
Glasgow prestwick
Manchester
Liverpool

Then Belfast city, Heathrow and Lusaka

And now East Midlands - where I am sitting at present. The reason for this trip was to visit Alton Towers with friends Ra, Laura and Tom all of whom I worked with a couple of years ago - Tom is posting the pics on the web - once I get them - i'll stick them up here.

The other piece of news worth blogging about is that Seapatrick Parish has a new youth worker - more details later!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Getting Round to it now!!!

It has been difficult over the past couple of weeks to find time to blog - it has been one thing after the other.

Returned from Zambia tuesday 2 weeks ago and then headed on the Thurs to Bray for a "happy feet Holiday Club which was just great!! the people in Bray are great - a good introduction to placement starting in October.

At the moment I am writting this in college where I am spending the night before heading off to Alton Towers with Ra, Tom and Laura whom I haven't seen for a couple of years!

All of whom can be seen in this terrible picture! - thanks Drew!!! hi to emma and hols and Mel who cannae make it to the towers - My camera is coming with me so hopefully we'll get a few more picts along the way over the next lot of days





So thats about it from me for a couple of days - Omagh on Saturday/Sunday to visit the Quills
Monday meeting Ali and next week is the Bishop's Bible Study with Ed Vaughan speaking - I'm looking forward to that.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Blog Redirection - again!!!

With me heading off to Zambia on Wednesday - any updates will be team updates and these will be posted on - www.cmsireland.org/youth until my return on 8th August

Please do post comments in the apropriate places on the CMS ireland site - it's always nice to hear from people!

Robert

Monday, June 18, 2007

Prayer Pointers for Zambia

Over the next couple of weeks - we are officially moving!!! - well at the moment it is an interim move - all the way across the road! to the Huntly Bungalows - the one on the corner! opposite the telephone box!!

but due to the move I might not be able to get a blog sorted out so here are our prayer pointers for Zambia - Commisioning on Sunday Evening

Pre-departure
Pray for the preparation that each team member has to undergo. Pray that their hearts maybe prepared to serve the Lord. Pray for the families of the team members who are remaining at home.

Week 1: Wed 11– Tues 17th July
We depart on Wednesday pray for safety whilst travelling that we will not meet with any hindrance.

Pray for the relationships that we will build with our brothers and sisters in Christ, pray that we will be united in God’s work. Prayespecially for the St James Youth project who we will be working closely with.

On Sunday the team get their first experience of African church services. Pray for preparation that the team will undergo, pray that each team member will have the confidence to step out for God.


Week 2: Wednesday 18th—Tuesday 24 July

Pray for the team as they gain an insight into the lives of the

Zambians, and develop their relationships with the locals and see the work of the Broken Butterfly project in action.

On Wednesday as we visit the mines in Mopani Kitwe, on Friday as we visit the Chinfunshi orphanage and on Saturday as we play football in Mufulira Archdeaconry. With a special guest appearance from David Beckham (maybe!!!).

Week 3: Wednesday 25th—Tuesday 31st

Please pray for our travel to Mwinilunga on Friday (a 300 mile minibus journey on dust tracks!). We spend the rest of the week meeting the members of the parish and visiting the ‘Broken Butterfly’ project that was set up there last year.

After more local church services on Sunday, we journey back from Mwinilunga on the Monday (Please pray again!). Tuesday sees us resting in Kitwe.

Week 4: Wednesday 1—Tuesday 7th August

This week we have a change in emphasis as we are hosted by Bishop Chama to conclude our visit.

On Thursday, we pack (please pray for this) and say our final goodbyes to our hosts and travel to the ZAC Guest House in Lusaka. Friday involves more travelling to our rest and relaxation time at Victoria Falls (at Fawlty Towers no less) for three days. Built into these few days of relaxation is a time to reflect as a team on the whole experience.

On Monday we travel back to Lusaka before our flights home on Tuesday Morning


Back Home

This experience will have affected team members in a unique way. Please pray that God will work through the issues raised, the experiences gained and the lessons taught.

Please pray that each member of the team will be stronger in their faith as a result.

Continue to pray for our partnerships with the friends we left working in Zambia



Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Post in Banbridge

found this on ignite.cd! - if you know anybody...

SEAPATRICK PARISH CHURCH,
BANBRIDGE,
invites applications for the post of YOUTH PASTOR

An exciting opportunity to serve God in an initial three-year, full-time post in a large, vibrant parish,commencing September ’07 (or by agreement).
The successful applicant will be an integral member of the large, full-time staff team.
Responsibilities will include:
1. To oversee the pastoral care of young people/adults aged 13-25) in the parish.
2. To develop youth club and youth fellowship ministries.
3. To contribute meaningfully to youth worship within the parish.

An attractive initial salary package of £18-20k, together with travel and pension allowance, dependent on qualifications and experience.
For further information and job description, contact:

The Rector, the Ven. W. J. Scott,
63 Lurgan Road,
Banbridge BT32 4LY.
Tel. 028 4062 2612.
Email: John@Seapatrick.fsnet.co.uk

Closing date for applications: Thursday 5th July.
Interviews will be held between
30th July and 2nd August by arrangement.

up and coming

After the last week out and about all over the country - this week is different

thurs / Fri will be spent at home - no doubt packing more boxes
sat - parish fete
Sun - mum and dad down in dublin for the ordinations - Alan B and Rob J in Christchurch
mon head home
Tues-Thurs - pastoral stuff in Seapatrick
Sun- Commissioning

Summer Madness preparation

Liverpool and Photo Problems

on Gary's blog you will find a full report of the Liverpool trip.

I have been having trememdous problems getting my pictures uploaded - usually i use the google based picasa programme which up until now has given no problems but I have had to revert to the flickr yahoo based thing

So the Liverpool images are to be found here

I suspect that it is more to do with the college network than the programmes themselves!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

So folks ... there you have it!

Howdy everybody ... I have now got a new following for my blog! in one fell swoop
Hi to all the newbies in CITC!

And to all the oldies the newbies are great!!! :-)

They really are!!

The next couple of years should be very very good!

Anybody else reading the blog - please do pray for these guys over the summer
- as they prepare to make the big change
- pray for the families as well
- pray for R&R for all of us that we would take time out to just be with God
It is a huge change and committment - pray that the Holy Spirit would just take all of us and continue to mould us into people he wants us to be.

I really do think God has brought another good group of people together into college this year - for his purposes.

The chat at Ruth and I had today with them was just real and honest - see my thoughts in previous Blog!

The overall thing to come out of it was that we as a community are all in this together and we need to spur each other on!

If there is anything I can do for ya please do not hesitate to get in touch - my email address is rferris281@gmail.com or post a wee message on the blog and either meself or gary will get back to you!

God bless and enjoy the summer!!!!

How time has flown

Taking a look through bebo and blog it is amazing how time flies

according by my bebo page 52 weeks ago

Gary wrote:

Hi Robert! Welcome to Bebo... Can't wait to welcome you to the 'joys' of CITC come September. We'll have to meet up soon - good to bump into you yesterday!

and today - i am sitting writting prayers for church tomorrow whilst waiting to chat to the new intake of first years - it really is amazing. Ruth Elmes and myself are chatting to them later this afternoon.

This has been a great chance to reflect and just see what would be good to talk about my ideas include :

College Life

· Chapel

o Varied mix (Sung compline, MP/EP 1&2, Worship, Community Euch)

o Trad.Hymns, Praise and Worship, Family Service

o Rota basis reading / leading service

o Community Meal

· Community life

o Year groups

§ Great craic this year

§ Worked well together – laughed / cried together

§ You are not competing with each other – some may understand thing you don’t

§ Sharing resources

o Events

§ Christmas Party

§ Year review

§ Community weekend

§ Football Matches

o Societies

§ College Fellowship

§ Dearmer Society

§ Marsh Society

o Within our year

§ Own Bible Study

§ Set aside time for prayer

o Others in college

§ Exchanges

§ Students

o Experiences

§ Living out

§ Living in

· Great fun

· You just need to get out sometimes – go for a walk, retail therapy, meal out

· Good neighbours! – doors open – come on in – within the bottom and top floors – kettles are on the boil

· At night – sitting with a cup of tea / hot chocolate in rooms chatting is where a lot of stuff is discussed!

· Placement – staying here 24/7 - Keeping in touch with home – mob / internet GT

o Workload

§ For all in college at the moment The workload is manageable

§ With essay deadlines – I think the rule is get it done and out of the road.

§ The other thing is that the lecturers – certainly the ones we have had this year – are not out to get you!

§ Laptop – Wireless internet!

o Classes

§ You can disagree with the lecturers! – certainly this we had various sometimes “heated” debates as well as friendly discussions over coffee.

o Finances

§ Living in – food supplied / Transport / Accomodation

· Coming down in September

o What to bring!

§ Kettle, Sense of Humor, openness to try new things (worship), buns, Veda

o Advice

§ Talk to people – there have been times this year when approaches to the bible, to the way situations have been handled or even actions of individuals have annoyed people. – The reality is that we are all a community – if you have a problem talk to a friend or remember that somebody in another year might have had a similar experience – go and have a chat with them. If you ask for it to be in confidence it should stay in confidence! – but to have somebody else look at the situation can be helpful

§ Mealtimes are great times to interact with the community – to share whats been happening

o Keep in touch

§ Email

§ Gary’s letter / chat

Wireless Electricity!

We have had wireless headphones, wireless internet - the next big thing seems to be going to be Wireless electricty

Check out http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6129460.stm - I read an article in the paper yesterday about it - so it might actually work!

it may tidy my room up a bit - well -ok thats more a miracle called for! - not sure if it will work in the acc bloc tho ;-)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Glasgow

Dublin Glasgow


or

Update from Glasgow

Just now sitting in the departure lounge - ready for flight back to dublin.

Had a great day round the city - Pictures and report to follow. Glasgow is definately somewhere I want to come back to.

Made all the connections on time - even tho I left room at 5:30 this morning!!!

Robert

PS prestwick departure lounge is the pokiest one I have ever been in!

However for a 1p flight what more do you expect!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Talking about travelling

Found an interesting site




Spain is a bit un representative as I only was in tenerife but there ya go still lots more to explore!

The Infrequent Blogger is back!

So there you have it - first year is over!
and there is no rest for the wicked!

In a bid to blog more this blogger is off over to the main land in the next couple of days to get some pictures and to generally chill out as well as begin to think about the summer and what I need to be thinking about in relation to Church, Zambia, Summer Madness and England as well as other things

Over the summer I am aiming to read a few books and have the chance to do some sermons.

so what is happening this week

Tues: in Dublin - reading and Writting maybe even blogging
Wed: off to Glasgow
Thurs: off to Manchester
Fri: Sleep in followed by a starbucks with Pam
Sat: the newbies are heading down to college so me and Ruth E are chatting to them about the realites of college
Sun: Crafty arty thing? and then up north
Mon: off to liverpool with Gary, Ruth W, Si G for the day

Then depending on what happens with talks and things heading back home to pack boxes and clear the roof space as we continue to prep for our move.

We have Summer Madness looming on the horizon and greenbelt at the end of the summer as well as alton towers, Badens Holiday Club.

Until tomorrow when I upload a photo diary of my day out!

Regards

RF

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Preaching and prayer continued

In reading a book - prepared to preach it asks the question - that as we prepare - what should we be praying for:

  • We ask God to lead us to the right bible books to expound scripture
  • We pray for freedom from cultural or individual biases
  • For eyes to see what the passage really teaches us
  • We as the Holy Spirit to be our teacher
  • We pray for faith to believe that God can speak to us and through us
  • That our responses to his word will be squarely in keeping with his revealed will
  • For insights and clarity when we are stuck
  • for eyes to see faults in our expositions
  • for patience as we labour
  • for love for our listeners and joy in serving them
  • We are asking for the Holy Spirits illumination
Lots of prayer's

God hears and answers prayers. Because preaching is speaking for and from God we can't really preach until we have heard from God. That won't happen until we pray and God opens our ears to hear his word.

Loads of stuff to complemplate and put into action

Monday, April 16, 2007

picking up the baton


As a subsequent posting from Gary's Blog - I concur with all he said.

Ali and myself are really looking forward to next years College Fellowship, and I also felt that Tuesday night set a tone which need to be built upon - enouraging each other in prayer.

More details and thoughts later on fellowship.

Robert

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Preaching and Prayer

One of the major things any ordinand will have to do is sooner or later get up into the pulpit and preach the word of God. Above all the stuff we have to do in college this is one of the most awesome responsibilities associated with this vocation.

I write this post in order to get get it right in my own mind as much as to do anything else.

Central to any preaching is the centrality of prayer the logic is

If preaching is God speaking when we speak in his name, on his behalf , by his authority, and for the good of the people to whom he has sent us then we must speak his message. Of course that will mean that the message will be biblica, but the Bible is a big book and is easily misinterpreted. Thefore how do we know from all the possible thoughts available in the Bible, what he wants to communicate to his people he knows will be gathered to hear his word ?

We ask him

We wait quietly in his presence inviting him to speak to us as preachers through his word so that we can faithfully convey his message to our hearers.

THis has to be the core of our / my preaching

Monday, April 09, 2007