Archive for the ‘church’ Category

I’ve done a few Word Associations with you over the last while, but as you’ll see from the title this is another Christmas word association today. It may be a Christmas edition word association, but it’s the same format, so I’m going to throw some words at you  and I want you to note down the first word that comes into your mind when you read each word.

So here goes…

  1. wordsTV advert
  2. Christmas shopping
  3. Bells
  4. Carol service
  5. Pudding
  6. Shepherd
  7. Star
  8. Christmas dinner
  9. Work
  10. Christmas cards

 

So how did you get on with those words? Did you find it easy? Did your answers surprise you or were they just as you expected?

Well here’s my responses to my questions:

  1. John Lewis
  2. Queues
  3. Watchnight service
  4. Nativity
  5. Snow bombe
  6. Lost
  7. Bright
  8. Marks and spencers
  9. Holidays!
  10. Stamps

Were any of your answers the same as mine? Did any of my answers confuse you? Did any of your own answers confuse you?

I’ve said in previous word association posts that I find I get a bit stressed when I’m doing them as I put a lot of pressure on myself not to over think my answers! Are you relaxed when you do them or do you find it stressful too?

I still believe that when we respond with the first words that come into our minds, our answers tell us a lot about our emotional state, and what’s important to us at that particular point in time.

Bearing all this in mind, review your answers, does my theory hold true?

By the way, if you want me to explain any of my answers, just ask!

Christmas is a time for family

Christmas is a time for celebrating

Christmas is a time for giving

Christmas is a time for parties

Christmas is a time for loving one another

Christmas is time for Christ

Is Christmas a time for Christ, for you?

I’ve heard a few conversations recently about Christmas, and have been disappointed that just about all these conversations have been about the commercial side of Christmas rather than about Christ. These conversations have been about buying gifts, partying and drinking to excess then suffering hangovers as a result, eating to excess, spending time with family – some complaining about the stress involved with this, time off work, to name a few of the things that were discussed.

What I personally don’t get is why, particularly at this time of year, people want to drink to excess and become so drunk that they can’t remember much, if anything, about their night out, and then feel really ill the next day or two!

no christ no christmasWhere is Christ in all of this, and all these conversations?

Even when someone in the discussion mentioned church or chapel, it was talked about as if it is a chore as going to church/chapel at Christmas is only done out of duty, not because they want to celebrate the reason for the season.

Please don’t get too caught up in partying and presents this Christmas, that you forget that if Christ hadn’t been born, there would be no CHRISTmas!

I’ve heard the question ‘What makes Christmas for you?’ several times in the last few weeks.

Everyone loves to hear a Salvation Army band at Christmas. And because of that, we have a unique opportunity, to not just share music with the listeners, but also to share God’s message of hope and love with them as well.

I read a story recently of a mother who overheard her two teenage sons taking to one another about Christmas – here’s what she heard:

The older son said to his younger brother – Oh my goodness, why do you have to bring God into everything?

The younger replied: Show me one thing where God isn’t present and I will quit bringing Him into everything! 

What a challenge! As Salvation Army bands all over the world prepare Christmas music to remind the people of Christmas, I pray that through their music they will all be able to entertain their audience but also remind them of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

What’s the purpose of a hospital?

Here’s the dictionary definition:

A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized medical and nursing staff and medical equipment.

What’s the purpose of a church?

Here’s Nicky Gumbel’s definition:

Churches are not museums that display perfect people. They are hospitals where the wounded, hurt, injured and broken find healing.

Does your church feel more like a museum than a hospital for the hurt and broken? If it does, is it really the church you want to be part of?

Our bodies are made up of many parts. None of these parts have the same use. There are many people who belong to Christ. And yet, we are one body which is Christ’s. We are all different but we depend on each other.

Romans 12:4-5 NLV

That’s a well-known, and much repeated passage of scripture, and there’s a good reason for that – sometimes we forget, that we are all equally important and worthy of God’s love, and therefore He needs us to work together for Him.

If we don’t work together as one for God, how can we expect others to believe Christ can change their lives for the better!

Today I want to follow on from yesterday’s post Open where I asked you whether you go to church ready and willing to be challenged and blessed by God. How about before you leave your house to go to church, do you pray? Do you pray that your heart might we open and willing to receive the holy spirit?

How will our hearts be open to receiving God’s message if we don’t pray for God to enter our hearts?

Did you go to church today?

If so did you go ready and willing to hear God speak to you, or did you go with your mind full of the events of the past week, or were you thinking about what lies ahead for you this coming week?

If we go to church but aren’t open and willing to hear God’s message, why do we go? Out of habit, to meet our friends or family, out of duty or something else?

Go to church, be open to God’s message and then live church every day of your life.

Once again news of another shooting in America hit the news headlines on Sunday night. Just about the time I heard of this latest atrocity, I read the following by Nicky Gumbel, and never did these words seem more appropriate:

You are never more like God than when you are helping hurting people, lifting up the fallen and restoring the broken.

Please join me in praying for the family and friends of all those caught up in the events at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas last night.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~ Psalm 34:18

Today I’m following up on from Saturday’s blog post (Volunteers) where I asked you to support and encourage those who volunteer in our communities and churches.

Everyone in a leadership role in our communities or churches, whether volunteering or employed, have to make decisions about the group or community they are responsible for. That in itself can be difficult, as just like in any walk of life, not everyone will agree with decisions they make. However that doesn’t give us the right to challenge or confront the leader, as just as I said on Saturday, they are the one that has been approved to have the leadership role, and therefore their decisions should be respected.

For example when it comes to leadership of a music group, the leader may want the group to sing/play a piece of music at a faster or slower speed than the music indicates, or maybe they want it played quieter or louder than the music states – Does that make the leader wrong?

Of course it doesn’t! The leader hasn’t simply decided to lead the piece of music in a particular way for no reason, they feel their interpretation of the music will add to the performance, and therefore their the group should accept their leader’s guidance.

Respect your leaders, regardless of whether they are paid or volunteers, because they do a difficult job, and therefore need your support and encouragement.

In so many areas of life we find people who freely give up their own personal time and talents to help others, expecting nothing in return except the knowledge that they’ve helped others.

Whether it running a kids’ football team, working in a charity shop, taking on a position within your church, helping those with disabilities, helping to educate others by leading evening classes, or some other voluntary act, people do these things voluntarily, and that is what others need to remember.

We can all be quick to make derogatory comments about the ability of the person who has volunteered. Many will think they can do better than the person who is in charge, but can they?

From experience, probably not! Even if we were capable of doing a job better than the person who has volunteered, we should be supportive and helpful towards the person, after all they have given of their time and talents freely, while we haven’t! They may not be perfect at the job they have undertaken, but they are doing their best – They wouldn’t have been given the job if those in charge didn’t think they were capable of doing a good job.

Volunteers aren’t in it for their own glorification, but are there to help others, so if you find yourself putting your trust in volunteers to lead, help, train or educate you or your family, don’t put them down or tell others you could do better.  Instead, always give them your support and encouragement.